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Prestigious Undergrad

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by PinkPlumpy, Dec 13, 2008.

  1. PinkPlumpy

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    Most people seem to say that it doesn't matter going to a top undergrad. Med schools apparently don't care and that a 3.5 at an ivy is basically the same as a 3.5 at a state school.
    I go to an ivy and I love it here. I love the intellectual atmosphere which was missing at my state school. I took math courses (up to Calc III) at my state school and basically got As without much studying. But here I can't dream of not studying. Even with a lot of studying, its hard to get an A since the curves are really harsh. I think in our engineering chem section, the average grade last semester was a C+ even though the averages were in the high 70s and low 80s. It's pretty crazy.
    I know I am learning a lot more than I would have at my state school, but I can't help feeling kinda sad looking at my comparatively dismal GPA. I would have probably had pretty close to a 4.0 at my state school. So, my question is, do med schools actually factor in that I am in an ivy where the science classes have harsh curves and that I am an engineering major?
    I want to get an MD/PhD because I love research and am interested in that side of medicine also...
     
  2. RoyBasch

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    I am going to say so far as to say it does not factor in at all. I attend a top 20 undergrad and have a lower than average (for a medical school applicant GPA) of 3.7 I was rejected from my instate school. I called for interview feedback (which they provide) and they informed me that a major concern of theirs was my GPA (PARTICULARLY specific grades in certain science classes). Honestly if your GPA is below a 3.7 do what it takes to raise it, even at ivy-type schools there are classes that are easier than others. Perhaps it sounds as if I am being overly pessimistic, but this is my experience.
    -Roy
     
  3. 135892

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    Wait a minute.... so the class average was in the high 70s, and this translated to only a C+?? Wow, that's so ridiculous...

    But yeah, I think there's no doubt that coming out of top ranked schools will help you out at least in some ways. Now will it make up for a real poor gpa? Of course not, but keep a solid gpa and you'll be in a pretty good position.
     
  4. DrYoda

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    :smack: oh dear...
     
  5. rowerlauren

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    It helps you if you have a high GPA... however if you have a low GPA it won't count.

    On my interviews my Undergrad has gotten a lot of comments about the quality of the students, etc... Talking to my interviewers they have commented, and I know that several schools will factor in the "difficulty factor" of the undergrad in a formula when determining whether to grant an interview.
     
  6. 146233

    146233 Phthirius pubis

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    Schools care about consistently solid performance, not school reputation. Don't expect any kind of numbers correction due to the school you attend. Your major and your performance therein are within your control, and schools will expect you to deliver. Good luck!
     
  7. OldSchooler

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    .
     
    #7 OldSchooler, Dec 13, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2009
  8. Bacchus

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    On most grading scales a high 70+ is a C+. Welcome to the world of no curves.
     
  9. RoyBasch

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    I don't mind you asking. Organic Chemistry I (B-), Organic Chemistry II (B+), Genetics (B-). I took organic chemistry freshman year and genetics first semester sophomore year, so the interviewer said I had a pattern of poor performance in science classes early on and that concerned them (although all science classes after that were A's and i did well on the MCAT science sections).
    -Roy
     
  10. sindadel

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    I don't think they care. They should care, but they don't.
     
  11. luvumeanit

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    This is the most over-discussed topic on SDN, and there are A LOT of over-discussed topics.

    Look, I went to a top 3 Ivy League school. I applied last cycle with a 33R MCAT and a 3.45 GPA, including a few post-bacc classes with a 4.0. I got 9 interviews and 5 acceptances, including 3 top 20 med schools. and I made it to the waitlist at the other 4, including a top 3 med school.

    (please excuse the use of stupid rankings, but there is no other way to discuss this issue without using them.)

    There is absolutely no question in my mind that I would not have done as well if I had been from a so-called lower ranked school. No way.

    BOTTOM LINE: Those of you out there with good or great stats from less prestigious schools will do great. BUT, if you have marginal stats, it will help a great deal to have them from a top undergrad.
     
  12. 146233

    146233 Phthirius pubis

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    Every admissions committee member is going to look at grades differently. Some come from the school of thought that orgo is the big hurdle into medical school and thus the greatest predictor of success. Others view your academic history as a whole. While those grades aren't A's, I wouldn't hold them against you were I evaluating your file, all other things being equal. Admissions committees can be fickle the way. :)
     
  13. 146233

    146233 Phthirius pubis

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    I agree with your entire post except this one part. Marginal is marginal and isn't going to "help" much from anywhere.
     
  14. RoyBasch

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    Heh too bad you weren't reviewing my file Zipmedic :D. I suppose I shouldn't scare anyone by extrapolating from my one anecdotal experience.
    -Roy
     
  15. pntgrd

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    Prestige of undergrad definitely does matter in perception of how prepared you are for med school and what your GPA means. A 3.8 from Yale will not be seen the same as a 3.8 from University of Connecticut at Waturbury for example, even if both students got the same MCAT. People just say it doesn't matter because they don't want people to feel bad because it's something that can't be changed, since all premeds are in or finished with college.
     
  16. luvumeanit

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    I think my 3.45 GPA is pretty marginal!!!!!
     
  17. 146233

    146233 Phthirius pubis

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    Are you on an admissions committee? While everyone's going to have a different opinion, it doesn't generally have the impact people think it does or wish it did.

    Sure is. ;)
     
  18. luvumeanit

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    But, again, it is not the 3.8 people we are talking about. Those people will do well in the process, assuming they have all the other pieces of the pie, NO MATTER where they went to undergrad.

    IMO, the only time the prestige of the undergrad can make a difference is to give a modest GPA a bump -- like my 3.4!!
     
  19. JLC

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    No offense, but suck it up and do better. If the curve was that high then there enough people getting A's when you didn't.


    That said, just because you had an easy time at your state school doesn't mean all classes, or schools are the same. When I interviewed at Cornell, Columbia, Vanderbilt and Univ of Michigan,the interviewers (the interviewer at columbia had went to harvard Phd, columbia MD, and then harvard residency) emphasized my academic performance positively even when I mentioned that I "only" went to a state school.
     
  20. MedStudentWanna

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    Am I in the twilight zone here? Unless your state school was Dartmouth, that's a load of crap. First, the avg. med school app GPA is a 3.5, NOT higher than a 3.7.

    Also, most classes tend to have an avg. of a C+. This is where profs want their averages to be, whether it's a state school or an Ivy and high 70s is C+ so what's the problem?
     
  21. pntgrd

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    No, I am in med school now. I was told this by someone who used to be on the admissions committee of a top 10 med school, and by someone who is on the adcom of a top 40 med school. Furthermore, it makes perfect sense. There are vast differences in the difficulty of classes and level of student bodies at different schools. The MCAT is supposed to level things out, and it does to some extent, but it is just 1 test.
     
  22. pntgrd

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    That is not true. A 3.8 will allow an applicant to do well in the process, but they still won't get into everyplace they apply, especially the top schools. A top undergrad will help with a high, avg, or marginal gpa.
     
  23. thesopranoswire

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    i really do think that going to a top college does HELP in getting interviews in top med schools even though your gpa may not be stellar. To get interviews at top med school, one from a state school must have a stellar gpa to compensate for the reputation. just my opinion, however.
     
  24. luvumeanit

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    Anyone who has the goal of getting into EVERY place they apply is in for a rude awakening. and why would anyone need that? you can only go to one school.
     
  25. GoBeers

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    school is definitely a factor. how big of a factor no one will know. so that's good to the OP. but if you have a mediocre gpa, then it won't help.

    all my friends who've interviewed already were told that their school was "impressive" by adcoms, and a former adcom friend of mine also said that school reputation was always a plus.
     
  26. Leejwwc

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    I completely agree. I am applying this cycle and although my GPA is decent, it is nowhere near the 3.8 average boasted by many top flight programs. Of course, the rest of your application has to be solid but a decent GPA from a rigorous undergrad will carry you far.
     
  27. silverlining1

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    Yes. I cannot speak to a universal standard, but I know that my school accounts for what undergrad you went to (but the director of admissions did not reveal the exact "formula").

    However, they don't take into account the difficulty of the individual classes that you took because that would be way too hard to even figure out.
     
  28. 146233

    146233 Phthirius pubis

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    Excellent attitude. :)
     
  29. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    I should have known better than to peak in on a thread with "prestigious" in the title.
     
  30. 146233

    146233 Phthirius pubis

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    Seriously.
     
  31. SiR99

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    The school is only a big factor when considering two schools that are very far in rank

    If you compare a top university with an average/lower university, then yes it will make a difference.

    But when you compare a top university to another top university the difference is NOT big enough to give you much of an advantage.

    Just be happy that you go to a private school that some what cares about its students.

    Imagine going to a public school that is just as hard without any of the perks.
     
  32. bambi

    bambi Junior Member
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    70 is only a C+? That is crazy! In the UK >70 is a first for a regular degree which is great but is a great mark for anything of uni level. Saying that though when we had erasmus students from the US our 61% (which isn't amazing for here) was equivalent to 95% at her US school, Uni of Florida (don't know how good or bad a school it is). Bit random but just thought I would share.

    Anyway, surely if 2 applicants were totally equal on everything except 1 went to a state school and the other went to an Ivy and the med school could only take 1 I think it would be pretty safe to say they would take the one from the Ivy. So, in some cases I bet it would make a difference. It probably varies from school to school how much difference it makes though, think how many med schools there are, they don't all do anything exactly the same so why would they be exactly the same about this?
     
  33. luvumeanit

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    Yeah, I agree. But the real test is would they still take the Ivy grad if he was a bit lower. Some med schools would -- prob the Ivy med schools!!!!
     
  34. Excelsius

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    I have talked to several advisers, as well as read threads right here on SDN (also MDapps). No one can say that prestige doesn't matter. For some schools, your undergrad prestige is more important than for other schools. Adcoms are individuals, so there is that variable as well. It may not be at the top of the list in terms of priorities, but it does matter.

    If you go through a lot of profiles on mdapps, you'll find that most of the people accepted with lower than average GPA are from highly ranked schools. This doesn't constitute solid evidence, but it does agree with what advisers usually say. I made my choice not to transfer to my local, cheap state school after I talked to advisers in four different schools. No one will go on record to say that school name matters, but if you get friendly with them in a non-threatening environment, most will admit it.

    When any of you claim that "school definitely doesn't matter," try to get out of your own box of limited experience. A generalization like that means that there isn't a single adcom in the entire USA who will discriminate based on school name. That's a pretty naive statement, isn't it? It would be closer to the truth to say that you just don't know and that the same size for your personal experience is infinitesimal.
     
  35. luvumeanit

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    Well, it doesn't have to be "discriminate on the basis of school." That assumes it is a bad thing. Many would argue that it is the smart thing for a med school to do.
     
  36. Excelsius

    Excelsius Carpe Noctem
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    When I went to CC, almost no one would give you a B if you got 79%. Some professors even said on the syllabus that 79.99% is still a C (no C+'s in CC). On top of that, I had several courses where about 5 people failed the class (D or below) and the vast majority had Cs with only two to three As. That brought the class average to around D. At Ivy League, or even at a UC, this would be unheard of. This is why it's not right to say that lower ranked school = easier or that higher ranked school = harder. But adcoms don't really care much.
     
  37. Excelsius

    Excelsius Carpe Noctem
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    You're wrong:


    1. Some people have to attend certain schools because of socioeconomic limitations
    2. You can't judge how intelligent or how good of a doctor will a student make based on his/her school
    3. Top school doesn't = top student (Bush?)
    4. You can't easily rank the difficulty of school based on US News rankings. See my above post: many lower ranked schools are tougher than the higher ranked ones.
    That's just three. There are many more.
     
  38. luvumeanit

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    But you have to factor in the "quality" of the student body. At Harvard, for example, none of the students have ever even seen a B before they arrived. so yes, many of them will still get As. duh.
     
  39. TehDoc

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    Wait, so do you want the rest of us to bow down before you and your prestigious school? Orrrr what?
     
  40. Excelsius

    Excelsius Carpe Noctem
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    1. There have been several articles isolating grade inflation especially at Harvard, so that's a bad example. When your parents contribute to the endowment, there is pressure to "grade" you appropriately. This happens at non-Ivy schools too. When Larry Summers tried to introduce some reality at Harvard, he was kicked out.
    2. It is obvious that generally a top school will have a better student body than a CC. My point here is that some CCs give you the same curve as you would get at a top school. In other words, if you manage to get an A in Ochem, you get it because you really earned it, much like the guy at a top school. Maybe the student body is not remarkable, but when the curve is established based on what the professor thinks you have to know (compared to the rest of the schools) and not on the unremarkable student body, then the lack of competitiveness does NOT affect the grades. Maybe you will now get what I am saying.
     
  41. luvumeanit

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    Neither of those points makes any sense.

    and point one is simply ridiculous. You actually think that after a student arrives on campus that individual professors know who their parents are and grade them accordingly?
     
  42. Excelsius

    Excelsius Carpe Noctem
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    That's ok. Just try not to generalize so much in the future.
     
  43. luvumeanit

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    and the "reality" that Larry Summers introduced is that girls are inherently bad at math and science.

    that should be a popular view in these forums.
     
  44. Docility

    Docility SDN Lifetime Donor
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    Slightly off-topic, but...I resent him for that. :(
     
  45. RoadRunner17

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    Not to be a downer, but I am wondering what exactly this thread accomplishes. People who don't go to a school considered "prestigious" will support the view that where you go for undergrad doesn't matter, and vice versa. What does all this defensiveness prove? Nothing. It's all anecdotal and there is no single body of evidence anyone can point to, since you obviously can't attend all the schools in the country.

    Okay, back to the scheduled program...
     
  46. vadd0

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    What's going on in this thread? I think I can reiterate that it doesn't matter where you go, it's what you do.
     
  47. Timberwolf

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    Go to an interview at a top 20 med school and see if undergrad matters... (it does).
     
  48. fusionx22

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    I agree. Every med school looks for "unique" students - i.e. those that stand out from the rest of the pool. One of the best ways to stand out is by doing unique things. You can make the argument that by going to a top 10/20 private university, you'd have the best opportunities. However, going to a state school doesn't mean those opportunities don't exist and that you can't stand out. That being said, I'm sure there is a lot more competition to get those really awesome research positions or get involved with trips to S.A. (as an example). Also, don't forget that some people choose to go to a state school over a top private university simply because of the cost of attending.
     
  49. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    Not at all. This would imply that politics/political alignments play a role in the realm of the Ivy League institution... which of course is utter non-sense.
     
  50. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    My no-name, underfunded state-school in the middle of bumble**** would blow all goody gum drops from the Ivy League out of the water
















    in keg races, beerpong, and flippy cup :thumbup:
     

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