I don't know about other SDNers, but I'm from a state school, and I did not find that it had any true bearing on my success in the application process. Even though I was at a (not great) state school and not even in the Honors College, I carved out a name for myself doing a lot of ECs like leadership, research, and volunteering (clinical and non-clinical). I also had a good GPA (3.8), but did so-so on the MCAT (28R). Overall, I got into 7 med schools, both state and private, low tier and high tier. I really don't think that your undergraduate institution confers any type of advantage/disadvantage. It is what you have done with your opportunities at that institution that makes the difference.
That's just my experience and opinion. Go where you feel comfortable about the education and experiences you will receive. And don't forget that many experiences will be outside of any particular institution anyway, like summer programs, and study abroad programs. You make of your experience in undergrad what you will. You dictate your experience, not the institution necessarily.
I just graduated from Brandeis...I liked the small classes and I think it gave me a boost in my med school applications :wink: I got to know my professors really well, and it's easy to have leadership positions in a close-knit atmosphere.
I got the impression that certain schools give some weight to the top ranked private schools during the admissions process. If you look at the list of students attending schools like Columbia, there are a lot of ivy leaguers. (I assume that the students who matriculate at least roughly represent who gets accepted.) However, just general private school students seem to be about the same as public school students.
I went to UC Berkeley, and that neither appeared to help nor hurt me overall. A few schools where Berkeley has a stronger reputation for producing desirable undergrads (I have no idea why this reputaion thing happens, and it may be a phantom rather than truth) interviewed me earlier, and schools with more of an ivy bias interviewed me later in the season, but as an individual I'm hardly a representative sample. Reasons that would make me switch would be if I felt another school would give me a better undergrad experience. In terms of getting into med school, you are fine at UMass, just do well in academics and activities, same as you would need to at a private school.
i think if one is gunning for top20 schools, it matters more than people thing - perhaps its a functino of relative difficulty of getting in. its not impossible from anywhere, but the what one needs to do to get there and stand out as an applicant is a little less coming from a great school. for the most part, i've enjoyed my school which is like doctora foxy's brandeis in many ways. kids do reasonably well applying, some good years, some so-so years, which shows its also highly dependent on the strength of the individual applicants. its no secret that more kids from top undergrads goto top schools, but though some of this can be attributed to the strength of the undergrad, it seems more likely that it is due to the strength of the student that got in there in the first place. there are certainly exceptions ... but its up to the person and what the make of their experience in the end.
I went to UCSD undergrad, and in retrospect I am so glad that I went to a public university. Now that I am (most likely) going to go to a private med school that is $$$$$$, I am glad that I did not spend a fortune while doing undergrad work.
While Stanford and Harvard have very reputable names, and I am sure med schools like this, I am not sure if it makes a significant difference in the med school app process. Just do well at any school, and that is the best thing an applicant can do.
If you are thinking of transferring from UMass cuz you think it would enhance your med school competitiveness, I would say to consider the whole picture. Of you think you will be happier elsewhere, then that is another consideration.
I think..... like always... you cant make generalizations. Private ranges from Harvard to whatever..... and public ranges from whatever to Berkeley.
So if someone told me that they are thinking about transfering from UCLA (public) to USC (private)... I would tell them to lay of the drugs.
But if someone told me that they are not sure about transfering from San Diego State Univ (public) to Harvard (private)..... I would tell them that they will probably make up for the cost difference by getting their bachelors from the big H.
you cant make generalizations about public vs private because U of Michigan, Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD, UNC.... are all top 25 schools. And there all thousands of privates not in the top 25.
I think I have beat the dead horse a bit too much... so I will stop.