goldy490

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I was just wondering what people think the hardest undergrads to be a pre-med at are. Not the best undergrads, but just the ones that make pre-med the toughest. Things like vicious grade deflation, ultra-competitive gunners, brilliant students, etc.

Places that come to mind like WashU, Hopkins, etc...
 

Lucca

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People go about this all wrong. No name public schools. That is where you do not want to go. Places like Wash U, JHU and UChicago might have reputations for being tough but at least the diploma gives you instant credibility and the schools can give you all of the resources you need to succeed. If you were lucky enough to get in after high school, you are probably set. As has been shown quite clearly before, students from prestigious deflationary schools have no problem getting into medical school but I have a hard time believing people from unrecognized public schools are having a good time getting into medical school considering most of the top medical schools are populated almost exclusively by people from 5 institutions
 

Gandyy

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I was just wondering what people think the hardest undergrads to be a pre-med at are. Not the best undergrads, but just the ones that make pre-med the toughest. Things like vicious grade deflation, ultra-competitive gunners, brilliant students, etc.

Places that come to mind like WashU, Hopkins, etc...
Its pretty much gonna be all the Ivy Leagues. The Ivy Leagues are elite at everything... except for sports :laugh:
 
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Affiche

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I've heard that's actually a myth according to some of the more active posters on this forum.
Do some of your own research. The median grade at Harvard is an A- with the most commonly awarded grade being an A.
Idk about your school, but our classes have median grades of a C+ (and I went to one of the best universities in the country so the argument that our students achieve less doesn't hold).
 
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Gandyy

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Do some of your own research. The median grade at Harvard is an A- with the most commonly awarded grade being an A.
Idk about your school, but our classes have median grades of a C+ (and I went to one of the best universities in the country so the argument that our students achieve less doesn't hold).
Well usually I do my own research, but I trust these other posters as they are also very well informed. @WedgeDawg , @efle , @ZedsDed

That being said, I've raised this question before, and in doing so I found out that my undergrad school average gpa for almost every pre-med req is a 2.2-2.4 GPA.

I think its a commonly known fact that Large Public 4 year State schools have pretty low median averages tho
 

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Well usually I do my own research, but I trust these other posters as they are also very well informed. @WedgeDawg , @efle , @ZedsDed

That being said, I've raised this question before. My undergrad school average gpa for almost every pre-med req is a 2.2-2.4 GPA.
Idk about the other two but efle doesn't attend an ivy-league, he attends a private university that does absolutely grade-deflate (though I heard they're trying to curb this for future classes).
 

Gandyy

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Idk about the other two but efle doesn't attend an ivy-league, he attends a private university that does absolutely grade-deflate.
Yes his school does grade deflate. I think he's mentioned how Ivy League grade inflation is not what it seems though.

I dont know enough about the process of grade inflation of Ivy Leagues to explain unfortunately. (Aka waiting for their input! :laugh:)
 
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FindMeOnTheLinks

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UChicago is notorious for their brutal grade deflation. Princeton and MIT come to mind as well given their engineering emphasis along with nasty competition among students.

And it's a myth that a lower GPA from these programs will still get you wherever you want. A 3.8 from small liberal arts school is much better than a 3.4 from MIT or UChicago. If you can pull >3.5 at these schools then it's probably an even playing field, but that's not a feat any mere mortal can accomplish.
 

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UChicago is notorious for their brutal grade deflation. Princeton and MIT come to mind as well given their engineering emphasis along with nasty competition among students.

And it's a myth that a lower GPA from these programs will still get you wherever you want. A 3.8 from small liberal arts school is much better than a 3.4 from MIT or UChicago. If you can pull >3.5 at these schools then it's probably an even playing field, but that's not a feat any mere mortal can accomplish.
"Wherever you want" is an overstatement. "Somewhere" probably is not. It's not that 3.4 MIT trumps 3.9 Swarthmore (in fact, Swarthmore is quite deflationary itself based on stats) but it is the case that MIT resources and connections >>> Kent state resources and connections. My post refers to the very lowest of low rungs of public higher education where the best shot you have is at your state school and the chances of Stanford even reading your application even if it survives the screening are slim to none.

If you are a smart kid capable of getting into MIT and your state school you should go to MIT, no questions asked, don't give two ****s about their average GPA. In the long run the pedigree and resources are worth infinitely more than a statistic people give you the benefit of the doubt for and that can be corrected with 1-2 years post graduate work.
 

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I've had professors straight up tell me they don't give A's unless you're an exceptional case.
I had a professor say on day 1 that they don't give A's period. Possible exceptions included: being a grad student in his lab.

Yes, I and others complained to the Dean. We were told that this professor was tenured and had been encouraged to retire for several years, but nothing could be done because the professor had X publications and Y years of seniority and had written Z books.....so congrats on that C+, hope your GPA didn't mean much....

I'm sure others on this forum have similar horror stories.
 
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FindMeOnTheLinks

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"Wherever you want" is an overstatement. "Somewhere" probably is not. It's not that 3.4 MIT trumps 3.9 Swarthmore (in fact, Swarthmore is quite deflationary itself based on stats) but it is the case that MIT resources and connections >>> Kent state resources and connections. My post refers to the very lowest of low rungs of public higher education where the best shot you have is at your state school and the chances of Stanford even reading your application even if it survives the screening are slim to none.

If you are a smart kid capable of getting into MIT and your state school you should go to MIT, no questions asked, don't give two ****s about their average GPA. In the long run the pedigree and resources are worth infinitely more than a statistic people give you the benefit of the doubt for and that can be corrected with 1-2 years post graduate work.
I do not disagree with you. Western Idaho A&M State vs MIT is not a comparison. However I think that someone capable of pulling a 3.4 at MIT is definitely capable of getting a 3.8 at somewhere like University of Minnesota which is a very respected public state school. If I had the goal of getting into any medical school, I would attend the U of Mn over MIT because a 3.8 will get your application more looks than a 3.4, no matter where that 3.4 came from. There is only so much an admissions committee member can take into account when considering grades. There is no possible way for them to come to the conclusion "well, little Jerry here had a 3.4 at MIT, therefore he was capable of getting a 3.8 at most other schools." It doesn't work like that, they don't have leeway to make those judgements because there are so many other factors they must consider. Maybe Jerry from MIT gets more benefit of the doubt on his 3.4 than Suzy at University of Minnesota would get for her 3.4, but for Kayla and her 3.8 at University of Indiana there is no doubt to even need any of this contemplation. Do you see what I mean? Yes a 3.4 at MIT is probably seen in a better light than a 3.4 at (most) state schools, but a 3.8 at most state schools will beat that 3.4 every time because you don't even need to give them the benefit of the doubt to begin with.

And as far as resources and connections, these are available at most schools. Yes MIT will give you more resources to push you over the top to get you into Harvard stanford Yale, but that will not help 90% of medical school applicants who are not capable of getting into those schools even with those connections. There are boundless research opportunities as essentially every major state college and many smaller colleges as well. Most state achools have all the resources anyone could want, you just have to go find them. And having a "connection" really does not help that much for medical school admissions (I know you didn't explicitly mention this, I just thought it was pertinent here). As Goro always says, a connection will get you a courtesy interview and a swift waitlist at best if you are not otherwise qualified (and if you are qualified then you would have gotten the interview regardless of the connection). For the vast majority of medical school applicants the mantra "it's not what you know, it's who you know" does not apply.
 
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efle

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In no particular order...if I were told my life would depend on making straight A's as a science major, the places I would be most terrified to be sent would be: U Chicago, MIT, Hopkins, Berkeley, Princeton*

*up until a few months ago they had an anti-inflation policy requiring that at least 2/3 students in a class get a B and lower. They got rid of that, no doubt because it was making them less attractive to people also holding accepts at places like Harvard that give at least half A's. So in the next couple years it may lose its deflating scariness.

Categorically state schools tend to grade much much more harshly than private, and so all of the top state programs in addition to Berkeley (UCLA, UVa, U Michigan, etc) also get mad respect imo
 

efle

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I think that someone capable of pulling a 3.4 at MIT is definitely capable of getting a 3.8 at somewhere like University of Minnesota which is a very respected public state school.
Here, some data informing this. It does indeed look like going to a tough school results in a big drop in GPA (~0.6) compared to what would be predicted by similar MCAT scores at a typical uni.

So you pretty much nailed it. Being a standout at a tough school = distinguishing, good if you're gunning for top grad programs. But for the typical student at a tough school, harsh tradeoff on GPA may not be worth it
 
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5. Wash U
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9. William & Mary
10. NYU
 
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FindMeOnTheLinks

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Here, some data informing this. It does indeed look like going to a tough school results in a big drop in GPA (~0.6) compared to what would be predicted by similar MCAT scores at a typical uni.

So you pretty much nailed it. Being a standout at a tough school = distinguishing, good if you're gunning for top grad programs. But for the typical student at a tough school, harsh tradeoff on GPA may not be worth it
I'm having a hard time figuring out whether you are agreeing with my ramblings or if this is a backhanded compliment lol
 

TheRhymenocerous

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Yes his school does grade deflate. I think he's mentioned how Ivy League grade inflation is not what it seems though.

I dont know enough about the process of grade inflation of Ivy Leagues to explain unfortunately. (Aka waiting for their input! :laugh:)
I think it's pretty variable. All the Ivy League schools are pretty different, so there's really no point in lumping them together. At my alma mater (non-HYP Ivy), any potential grade inflation was pretty much entirely in the humanities. Basic sciences were curved to a C+.
 

efle

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I'm having a hard time figuring out whether you are agreeing with my ramblings or if this is a backhanded compliment lol
Agreeing with you, I've long been complaining about the weed out process at my school (WashU) because I believe a lot of the people that drop out of premed would have been successful if they had gone to their state programs instead
 
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I think it's pretty variable. All the Ivy League schools are pretty different, so there's really no point in lumping them together. At my alma mater (non-HYP Ivy), any potential grade inflation was pretty much entirely in the humanities. Basic sciences were curved to a C+.
Yeah, exactly. Some Ivies are notoriously grade inflating, but then others are notoriously grade deflating, so you have to take each one as its own case. I know at my school, it was incredibly easy to get A's in the humanities, but it was battle in the sciences and all of the premeds were stressed.
 

md-2020

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People on here are putting Princeton way too high. Yeah, it's tough but P'ton has pretty much unrivaled support/resources for undergrads that you won't find anywhere else in the world. Far better than any deflating large research uni.


I definitely agree that unnamed state schools are probably the toughest; they just don't get the attention b/c their names don't evoke threads like this.
 

johnnytest

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People on here are putting Princeton way too high. Yeah, it's tough but P'ton has pretty much unrivaled support/resources for undergrads that you won't find anywhere else in the world. Far better than any deflating large research uni.


I definitely agree that unnamed state schools are probably the toughest; they just don't get the attention b/c their names don't evoke threads like this.
Are you about to have a historic cycle? best of luck!
 
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LizzyM

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I'm not going to name names but I'm going to identify some characteristics that make it difficult to put together a reasonable application in 3 years (traditional trajectory). Not every school will have all these characteristics but those that have several will create more hurdles for students and alumni.

Huge classes in intro courses (very hard to get a meaningful LOR)
Most undergrad courses taught by grad students and adjuncts (again, hard to get LOR)
Rural area or affluent area with little opportunity for community service activities on an ongoing basis
Area with few medical facilities given the number of pre-meds looking for volunteer opportunities
Schools with pre-med committees with crazy deadlines and hoops for a committee LOR (compared with no committee or a LOR written by a pre-med advisor)
Schools with little or no research on campus
 

ZedsDed

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Yes his school does grade deflate. I think he's mentioned how Ivy League grade inflation is not what it seems though.

I dont know enough about the process of grade inflation of Ivy Leagues to explain unfortunately. (Aka waiting for their input! :laugh:)
FWIW I actually disagree with Wedge somewhat. Here's my thoughts on that:

Here's a better link: http://www.career.ucla.edu/Students/Resources-Reports-and-Media/Med-School-Stats



I had a PMathon with elfe about this a while back, so I'll try and keep it short. As Wedge has said before, the mean is meaningless without the distribution. I'm more concerned with how many B/B+/A-/A's are assigned than anything else. First, there are certainly schools (yes, even in the science classes) that inflate higher than a B- average; no one disputes this. What the argument is about is whether or not the assigned grades are justified. Therein lies my disagreement with Wedge. It's possible to look at the average student at, say, Stanford and say that the caliber of student is high enough to justify not weeding the vast majority of the students out through competition. The thing is, this standard is not applied consistently. One can easily make the same argument about Berkeley students, yet the weed-out there is insane. What about all of the potential doctors we're losing there? Honestly, I just don't buy it. Quality of student and quality of school lies along a spectrum. So while I do acknowledge that top-20 schools are ranked accurately, I deny the existence of hard breaks, and instead see more of a continuum. In order to say that inflation is justified at Stanford, but not at Berkeley, we have to say that Stanford has an exponentially higher quality of education than Berkeley. I simply do not believe that is the case. Many, many great students are weeded out every year at rigorous state schools. Cases of inflation have to remain relatively isolated for them to have any effect. Also, while I do commend those who achieve high SAT/ACT scores and high GPAs in high school, I don't put too much stock in that. Most people I grew up with aced both. The main difference between my Berkeley friends and those at Stanford seem to be some cool EC's. I only harp on Ca because I am from here.

The other major issue I have is that prestige is used as a tool to dictate which schools are and are not excellent schools, and therefore which schools have student bodies worthy of inflation. An argument someone made to me recently was that "more prestige --> a stronger student body attracted --> more difficult to be above-average there." Sure. But is the correlation 1:1? Does Harvard attract all of the top students to all of it's science programs? Again, the general trend is there but it is oversold. It is arguably the most prestigious undergraduate institution in the country, if not the world. One major may be very rigorous, while another one is just somewhat rigorous.Vague concepts of "prestige" are not useful descriptors because they do not make these kinds of distinctions. All of Harvard is seen as incredibly rigorous, and UCSB is seen by many as a mediocre school (by those in the elite); despite having a top-25 engineering program that attracts students from all over the world. And even if we did make the leap of faith, can we so easily say that the top 50% of Harvard>the top 17% of UCLA?

I really don't have a problem with the Ivy League (except for Stanford... bastards. Kidding! Sort of...) But you asked for my opinion, so there it is. I'll say again that if the school in question produces pre-meds with incredibly high MCAT scores, then I am more willing to swallow the grade inflation. Inversely, if the school in question produces MCAT averages that are only 1 point above the ones produced by middle-tier UCs...(cough*Rice*cough) then something is wrong with the reputation of one or both of those schools.

I really respect the position WedgeDawg takes on all of this, which is infinitely more nuanced than what I have heard before. Huh, looks like I failed to keep it short. I'm going to go hit the gym. I look forward to intelligent opposing views!
I majored in engineering at a state school, so my opinion is biased obviously :p
 
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ZedsDed

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I had a professor say on day 1 that they don't give A's period. Possible exceptions included: being a grad student in his lab.

Yes, I and others complained to the Dean. We were told that this professor was tenured and had been encouraged to retire for several years, but nothing could be done because the professor had X publications and Y years of seniority and had written Z books.....so congrats on that C+, hope your GPA didn't mean much....

I'm sure others on this forum have similar horror stories.
Wow, that sucks lmao
 

Lucca

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I do not disagree with you. Western Idaho A&M State vs MIT is not a comparison. However I think that someone capable of pulling a 3.4 at MIT is definitely capable of getting a 3.8 at somewhere like University of Minnesota which is a very respected public state school. If I had the goal of getting into any medical school, I would attend the U of Mn over MIT because a 3.8 will get your application more looks than a 3.4, no matter where that 3.4 came from. There is only so much an admissions committee member can take into account when considering grades. There is no possible way for them to come to the conclusion "well, little Jerry here had a 3.4 at MIT, therefore he was capable of getting a 3.8 at most other schools." It doesn't work like that, they don't have leeway to make those judgements because there are so many other factors they must consider. Maybe Jerry from MIT gets more benefit of the doubt on his 3.4 than Suzy at University of Minnesota would get for her 3.4, but for Kayla and her 3.8 at University of Indiana there is no doubt to even need any of this contemplation. Do you see what I mean? Yes a 3.4 at MIT is probably seen in a better light than a 3.4 at (most) state schools, but a 3.8 at most state schools will beat that 3.4 every time because you don't even need to give them the benefit of the doubt to begin with.

And as far as resources and connections, these are available at most schools. Yes MIT will give you more resources to push you over the top to get you into Harvard stanford Yale, but that will not help 90% of medical school applicants who are not capable of getting into those schools even with those connections. There are boundless research opportunities as essentially every major state college and many smaller colleges as well. Most state achools have all the resources anyone could want, you just have to go find them. And having a "connection" really does not help that much for medical school admissions (I know you didn't explicitly mention this, I just thought it was pertinent here). As Goro always says, a connection will get you a courtesy interview and a swift waitlist at best if you are not otherwise qualified (and if you are qualified then you would have gotten the interview regardless of the connection). For the vast majority of medical school applicants the mantra "it's not what you know, it's who you know" does not apply.
This I agree with. I just don't think it's fair to put MIT and Co. at the top of "hardest pre-med places". The hardest pre-med place is where you don't have opportunities you were not even aware other people had. At least by attending MIT you have the shot.

I will revise my original statement though:

Number one worst school to be a pre-med: NYU at full sticker price. Jeeeeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzzz

http://www.nyu.edu/life/resources-and-services/nyu-studentlink/bills-payments-and-refunds/tuition-and-fee-rates/college-of-arts-and-sciences.html

22K for a 12-16 hr semester. Ok.
 

GrapesofRath

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I try and avoid these type of topics but I'll make an exception dive in and entertain myself here for once.

A bit of a tangent/side and not particularly relevant not but I hear ALL the time that people say "Ivy leagues are known for grade inflation". So I'll actually pose this question, can someone give me an Ivy league school that inflates for pre-meds?

Here is what you are most likely to find at an Ivy
A class where half the people were valedictorian/sal. Some schools I've even heard this number jump a bit over 50%.
A class where the average SAT score was around 1500. Given the 75th percentile SAT scores at these schools tend to be in the 2300's, just start to begin to imagine the class composition of an organic chemistry class and the types of students and their high school stats.
A class where the vast majority of students will get at least a B
A class where a small proportion(think 20% for pre reqs and a lot of other science classes) get As/A-s

The most common argument you'll hear to this "oh look at the released median grade at Harvard or Yale and look how high it is" or "look at how many people graduate with honors from Harvard or Brown".

This all completely misses the point. For liberal arts classes, if you want to make the case that perhaps their grades medians are perhaps a bit high, significantly more so than State U's and others, that's one thing. But that's largely irrelevant here. What matters is science grades. And this notion that Ivy league schools hand out A's with any kind of significant frequency in those classes is complete nonsense.

Two schools in particular I've heard a fair number of people whine "have some sort of inflation" are Brown and Yale. I'd ask how many of these people have actually looked at a grade distribution for those courses; because I have from friends I know at those schools and gotten to see those class distribution histograms their professors release. I can assure you the median grade for Ochem or Bio or any pre-req of your choice is at a B. The majority of students do NOT get A's in those courses or close to it. I've seen a few B- medians as well.

Btw this is coming from someone who went to a good but not absolute top tier state school where median/mean grades for bio calc and ochem were a solid C( gen chem was a C+). In other words HARDLY some Ivy.

It just boggles my mind though how people can look at schools like Ivies where half the class were HS valedictorians and think only 20-25% of them getting As constitutes any kind of grade inflation. The people who say these kind of things are often the ones who go to school where the competition for grades isn't in the same stratosphere. I've also seen people from other top private schools like WASHU or JHU etc complain about how high the median grades at Yale or Brown or the like are. Again, I'd ask do those grade distributions in their science classes really look any different than yours? At best, maybe a class at JHU or Vanderbilt is slightly more likely to have a B-median not a B median than Harvard or Brown. Is that really the argument people are going with? And again, the topic here is for pre-meds, not liberal arts and the classes for those majors.

State U students can certainly have it rather difficult as well. Those from Berekley, Michigan and such where median grades are in the B- and often C+ range for pre-reqs have it hard. A school like mine where there are many C median grades in pre-reqs and the school attracts tons of smart pre-meds due to the reputation of the medical school also don't have it easy.

But the notion that the Ivies are somehow living some sort of easier life is just a dream world. If anything, I personally would definitely rather have my C/C+ median at my State U with its 1340 SAT average than going to an Ivy with their B median and 1500 SAT average where half the class was a valedictorian/salutatorian( note I'm using SATs as a common stat to compare between schools not to argue about their validity).

So if you want to cut this into one sentence, none of this talk really matters too much. None of us have it easy at all. Worry about what's relevant to you, because god forbid as we all know we have enough to worry anyway with this path of life we've tried to choose.
 
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ZedsDed

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A bit of a tangent/side and not particularly relevant not but I hear ALL the time that people say "Ivy leagues are known for grade inflation". So I'll actually pose this question, can someone give me an Ivy league school that inflates for pre-meds?

Here is what you are most likely to find at an Ivy
A class where half the people were valedictorian/sal. Some schools I've even heard this number jump a bit over 50%.
A class where the average SAT score was around 1500. Given the 75th percentile SAT scores at these schools tend to be in the 2300's, just start to begin to imagine the class composition of an organic chemistry class and the types of students and their high school stats.
A class where the vast majority of students will get at least a B
A class where a small proportion(think 20% for pre reqs and a lot of other science classes) get As/A-s

The most common argument you'll hear to this "oh look at the released median grade at Harvard or Yale and look how high it is" or "look at how many people graduate with honors from Harvard or Brown".

This all completely misses the point. For liberal arts classes, if you want to make the case that perhaps their grades medians are perhaps a bit high, significantly more so than State U's and others, that's one thing. But that's largely irrelevant here. What matters is science grades. And this notion that Ivy league schools hand out A's with any kind of significant frequency in those classes is complete nonsense.

Two schools in particular I've heard a fair number of people whine "have some sort of inflation" are Brown and Yale. I'd ask how many of these people have actually looked at a grade distribution for those courses; because I have from friends I know at those schools and gotten to see those class distribution histograms their professors release. I can assure you the median grade for Ochem or Bio or any pre-req of your choice is at a B. The majority of students do NOT get A's in those courses or close to it. I've seen a few B- medians as well.

Btw this is coming from someone who went to a good but not absolute top tier state school where median/mean grades for bio calc and ochem were a solid C( gen chem was a C+). In other words HARDLY some Ivy.

It just boggles my mind though how people can look at schools like Ivies where half the class were HS valedictorians and think only 20-25% of them getting As constitutes any kind of grade inflation. The people who say these kind of things are often the ones who go to school where the competition for grades isn't in the same stratosphere. I've also seen people from other top private schools like WASHU or JHU etc complain about how high the median grades at Yale or Brown or the like are. Again, I'd ask do those grade distributions in their science classes really look any different than yours? At best, maybe a class at JHU or Vanderbilt is slightly more likely to have a B-median not a B median than Harvard or Brown. Is that really the argument people are going with? And again, the topic here is for pre-meds, not liberal arts and the classes for those majors.

State U students can certainly have it rather difficult as well. Those from Berekley, Michigan and such where median grades are in the B- and often C+ range for pre-reqs have it hard. A school like mine where there are many C median grades in pre-reqs and the school attracts tons of smart pre-meds due to the reputation of the medical school also don't have it easy.

But the notion that the Ivies are somehow living some sort of easier life is just a dream world. If anything, I personally would definitely rather have my C/C+ median at my State U with its 1340 SAT average than going to an Ivy with their B median and 1500 SAT average where half the class was a valedictorian/salutatorian( note I'm using SATs as a common stat to compare between schools not to argue about their validity).

So if you want to cut this into one sentence, none of this talk really matters too much. None of us have it easy at all. Worry about what's relevant to you, because god forbid as we all know we have enough to worry anyway with this path of life we've tried to choose.
This is more or less WedgeDawg's position. I will say that I'll believe that the massively inflated humanities/social science classes don't matter when admissions committees stop caring about cGPA.

The science courses tend to inflate the B distribution much more than the A distribution, that is correct. And I'm more willing to accept this type of inflation if high MCAT averages exist to back up the school's claims of a superior student body. If they don't have the data to back up their claims of greatness however, then it's all here say as far as I'm concerned.

There also absolutely are schools that inflate science courses as well, like Brown. Though, admittedly, these are more likely the exception to the rule.
 

GrapesofRath

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This is more or less WedgeDawg's position. I will say that I'll believe that the massively inflated humanities/social science classes don't matter when admissions committee stop caring about cGPA.

The science courses tend to inflate the B distribution much more than the A distribution, that is correct. And I'm more willing to accept this type of inflation if high MCAT averages exist to back up the school's claims of a superior student body. If they don't have the data to back up their claims of greatness however, then it's all here say as far as I'm concerned.
The average MCAT of people who apply from those top type of schools I believe is somewhere around a 31-32

We can all believe what we want to believe about an IVY league student body. I can understand your position coming from Cali and going to a tough state school where honestly the kinds who got into Stanford or a school like that weren't any smarter or had higher stats just simply had some little vague and subjective hook like an undergrad ADCOM at Stanford liking their essay. But I tend to believe a student body where half the class or more is a val/sal and has an average SAT score of 1500 is superior and has much higher competition than your typical State U. If specifically you want to compare say Berkeley vs Stanford and argue which is harder to get good grades in, I wouldn't be able to answer that. But realize the vast majority of state schools aren't like Berkeley and even if they gap between Berkeley and Stanford isn't much in terms of competition for top grades, that doesn't mean Stanford is "inflated" like the nonsense you'll hear all the time for science courses.
 

ZedsDed

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The average MCAT of people who apply from those top type of schools I believe is somewhere around a 31-32
It varies. I've seen anywhere from 30-34 averages. The national median for applicants was 28 last year I believe. But yeah, it just comes down to speculation and reputation at the end of the day. My only argument is that the huge disparity between rigorous state schools and Ivy leagues is likely not as huge as it is made out to be.
 

GrapesofRath

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It varies. I've seen anywhere from 30-34 averages. The national median was 28 last year I believe. But yeah, it just comes down to speculation and reputation at the end of the day. My only argument is that the huge disparity between rigorous state schools and Ivy leagues is likely not as huge as it is made out to be.
Yeah I guess I just don't agree. Maybe take a class outside of the Bloodbath that is State Schools in Cali and perhaps take one at a generic State U in the middle of Louisiana or South Carolina or something and see how different the quality of competition is and where the vast majority of the class didn't even finish in their top 5% of their HS class and the majority not even top 10%.

Main point I guess is anybody who has a 3.2 at say UCLA or Michigan or UVA or something is fooling themselves and in denial if they think getting into an IVY league school would have just magically cured their woes like that.
 
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Yeah I guess I just don't agree. Maybe take a class outside of the Bloodbath that is State Schools in Cali and perhaps take one at a generic State U in the middle of Louisiana or South Carolina or something and see how different the quality of competition is and where the vast majority of the class didn't even finish in their top 5% of their HS class and the majority not even top 10%.

Main point I guess is anybody who has a 3.2 at say UCLA or Michigan or UVA or something is fooling themselves and in denial if they think getting into an IVY league school would have just magically cured their woes like that.
The UVA and UMich honors students are >50% valedictorian and their average SAT scores are well above 2100. So it's not like these schools dont have a very significant population of Ivy caliber students. The 3% that get into the ivies are not the enitre ensemble of hypercompetitive college students.
 

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Again, you're dealing with extremes here. First off, your selecting the top group of students from Michigan and UVA. On top of that, your selecting the very top of State U's in the country. The Honors College at the State U I went to the average SAT score was a 1490. That doesn't mean it comes close to representing all the students at the school(where the average was a 1300-1360) or that top State U's represent the majority of State U's. Like I said above, the gap between Michigan and UVA and those top few State U's and your generic State U and their 1140 SAT average is enormous.
 

ZedsDed

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We can all believe what we want to believe about an IVY league student body. I can understand your position coming from Cali and going to a tough state school where honestly the kinds who got into Stanford or a school like that weren't any smarter or had higher stats just simply had some little vague and subjective hook like an undergrad ADCOM at Stanford liking their essay. But I tend to believe a student body where half the class or more is a val/sal and has an average SAT score of 1500 is superior and has much higher competition than your typical State U. If specifically you want to compare say Berkeley vs Stanford and argue which is harder to get good grades in, I wouldn't be able to answer that. But realize the vast majority of state schools aren't like Berkeley and even if they gap between Berkeley and Stanford isn't much in terms of competition for top grades, that doesn't mean Stanford is "inflated" like the nonsense you'll hear all the time for science courses.
Yeah I guess I just don't agree. Maybe take a class outside of the Bloodbath that is State Schools in Cali and perhaps take one at a generic State U in the middle of Louisiana or South Carolina or something and see how different the quality of competition is and where the vast majority of the class didn't even finish in their top 5% of their HS class and the majority not even top 10%.

Main point I guess is anybody who has a 3.2 at say UCLA or Michigan or UVA or something is fooling themselves and in denial if they think getting into an IVY league school would have just magically cured their woes like that.
I think "rigorous" is an important qualifier. My n=1 experience isn't really indicative of anything. Yeah, it's fair to say my opinions are colored by my own experiences. Yes, I had a lowish GPA when I was an engineering major at UCLA lol. But I also did very well in my postbacc at Berkeley :). People who, for one reason or another, got a low GPA in college have options to turn their situation around. Everyone needs to take responsibility for the decisions they make, which includes the choices ones makes in both major and school. Premeds who say that they would've had a 4.0 if only they had gone to Harvard, make me :rolleyes:.
 
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ZedsDed

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Again, you're dealing with extremes here. First off, your selecting the top group of students from Michigan and UVA. On top of that, your selecting the very top of State U's in the country. The Honors College at the State U I went to the average SAT score was a 1490. That doesn't mean it comes close to representing all the students at the school(where the average was a 1300-1360) or that top State U's represent the majority of State U's. Like I said above, the gap between Michigan and UVA and those top few State U's and your generic State U and their 1140 SAT average is enormous.
I second this.
 

GrapesofRath

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I think "rigorous" is an important qualifier. My n=1 experience isn't really indicative of anything. Yeah, it's fair to say my opinions are colored by my own experiences. Yes, I had a lowish GPA when I was an engineering major at UCLA lol. But I also did very well in my postbacc at Berkeley :). People who, for one reason or another, got a low GPA in college have options to turn their situation around. Everyone needs to take responsibility for the decisions they make, which includes the choices ones makes in both major and school. Premeds who say that they would've had a 4.0 if only they had gone to Harvard, make me :rolleyes:.
Key point right here. There are always opportunities to boost your chances and enhance your GPA even if it comes after graduation.
 
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I try and avoid these type of topics but I'll make an exception dive in and entertain myself here for once.

A bit of a tangent/side and not particularly relevant not but I hear ALL the time that people say "Ivy leagues are known for grade inflation". So I'll actually pose this question, can someone give me an Ivy league school that inflates for pre-meds?

Here is what you are most likely to find at an Ivy
A class where half the people were valedictorian/sal. Some schools I've even heard this number jump a bit over 50%.
A class where the average SAT score was around 1500. Given the 75th percentile SAT scores at these schools tend to be in the 2300's, just start to begin to imagine the class composition of an organic chemistry class and the types of students and their high school stats.
A class where the vast majority of students will get at least a B
A class where a small proportion(think 20% for pre reqs and a lot of other science classes) get As/A-s

The most common argument you'll hear to this "oh look at the released median grade at Harvard or Yale and look how high it is" or "look at how many people graduate with honors from Harvard or Brown".

This all completely misses the point. For liberal arts classes, if you want to make the case that perhaps their grades medians are perhaps a bit high, significantly more so than State U's and others, that's one thing. But that's largely irrelevant here. What matters is science grades. And this notion that Ivy league schools hand out A's with any kind of significant frequency in those classes is complete nonsense.

Two schools in particular I've heard a fair number of people whine "have some sort of inflation" are Brown and Yale. I'd ask how many of these people have actually looked at a grade distribution for those courses; because I have from friends I know at those schools and gotten to see those class distribution histograms their professors release. I can assure you the median grade for Ochem or Bio or any pre-req of your choice is at a B. The majority of students do NOT get A's in those courses or close to it. I've seen a few B- medians as well.

Btw this is coming from someone who went to a good but not absolute top tier state school where median/mean grades for bio calc and ochem were a solid C( gen chem was a C+). In other words HARDLY some Ivy.

It just boggles my mind though how people can look at schools like Ivies where half the class were HS valedictorians and think only 20-25% of them getting As constitutes any kind of grade inflation. The people who say these kind of things are often the ones who go to school where the competition for grades isn't in the same stratosphere. I've also seen people from other top private schools like WASHU or JHU etc complain about how high the median grades at Yale or Brown or the like are. Again, I'd ask do those grade distributions in their science classes really look any different than yours? At best, maybe a class at JHU or Vanderbilt is slightly more likely to have a B-median not a B median than Harvard or Brown. Is that really the argument people are going with? And again, the topic here is for pre-meds, not liberal arts and the classes for those majors.

State U students can certainly have it rather difficult as well. Those from Berekley, Michigan and such where median grades are in the B- and often C+ range for pre-reqs have it hard. A school like mine where there are many C median grades in pre-reqs and the school attracts tons of smart pre-meds due to the reputation of the medical school also don't have it easy.

But the notion that the Ivies are somehow living some sort of easier life is just a dream world. If anything, I personally would definitely rather have my C/C+ median at my State U with its 1340 SAT average than going to an Ivy with their B median and 1500 SAT average where half the class was a valedictorian/salutatorian( note I'm using SATs as a common stat to compare between schools not to argue about their validity).

So if you want to cut this into one sentence, none of this talk really matters too much. None of us have it easy at all. Worry about what's relevant to you, because god forbid as we all know we have enough to worry anyway with this path of life we've tried to choose.


A well-written post. And certainly we can go back and forth about schools X, Y, and Z, and debate the difficulty/competitiveness of Gen Chem in Boston v Wyoming. But with so many universities in the country, there will never be an overarching set of rules or standards by which we can compare GPAs directly.

This is why the MCAT is so important. It is STANDARDIZED. GPA is not.
 
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efle

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Come on Grapes, the school wide median at Harvard is an A-. The prereqs may still be B but the upper levels must be insanely inflated. Unless every humanities gives every student an A (and still even then), there is no room for the science departments to altogether mirror what you'd see at Hopkins or Chicago or MIT.

And MD2020 look at the wustl vs national average regarding the Princeton over hype. Clearly having all sorts of premed support at your disposal does NOT counteract the difficulty spike from competing against a 99th percentile student body
 
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GrapesofRath

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Come on Grapes, the school wide median at Harvard is an A-. The prereqs may still be B but the upper levels must be insanely inflated. Unless every humanities gives every student an A (and still even then), there is no room for the science departments to altogether mirror what you'd see at Hopkins or Chicago or MIT.

And MD2020 look at the wustl vs national average regarding the Princeton over hype. Clearly having all sorts of premed support at your disposal does NOT counteract the difficulty spike from competing against a 99th percentile student body
Lol welp it was only a matter of time you found his way into this thread and my post.

I said what I said. If you disagree then you disagree. That's fine. But I would actually encourage you to into these schools like Harvard's OChem and Bio classes and their grade distributions and the quality of students in them before whining about grade inflation and just randomly speculating "oh the University wide scale that includes every class is high so that must mean the upper levels are a joke then". Anyway though, this topic's been beaten to death I don't have much more to add, it's pretty clear where everybody stands, there's not much more that needs to be said.
 

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I think "rigorous" is an important qualifier. My n=1 experience isn't really indicative of anything. Yeah, it's fair to say my opinions are colored by my own experiences. Yes, I had a lowish GPA when I was an engineering major at UCLA lol. But I also did very well in my postbacc at Berkeley :). People who, for one reason or another, got a low GPA in college have options to turn their situation around. Everyone needs to take responsibility for the decisions they make, which includes the choices ones makes in both major and school. Premeds who say that they would've had a 4.0 if only they had gone to Harvard, make me :rolleyes:.
Not to derail, but can I ask a question? Do you have time to volunteer and do research during the postbacc at Berkeley?
 

ZedsDed

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Not to derail, but can I ask a question? Do you have time to volunteer and do research during the postbacc at Berkeley?
Like most questions that start with "will you have the time to..." that is entirely dependent on you. Try to gauge how you have managed time in the past. FWIW, I was able to get 3.9+ while working full time.
 

md-2020

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The MCAT is the great equalizer though, is it not? My non-HYP Ivy averages a 34 among applicants (the accepted student average is a 35). I'd imagine your Harvard kiddies are even higher. Sounds like they learned their stuff, inflated GPA or no.

Sure I'd like to have some grade inflation on my resume but the effect that it plays on med admissions is being blown out of proportion here.
 

ZedsDed

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The MCAT is the great equalizer though, is it not? My non-HYP Ivy averages a 34 among applicants (the accepted student average is a 35). I'd imagine your Harvard kiddies are even higher. Sounds like they learned their stuff, inflated GPA or no.

Sure I'd like to have some grade inflation on my resume but the effect that it plays on med admissions is being blown out of proportion here.
I know what school you're talking about :p. Harvard's median MCAT for their applicants is actually lower than that. I don't want to throw out specifics until I dig up my source, but yeah. Also, a school's reputation matters quite a bit. Compare the acceptance rate for kids from your school with your GPA with kids form my alma mater with a similar GPA.
http://www.career.ucla.edu/Students/Resources-Reports-and-Media/Med-School-Stats