Role of Prestige for Internship and Residency

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.


Full Member
2+ Year Member
Nov 15, 2021
Reaction score
Hello, was hoping to maybe get some insight on a question I’ve seen a lot of mixed answers on. I’m wanting to specialize after vet school (most likely in neurology/neurosurgery or large animal surgery, could change of course) and plan to do 1-2 years of internship and hopefully a residency straight out of vet school (knock on wood lol). However, I’ve heard from some alumni from schools I’m interested in that the prestige of a school does matter for getting matched- but I’ve heard others say the opposite. Would anyone with any insight or experience be able to provide their experience? Deciding where to go has been stressing me out and I want to be as informed as possible before making a decision. Thanks so much in advance! I can provide more info about schools in comments if needed.

Members don't see this ad.
Go to the cheapest school you get into, and spend your free time/externships/summers hanging with people in the area you are interested in. Plans and interests often change in school and it's not worth any amount of money to have "prestige" on your side.
  • Like
Reactions: 15 users
I agree 100% with Trilt. Go to the cheapest school. What you think you want now may not be what you want in the end. Go to the cheapest place you get in and you can make the most of your time there and do things to make yourself stand out.

Your experiences in the field you want to enter and your letters of recommendations are matter far, far more than where you went to school. I’d actually put where you went to school at the bottom of the list of things we looked for when I was part of a residency selection committee. If I was ranking things in the order I cared about when selecting people for our residency, it was probably their letters of rec and who wrote them, people’s experiences, letters of intent and career goals, grades in courses specifically related to my specialty, other grades/class rank, and then everything else. Where someone went to school was something we noted but it wasn’t a factor into decisions.
  • Like
Reactions: 7 users
Members don't see this ad :)
I work at a teaching hospital with residents and I have asked them this question. We have residents from Penn/Davis/Cornell and some from Caribbean schools and everything in between. They have all said it’s not the school that matters it’s mostly your LORs, experiences, and grades!
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users
When I was deciding between two schools, one which had a lot more externship time (something I thought would be very beneficial for future specialization) but would cost a total of $50,000 more, I ultimately decided that I would get a lot more out of going to the cheaper school and using some of the money I had “saved” to travel to externships, go to conferences, and network with people in the field. I see some people fall into the trap of believing that simply going to a certain school will set them up for success in a certain field for sure, but they don’t always take into account that a lot of other students are going to that school thinking the same thing and competing for the same limited resources and opportunities. Giving yourself the financial flexibility to seek out additional opportunities and make connections beyond your school imo will boost your chances a lot more than being yet another student from x school.
  • Like
Reactions: 7 users
Thank you all so much! Very relieving I don't need move cross country and pay more just to have a better shot. I currently do research and plan on continuing it as well as getting involved with surgery clubs and opportunities.