School ratings?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by heather, Aug 1, 2000.

  1. What are the best allopathic schools? worst? Please reply.
     
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  3. WingZero

    WingZero Senior Member

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    As many have said before, "best" and "worst" are not absolute terms when it comes to medical schools - each person should consider what they are looking for in a medical school (location, cost, curriculum style, research and clinical opportunities, faculty/student friendliness, residency stats, etc.) and construct their own "Top 10" list rather than relying on ranking systems that use criteria which don't always have an effect on medical education. Of course, that isn't to say ranking systems are totally useless - residencies take into account the "reputation" of a school which ranking systems show fairly well.

    For me, I didn't look at the rankings slot by slot - i.e. I would not go to a school ranked #9 over a school ranked #10 just because #9 is one higher than #10. Ratings fluctuate (sometimes dramatically), year after year - some say U.S. News purposely skews the results so they don't have a static ranking year after year, which would hurt sales. Honestly though, medical schools are pretty stable institutions, and there is no good reason why a school should jump or fall something like 5 spots in the space of a year (unless they get something like a $200 million donation to build new facilities or something dramatic of that nature). I think a good rule of thumb is to group the schools in rankings if you are concerned about them. For example, if you were concerned with overall ranking, you might group the top 5 schools in the same grouping, then the next 10 schools as being equal in a second grouping and if you get into two schools of the same category, you choose between them through your own criteria. If you do look at the rankings, I would focus on two categories - academic and residency reputation, especially the latter. One of the (many) reasons I chose to attend Michigan is because its residency ranking is 4th, much higher than its overall rank if 12, which really says something about Michigan graduates. Incidentally, many current Michigan students I spoke to initally thought that the ranking was bu11$hit until they went on residency interviews and directors immediately lit up when they discovered that the students were Michigan grads. (/End plug for UMich here [​IMG])

    To answer the flipside of your question, I would say that no medical school can be considered "worst". All medical schools will provide you with decent training and in the end, success in medicine far more depends on the individual rather than the school. Just for comparison, U.S. News only ranks the top 50 medical schools, leaving over 70 unranked schools. So would you say that the 70 unranked schools are "worst"? Hardly. Again, it all goes back to focusing more on what YOU want and think is good, not what some magazine says. It's natural to want to attend as highly ranked a school as you can get into, but keep in mind that may not be where you will learn the best or be happy the most.

    Incidentally, the URL for the U.S. News rankings is at http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/beyond/gradrank/med/gdmedt1.htm

    Good luck.

    [This message has been edited by WingZero (edited 08-02-2000).]
     
  4. 1918

    1918 Member

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    WingZero -- When you say 'residency ranking', what do you mean? Does each residency program have their own ranking of med schools based on their experience and criteria or is there a general ranking system that residency programs tend to consider (separate and apart from USNWR)?
     
  5. WingZero

    WingZero Senior Member

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    This is only from what I've been told, but apparently some programs use a numerical ranking system in ranking their applicants and depending on what school you attend, you get X number of points towards your total so for example, a Harvard student would get more points than a (no offense) SUNY Downstate student just based on the school they attended. Whether or not the points allocated per school is based directly from the U.S. News ranking is not clear, but there is no reason to doubt that individual programs' point allocation system differs significantly from that of U.S. News. The reason is because U.S. News obtains their rankings for residency reputation by polling residency directors about their perceptions of schools' graduates. You could even say that the U.S. News residency reputation score is dictated by individual programs' ranking schemes which is why I think the residency reputation score is probably the most important thing on the U.S. News rankings. Is it an unfair system? Perhaps. I'm not certain if programs do this ranking for all applicants as a screening process for interviews, or if they just do it for candidates chosen for an interview to determine their rank list they send to NRMP. It stands to reason that if you attend a school that the program deems worthy of fewer points and that if the program did this kind of numerical ranking for all applicants, that applicants from schools that receive less points would be at some disadvantage. However, I'm pretty sure that in the grand scheme of things, evaluations, board scores, and personal statements count for much more "points" than the school itself, which is why you see SUNY Downstate students get into Mass. General residencies [​IMG]

    Again, I must add a disclaimer that this is second-hand information. I'd greatly appreciate it if someone who has more knowledge of this subject to add to or correct what I've said since I myself am curious to find out more and don't want to do anyone a disservice by posting incorrect information...

    [This message has been edited by WingZero (edited 08-02-2000).]
     

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