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The Prestige Factor

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by lboroom, Jan 8, 2001.

  1. lboroom

    lboroom New Member

    Jan 7, 2001
    Could a current med student please enlighten me as to the relative importance of prestige in a medical school? Though I realize that this is a highly subjective variable, I am most curious as to whether there is reliable statistical evidence that demonstrates the importance of institutional prestige in determining residency placement and future career opportunities.

    Does it make sense to opt for a less prestigious state school over a top-tier/ivy league school for financial reasons? While I realize that students at prestigious schools are more likely to be accepted to competitive residencies, is this simply a function of the more stringent admissions requirements at their med schools? To rephrase and personalize, if I were to perform well at my state med school and receive high marks on the USMLE exams, would my efforts be discounted because they were gained at a school with an 'average' reputation?

    Any thoughtful insights would be appreciated.

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  3. fiatslug

    fiatslug Senior Member Physician 10+ Year Member

    May 8, 2000
    I imagine you'll get responses from people who go to top tier schools telling you hell yes, it's important to go to a top school because the name recognition puts you into a different pile, blah blah blah. Others will say it's crazy to buy a brand name education when the USMLEs are the great equalizer, blah blah blah. I cannot imagine a situation in which a high USMLE would be "discounted," even if you came from an offshore school. The answer to this question is highly personal: are you interested in derm, ortho, ent? Then you should kick ass on the boards, do extensive research, honor your medicine and surgery clerkships, and go AOA. Coming from Duke, Harvard, et al will of course help, all other parts of the CV being equal, but it's much less important than the other stuff, IMHO. If you bomb the USMLE, you won't be able to get into a competitive specialty, no matter where you got your degree. Are you poor? Or are your parents footing the bill? The answer to these questions may determine where you go much more directly than any prestige factor. It certainly did for me. [​IMG]
  4. Mango

    Mango Very Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    I agree with fiat, choose the school which best suits you, period. And make sure its a school that you will ENJOY spending four years at. Yes, it is possible to enjoy med school (I'm having a blast). But if you choose a school that you're not happy at for whatever reason, than your experiences, as well as your grades will suffer!

    Bottom line: remain in the top quartile of your class (top 10% would be especially nice), do well on the boards, and get great recs, and you'll be set no matter what school you attended. Good Luck.
  5. lboroom

    lboroom New Member

    Jan 7, 2001
    Thank you both for your replies. To answer your question, Fiat, I can afford to attend a private med school, but if the difference in education and opportunity is nominal I'd rather attend my state school (which is about 1/4th the cost and seems to have adequate facilities and happy students). I guess my only reservation is that I'm hoping to go into research, either exclusively or in tandem with clinical work, and want to be sure that doors won't be shut because I didn't opt to go to a 'brand-name' school.

  6. red fox

    red fox Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 4, 2001
    I've been told by a number of people that going to a prestigious school is important if you want to go into a competitive specialty or if you want to focus on research. You indicated that your interest is in research. If that's the case, spend the money to go to a more prestigious school. The experience that you get and the contacts that you make will be invaluable to you later on as you apply for research grants or try to become part of a research team. I've been doing research for the past couple of years, and believe me, in the research field, who you know is a very important factor in the opportunities you have.

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