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Theory: "Admissions at Medical School DO care where you went to Undergrad"

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dashrx1019

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I firmly believe that Admission Committees are very familiar with Williams College. The same was true for her High School. She went to a very highly selective public High School and took the toughest course available (AP level). The Admissions Staff at Williams were very familiar with her H.S.

I firmly believe the rigor of the courses taken play a very important role in any acceptance.


I have my doubts about how much an undergraduate institution's ranking and selectivity factors in just based on what I've seen with friends. It could be true that the rigor of the courses taken plays a very important role but based on what I've seen I'm skeptical.

My friend went to Amherst College, which is also a very highly ranked and selective liberal arts college. He graduated with a 3.4 and told me Amherst has grade deflation and it's very difficult to get A's there. He ended up scoring a 33 on the MCAT too. He applied to med school this cycle and was complete early and hasn't gotten any interview invites yet. Now obviously there are a lot of factors that go into this process and it's still early so of course he could still get invite(s) and get in somewhere, but here's what I find interesting - I have another friend who went to a much less selective state school and graduated with a 3.7 but she took all her pre-reqs for med school at a community college. She scored a 31 on the MCAT and I know has already gotten 2 interview invites. Now it's still early so I'll have to see how this plays out, but I do find it interesting. I also know a very smart woman who graduated from Barnard with a 3.5, 30 MCAT and didn't get in anywhere the 1st time she applied, she's a reapplicant this cycle so hopefully she'll get in somewhere this time around.

Basically what I'm just trying to say is there are so many factors that go into this process and I'm not sure how much the rigor of the courses or the school's ranking/selectivity factors in. However you can certainly have a good GPA and MCAT at a selective school (like my friend from Barnard) and still not get into med school.
 

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Depends which ivy. Most students on SDN that are top students at their schools would be incredibly average at Princeton or Cornell (or a handful of other schools within the top 20) that are very rigorous, have deflation in the sciences, and have intense competition. Even at ivys that inflate you will have very stiff competition. Yeah, the average is a B instead of a C (woohoo), but have fun trying to beat the average (reminds me of med school...). So, clearly MCAT would come into it. As an adcom I'd take a 3.5/35 at Penn over a 3.8/30 somewhere else anytime.

I would too, considering that the UPenn student's LizzyM is +2 greater than the other student.
 
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cuculici1

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Please note that I'm really the only one arguing in the reverse direction, so yes, your n = 1 of people arguing that institution won't have a significant impact attend less prestigious schools is correct. However, my institution has also put several applicants in the top 5 schools in the nation over the past five years even with our less prestigious name and small applicant pool. Having gotten IIs at several top schools, as well as a couple of my classmates, I have a feeling this trend will continue for my school. So yes, I'm in favor of going wherever makes you happiest. You'll get where you're going. I chose mine because I fit there, got a full ride, and knew I'd get where I wanted to go from it thanks to all the support from my university. I had Ivy offers, but they didn't entice/sway my decision elsewhere. To each their own.

The fact of the matter is you'll have to do well wherever you go. A 'more prestigious school' will not give you an excuse to not average an A, and above all it will not make up for a substandard MCAT.
I agree with you about not making up for a subpar MCAT, but of course it will give you an excuse to "not average an A". You realize an "A average" is a 4.0 right? Only about a dozen or so kids in my undergrad graduating class at Columbia out of a graduating class of ~1500 students had such a GPA. In any case, if you haven't taken a class at a top school, you don't have any idea how much more difficult it can be.

I graduated Columbia with a 3.5 and have a 3.9 as an informal postbac student at UCLA. UCLA is a great school, and I have definitely learned a lot there, but its workload and level of difficulty is not really comparable to the courses I took at Columbia. In my opinion, I think Columbia makes the pre-med process harder than it needs to be. This is due to the difficulty of exams, workload involved, and difficulty attaining high grades due to intense competition. This is my n=1 experience, but I have heard similar impressions from others at Columbia who transferred from state schools or lower ranked private institutions.
 

CliveStaples

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I have my doubts about how much an undergraduate institution's ranking and selectivity factors in just based on what I've seen with friends. It could be true that the rigor of the courses taken plays a very important role but based on what I've seen I'm skeptical.

My friend went to Amherst College, which is also a very highly ranked and selective liberal arts college. He graduated with a 3.4 and told me Amherst has grade deflation and it's very difficult to get A's there. He ended up scoring a 33 on the MCAT too. He applied to med school this cycle and was complete early and hasn't gotten any interview invites yet. Now obviously there are a lot of factors that go into this process and it's still early so of course he could still get invite(s) and get in somewhere, but here's what I find interesting - I have another friend who went to a much less selective state school and graduated with a 3.7 but she took all her pre-reqs for med school at a community college. She scored a 31 on the MCAT and I know has already gotten 2 interview invites. Now it's still early so I'll have to see how this plays out, but I do find it interesting. I also know a very smart woman who graduated from Barnard with a 3.5, 30 MCAT and didn't get in anywhere the 1st time she applied, she's a reapplicant this cycle so hopefully she'll get in somewhere this time around.

Basically what I'm just trying to say is there are so many factors that go into this process and I'm not sure how much the rigor of the courses or the school's ranking/selectivity factors in. However you can certainly have a good GPA and MCAT at a selective school (like my friend from Barnard) and still not get into med school.

You've nailed it on the head, at least in the second portion imo. There's so much more to this process than grades that looking at prestige of the university is nitpicking to the extreme. And comparing applicants based on their scores and interview invitations can't have much of a correlation based on undergraduate school AT ALL.

I mean, I'm a 3.5/3.45 with a 29 MCAT with 4 MD interview invitations so far, so does that mean that I went to the best undergraduate school in the country for producing pre-meds since they obviously haven't let my GPA hold me back from interviewing me over people with higher GPA/MCAT combos? I hope not. I hope that it's because I'm an overall competitive applicant that I'm being interviewed. And with grades only being a portion of the puzzle, the undergraduate institution has to be a very small piece indeed. Oh, and I go to a small, only regionally known LAC for anyone that cares. And yes, I have IIs from schools across the country that I'm sure have never heard of my UG.
 

MDforMee

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I agree with you about not making up for a subpar MCAT, but of course it will give you an excuse to "not average an A". You realize an "A average" is a 4.0 right? Only about a dozen or so kids in my undergrad graduating class at Columbia out of a graduating class of ~1500 students had such a GPA. In any case, if you haven't taken a class at a top school, you don't have any idea how much more difficult it can be.

I graduated Columbia with a 3.5 and have a 3.9 as an informal postbac student at UCLA. UCLA is a great school, and I have definitely learned a lot there, but its workload and level of difficulty is not really comparable to the courses I took at Columbia. In my opinion, I think Columbia makes the pre-med process harder than it needs to be. This is due to the difficulty of exams, workload involved, and difficulty attaining high grades due to intense competition. This is my n=1 experience, but I have heard similar impressions from others at Columbia who transferred from state schools or lower ranked private institutions.

You're taking classes at the UCLA extension if you're doing an informal postbacc.

The UCLA extension is not the same as UCLA.

Unless you're a normal undergraduate, which I doubt, your classes, professors, tests, etc are all different than normal UCLA students.

Why would you presume that since you're doing the extension that it's the same as normal UCLA undergraduate classes?
 

PreMedOrDead

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I firmly believe that Admission Committees are very familiar with Williams College. The same was true for her High School. She went to a very highly selective public High School and took the toughest course available (AP level). The Admissions Staff at Williams were very familiar with her H.S.

This doesn't matter at all. High school has zero influence on medical admissions on its own. Also, the "Williams College" stamp isn't going to get her into school. The fact you're so involved in her application process is scary, is she doing this because you want her to, or because she wants to? Helicopter parents like you are a very scary breed. You realize how much personal information you've just made available to the internet, admissions committees, and anyone else at Williams College that knows her any any regard? Think about what you post.

But since you're a helicopter parent trying to get your child into a medical program -- my undergrad constantly sports > 90% acceptance to medical programs across the nation, and I guarantee you've never heard of it before.

Schools aren't going to give the benefit of the doubt that a subpar stat applicant will be successful because they went to a more well known school. They look for well-rounded, devoted individuals which my school puts out consistently.

I firmly believe the rigor of the courses taken play a very important role in any acceptance.

Absolutely, but it's one of the last things admissions committees look at when picking an applicant. They can screen MCAT/GPA and even ECs to an extent, but do you really expect them to dig into your daughter's transcript along with all the other 6,000-15,000 applications they receive? And even then it won't tell them how rigorous those courses were since professors determine difficulty, not course title, department, or school. This is an important thing to consider.

Depends which ivy. Most students on SDN that are top students at their schools would be incredibly average at Princeton or Cornell (or a handful of other schools within the top 20) that are very rigorous, have deflation in the sciences, and have intense competition. Even at ivys that inflate you will have very stiff competition. Yeah, the average is a B instead of a C (woohoo), but have fun trying to beat the average (reminds me of med school...). So, clearly MCAT would come into it. As an adcom I'd take a 3.5/35 at Penn over a 3.8/30 somewhere else anytime.

I've already addressed this. A 3.8/30 isn't even as balanced as a 3.5/35. The Ivy student you gave also has a higher LizzyM. If you made them even (3.5/33 vs 3.8/30) this would probably come down to the preference of the school. Some schools like higher MCATs, some like higher GPAs, therefore one will likely get screened at one and the other at another. State schools generally look favorably upon high GPAs, mid/upper tiers tend to like higher MCATs. Like I said, school preference. One school transcript saying "Vandy" and the other saying "Joe Schmoe University" isn't going to change their opinion of the applicant.

I would too, considering that the UPenn student's LizzyM is +2 greater than the other student.

:laugh:

I agree with you about not making up for a subpar MCAT, but of course it will give you an excuse to "not average an A". You realize an "A average" is a 4.0 right? Only about a dozen or so kids in my undergrad graduating class at Columbia out of a graduating class of ~1500 students had such a GPA. In any case, if you haven't taken a class at a top school, you don't have any idea how much more difficult it can be.

I have a 4.0 c/sGPA over 36 credits in a physical science department at a top 5 university known for grade deflation. My only non-A thus far was a basic science at my alma mater.

Also, an A average is not a 4.0. An A average is anything > 3.5, which happens to be below average for medical admissions.

I graduated Columbia with a 3.5 and have a 3.9 as an informal postbac student at UCLA. UCLA is a great school, and I have definitely learned a lot there, but its workload and level of difficulty is not really comparable to the courses I took at Columbia. In my opinion, I think Columbia makes the pre-med process harder than it needs to be. This is due to the difficulty of exams, workload involved, and difficulty attaining high grades due to intense competition. This is my n=1 experience, but I have heard similar impressions from others at Columbia who transferred from state schools or lower ranked private institutions.

There's plenty of schools (LAC/State included) that grade deflate and make premedical coursework extremely difficult. Over my time at a top 5, I would say that generally the courses were more difficult than my alma mater. However, my top three most difficult courses? They're all from my alma mater, and they're all in the same department. Go figure.
 

cuculici1

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You're taking classes at the UCLA extension if you're doing an informal postbacc.

The UCLA extension is not the same as UCLA.

Unless you're a normal undergraduate, which I doubt, your classes, professors, tests, etc are all different than normal UCLA students.

Why would you presume that since you're doing the extension that it's the same as normal UCLA undergraduate classes?
I started this past summer so I have been taking classes with the regular undergrads during the day. I also plan to pursue the concurrent enrollment option during the regular school year, space permitting.
 
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cuculici1

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This doesn't matter at all. High school has zero influence on medical admissions on its own. Also, the "Williams College" stamp isn't going to get her into school. The fact you're so involved in her application process is scary, is she doing this because you want her to, or because she wants to? Helicopter parents like you are a very scary breed. You realize how much personal information you've just made available to the internet, admissions committees, and anyone else at Williams College that knows her any any regard? Think about what you post.

But since you're a helicopter parent trying to get your child into a medical program -- my undergrad constantly sports > 90% acceptance to medical programs across the nation, and I guarantee you've never heard of it before.

Schools aren't going to give the benefit of the doubt that a subpar stat applicant will be successful because they went to a more well known school. They look for well-rounded, devoted individuals which my school puts out consistently.



Absolutely, but it's one of the last things admissions committees look at when picking an applicant. They can screen MCAT/GPA and even ECs to an extent, but do you really expect them to dig into your daughter's transcript along with all the other 6,000-15,000 applications they receive? And even then it won't tell them how rigorous those courses were since professors determine difficulty, not course title, department, or school. This is an important thing to consider.



I've already addressed this. A 3.8/30 isn't even as balanced as a 3.5/35. The Ivy student you gave also has a higher LizzyM. If you made them even (3.5/33 vs 3.8/30) this would probably come down to the preference of the school. Some schools like higher MCATs, some like higher GPAs, therefore one will likely get screened at one and the other at another. State schools generally look favorably upon high GPAs, mid/upper tiers tend to like higher MCATs. Like I said, school preference. One school transcript saying "Vandy" and the other saying "Joe Schmoe University" isn't going to change their opinion of the applicant.



:laugh:



I have a 4.0 c/sGPA over 36 credits in a physical science department at a top 5 university known for grade deflation. My only non-A thus far was a basic science at my alma mater.

Also, an A average is not a 4.0. An A average is anything > 3.5, which happens to be below average for medical admissions.



There's plenty of schools (LAC/State included) that grade deflate and make premedical coursework extremely difficult. Over my time at a top 5, I would say that generally the courses were more difficult than my alma mater. However, my top three most difficult courses? They're all from my alma mater, and they're all in the same department. Go figure.
While I am glad you provided personal insight that you hadn't yet done earlier in this thread, at the end of the day your personal experience is just as compelling of an argument as mine, since it only comprises the experience of one person. I will say that the average matriculant at my undergrad had a 3.6 cGPA/3.5 sGPA, albeit a 34 MCAT. This is not the same profile as the national average 3.7/3.6/32. The MCAT might offset the lower GPA, but likely the undergrad school has some marginal influence as well (which LizzyM has alluded to in other threads).
 

MDforMee

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I started this past summer so I have been taking classes with the regular undergrads during the day. I also plan to pursue the open enrollment option during the regular school year, space permitting.

What past summer, and what classes have you taken with normal undergrads?

Have you taken their same exams, and been graded on the same curves?

I ask because extension classes are run with separate professors and exams, and this is not the same as normal undergraduate level coursework, here.
 

BiologyNerd

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I agree with you about not making up for a subpar MCAT, but of course it will give you an excuse to "not average an A". You realize an "A average" is a 4.0 right? Only about a dozen or so kids in my undergrad graduating class at Columbia out of a graduating class of ~1500 students had such a GPA. In any case, if you haven't taken a class at a top school, you don't have any idea how much more difficult it can be.

I graduated Columbia with a 3.5 and have a 3.9 as an informal postbac student at UCLA. UCLA is a great school, and I have definitely learned a lot there, but its workload and level of difficulty is not really comparable to the courses I took at Columbia. In my opinion, I think Columbia makes the pre-med process harder than it needs to be. This is due to the difficulty of exams, workload involved, and difficulty attaining high grades due to intense competition. This is my n=1 experience, but I have heard similar impressions from others at Columbia who transferred from state schools or lower ranked private institutions.

Extension =/= UCLA
 

cuculici1

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What past summer, and what classes have you taken with normal undergrads?

Have you taken their same exams, and been graded on the same curves?

I ask because extension classes are run with separate professors and exams, and this is not the same as normal undergraduate level coursework, here.
I took LS2, LS3, and LS23L during the Summer of 2012 (this year). During the summer session, visiting students take the same classes as UCLA undergrads. I have not yet taken any actual "extension" courses, but like I said I plan to pursue the concurrent enrollment option. This costs more money, but allows extension students to take classes during the day with UCLA undergrads if there is space in the courses.
 
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MDforMee

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I took LS2, LS3, and LS23L during the Summer of 2012 (this year). During the summer session, visiting students take the same classes as UCLA undergrads. I have not yet taken any actual "extension" courses, but like I said I plan to pursue the concurrent enrollment option. This costs more money, but allows extension students to take classes during the day with UCLA undergrads if there is space in the courses.

You haven't taken enough classes here to know whether Columbia is harder than UCLA, and it's even more the case if you're taking extension classes.

I got an A in LS2 over last summer, and it was pretty easy.

When you want some big girl classes here at UCLA, try physical chemistry, calculus, and biochemistry.
 

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I have a 4.0 c/sGPA over 36 credits in a physical science department at a top 5 university known for grade deflation. My only non-A thus far was a basic science at my alma mater.

Also, an A average is not a 4.0. An A average is anything > 3.5, which happens to be below average for medical admissions.

.

Yo, what do you mean by A average being anything above 3.5? You don't sound like you went to UChicago. I'm guessing you went to Princeton?
 

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Depends which ivy. Most students on SDN that are top students at their schools would be incredibly average at Princeton or Cornell (or a handful of other schools within the top 20) that are very rigorous, have deflation in the sciences, and have intense competition. Even at ivys that inflate you will have very stiff competition. Yeah, the average is a B instead of a C (woohoo), but have fun trying to beat the average (reminds me of med school...). So, clearly MCAT would come into it. As an adcom I'd take a 3.5/35 at Penn over a 3.8/30 somewhere else anytime.

I feel most Adcoms would take a 3.5/35 over a 3.8/30 regardless of undergrad.

Edit: Didn't see this was already addressed, but yeah, what he said (the poster above).
 
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I feel most Adcoms would take a 3.5/35 over a 3.8/30 regardless of undergrad.

Edit: Didn't see this was already addressed, but yeah, what he said.

Haven't read the thread, just the OP, but just by observation (I've been to 2 II's already), most if not all of the kids I interviewed with were from top 20 schools or top 5 LAC's...

so...obviously adcoms care.
 

MiracleforMD

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I feel most Adcoms would take a 3.5/35 over a 3.8/30 regardless of undergrad.

Edit: Didn't see this was already addressed, but yeah, what he said.

Haven't read the thread, just the OP, but just by observation (I've been to 2 II's already), most if not all of the kids I interviewed with were from top 20 schools or top 5 LAC's...

so...obviously adcoms care.

I don't really know why you quoted me and I don't necessarily disagree with your "conclusion," but let's review.

N=1 (you) ---> concrete generalization. OK, gotcha. :thumbup:
 
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No. No. No. Not at all. There is a lot of misinformation in this thread and it's likely why SDN gets such a bad rap.

Yes, big name schools place more students into big name schools. That doesn't mean the school's name is doing the work. If you think that, you are not s very investigative and critical person.

Big name schools DO place more students into big name schools because of the following reasons, but is certainly not limited to them:

1) Big name schools attract better undergrads. These students tend to be smarter and more motivated.

2) Big name schools are generally much larger, and have a higher proportion of students seeking graduate or professional educations.

3) Big name schools often have more informative committees, clubs, and faculty regarding graduate and professional admissions

4) Big name schools have much more funding, leading to additional research, work, and volunteering opportunities.

5) Big name schools often have their own graduate or professional schools.


Note how nothing I've said yet has anything to do with the ADCOMs. They don't care (and that's been said by them before). While they do recognize big name schools that murder GPA, it still doesn't have much weight.

On the small LAC or state school side of things, there is additional self selection beyond the opposite of the above.

1) Students smart enough to play in the big leagues attending unknown LAC or state schools often selected them for personal reasons and are likely to seek similar close to home schools rather than big names. Prestige isn't everything, especially to these students.

2) These students are often misinformed about their viability, this thread demonstrates that misconception quite well.

3) There is no room for a weak spot on an application at these schools, a lower GPA will stick out like a sore thumb.

These are just a small list of variables far more important than your school's name. There are huge confounding variables which make quick work of the argument that a big name UG will place you in a better institution. Remember folks, correlation is NOT causation.
This.
 

cuculici1

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You haven't taken enough classes here to know whether Columbia is harder than UCLA, and it's even more the case if you're taking extension classes.

I got an A in LS2 over last summer, and it was pretty easy.

When you want some big girl classes here at UCLA, try physical chemistry, calculus, and biochemistry.
Fair enough, I plan to take biochemistry later in the year so I will definitely come back with an update. Also, I didn't mean to post that as a claim that UCLA is "easy". It's not that easy. All I have to compare is Intro Bio + Lab at Columbia vs. Intro Bio + Lab at UCLA, and UCLA's Intro Bio is easier. UCLA still teaches you everything you need to know, and I found the workload and exams more reasonable (a good thing btw).
 

PreMedOrDead

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Yo, what do you mean by A average being anything above 3.5? You don't sound like you went to UChicago. I'm guessing you went to Princeton?

A average means >50% of the time you received an A or A-. On average, you received an A. That is a 3.5 or higher. And I don't give out specifics.

Haven't read the thread, just the OP, but just by observation (I've been to 2 II's already), most if not all of the kids I interviewed with were from top 20 schools or top 5 LAC's...

so...obviously adcoms care.

Or instead of Adcoms caring about what undergrad they went to, they just picked the most qualified applicants. The majority of which are from large, big name schools. I have been the only "no namer" at about half my interviews so far. It's a numbers thing, not a preference thing.
 

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Haven't read the thread, just the OP, but just by observation (I've been to 2 II's already), most if not all of the kids I interviewed with were from top 20 schools or top 5 LAC's...

so...obviously adcoms care.


N= 2

I have also noticed this.
 

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I forget where on SDN i read this but about UPenn's interview experience, some guy from a state school undergrad said this: "My experience of interviewing at UPenn: everybody is from Harvard, Stanford, and Columbia" So I think some adcoms care. Also, this can also be offset by the fact that students at those schools are the most motivated/intelligent to get to that interview so maybe adcoms don't care. But there is nothing you can do except your best. No point in speculating if adcoms care about which school you went to. That being said, I know countless people that did undergrad at a "measly" state school and are in very good/top tier med schools.
 

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Causation =/= Correlation. In this thread, statisticians weep.
 
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PreMedOrDead

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While I am glad you provided personal insight that you hadn't yet done earlier in this thread, at the end of the day your personal experience is just as compelling of an argument as mine, since it only comprises the experience of one person. I will say that the average matriculant at my undergrad had a 3.6 cGPA/3.5 sGPA, albeit a 34 MCAT. This is not the same profile as the national average 3.7/3.6/32. The MCAT might offset the lower GPA, but likely the undergrad school has some marginal influence as well (which LizzyM has alluded to in other threads).

This is a moot point, really. I'm not referring to my personal experiences, I'm stating the fact that the numbers don't agree with what is being said (because there are a lack of numbers/facts in general, so concluding things is worthless). Yes, it has a very, very marginal influence. It's a 'benefit of the doubt' situation that won't 'fix' GPAs. If you underperform, your school isn't picking it up for you. That's what LizzyM was saying, not that it's going to pick your butt off the ground in the selection process. Maybe LizzyM will correct me if I'm wrong, but I imagine she shakes her head when people misconstrue and quote out of context what she's said on this forum.

N= 2

I have also noticed this.

I already addressed this as well. This is to be expected.

What schools have you interviewed at? Generally, at top tier schools you're going to run into a lot of bigger names. This is simply because better schools generally have better applicants, as well as more of them. This is self selection from the admissions process for undergraduate programs, not because the undergraduate name gets them the interview spot. My upper tier school interviews I was the only person from a 'no name' school, I believe I ran into one other person from an unknown state school/LAC college. However, at my lower school interviews I ran into a lot of LAC/state schoolers. Like I said in my last post, it's a numbers game. It's not about the undergraduate program itself, just the people that the undergraduate program attracts. The OP is arguing that the ADCOMS actually care about what undergraduate program you attend, which is true on a minor scale, but nothing game changing by any means.

Just look at the school lists for the most applicants: https://www.aamc.org/download/161116/data/table2-7.pdf

Don't see many small state/LACs on there do you? It's because they don't have that many applicants. Their applicants are also generally not as highly qualified (MCAT) because those students were selected away from when picking undergrads. However, if a qualified applicant for undergrad chooses by their own will to go to a small LAC/state school for other reasons than prestige (money, family, friends, etc) then the small LAC/state school may receive one of those 'super applicants' that the big name schools usually pick up. In the end, it's going to come down to how the applicant does on their GPA, MCAT, and ECs, regardless of institution. If that student pulls off a 90th percentile + MCAT, which they're capable of, they will have no problem going wherever they want. However, even at this stage, if that applicant chose a smaller school for undergrad even though they were overqualified, there's a good chance they might want to stay local again or go to a certain school rather than apply and go to that big Ivy League school.

There's just so many confounding variables that saying anecdotal evidence like that is proof is frankly arrogant. Do you honestly think someone should be punished for choosing a personally more appealing school even though they're plenty capable to? Absolutely not.

The only way you could prove otherwise is data. If you have data from the AAMC showing where students from LAC/State schools (with equivalent ECs) apply to the same schools, and what their result is, and then demonstrate with a statistical significants (p < 0.05) that they are less successful in these applications, then you have an argument otherwise. If you don't, you're spreading misinformation.

And as for people citing that LizzyM said that schools care about your UG - Yes, she said something along those lines. But it wasn't the dramatic examples people are stating. She's saying that if there's a marginal difference in GPA, engineering majors and "big name" students get the benefit of the doubt. This doesn't mean your 3.3 GPA is still competitive for a top tier institution even with a 35 MCAT, like people are implying. It's not that big of a factor. Just because you attended a big name institution, if a LAC/State schooler student has a 3.9 GPA and a 36 MCAT, they're going to get looked at before the Ivy Leaguer with a 3.3 GPA and a 36 MCAT. It's how the process works.

And finally, like I said, my school, while generally easier, had several classes that were more difficult than the most difficult ones I took at a top 5. Don't feel entitled and smarter because of your UG, that's not how it works. It's also why top schools get that 'pompous dbag' stereotype, so don't spread it.

Causation =/= Correlation. In this thread, statisticians weep.

This. This. This.

Yes, I know you guys all saw big names at your interviews. So did I. There is always a lot of intrigue "Oooo, what school do you go to? What's that?" whenever I interview. I enjoy it. But it's not because AdComs select schools over each other, they select applicants over others. It's a simple fact that big name schools tend to put out better applicants. It has nothing to do with AdComs selecting towards the undergraduate program, just simply the people with the best numbers and experiences.

Check out that link farther up in my post again. See all those big name schools with all those applicants? Now factor in the fact that there's a higher proportion of intelligent, motivated persons at these schools that there are at small state/LAC schools. Obviously you're going to see a much higher proportion of these applicants, but that's not the AdComs favoring one UG over the other.

I don't know how many times I'll have to reiterate that but clearly ad nauseam, As a person that really loves statistics, all you premeds with such little critical thought and statistical analysis capability is making me very sad. I'm stating a very logical concept...
 
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cuculici1

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An average is the arithmetic mean. For example, (x+y+z)/3 = average. So if someone claims to have an "A average", and an A=4.0 on the grading scale, their grade point "average" should be a 4.0. To calculate gpa, you just add up grade points from individual courses scaled to the number of credits for each course, and divide by the total number of credits. It's not any different from any other calculation involving an arithmetic mean.
 

calvnandhobbs68

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s4Xbi.jpg

Thank you for going through the trouble of finding me a meme for this thread.
 

TipToad

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Looks like us non-Top-20-undergrads aren't gonna stand a chance.
 

pasiley

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Looks like us non-Top-20-undergrads aren't gonna stand a chance.

Nah. Not a top twenty-er and have 7 II. As long as we can show that we know just as much as they do by scoring as well or better on the MCAT, we're fine.
 

PreMedOrDead

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An average is the arithmetic mean. For example, (x+y+z)/3 = average. So if someone claims to have an "A average", and an A=4.0 on the grading scale, their grade point "average" should be a 4.0. To calculate gpa, you just add up grade points from individual courses scaled to the number of credits for each course, and divide by the total number of credits. It's not any different from any other calculation involving an arithmetic mean.

You are quite obtuse.

So what 'average' is a 3.9? 3.8? 3.7? 3.6?

A = 4.0
B = 3.0
C = 2.0
D = 1.0
F = 0.0

I'm sorry, but a 3.9 is definitely not a B average. It's an A average. You are, greater than 50% of the time, receiving an A if you receive > 3.5 GPA. That's called an A average.

To spell it out for you:

A average = >3.5
B average = <3.5->2.5
C average = <2.5->1.5
D average = <1.5->0.5
F average = <0.5

Such a simple concept it hurts to spell out.

Looks like us non-Top-20-undergrads aren't gonna stand a chance.

Nah. Not a top twenty-er and have 7 II. As long as we can show that we know just as much as they do by scoring as well or better on the MCAT, we're fine.

Loving the sarcasm, haha. Just got another top 10 II today. My UG is so crippling my application. :corny:
 

cuculici1

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You are quite obtuse.

So what 'average' is a 3.9? 3.8? 3.7? 3.6?

A = 4.0
B = 3.0
C = 2.0
D = 1.0
F = 0.0

I'm sorry, but a 3.9 is definitely not a B average. It's an A average. You are, greater than 50% of the time, receiving an A if you receive > 3.5 GPA. That's called an A average.

To spell it out for you:

A average = >3.5
B average = <3.5->2.5
C average = <2.5->1.5
D average = <1.5->0.5
F average = <0.5

Such a simple concept it hurts to explain.

Edit: Also, just got another top 10 II today. My UG is so crippling my application. :corny:


A 3.7 is an A- average, according to AMCAS grade designations. A 3.3 is a B+ average, and a 3.85 is an A/A- average. All a 3.5 or higher suggests is that you receved more A's than any other grade. You're talking about the mode, rather than the arithmetic mean.
 

darkjedi

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I forget where on SDN i read this but about UPenn's interview experience, some guy from a state school undergrad said this: "My experience of interviewing at UPenn: everybody is from Harvard, Stanford, and Columbia" So I think some adcoms care. Also, this can also be offset by the fact that students at those schools are the most motivated/intelligent to get to that interview so maybe adcoms don't care. But there is nothing you can do except your best. No point in speculating if adcoms care about which school you went to. That being said, I know countless people that did undergrad at a "measly" state school and are in very good/top tier med schools.

Yea, the 2016 class is literally almost 50% Ivy's, and thats not even counting schools like Stanford and MIT. It's almost silly.

But as you said, there are still many people from medium-tier private and state schools too.
 
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PreMedOrDead

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A 3.7 is an A- average, according to AMCAS grade designations. A 3.3 is a B+ average, and a 3.85 is an A/A- average. All a 3.5 or higher suggests is that you receved more A's than any other grade. You're talking about the mode, rather than the arithmetic mean.

Sure. :rolleyes:

Yea, the 2016 class is literally almost 50% Ivy's, and thats not even counting schools like Stanford and MIT. It's almost silly.

But as you said, there are still many people from medium-tier private and state schools too.

It'd be more interesting to see the number of state/LAC applicants, their respective stats, and how their fare versus these other applicants in getting acceptances. That would be a fair statistical comparison to see how much of a factor it actually is. But even that study would then be limited to a small demographic (Ivy League school acceptance only at a single school). It'd be more feasible, though.
 

darkjedi

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Sure. :rolleyes:
It'd be more interesting to see the number of state/LAC applicants, their respective stats, and how their fare versus these other applicants in getting acceptances. That would be a fair statistical comparison to see how much of a factor it actually is. But even that study would then be limited to a small demographic (Ivy League school acceptance only at a single school). It'd be more feasible, though.

Some LAC's (e.g. Williams) seem to fare really well. They are definitely over represented considering how small the college is.
 

MDforMee

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Some LAC's (e.g. Williams) seem to fare really well. They are definitely over represented considering how small the college is.

Quick, don't think about it, just type your response...

Is admissions to top 20 med schools at least partially biased towards Ivy League undergrads due to cronyism?

What say you?
 

darkjedi

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Quick, don't think about it, just type your response...

Is admissions to top 20 med schools at least partially biased towards Ivy League undergrads due to cronyism?

What say you?

No, not to Ivy's specifically, but definitely top-ranked schools. As I mentioned, schools like WIlliams, JHU, Stanford are all very well represented.
 

FattySlug

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This topic again??? Since this is pre allo I am just gonna comment on the medical school admission part of this "discussion." If you are good enough to get in, you will get in somewhere. That might not be Havard but if you are good enough to get in Havard if not for your "crappy undergrad" then chances are you will be some where in the top 40. If you are already in the top 40 you have every resource you need to go on a successful career.

I don't know why you people are hung up on this topic. The reality is this. Big chunk of you will be average doctors and a few will be exceptional ones. This is just a simple bell curve. Since the average will be average no matter where they go, who the hell cares if you have Havard on your diploma? You would still be an average doc.
 

cuculici1

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This is a moot point, really. I'm not referring to my personal experiences, I'm stating the fact that the numbers don't agree with what is being said (because there are a lack of numbers/facts in general, so concluding things is worthless). Yes, it has a very, very marginal influence. It's a 'benefit of the doubt' situation that won't 'fix' GPAs. If you underperform, your school isn't picking it up for you. That's what LizzyM was saying, not that it's going to pick your butt off the ground in the selection process. Maybe LizzyM will correct me if I'm wrong, but I imagine she shakes her head when people misconstrue and quote out of context what she's said on this forum.



I already addressed this as well. This is to be expected.

What schools have you interviewed at? Generally, at top tier schools you're going to run into a lot of bigger names. This is simply because better schools generally have better applicants, as well as more of them. This is self selection from the admissions process for undergraduate programs, not because the undergraduate name gets them the interview spot. My upper tier school interviews I was the only person from a 'no name' school, I believe I ran into one other person from an unknown state school/LAC college. However, at my lower school interviews I ran into a lot of LAC/state schoolers. Like I said in my last post, it's a numbers game. It's not about the undergraduate program itself, just the people that the undergraduate program attracts. The OP is arguing that the ADCOMS actually care about what undergraduate program you attend, which is true on a minor scale, but nothing game changing by any means.

Just look at the school lists for the most applicants: https://www.aamc.org/download/161116/data/table2-7.pdf

Don't see many small state/LACs on there do you? It's because they don't have that many applicants. Their applicants are also generally not as highly qualified (MCAT) because those students were selected away from when picking undergrads. However, if a qualified applicant for undergrad chooses by their own will to go to a small LAC/state school for other reasons than prestige (money, family, friends, etc) then the small LAC/state school may receive one of those 'super applicants' that the big name schools usually pick up. In the end, it's going to come down to how the applicant does on their GPA, MCAT, and ECs, regardless of institution. If that student pulls off a 90th percentile + MCAT, which they're capable of, they will have no problem going wherever they want. However, even at this stage, if that applicant chose a smaller school for undergrad even though they were overqualified, there's a good chance they might want to stay local again or go to a certain school rather than apply and go to that big Ivy League school.

There's just so many confounding variables that saying anecdotal evidence like that is proof is frankly arrogant. Do you honestly think someone should be punished for choosing a personally more appealing school even though they're plenty capable to? Absolutely not.

The only way you could prove otherwise is data. If you have data from the AAMC showing where students from LAC/State schools (with equivalent ECs) apply to the same schools, and what their result is, and then demonstrate with a statistical significants (p < 0.05) that they are less successful in these applications, then you have an argument otherwise. If you don't, you're spreading misinformation.

And as for people citing that LizzyM said that schools care about your UG - Yes, she said something along those lines. But it wasn't the dramatic examples people are stating. She's saying that if there's a marginal difference in GPA, engineering majors and "big name" students get the benefit of the doubt. This doesn't mean your 3.3 GPA is still competitive for a top tier institution even with a 35 MCAT, like people are implying. It's not that big of a factor. Just because you attended a big name institution, if a LAC/State schooler student has a 3.9 GPA and a 36 MCAT, they're going to get looked at before the Ivy Leaguer with a 3.3 GPA and a 36 MCAT. It's how the process works.

And finally, like I said, my school, while generally easier, had several classes that were more difficult than the most difficult ones I took at a top 5. Don't feel entitled and smarter because of your UG, that's not how it works. It's also why top schools get that 'pompous dbag' stereotype, so don't spread it.



This. This. This.

Yes, I know you guys all saw big names at your interviews. So did I. There is always a lot of intrigue "Oooo, what school do you go to? What's that?" whenever I interview. I enjoy it. But it's not because AdComs select schools over each other, they select applicants over others. It's a simple fact that big name schools tend to put out better applicants. It has nothing to do with AdComs selecting towards the undergraduate program, just simply the people with the best numbers and experiences.

Check out that link farther up in my post again. See all those big name schools with all those applicants? Now factor in the fact that there's a higher proportion of intelligent, motivated persons at these schools that there are at small state/LAC schools. Obviously you're going to see a much higher proportion of these applicants, but that's not the AdComs favoring one UG over the other.

I don't know how many times I'll have to reiterate that but clearly ad nauseam, As a person that really loves statistics, all you premeds with such little critical thought and statistical analysis capability is making me very sad. I'm stating a very logical concept...

Do these look like "misconstructions" to you?:

"If your undergrad college was easy to get into and admitted most applicants with SAT scores of 1000 and above, then you are going to be considered a big fish in a small pond (it might be easier to be an academic stand-out in that school than at a school where most of the students had SATs of 1400 or better). So, you not only have to have an exceptionally high gpa but you need to do at least as well on the MCAT as the students from the "well-known" schools (level playing field & all that). A MCAT below a med school's average is not going to go over big if you are from a school that is not an academic power-house."

"Hmmmm... you can get away with a gpa that is -0.2 to -0.4 below the med school mean provided that 1) the school is highly regarded academically, 2) your major was considered a difficult one (engineering almost anywhere) and 3) your MCAT scores are at least a point above the med school's mean in each of the three sections."

"There are ways of categorizing undergrad schools by selectivity and medical schools can take that into consideration in deciding how to judge an applicant, particularly with regard to gpa."

"Would you think that it is as easy to stand out as the top student in an intro biology course at Yale University as it is at the University of New Haven (where the combined reading/math SAT score is 1070)?"

sources: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=263986&page=1

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=638795

Anyway, in a certain sense I do agree with FattySlug. Where you go for undergrad, outside of the finance or consulting industry, has marginal influence on your success. Nonetheless, I feel like it is important to argue against the assertion that "it is the same everywhere" or "all universities are equally tough for pre-med". Not all universities are created equal; they contain faculty with different credentials, undergraduates with different credentials and aspirations, and different administrative guidelines. As such, it is completely mindless to adopt an egalitarian philosophy with regards to med school admissions. At the end of the day, this argument is "moot" because most of us can't change the undergraduate institution we attend. Therefore, what makes logical sense is to do your best at whatever university you attend, and the rest should take care of itself. It isn't worth stressing over things out of your control. Most of all, as long as you focus on learning the material taught to you by your professors (without significant gaps in your understanding), you will not only succeed from a grade standpoint, but also properly lay a foundation for understanding medical school material. At the end of the day our job is to heal people, and as long as we possess the knowledge to carry out that task, it doesn't matter what undergraduate institution we attended.
 
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Jester4321

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I would highly suggest you not go to the u of m. They are known historically for their grade delfation. I went there and saw many pre med dreams shattered in students who if they would have been at other schools they would be fine. The u of m will only give 5 to 25 percent of the class a's, even in upper level classes where most students have already been weeded out. In other words, the weed out process never ends therected where at typical schools in ends after the prerequisite level classes (like physics 1,2 or go 1,2, etc ). Med schools do look at where you went to undergrad but having a .5 drop or more because you went to a harder school isn't worth the risk, especially when there are other highly regarded schools like some of the ivies who have grade inflation. I would recommend going to a school that is still a top star school that has many research opportunities, like michigan state and is less competitive, or if you really want to throw your money out thearlier window the go to a top ranked school that has grade inflation like Harvard
 

hailbate

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I would highly suggest you not go to the u of m. They are known historically for their grade delfation. I went there and saw many pre med dreams shattered in students who if they would have been at other schools they would be fine. The u of m will only give 5 to 25 percent of the class a's, even in upper level classes where most students have already been weeded out. In other words, the weed out process never ends therected where at typical schools in ends after the prerequisite level classes (like physics 1,2 or go 1,2, etc ). Med schools do look at where you went to undergrad but having a .5 drop or more because you went to a harder school isn't worth the risk, especially when there are other highly regarded schools like some of the ivies who have grade inflation. I would recommend going to a school that is still a top star school that has many research opportunities, like michigan state and is less competitive, or if you really want to throw your money out thearlier window the go to a top ranked school that has grade inflation like Harvard

I go to UofM and that's bull****. Every single pre-med class I've taken, AT LEAST 20% of kids get an A... I've never heard of a class where there's been less than 15% of kids getting an A... Hell in my Honors Orgo II class about 40-50% of us got A's. Maybe at the upper level there's a professor who's nit picky about his grading scale, but to be honest it's just as likely at any school, much less UMich. At the pre-req level though, that is absolutely false.

The research opportunities at UMich are definitely going to be more plentiful at UMich than MSU... UMich is one of the highest ranked public research universities and the opportunities are always there. I mean even from my own personal experience I was able to secure a research position with no problem in my freshman year, and it is very common among pre-meds in general to get one without doing too much work... Heck one of my friends just emailed random professors and was able to get one that way.

I guess it's someone's choice if they want to take the "easier" route and go to MSU, but personally I'd rather be a big fish at a prestigious university like UMich versus a big fish at a good/average school like MSU (top star level is a bit of stretch lol).
 
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AirplaneFruit

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4.0 with above 30 on their ACT

If you think stats (4.0 / 30 isn't even good) are the only aspect of an application that's important for getting into high-tier privates you're a *****



EDIT: Here is OP's full quote:
I have some students with me who had 4.0 with above 30 on their ACT and for money and geographical reasons they didn't go further to ivy league, and came to a state school.
 
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Psai

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If you think stats (4.0 / 30 isn't even good) are the only aspect of an application that's important for getting into high-tier privates you're a *****

plays a pretty big role
 

Rainbow Zebra

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I go to UofM and that's bull****. Every single pre-med class I've taken, AT LEAST 20% of kids get an A... I've never heard of a class where there's been less than 15% of kids getting an A... Hell in my Honors Orgo II class about 40-50% of us got A's. Maybe at the upper level there's a professor who's nit picky about his grading scale, but to be honest it's just as likely at any school, much less UMich. At the pre-req level though, that is absolutely false.

The research opportunities at UMich are definitely going to be more plentiful at UMich than MSU... UMich is one of the highest ranked public research universities and the opportunities are always there. I mean even from my own personal experience I was able to secure a research position with no problem in my freshman year, and it is very common among pre-meds in general to get one without doing too much work... Heck one of my friends just emailed random professors and was able to get one that way.

I guess it's someone's choice if they want to take the "easier" route and go to MSU, but personally I'd rather be a big fish at a prestigious university like UMich versus a big fish at a good/average school like MSU (top star level is a bit of stretch lol).
MSU grad here and I agree that school name matters. I have better stats and more experience than my brother , but he was a U of M grad and got more interviews at higher ranked schools than me. N=2 though.
 

AirplaneFruit

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Grades and test scores matter a metric **** ton for admissions to selective undergrads.
plays a pretty big role

Around 2 million high school seniors apply to UGs each year.

There are ~5k matriculants to HYPS And maybe 25-40k matriculants to top 20 undergrads. Of those 2,000,000 kids you don't think a significant portion have near-perfect numbers? More than 20k of those kids have near-perfect/good-enough (2200 can get you in anywhere; you can try and verify this guy's numbers: http://blog.prepscholar.com/on-the-sat-how-many-people-get-2200-2300-or-above-2400) SAT scores and I'm sure way more than 20k kids have higher than 3.7 UW GPAs due to incredible high school grade inflation.

There are 20,000+ kids with good-enough stats. Stats should not be discussed at all when we're discussing admissions to high-tier UGs because you're expected to be above a certain point. And the matriculant numbers aren't even taking into account athletes, legacies, and URMs. There are kids walking around HYPS (maybe not Yale as much anymore) with 1800s.
 

WedgeDawg

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Around 2 million high school seniors apply to UGs each year.

There are ~5k matriculants to HYPS And maybe 25-40k matriculants to top 20 undergrads. Of those 2,000,000 kids you don't think a significant portion have near-perfect numbers? More than 20k of those kids have near-perfect/good-enough (2200 can get you in anywhere; you can try and verify this guy's numbers: http://blog.prepscholar.com/on-the-sat-how-many-people-get-2200-2300-or-above-2400) SAT scores and I'm sure way more than 20k kids have higher than 3.7 UW GPAs due to incredible high school grade inflation.

There are 20,000+ kids with good-enough stats. Stats should not be discussed at all when we're discussing admissions to high-tier UGs because you're expected to be above a certain point. And the matriculant numbers aren't even taking into account athletes, legacies, and URMs. There are kids walking around HYPS (maybe not Yale as much anymore) with 1800s.

They're important in a necessary but not sufficient way.
 

Psai

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Around 2 million high school seniors apply to UGs each year.

There are ~5k matriculants to HYPS And maybe 25-40k matriculants to top 20 undergrads. Of those 2,000,000 kids you don't think a significant portion have near-perfect numbers? More than 20k of those kids have near-perfect/good-enough (2200 can get you in anywhere; you can try and verify this guy's numbers: http://blog.prepscholar.com/on-the-sat-how-many-people-get-2200-2300-or-above-2400) SAT scores and I'm sure way more than 20k kids have higher than 3.7 UW GPAs due to incredible high school grade inflation.

There are 20,000+ kids with good-enough stats. Stats should not be discussed at all when we're discussing admissions to high-tier UGs because you're expected to be above a certain point. And the matriculant numbers aren't even taking into account athletes, legacies, and URMs. There are kids walking around HYPS (maybe not Yale as much anymore) with 1800s.

Your numbers are useless. Not everyone wants to go to a top school. Some of your numbers are just made up. And none of it refutes the point that stats play a big role
 

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I have some students with me who had 4.0 with above 30 on their ACT and for money and geographical reasons they didn't go further to ivy league, and came to a state school.


I neglected to quote OP in full. I was responding to him which is why your assertion that "not everyone wants to go to a good school" is irrelevant.


My point is that "good stats" don't matter because everyone already has "good stats." Therefore they're irrelevant when discussing "top tier" admissions.



Some of your numbers are just made up

Support your claim? Or just make things up yourself no big deal
 

WedgeDawg

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I repeat my assertion that they're relevant in the sense that they're necessary but not sufficient.
 

Jester4321

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I go to UofM and that's bull****. Every single pre-med class I've taken, AT LEAST 20% of kids get an A... I've never heard of a class where there's been less than 15% of kids getting an A... Hell in my Honors Orgo II class about 40-50% of us got A's. Maybe at the upper level there's a professor who's nit picky about his grading scale, but to be honest it's just as likely at any school, much less UMich. At the pre-req level though, that is absolutely false.

The research opportunities at UMich are definitely going to be more plentiful at UMich than MSU... UMich is one of the highest ranked public research universities and the opportunities are always there. I mean even from my own personal experience I was able to secure a research position with no problem in my freshman year, and it is very common among pre-meds in general to get one without doing too much work... Heck one of my friends just emailed random professors and was able to get one that way.

I guess it's someone's choice if they want to take the "easier" route and go to MSU, but personally I'd rather be a big fish at a prestigious university like UMich versus a big fish at a good/average school like MSU (top star level is a bit of stretch lol).

Well with your rude response I can confirm that you went to umich. The 5 percent number was an outlier (but fairly accurate for one class) but your 40 to 50 percent is definitely an outlier in the other direction. Most premed classes I would say have about 15 to 25 percent of the class getting a's from my experience. Considering that these classes have students with acts averaging at like 30 and the students usually have already survived being weeded out of 1, 2, 3, or even 4 classes, you're really just going heavily against the odds. That was my point that most students (not all) are better off going somewhere slightly less competitive especially considering that many med schools will have a gpa cutoff and not even look at your application if you do not meet that. Like I said I met many of these students that are stuck going to Caribbean schools, or no school at all who probably would have been better off somewhere they could get a higher gpa. Speaking of research msu definitely has a much more diverse array of programs which I would estimate would equate to more research. I'm sure mich might have some better programs, like psych, but it definitely has fewer programs. To prove this just compare the number of majors offered by each school. Hate to break it to you but in the real world nobody know's of your school's prestige except unless you went to say a Harvard Yale princeton sanford berkely or mit level school. The exception is some elitist scumbag banking/law circles, which being in science or med doesn't fall under. Don't believe me just wait until you graduate and try appling for jobs or grad school. The only people who really think a school like UMich is that good are the ones that went there. That is why they are always in in your face about how great they are, some sort of napoleon complex. This reputation makes me embarrassed to say I graduated there.
 
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