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Hey everyone,

In May of 2015 I graduated from a top 50 University with a bachelors in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Information Technology. Medical school has always been my dream, but after junior year I was so burnt out from engineering school and didn't want to think about the possibility of medical school. Since graduating, however, I have rediscovered my love for medicine and don't see myself doing anything else. I currently work as a medical device consultant in NYC and am planning to begin applying in 2017 for a 2018 matriculation.

Here is a bit more background on myself:
-I graduated with a 3.5 GPA, which is pulled down by my poor freshman-year performance (3.67 if you don't take into account my freshman GPA). I also still need to take biochemistry.
-Come 2017, I will have observed and assisted with 400+ surgical cases for my job (neuro, ortho, ENT, and spine). This includes direct consultation with surgeons.
-150 hours of undergraduate orthopedic surgery research
-Summer internship with a health policy non-profit in DC
-Internship with a large investment bank (probably not relevant, but I might as well throw that in here)
-3 years as an RA
-A patent pending on my group's senior capstone project
-I have yet to take the MCAT, but I anticipate being able to score >85th percentile based on practice exams I have taken

Given all of this: what are my theoretical chances of getting into T1 vs. T2 schools? My GPA is obviously low for schools like Hopkins, Harvard, Sinai, Cornell, etc., but what would my chances look like for schools like Georgetown, BU, Dartmouth, Tufts, UConn, etc.? And is there anything additional that I should be doing as someone who will be 3 years out from undergrad? At this point I would be happy with getting in anywhere (ideally in the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast), but a T2 school or better would be ideal.

Any insight on this would be really helpful!
 

Goro

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Chances are 0 without patient contact volunteer experience. You need to convince adcoms you that you know what you're getting into and that you really want to be around sick people for the next 30 to 40 years.

And without an MCAT score it is very hard to advise. Let's just say that your GPA is competitive

Hey everyone,

In May of 2015 I graduated from a top 50 University with a bachelors in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Information Technology. Medical school has always been my dream, but after junior year I was so burnt out from engineering school and didn't want to think about the possibility of medical school. Since graduating, however, I have rediscovered my love for medicine and don't see myself doing anything else. I currently work as a medical device consultant in NYC and am planning to begin applying in 2017 for a 2018 matriculation.

Here is a bit more background on myself:
-I graduated with a 3.5 GPA, which is pulled down by my poor freshman-year performance (3.67 if you don't take into account my freshman GPA). I also still need to take biochemistry.
-Come 2017, I will have observed and assisted with 400+ surgical cases for my job (neuro, ortho, ENT, and spine). This includes direct consultation with surgeons.
-150 hours of undergraduate orthopedic surgery research
-Summer internship with a health policy non-profit in DC
-Internship with a large investment bank (probably not relevant, but I might as well throw that in here)
-3 years as an RA
-A patent pending on my group's senior capstone project
-I have yet to take the MCAT, but I anticipate being able to score >85th percentile based on practice exams I have taken

Given all of this: what are my theoretical chances of getting into T1 vs. T2 schools? My GPA is obviously low for schools like Hopkins, Harvard, Sinai, Cornell, etc., but what would my chances look like for schools like Georgetown, BU, Dartmouth, Tufts, UConn, etc.? And is there anything additional that I should be doing as someone who will be 3 years out from undergrad? At this point I would be happy with getting in anywhere (ideally in the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast), but a T2 school or better would be ideal.

Any insight on this would be really helpful!
 
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WedgeDawg

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First, I think we have very different definitions of "T1 vs T2". Second, it is hard to separate schools into hard tiers, as everyone views things slightly differently. Many experienced posters have said that beyond a certain category of school, especially outside of their regions of influence or outside of particular specialties, it is hard to make meaningful differentiations between schools. Yes, there would be a difference between Hopkins and Hofstra (to use two arbitrary examples), but it is difficult to objectively measure whether, say, Georgetown or Tulane is a "better" school.

What this means for you is that when you say a T2 school or better would be idea, we have no idea what that really means, because we don't know exactly what you're looking for. Were I to insert my own broad definitions here instead of using yours (top tier, mid tier, low tier), you are looking ideally for a mid tier school or better, i.e. you are looking for a school with relatively strong research capacities compared to most other schools (I think). It could also mean you want to go to a more "competitive" school, but what is the benefit of going to a more "competitive" school just for the sake of having higher selection criteria? Finally, the last thing it could mean is that you want to go to a more "prestigious" school, but as I explained earlier, even within the top tier (which is likely what you mean by T1), the effect of that prestige generally will diminish the farther from the tippy top you go and the farther from the regional area of influence you travel.

So if we take the most understandable of these three reasons - high research capacity - and compare it to your application, we find that it is incongruous with your own research profile. You have 150 hours of research which is next to nothing. You have a capstone project which may result in a patent that you could theoretically add to that, but my question would then be are you really going to get that much more benefit from going to Rochester over a school like Penn State? Maybe. I don't know.

Really, you need to tell us why you ideally want to go to a "T2" school and clarify the characteristics of the medical school you're looking for because I can't seem to find a concrete pattern amongst the schools that you provided in your OP (Georgetown, BU, Dartmouth, Tufts, UConn) other than they are all on the east coast. That will help us figure out a more appropriate target list.

Second, it's impossible to tell without your MCAT score anyway, even if we do have a list of schools we want to look at.

Third, moving this to the WAMC forum.
 
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Law2Doc

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Hey everyone,

In May of 2015 I graduated from a top 50 University with a bachelors in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Information Technology. Medical school has always been my dream, but after junior year I was so burnt out from engineering school and didn't want to think about the possibility of medical school. Since graduating, however, I have rediscovered my love for medicine and don't see myself doing anything else. I currently work as a medical device consultant in NYC and am planning to begin applying in 2017 for a 2018 matriculation.

Here is a bit more background on myself:
-I graduated with a 3.5 GPA, which is pulled down by my poor freshman-year performance (3.67 if you don't take into account my freshman GPA). I also still need to take biochemistry.
-Come 2017, I will have observed and assisted with 400+ surgical cases for my job (neuro, ortho, ENT, and spine). This includes direct consultation with surgeons.
-150 hours of undergraduate orthopedic surgery research
-Summer internship with a health policy non-profit in DC
-Internship with a large investment bank (probably not relevant, but I might as well throw that in here)
-3 years as an RA
-A patent pending on my group's senior capstone project
-I have yet to take the MCAT, but I anticipate being able to score >85th percentile based on practice exams I have taken

Given all of this: what are my theoretical chances of getting into T1 vs. T2 schools? My GPA is obviously low for schools like Hopkins, Harvard, Sinai, Cornell, etc., but what would my chances look like for schools like Georgetown, BU, Dartmouth, Tufts, UConn, etc.? And is there anything additional that I should be doing as someone who will be 3 years out from undergrad? At this point I would be happy with getting in anywhere (ideally in the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast), but a T2 school or better would be ideal.

Any insight on this would be really helpful!
There is no formal "tiering" for med schools. I would lose that from your vocabulary. You'd be arbitrarily dividing schools based on no accepted mehodology. Some people look to the US News research ranking for a proxy to "prestige" but honestly it's a pretty loose metric and the place ranked 25 probably isn't better than the one ranked 35, and so on.

Also if you say you are from a top 50 undergrad trying to get into a top tier med school you are a bit too focused on laurels and not enough on what your goal is. In medicine you'll be judged by where you end up, not where you've been so a focus on tiering should go by the wayside in favor of other factors. The person who does state schools and gets to your exact same residency class with half the debt totally beats you at this game.
 
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@Law2Doc @WedgeDawg @Goro Thank you all for the insight. To add some clarification: my end goal, as of now (interests can obviously change based on rotation experience), is to land a surgical residency of some sort. I have a huge interest in biomechanical research (specifically related to trauma) and would love the opportunity to participate in that during medical school, but I am not necessarily looking to become a doctor that publishes frequently. I guess I also didn't realize that my research experience is on the lower end of the spectrum.

My "T1 vs. T2" dividing methodology has come from the classifications people give on SDN, friends who are medical students, and other forums, but I am aware that this classification system is rooted in rankings such as US News, which is flawed in it's own ways. To put it in more general terms: I am looking for a mid-tier program. At this point I haven't had any opportunity to visit many medical schools (other than several of the institutions that I have worked with in NYC, which all have very research-focused residencies and medical schools), but I know that a lot of what I learn about different schools and what they offer will come from those visits.

Right now I am primarily focused on studying for and performing well on the MCAT, but I guess I should start to figure out how different institutions fit into my long-term goals.
 

Law2Doc

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If you are interested in trauma oriented surgery and don't want to be an academic (i.e. Don't want to "publish frequently"), I would probably focus on the big city schools affiliated with big trauma centers, and ignore your imagined tiering/ranking. The higher ranked places are more about "publishing frequently". Geography, cost should also play a role in your decision. But bear in mind a lot of people's goals change when they get their standardized test scores. Lots of surgery sub specialty wannabes pick something else after rough rotations and step 1 results, so a place that's well rounded might offer more landing places.
 
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avgn

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No chance at a top school based on paltry research, way below median GPA, and no eye popping ECs. Okayish chance at the tier of school you're thinking about pending MCAT but it's a fight amongst thousands because you just don't pop out I don't think.

Overall the application is weak based on 1) no patient contact of any sort (the cases you do for your job don't count for this) and 2) no volunteering/altruism demonstrated (in fact, the i-banking illustrates the opposite and I would not put it on the app). You've got a whole year to fix this, so work on that after the MCAT.

Sounds like any non-rural east coast school with a functional surgery program (i.e., most all schools) is good for you. Limited to NE/mid-Atlantic and taking out the top privates (just being real) and OOS-unfriendly state schools, that's like an easy list of 25-30. Bam done bye

Also lol "top 50 university for undergrad." Sorry, couldn't resist :p
 
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ciestar

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I'll chime in the rest..
Your GPA is well below average for the "top schools" you desire. Please take this into consideration...

Also, your ECs are weak. Your complete lack of clinical experience is gonna kill your application. Schools also like nonclinical involvement as well, which you also lack. You really need to fix this to have a chance at ANY school.

It's also in your best interest to quit worrying about ranking now.
 
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deleted314957

Don't worry so much about exposure/interest in "trauma oriented surgery" as a prospective med school applicant. First, get into pretty much ANY U.S. med school (MD or DO) with the very preliminary objective of getting into a surgical residency. (Believe me, you may VERY WELL change your mind about that specialty between now and then. A surgical internship back in the 70's dissuaded me from that specialty.) Right now you have absolutely NO idea of what you will eventually end up doing if you get thru the process.
 
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DokterMom

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You've got some strengths, a few weaknesses and a blind spot --

You're strengths are your academic qualifications -- Good UG school, tough degree program, good GPA. You might get a few 'bonus points' added to your GPA for your engineering and info tech major. Good work experience peripheral to medicine. Coherent story so far -- so good.

Weaknesses: No volunteering and altruism. Knowing next to nothing about you, I might reasonably assume that you are prestige-driven (i-banking, consulting, BME and IT) and relatively low on the 'truly caring about people' scale. This may be entirely untrue and inaccurate -- or uncomfortably close for comfort. Again - I have no way of knowing, so am asking rather than pointing fingers. But AdComs will want to know; and the way to show them is through volunteer work. Do something selfless and uncomfortable for a population at a disadvantage until you have demonstrated convincingly that you are in this gig to help people who are not you. (Expect this to take a while.) Also, be sure to spend some time with patients who are awake and feeling lousy. As a physician, this will be a good chink of your life...

Blind spot: And finally, as has been mentioned, is the whole prestige-tier thing in medical school. Unlike UG or law schools, medical schools really fall into only three broad tiers, with the top 15% or so 'Top Tier' enough to help you through an 'all other things being equal' situation, and the bottom 10% 'Lower Tier' enough to make you 'prove yourself' beyond what everyone else does.

So where are you and how long will it take? Given that you're starting from a pretty good place, 1-2 years to remediate your EC deficiencies enough to make you competitive for a mid-tier; 3-5 years (to rack up something impressive and completely fill the EC hole) for a top tier. Can't think of anyone here who would suggest that the top tier route would be worth it.
 
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You've got some strengths, a few weaknesses and a blind spot --

You're strengths are your academic qualifications -- Good UG school, tough degree program, good GPA. You might get a few 'bonus points' added to your GPA for your engineering and info tech major. Good work experience peripheral to medicine. Coherent story so far -- so good.

Weaknesses: No volunteering and altruism. Knowing next to nothing about you, I might reasonably assume that you are prestige-driven (i-banking, consulting, BME and IT) and relatively low on the 'truly caring about people' scale. This may be entirely untrue and inaccurate -- or uncomfortably close for comfort. Again - I have no way of knowing, so am asking rather than pointing fingers. But AdComs will want to know; and the way to show them is through volunteer work. Do something selfless and uncomfortable for a population at a disadvantage until you have demonstrated convincingly that you are in this gig to help people who are not you. (Expect this to take a while.) Also, be sure to spend some time with patients who are awake and feeling lousy. As a physician, this will be a good chink of your life...

Blind spot: And finally, as has been mentioned, is the whole prestige-tier thing in medical school. Unlike UG or law schools, medical schools really fall into only three broad tiers, with the top 15% or so 'Top Tier' enough to help you through an 'all other things being equal' situation, and the bottom 10% 'Lower Tier' enough to make you 'prove yourself' beyond what everyone else does.

So where are you and how long will it take? Given that you're starting from a pretty good place, 1-2 years to remediate your EC deficiencies enough to make you competitive for a mid-tier; 3-5 years (to rack up something impressive and completely fill the EC hole) for a top tier. Can't think of anyone here who would suggest that the top tier route would be worth it.

Thanks for the input! The prestige assumption is definitely fair based on my background alone....absolutely something that I will have to address in my personal statement (long story short - I felt extremely unfulfilled by it and ran away as fast as possible). I am in the process of submitting paperwork to do Sunday morning volunteering at the cardiac unit of one of the city hospitals, which should definitely help to fill in the altruistic and patient-interaction aspect of my application that AdComs are looking for. I also volunteer 4 months out of the year with an organization that hosts an after-school academic enrichment session with underprivileged middle school students in the Bronx, which is something that I plan on staying involved with over the coming years.
 

Law2Doc

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... Unlike UG or law schools, medical schools really fall into only three broad tiers, with the top 15% or so 'Top Tier' enough to help you through an 'all other things being equal' situation, and the bottom 10% 'Lower Tier' enough to make you 'prove yourself' beyond what everyone else does...
I still think you are going to a dark place by catering to him that one can actually usefully divide these schools into any logical tiers. Is the school ranked 17% really worse or less prestigious than 15%? Is the place 12% from the bottom really better than the one 10% from the bottom? I think the US News research ranking stratification is dubious enough -- it's not helpful to add another layer of ranking. Why create another square wheel. Just go by that crummy list if you need a list.

This isn't undergrad. There is no Barron's guide which breaks down X school as "most competitive." Not is it law or business school where only the top Y% end up with certain jobs. In most specialties you will have colleagues from a very wide range of schools, and each of their classmates will have gone to a wide array of specialties. At most places you'll have co-residents who got to the same place you did despite coming from schools that didn't do a ton of research per US News. As mentioned most US Allo schools are pretty good launch pads for most specialties. It's going to come down more to your own Step scores, evaluations and research.

The only truth is that the guy/gal who got exactly where s/he wanted to for residency wins. And if he did it cheaper he won even more.

People in medicine judge you based on the last place you've been. So if you are a resident at X, nobody is going to care that you went to Harvard for med school, or got there from some state school -- you'll be that guy who trained at X. And if you do a fellowship Y, you'll be that guy who trained at Y. And then when you go work at Z you'll thereafter be associated with Z. It's a hard concept for a lot of premeds to stomach because there's this pervasive mystique that "it I can get into school A I will be set."

So a focus on imaginary tiers (and for sure looking back to things like undergrad) are laurels with a short shelf life on this journey. I really wouldn't get too hung up on them.go to a place you like that you will thrive and do well. If the geography and cost work out that's big. And if you need a laurel just use US News as a rough yardstick and don't try to further stratify things in some arbitrary tiering. Just because it worked in undergrad, where there were literally a thousand choices and a huge range in quality doesn't mean it's a good idea when there are 150 choices and a narrow range.
 
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So a focus on imaginary tiers (and for sure looking back to things like undergrad) are laurels with a short shelf life on this journey. I really wouldn't get too hung up on them.go to a place you like that you will thrive and do well. If the geography and cost work out that's big. And if you need a laurel just use US News as a rough yardstick and don't try to further stratify things in some arbitrary tiering. Just because it worked in undergrad, where there were literally a thousand choices and a huge range in quality doesn't mean it's a good idea when there are 150 choices and a narrow range.

I'll admit that I have probably put too much emphasis on prestige/reputation/"ranking"/etc. when thinking about potential med schools, so it's definitely refreshing to know that where you go to med school isn't everything. I've seen friends get into places like Harvard, N'Western, Hopkins, etc., which I guess has put me in the "high ranking = better" mindset (correct or not). I'm still not convinced, however, that it is unfair to classify schools in a tiered structure (T1-T2-T3 or high-med-low....same difference), as many respondents to this thread have suggested. I understand that these rankings are largely determined based on research funding, but I don't think that should disqualify me from asking "do I have a better chance at X or Y based on qualifications A, B, C, etc." I am simply stating classifications based on what the industry (and students) have widely used for decades. At this stage of the process I am just curious to see where I should set my expectations.
 

avgn

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^No chance at top tiers, that's for sure. That's the only sure thing right now.
 
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Law2Doc

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...I am simply stating classifications based on what the industry (and students) have widely used for decades...
Premed students maybe, "industry", not so much. You are extrapolating what made sense for undergrad to med school. Doesn't quite fit as seamlessly as you want it to. You aren't getting into Harvard or Hopkins and frankly your focus. on what the next "tiers" ("T2, T3") might be (in a setting where no such things are even agreed upon) almost guaranty you'll be kicking yourself later, when your co-residents get to the same place as you without the same costs or hurdles.
 
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avgn

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This is getting circumlocutory for no purpose. OP – your school list is simple, like I already said. Follow your location preference and go down the northeastern shore (VT to NC), pick out all the med schools there are, ditch the top privates and out of state unfriendly state schools. That is your list. If you want to expand out into the eastern Midwest, follow the same formula. Easy to get 25-30 schools this way. Get as high an MCAT as you can and with enough volunteering you'll get into one of these places. Your overall chances are ok assuming a >88th %ile MCAT.

Oh and uh, start practicing how to swallow pride. You'll be doing it a lot in this field

Kk end thread
 
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deleted314957

I'll admit that I have probably put too much emphasis on prestige/reputation/"ranking"/etc. when thinking about potential med schools, so it's definitely refreshing to know that where you go to med school isn't everything. I've seen friends get into places like Harvard, N'Western, Hopkins, etc., which I guess has put me in the "high ranking = better" mindset (correct or not). I'm still not convinced, however, that it is unfair to classify schools in a tiered structure (T1-T2-T3 or high-med-low....same difference), as many respondents to this thread have suggested. I understand that these rankings are largely determined based on research funding, but I don't think that should disqualify me from asking "do I have a better chance at X or Y based on qualifications A, B, C, etc." I am simply stating classifications based on what the industry (and students) have widely used for decades. At this stage of the process I am just curious to see where I should set my expectations.

You don't seem to get it. I will tell you EXACTLY where you should set your expectations--GETTING INTO MEDICAL SCHOOL. Law2Doc is right on the money.
Counting my premed years I have been in this rodeo for 47 years and I know what I'm talking about.
 
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