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top ten schools and toughness

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by xylem29, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. xylem29

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    Hey just wanted to know if it's worth going to a top ten school - i don't really know what the top ten are - but I can only wonder whether or not top ten schools have a more demanding program. I know in ON, certain schools have much more demanding undergraduate programs than others (ie. same amount of effort can get you a B at U of T st. george but an A+ at York U, or having our classes end on the friday and final exams start the following monday while everyone other school gives their students an entire reading week prior to finals). At the same time - U of T is ranked 1st in its graduate/medical program but ranked LAST by students for its undergrad program (taken from macleans mag). Is it like this in the US too? So I was wondering if it was better to go to say...Buffalo U rather than MIT/Harvard you know??? What's the advantage of a top ten school?
     
  2. letmein!please?

    letmein!please? Senior Member
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    With med schools, its all about placing in a good residency. If you want to do a competitive specialty like surgery, then residency placement will not only determine where you train but if you train. As far as I know there are two ways you can do well in this process: Doing better than your classmates or going to a top school. You still have to do well no matter what med school you go to, but having gone to a better school might compensate if you are not at the very top of your class. Either way, no med school is easy and, of course, there are other factors to cosider besides US New's "ranking" when deciding where you want to spend your twenties ;)
     
  3. bobito

    bobito Senior Member
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    Depends on your career goals. If you want to go into academic medicine (do research), have an administrative position, have people oooh and ahhh when they hear where you went to school. Then its very important.

    If you just want to be a doctor in the specialty of your choice, its not terribly important where you go. Its important how you do when you get to whatever school you're at.
     
  4. Risa

    Risa like Lisa with an R
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    I can't speak for the top ten schools in general, but one of the reasons that I'm so in love with Harvard is actually because it's so laid back. Completely pass-fail for the first two years, tons of great resources, really vibrant and friendly student body... or such were my impressions, anyway.

    I'm sure this kind of thing varies greatly from school to school, but there are definitely plenty of excellent schools that have seemed pretty chill to me (Cornell and Yale, as two other examples).

    Hope that helps!
     
  5. unicorn06

    unicorn06 Senior Member
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    Getting in to the top schools is really the hard part. After that, the difficulty is really dependent on the program. Duke has a rep for being really hard (sciences condensed into 1 yr), whereas Yale (pass/fail, exam scores listed by codes that only you know, optional exams, if you fail you can just talk to them about it and get it cleared) and Harvard have the rep of being easy (pass/fail, sometmes you're graded with smiley face, you never get exams back).

    The advantages of the top tens are being in great reserach institutions, making important connections, getting name recognition when applying to residencies, being around other top students, etc. You can do well from (almost) any med school, but being at a top ten really opens doors for you and makes it easier if you want to do a competitive residency.
     
  6. xylem29

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    I see - so its essentially the same as being really important where you do your graduate studies - recognition and better oportunities. Well, I didn't know that Harvard was pass/fail - wow. Top ten it is then.
     
  7. unicorn06

    unicorn06 Senior Member
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    Yep- Harvard is the truest pass/fail of all the schools at which I interviewed. You don't get your exams back, and you don't even find out what your score is after taking an exam. At least that's what the 1st years told me when I was there....Also, they have this awesome videotaping system. Not only do they videotape all lectures, but you can search the videotapes by keyword to find any clips containing words of interest. For instance, say you want to study the heart. You could type in "heart" and get a listing of all clips with that word in it. Cool, huh?
     
  8. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I agree with much of what has been said in this thread. P/F systems may help alleveiate some competitiveness, and big name schools often are helpful come match time. I would also note that while there is a huge range of quality of competitiveness in terms of classmates in undergrad, in med school (because there are relatively few med schools and they are all pretty good) they are quite condensed in range. In other words, while the folk at top ten schools may be a little smarter statistically than the bottom ten, the spread isn't really going to be perceptable -- more or less a difference in average GPA of 3.5 vs 3.7. So you will fall into about the same slot in your class no matter where you go. I would also suggest that because the boards are perhaps one of the biggest factors in determining where you end up going for residency, you have to go head to head with the top ten school folk anyway.
     
  9. Slide

    Slide Finally, no more "training"
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    Hahaha there seems to be some correlation between top 10 schools and the laid-backness. At PennMed, the classes are compressed into 1.5 years, but it's on a pass/fail system, and the people are really chill (I've talked to several and they're super cool, and the women also look pretty hot). Plus, there really isn't a curve (like in high school, there's only a numerical set cutoff), and everyone helps everyone out. Students will get together and study, they'll help out people that are struggling, and send out e-mails to the class about links to learn more about a subject, study tips, hints for the test, etc. I guess that after four years of grabbing numbers, the students just don't care anymore.
     
  10. Mateodaspy

    Mateodaspy Senior Member
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    Ummmm... I'm a first year at HMS, so I just wanted to clear a few things up in terms of the Pass/Fail system here. First of all, all exams are given a numerical score which are written on the exam (except for the first block final exam which is not numerically scored) -- these scores correspond to either a Pass (70+), a marginal pass (60-69) or a fail (usually less than 60, but also depends on performance in tutorial). Anything above a 60 is recorded as a Pass on your transcript and anything below a 60 is considered a Fail (the marginal pass designation is effectively a "pass", but just acts as a reminder to you that your work needs some improvement).

    For any exam that you fail, you can take a make-up exam one time in the spring. However, if you fail for a second time, you receive a "fail" on your transcript and you are required to repeat the academic year. (an extremely rare circumstance, but it can happen nonetheless)

    I hope that clears things up.

     
  11. Mateodaspy

    Mateodaspy Senior Member
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    PennMed is only Pass/Fail the first semester -- an honors designation is introduced beginning in January of first year -- this was the main reason I decided against Penn Med last year when I was deciding, as the students with whom I spoke told me that competition between students was significantly worse starting in the spring when grades began to "matter". Also, Penn Med ranks its students and has AOA, further breeders of competition.
     
  12. sscooterguy

    sscooterguy Senior Member
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    I wouldn't knock AOA or honors/letters/pass/fail because it breeds so called competition. Also, you must consider that all schools to my knowledge have honors/pass/fail system for the 3rd and 4th year rotations. My school has both AOA and honors/pass/fail system, and I am thankful. I never felt trampled upon by competition, students all helped eachother out, no one ever did anything to out gun anyone else. Residency directors see hundreds of people from programs all over. If they see students with an honor grade here or there, that will make them shine. This is especially true of AOA. However, they are not going to look up to see if your particular program has honors or AOA or not. They are gonna assume you never got it.
    Increasingly, for top residency positions, you need to have AOA and honors to have a good shot at certain specialties. ENT, Ortho, Derm, Uro, Radiology, Optho are all incredibly competative not to mention ER, Surgery, Med Peds as well as the top programs for Internal Med. I would never give advice to interviewees to exclude any school that had honors or AOA. I would greatly encourage students to look into those programs. I like the honors/pass/fail system, and am glad for it. I definately wouldn't like an A,B,C,D system, nor would I like grades based on standard curves. In any case, if you are lucky enough to have choices, pick programs with non malignant atmospheres, but also with good residency placement.

    sscooterguy
     
  13. DeadorAlive

    DeadorAlive Senior Member
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    sscooterguy, It's great to get another perspective, but it's unlikely that residency directors are unaware of which schools (especially top schools) don't have AOA. I'm sure that they know that Harvard, Stanford etc. don't do it, just like admissions deans for med schools have some familiarity with the different programs at various undergrads.

    Really, it boils down to personal preference. I personally prefer a school with straight P/F than H/P/F. For clinical years I only know of Stanford that has straight P/F (I could be wrong), but I like the sort of environment it fosters. The point of this post though, is that these top schools that are P/F are still getting great match lists; as long as you do well within the environment you've chosen - at your medical school - there will be a basis for evaluation. If residency directors universally rejected all students from schools with P/F because they didn't give a basis for comparison, the med schools would feel the pressure and change. They don't, so the system works fine for those who are in it.
     
  14. Einsteinemc2

    Einsteinemc2 Member
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    A quick correction, residency programs absolutely know whether schools have AOA or not. This mainly because the vast vast majority do (I know of three that don't). I guarantee that a residency director will know that Harvard and Stanford don't have AOA. As far as grades (honors etc), I've heard just the opposite, so it must be a preference. My friend at HMS cannot stop talking about how low stress the environment is. Even though Harvard has grades 3rd and 4th year, the still do NOT rank their students. So when letters go out, there is NO implication of rank what-so-ever. I'm sorry, but I would be much more thankful for that.
     
  15. LolaLee

    LolaLee Member
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    does anyone know how laidback hopkins is? when i interviewed there i was struck by how chill and interesting everyone is. i know they don't have a pass/fail grading system but students get out of class around 1pm. i visited duke a little while ago and definitely thought it was a lot more stressful. anyone have any opinions on either of those schools. they are both awesome, but definitely seemed to have different vibes. thanks!
     
  16. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Hopkins has a notorious reputation for cutthroat competitiveness, but I gather from a number of prior SDN posts that the rep is somewhat undeserved, or reflective of a prior era.
     
  17. dajimmers

    dajimmers Hedgehog!
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    Interesting, I thought Duke seemed pretty laid back, actually. It was finals week for them, and there were still plenty of first years taking the time to chat with us, host us, and talk about their free time in Durham. And first year is most stressful there, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year students were all happy and un-stressed.

    Haven't been to JHU, but I have seen "chill" students at Harvard and Penn as well. I do wonder what happens to Penn and Duke once grades switch from P/F to H/P/F or whatever (I think they both switch...).
     
  18. aumed22

    aumed22 Senior Member
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    I must agree that hopkins did seem very laid back when I was there. I was surprised since I had just assumed everyone would be very type A. I heard the reason they implemented the whole "chat w/4th years and get evaluated while you wait" deal was to ensure their accepted students were social and friendly. Could be just a rumor though. I've also heard that Hopkins doesn't rank their students, but do they have AOA? Any info would be greatly appreciated.
     
  19. CarleneM

    CarleneM patent pending
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    More regarding HMS: it is pretty chill in terms of external expectations. It would be difficult to fail as long as you go to class and pay attention. THat being said, people still try really hard to do as well as they possibly can and there is more internal self-pressure to do well than from the administration/course directors. A lot of the tutorial leaders will say right off on the first day of a class that everyone is going to pass as long as they show up. The pass/fail system is great, and the course directors are very reasonable about the amount of detail we have to know. we had a final today in a class called "chemistry and biology of the cell" and last night i had plenty of time to watch the OC and ER, knowing I definitely knew enough to do well on the exam. I think the attitude towards grades gives us more time to pursue other medical and non-medical interests.


     
  20. TheMightyAngus

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    It's important to know what type of curriculum best suits you. I couldn't stand a curriculum so liberal that it eliminates any form of an assessment. I need some sort of positive/negative reinforcement to keep me going.
     
  21. ComfortableWolf

    ComfortableWolf Senior Member
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    While most of what you have written is true... after the first semster of the 1.5 year basic sciences Penn switches to H/P/F so it is possible to get honors in that last year of basic sciences @ Penn
     

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