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I have heard a lot of contrasting view points on how where you did your undergrad affects your medical school application. Some people say going to a harder school doesn't give you anything while others say it matters. What have you guys heard? Does having a lower GPA from a more difficult school equate to a higher GPA from an easier school?

PS. This is assuming you did all your pre-reqs at a four-year college :)
 

FluffyRabbit

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I hear grades there are pretty inflated. =P
 

cubssox2000

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Undergrad doesn't matter as long as your pre-reqs are at a 4 year schools.

However, MOST LIKELY it will help your chances having your primary degree and transcript coming from a 4 year school as well. As for differences between different 4 year schools, there really is no difference where you take the classes. But, I think that going to a CC for the rest of you classes may show a lack of commitment to studies beyond medicine, which can be looked down upon.
 
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Stanford is okay (most beautiful campus in america though). The great thing is there are so many pre-meds so there are plenty of opportunities to make study groups, etc. So you're never really alone. And people are really friendly and willing to help you. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunities I have. That said- professors here demand a lot of their students and it gets overwhelming.
 

oaklandguy

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It's not a huge difference. GPA is GPA no matter where you go and the MCAT is an equalizer. Some schools have grade inflation, but I don't know how much of a roll that plays. If you are a successful student you will be able to get into med school.

The only real differences between big prestigious schools and small unknown schools are competitiveness within your own classes, availability of research and volunteering positions, and number of students in classes. I think some schools may help prepare their students better than other schools. I think the reason a lot of students from big named schools get in to medical schools is because they are the type of hardworking student that got into those schools, I don't think having the name of that school magically gets you in even if you don't study and blow off all your classes.
 

FluffyRabbit

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hahahaha Stanford is okay (most beautiful campus in america though). The great thing is there are so many pre-meds so there are plenty of opportunities to make study groups, etc. So you're never really alone. And people are really friendly and willing to help you. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunities I have. That said- professors here demand a lot of their students and it gets overwhelming.
Stanford does have an amazingly pretty campus, and it seems like a really nice place to do undergrad. :)
 
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:smuggrin:
Stanford does have an amazingly pretty campus, and it seems like a really nice place to do undergrad. :)
it's absolutely beautiful. look at pictures of the campus on Google Images and you'll be amazed. I'm a sophomore here now and I love it. I honestly wake up everyday appreciating what a privilege it is to go here. I want to live here the rest of my life!
 
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Stanford's campus is gorgeous, but I think pepperdine and Michigan St. (the most beautiful campus I've actually walked on) are both a little more attractive IMO.

yes pepperdine is very beautiful. I've seen pictures and it's right on the pacific ocean i think...michigan state i've never seen. I'll have to visit sometime!
 

bookfreak89

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Stanford's campus is gorgeous, but I think pepperdine and Michigan St. (the most beautiful campus I've actually walked on) are both a little more attractive IMO.
Never been to MSU, but Pepperdine is in Malibu and near the beach which is awesome, but might be distracting, lol. :cool:
 

guyski79

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I have heard a lot of contrasting view points on how where you did your undergrad affects your medical school application. Some people say going to a harder school doesn't give you anything while others say it matters. What have you guys heard? Does having a lower GPA from a more difficult school equate to a higher GPA from an easier school?

PS. This is assuming you did all your pre-reqs at a four-year college :)
Also went to Stanford. 3.5 GPA, accepted to 7 allo schools (2 top-10).

I think that absolutely where I went to school has helped me in the application process. Not necessarily because of the name, but more because of the opportunities that were available to me and I made use of.
 
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Also went to Stanford. 3.5 GPA, accepted to 7 allo schools (2 top-10).

I think that absolutely where I went to school has helped me in the application process. Not necessarily because of the name, but more because of the opportunities that were available to me and I made use of.

That's great news! Thanks a lot! Yeah, Stanford does give you limitless opportunity to make yourself a more attractive candidate. And just a better person in general. For me, and for most of you I'm sure, we've pushed ourselves to limits with some of these science classes. Even if I don't end up in medical school that experience will help carry me thru whatever I end up doing.
 
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Also went to Stanford. 3.5 GPA, accepted to 7 allo schools (2 top-10).

I think that absolutely where I went to school has helped me in the application process. Not necessarily because of the name, but more because of the opportunities that were available to me and I made use of.
I knew some people who went to Harvard. My sister-in-law got a sub 3.0 GPA, so there was no way she was going to medical school.

Another guy told me that most people who got at least a 3.4 with strong ECs, LOCs, and MCATs got in somewhere. He even said some 3.5/3.6 Harvard College grads beat out the 3.7+ group for HMS spots. Go figure.
 

iFearMCAT

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Do me a favor, take a look at the accepted facebook page for Yale's MD/PhD program (the MD program is a little less skewed I'll admit)

http://yalerei.org/mdphd/pdf/Student_Facebook_2008rev.pdf

Tons are from Ivy's or the comparison...bottom line name recognition helps for everything, although if you are a very (I emphasize very) top candidate or minority from an outside insitution you will get where you want to go (I assume you want to stay in the top 20 med school)...other than that names do count...hell name gets you an automatic interview at UMICH and many other schools, with a 37 MCAT of course

And please, this question has to be asked like once a month, stop asking it PLEASE...focus more on getting ripped off by Obingo Obamahealthcare plan than getting into a top medical school...everyone has an equal opportunity to make the same amount when they get out, and pretty soon that won't be s*%$ bc of Obingo and the sorry socialists that our ruining this country.....

Ron Paul: 2012 (Booyay!!!!) :D:D:D
 

iFearMCAT

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Also went to Stanford. 3.5 GPA, accepted to 7 allo schools (2 top-10).

I think that absolutely where I went to school has helped me in the application process. Not necessarily because of the name, but more because of the opportunities that were available to me and I made use of.

:thumbup: ditto on this...I don't go to Stanford, but pretty comparative; good friend 3.7 range GPA and a 33--acceptances gallore will be going to Hopkins or your school...again the name helped and the opportunities at my ungrad boosted this person a bunch....get involved as much as possible, keep a good GPA and MCAT (oh how much I loathe it) and you will beat out a bunch of similar candidates who don't have the name behind them
 
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I don't necessaily think I should be given a handicapp because I may graduate with a lower GPA. Physics is Physics and OChem is OChem no matter where you take it. The material isn't any different so it's whatever. I was just wondering. Where you do undergrad is a choice and if I graduate with a 3.0 and don't get one interview well then I made a bad choice lol! Admissions commitees want to see you can do well. That's the bottom line.
 

guyski79

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I don't necessaily think I should be given a handicapp because I may graduate with a lower GPA. Physics is Physics and OChem is OChem no matter where you take it. The material isn't any different so it's whatever. I was just wondering. Where you do undergrad is a choice and if I graduate with a 3.0 and don't get one interview well then I made a bad choice lol! Admissions commitees want to see you can do well. That's the bottom line.
That's true, F=MA is a universal, but the difficulty of the test on it certainly isn't. Nor is the competition from your classmates, which becomes especially important if you're graded on a curve relative to your peers (as I know from experience you are at Stanford).
 

ApoK

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:thumbup: ditto on this...I don't go to Stanford, but pretty comparative; good friend 3.7 range GPA and a 33--acceptances gallore will be going to Hopkins or your school...again the name helped and the opportunities at my ungrad boosted this person a bunch....get involved as much as possible, keep a good GPA and MCAT (oh how much I loathe it) and you will beat out a bunch of similar candidates who don't have the name behind them
Agree. Coming from Stanford will help you if you can manage to do well. Take advantage of all the resources there... research, volunteering, leadership. You can do so much at Stanford that would be difficult at a large public university. You should feel privileged (as you do) to have so many opportunities at your disposal! Try to keep at least a 3.7/35 and you'll be golden.
 

slowbutsteady

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That's great news! Thanks a lot! Yeah, Stanford does give you limitless opportunity to make yourself a more attractive candidate. And just a better person in general. For me, and for most of you I'm sure, we've pushed ourselves to limits with some of these science classes. Even if I don't end up in medical school that experience will help carry me thru whatever I end up doing.
Isn't Stanford in Palo Alto, not "Stanford, CA???"
 
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Isn't Stanford in Palo Alto, not "Stanford, CA???"
No it's in Stanford. Stanford is basically the campus and faculty housing. Portions of the campus are in Palo Alto so most people associate it with being in Palo Alto
 
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NYR56

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All you people saying the classes are the same everyone have clearly never experienced multiple schools. I graduated from Hopkins but have taken classes at CUNY Hunter, SUNY Old Westbury, and SUNY Farmingdale. Let me tell you, all four schools are COMPLETELY different. If you think chem is chem is chem, well, you're wrong. Some of the schools don't even require written lab reports, you just do the lab, hand in the data sheet, and get a 10/10. Meanwhile, I remember pulling all nighters just to get some lab reports done at Hopkins.

I'm telling you firsthand, it's easier to get an A at some places than a C at others. I'd love to know if med schools take that into consideration. They certainly should, it would hurt themselves if they didn't.
 
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this is a tough call.

but i think they don't take school into account enough in the screening process.

my friend had a 3.47 science, 3.65 overall GPA at an ivy and only got THREE interviews (his state school, his college, and his dad's med school). it was definitely his GPA that held him back (35 MCAT, athlete, research on healthcare that took him to foreign countries, founded a community service project, etc). if he goes to an easier school and gets a 3.8 GPA he's probably at a top 20 medical school (although i cant say much for his personal statement/LORs).

however, how much of these awesome extracurriculars were the product of being at a good school with a lot of awesome opportunities?
 

HAART

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Undergrad doesn't matter as long as your pre-reqs are at a 4 year schools.

However, MOST LIKELY it will help your chances having your primary degree and transcript coming from a 4 year school as well. As for differences between different 4 year schools, there really is no difference where you take the classes. But, I think that going to a CC for the rest of you classes may show a lack of commitment to studies beyond medicine, which can be looked down upon.
I met with the director of admissions at a MD school in the northeast on Friday, who said that at her school, as with many medical schools, your GPA is evaluated connected to the tier of your undergraduate institution. She said that her school specifically uses "Barrons" to see whether your undergrad institution was "extremely selective, very selective, selective" etc. So you can go with what cubssox said, or what I said - since they're exact opposite answers. Your call - I'd probably go with what came from a director of admissions though
 

slowbutsteady

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Undergrad doesn't matter as long as your pre-reqs are at a 4 year schools.

However, MOST LIKELY it will help your chances having your primary degree and transcript coming from a 4 year school as well. As for differences between different 4 year schools, there really is no difference where you take the classes. But, I think that going to a CC for the rest of you classes may show a lack of commitment to studies beyond medicine, which can be looked down upon.
So Harvard 3.6 = [fill in any 4 year school] 3.6?

You must realize that that is ridiculous.

Some med schools add .2 to .3 to GPAs from Harvard and Yale, and other top schools.

Just accept it. You can't change your undergrad, you can only delude yourself into thinking it is meaningless.

Get great grades wherever you are and go for it!!!! That's all any of us can do.
 

sewcurious

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So Harvard 3.6 = [fill in any 4 year school] 3.6?

You must realize that that is ridiculous.

Some med schools add .2 to .3 to GPAs from Harvard and Yale, and other top schools.

Just accept it. You can't change your undergrad, you can only delude yourself into thinking it is meaningless.

Get great grades wherever you are and go for it!!!! That's all any of us can do.
funny since Yale and Harvard are well known for grade inflation.
 

HAART

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funny since Yale and Harvard are well known for grade inflation.
If your class is made of some of the most brilliant young adults in the world (and a few george bush's), does it make a little sense that the percentage of A grades is higher than, say, State U, which takes students with 1000 SATs (old scoring)?
 

sewcurious

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If your class is made of some of the most brilliant young adults in the world (and a few george bush's), does it make a little sense that the percentage of A grades is higher than, say, State U, which takes students with 1000 SATs (old scoring)?
Not to the extent that it is seen. According to the Admin Dir of Yale Med School Yale undegrad consistenly has a grade distribution in which around 85% of grades given are A+Bs with 15% being everything else. The student's at Yale/Harvard are not much smarter than people going to other top schools (like Princeton, U CHicago, etc) who are known for being much more competative.
 

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Let me clarify for you. Attending a prestigious undergrad will certainly help you. But not greatly. If you don't do well in Harvard, medical schools will take someone from a state university with higher GPA. Will medical schools take a Harvard 3.6 over a state university with 4.0? Who knows. No matter where you go, always strive your best. If you have the chance, go to a more prestigious institution and do well there.

Quality of education is another thing. See, you might learn more in a small liberal arts college than in a Ivy League place. It also depends on each person. This is also a different topic.
 

sewcurious

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Let me clarify for you. Attending a prestigious undergrad will certainly help you. But not greatly. If you don't do well in Harvard, medical schools will take someone from a state university with higher GPA. Will medical schools take a Harvard 3.6 over a state university with 4.0? Who knows. No matter where you go, always strive your best. If you have the chance, go to a more prestigious institution and do well there.

Quality of education is another thing. See, you might learn more in a small liberal arts college than in a Ivy League place. It also depends on each person. This is also a different topic.
agreed
 

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For my 2 cents, I used to think that it didn't matter where you did undergrad. Now, after going through the process, I'm pretty sure it does. The whole self selection bias argument that the best kids go to ivy schools so it can be expected that they would be the best again applying for med school, is a pretty hard sell when each of my ivy interview groups had at least 75% ivy league grads in them. Also, sometimes if you go to a school's undergrad, their med school will give you some special consideration. I know for instance that Duke tries really hard to interview all duke undergrads that apply.

If you want to look at my personal example (which this is not intended to come across as bitter or a sob story), I decided to take a full ride scholarship at a top tier state schoo for undergradl. Now, my school is good, but it's not that good and really doesn't have a whole lot of name recognition, and as somebody said, yes we take students with 1000 on the SAT. How else would you fill a 5000 person class? Long story-short, I have ended up rejected post interview from Upitt, harvard, and yale, waitlisted at wake, duke, and upenn, and accepted at UNC. While, this is hardly definitive and there is a multitude of explanations for why a school would reject me, I find it really interesting that the only schools that accepted me or put me on a waitlist are in my home state and would most likely know the level of competitiveness of my scholarship (you can't really count penn's waitlist since they don't reject anyone post interview). Meanwhile, all schools above virginia, including the 3 ivy's, were intrigued enough to interview me, but ultimately decided other applicants were better fits for their programs. And it wasn't my southern drawl that tanked me either, since I don't have one. Granted, I suck at interviewing, but that is somewhat controlled for by the fact that I suck at them all the time.

Having said all of this, I still think it is possible to go anywhere from anywhere, but if you want to go to an ivy for med school, I suggest you do yourself a favor and go there for undergrad.
 

Van Chowder

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It's not a huge difference. GPA is GPA no matter where you go and the MCAT is an equalizer. Some schools have grade inflation, but I don't know how much of a roll that plays. If you are a successful student you will be able to get into med school.

The only real differences between big prestigious schools and small unknown schools are competitiveness within your own classes, availability of research and volunteering positions, and number of students in classes. I think some schools may help prepare their students better than other schools. I think the reason a lot of students from big named schools get in to medical schools is because they are the type of hardworking student that got into those schools, I don't think having the name of that school magically gets you in even if you don't study and blow off all your classes.
I highly disagree. Person X has an intelligence of an 8. Goes to an ivy league school where most people range between 8-10 in intelligence ( this may not be the case, but for argument sake) where the curve on exams may very well be a high one. If person X went to state school Y where intelligence is on average between a 3-6, getting the A would be much easier with that curve.

But yea the MCAT is the equalizer.
 

cubssox2000

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So Harvard 3.6 = [fill in any 4 year school] 3.6?

You must realize that that is ridiculous.

Some med schools add .2 to .3 to GPAs from Harvard and Yale, and other top schools.

Just accept it. You can't change your undergrad, you can only delude yourself into thinking it is meaningless.

Get great grades wherever you are and go for it!!!! That's all any of us can do.
Of course 3.6 at Harvard is not the same as 3.6 at CC. That wasn't my point. If someone is asking whether undergrad matters, they are not going to be asking if they would do better in Ivy over CC, but rather state school over CC. In that case, state schools are all on the same "tier" to use the term that HAART used.

Does undergrad matter? In a way, yes, because everything matters. Does it matter that you go to X University vs. X State vs. University of X, no that doesn't really matter. Again, going to CC will hurt you, but if you are worried about going to a CC hurting you, I am guessing that you don't have the opportunity to go to an Ivy school, so its a moot point whether Harvard=CC.
 

HAART

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Undergrad doesn't matter as long as your pre-reqs are at a 4 year schools.

However, MOST LIKELY it will help your chances having your primary degree and transcript coming from a 4 year school as well. As for differences between different 4 year schools, there really is no difference where you take the classes. But, I think that going to a CC for the rest of you classes may show a lack of commitment to studies beyond medicine, which can be looked down upon.
Of course 3.6 at Harvard is not the same as 3.6 at CC. That wasn't my point. If someone is asking whether undergrad matters, they are not going to be asking if they would do better in Ivy over CC, but rather state school over CC. In that case, state schools are all on the same "tier" to use the term that HAART used.

Does undergrad matter? In a way, yes, because everything matters. Does it matter that you go to X University vs. X State vs. University of X, no that doesn't really matter. Again, going to CC will hurt you, but if you are worried about going to a CC hurting you, I am guessing that you don't have the opportunity to go to an Ivy school, so its a moot point whether Harvard=CC.
You are right in saying it wasn't your point that 3.6 at harvard was the same as 3.6 at CC. CC's are 2 year colleges. Your point was that 3.6 at harvard is same as 3.6 at 4 year State U. That point was refuted absolutely by the director of admissions at a med school i spoke with last friday (see my above post).
 

cubssox2000

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I met with the director of admissions at a MD school in the northeast on Friday, who said that at her school, as with many medical schools, your GPA is evaluated connected to the tier of your undergraduate institution. She said that her school specifically uses "Barrons" to see whether your undergrad institution was "extremely selective, very selective, selective" etc. So you can go with what cubssox said, or what I said - since they're exact opposite answers. Your call - I'd probably go with what came from a director of admissions though
See my post above on why moving between "tiers" doesn't matter. Does Harvard = Yale = Princeton? Yes, it does. Does Michigan State = University of Michigan? Yes, it does. Does Duke = North Carolina = Wake Forest? Yes, it does. Does Harvard = MSU? Maybe not, but not enough to actually make a difference when you are considering that most people are seriously being considered have a 3.6+. There isn't that much room to move from there anyway.
 

slowbutsteady

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See my post above on why moving between "tiers" doesn't matter. Does Harvard = Yale = Princeton? Yes, it does. Does Michigan State = University of Michigan? Yes, it does. Does Duke = North Carolina = Wake Forest? Yes, it does. Does Harvard = MSU? Maybe not, but not enough to actually make a difference when you are considering that most people are seriously being considered have a 3.6+. There isn't that much room to move from there anyway.

Do you just make this stuff up?
 

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MSU campus from google imgs:






Every bossy campus has a clock tower.





and of course MSU has some beautiful females to help add to the campus beauty.
Is that last picture really of MSU? Somehow I get the impression it's the campus of a school that's unspeakable at my school....
 
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I'm of the opinion that undergraduate school does matter for the maybe the top 5 - 10 schools.

Just take a look at mdapplicants.com for Harvard undergraduates. ALL of them got in somewhere, even the ones in the 2.9 - 3.2 GPA range. That defies reality, and the normal experience for most other schools. My sister-in-law was sub 3.0, so she would have had a hard time without a significant reinvestment in remedial work.

What Haart said about the medical school admissions director gels with what another acquiantance said about 3.4 as a competitive med school GPA coming from Harvard.

As for grade inflation, sister-in-law and acquiantance said that premed Harvard courses doled out a healthy share of B-'s, Cs, and the occasional Ds/Fs. She mentioned a good number of starting premeds don't make it or the ones who could get in chose to do something else instead. Regarding grade inflation in non pre-med courses, they said that classes are curved around a B/B+, but getting a solid A or a C+ is extremely difficult.

Doesn't sound like grade inflation if you want a 3.7 - 4.0 for medical school, but it does sound like one large bell curve fixed around a 3.2.
 

necoli

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I am sure that attending a small state school has altered my study habits, and certainly made it easier to get an A. For instance, I got an A in my anatomy class thanks, in some measure, to the fact that the lecture tests were graded on a curve and many of my classmates were in over their head. That said, I don't think I am at a disadvantage to someone coming out of an ivy school, on account of all the opportunities available to me. Sure I don't get to do research with a nationally acclaimed scientist, but I do get class sizes of 15 students or less, letters of recommendation from professors who know me in and out, and a lack of competition amoungst pre-meds.

That's true, F=MA is a universal, but the difficulty of the test on it certainly isn't. Nor is the competition from your classmates, which becomes especially important if you're graded on a curve relative to your peers (as I know from experience you are at Stanford).
My Organic Chemistry final is a standardized national test made by some organic chemists' association that my professor is a member of. Seems relatively credible to me... granted it probably wasn't wasn't written by a nobel prize winner, but I doubt that my O. Chem final will be significantly easier than anyone else's, regardless of their institution.
 

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but I doubt that my O. Chem final will be significantly easier than anyone else's, regardless of their institution.
There's no way of knowing for sure though. It could be MUCH harder than at school X but MUCH easier than at school Y.
 

slowbutsteady

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Look, do not worry about it at all!!

if you do not go to Harvard or Yale you are not at a DISadvantage in the app process.

If you DO go to Harvard or Yale, congrats, you get a bump up!

Harvard and Yale have a 98-100% acceptance rate to medical school. If you want to be a doctor, you can be one.

That has nothing to do with the rest of you, so stop fretting and complaining.

(And yes, I went to Harvard. Yes I did much better in the process than my sad GPA deserved. No I did not get into a top 10 school, but i did get into a couple of top 20s. And yes, I am grateful.)
 
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mybubbles14

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All you people saying the classes are the same everyone have clearly never experienced multiple schools. I graduated from Hopkins but have taken classes at CUNY Hunter, SUNY Old Westbury, and SUNY Farmingdale. Let me tell you, all four schools are COMPLETELY different. If you think chem is chem is chem, well, you're wrong. Some of the schools don't even require written lab reports, you just do the lab, hand in the data sheet, and get a 10/10. Meanwhile, I remember pulling all nighters just to get some lab reports done at Hopkins.

I'm telling you firsthand, it's easier to get an A at some places than a C at others. I'd love to know if med schools take that into consideration. They certainly should, it would hurt themselves if they didn't.
I definitely noticed a difference between my top 10 and non-main campus state school that I took classes at back home. However, we did choose the prestigious school knowing that it would be different...

I don't know about other schools but our pre-med committee told us that we could have about .3 lower than averages and still have a decent chance. Not to say I took my classes thinking eh I can get by with this...I worked very hard in all of my classes and didn't even hear this "advice" until after the fact. Nevertheless, a 3.9 from Stanford would be pretty impressive and you're kidding yourself if you think it would be looked upon equivalently to a 3.9 from Durham City University. Just do your best and take advantage of the wonderful resources I'm sure you have there.
 

mybubbles14

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See my post above on why moving between "tiers" doesn't matter. Does Harvard = Yale = Princeton? Yes, it does. Does Michigan State = University of Michigan? Yes, it does. Does Duke = North Carolina = Wake Forest? Yes, it does. Does Harvard = MSU? Maybe not, but not enough to actually make a difference when you are considering that most people are seriously being considered have a 3.6+. There isn't that much room to move from there anyway.
:eek:

NEVER!!! :uhno:
 

Instatewaiter

But... there's a troponin
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Undergrad doesn't matter as long as your pre-reqs are at a 4 year schools.
I'm of the opinion that undergraduate school does matter for the maybe the top 5 - 10 schools.
I am finishing up at an "unranked" state school. Between 60-75% of each class is made up of people at top 60 ranked schools. Most of the rest are either from the direct acceptance program (from high school through the undergrad school to Med school), go to well known liberal arts colleges or are from smaller colleges in the state.
 

cubssox2000

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Do you just make this stuff up?
Of course not. I have no reason to make this up.

I think you have missed my entire point that schools along the same tier are basically equal to each other. The OP's question was does it matter where you go to school, and the answer is no, it really doesn't unless you went to a top 15 school or went to a community college. Beyond those extremes, it really doesn't matter.

Of course, that can change if you want to start discussing the possibility of going to a state school for undergrad and then applying to the same state school's medical school, but that is a different story.