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US News Rankings

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by AudioslaveFan, Aug 4, 2006.

  1. AudioslaveFan

    AudioslaveFan Member
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    I remember seeing a link to a site that had the research rankings of all Allopathic schools. I can't find the link so if anyone could post it, it would be much appreciated. :thumbup:
     
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  3. jstuds_66

    jstuds_66 Free cat to a good home
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  4. Svidrillion

    Svidrillion Member
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    Perhaps this has already been discussed in some other thread, but what does those rankings really even mean?

    Obviously, there is probably something different about the top five schools as compared to numbers 45-50, right?

    But how much credence should anyone put into the different between 33 and 34, or 17 and 21?

    How valid is the ranking methodology, anyway?
     
  5. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    The rankings are very important to premeds. After that, pretty useless. I spoke with a residency director once who laughed at the notion of much weight placed on USN&WR.

    It's handy for the data you can look at (ratios, funding, percentages, etc.), but the actual numeric rating is pretty useless.

    Is your criteria for what makes a good med school the same as the editors of USN&WR? Probably not.
     
  6. Svidrillion

    Svidrillion Member
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    On that note, what would be a good criteria for premeds to judge besides the US News ranking?

    And why are we humans so infatuated with rankings systems anyway? Is it because they seem to make concrete sense out of ethereal and confusing madness?
     
  7. AudioslaveFan

    AudioslaveFan Member
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  8. MED_04

    MED_04 Senior Member
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    no matter what ppl tell you, students in higher ranked schools DO tend to get accepted to the more competitive residency programs, obviously though its not just the school that makes those students competitive

    and i'm really wondering what school that residency director was from, cause i do sense alot of bitterness in lower ranked schools

    also for another tip look at all top 10 schools, they pretty much announce everywhere how top ten they are...
     
  9. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Notice that rankings are big things amongst premeds but not so much amongst liberal arts? I think it's indicative of the applicant.
     
  10. beaverfetus

    beaverfetus poo-tee-weet?
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    lets not get too profound. prestigious medschools get good matches for their students, and us news is a quick and dirty way of measuring "prestige". end o story.
     
  11. jstuds_66

    jstuds_66 Free cat to a good home
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    Was it called ................MSAR?
     
  12. Ari Gold

    Ari Gold .....
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    If they laugh at putting weight on the rankings then why do med schools boast about them in e-mail and brochures while hospitals speak about this and that specialty being "top ten as ranked by US News" complete with plaques. I never understood that.
     
  13. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    I think you might be confusing cause and effect. Schools receive higher rankings because students with higher numbers attend. Students with higher numbers get better residencies. Take an ambitious student with great skills and test taking abilities and put them in a middle ranked school, and they'll still get a killer residency.

    This guy was at UCSF. But I see your point. I'd be bitter too if my school's ability to attract students was hampered by the numerical rating from an organization with nothing to do with medicine.

    When a pullitzer prize winning author gets on Oprah's book club, that's what dominates the jacket. Not because Oprah is a literary critic genius. Just plain old marketing.
     
  14. beaverfetus

    beaverfetus poo-tee-weet?
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    My uncle is a residency director at a top 10 school, and he strongly urged me to (prestige) climb.
     
  15. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Is UCSF any less prestigious from one year to the next when it fluctuates a few rankings in USN&WR? No. Only in the mind of premeds who don't want to look deeper than that.

    Ask practicing physicians how much they care what their alma mater is ranked by USN&WR. I'm sure some do, but most of the ones I know just don't give a hoot. Do they care about how good the school is? Yes. But the two are entirely different things.
     
  16. beaverfetus

    beaverfetus poo-tee-weet?
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    when selecting 20 schools I'm going to go with the easiest possible barometer, which is usnews, and my father's opinion. Once I get in i'll delve deeper.
     
  17. geno2568

    geno2568 Senior Member
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    well, if not usn&wr, then what?

    what is the best way to rank med schools?

    (and please dont give me the whatever is best for you routine)
     
  18. Ari Gold

    Ari Gold .....
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    i agree, it's not perfect, but it's the best we've got. Like the BCS rankings. It takes so many factors, weights some more than others and spits out a list. it gives you a general idea and you can take it from there. if you think northwestern is better than UChicago, you are in no way crazy.
     
  19. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Ack. This is exactly why those USN&WR rankings aren't very relevant.

    Joe is an introvert who has a strong research bend and is thinking of going into academic medicine. He likes internal medicine, but would like to specialize. Not sure what.

    Susan is a very collaborative thinker, a 30 year old nontrad with two kids who is interested in pediatrics.

    Frank is interested in primary care with the underserved populations.

    All have exactly the same GPA/MCAT/alma mater.

    Pretending that USN&WR's rankings will help them select the best medical school is just plain wrong.
     
  20. dbhvt

    dbhvt Senior Member
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    USNEWS data that is helpful:
    residency director score

    Look up their methodology and understand what they're asking. Use that to interpret the residency director score.
     
  21. notdeadyet

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    I don't disagree with the data of USN&WR. I think it's very useful in helping folks make decisions. I know that I've used it. It's very useful.

    What I think is useless is the ranking they chug out that's supposed to be relevant. The data is great for you using in your criteria of what will be the most appropriate medical school. The ranking is not.

    Maybe you are exactly like the faceless drone that USN&WR is designing its criteria for. But probably not.
     
  22. Ari Gold

    Ari Gold .....
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    Well for the interest of not publishing 30,000 lists per year, they just created their own criteria they thought was relevant. The list is not meant to choose the best school for you the individual, that's too much work. If I was a really interested in underserved populations I would pick a school that would suit me but I would have no problem admiting that Harvard and others were a better school overall, just not for my purpose.

    Again I think each spot has a plus or minus of about 10 positions. But theres little doubt that a school ranked 5 is probably better overall for the average student than one ranked 35
     
  23. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    If your goal is to go to the university that has the highest prestige from residency directors, do not go with USN&WR's rankings.

    Duke, which is ranked 6th, is actually ranked 2nd by residency directors
    Stanford, which is ranked 7th, is actually ranked 4th by residency directors

    See what I mean? Find what your criteria is for the right medical school and go by that. Not the criteria that USN&WR feeds you.
     
  24. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    And if you're that average student... score!
     
  25. Ari Gold

    Ari Gold .....
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    I have a face but that's besides the point. they are designing it for the 'average' applicant. i know the whole thing that everyone one is a unique snowflake, but some things are the most useful for medical school students, like grant money, faculty ratio, peer scores, and yes residency matched. And if you don't want to use it then use an alphabetical list of all of the schools. No biggie.
     
  26. Ari Gold

    Ari Gold .....
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    we all go into making the average applicant
     
  27. notdeadyet

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    Sorry, I meant the general "you", not Mr. Ironhead2000.

    Maybe you have a great handle on USN&WR's criteria, but I notice that most premeds take it lock, stock, and barrel with a very vague notion of exactly how it's all weighted. Then come decision time, they conclude "Well, X is higher ranked than Y" without knowing where that came from.

    If I conduct an experiment in the lab, I will look at the data and analyze it with my own criteria. Taking someone elses blindly would be foolhardy.
     
  28. Ari Gold

    Ari Gold .....
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    I know i was just messing around about the face. I hate when people take it blindly too, I'm am not looking forward to the day when I may have to justify not going to a higher ranked school just because I want to go out of state. But earlier you were saying that it couldn't help different people select a medical school, and I'm just saying that it can their helpful with a grain of salt and giving the numbers some flexibility. I agree that they should carry FAARR less weight than they do in peoples desicion making.
     
  29. jocg27

    jocg27 Senior Member
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    Grant money will have very very little effect on your time there as a med student....

    And faculty ratio can be figured in so many ways by different schools it's nearly meaningless. Who is considered faculty? Do they see students? How much? Sure, super powered research institutions have lots of professors. But if they research full time and never work with students, how does that affect you as an MS1, 2, 3, or 4?

    MAYBE it will make you very slightly more able to find a research mentor during the 2 months between first and second year. But probably not even that.
     
  30. notdeadyet

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    For anyone wanting to know how USN&WR creates their rankings, you can see the criteria here. It's much simpler than folks might expect.

    Many medical schools have objected on how it's done. A particular sticking point is that 20% of the ranking is a "peer assessment" in which every dean had the opportunity to rank every other medical school. Many deans polled said that they had no idea of the actual quality at other medical schools. While they had the opportunity of selecting "don't know", they felt that this created quite a flux in scores.

    Also, speak to medical students and practicing physicians and one thing that you will hear repeatedly is this: much of a successful medical education comes from the quality of years 3 and 4. USN&WR does not have any yardstick taking in to account rotations or hospital affiliations (beds, traffic, etc.).

    Happy hunting...
     
  31. Ari Gold

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    maybe I should clarify.. I'm looking for places with very little grant money and a high student to faculty ratio. thanks for the try anyway.
     
  32. notdeadyet

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    Good point. And it's a full 20% of the rankings.
     
  33. jocg27

    jocg27 Senior Member
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    Okay.....For the "average" applicant the rankings are "designed for," grant money, whether very high or low, has little to no effect on their time at that school...

    :rolleyes:
     
  34. jocg27

    jocg27 Senior Member
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    and I stick to the argument that a student/faculty ratio like like 1.24325 in no way sums up the number or quality of faculty you'll actually interact with in 4 years.
     
  35. notdeadyet

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    Interestingly, of the schools with the top ten best student-faculty ratios, none of them are ranked in the top 50. So if student-faculty ratio is a big criteria, do not use USN&WR's rankings.
     
  36. geno2568

    geno2568 Senior Member
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    yur probably reading it wrong

    its listed as faculty-student ratio, so a high number is a good thing
     
  37. jocg27

    jocg27 Senior Member
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    At one of my interviews a couple years ago, it seemed to me that a particular schools major selling point was their spot on these rankings, and how quickly they had climbed them and gained on their competition and this and that...They also made a huge deal of their goal and their very specific plans in place to gain X more spots within X years, I don't remember specifics. Everything they were doing was very much for the purpose of moving up this list. It seemed to be their very raison d'etre.

    It really rubbed me the wrong way, and I didn't even consider the school in my final decision.
     
  38. Ari Gold

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    if it's going their way the rankings are significant. if their slipping the list doesn't matter.
     
  39. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Ah-ha. You're right. I thought it odd that Harvard and Mayo sucked so bad.
     
  40. AudioslaveFan

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  41. DougFlutie

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  42. thinknofu3

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    We had this discussion on the boards a long time ago. Anybody fretting over US News rankings should check out this article, which is a fairly detailed study published in Academic Medicine, the journal of the AAMC:

    McGaghie, WC & Thompson, JA (2001). America’s Best Medical Schools: A Critique of the U.S. News & World Report Rankings. Academic Medicine, 76, 985-992.
    ABSTRACT: Rankings of American medical schools published annually by the news magazine U.S. News & World Report are widely used to judge the quality of the schools and their programs. The authors describe and then critique the rankings on methodologic and conceptual grounds, arguing that the annual U.S. News medical school evaluation falls short in both areas. Three categories of program quality indicators different from those used by U.S. News are presented as alternative ways to judge medical schools. The authors conclude that the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings of American medical schools are ill-conceived; are unscientific; are conducted poorly; ignore medical school accreditation; judge medical school quality from a narrow, elitist perspective; and do not consider social and professional outcomes in program quality calculations. The medical school rankings have no practical value and fail to meet standards of journalistic ethics.

    That should tell you the story right there. You can look up the article on your own if you can (it's an interesting read), or if you're really having trouble finding it, PM me.

    That all being said, the US News rankings can probably give you a guideline of what are "top-tier" schools, but keep in mind there are plenty of very good schools that don't even make their top 50 list (keeping in mind there are over 100 MD schools in the US). If they're a guideline, it's a very broad one.
     
  43. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    In med school a huge % of people in every class will not be in attendance to lectures and will study on their own. So EVERY school that doesn't mandate attendance has a wonderful faculty to student ratio. If you want access to the professor, you can have it. I wouldn't focus on this factor too strongly.
     
  44. 8744

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    Simple.

    Location, price, and curriculum. (Problem-based learning vs lecture)

    On the other hand if prestige is important to you than just admit it and go for the prestigious schools. Nothing wrong with that. We beat this dead horse constantly but how well you do in medical school has more to do with where you match than where you went. My medical school doesn't even come within shouting distance USNWR's list but we sent people to Harvard, Mayo, and other "top tier" centers for residency. And we had the typical spread of matches in urology, neurosurgery, opthamology, and the usual competitive specialties.
     
  45. notdeadyet

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    Exactly. I've also heard that for those who study best independently, schools who make lecture notes/powerpoints available for download can be key. Also important is whether a school is ABCDF vs. PF.
     
  46. jocg27

    jocg27 Senior Member
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    This is why I think these rankings are completely worthless....Everything they measure is so vaguelly defined its nearly meaningless...If you can change the way you calculate something and it ranks you as a significantly 'better' school, then the orders are pointless. If everyones calulating this stuff (which arguably does not matter to you in the first place as a student) differently, how on earth can anyone pay attention to this garbage?

    From todays Chicago Tribune, one example out of I'm sure dozens of why this system is ridiculous.
     
  47. Zoom-Zoom

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    Good article. I agree that the US News rankings are extremely subjective and pretty much worthless, especially when making individual decisions. They do represent a school's "reputation", however, whether it is justified or not, and serve as a "what does the rest of the country think of school X"-meter. Whether the reputations or rankings came first is ultimately a useless debate because they will both be around forever, unfortunately.
     

  48. Thanks for sticking with it even though your thread was hijacked - I was interested as well! :)

    If you look at the info on the rankings there is a lot you can learn about a school - and some of this info is stuff you're not going to find out from the school itself.
     
  49. Zoom-Zoom

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    Is there a way to convert that to excel?
     

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