WashU (rigorous and prestigious) vs Tufts for pre-med

Sep 1, 2016
3
1
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Pre-Dental, Pre-Medical, Pre-Optometry, Pre-Pharmacy, Pre-Podiatry
I am debating between applying ED to one of these schools. Overall, I heard good things about both about the students, but WashU is definitely more prestigious and more popular among students. I also heard that they grade tests on curves, which must add a competitive feeling to the atmosphere. While I will learn more from WashU pre-med, I fear that the rigor and competitiveness will burn me out and possibly give me a lower GPA, while Tufts i get the feeling its less rigorous and I will probably get a higher GPA.

Which one is preferred? Any opinions?
 
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0ccam

Getting somewhere
Aug 29, 2016
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Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I'm not entirely qualified to answer, having never been in a college environment and all, but I can speak based off of what I've seen on this forum so far. I've perused several threads bearing resemblance to the you've posted here, and one thing I've noticed is that a ton of members currently enrolled in medical school suggest taking the route that would leave you with the most competitive GPA. According to pre-med and med students alike; GPA (as well as E.C.'s and the MCAT) plays a huge role throughout the application process. Personally, I feel that you should choose whichever University suits your educational and lifestyle needs best. If you personally believe that the rigor and prestige of WashU will help you in the long run despite the probable grade deflation and competition, go for it. I've heard nothing but good things about WashU from it's current and past students. If you'd rather attend a school that you would undoubtedly perform well in without the rigor and prestige of WashU, why not. Having an easier pre-med experience at Tufts might enable you to develop a better social life than you would have had at WashU. I've also heard that your choice of undergraduate education does not play a huge role relative to the importance of GPA and standardized test scores. While attending WashU might catch an admissions officer's eye (really have no concept of Med School admissions, so don't take my word on this) due to its notoriety as a rough n' tough college, it's likely that they'll prioritize your performance. Don't discount Tufts as an easier school in comparison to WashU, though. Even if it's considered to be easier than WashU, it's still entirely possible that the course load there will be rigorous as well! Also make sure to research the courses and such to make sure you're getting the best educational medium for you. If I had to personally choose between either school, I'd likely go with WashU. I love their curriculum and campus! Again, I'm only in High School, so my opinion is really not representative of one that somebody with experience might give. I'd love to hear about whichever you decide to attend; hearing about other people's college experiences is great. I wish you luck on your future endeavors. I hope this helped to some degree. (I apologize in advance for any grammatical errors that this post is likely riddled with, I had to type this response up in the last few seconds of my second period. :^))
 

Doxorubicin

10+ Year Member
Aug 8, 2009
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Medical Student
I am debating between applying ED to one of these schools. Overall, I heard good things about both about the students, but WashU is definitely more prestigious and more popular among students. I also heard that they grade tests on curves, which must add a competitive feeling to the atmosphere. While I will learn more from WashU pre-med, I fear that the rigor and competitiveness will burn me out and possibly give me a lower GPA, while Tufts i get the feeling its less rigorous and I will probably get a higher GPA.

Which one is preferred? Any opinions?
Admission to professional schools is, to some degree, a numbers game.
Someone with a 3.9 from Tufts will likely get the nod over someone with a 3.2 from WUSTL. All things equal besides institution, the person from the better school will probably get in... but things are rarely, if ever, truly equal.

That said, if you're driven, hard-working, and smart (which you must be to get into either school for undergrad,) you'll probably get into professional school as long as you continue plugging away.
 
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Sep 5, 2016
66
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Pre-Dental
Consider the inexpensive route. If I were you I'd even consider going a state university, if you can get into schools like tufts and WashU, you can probably get substantial scholarships and entrance to the honors college at your state university.
 
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efle

not an elf
5+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2014
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WashU alumnus here.

Firstly, how concerned are you with the financial aspect of college? When you apply ED, you lose the ability to get multiple financial packages and ask schools to rise to meet others' offers. I personally got WashU to add 10k+ to my yearly financial aid because I had gotten a much better offer from Vandy. Obviously ED greatly improves your odds at the target school, but it's only worth doing if you're in a position where admittance will decide your options more than costs will.

Secondly, the Tufts student body has rapidly risen to rival some of the Top 20s in academic ability. See below SAT ranges (Tufts left, WashU right) from this year's classes. Only a 10-20 pt difference these days!

And, grading on curves is ubiquitous at top university campuses. They will sometimes get clever and pseudocurve, like the WashU GenChem classes do, where static point thresholds are set for grades at the start of the class...but those cutoffs are built on the score distribution of the prior year of students. Since the student body changes little, it's not any easier to clear a B+/A- than it would be if you were curved against those in class with you. This does, however, have the advantage of removing the sense of competition, because you are all competing against last year's kids, not each other.

Point being, Tufts isn't going to feel noticeably less difficult. I wouldn't enroll there on the grounds that you'll get higher grades.

Happy to answer any questions about WashU/college premed in general.