Weight of medical program attended in matching to a competitive residency?

Sep 12, 2013
33
17
Status
Pre-Medical
I'm in the very fortunate position to have several acceptances to great programs. When I say great I mean in my own opinion. Some are not viewed as "prestigious" in general and others are top 20. I'm currently deciding between a prestigious program with a full tuition scholarship or an unranked school with a small amount of scholarship. I'm a single parent and the unranked school is closest to my family. The prestigious program is in another state but I have a good amount of helpful friends in the area. Going to the prestigious program would be easier on my wallet but harder for the child aspect. My question is: how much weight does medical school attended play in matching to a competitive residency? I don't know what I want to specialize in but I want to be as best prepared as possible.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ponyo

sinombre

carboloading
7+ Year Member
May 20, 2012
9,507
14,953
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Can you move your family to where you end up going? There's a good chance you'll have to move them for residency anyway...
 

Aerus

Elemental Alchemist
7+ Year Member
Apr 21, 2012
3,222
2,368
Status
Medical Student
Short answer, yes it does matter. Letters of rec, clinical performance, and Step scores matter more, but the name will be factored in. A full scholarship is also hard to pass up. I would move and try to make things work, if I were you.
 
  • Like
Reactions: fastlane
OP
R
Sep 12, 2013
33
17
Status
Pre-Medical
Can you move your family to where you end up going? There's a good chance you'll have to move them for residency anyway...
I can definitely move my child but not my parents, unfortunately. Moving during residency is likely but it would be much easier to manage since my daughter will be ready for college o_O (I was a very young parent).
 

ksmi117

GEAUX TIGERS!!!
Moderator Emeritus
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 16, 2008
21,960
179
Status
Resident [Any Field]
It does play some role, but in the end, doing well in school and on step 1 will matter more. If you end up wanting to go into plastics or dermatology, I'd think that having the school name would be worth it as any little boost helps with matching into those fields. However, I'd think that the full tuition should be the bigger draw to avoid debt especially as a parent. You'll likely have to move away from family at some point in your medical career be it for school, residency, fellowship, or a job. And I'd think that medical school, especially the first two years offer more time for family, as opposed to residency.
 
  • Like
Reactions: vc7777 and sinombre

Catalystik

The Gimlet Eye
10+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2006
32,393
12,001
Camp SDN: The Place for Summer Fun
It does play some role, but in the end, doing well in school and on step 1 will matter more.
And clerkship evaluations, and LORs, and research involvement (depending on specialty and career goals). You can shine in all these areas wherever you attend with hard work and determination. The lesser-known name of a med school need not be a bar to a "brand name" residency, if that becomes your goal.
 
  • Like
Reactions: vc7777

ponyo

人魚姫
7+ Year Member
Aug 12, 2009
581
82
North of Key West
Status
Medical Student
I'm in the very fortunate position to have several acceptances to great programs. When I say great I mean in my own opinion. Some are not viewed as "prestigious" in general and others are top 20. I'm currently deciding between a prestigious program with a full tuition scholarship or an unranked school with a small amount of scholarship. I'm a single parent and the unranked school is closest to my family. The prestigious program is in another state but I have a good amount of helpful friends in the area. Going to the prestigious program would be easier on my wallet but harder for the child aspect. My question is: how much weight does medical school attended play in matching to a competitive residency? I don't know what I want to specialize in but I want to be as best prepared as possible.
I have no expertise on your question but just wanted to say that I have so, so much respect for you, for being a single parent and not giving up on your dreams.
 
Jun 21, 2012
470
346
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I'm in the very fortunate position to have several acceptances to great programs. When I say great I mean in my own opinion. Some are not viewed as "prestigious" in general and others are top 20. I'm currently deciding between a prestigious program with a full tuition scholarship or an unranked school with a small amount of scholarship. I'm a single parent and the unranked school is closest to my family. The prestigious program is in another state but I have a good amount of helpful friends in the area. Going to the prestigious program would be easier on my wallet but harder for the child aspect. My question is: how much weight does medical school attended play in matching to a competitive residency? I don't know what I want to specialize in but I want to be as best prepared as possible.
Impressive that you've gone from being a very young parent to a successful med school applicant.

There tends to be a fair amount of regional preference in the residency application process in many fields. An "unranked" school will make it difficult to match into a great program in certain areas (i.e. NYC, CA) if that's not where the school is. A prestigious program will give you more opportunity to up and relocate to a different region regardless of where it is.

You'd need to ask students at this "prestigious" program, but in general I feel like these schools are more supportive and attentive to their students' needs once they're admitted. I know there's plenty of less prestigious programs that make amazingly positive & supportive environments for their students, but overall, from what I hear from my former post-bac classmates, the resources of the big name schools beget a system that's better equipped to help you out when you're in a pinch as a non-trad.

Personally, knee deep in residency interviewing/ranking, I am grateful to be somewhere with a relatively well regarded name, nationally. I don't think I'd have gotten some of the interviews I've gotten if I came from the other med schools I'd been considering & I'd be having a much harder time ensuring my ability to relocate near my significant other . . . and I'm going into a less competitive field & not coming from a top 20 program. In general, you also have a leg up when it comes to applying to the residencies at your home institution. If you don't even know what field you want to go into, and you consider the other program "unranked", I'd err on the side of caution and assume that you'll be grateful for the boost a prestigious school gives you. It'd be awful to get on the other side of this and realize you're dying to go into field X, not match, and wonder "what if?" and with more debt, nonetheless.
 
  • Like
Reactions: vagabondrunning

TheThirdLevel

7+ Year Member
Feb 12, 2010
713
204
Status
Medical Student
One thing you could potentially try is trying to see if the closer school can match scholarships or give you a slightly better scholarship that could help minimize a difference in costs.
 

baboxxyun

7+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2010
45
19
Status
Medical Student
I'm in the very fortunate position to have several acceptances to great programs. When I say great I mean in my own opinion. Some are not viewed as "prestigious" in general and others are top 20. I'm currently deciding between a prestigious program with a full tuition scholarship or an unranked school with a small amount of scholarship. I'm a single parent and the unranked school is closest to my family. The prestigious program is in another state but I have a good amount of helpful friends in the area. Going to the prestigious program would be easier on my wallet but harder for the child aspect. My question is: how much weight does medical school attended play in matching to a competitive residency? I don't know what I want to specialize in but I want to be as best prepared as possible.
Quality of education is more or less the same at all medical schools. Boards will matter the most in the end.
But your biggest dilemma is money vs family.

If moving jeopardizes your relationship with your family, it is NOT worth it.
You can pay back debt, but you can not get back lost time with family.

Majority of the posters aren't parents (myself included), so it's much easier to toss the idea of "go to the more prestigious school with the scholarship" and simply just "make it work."
 
Jun 21, 2012
470
346
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Majority of the posters aren't parents (myself included), so it's much easier to toss the idea of "go to the more prestigious school with the scholarship" and simply just "make it work."
Family comes first. Choose the school that's easiest for your family.
I don't think the suggestions to move are unreasonable. The kid in question isn't little. If her daughter will be college-aged by the end of med school, she must be around 13 now. During didactic years, the OP & her daughter will probably have a pretty similar schedule. The OP's daughter will be 15/16 by the time she's doing clinical rotations when the scheduling gets really difficult, and A 15/16 year old is pretty self-sufficient, has alternatives for transportation, and honestly often doesn't want to be around parents/grandparents that much. The experience for the daughter might be better in one place than the other as well -- more academically oriented communities offer more opportunities to kids who are bright and motivated (if daughter is anything like mom), and that could be great for the kid. Lots of kids grow up apart from grandparents, so unless they were her primary care provider due to the OP's young age, I don't think it's horrible to relocate . . . plus this daughter likely is old enough to give her 2 cents about the move.
 
  • Like
Reactions: sinombre

vc7777

Nontrad MD/MS Resident
Moderator Emeritus
7+ Year Member
Jul 1, 2009
3,568
280
Midwest
Status
Resident [Any Field]
This question is better suited for the nontraditional subforum (most of the premed parents hang out there)

As a father of a teenage daughter who made the move without his family to be at a top medical school, your predicament resonates with me. I agree with many: neither school will limit your chances in residency. Indeed, there is nothing school-specific about the basic sciences. I joke during interview days saying top medical schools don't have classes like "secrets of the liver: revealed".

It is still early, and I think you should see what the financial aid package might be like before comparing. Things like scholarships and grants can come late in the season. You could be quite surprised when the dust settles. It might be worth talking to the financial aid counselor about this predicament at your "unranked" school

Sent from my Galaxy Note 3
 
Last edited:
2

235009

I don't think the suggestions to move are unreasonable. The kid in question isn't little. If her daughter will be college-aged by the end of med school, she must be around 13 now. During didactic years, the OP & her daughter will probably have a pretty similar schedule. The OP's daughter will be 15/16 by the time she's doing clinical rotations when the scheduling gets really difficult, and A 15/16 year old is pretty self-sufficient, has alternatives for transportation, and honestly often doesn't want to be around parents/grandparents that much. The experience for the daughter might be better in one place than the other as well -- more academically oriented communities offer more opportunities to kids who are bright and motivated (if daughter is anything like mom), and that could be great for the kid. Lots of kids grow up apart from grandparents, so unless they were her primary care provider due to the OP's young age, I don't think it's horrible to relocate . . . plus this daughter likely is old enough to give her 2 cents about the move.
Wanted to echo this opinion.

Where you go to med school gives you a boost when it comes to residency match regardless of specialty. The fact that your daughter is a teenager dramatically changes the equation and makes moving away an easy choice. You wouldn't even need to pay for a babysitter and with how much kids are involved in after school activities these days it wouldn't surprise me if she has longer days than you will during preclinical years.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Plecopotamus
Sep 23, 2013
98
35
Status
Pre-Medical
I don't think the suggestions to move are unreasonable. The kid in question isn't little. If her daughter will be college-aged by the end of med school, she must be around 13 now. During didactic years, the OP & her daughter will probably have a pretty similar schedule. The OP's daughter will be 15/16 by the time she's doing clinical rotations when the scheduling gets really difficult, and A 15/16 year old is pretty self-sufficient, has alternatives for transportation, and honestly often doesn't want to be around parents/grandparents that much. The experience for the daughter might be better in one place than the other as well -- more academically oriented communities offer more opportunities to kids who are bright and motivated (if daughter is anything like mom), and that could be great for the kid. Lots of kids grow up apart from grandparents, so unless they were her primary care provider due to the OP's young age, I don't think it's horrible to relocate . . . plus this daughter likely is old enough to give her 2 cents about the move.
But as a 13 year old it would probably be more difficult to up-root her in her high school years. I can give no informed advice here besides you really should talk to your daughter about moving.
 
Jun 21, 2012
470
346
Status
Resident [Any Field]
This question is better suited for the nontraditional subforum (most of the premed parents hang out there)
Agreed.

I agree with many: neither school will limit your chances in residency.
This is patently false. You can get *a* residency, but you have much less control over getting to certain regions or certain tiers of programs in some fields without going to a highly regarded school.

Indeed, there is nothing school-specific about the basic sciences. I joke during interview days saying top medical schools don't have classes like "secrets of the liver: revealed".
This is golden. I'd like to do an away rotation with "secrets of the kidney: revealed".
Although I firmly believe in what I said about residency chances, I don't think it's justified, and I think you can be competent and even a downright good doctor regardless of where you go.
 
Last edited:

Mad Jack

Critically Caring
5+ Year Member
Jul 27, 2013
35,441
64,840
4th Dimension
If your child will be ready for college by the time you will begin residency, then your child will be in high school soon, correct? If this is true, I would go to the more prestigious school, both to spare your wallet and help you in the matching process. While you may have the opportunity to match to any specialty with high enough board scores, some high-ranked programs are more apt to take those from institutions of higher prestige. A full scholarship is also a godsend. But you have to do what you feel is right in the end. If you feel that taking care of your child and going to medical school with no family support will be seriously detrimental to your education, or to your daughter's emotional health, then perhaps it would be a less than ideal move to make.

You should also think about what specialty you plan to pursue in coming to a final decision. If you want something extremely competitive like derm, you'll have a slight edge at a better program with the same board scores. But if you want a moderately competitive specialty like EM or anesthesia, your program will matter much less.
 

BurberryDoc

Account on Hold
Account on Hold
Jun 7, 2013
2,267
376
Pawnee, IN
I'm in the very fortunate position to have several acceptances to great programs. When I say great I mean in my own opinion. Some are not viewed as "prestigious" in general and others are top 20. I'm currently deciding between a prestigious program with a full tuition scholarship or an unranked school with a small amount of scholarship. I'm a single parent and the unranked school is closest to my family. The prestigious program is in another state but I have a good amount of helpful friends in the area. Going to the prestigious program would be easier on my wallet but harder for the child aspect. My question is: how much weight does medical school attended play in matching to a competitive residency? I don't know what I want to specialize in but I want to be as best prepared as possible.
First of all, much prop for enduring the soul-hammering process of preparing and applying to medical school while also wearing the hat of single-parent. Holy $#!T I couldn't do what you are doing.

Regarding your question: you should really look at the match lists for each of these schools, and if you know what area(s) of medicine you want to go into, take note of the programs (and number of graduates matching to these programs.) While your USMLE scores, clerkship evaluations, and LoR's will be very important, name recognition helps. I've been accepted to two programs, roughly of equal cost - one of these schools matched one student to Mass Gen for radiology, but the remainder of their graduating class had unremarkable residency placements, so my gut feeling is that this was one stellar applicant in the class of a poorly-reputed school. The other school, is consistently matching to the top residency programs in all categories, form Anesthesiology to I.M. to Dermatology to Orthopaedic surgery. (By the way, this second school is not a top 20...) If the prestige of residency matters to you, or if your clinical pedigree is something you hold near and dear, go to the more prestigious school with the full scholarship. In the short term, while it may be tougher on your child, in the long term you both will be better off (you won't have to pay back all that money if you have a full-ride scholarship, so once you are in residency you can use that money to continue to provide instead of paying back $600/month.)

Good luck, and keep that head up ;-)
 
OP
R
Sep 12, 2013
33
17
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks for the responses/comments. Its a big decision and one that requires a great deal of consideration on my part. The move is not favorable but doable. I've moved before and the result was manageable. We are creatures of habit and making several changes at once can be filled with anxiety for everyone involved, but I'm glad to know there are genuinely helpful SDNers out there.
 

vc7777

Nontrad MD/MS Resident
Moderator Emeritus
7+ Year Member
Jul 1, 2009
3,568
280
Midwest
Status
Resident [Any Field]
You are most welcome. As the moderator of the non-trad forum, I really encourage you to check it out for more insightful responses.
 
Jun 21, 2012
470
346
Status
Resident [Any Field]
If you want something extremely competitive like derm, you'll have a slight edge at a better program with the same board scores. But if you want a moderately competitive specialty like EM or anesthesia, your program will matter much less.
You're a pre-med and haven't even come close to actually doing the match, so I'm going to call you out on regurgitating misleading info here. Go on residency interviews at strong programs even in a less competitive specialty and tell me who you see there and who you don't see there. Wait until you and your pre-med friends compare notes from your different residency application experiences. You can luck out and be the random person from an unranked school who gets a 265 Step 1 and secures an interview at a top notch program. People from "unranked" programs will tout that possibility, and I understand why. And by no means am I saying it's fair, but there is a definite bias in getting interviews -- both regional and based on prestige of your school. (And for the sake of full disclosure, I'm writing this based on experiences applying to a non-competitive specialty from a decent but not top ranked school).

Yes, you can look at the average Step scores for a lot of specialties and the % matched, and remark "wow, that doesn't look that bad," but you're not privy to details within that: who matched where and with what scores? There is a huge difference in many fields between matching to a community program vs matching to an academic institution, and it's not reflected in the NRMP breakdown. All those applicant matched, but some essentially have a door closed to certain fellowships and career options. It's totally fine to want a community program, and it reflects different goals that we need to have in good healthcare. Certainly, I don't think I'd be making these comments if the OP expressed a commitment to FM or Psych, fields in which community-based training is pretty standard. Nonetheless, when giving general advice for someone who hasn't expressed an intention to practice in a certain context, you cannot make blanket statements about how something like this "matters less" in the context of fields on par with EM or Anesthesia.
 
Last edited:

vc7777

Nontrad MD/MS Resident
Moderator Emeritus
7+ Year Member
Jul 1, 2009
3,568
280
Midwest
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I'm glad we can agree on this. ;) Since it's one of the forums I moderate.

This is patently false. You can get *a* residency, but you have much less control over getting to certain regions or certain tiers of programs in some fields without going to a highly regarded school.
We can agree to disagree - but your "patently false" claim is a little off-base. I didn't say that it would be easy - so on that you're right. But I'll also say that a "highly regarded school" doesn't guarantee diddly-squat either. You need to bust your hump wherever you go to medical school - that's for sure.
 

ksmi117

GEAUX TIGERS!!!
Moderator Emeritus
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 16, 2008
21,960
179
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Yeah, but the student graduating at the bottom of their class from Mayo Clinic still gets their first choice residency...
You're not serious, right? A name can help you, that's for sure. But even at the best school in the country, with poor grades, poor letters, poor board scores, etc. you're gonna be hard pressed to match if you want to do something competitive. Going to a top school is not a free ride.
 

BurberryDoc

Account on Hold
Account on Hold
Jun 7, 2013
2,267
376
Pawnee, IN
You're not serious, right? A name can help you, that's for sure. But even at the best school in the country, with poor grades, poor letters, poor board scores, etc. you're gonna be hard pressed to match if you want to do something competitive. Going to a top school is not a free ride.
Mayo boasts a 100% match rate, and 100% of the graduating class gets their first choice residency....this was the reason I applied to Mayo. You have to also consider, self-selection...people attending schools like Mayo (or any medical school, for the most part) aren't schlubbs, and are hard-working from day 1. Still, show me a state school that isn't in California that can boast these kinds of accolades.
 

vc7777

Nontrad MD/MS Resident
Moderator Emeritus
7+ Year Member
Jul 1, 2009
3,568
280
Midwest
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Yeah, but the student graduating at the bottom of their class from Mayo Clinic still gets their first choice residency...
I'm not sure how you would know this? This would all be self-reported by the students after match. I'm not sure why we are discussing match lists anyways - there are so many variables including many very personal and unknowable priorities and preferences that go into making a match list. Unless you actually HAVE their ranking lists the match results are hard to interpret for your own graduating class. Furthermore, they are nearly impossible to interpret for the class above you in your own school. They are essentially inscrutable to anyone else.
Mayo boasts a 100% match rate, and 100% of the graduating class gets their first choice residency....this was the reason I applied to Mayo. You have to also consider, self-selection...people attending schools like Mayo (or any medical school, for the most part) aren't schlubbs, and are hard-working from day 1. Still, show me a state school that isn't in California that can boast these kinds of accolades.
You mention "self-selection" and you're right! there is self selection at all levels... but have you considered that self-selection might be happening with their match list too? 100% 1st choice means one of three things: An amazing and wonderful fluke for a single graduating class or 50 or so, a lot of self-reported fibbing, or they may be encouraged not to stretch themselves and pressured to rank conservatively to get their first choice locked-up. My guess is a little of all of that?

Out in the rest of the world, they say "unless you are hearing 'NO' half the time you are negotiating your salary, then you are not being paid your market value." I think this could apply to residency programs too.
 

Mad Jack

Critically Caring
5+ Year Member
Jul 27, 2013
35,441
64,840
4th Dimension
You're a pre-med and haven't even come close to actually doing the match, so I'm going to call you out on regurgitating misleading info here. Go on residency interviews at strong programs even in a less competitive specialty and tell me who you see there and who you don't see there. Wait until you and your pre-med friends compare notes from your different residency application experiences. You can luck out and be the random person from an unranked school who gets a 265 Step 1 and secures an interview at a top notch program. People from "unranked" programs will tout that possibility, and I understand why. And by no means am I saying it's fair, but there is a definite bias in getting interviews -- both regional and based on prestige of your school. (And for the sake of full disclosure, I'm writing this based on experiences applying to a non-competitive specialty from a decent but not top ranked school).

Yes, you can look at the average Step scores for a lot of specialties and the % matched, and remark "wow, that doesn't look that bad," but you're not privy to details within that: who matched where and with what scores? There is a huge difference in many fields between matching to a community program vs matching to an academic institution, and it's not reflected in the NRMP breakdown. All those applicant matched, but some essentially have a door closed to certain fellowships and career options. It's totally fine to want a community program, and it reflects different goals that we need to have in good healthcare. Certainly, I don't think I'd be making these comments if the OP expressed a commitment to FM or Psych. Nonetheless, when giving general advice for someone who hasn't expressed an intention to practice in a certain context, you cannot make blanket statements about how something like this isn't going to impact his/her career.
I'm not saying it won't impact their career. I'm saying they can match to their specialty of choice. Those are two very different statements.

I have worked at two different hospitals. One was Big State University Medical Center, the other is Top 10 University Teaching Hospital. The former had solid programs in nearly every specialty, and had graduates from a wide variety of schools, including DOs and IMGs present in nearly every field. My current place of employment tends to favor students from top 20 schools for residency, but many of the attending physicians come from relatively humble universities and mid-tier residencies. One of our head trauma surgery attendings is a DO that trained at an ordinary university program. Only in the higher ranks of their academic departments does pedigree seem to matter much, that's where you start to see a lot of Harvard, Hopkins, and Dartmouth grads. Yet even their residencies are about 50/50 between unremarkable university hospital residencies and elite residencies. I just made the assumption, however foolish, that she just might not be gunning for the highest tiers of elite academic medicine, because most of us, especially in the nontraditional realm, are not. Op, if you're looking to be super-elite medical professor of the year or want to work your way up to chief of medicine at a top hospital, obviously this would not even be a decision. But going to an ordinary school and a mid-tier residency doesn't doom you to community practice for the rest of your life. Here are the faculty lists of both Harvard (Mass General) and Yale's emergency departments to give you some evidence for my statements:

http://www.massgeneral.org/emergencymedicine/doctors/

http://medicine.yale.edu/emergencymed/people/index.aspx
 
Jun 21, 2012
470
346
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Mayo boasts a 100% match rate, and 100% of the graduating class gets their first choice residency....this was the reason I applied to Mayo. You have to also consider, self-selection...people attending schools like Mayo (or any medical school, for the most part) aren't schlubbs, and are hard-working from day 1. Still, show me a state school that isn't in California that can boast these kinds of accolades.
No argument that Mayo is an amazing school.
But it's easy to make statements that nobody can verify. And easier to stay on top of a class of 50 (or whatever it is now) than a class of 200. When they say everybody got their top choice, someone (now away at residency) would have to have a pretty disgruntled axe to grind to be vocal to applicants about not getting their first choice. And on average applicants from all schools tend to get into one of their top few choices anyhow, so it's not that impressive.

Btw, part of ensuring that everybody matches isn't all sugar and spice. Not saying this is at all at play with Mayo, b/c we know they select phenomenal applicants, but schools can play games to improve their match outcomes. Certain specialties/programs require a "chair letter" from the chair of your school's department in the field into which you are applying. You can essentially be prevented from applying if they won't support your application w/ a chair letter. Now, you could go do it anyway and not match. Most people would turn to a different field, however. So, a school can mitigate their risk of their lowest rank student applying to plastics and not matching by denying that student the LORs required to considered by programs in a field they think he'll match poorly in. It's a brutal thing to do, but it's definitely been done to people.
 
Last edited:

Evil_Abed

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 17, 2009
143
33
Status
Medical Student
You're not serious, right? A name can help you, that's for sure. But even at the best school in the country, with poor grades, poor letters, poor board scores, etc. you're gonna be hard pressed to match if you want to do something competitive. Going to a top school is not a free ride.
He/she is a pre-med, not an actual medical student. I wouldn't expect him/her to understand that going to Harvard isn't going to help if they have poor grades, poor letters, poor board scores, etc.
Mayo boasts a 100% match rate, and 100% of the graduating class gets their first choice residency....this was the reason I applied to Mayo. You have to also consider, self-selection...people attending schools like Mayo (or any medical school, for the most part) aren't schlubbs, and are hard-working from day 1. Still, show me a state school that isn't in California that can boast these kinds of accolades.
Pretty much every MD school in the US has a near-100% match rate and near-100% of their students matching into their top 3 residency choices. So, I don't know how much I care about that fact regarding Mayo.

People attending any med school, like you mention, will be working hard right from day 1. Where you end up for residency depends heavily on the factors ksmi mentioned. Does school name play a role? Sure, but it's a lot less than what premeds think. Look at the NRMP Program Director's Survey if you want more detail:

http://b83c73bcf0e7ca356c80-e8560f466940e4ec38ed51af32994bc6.r6.cf1.rackcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/programresultsbyspecialty2012.pdf
 

ksmi117

GEAUX TIGERS!!!
Moderator Emeritus
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 16, 2008
21,960
179
Status
Resident [Any Field]
We're all kind of getting off-track here. As far as the OP's question, I think it's fair to say that going to a top school could potentially be helpful as far as residency applications go, but is not a free ticket to slack off and do poorly because you'll have a degree from X University and that's all that matters. On the other hand, going to an unranked school is not going to stop you from going into any specialty, as long as you work hard.
 

Evil_Abed

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 17, 2009
143
33
Status
Medical Student
We're all kind of getting off-track here. As far as the OP's question, I think it's fair to say that going to a top school could potentially be helpful as far as residency applications go, but is not a free ticket to slack off and do poorly because you'll have a degree from X University and that's all that matters. On the other hand, going to an unranked school is not going to stop you from going into any specialty, as long as you work hard.
Agreed.
 
Jun 21, 2012
470
346
Status
Resident [Any Field]
He/she is a pre-med, not an actual medical student. I wouldn't expect him/her to understand that going to Harvard isn't going to help if they have poor grades, poor letters, poor board scores, etc.
I thought so too. Changing one's status to Med Student (or whatever else) before you're actually in that position is not cool & against the TOS. People take your word more seriously when they think you're further along this path than you are. This is one of the reasons why incorrect advice gets regurgitated all over the place with such gusto.
 
Last edited:

BurberryDoc

Account on Hold
Account on Hold
Jun 7, 2013
2,267
376
Pawnee, IN
I thought so too. Changing one's status to Med Student (or whatever else) before you're actually in that position is not cool & against the TOS. People take your word more seriously when they think you're further along this path than you are. This is one of the reasons why incorrect advice gets regurgitated all over the place with such gusto.
If you show me documentation of this, I will gladly change my status correspondingly.
 
Jun 21, 2012
470
346
Status
Resident [Any Field]
You couldn't go look at the TOS yourself?
http://studentdoctor.net/online-service-agreement/

"Stealth Advertising/False Identities
Claiming to be someone or something that you’re not is inappropriate and unethical. Those guests found to be misrepresenting themselves will be banned as trolls."

Fear not, however. There are other pre-meds running around with status as "fellow" who haven't changed their status and aren't banned. So you can continue to misrepresent yourself as you wish. It's just not a nice thing to do when you're weighing in with opinions that people will think are based on experience.

You are not a medical student. You are going to be a medical student in late summer/fall of 2014.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: krafty934

username456789

10+ Year Member
May 24, 2009
4,650
7,351
Status
Attending Physician
You couldn't go look at the TOS yourself?
http://studentdoctor.net/online-service-agreement/

"Stealth Advertising/False Identities
Claiming to be someone or something that you’re not is inappropriate and unethical. Those guests found to be misrepresenting themselves will be banned as trolls."

Fear not, however. There are other pre-meds running around with status as "fellow" who haven't changed their status and aren't banned. So you can continue to misrepresent yourself as you wish. It's just not a nice thing to do when you're weighing in with opinions that people will think are based on experience.

You are not a medical student. You are going to be a medical student in late summer/fall of 2014.
And aside from the TOS stuff, it also just makes him a big douche.
 
Jul 24, 2013
66
10
Status
Going by my experience in HS, it would probably be a very good idea for you to use the full scholarship so that you can provide for your daughter come residency years when you might instead be paying off your debt. Usually very good high schools are also located proximate to top institutes. She will probably have more resources than she could imagine if the location surrounding it is good. There is simply no comparison btw middle and high school. The amount of work (atleast for me) was rather much more and my friends circle changed drastically since I didn't come from a feeder middle school. All was for the best and looking back, going to the harder school made me aware of what my weaknesses were and how I overcame them. Usually better high schools also send their students to feeder top colleges. In the large scheme of things, your family is looking at a great start.
 

thefritz

thefritz
Oct 28, 2009
574
95
Status
Medical Student
My question is: how much weight does medical school attended play in matching to a competitive residency?
A lot. Especially regionally. I have mediocre grades and boards, and my school's reputation is pulling up the slack in getting interviews. I was even told this by one of my interviewers.

Unless you are 100% on primary care, go to the best known school you can get into, period.
 

Evil_Abed

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 17, 2009
143
33
Status
Medical Student
A lot. Especially regionally. I have mediocre grades and boards, and my school's reputation is pulling up the slack in getting interviews. I was even told this by one of my interviewers.
The exception doesn't make the rule. Based on th PD survey results, discussions with PDs at my own school, and pretty much everything I've ever read on this topic, I wouldn't say that the school you go to matters a lot. Like I said earlier, I'm sure it matters to some degree, but in general, there are far more important factors that are considered -- Step 1 score, clinical grades, LoRs, MSPE, etc. I guess it's harder to say for what gets you an interview in the first place, but graduating from a highly regarded schools seems to be one of the less important things for ranking an applicant.

What specialty are you pursuing, if you don't mind me asking?
 

thefritz

thefritz
Oct 28, 2009
574
95
Status
Medical Student
The exception doesn't make the rule. Based on th PD survey results, discussions with PDs at my own school, and pretty much everything I've ever read on this topic, I wouldn't say that the school you go to matters a lot. Like I said earlier, I'm sure it matters to some degree, but in general, there are far more important factors that are considered -- Step 1 score, clinical grades, LoRs, MSPE, etc. I guess it's harder to say for what gets you an interview in the first place, but graduating from a highly regarded schools seems to be one of the less important things for ranking an applicant.

What specialty are you pursuing, if you don't mind me asking?
Well you may not like it, but the school matters a lot. Both in terms of location and reputation. Yeah grades, and scores matter, but everybody has those in this hyper competitive environment. Don't get fooled, the school's reputation and location play a major part in where you get invited to interview and where you get ranked to match. How else are schools going to select 50 people to interview for 5-7 spots when they have 400 applicants all with step 1 > 230 and outstanding LORs? Of course if you flunk your boards or repeat clerkships, your school's name won't save you. Whereas you can go to east nowhere university and still match plastics. I am applying in one of the most competitive specialties and have a good number of interviews. I'm not going to tell you my usmle scores, but I promise it's not because of them.
 
Jun 21, 2012
470
346
Status
Resident [Any Field]
The exception doesn't make the rule. Based on th PD survey results, discussions with PDs at my own school, and pretty much everything I've ever read on this topic, I wouldn't say that the school you go to matters a lot. Like I said earlier, I'm sure it matters to some degree, but in general, there are far more important factors that are considered -- Step 1 score, clinical grades, LoRs, MSPE, etc. I guess it's harder to say for what gets you an interview in the first place, but graduating from a highly regarded schools seems to be one of the less important things for ranking an applicant.
I don't think it's necessarily a thing they consciously factor in. I don't think we're primarily talking about people sitting around and gauging whether an applicant from UIC versus OHSU represents a better candidate for interview. Rather, I think there is a more subtle bias in inviting people from schools with which you are familiar and feel confident that the clinical training will be providing you with a strong resident. This is why region and brandname end up factoring into it even though they're not dominating those "top things PD are looking for" graphs. If I'm a PD in NYC who's got no personal experience with school X in AZ, and X has no name in my field, it's going to change how I interpret that student's LORs relative to the same exact applicant if he were coming either from a school across town that I'm very familiar with or a school that I know has either a good name all around or a particularly prestigious department in my field. Yet I would probably not say "Oh, I'm weighing the school heavily," because it isn't about the school/dept so much as my personal familiarity with it. Think of it more like the pretty indisputable little boost you get when you submit a job application to a place where the boss is friends with whatever person wrote your LOR.

. . . so reading on this topic or asking PD's is not going to be nearly as revealing as what you see/feel when you're on the interview trail IMHO.
 
Last edited:
Dec 20, 2013
33
13
At around what point does prestige begin to matter? Because I can't really gauge the standing of medical schools effectively, I'll use USNWR. Is there a big difference between the 40th ranked research institution and the 20th? What about unranked vs. 40th? Assuming you are trying to match into the most competitive specialty. Sorry for my ignorance.
 

thefritz

thefritz
Oct 28, 2009
574
95
Status
Medical Student
This is why region and brandname end up factoring into it even though they're not dominating those "top things PD are looking for" graphs. If I'm a PD in NYC who's got no personal experience with school X in AZ, and X has no name in my field, it's going to change how I interpret that student's LORs relative to the same exact applicant if he were coming either from a school across town that I'm very familiar with or a school that I know has either a good name all around or a particularly prestigious department in my field.

. . . so reading on this topic or asking PD's is not going to be nearly as revealing as what you see/feel when you're on the interview trail IMHO.
Exactly. It's impossible to put it in the heads of premeds that in the real world everyone is not equal on paper. For residency, like most other professions, it is a major advantage to have a foot in the door. Whether be it a previous rotation at the program, a LOR from someone well known to the program, or coming from a medical school well known to the program with a track record of sending successful residents to the program. It's not like college and med school applications where, besides quotas for state schools, everyone is about on par and judged on MCAT and GPA. You're going to be an employee now and references are important. Coming from a well known med school is about as strong as a reference you can get.

Or don't listen to me, go to a lesser known med school, and waste thousands on ERAS application fees like I did applying to programs on the other side of the country. An average applicant from a well known med school can do well locally. A stellar applicant from a more regional school can do well locally. Only the stellar applicant from a stellar med school can really get a fair shake everywhere without any other connection.
 

alpinism

Give Em' the Jet Fuel
7+ Year Member
Nov 6, 2011
3,085
2,740
Detroit
Yeah, but the student graduating at the bottom of their class from Mayo Clinic still gets their first choice residency...
A Mayo student with all Bs (Pass) in clinical rotations and a below average step 1 (<220) will most likely not be getting their 1st choice residency, especially if its at a well regarded program or in a competitive location. Same thing goes for Harvard.

However, it all depends on personal preference and their 1st choice residency. Peds at CHOP or Boston Children's? Not gonna happen. Peds at U Minnesota? Maybe.
 

alpinism

Give Em' the Jet Fuel
7+ Year Member
Nov 6, 2011
3,085
2,740
Detroit
I'm not saying it won't impact their career. I'm saying they can match to their specialty of choice. Those are two very different statements.

I have worked at two different hospitals. One was Big State University Medical Center, the other is Top 10 University Teaching Hospital. The former had solid programs in nearly every specialty, and had graduates from a wide variety of schools, including DOs and IMGs present in nearly every field. My current place of employment tends to favor students from top 20 schools for residency, but many of the attending physicians come from relatively humble universities and mid-tier residencies. One of our head trauma surgery attendings is a DO that trained at an ordinary university program. Only in the higher ranks of their academic departments does pedigree seem to matter much, that's where you start to see a lot of Harvard, Hopkins, and Dartmouth grads. Yet even their residencies are about 50/50 between unremarkable university hospital residencies and elite residencies. I just made the assumption, however foolish, that she just might not be gunning for the highest tiers of elite academic medicine, because most of us, especially in the nontraditional realm, are not. Op, if you're looking to be super-elite medical professor of the year or want to work your way up to chief of medicine at a top hospital, obviously this would not even be a decision. But going to an ordinary school and a mid-tier residency doesn't doom you to community practice for the rest of your life. Here are the faculty lists of both Harvard (Mass General) and Yale's emergency departments to give you some evidence for my statements:

http://www.massgeneral.org/emergencymedicine/doctors/

http://medicine.yale.edu/emergencymed/people/index.aspx
1. Dartmouth has no business on that list.
2. Harvard and Yale both have average EM programs. Yale also has a reputation of being malignant. Many competitive EM applicants who want to stay in the NE won't even apply there.
3. EM as a specialty that is somewhat of an exception as they put more emphasis on fit than pedigree.
 

solitarius

7+ Year Member
May 20, 2010
1,344
923
Status
Medical Student
I guess this is where we can assume that California & the West Coast is the most difficult place geographically to land a residency? Followed by Boston, NYC, other top-tier desirable places....

Great.......
 

Mad Jack

Critically Caring
5+ Year Member
Jul 27, 2013
35,441
64,840
4th Dimension
1. Dartmouth has no business on that list.
2. Harvard and Yale both have average EM programs. Yale also has a reputation of being malignant. Many competitive EM applicants who want to stay in the NE won't even apply there.
3. EM as a specialty that is somewhat of an exception as they put more emphasis on fit than pedigree.
They care less about the quality of the medical education and more about the name was my point. Dartmouth -sounds- impressive so they have a lot of faculty from there. Look at Yale's upper level faculty, it's almost all Ivy League, plus a few stragglers from non-Ivy top 20s, regardless of the Ivy League medical school's rank. They just care that you're one of them, whatever them means exactly. Look at the Yale faculty for anesthesiology. 75% of them either obtained an Ivy League undergrad, graduate degree, or residency. And one of the two that remains gets a pass because she went to McGill, which is ranked in the top 20 medical schools in the world so far as every source I could find. You can find examples of this if you look through many departments at Columbia, Yale, and Harvard, where they have top tier facutly that consists of mostly top 20+Ivy.
 

solitarius

7+ Year Member
May 20, 2010
1,344
923
Status
Medical Student
^ Not that you don't have a point, but those schools' mission is to train academic physicians.....
 
Jun 7, 2012
750
302
At around what point does prestige begin to matter? Because I can't really gauge the standing of medical schools effectively, I'll use USNWR. Is there a big difference between the 40th ranked research institution and the 20th? What about unranked vs. 40th? Assuming you are trying to match into the most competitive specialty. Sorry for my ignorance.
+1 to this if anyone could clarify.