What undergraduate schools do Medical schools consider Top Tier?

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I understand that HYPSM are obviously top Tier schools, but are schools such as UCLA, UCB, and USC considered top tier schools as well? Or are they considered mid tier schools? I know mcat and gpa play a bigger role when applying to med school, but at the same time I heard that your undergrad plays a decent role as well. Can any one share some light on this? Much appreciated!
 

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There is a chart somewhere on here of the undergrad schools that send the most applicants to med school! Maybe do a search! It’s pretty interesting!
 
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LizzyM

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Is the school on the list of top 20 research universities or top 20 LACs? Then it is top tier. Next are the top 50, and then the top 100. after that, there isn't much selectivity so that aspect drops off. Someone will take a 3.8 from Yale more seriously than a 3.8 from The University of New Haven although they are both private schools within a couple miles of each other. Unfortunately, the deck is stacked against students from lower tier schools but it is not impossible to break through.
 
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Is the school on the list of top 20 research universities or top 20 LACs? Then it is top tier. Next are the top 50, and then the top 100. after that, there isn't much selectivity so that aspect drops off. Someone will take a 3.8 from Yale more seriously than a 3.8 from The University of New Haven although they are both private schools within a couple miles of each other. Unfortunately, the deck is stacked against students from lower tier schools but it is not impossible to break through.
I asked this before, but I'm not sure if I asked you specifically -- is the MCAT then not a great equalizer? If someone could have gone to a T20 school but did not, for whatever reason, are they now screwed unless they are one of the lucky few to be able to break through, even with a superlative GPA that is not taken as seriously as one from Yale, and a tippy top MCAT that should be valued the same coming from New Haven as Yale? (I.e., a 4.0/522 from New Haven will never be the same as 4.0/522 from Yale, but at the end of the day, there are only so many 522s (and 4.0s!), so does the person from New Haven still have little to no chance because a 3.8/518 from Yale is still more desirable at your school?)
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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we had a thread on that and I believe @efle did some analysis on that. I believe you get some advantage by going to HYPSM. If not GPA, may be for ECs?
 
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we had a thread on that and I believe @efle did some analysis on that. I believe you get some advantage by going to HYPSM. If not GPA, may be for ECs?
Yeah, my question goes way beyond the advantage at HYPSM to the deck being stacked against people from lower tier schools at top tier schools, possibly regardless of stats? Hopefully @LizzyM and @gyngyn can shed light on whether I am reading too much into the comment above.
 

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Yeah, my question goes way beyond the advantage at HYPSM to the deck being stacked against people from lower tier schools at top tier schools, possibly regardless of stats? Hopefully @LizzyM and @gyngyn can shed light on whether I am reading too much into the comment above.
i'll let the actual adcoms have the final word, but i think there wouldn't be a huge difference if its like the state flagship school, especially because people who could've gone to top undergrads but choose their state school for financial reasons often end up in very competitive honors scholarship programs that can show they were a competitive applicant last time around. a lot of people were choosing between top 20 undergrads and my state flagship honors program, and chose the honors program, so i think adcoms would see that and realize they're comparable. but who knows?
 
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i'll let the actual adcoms have the final word, but i think there wouldn't be a huge difference if its like the state flagship school, especially because people who could've gone to top undergrads but choose their state school for financial reasons often end up in very competitive honors scholarship programs that can show they were a competitive applicant last time around. a lot of people were choosing between top 20 undergrads and my state flagship honors program, and chose the honors program, so i think adcoms would see that and realize they're comparable. but who knows?
This is what I'm hoping, but I get nervous when I hear "the deck is stacked against students from lower tier schools."

Meaning, if "someone will take a 3.8 from Yale more seriously than a 3.8 from The University of New Haven although they are both private schools within a couple miles of each other," how does @LizzyM know that the person actually was admitted to Yale, but chose New Haven for the full ride, and, even if she did know, would she care? That's what this comes down to.

As you know, and as @LizzyM might or might not know or care about, honors programs are very popular today at public schools all across the country for high stat HS students who are not eligible for need-based financial aid coming from families who either haven't saved $400K for UG or don't think it is worth it with grad school on the horizon. The question comes down to whether med schools have adjusted to this reality, or if they are in a bubble where they really do value the 3.8/518 from Yale more highly than the 4.0/522 from New Haven, all else being equal.
 
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This is what I'm hoping, but I get nervous when I hear "the deck is stacked against students from lower tier schools."

Meaning, if "someone will take a 3.8 from Yale more seriously than a 3.8 from The University of New Haven although they are both private schools within a couple miles of each other," how does @LizzyM know that the person actually was admitted to Yale, but chose New Haven for the full ride, and, even if she did know, would she care? That's what this comes down to.

As you know, and as @LizzyM might or might not know or care about, honors programs are very popular today at public schools all across the country for high stat HS students who are not eligible for need-based financial aid coming from families who either haven't saved $400K for UG or don't think it is worth it with grad school on the horizon. The question comes down to whether med schools have adjusted to this reality, or if they are in a bubble where they really do value the 3.8/518 from Yale more highly than the 4.0/522 from New Haven, all else being equal.
do they really care about making things equal or more interested in their rankings and bragging rights?
 
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Screamapillar

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This is what I'm hoping, but I get nervous when I hear "the deck is stacked against students from lower tier schools."

Meaning, if "someone will take a 3.8 from Yale more seriously than a 3.8 from The University of New Haven although they are both private schools within a couple miles of each other," how does @LizzyM know that the person actually was admitted to Yale, but chose New Haven for the full ride, and, even if she did know, would she care? That's what this comes down to.

As you know, and as @LizzyM might or might not know or care about, honors programs are very popular today at public schools all across the country for high stat HS students who are not eligible for need-based financial aid coming from families who either haven't saved $400K for UG or don't think it is worth it with grad school on the horizon. The question comes down to whether med schools have adjusted to this reality, or if they are in a bubble where they really do value the 3.8/518 from Yale more highly than the 4.0/522 from New Haven, all else being equal.
the issue with the New Haven analogy is that it is another private school that likely can't offer the same level of scholarship and fin aid as Yale can, so its unlikely someone chose that school over Yale because of financial reasons. but choosing Alabama over Yale could be a smart financial decision, especially if you got into a selective program that helped groom your research skills
 
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do they really care about making things equal or more interested in their rankings and bragging rights?
Neither. I just think they like pulling from schools that produce known quantities from past experience, but it will really suck if it means equally talented people are shut out because the deck is stacked against their school.

They care about making things equal by giving opportunities to classes of people who were denied opportunities in the past, not so much to open top tier schools up to more lower tier UGs (apparently). The question is whether people who would have gone to prestigious UGs in decades past, but are now shut out due to finances, does this in turn then act to shut them out of top tier med schools (with limited exceptions)? If so, that will suck!!!
 
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the issue with the New Haven analogy is that it is another private school that likely can't offer the same level of scholarship and fin aid as Yale can, so its unlikely someone chose that school over Yale because of financial reasons. but choosing Alabama over Yale could be a smart financial decision, especially if you got into a selective program that helped groom your research skills
Okay, I'm not in the weeds regarding whether New Haven is offering scholarships to lure high stat students away from Yale, but your Alabama example captures my point. I only used New Haven because @LizzyM did. The name of the school is irrelevant.

The point is a lot of high stat HS students are not paying $350,000+ for bachelors degrees when lower tier schools have responded with cost effective options that provide high quality experiences in lower tier environments. The question is whether @LizzyM tier schools care about bringing such students into their schools, or are they not able to overcome whatever stigma is attached to coming from Alabama, no matter how good the senior thesis, or how high the GPA and MCAT, because Alabama will never be Princeton?
 
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Screamapillar

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Okay, I'm not in the weeds regarding whether New Haven is offering scholarships to lure high stat students away from Yale, but your Alabama example captures my point. I only used New Haven because @LizzyM did. The name of the school is irrelevant.

The point is a lot of high stat HS students are not paying $350,000+ for bachelors degrees when lower tier schools have responded with cost effective options that provide high quality experiences in lower tier environments. The question is whether @LizzyM tier schools care about bringing such students into their schools, or are they not able to overcome whatever stigma is attached to coming from Alabama, no matter how good the senior thesis, or how high the GPA and MCAT, because Alabama will never be Princeton?
have you tried being wealthier?
 
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My two cents: you'll never be barred admission or have a tangible disadvantage (on paper) when you're applying. The advantage of going to a "top" school probably more so comes from the opportunities and resources you have there when compared to something like a state flagship school. I'll pull some statistics from UChicago (a top 10 school, I suppose that fits your criteria). The average accepted med school applicant GPA is ~.05 lower than the national average, the average MCAT is a 516 (which is pretty damn high), and the % accepted is something like 85%. Obviously this is all after weeding out and all that, but nonetheless this tells me two things: med school somewhat consider the rigor of a top school, being that all the students are extremely high achieving/high-scoring students as opposed to a state school (generally), and that said rigor leads to a higher MCAT score. Research opportunities, especially fellowships, are also generally much easier to get at these schools, and premed advising is generally better.

Also, AAMC guidebook does say that 'undergraduate institution' is indeed a factor (albeit in the lowest tier) so clearly it's something they lat least look at. not that the name itself actually has a significant impact, though, haha. Something else: Uchicago sends A LOT of students to Pritzker and I think Brown also sends a lot of their own students to Brown med, not sure if this is a common trend among all top schools, but yeah.
 
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or are they not able to overcome whatever stigma is attached to coming from Alabama, no matter how good the senior thesis, or how high the GPA and MCAT, because Alabama will never be Princeton?

+grade inflation, curving systems, teaching quality, rigor of courses, rigor of major (what's wrong with a 3.0><3.5 engineering major?), retakes/extra credit, course structure

It's impossible to have a fair system, but I wonder how much prestige matters
 
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Screamapillar

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My two cents: you'll never be barred admission or have a tangible disadvantage (on paper) when you're applying. The advantage of going to a "top" school probably more so comes from the opportunities and resources you have there when compared to something like a state flagship school. I'll pull some statistics from UChicago (a top 10 school, I suppose that fits your criteria). The average accepted med school applicant GPA is ~.5 lower than the national average, the average MCAT is a 516 (which is pretty damn high), and the % accepted is something like 85%. Obviously this is all after weeding out and all that, but nonetheless this tells me two things: med school somewhat consider the rigor of a top school, being that all the students are extremely high achieving/high-scoring students as opposed to a state school (generally), and that said rigor leads to a higher MCAT score. Research opportunities, especially fellowships, are also generally much easier to get at these schools, and premed advising is generally better.

Also, AAMC guidebook does say that 'undergraduate institution' is indeed a factor (albeit in the lowest tier) so clearly it's something they look at haha
is it really .5 lower? like 3.7 vs 3.2? or .05?

thats my undergrad lol and while its definitely a deflating school i'd be surprised if it was really a .5 differential
 
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is it really .5 lower? like 3.7 vs 3.2? or .05?

thats my undergrad lol and while its definitely a deflating school i'd be surprised if it was really a .5 differential
Oh crap, totally not .5, I meant .05. A .5 difference would be....quite a lot...sorry about that. Still, a .05 difference can amount to like 1-4 A-/B+'s which is still significant, imo.
 
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Oh crap, totally not .5, I meant .05. A .5 difference would be....quite a lot...sorry about that. Still, a .05 difference can amount to like 1-4 A-/B+'s which is still significant, imo.

I believe it's a 0.2 differential for Harvard UGs (as in, average GPA for Harvard UG is ~3.7 for top med schools, as opposed to the overall average of 3.9). I'd wager it's similar for the rest of HYPSM.
 
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I believe it's a 0.2 differential for Harvard UGs (as in, average GPA for Harvard UG is ~3.7 for top med schools, as opposed to the overall average of 3.9). I'd wager it's similar for the rest of HYPSM.
That seems off, .2 is really high considering Harvard is a grade inflating school while a notorious deflating school like UChicago only appears to have a <0.05 difference.
 
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ofmiceandwomen

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That seems off, .2 is really high considering Harvard is a grade inflating school while a notorious deflating school like UChicago only appears to have a <0.05 difference.

Nope, that's right. Harvard circulates an internal handbook every year that gives stats on their own undergrad. Although this doesn't take into confounding factors such as research/extracurricular opportunities that make Harvard UG students exceptional applicants in other ways.
 

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That seems off, .2 is really high considering Harvard is a grade inflating school while a notorious deflating school like UChicago only appears to have a <0.05 difference.
i agree, i feel like if you have below a 3.9 at Harvard you must really be struggling
 
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I asked this before, but I'm not sure if I asked you specifically -- is the MCAT then not a great equalizer? If someone could have gone to a T20 school but did not, for whatever reason, are they now screwed unless they are one of the lucky few to be able to break through, even with a superlative GPA that is not taken as seriously as one from Yale, and a tippy top MCAT that should be valued the same coming from New Haven as Yale? (I.e., a 4.0/522 from New Haven will never be the same as 4.0/522 from Yale, but at the end of the day, there are only so many 522s (and 4.0s!), so does the person from New Haven still have little to no chance because a 3.8/518 from Yale is still more desirable at your school?)

Regardless of whether it’s right or wrong, the harsh truth is that attending a well-known top ranked school does offer advantages. Success begets more success. This is the whole reason why there is a gap between those who are advantaged vs not. That wider social discussion is outside the scope of SDN. The “prestigious” school benefit is the same and the effect is true outside of medicine as well. E.g. Top tech firms actively recruit fresh grads out of MIT, Stanford, cal tech, etc but not others.

There are both implicit and explicit reasons for this.

First, the elephant in the room. There is unconscious human bias. For no “good” reason other than a Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT etc sounds impressive. However, that is pretty superficial and matters little beyond initial impression. Plenty of premeds from these schools do not get into medical school.

This particular question is asked at all levels of training. Undergrad->med school->residency->fellowship->first real attending position. For the top schools/programs, the reality is that *a lot* (read: not all) circulate people back and forth between institutions of the same tier. Just look at match lists of residency programs at top places and see where their residents come from. Of course you will also hear the anecdote of the person from a lower ranked school/program really standing out. These are outliers. Most people will not be outliers.

Going back to the undergrad example. The real differences in the application can often be seen throughout the experiences that students have. Top schools tend to be where the leaders of academics, research, etc congregate. World class artificial intelligence research may be happening at MIT or Stanford, but likely not at the University of New Haven. Someone who did substantive work on machine learning on a health care problem under the mentorship of a reknowned expert would have a unique and compelling application as compared to someone who did only standard things. Apply that to any area, international experiences, health policy, research, etc etc. also apply that to endowments and industry partnerships. I remember that one of the freshman seminar classes on some jet propulsion topic at my undergrad included a “field trip” with an expenses paid charter flight to a jet engine test site in a neighboring state. There is also the benefit of the self-selected peer group of motivated individuals. Several dorm mates at a place like Stanford may be Olympic athletes (sounds crazy but true).

Ultimately though, there is a difference between having more opportunity and taking advantage of it. There is a marked difference in the experiences (and thus applications) of someone who coasted at a big name school vs someone who truly took advantage of their time there. These two types of students are pretty easy to spot.

Lastly, what is your goal? Different medical schools look for different types of applicants. Some are looking to train great physician scientists. Others may focus entirely on training pure clinicians. Experiences that matter may differ in importance depending on your goals and what the school looks for in their ideal student. The big name schools matter more if you’re looking for the academic career.

Despite what some people may tell you to sugarcoat, there is definitely an “escalator” that starts very very early. Doesn’t mean being on the escalator is a guarantee of success; can fall off at any time. However, those on the escalator who take advantage will have an easier time than those taking the stairs.

The advice in the end is the same though. There are things you can control and things you can’t. Make sure that you are taking full advantage of all opportunities and being as successful as you can be in the setting you’re in. That will reflect in your application.
 
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Being in an "honors college" at your state university will be taken seriously by your in-state medical school(s), who recognize the rigor of the program.
 
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Being in an "honors college" at your state university will be taken seriously by your in-state medical school(s), who recognize the rigor of the program.
Sure! The question is whether being in an honors college, and doing really well, will be taken seriously at T20?
 

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Data I've seen over the years showed:

  • Top ranked med school classes are very skewed towards the selective feeder undergrads (yes that includes schools like Cal and UCLA).
  • There is no relaxation of GPA requirements at these top schools however. There is plenty of premeds with both A's and pedigree to fill the tiny sizes of med school classes.
  • However the students with lower/average GPAs (like 3.5s) at top schools still get in SOMEWHERE at much higher rates than the national bins. This is probably because they rock extremely high MCAT averages relative to their GPAs.

TLDR Top med schools require high grades AND favor pedigree. But if you dont make high grades at one of these schools, you're still much more likely to get into MD school.
 
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LizzyM

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the issue with the New Haven analogy is that it is another private school that likely can't offer the same level of scholarship and fin aid as Yale can, so its unlikely someone chose that school over Yale because of financial reasons. but choosing Alabama over Yale could be a smart financial decision, especially if you got into a selective program that helped groom your research skills

This is why the section of the AMCAS that asks how you paid for undergrad is informative. If I see that you went to Alabama on a 100% scholarship, I might infer that you could have gone to a prestigious LAC or top research school but chose the most cost effective school given your options. I have also heard this when I've asked during interviews, "why did you choose to attend xyz for undergrad?"
 
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I have also heard this when I've asked during interviews, "why did you choose to attend xyz for undergrad?"
But do they ask same question to someone who chose to attend T10-T20 school over ivy due to $$$s or they generally have idea about which schools offer merit scholarships?
 

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I'll add that anecdotally I do know people at T5 med schools from state programs. They were in honors college and on scholarship. I even know someone who started out in community college. They all had strong MCATs and/or other "hooks" like URM, born and raised in small town rural midwest, nontrad with many years medical/clinical experience, etc.
 
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lull

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If I see that you went to Alabama on a 100% scholarship, I might infer that you could have gone to a prestigious LAC or top research school but chose the most cost effective school given your options

So in that sense, high school performance does matter.
 
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I think it's somewhat regional; small liberal arts colleges are well know to nearby medical schools, but schools in other areas of the country may not be as familiar. The fewer the graduates of the school, the less likely that any particular medical school will have experience with them.
 
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LizzyM

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I think it's somewhat regional; small liberal arts colleges are well know to nearby medical schools, but schools in other areas of the country may not be as familiar. The fewer the graduates of the school, the less likely that any particular medical school will have experience with them.

But the "name brands"are well known coast to coast, particularly to adcoms:

Williams
Amhurt
Bryn Mawr
Grinnell
Carleton
Claremont McKenna
Pomona
Washington & Lee


Just to mention a few in every region..
 
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But the "name brands"are well known coast to coast, particularly to adcoms:

Williams
Amhurt
Bryn Mawr
Grinnell
Carleton
Claremont McKenna
Pomona
Washington & Lee


Just to mention a few in every region..

Would be curious to know whether any of the all women’s colleges - particularly of the Seven Sisters variety - is considered a name brand school.

It’s interesting that Swarthmore didn’t make your off-the-cuff list but Washington & Lee did.
 

LizzyM

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Would be curious to know whether any of the all women’s colleges - particularly of the Seven Sisters variety - is considered a name brand school.

It’s interesting that Swarthmore didn’t make your off-the-cuff list but Washington & Lee did.

I was just giving a sampling, not an exhaustve list. Yes, Vassar, Smith, Mt. Holyoke, etc are "name brand" LACs, too.
 

efle

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I've been doing this for 20 years and I've never seen an applicant from St. John's in Annapolis. How many of its undergrads take the MCAT each year? How many apply? Does anyone know?
Too few to make the AAMC charts

There are very few small LACs that do
 

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St. John's doesn't offer all the pre-reqs for medical school. One has to do a post-bac or summer classes elsewhere. You might as well ask what adcoms think of Berklee School of Music for one's undergraduate degree.
 
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St. John's doesn't offer all the pre-reqs for medical school. One has to do a post-bac or summer classes elsewhere. You might as well ask what adcoms think of Berklee School of Music for one's undergraduate degree.

I’ve known Juilliard grads who got into top professional schools.
 
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I'll add that anecdotally I do know people at T5 med schools from state programs. They were in honors college and on scholarship. I even know someone who started out in community college. They all had strong MCATs and/or other "hooks" like URM, born and raised in small town rural midwest, nontrad with many years medical/clinical experience, etc.
So, this is the answer I was looking for. To a degree, the MCAT IS the great equalizer, and someone coming from a state school, on a scholarship, with great grades and a great MCAT, is NOT at a huge disadvantage to someone coming from a prestigious UG, with similar or somewhat lower stats, correct????
 
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But do they ask same question to someone who chose to attend T10-T20 school over ivy due to $$$s or they generally have idea about which schools offer merit scholarships?
I think your question might be irrelevant, because you are splitting hairs in comparing T20 to Ivies. You already get the advantage coming from T20; there is no "extra" advantage to be had coming from T20 with a scholarship, other than the fact you saved money on tuition! :cool:
 

MyOdyssey

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So, this is the answer I was looking for. To a degree, the MCAT IS the great equalizer, and someone coming from a state school, on a scholarship, with great grades and a great MCAT, is NOT at a huge disadvantage to someone coming from a prestigious UG, with similar or somewhat lower stats, correct????

Does this hypothetical individual’s name rhyme with BrightOc?
 
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So, this is the answer I was looking for. To a degree, the MCAT IS the great equalizer, and someone coming from a state school, on a scholarship, with great grades and a great MCAT, is NOT at a huge disadvantage to someone coming from a prestigious UG, with similar or somewhat lower stats, correct????
N=1, I’m not bitter or anything, but I had LM>80 and honestly very impressive ECs and an MPH, but I went to a no name UG and that’s the only part of my app I could see any “deficiency” in but I got very little love from top schools, and a lot of lower ranked schools probably thought I was too competitive for them based on numbers. Ended up at a great school, but I was under the same assumption that UG doesn’t matter, and it’s just not true. Maybe 20% of my class went to a state school, and to my knowledge, they were all, except mine, an “elite” state schools (Cal, UCLA, Michigan, UIUC is debatable). Anyways I’d still recommend most people to not worry about it too much and go to the school that’s cheapest, bc in all likelihood that’s not going to be the determining factor in most people not getting into a top med school.
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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May 26, 2018
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I think your question might be irrelevant, because you are splitting hairs in comparing T20 to Ivies. You already get the advantage coming from T20; there is no "extra" advantage to be had coming from T20 with a scholarship, other than the fact you saved money on tuition! :cool:
It's relevant :) I hear HPYSM gives some advantage but I know several students who declined and chose schools like WashU, Vandy, Emory for scholarship and I believe @efle said attending those schools doesn't give any advantage (WashU vs Brown premed thread)
 
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Mar 14, 2019
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Does this hypothetical individual’s name rhyme with BrightOc?
There is no hypothetical individual. :cool: This is a question I've had from the very beginning of my journey.

When making UG decisions, common wisdom was that UG just didn't matter. All that mattered was grades, MCAT and ECs. Then I stumble onto this site, and discover two different versions of the same AAMC data table -- one from 2018 on showing UG selectivity is an academic metric of "lowest importance," (consistent with what everyone I spoke to, practicing physicians and professionals in premed advising offices at a variety of schools alike, advised) and the same table from 2013 showing that it is of "highest importance" at private schools and of "lowest importance" at public schools.

What to believe? The adcom who likes to link to the old table would have us (me) believe that the old table, even though it is old, is the real one, and the new table is nothing more than a surrender to political correctness. And then the highly respected @LizzyM says folks coming from non-top tier are playing with a stacked deck. And then others say the MCAT is very important -- is it important enough to overcome the stacked deck?? @efle implies "yes."

I am just looking to curate knowledge. Personally, I am good. I attend a very non-top tier school. It might be hard to believe :), but I am very plugged into my premed advising office. As a result, I am intimately aware of how my school performs.

While it does not hold a candle to Harvard, Penn, Vandy, etc., my school places several students every year into top med schools. Awesome advising? Maybe. Applicants punching above their weight? Perhaps. Maybe it's just a product, as @Ehegi suggested, of a dedicated group of students taking advantage of opportunities at a rate atypical of students at similarly ranked UGs. It doesn't feel like the deck is stacked against us. While @LizzyM did say it is not impossible to break through, consistent results year after year suggests something else is going on besides people beating the stacked deck every year.

I guess my questions are geared more towards determining whether my school is typical or an exception to a rule. They are certainly not to help a "hypothetical KnightDoc" develop a school list. :cool:
 
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