What undergraduate schools do Medical schools consider Top Tier?

lull

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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

it's important, but they're not going to admit it's important mentality
 
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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)
I remember that thread! Keep in mind, "P" is Princeton, not Penn. :cool:

At the end of the day, this is nothing but speculation based on anecdotal experiences. I accept HYPSM receive some deference because they are so impossible to gain admission to, that anyone coming out of there gets a second look to try to figure out what was so special about them in the first place.

Beyond that, I have always been a believer that Vandy or Emory don't confer an advantage due to the name. I just think their grads do disproportionately well because they have a disproportionate number of excellent candidates. By the way, this is very consistent with @LizzyM's statement that the stacked deck could be overcome. Vandy and Emory have such a critical mass of excellent applicants that the deck by definition is not stacked against them. The fact that all top med schools have students from unranked UGs is evidence that excellent candidates can succeed coming from anywhere.

So, bottom line, did the mediocre candidate who is part of the famed 60% get any advantage at all coming from Vandy? Or Harvard? Did the excellent candidate from Alabama who receives a Geffen scholarship need Princeton? I think it's lot of chicken and egg BS. The people coming from Harvard with lower GPAs clearly have something going for them, because they got into Harvard for crying out loud! Why does anyone believe they wouldn't have been as successful, with the same GPA, coming from anywhere?
 
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it's important, but they're not going to admit it's important mentality
Yeah, that's what I heard. :cool: In a world where diversity is so valued, I'm not sure I'm buying it, even though I know very well the old-timers are still enthusiastically selling it.

I'll be honest -- a year ago, I hung on the every word of all of the adcoms, awestruck that they would take the time to share with us. Then the pandemic hit, and many of their prognostications turned out to be wildly off base. I realized they are humans, with biases and preconceived notions.

While they have way more experience than us, they are not any sharper, and are highly fallible. To me, anyone who is cherry picking a data point they don't personally agree with from a survey that they otherwise quote extensively, because they cannot accept that things have changed from the good old days, has to be taken with a substantial grain of salt. I'm going with the published survey results rather than the opinions of a few insiders who don't agree with it.

I'm nobody, so don't listen to me. Go on any school specific thread, and see how many people from non-elite UGs receive IIs and As from elite med schools, and then come back and post how the table is BS. Yes, plenty of people from top tier schools will do well, because they are awesome, not because the selectivity of their UG is anything other than of "lowest importance" in admissions.
 
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I'm biased but I think the most complete discussion on this topic is in:


and

 
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El-Rami

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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.

I know it doesn't matter now, but MPH doesn't impress med school adcoms.
 
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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.
So where did the other 80% go?
 
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I know it doesn't matter now, but MPH doesn't impress med school adcoms.
oh? i think that's a simplistic way of looking at things.

So where did the other 80% go?
totally based on guess but probably like 25% ivy league, 40% other big private schools like chicago or hopkins or duke or something, 10% liberal arts schools, 20% elite state schools, 5% Other e.g. U of Nebraska like me.
 
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oh? i think that's a simplistic way of looking at things.


totally based on guess but probably like 25% ivy league, 40% other big private schools like chicago or hopkins or duke or something, 10% liberal arts schools, 20% elite state schools, 5% Other e.g. U of Nebraska like me.
So, with all due respect, it sounds like you did fine, based on the company you are keeping. How bad can it possibly be if around 65% are elite private schools and 20% are elite state schools? :cool:
 
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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.
Berklee has an agreement with MIT for students who want to cross-register for STEM courses. Of course, that presupposes they knew they wanted to be premed while still in undergrad.
 
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I've contemplated this for years, as I chose a a full ride at a T30 school over Harvard with 120k in personal debt and 80k parent contribution, do you think the prestige bump is worth that sort of investment? @LizzyM @Goro
 
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I've contemplated this for years, as I chose a a full ride at a T30 school over Harvard with 120k in personal debt and 80k parent contribution, do you think the prestige bump is worth that sort of investment? @LizzyM @Goro

99.9% of the time, no it's not worth it. You can rest easy.
 
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I've contemplated this for years, as I chose a a full ride at a T30 school over Harvard with 120k in personal debt and 80k parent contribution, do you think the prestige bump is worth that sort of investment? @LizzyM @Goro
If you were my kid, I would have told you take the free ride.

You're a smart kid, and a good child too!
 
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Thanks for the reassurance @Goro and @Lucca !

If it makes anyone feel better, between me and the other students in my scholarship program who are the same year, we turned down HYPMS. Of course everyone isn't pre-med, but everyone is seeing success in their respective majors with internships and whatnot!
 
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99.9% of the time, no it's not worth it. You can rest easy.
Would you say same to ORMs? I would advice against taking loans, but I would have paid for Harvard or Stanford but that opportunity didn't come.
 
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@KnightDoc you appear to perceive this "prestigious UG vs. no-name UG" as some sort of black and white discussion when in reality it's not. A lot of factors go into 'prestigious' undergrads generally making more competitive applicants (on average), a lot of which has already been discussed in this thread. You seem to act like the majority of students who pick to go to ivy leagues have to pay full, yet these schools often match financial aid requirements and are notoriously very generous with financial aid if you present a reasonable claim (not to say that this is always the case). Ultimately, it's pretty clear that everything needs context, and that you're never going to be barred admission for going to X undergrad. Asking if a kid from Yale would get in over a kid from UM-Twin Cities is redundant if you know nothing about them.

You should worry about things you CAN control as opposed to things like this. If you are still in high school and deciding between a top 10 undergrad and have a generous offer from a state school, I would present this to the former school and ask for more financial aid (I did this, and got an increase in my financial aid). If you are in a situation where you can't get any financial aid in the first place and you are 100% deadset on premed and it would be a financial crunch to pay for the top 10, then it is most likely not worth giving up a full scholarship or full ride to a decent state school.
 
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also, if your body's not too broken, you can always do what i did and join the army. free* college

*nothing is ever free, don't listen to recruiters
 
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In my humble opinion, it is much more important what you are able to accomplish at your university than where you went to school. You can go to Harvard but get 0 research, 0 notable accomplishments/awards, etc. You can also go to xyz state school but get tons of research, be awarded grants, do amazing volunteer work, crush the MCAT and win student of the year and go to whatever med school you want. It's all what you make of it. I will say that if you go to a "top tier" university, you will typically have access to better opportunities to achieve some of these goals because they will be research-heavy institutions with many resources to help you succeed that not every university will have. You also have to consider that students that get into these top universities are highly driven individuals and would have likely succeeded at any university so you sometimes have to wonder if it's the university itself or just the students they are accepting. That's a whole other debate.

TL:DR- I believe its more of what you make of it than the "name" of the university.
 
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So I need to jump in here. I am a unique case where I am a UChicago alum who received very generous grant aid to attend. But I was underprepared by my high school for the rigors of UChicago. Academically, I was the big fish in a small pond in high school, and in college, I was a little fish in a very big pond. I probably would have benefitted in GPA from attending a state school. But the reality was, all of us were little fish in a big pond. There were a few humongous sharks moving through that pond with genius talent, and they are the types who won Scav and created nuclear reactors in their bedrooms. But most UChicago students were, to my surprise, struggling. If you brought it up, nobody had a 4.0. They didn't have a 3.7 either. UChicago does not inflate. Let me be utterly clear. There's a reason you could buy a shirt at Hutch Commons that said "If I wanted an A I would have gone to Harvard."

I had physics major friends getting dragged with C+ grades thinking their lives were over. (And in the case of the lab TA for my physics class, he hanged himself a year later in his office.) I had a friend claim her 3.3 meant grad school was out of the picture. I know someone who was so stricken by anxiety over their failure to write a final paper for a course that they just never submitted it. The school still has them registered as having an incomplete, and the instructor is still willing to accept a paper years later just to get his degree approved. I have yet more friends who have similar stories of mental health struggles related to their anxiety over academic performance. A friend nearly left for a term because she was horrified that she had a 3.0 after struggling with the Core curriculum. And these are people who were just anxious about grades. Meanwhile I had family members sick and dying left and right and financial issues and the threat of becoming an orphan at 21. I had bad stuff happening on top of "Oh I suck at this, too." So there's talking about struggling in college and there's talking about struggling with life while in college, and I was the latter.

So I have to admit, I am BANKING on the prestige of the school off-setting my terrible STEM Core and life struggles that interrupted my studies. Maybe on paper I would have looked better if I had gone to the five state schools that accepted me. But I am also where I am today because I struggled my way through such a top school. I already excelled in a graduate program once. At a state school. Where I was a big fish in a small pond again (and where a poli sci major from University of Denver tried to argue with me that Plato's Republic did not include the cave allegory ::laughter::). I'm confident I'll sail through pre-reqs now that I'm ready to devote my attention to them in ways I didn't know how to do at 19. All this nonsense about how your undergrad GPA defines you, it's bogus. I am far more intellectually capable now than when I was in college, and it's only because I attended that college that I got here. That's how the zone of proximal development works. I'm just hoping admissions folks understand that who I am today can be a doctor, and who I was at 22 could not.
 
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So I need to jump in here. I am a unique case where I am a UChicago alum who received very generous grant aid to attend. But I was underprepared by my high school for the rigors of UChicago. Academically, I was the big fish in a small pond in high school, and in college, I was a little fish in a very big pond. I probably would have benefitted in GPA from attending a state school. But the reality was, all of us were little fish in a big pond. There were a few humongous sharks moving through that pond with genius talent, and they are the types who won Scav and created nuclear reactors in their bedrooms. But most UChicago students were, to my surprise, struggling. If you brought it up, nobody had a 4.0. They didn't have a 3.7 either. UChicago does not inflate. Let me be utterly clear. There's a reason you could buy a shirt at Hutch Commons that said "If I wanted an A I would have gone to Harvard."

I had physics major friends getting dragged with C+ grades thinking their lives were over. (And in the case of the lab TA for my physics class, he hanged himself a year later in his office.) I had a friend claim her 3.3 meant grad school was out of the picture. I know someone who was so stricken by anxiety over their failure to write a final paper for a course that they just never submitted it. The school still has them registered as having an incomplete, and the instructor is still willing to accept a paper years later just to get his degree approved. I have yet more friends who have similar stories of mental health struggles related to their anxiety over academic performance. A friend nearly left for a term because she was horrified that she had a 3.0 after struggling with the Core curriculum. And these are people who were just anxious about grades. Meanwhile I had family members sick and dying left and right and financial issues and the threat of becoming an orphan at 21. I had bad stuff happening on top of "Oh I suck at this, too." So there's talking about struggling in college and there's talking about struggling with life while in college, and I was the latter.

So I have to admit, I am BANKING on the prestige of the school off-setting my terrible STEM Core and life struggles that interrupted my studies. Maybe on paper I would have looked better if I had gone to the five state schools that accepted me. But I am also where I am today because I struggled my way through such a top school. I already excelled in a graduate program once. At a state school. Where I was a big fish in a small pond again (and where a poli sci major from University of Denver tried to argue with me that Plato's Republic did not include the cave allegory ::laughter::). I'm confident I'll sail through pre-reqs now that I'm ready to devote my attention to them in ways I didn't know how to do at 19. All this nonsense about how your undergrad GPA defines you, it's bogus. I am far more intellectually capable now than when I was in college, and it's only because I attended that college that I got here. That's how the zone of proximal development works. I'm just hoping admissions folks understand that who I am today can be a doctor, and who I was at 22 could not.
fellow maroon here, i know exactly what you're saying about how difficult it is, but my understanding is that schools don't care too much. i've spent a couple years doing GPA repair at another school, and its just amazing how much easier it is to get an A. my study habit have definitely improved, but its also just incredible how much the professors actually want you to get good grades and tell you exactly what you need, whereas in college i think there was a bit of a taboo about asking about grades, since we were supposed to be focused on learning rather than grades lol.

i think there is an understanding that a UChicago grad will have a lower GPA, and there is *some* accounting for that (see a comment above about the average GPA being .05 lower), but you still have to do well. the people who i know who got into great programs right out of college were usually very smart about the classes they picked. i was not lol.

basically my point is, we chose the wrong undergrad haha, although i wouldn't trade it.
 
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From U Chicago Pre-Health FAQ | CareerAdv

When medical schools look at your GPA, they are evaluating the rigor of your undergraduate institution, the intensity of your course-load, and your overall grades. They DO recognize that UChicago is not a school that practices grade inflation, and take that into account—within reason. That is not to say that you can earn a 2.0 at UChicago and expect that to be held in the same regard as a 4.0 at another school. The mean GPA nationally for applicants accepted into MD programs in 2020 was 3.66. The mean GPA of UChicago students accepted into MD programs in 2020 was 3.64. Specific to the sciences, the mean accepted science GPA nationally was a 3.73 and the mean UChicago science GPA was a 3.70. It is clear from those results that the medical schools are valuing the rigor of the UChicago experience when they consider candidates.
 

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From U Chicago Pre-Health FAQ | CareerAdv

When medical schools look at your GPA, they are evaluating the rigor of your undergraduate institution, the intensity of your course-load, and your overall grades. They DO recognize that UChicago is not a school that practices grade inflation, and take that into account—within reason. That is not to say that you can earn a 2.0 at UChicago and expect that to be held in the same regard as a 4.0 at another school. The mean GPA nationally for applicants accepted into MD programs in 2020 was 3.66. The mean GPA of UChicago students accepted into MD programs in 2020 was 3.64. Specific to the sciences, the mean accepted science GPA nationally was a 3.73 and the mean UChicago science GPA was a 3.70. It is clear from those results that the medical schools are valuing the rigor of the UChicago experience when they consider candidates.
i wonder if you took a look at the standard deviation around the mean accepted GPA's whether those differences would even be significant lol
 
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efle

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i wonder if you took a look at the standard deviation around the mean accepted GPA's whether those differences would even be significant lol
And they certainly wouldn't offset the difference in difficulty/rigor

Here's a look at the GPA ranges that get into top med schools out of WashU (you still need A's)

And here's a look at how much harder the grading is at WashU, using the MCAT as an equalizer (3.3 GPAs at WashU outperform 3.9 GPAs nationally)

Put those together and it becomes very questionable to attend a school like WashU over state flagship full ride, unless you are very confident in your academic abilities. I had friends who were weeded out of premed altogether that had turned down those honor college scholarships. M I S T A K E.
 
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fellow maroon here, i know exactly what you're saying about how difficult it is, but my understanding is that schools don't care too much. i've spent a couple years doing GPA repair at another school, and its just amazing how much easier it is to get an A. my study habit have definitely improved, but its also just incredible how much the professors actually want you to get good grades and tell you exactly what you need, whereas in college i think there was a bit of a taboo about asking about grades, since we were supposed to be focused on learning rather than grades lol.

i think there is an understanding that a UChicago grad will have a lower GPA, and there is *some* accounting for that (see a comment above about the average GPA being .05 lower), but you still have to do well. the people who i know who got into great programs right out of college were usually very smart about the classes they picked. i was not lol.

basically my point is, we chose the wrong undergrad haha, although i wouldn't trade it.
These are excellent points. I agree about study habits 100%. I have a friend who like me went directly into working out of college. Recently went back to UChicago for law, but she's surrounded by 23-year-olds. And they have terrible study habits. They want to socialize, their study groups are useless, they're treating it like "school" and not a job. She's treating it like a job. Her efforts are focused from 9-6. She's not losing sleep. She's not frazzled. It's a whole other ballgame now and she feels like she's got the tools to be successful in what she's doing.

That's also a great perspective about how the undergrad courses are led and especially about course selection. In hindsight, I made course choices that weren't strategic enough or sequenced well. I also had the dullest advisor who offered no assistance. I heard of friends having to switch from advisor to advisor to find one they liked. In reality, I was very bad at advocating for myself. And that matters. Taking ownership of your learning is a key to success and I didn't have that key until I was in the workplace and I'd learned to speak up more and get over fear of failure. And having experienced other schools now, I'm amazed at the stark differences in learning. If you don't have a good enough grasp of the material to begin with at UChicago, you're not going to grasp much more of it later because it's largely on you to study and make sense of. If you're coming from behind in a subject in any way, this is not going to maximize achievement.

I think there's also a perception at UChicago that if you're doing anything less than 3.7 you're failing miserably and don't know anything. And all that pressure sinks a lot of people. I had a 3.56 in my major and that made me happy. Unfortunately that was not my science GPA!
 
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From U Chicago Pre-Health FAQ | CareerAdv

When medical schools look at your GPA, they are evaluating the rigor of your undergraduate institution, the intensity of your course-load, and your overall grades. They DO recognize that UChicago is not a school that practices grade inflation, and take that into account—within reason. That is not to say that you can earn a 2.0 at UChicago and expect that to be held in the same regard as a 4.0 at another school. The mean GPA nationally for applicants accepted into MD programs in 2020 was 3.66. The mean GPA of UChicago students accepted into MD programs in 2020 was 3.64. Specific to the sciences, the mean accepted science GPA nationally was a 3.73 and the mean UChicago science GPA was a 3.70. It is clear from those results that the medical schools are valuing the rigor of the UChicago experience when they consider candidates.
There is definitely something to be said about who actually considers medical school after attending UChicago. So much of the school values academia more than practice, and the expectation to perform keeps people "in their place." I only know two people who did MD, one who did pharmacy, everybody else did law or academia or corporate. Oh my god the number of lawyer friends, though. And I think this comes down to the school killing your interest in STEM pathways if you don't meet extremely high standards. I knew a few people who thought about medicine. But they got beat down by a B- in ochem and ran the hell away. And became lawyers! Would they have become good doctors? Probably. I think they have the intellectual and personal skills to be good in the profession. But that potentiality was lost to the pressure. And maybe that's a sign that they wouldn't have done well in medical school. Or maybe they were making decisions before they really knew the situation.

Just the simple fact that I know now that I can pursue a DO program and I don't need to damage my mental health trying for Ivy Leagues makes me more confident that the professional goal is what matters, not the status symbol of a name school. That originally mattered to me. Look where I went! And then I left the bubble and went into the real world where thousands of people went to school somewhere else and they're getting promotions, they're working hard, they're delivering, and it has nothing to do with stamina they had for writing papers at a special school when they were 20.
 
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And they certainly wouldn't offset the difference in difficulty/rigor

Here's a look at the GPA ranges that get into top med schools out of WashU (you still need A's)

And here's a look at how much harder the grading is at WashU, using the MCAT as an equalizer (3.3 GPAs at WashU outperform 3.9 GPAs nationally)

Put those together and it becomes very questionable to attend a school like WashU over state flagship full ride, unless you are very confident in your academic abilities. I had friends who were weeded out of premed altogether that had turned down those honor college scholarships. M I S T A K E.
agreed, as a 3.0 student at UChicago who got a 91st %ile MCAT the first time i took it (expired now, didn't end up applying because of GPA), i definitely set myself up for failure going to an unforgiving school.

BUT i don't really blame the school, i know people who excelled, and for me it was just a lack of maturity that, along with very little safety net, led to poor performance. for gen chem 3 (which i took honors, because i was a cocky prick) i turned in all of my lab reports for the whole quarter the last day we could potentially turn them in. i think we lost something like 5% every week they were late. why? cause i was stupid, i like to think i'm less stupid now.

overall i wouldn't recommend UChicago to a premed unless they're very self-driven. if they are, its an excellent school with a good name. if not, the premed advising isn't great, the culture is pretty anti-professional (very much focused on people going into academia or finance), and the classes can have brutal curves with very little hand-holding. and back to the point of this thread, going to a top tier school gets you very little edge in the med school admissions process.
 
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agreed, as a 3.0 student at UChicago who got a 91st %ile MCAT the first time i took it (expired now, didn't end up applying because of GPA), i definitely set myself up for failure going to an unforgiving school.

BUT i don't really blame the school, i know people who excelled, and for me it was just a lack of maturity that, along with very little safety net, led to poor performance. for gen chem 3 (which i took honors, because i was a cocky prick) i turned in all of my lab reports for the whole quarter the last day we could potentially turn them in. i think we lost something like 5% every week they were late. why? cause i was stupid, i like to think i'm less stupid now.

overall i wouldn't recommend UChicago to a premed unless they're very self-driven. if they are, its an excellent school with a good name. if not, the premed advising isn't great, the culture is pretty anti-professional (very much focused on people going into academia or finance), and the classes can have brutal curves with very little hand-holding. and back to the point of this thread, going to a top tier school gets you very little edge in the med school admissions process.

As the kids say, UChicago: where fun goes to die
 
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efle

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agreed, as a 3.0 student at UChicago who got a 91st %ile MCAT the first time i took it (expired now, didn't end up applying because of GPA), i definitely set myself up for failure going to an unforgiving school.

BUT i don't really blame the school, i know people who excelled, and for me it was just a lack of maturity that, along with very little safety net, led to poor performance. for gen chem 3 (which i took honors, because i was a cocky prick) i turned in all of my lab reports for the whole quarter the last day we could potentially turn them in. i think we lost something like 5% every week they were late. why? cause i was stupid, i like to think i'm less stupid now.

overall i wouldn't recommend UChicago to a premed unless they're very self-driven. if they are, its an excellent school with a good name. if not, the premed advising isn't great, the culture is pretty anti-professional (very much focused on people going into academia or finance), and the classes can have brutal curves with very little hand-holding. and back to the point of this thread, going to a top tier school gets you very little edge in the med school admissions process.
You can blame the school. Teenagers are immature everywhere. You'd have been the same person at U of Illinois, but you'd probably have made great grades and gone straight through to med school.
 
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Screamapillar

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You can blame the school. Teenagers are immature everywhere. You'd have been the same person at U of Illinois, but you'd probably have made great grades and gone straight through to med school.
it sucks to watch other people start residency before you even apply to school but you have to grow up sometime. if you keep getting rewarded for not doing assignments on time and half-assing everything, the real world is gonna kick your ass. some people learn that lesson quickly, others are more stubborn and have to fail a lot before they learn.
 

MyOdyssey

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agreed, as a 3.0 student at UChicago who got a 91st %ile MCAT the first time i took it (expired now, didn't end up applying because of GPA), i definitely set myself up for failure going to an unforgiving school.

BUT i don't really blame the school, i know people who excelled, and for me it was just a lack of maturity that, along with very little safety net, led to poor performance. for gen chem 3 (which i took honors, because i was a cocky prick) i turned in all of my lab reports for the whole quarter the last day we could potentially turn them in. i think we lost something like 5% every week they were late. why? cause i was stupid, i like to think i'm less stupid now.

overall i wouldn't recommend UChicago to a premed unless they're very self-driven. if they are, its an excellent school with a good name. if not, the premed advising isn't great, the culture is pretty anti-professional (very much focused on people going into academia or finance), and the classes can have brutal curves with very little hand-holding. and back to the point of this thread, going to a top tier school gets you very little edge in the med school admissions process.

So now you're doing a postbacc and then applying as a nontrad?
 

MyOdyssey

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And they certainly wouldn't offset the difference in difficulty/rigor

Here's a look at the GPA ranges that get into top med schools out of WashU (you still need A's)

And here's a look at how much harder the grading is at WashU, using the MCAT as an equalizer (3.3 GPAs at WashU outperform 3.9 GPAs nationally)

Put those together and it becomes very questionable to attend a school like WashU over state flagship full ride, unless you are very confident in your academic abilities. I had friends who were weeded out of premed altogether that had turned down those honor college scholarships. M I S T A K E.

Some undergrads known for being very stats-driven in admissions are either known for generous grading curves (Rice University) or not especially rigorous basic science curriculum (Vanderbilt). Wash U is very stats-driven in admissions while not being generous in grading and also being rigorous in the basic sciences.

High school students looking at these three schools might not know how differently they operate.
 
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MyOdyssey

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There is definitely something to be said about who actually considers medical school after attending UChicago. So much of the school values academia more than practice, and the expectation to perform keeps people "in their place." I only know two people who did MD, one who did pharmacy, everybody else did law or academia or corporate. Oh my god the number of lawyer friends, though. And I think this comes down to the school killing your interest in STEM pathways if you don't meet extremely high standards. I knew a few people who thought about medicine. But they got beat down by a B- in ochem and ran the hell away. And became lawyers! Would they have become good doctors? Probably. I think they have the intellectual and personal skills to be good in the profession. But that potentiality was lost to the pressure. And maybe that's a sign that they wouldn't have done well in medical school. Or maybe they were making decisions before they really knew the situation.

Just the simple fact that I know now that I can pursue a DO program and I don't need to damage my mental health trying for Ivy Leagues makes me more confident that the professional goal is what matters, not the status symbol of a name school. That originally mattered to me. Look where I went! And then I left the bubble and went into the real world where thousands of people went to school somewhere else and they're getting promotions, they're working hard, they're delivering, and it has nothing to do with stamina they had for writing papers at a special school when they were 20.

Did you also attend a super competitive private high school or public magnet school?
 
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HopeP

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You can blame the school. Teenagers are immature everywhere. You'd have been the same person at U of Illinois, but you'd probably have made great grades and gone straight through to med school.
Or not that far NU..
 

MyOdyssey

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Berklee has an agreement with MIT for students who want to cross-register for STEM courses. Of course, that presupposes they knew they wanted to be premed while still in undergrad.

And LOL at Berklee students competing against MIT students in MIT STEM courses.
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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Some undergrads known for being very stats-driven in admissions are either known for generous grading curves (Rice University) or not especially rigorous basic science curriculum (Vanderbilt). Wash U is very stats-driven in admissions while not being generous in grading and also being rigorous in the basic sciences.

High school students looking at these three schools might not know how differently they operate.
That's an interesting observation about Rice and Vanderbilt. What makes you think both schools science curriculum is basic? Vandy and WashU are two schools who publish detailed information about their premeds and they seem to be doing very well.
 

MyOdyssey

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So I need to jump in here. I am a unique case where I am a UChicago alum who received very generous grant aid to attend. But I was underprepared by my high school for the rigors of UChicago. Academically, I was the big fish in a small pond in high school, and in college, I was a little fish in a very big pond. I probably would have benefitted in GPA from attending a state school. But the reality was, all of us were little fish in a big pond. There were a few humongous sharks moving through that pond with genius talent, and they are the types who won Scav and created nuclear reactors in their bedrooms. But most UChicago students were, to my surprise, struggling. If you brought it up, nobody had a 4.0. They didn't have a 3.7 either. UChicago does not inflate. Let me be utterly clear. There's a reason you could buy a shirt at Hutch Commons that said "If I wanted an A I would have gone to Harvard."

I had physics major friends getting dragged with C+ grades thinking their lives were over. (And in the case of the lab TA for my physics class, he hanged himself a year later in his office.) I had a friend claim her 3.3 meant grad school was out of the picture. I know someone who was so stricken by anxiety over their failure to write a final paper for a course that they just never submitted it. The school still has them registered as having an incomplete, and the instructor is still willing to accept a paper years later just to get his degree approved. I have yet more friends who have similar stories of mental health struggles related to their anxiety over academic performance. A friend nearly left for a term because she was horrified that she had a 3.0 after struggling with the Core curriculum. And these are people who were just anxious about grades. Meanwhile I had family members sick and dying left and right and financial issues and the threat of becoming an orphan at 21. I had bad stuff happening on top of "Oh I suck at this, too." So there's talking about struggling in college and there's talking about struggling with life while in college, and I was the latter.

So I have to admit, I am BANKING on the prestige of the school off-setting my terrible STEM Core and life struggles that interrupted my studies. Maybe on paper I would have looked better if I had gone to the five state schools that accepted me. But I am also where I am today because I struggled my way through such a top school. I already excelled in a graduate program once. At a state school. Where I was a big fish in a small pond again (and where a poli sci major from University of Denver tried to argue with me that Plato's Republic did not include the cave allegory ::laughter::). I'm confident I'll sail through pre-reqs now that I'm ready to devote my attention to them in ways I didn't know how to do at 19. All this nonsense about how your undergrad GPA defines you, it's bogus. I am far more intellectually capable now than when I was in college, and it's only because I attended that college that I got here. That's how the zone of proximal development works. I'm just hoping admissions folks understand that who I am today can be a doctor, and who I was at 22 could not.

Didn't U Chicago decide to ease up on its grading policy in recent years?
 

MyOdyssey

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That's an interesting observation about Rice and Vanderbilt. What makes you think both schools science curriculum is basic? Vandy and WashU are two schools who publish detailed information about their premeds and they seem to be doing very well.

Someone posted some recent Vandy gen bio or gen chem exams (I forget which) and I compared them to the exams at my school, which were much more conceptually challenging.

Vandy admits students who do very, very well on standardized tests. They go on to do very, very well on the MCAT.

I didn't say Rice's basic science curriculum is basic. I said Rice had a generous grading policy. Rice University Notice the average GPA of almost 3.6 back in 2015 despite the fact that Rice has a lot of engineering students who tend to be graded more harshly.


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EdgeTrimmer

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I think it can but extensive MCAT test prep can make up for curriculum that is lacking.
That's hard to believe. I know few students from Vandy and WashU and only thing I heard is WashU grading is tad tougher than Vandy but nothing about curriculum being easy at Vandy.
 
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@KnightDoc you appear to perceive this "prestigious UG vs. no-name UG" as some sort of black and white discussion when in reality it's not. A lot of factors go into 'prestigious' undergrads generally making more competitive applicants (on average), a lot of which has already been discussed in this thread. You seem to act like the majority of students who pick to go to ivy leagues have to pay full, yet these schools often match financial aid requirements and are notoriously very generous with financial aid if you present a reasonable claim (not to say that this is always the case). Ultimately, it's pretty clear that everything needs context, and that you're never going to be barred admission for going to X undergrad. Asking if a kid from Yale would get in over a kid from UM-Twin Cities is redundant if you know nothing about them.

You should worry about things you CAN control as opposed to things like this. If you are still in high school and deciding between a top 10 undergrad and have a generous offer from a state school, I would present this to the former school and ask for more financial aid (I did this, and got an increase in my financial aid). If you are in a situation where you can't get any financial aid in the first place and you are 100% deadset on premed and it would be a financial crunch to pay for the top 10, then it is most likely not worth giving up a full scholarship or full ride to a decent state school.
Great advice, but it's irrelevant to many middle class families whose income and home equity are too high
So curriculum has no impact on MCAT scores?
NONE!!!!!!!!!!!! Just ask your kid. All curricula go way more in depth than the MCAT.

The MCAT is unique onto itself. Background in the subject matter makes it much easier to begin studying, but that's about it. Beyond that, performance is determined by skill in test taking, ability to master the format, time, effort, etc.

Better students go to better schools. From that you can look at stats and draw the incorrect conclusion that better schools produce better test results. They don't. It's the better students at those schools that produce the result, and that is independent of the curriculum.

Nothing else would explain the fact that great students at crappy schools, with "weak" curricula, do great on the MCAT. Curriculum might have an impact on a uniform final exam in a subject given across various schools, all with excellent students, but not on a test like the MCAT that tests many subjects at once, at very little depth, but with a level of analysis not seen on tests in individual subjects at schools.
 

HopeP

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Great advice, but it's irrelevant to many middle class families whose income and home equity are too high

NONE!!!!!!!!!!!! Just ask your kid. All curricula go way more in depth than the MCAT.

The MCAT is unique onto itself. Background in the subject matter makes it much easier to begin studying, but that's about it. Beyond that, performance is determined by skill in test taking, ability to master the format, time, effort, etc.

Better students go to better schools. From that you can look at stats and draw the incorrect conclusion that better schools produce better test results. They don't. It's the better students at those schools that produce the result, and that is independent of the curriculum.

Nothing else would explain the fact that great students at crappy schools, with "weak" curricula, do great on the MCAT. Curriculum might have an impact on a uniform final exam in a subject given across various schools, all with excellent students, but not on a test like the MCAT that tests many subjects at once, at very little depth, but with a level of analysis not seen on tests in individual subjects at schools.
In other words you sweat in training to prevent bleeding in battle.
 

EdgeTrimmer

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Great advice, but it's irrelevant to many middle class families whose income and home equity are too high

NONE!!!!!!!!!!!! Just ask your kid. All curricula go way more in depth than the MCAT.
Hmmm. I don't think my kid compared curriculum with other schools. GPA/MCAT trends, research interests and enough time to do ECs without needing gap years (and medical school acceptances) were the deciding factors for UG selection and seems to be on right track.
 

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