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When Applying to Residencies does it matter what medical school you attended?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by ShadowHuskey, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. ShadowHuskey

    ShadowHuskey Membership Revoked
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    If Yes, how heavily does it weigh on their decision or is mainly based on the grades and your ec's?

    I got this from another forum. The guy who wrote made a good point.

    "There is no question that it does matter where you went to med school, just as to how much it depends on several factors.A highly prestigious school in the top 10-15 will certainly have its graduates perceived in a way other schools may not-(Nearly everyone from Columbia matches at elite institutions,even in competitive specialties).."Average" applicants from these places will still stand out.It guarantees them nothing but opportunities at "name" hosptals are much better.Some places "ranked" slightly lower such as NYU have terrific reputations among residency directors and match a high percentage at top institutions.Once you pass the so-called "top 25" rank,the schools name means little.Overall.. individual accomplishment is the key,but it is recognized that some schools have such a highly selected student body that it does count.For the great majority of US medical grads where they went to school will end up mattering little in terms of achieving their professional goals when compared to other variables."
     
    #1 ShadowHuskey, Jul 26, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2011
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  3. CodeBlu

    CodeBlu Dream Weaver
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    No. Not at all.
     
  4. Snuke

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    I have been told by a few different doctors that it's possible to have a slight advantage at your home school simply because they already know you and if you're a good/smart worker. Same if you do an away rotation.
     
  5. ShadowHuskey

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    that makes sense
     
  6. Hotshy

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    I shadowed a physician at my state's medical school (he attended our state medical school and is a faculty member now). He said he was just as competitive as everyone else, even though he didn't go to a "big name" MD program. He did residency at a Harvard Affiliated Hospital with Yale, Harvard and JHU graduates, so I don't think it matters too much. As long as you perform well individually you're fine.
     
  7. FrickenhugeMD

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    I think to answer your question I'll pose another: How much $$$ are you going to have to save before you think its worth it to go to the less prestigious med school?

    People will argue both sides of this story, but it really boils down to what I just asked you above. Two different paths that ultimately lead to the same destination...
     
  8. tonguetalker

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    may I ask, what is the benefit to doing a big name residency if you desire to work in private practice?
     
  9. MightyMoose

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  10. DoctwoB

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    False. It does matter.

    There are both direct and indirect effects. The direct is "so and so went to harvard, they must be awesome, having lots of students from top med schools makes us look good, etc." This plays a role (obviously dependent on any individual program and program director) that is relatively low on the list of

    [​IMG]

    The med school you go to is far from the most important thing (how you do matters more then where you go), but as this survey of program directors shows, it does matter (ranking higher then research in fact).

    Then there's the indirect effects. The "more likely to get a rec letter from the giant in the field" or the "more likely to get research funding and published in prolific labs" etc. Especially for small fields, don't underestimate the power of having the right mentor and knowing the right people. Of course, top schools aren't top in all fields, but they tend to be very strong in a number of fields.

    School prestige shouldn't be your number 1 criteria for choosing schools. Go somewhere where you'll do well, that you enjoy, etc. That being said, it does matter, and anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves.
     
  11. Staradmiral

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    however, grades in your courses is ranked higher than school reputation. Going to a high ranked school may screw you over as your grades may be lower due to higher competition among classmates. Its often better to stand out at an avg school then be avg at a top school.
     
  12. It matters, but it is very, very low on the list. If there are 2 applicants that are otherwise equal, the HMS kid may get the nod. Any student from any MD school with good grades and a good step 1 score will do well on match day.
     
  13. Law2Doc

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    I think when it's listed 9th in a list where PDs seldom get all that far down the list, it doesn't really matter. Your step 1 and clinical rotation evaluations (mores than the letter grades) and how you do in audition rotations are going to make or break you. If you haven't pulled away from the pack with those, then perhaps the next couple of factors can turn the tides. But honestly you are going to rather be the dude from the no name program with high scores over the average dude from a top 10 school in most cases. I mean by your list PDs consider a mere pass in the Clinical Skills exam a more important factor, and this is something 95% of US grads pass.

    In preallo folks want to believe they have actually accomplished something by getting into med school. But truth of the matter is this is just base camp, and the mountain looms ahead.

    One note on research, it is not a significant factor in every specialty or even most specialties, which is why it is ranked where it is on this list, but in the handful of specialties where it is important it is going to be in the top 4 on the list.
     
  14. UnclePhil

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    Basically none, which is sort of the beauty of med school.
     
  15. Law2Doc

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    Meh, they will probably match someplace -- 94% do each year, but "doing well" totally depends on what you are shooting for. I'd say it's not a small percentage of folks who "settle" for a path different than they had hoped earlier in med school. People self select based on numbers, where they get interviews and so on. I think there's a difference between cutting your losses and doing well.
     
  16. Law2Doc

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    You get to name drop -- "when I was training at Hahvaad..." at cocktail parties. And you get to frame and hang up your residency certificate and put it in your office to impress all the patients. And you can justify buying a school sweatshirt to wear at the gym. Otherwise it's probably not going to make a big difference. Which is why outside of preallo this is not viewed as nearly as significant.
     
  17. What I meant by "doing well" was matching in the field of your choice (which will happen if you do well enough gradeswise). Sure, students get obsessed with their top choices and are heartbroken when they match at a program low on their rank list, but I would still say they did well if they matched in their desired field (as you said in your 2nd post, where you match doesn't really make a big difference anyway for most)
     
  18. IlDestriero

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    NO!

    There are huge differences in training between highly regarded residency programs and the average program. I have seen it myself. They all meet minimum standards, but that's where the similarities end. Powerhouses get the worst of the worst cases all the time. They have huge, global, referral bases. They also have well established nationwide networks for jobs. Superior training yields superior skills and experience. That can help you land the competitive PP jobs.
    However, if you know with a high degree of certainty that you want to work in a particular region, you're probably better off trying to go to the best program you can in the area. It will likely have a better local network of grads for jobs.
     
  19. ScholarStud

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    Thanks for the great answer! That makes a lot of sense.

    Now wait for the incoming premeds who know everything to tell you you're wrong...
     
  20. I think it is all dependent on what field you are in.

    If you want to replace hips and knees in private practice, who cares if you see the super-rare bone tumors, or crazy trauma cases? You will NEVER operate on those in the real world.

    I know in radiology, a big name place can help you get a job in a super competitive market like manhattan... but I have been told time and time again that your expertise is entirely dependent on your self-study outside of the hospital (although, I'll admit, this is unique to radiology and pathology).


    I would argue that the perceived higher skilled docs from prestigious programs is more a reflection of self-selection...the most knowledgable, hard working, skilled applicants tend to match at the top programs. If you swapped residents from Hopkins with ho-hum state U, I would imagine that they would come out with the same level of skill after their residency regardless of the program they attended.
     
    #19 cowme, Jul 26, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 26, 2011
  21. lord_jeebus

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    My residency program assigns points for various applicant attributes. Perceived strength of medical school is a significant factor. It's not how I would have designed it, but that's how it is. It is not the top factor, but it is enough to be the difference between interviewing or not interviewing, or being #30 vs #50 on a rank list where we routinely go down to only #40 on the list.

    I remember that at one of my interviews, my interviewer showed me how they assigned scores - medical school prestige was assigned equal weighting to USMLE scores and Dean's Letter overall evaluation. Only the interview itself was worth more. I was annoyed because my "top 20" school only earned 3 out of 5, and my interviewer even asked me "why didn't you go to a better school?"

    At another interview, they had condensed each applicant to a paper card the size of a business card: Name, medical school, USMLE Step 1, Step 2, grade on the specialty rotation, and Dean's Letter "magic adjective." There were two additional spaces for each interviewer to write something, I don't know what.
     
  22. DocTraveler

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    Wow, very interesting info :thumbup:
     
  23. ShadowHuskey

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    Link doesnt work
     
  24. Law2Doc

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    agreed. The dude at the community surgery program is going to be much better trained in doing the gallbladders, hernias and appendectomies that you actually see in private practice than the guy at the big name place where all the zebras get shipped. You actually see this a lot -- the big name program grad who has first hand knowledge treating those rare things you only see on board exams is sometimes much more of a novice in the OR than the guy who basically spent his whole residency doing the bread and butter stuff. The community guys are going to get into the OR earlier and do more, but the cases they see wont be as rare because they ship the rare stuff off to the big name academic centers. Leads to very different educations that makes one group better trained to work in an academic setting and the other group better prepared for the daily grind of private practice. The practitioners who hire often know which programs crank out the technically skilled folks, and their lists often don't jibe with what premeds consider most prestigious. By contrast fellowships often focus on the other group. So I wouldn't really say the big name place equals "better training", more like grooming for a more academic path, which only serves you better if that's the path you opt for. Hope that makes sense.
     
  25. tonguetalker

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    So if you want to go into private practice for something competitive like derm or rad onc then it matters?
     
  26. lord_jeebus

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    If you want a residency in these very competitive fields, you will want every advantage that you can get in the application process, regardless of your eventual career goals.
     
  27. MrLahey

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    VERY VERY true
     
  28. dra13

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    I'm a firm believer in that no, it really doesn't matter. Older brother went to a DO school, took the USMLE and scored in the 95th percentile.
     
    #27 dra13, Jul 27, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011
  29. MightyMoose

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  30. DoctwoB

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    Anecdote != data.

    I/we were never saying that you can't get an amazing residency from a no-name medschool. You definitely can. The questions was does med school rep matter, and the answer is yes, but much less then rotation grades/evals, away rotations, and step1 scores. This will be highly variable, with some PDs giving weight to med school name and others who probably couldn't care less.
     
  31. chronicidal

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    I have a feeling your future 'research' career as a doctor will consist of only case reports.

    dra13 et al. "Is medical school reputation a factor in anesthesiology residency selection? A case report." Academic Medicine (2012).
     

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