Aug 15, 2015
8
4
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hello everyone! I'm a highschool senior, and I think I know what universities I want to apply for (please note that the schools are listed in no particular order):
  • University of Alabama in Huntsville
  • Emory University
  • Spring Hill College (Mobile, Alabama)
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Middle Tennessee University
  • University of Knoxville, Tennessee
MTSU and UTK are mostly just on my list because I know I can get in, so they're sort of back-up plans to be honest. But how are their premed programs? If I went to one of these schools, what would I need to do to stay competitive for medical school?
University of Alabama in Huntsville is very attractive to me because they have wonderful scholarship options, and I feel that UAH has the best potential for being most affordable for me, even as an out-of-state student. However, I don't think they even have a premed program. I am especially interested in this school, so if anyone went to UAH and is going the medical school route, please let me know how it is being a premed student at UAH. Are their ample opportunities for internships, MCAT preparation, and possibly research?
I'm interested in Spring Hill College because they are a Catholic University and not awfully far from home. A representative told me that a very high percentage (I believe it was 70-80%, but please don't quote me on that) of their students who apply for medical school get into their first choice school, but I don't really know too much about this college's premedical program. I do know that they are quite expensive with limited scholarships, which is definitely a turn-off.
Vanderbilt and Emory both scare me because of how competitive and prestigious they are. I'm pretty sure I couldn't even get into Vanderbilt, and if I did make it into Emory, it would probably be through Oxford College. Here's my basic academic overview:
  • ACT 30
  • GPA 4.0
  • Moderate extracurricular activities, but I don't believe they're anything Vanderbilt worthy (i.e. I was never the captain of a sports team, officer of Model United Nations, in charge of my parish daycare, etc; I did things more like participate in Model United Nations as a delegate, volunteer at the local hospital over the summer, and participate in academic summer camps at out-of-state colleges)
  • I'm also an early college student if that means anything; I've completed 31 hours so far, and I'm planning on graduating with a general transfer Associates. However, I'm also planning on applying as a freshman to my next college, and I understand that not all colleges will count my credits since they are dual enrollments taken at a community college.
Will attending Vanderbilt or Emory really help me that much with getting into medical schools? I'm not really interested in Vanderbilt to be honest, and like I said, I don't think I would make the cut anyways. Emory seems nice, but I'm worried that I won't be able to stand out because so many students will be at my level and better with the same end goal. Is it better to attend a school where I feel I could rise to the top? Also, I know this is silly and superficial, but the culture of both these schools' student bodies seems rather pretentious. For example, I read one review of Emory that more or less said: "Oh man guys this is great, I was worried that there would be a bunch of people with country accents, but I haven't even met one yet! Oh and the academics are great, blah blah blah." I'm sure this isn't a proper reflection of this school's culture, but all the people I see applying for Emory and/or Vanderbilt seem to have that "highly sophisticated" and/or super hipster personality, and I feel like it would be sort of annoying to always be surrounded by them. If anybody has some insight into these schools' true culture, please let me know.
Do these things vary depending on the medical schools I apply to? I'm especially interested in the Uniformed Services University Medical School because I'd love to serve in the military and it makes great financial sense. If you have any recommendations specific to getting into this medical school, please let me know.
 

JustintheDoctor

High functioning FeelsOpath
5+ Year Member
May 9, 2013
265
133
Status
Pre-Medical
Hello everyone! I'm a highschool senior, and I think I know what universities I want to apply for (please note that the schools are listed in no particular order):
  • University of Alabama in Huntsville
  • Emory University
  • Spring Hill College (Mobile, Alabama)
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Middle Tennessee University
  • University of Knoxville, Tennessee
MTSU and UTK are mostly just on my list because I know I can get in, so they're sort of back-up plans to be honest. But how are their premed programs? If I went to one of these schools, what would I need to do to stay competitive for medical school?
University of Alabama in Huntsville is very attractive to me because they have wonderful scholarship options, and I feel that UAH has the best potential for being most affordable for me, even as an out-of-state student. However, I don't think they even have a premed program. I am especially interested in this school, so if anyone went to UAH and is going the medical school route, please let me know how it is being a premed student at UAH. Are their ample opportunities for internships, MCAT preparation, and possibly research?
I'm interested in Spring Hill College because they are a Catholic University and not awfully far from home. A representative told me that a very high percentage (I believe it was 70-80%, but please don't quote me on that) of their students who apply for medical school get into their first choice school, but I don't really know too much about this college's premedical program. I do know that they are quite expensive with limited scholarships, which is definitely a turn-off.
Vanderbilt and Emory both scare me because of how competitive and prestigious they are. I'm pretty sure I couldn't even get into Vanderbilt, and if I did make it into Emory, it would probably be through Oxford College. Here's my basic academic overview:
  • ACT 30
  • GPA 4.0
  • Moderate extracurricular activities, but I don't believe they're anything Vanderbilt worthy (i.e. I was never the captain of a sports team, officer of Model United Nations, in charge of my parish daycare, etc; I did things more like participate in Model United Nations as a delegate, volunteer at the local hospital over the summer, and participate in academic summer camps at out-of-state colleges)
  • I'm also an early college student if that means anything; I've completed 31 hours so far, and I'm planning on graduating with a general transfer Associates. However, I'm also planning on applying as a freshman to my next college, and I understand that not all colleges will count my credits since they are dual enrollments taken at a community college.
Will attending Vanderbilt or Emory really help me that much with getting into medical schools? I'm not really interested in Vanderbilt to be honest, and like I said, I don't think I would make the cut anyways. Emory seems nice, but I'm worried that I won't be able to stand out because so many students will be at my level and better with the same end goal. Is it better to attend a school where I feel I could rise to the top? Also, I know this is silly and superficial, but the culture of both these schools' student bodies seems rather pretentious. For example, I read one review of Emory that more or less said: "Oh man guys this is great, I was worried that there would be a bunch of people with country accents, but I haven't even met one yet! Oh and the academics are great, blah blah blah." I'm sure this isn't a proper reflection of this school's culture, but all the people I see applying for Emory and/or Vanderbilt seem to have that "highly sophisticated" and/or super hipster personality, and I feel like it would be sort of annoying to always be surrounded by them. If anybody has some insight into these schools' true culture, please let me know.
Do these things vary depending on the medical schools I apply to? I'm especially interested in the Uniformed Services University Medical School because I'd love to serve in the military and it makes great financial sense. If you have any recommendations specific to getting into this medical school, please let me know.
just a heads up, go where ever is comfortable, you can get into medschool with any state school as long as your stats are good
 

md-2020

The Immaculate Catch
2+ Year Member
Jun 29, 2015
2,298
3,007
Status
Medical Student
just a heads up, go where ever is comfortable, you can get into medschool with any state school as long as your stats are good
Well better schools generally sport easier paths into med school; the "prestige/rigor reputation" effect, if you will. CC =/= Directional state school =/= state flagship =/= Top 25 =/= Ivy-equivalent =/= HYPSM

With that being said this should not alter your choice of colleges. Go to the best overall fit, money/campus/academics/athletics/social life or whatever you value most.


As for your stats you are correct, Vandy and Emory are reaches for you. And you are correct to apply as a first year, as dual enrollment is generally disregarded for the most part (except for on AMCAS....)

Are you only interested in staying in the Deep South? 6 total schools is quite on the low end of college apps nowadays, IIRC.
 
Last edited:
OP
M
Aug 15, 2015
8
4
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Well better schools generally sport easier paths into med school; the "prestige/rigor reputation" effect, if you will. CC =/= Directional state school =/= state flagship =/= Top 25 =/= Ivy-equivalent =/= HYPSM

With that being said this should not alter your choice of colleges. Go to the best overall fit, money/campus/academics/athletics/social life or whatever you value most.


As for your stats you are correct, Vandy and Emory are reaches for you. And you are correct to apply as a first year, as dual enrollment is generally disregarded for the most post (except for on AMCAS....)

Are you only interested in staying in the Deep South? 6 total schools is quite on the low end of college apps nowadays, IIRC.
Yes, I would very much like to remain in the South. I don't want to be awfully far from my family, and to be honest, this is basically the only place I've ever known. I've only every gone "up North" about three times in my whole life: a band trip to Chicago, a school trip to DC, and a summer camp in Pennsylvania. Other than that, I've basically stayed in Tennessee (the Southeast region) with a few trips to neighboring states, especially Georgia. My few trips out of the South have really made me appreciate Southern culture more, so I'd love to stay here for as long as I can (not to say I don't want to travel, I definitely want to see other places and maybe even live there for a time, but the South will always be my home).
Is six really low? I've always been advised to list at least five and no more than ten. I feel like if I do fewer applications, it will be easier to focus on making them the best they can possibly be.
 

jqueb29

7+ Year Member
May 4, 2011
1,085
1,779
Status
Medical Student
Well better schools generally sport easier paths into med school; the "prestige/rigor reputation" effect, if you will. CC =/= Directional state school =/= state flagship =/= Top 25 =/= Ivy-equivalent =/= HYPSM

With that being said this should not alter your choice of colleges. Go to the best overall fit, money/campus/academics/athletics/social life or whatever you value most.


As for your stats you are correct, Vandy and Emory are reaches for you. And you are correct to apply as a first year, as dual enrollment is generally disregarded for the most post (except for on AMCAS....)

Are you only interested in staying in the Deep South? 6 total schools is quite on the low end of college apps nowadays, IIRC.
In a state like Tennessee, your first paragraph really isn't that true. As a Tennessee resident, OP is most likely to get into either UT or Eastern Tennessee medical schools. These schools are heavily subsidized by the state and as such are mandated to overwhelmingly accept in-state students. This shows just how favorable it is for an in-stater: https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/careers/act/gradstudy/health/guide/part2/appendix

I'm from a state much like Tennessee in this regard, and there are several people in my med school class who went to tiny, obscure colleges (not community colleges though lol but definitely a couple fairly terrible small schools). However, they are in-state residents in a relatively less competitive state, and so they got in to our in-state M.D. with essentially the same stats as those of us who went to state flagship schools. If the path to your in-state M.D. school is easier at a state flagship than a small school, it's only because the big schools have more and better resources, not because adcoms look upon the bigger schools extremely favorably.

Basically, if you are aiming for UT or ETU med school, you can go wherever you want as long as you make grades and MCAT in line with their averages. If you are aiming for an "elite" or out-of-state M.D. school, your choice of college can make a bit of difference, but the most important things will still be MCAT, grades, ECs, and research.
 

md-2020

The Immaculate Catch
2+ Year Member
Jun 29, 2015
2,298
3,007
Status
Medical Student
Yes, I would very much like to remain in the South. I don't want to be awfully far from my family, and to be honest, this is basically the only place I've ever known. I've only every gone "up North" about three times in my whole life: a band trip to Chicago, a school trip to DC, and a summer camp in Pennsylvania. Other than that, I've basically stayed in Tennessee (the Southeast region) with a few trips to neighboring states, especially Georgia. My few trips out of the South have really made me appreciate Southern culture more, so I'd love to stay here for as long as I can (not to say I don't want to travel, I definitely want to see other places and maybe even live there for a time, but the South will always be my home).
Is six really low? I've always been advised to list at least five and no more than ten. I feel like if I do fewer applications, it will be easier to focus on making them the best they can possibly be.
Understandable; home cooking is always better!

Six is very low from the area that I'm from, but then again I'm sure it varies significantly by school type, location, community, etc. However based on your list the other 4 (non Vandy/Emory) you have a great shot at, so if those are your "top choices" there's no need to add more.

Basically, if you are aiming for UT or ETU med school, you can go wherever you want as long as you make grades and MCAT in line with their averages. If you are aiming for an "elite" or out-of-state M.D. school, your choice of college can make a bit of difference, but the most important things will still be MCAT, grades, ECs, and research.
Very true. I was just pointing out in general, there might be some differences. Also has to do with the availability of opportunities at each school. Eg. small liberal arts college will be much less conducive to pre-med ECs compared to large research unis.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jqueb29

Drrrrrr. Celty

Osteo Dullahan
7+ Year Member
Nov 10, 2009
16,141
5,393
Status
Medical Student
Apply to a good range of schools including a few ivies and high tiers like Uchicago or etc. Then decide based on the amount of monies conferred.

Personally I attended my state school and I found myself relatively happy. Though I may have been happier elsewhere too.
 

md-2020

The Immaculate Catch
2+ Year Member
Jun 29, 2015
2,298
3,007
Status
Medical Student
Apply to a good range of schools including a few ivies and high tiers like Uchicago or etc. Then decide based on the amount of monies conferred.
Colleges are quite competitive these days, and acceptance rates are taking a sheer nosedive towards 0.

A 30 ACT with no special ECs will be insta-reject at top 20 schools. Unless OP is willing to spend $75-100 a pop and hella time writing essays for no reason, they should be avoided.

The 4.0 is nice but literally everyone at these schools was valedictorian/salutatorian.
 
Last edited:

RustBeltOnc

2+ Year Member
Dec 28, 2014
296
138
The Rust Belt
Status
Attending Physician
Hello everyone! I'm a highschool senior, and I think I know what universities I want to apply for (please note that the schools are listed in no particular order):
  • University of Alabama in Huntsville
  • Emory University
  • Spring Hill College (Mobile, Alabama)
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Middle Tennessee University
  • University of Knoxville, Tennessee
and/or super hipster personality, and I feel like it would be sort of annoying to always be surrounded by them.
Give the hipsters, etc another chance. Vanderbilt is a great school and great medical center. Give it your best with your applications; the other Tenn places will take you no matter what
 

Drrrrrr. Celty

Osteo Dullahan
7+ Year Member
Nov 10, 2009
16,141
5,393
Status
Medical Student
Colleges are quite competitive these days, and acceptance rates are taking a sheer nosedive towards 0.

A 30 ACT with no special ECs will be insta-reject at top 20 schools. Unless OP is willing to spend $75-100 a pop and hella time writing essays for no reason, they should be avoided.

The 4.0 is nice but literally everyone at these schools was valedictorian/salutatorian.
Really? Jeez.

Oh well, I guess my uncompetitiveness over 5 years ago is now a catastrophe today haha
 
  • Like
Reactions: md-2020

Mad Jack

Critically Caring
5+ Year Member
Jul 27, 2013
35,555
65,181
4th Dimension
Colleges are quite competitive these days, and acceptance rates are taking a sheer nosedive towards 0.

A 30 ACT with no special ECs will be insta-reject at top 20 schools. Unless OP is willing to spend $75-100 a pop and hella time writing essays for no reason, they should be avoided.

The 4.0 is nice but literally everyone at these schools was valedictorian/salutatorian.
It's worth a shot. You'll never know unless you try, more than a few people have gotten surprising acceptances in the past.
 
OP
M
Aug 15, 2015
8
4
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Colleges are quite competitive these days, and acceptance rates are taking a sheer nosedive towards 0.

A 30 ACT with no special ECs will be insta-reject at top 20 schools. Unless OP is willing to spend $75-100 a pop and hella time writing essays for no reason, they should be avoided.

The 4.0 is nice but literally everyone at these schools was valedictorian/salutatorian.
Since you did say no special extracurriculars (and yes, I realize I said that myself), may I ask a clarifying question for you and anybody else that's already made it into college? I'm on a youth advisory board for the mayor (there was a 30% acceptance rate into the program out of all the applicants), I'm treasurer of a college SGA (granted, it is a community college, so I feel like that wouldn't mean much; the year before, I was chairman of a minor record-keeping committee), and I'm in two college honors groups (Phi Kappa Theta and my college's honors "college"). I'm also part of this college prep scholars program that was fairly competitive to get into (I think about 15%, but I'm not sure of the numbers on that one; I do know it required a teacher recommendation just to get into the competition process, then you wrote an essay, did a phone interview, and then an interview with a panel of people to determine if you got in. People were eliminated in rounds.). I feel like that stuff isn't especially unique, and I know for sure that none of the other stuff I did was (besides maybe this doctor shadowing program I did, but that was only for four days this summer). Am I undercutting myself, or am I right? I am one of those people that tends to underrate myself and everything I do, but from what I've seen of people who get into Vanderbilt and Emory, the things I did, even the specifics I just mentioned, sound pretty unimpressive.
 

md-2020

The Immaculate Catch
2+ Year Member
Jun 29, 2015
2,298
3,007
Status
Medical Student
Since you did say no special extracurriculars (and yes, I realize I said that myself), may I ask a clarifying question for you and anybody else that's already made it into college? I'm on a youth advisory board for the mayor (there was a 30% acceptance rate into the program out of all the applicants), I'm treasurer of a college SGA (granted, it is a community college, so I feel like that wouldn't mean much; the year before, I was chairman of a minor record-keeping committee), and I'm in two college honors groups (Phi Kappa Theta and my college's honors "college"). I'm also part of this college prep scholars program that was fairly competitive to get into (I think about 15%, but I'm not sure of the numbers on that one; I do know it required a teacher recommendation just to get into the competition process, then you wrote an essay, did a phone interview, and then an interview with a panel of people to determine if you got in. People were eliminated in rounds.). I feel like that stuff isn't especially unique, and I know for sure that none of the other stuff I did was (besides maybe this doctor shadowing program I did, but that was only for four days this summer). Am I undercutting myself, or am I right? I am one of those people that tends to underrate myself and everything I do, but from what I've seen of people who get into Vanderbilt and Emory, the things I did, even the specifics I just mentioned, sound pretty unimpressive.
TBH I think you're somewhat competitive at Emory, but your ACT is on the low end for Vandy. Not everyone who gets into Vandy is a world champion etc, but they get enough high quality apps (they're good with financial aid/merit money, so lots of HYPSM kids use it as a fallback) that your ECs probably won't stand out; at the same time, they're not shabby by any stretch of the imagination.

I think you should apply to both, just don't expect too much. Plenty of people w/ knockout apps get rejected, there's really no rhyme or reason sometimes.

It's worth a shot. You'll never know unless you try, more than a few people have gotten surprising acceptances in the past.
True, but as acceptance rates plummet these will decrease. I worked as a student for the admissions office at my school, and they're predicting the acceptance rate to be sub 9% this year (the prediction was made a couple of years ago when I was still there). When you're that choosy, unconventional/unlikely acceptances get cut first.

Vandy is like 12%, so I'd expect them to hit the single digits soon too.
 

Mad Jack

Critically Caring
5+ Year Member
Jul 27, 2013
35,555
65,181
4th Dimension
TBH I think you're somewhat competitive at Emory, but your ACT is on the low end for Vandy. Not everyone who gets into Vandy is a world champion etc, but they get enough high quality apps (they're good with financial aid/merit money, so lots of HYPSM kids use it as a fallback) that your ECs probably won't stand out; at the same time, they're not shabby by any stretch of the imagination.

I think you should apply to both, just don't expect too much. Plenty of people w/ knockout apps get rejected, there's really no rhyme or reason sometimes.


True, but as acceptance rates plummet these will decrease. I worked as a student for the admissions office at my school, and they're predicting the acceptance rate to be sub 9% this year (the prediction was made a couple of years ago when I was still there). When you're that choosy, unconventional/unlikely acceptances get cut first.

Vandy is like 12%, so I'd expect them to hit the single digits soon too.
If you've got a half decent app and apply to a lot of higher tier schools, some of them are bound to bite. Keep in mind that those 9% acceptance rates include a lot of people that try to apply to multiple highly ranked schools. If you've got the extra money, do the extra apps for sure.