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Which Undergrad School Best Propels Students to Medical School

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by astrife, Nov 13, 2005.

  1. astrife

    astrife Senior Member
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    This is an opinion sort of thing. I know that there are alot of factors, and that a student who has the determination can thrive at any instituition and get into a good medical school. However I am coming to the point where I need to decide on which instituiton is best for my long term goals.

    Here are the undergrad schools on my list:
    Johns Hopkins University
    University of Chicago
    Emory University
    Notre Dame University
    Hendrix College
    University of Arkansas

    They are listed in order of my preference to attend. JHU is obviously my first choice pick. Is JHU the end all be all for pre-meds in reality though? Or are there better schools I should be looking at? Hendrix College and the University of Arkansas are my safeties. If JHU falls through I've got UChicago as my next pick because I hear the bio department is amazing.

    What are your guys thoughts on the schools I've listed? If I get into JHU should I just drop the rest as prospects (keeping in mind my long term goal of med school)? Feedback is much appreciated... thanks guys/gals....
     
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  3. marctam86

    marctam86 registered user
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    haha the thought of an undergraduate school physically propelling students towards medical schools made me laugh.
     
  4. DeadorAlive

    DeadorAlive Senior Member
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    I think I speak for many on these boards (and in life) when I say: please, please please don't pick your university based only on medical school! Just go where you'll be happy and do well. Go where there are opportunities to meet great people, to do non-medical things - you won't have the opportunities later! It's more important that YOU do well, and you'll do better in a place where you are happy.

    (You might also want to make this decision after you get in).
     
  5. -Goose-

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    one vote for jhu.

    also check out vanderbilt.
     
  6. penguinophile

    penguinophile MetalHead
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  7. Karim

    Karim The Egyptian Undergrad
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    Astrife is such a cookie-cutter! Refer to the 3 years to go, 35+ MCAT thread!

    It's cool though, I was a cookie-cutter pre-med many moons ago...
     
  8. jebus

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    Ha ha, that link is fanstastic. #4 is great. Emory is like unprotected sex - you're glad you got in but mad that you came. ha ha.
     
  9. 75969

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    You are the 35+/3 year mcat person..... ;) Kinda odd that it made an impression on me like that...but anyways... :)

    I'm sure people will disagree, however, imo...
    The school you choose in undergrad doesnt really matter as much as you may think it will. Although there are variations in curricula, etc... you are in charge of your own education, the university you attend wont make that huge of in impact during undergrad. With that said, I'd prolly choose them in this order (not taking location, cost, etc....into consideration)
    ***If I were you I would apply to them all (you'll prolly get into at least 5/6 of 'em) and choose based upon the financial offers they give...

    Johns Hopkins University <---Awesome school
    Notre Dame University <---Awesome school
    Emory University <---Awesome school

    University of Chicago <---dont know much about it (I prolly should?)
    Hendrix College <---never heard of it
    University of Arkansas <---my old roommate goes there! :p

    Keep in mind that most medical schools dont accept many of their undergrads into their medical school...so dont bank on sticking with one school the whole way through.
     
  10. MrBurns10

    MrBurns10 Excellent, Smithers
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    I agree wholeheartedly with DeadorAlive...pick your college based on where you'll think you'll be happiest. The exact same goes for medical schools. Having said that, granted I'm a little biased but Duke has a fantastic record for pre-meds. The pre-med advisor is so well known and appreciated by med schools because of the letters she writes and how she conducts things. Just a couple anecdotes: one woman at Pittsburgh raved to me about her and said "we value her opinion so much that if she says you should get in, you'll get in." And I was just at Emory last week and the director of admissions was telling me how much they love her letters and the way she organizes things. But is this the reason you should choose a school? Absolutely not. A lot of schools have strong pre-med programs and as long as you work hard and mature as a person, you REALLY can't go wrong. I promise. Go with your gut and where you think you'll be happiest.

    Edit: And if I can offer one further piece of advice...get off SDN! I'm so glad I didn't find this website until after I graduated last spring because 1) I would have procrastinated even more than I did in college, and 2) it would have driven me nuts and made me obsess over grades and MCAT scores when college is about so much more than getting into med school.
     
  11. novawildcat

    novawildcat Senior Member
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    Notre Dame would be the best school to go to. That place is so much fun. I just came back this weekend from the football game vs. Navy. That place is crazy. Go to Notre Dame, have fun, don't worry about trying to get into med school yet. You aren't even a freshman. (Not to mention ND has v. good academics).
     
  12. airflare

    airflare Member
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    Hopkins is known for its high concentration of ambitious premeds, so if you are aiming for a "top-tier" med school, you need to be a big fish in a big pond.
     
  13. Wahina

    Wahina Senior Member
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    Honestly, I'd go for cheapest place you would be happy. If you are sure you wanna go to med school, undergrad doesn't matter that much. If you get good grades and high mcat, you will get into a good med school. It's not worth 100k in debt for undergrad, IMO.
     
  14. novawildcat

    novawildcat Senior Member
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    Very true. Thats another reason to try to go to ND. They have over 3 billion dollars in endowments. A lot of their students pay next to nothing to go there.
     
  15. OwnageMobile

    OwnageMobile is just a moniker.
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    Lawl funny sh!t. I'm gonna have to use that one.


    As for my thoughts... yes it is quite a noob question, but in the end it has its validity-

    I think any school that is known for its rigorous education would be your best bet. I took some really hard classes at my state school but most adcoms will say that private schools are more difficult/better learning institutions. If you think that what you learn now is going to help you on med school tests, I've got news for you. Although you can look at mdapplicants.com and see that many applicants from great schools don't usually get into their school's med school. Some say classes helped them on the MCAT, but I disagree; the TPR books are so well condensed, I only found some class biochem- specifically memorizing each amino acid- helpful.

    In the end, I think if you go to a prestigious school, that will simply look better, like you had your sh!it together earlier, than say KU. But to say that undergrad "propels" you into med school is somewhat fallacious imho. That is unless you go into one of those 7 year dual programs...
     
  16. Mman

    Mman Senior Member
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    Notre Dame is awesome if you don't mind being in a boring, tiny city in the middle of nowhere with zero night life.
     
  17. aumed22

    aumed22 Senior Member
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    I've heard the competition between pre-meds at Hopkins is as fierce as they come. People literally stealing other people's notes and trashing their experiments. I myself wouldn't want to go through that sort of hell just for a few brownie points on my application. Go where you'll be happy, and if you do well on your MCAT and get good grades, every school will give you a fair shot, well except maybe Vandy, but that's another thread
     
  18. jebus

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    you still have time to apply to wash u, northwestern, or some ivy league schools. attend a texas school and get texas residency. Texas med schools are great and you'll be a much more competitive applicant if you're a state resident. You're too late to apply to cal schools. Booo!
    invariably, the school you end up attending will be the worst for pre-meds. it's murphy's law, and you can't argue with him because he's dead. or fake. or both.
    Seriously, if you want to go to med school, i would go to the school where you think you can get the best grades. you can get great clinical ECs anywhere, but good grades are really important. You're not applying to ivy league schools, so you missed out on all that grade inflation. way to go. also, at less competitive schools (your 3rd and 4th tier state schools) you can get a lab job where you'll actually be able to do something. It's tough to argue with hands on, intensive experience. plus, the environment is less cut-throat. it just seems like a better learning experience. not that i regret going to a big-name private school, but in retrospect i wish i had a different experience.
    and women at state schools are hot and easy. the bigger the school, the more hot women there are and the better your chances.
     
  19. Will Ferrell

    Will Ferrell Senior Member
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    No way! That's a myth, although there is a lot of competition. Just with any other competitive school, you need to be on top of your $hit to earn an "A". Coming to lecture, doing your homework, and showing up to your exams isn't going to cut it.

    OP- go to your state school. You'll save a lot of money, have higher grades, and be closer to home.
     
  20. chemist156

    chemist156 Junior Member
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    If you go to a college in a different state, do you get residency their for med school? I am from CA, go to college in MA...do it get in-state tuition for UMass?
     
  21. tigress

    tigress queen of the jungle
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    I was waiting for somebody to say this :) I really wonder if it is a myth. My mother was at Hopkins I guess about 3 decades ago, and she had friends who told similar stories (lab sabatoge, etc.). I'm not sure that it ever really happened, but at least when my mother was there it was extremely intensely competitive; if sabatoge never happened, it's definitely a very long-lived myth. My mother was an English major, though :p My uncle was pre-med and he's said it was competitive, but I've never really asked him to elaborate. I suspect the culture has changed somewhat, and rumors (or myths) do have a way of persisting.

    Personally I'd say go to whatever undergrad you like best. Just go hang out at a few schools and figure out where you're happy. Student bodies are really different in personality, and you want to go somewhere where you'll feel comfortable. That said, of course if you can get into top schools it only makes sense to consider prestige when deciding. Just don't base the decision entirely on prestige, or on how good you think the school is at getting students into med school. Besides, halfway through you may decide to change your major to acting and pursue a career in the movies or something :laugh: ...so you want the school to be about more than just being a pre-med.
     
  22. SpeedRacer

    SpeedRacer Senior Member
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    hahah that website is funnee

    1. Wash. U.

    How the locals refer to Washington University in St. Louis, the #11 national research university in the country in the opinion of US News and World Report.Man, we were smokin' it up down on the South 40 at Wash. U. last night.

    2. Wash. U.

    a smart ass school in forest park
    the debates are at wash u

    3. Wash. U.

    An amazing school, with really friendly, bright students, plus profs. who are at the top of their fields. GO BEARS!!!!!!!!
    -Katie is smart and social, so she chose to go to Wash U.
     
  23. Kimka83

    Kimka83 SDN Donor
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    I totally agree with Tigress. While you should certainly go to a strong undergrad university. . . after that point, it really just depends on personal preference and how you feel there. Do you want to stay close to home or do you have family obligations? How did you feel when you were visiting the campus? If you don't feel right there, even the best schools would be the wrong choice. That's what happened to me with Duke. Don't get me wrong, it's a great school. But spending a few days on the campus made me feel like I was still in my highschool. The vibe I got just didn't mesh with me, so I went somewhere else. The most important thing is just to be happy. I mean, this is your life. You know, the only life you get, the only college years you get, so you should enjoy it. Medical school will come in its own time. The next few years are your one-and-only college experience. That is worth focusing on for now. Good luck. :luck:
     
  24. Nosferatu

    Nosferatu Junior Member
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    I'm at Vandy now and we seem to do pretty well.
     
  25. Dookter

    Dookter Senior Member
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    Don't rule out your state school. I go to my state school for free. I even pay for my apartment and food with scholarship money. I have a 36S MCAT and a 4.0. The only point in saying that is to make it clear that I have the grades to go to medical school [and have been accepted to two schools this year so far...I've also interviewed at top schools]. But what is really important is that I have been having fun while in college. I have been to kick-A huge football games [also for free]. I have been able to see my family more often than I would if I lived really far away. I have been happy with my experience and would do it the same if given the chance. I also have not competed with the other kids in my class. But for me, money was a factor. I am paying for my education myself, so I chose to let the fine people of the state of Tennessee help me out...and it means I owe absolutely nothing and live in a nice apartment for free. So if it comes down to borrowing mucho $$$, go to your state school, have fun, and get a great education for much less $ [or free!]. If someone else is paying for your education, go to the best school possible. But still, HAVE FUN and go where you'll be happy. Nothing else really matters.
     
  26. Em1

    Em1 Senior Member
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    In addition to going where you'll be happiest, go somewhere w/a premed committee. Doing it on your own kinda sucks.

    I go to a top tier school (not ive league, but top 50) and do plenty of research where I actually do something, and so do a lot of people I know.

    Also, it's UNDERGRAD. It's nowhere near too late to apply to ive league schools, so the op hasn't "missed out" on anything yet.
     
  27. jebus

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    That may be a myth a hopkins, but I know when I was at Wash U competition was hella bad. The straw that broke my camel's back was when I was doing a paper for a 200-level archaeology course and I went to the library to copy some pages out of a book. When I found the book and went to copy machine I noticed the pages I needed had been torn out! In retrospect, whoever tore them out probably did so for a different course but at the time it pissed the hell out of me. I did end up transferring away but mostly because it was like living at my high school. Academically, I regret leaving, but otherwise it was good decision. And maybe my camel just had a weak back. I don't know, I haven't paid attention to that camel for a while.
    Oh yeah, I totally agree about going to your state school and saving money (maybe making money if you get a good scholarship) and getting better grades.
     
  28. jebus

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    It took me way more work to get a job in a lab at my undergrad school where I could actually do something. Over the summer after my sophomore year I worked in a lab at my 4th tier state university and got so much more hands-on training it was sick. I got a paper out in a reputable journal and was able to design and test my own experiments. The professors at the less prestigious school didn't have as much to lose as the member of the national academy of sciences and HHMI investigator I worked with at my undergrad school. I was given carte blanche and it was great. I learned so much more in a summer than I did in two years in the big name lab. That and we would get hammered on Fridays at lunch, but whatever.
    But you're right (I think. I don't actually know when the common app is due. I thought the deadline passed, but honestly, I don't care), the OP hasn't missed out on Ivy league schools, yet. But he's got to get crack-a-lackin'.
     
  29. solitude

    solitude Senior Member
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    I am also biased, but I have to second MrBurns on this one. Duke's pre-med track record is great. In terms of sending a huge number of people to top schools, I'm not sure that any undergrad is better except Harvard. I think part of this is the advisor (who is awesome) and part of it is the opportunities. It is super-easy to get involved. They have all sorts of programs for hospital experience, shadowing, etc. and they basically hold your hand the whole time. There are a billion ways to get funded for research and most professors will teach you a lot. When you're actually applying, the pre-med office will lead you through the whole process. Also, there are a ton of students here who are entirely stupid. When you sum up all of the athletes, legacies, hardcore Greek life partiers and development admits, it's pretty easy to be at the top of your class if you work hard. The classes have moderate grade inflation (mostly upper-level science classes only though) and prepare you really well for the MCAT (average around 33 or 34).

    If you don't go to Duke, I would recommend Harvard or Stanford. They have great reputations with med schools, and the grade inflation is unparalleled. With an average GPA of 3.6, it's pretty much impossible to not get into a good medical school coming from one of those two. One problem is that the caliber of students is higher than at Duke, so it can be a tad more difficult to stand out.



     
  30. DoctaJay

    DoctaJay bone breaker
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    I go to a small HBCU with 1700 students, and all the biology majors that want to get into various medical schools like 3 so far to Mayo, 1 to JHU, many to Ohio State, many to Loma Linda. What I'm trying to say is that really it doesn't matter. As small as my school is, people get in, not because of my school, but because of their performance in their classes and their performance on the MCAT.
     
  31. astrife

    astrife Senior Member
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    Well I'm kind of limited to where I can apply. I took the ACT and scored a 33, but I didn't take the writing portion of it. This is a transitional year for standardized tests because most schools are starting to require it this year. The writing portion is something that is required by most of the ivies, stanford and the like. I got lucky with JHU because they aren't requiring it of me.

    I could've taken the ACT again with writing, but I've already forgotten most of the material tested and probably wouldn't score another 33. For those that don't remember 33 is 99th percentile on the test.

    If I could do high school all over again I would aim for other schools, but this is my list due to certain constraints such as the standardized test one listed.
     
  32. DrBowtie

    DrBowtie Final Countdown
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    Have you visited all of these places?
     


  33. It can't have been that long since I've been applying to undergrad schools.. but I distinctly remember more focus on the SAT & SAT II subject scores. I'm sure you ranked in the 99th percentile on the SATs as well, I expect no less!

    Furthermore, are you in the process of applying right now or are you deciding which school to attend?
     
  34. astrife

    astrife Senior Member
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    I have visted JHU. Yes at the ivies there is alot of focus on SAT II's. I took the SAT once and did horrible, so I focused on the ACT from then on. It doesn't really matter what test you take (ACT or SAT)... they will just convert my score to an SAT score using a known scale.

    I applied to JHU using ED. They accept 50% of the kids who apply ED, so that's why I did it... to give me the best chance.

    All the other schools are 2nd picks really, but I just submitted my JHU application and I wanted to know if I made the right decision... b/c if I'm accepted I'm legally binded to go.
     
  35. jebus

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    What's wrong with your state school? Can't you get a fancy regent's scholarship there with test scores like that? A fancy scholarship at state school and good grades looks just as impressive as a fancy school. It happened to my brother, it can happen to you.
     
  36. astrife

    astrife Senior Member
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    I don't like the type of people that go to my state school to be honest. I live in the city of my state school and study at its library every night. If you're not in a frat at this school your weekends will suck. I just think I will be happiest around like-minded individuals, and JHU is known for its "nerd" population.
     
  37. SeventhSon

    SeventhSon SIMMER DOWN
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    if you are hell-bent on getting into a top20 med school, go to the best school you can, but if you just want a be a doctor and think in MD is an MD and want to actually enjoy your undergraduate years, go to the cheapest place that will still challenge you and make you happy.

    I def. think private school kids have an advantage over people like me applying to the top school but I went to a solid school ( statistically pumps out better pre-meds than any pubby other than berkeley, i've been told )
     
  38. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    what about Cal? After a year, you would be a state resident, so the tuition is really cheap, great school, and would give you a shot at a CA med school... just a thought.
     
  39. astrife

    astrife Senior Member
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    I hate sunny weather... and the CA resident thing doesn't work b/c I'm technically a resident of wherever my parents reside until I'm 24... and my parents aren't moving to CA
     
  40. jebus

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    He seems hell bent on avoiding the ACT writing sample and UC definitely requires it. 'Tis a shame, I think the UC system is the best public system in the country (world?), with Texas close behind. C'est la vie. Texas requires the writing sample, too. And their med schools seem a little easier to get into.
    College admissions sure has changed in the past few years...
    /old-fart-reminiscing
     
  41. crazy_cavalier

    crazy_cavalier T3-Weighted
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    Princeton University
     
  42. Centinel

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    Since someone had to say it: Caltech, Harvard, Yale, MIT, Princeton, or Stanford.
     
  43. radioh3ad

    radioh3ad march 18th
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    go to umich if you can't break into the ivy's.
     
  44. OwnageMobile

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    Astrife, someone with a 33 on their ACT would surely be wise enough to realize that making such a generalization is ridiculous. You clearly have little concept of what life is like for "nerds" at state schools. I agree that you will be the happiest around like-minded individuals. I found mine here and dread leaving them and all the fun we have here. Sure there are a lot more tools at state schools, but they merely inflate your GPA and stay out of tough classes. Get out and experience the differences before making decisions upon them
     
  45. Well, it hasn't been that long for me, just a couple of years. And since then, according to the OP, it doesn't matter which test (ACT/SAT) that you take. When I applied, there was little to no focus at all, of course the schools looked at them, but the ACT was regarded as an outdated and biased test. Maybe it's been revised?

    It is a shame, because I got into every school that I applied to and I had done decently on both tests. Not surprisingly, all the schools required both tests. I think people really put themselves at a disadvantage when they forget the SAT II and writing samples.

    Texas, eh? I don't know too much about them. Any school in particular?
     
  46. drmota

    drmota 2K Member
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    -mota
     
  47. snobored18

    snobored18 Senior Member
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    look at the top 20 small national liberal arts schools...they may not have that flashy name...but they have a lot of things that the "brand names" can't offer...small classes, low faculty to student ratios, opportunity for one on one education and self directed learning and the list could continue for hours...I am so sick of how pretentious people are on this site...just because you have a brand name degree doesn't mean you are better educated...I honestly would take a Swarthmore or Amherst grad over a Notre Dame grad in anything but business anyday...Notre Dame is the king of grade inflation...my little sister goes there and its a joke that a 3.6 something won't even land you dean's list because everyone in arts and letters has such an inflated GPA...give me a break...average students deserve C's...everyone is sooo worried about having a super high GPA...it means nothing if your class rank is **** because everyone else is right up there with you...a 3.7 will put you in the top 15% at a lot of the top tier national liberal arts schools...hell that will barely even buy you cum laude at Notre Lame...you can try to write this off as oh these schools get so much better more competive students but thats bull****...look at the rhodes scholar rolls, watson fellows, cooke medical fellows...pretty much everything except hughes stuff because that really only can go to a student at a large research university...a bigger picture exists out there...and the school with the lowest admit rate isn't harvard...look outside the name if you truly want the best possible education, greatest opportunity to get involved on campus and want professors who actually know you as a person (of course if your about as interesting as cardboard your screwed here....in which case go somewhere were they won't get to know you)...soapbox over
     
  48. {:(

    {:( Member
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    I take it you got rejected? By the way Amherst is a brand name college.
     
  49. DarkFark

    DarkFark Senior Member
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    As a JHU pre-med, I'd just like to chime in with the following

    1) I agree with the consensus of 'go where you will be happy'.

    2) There a few concrete advantages that JHU (or another school like it) can give you.

    Firstly, it has a very strong pre-med committee, which can be very helpful in the process- they will package you to look as good as you can look to adcoms.

    Secondly, the research opportunities, when you include the JHU hospital downtown, are vast- so there's no shortage of chances to get some quality research work on your app. Also, if you have your heart set on JHU med (I didn't, but some do), if you do research at Hopkins Hospital for the right person (like a department head), it is possible to get 'hooked-up' with some help for a med school admission. This is by no means easy or reliable, but I am under the impression that it has been done.

    Thirdly, the quality of the academics, particularly the sciences, is of course really good.

    EDIT, adding a few things:

    Negatives- Well, I have no experiences with getting my notes stolen or experiments ruined. Neither do any of my friends. I think that the whole evil-cutthroat-gunner thing is kind of a witchhunt- a conveniant imaginary scapegoat upon which to blame the difficulties inherent at a competitive school. Naturally, there are gunners. I just don't think they go that far.

    It is, of course, really competitive. I tend to think, however, that those who are supposed to get into medical school will make it through- the weeding out process is probably more abrupt than most places though. The biggest disadvantage in the process is that some people will get a lower GPA than they would at their state school. I don't think I would have done a whole lot better at my state school though- I tend to kind of play to the level of my competition, which is why I wanted to go to Hopkins.

    Good luck, I hope you make the right choice.
     
  50. jebus

    jebus Membership Revoked
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    Here's a list of distinguished faculty members at UT Southwestern! It's obscene. In the past 25 years they have really pimped themselves out. And it's in Texas, who woulda thunk it. I think they've got all sorts of NIH and private grants, too. If I could go back, I would have totally gone to Texas for my undergrad and established residency as quickly as I could.
    http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/utsw/home/about/awards/
     
  51. ahumdinger

    ahumdinger Senior Member
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    to the OP:

    as an alumna, I've gotta root for U of Chicago as an undergraduate institution. It is arguably the last remaining truly academic schools left in the country. You go there to study, not to get straight As. That being said, you also need to know that if you plan on being propelled to a great medical school from the U of C, you'd BETTER get top notch grades (for the school, that means straight Bs or better). Also, forget even applying to Pritzker from uchicago undergrad because they're not gonna interview you. (I'm not saying this just out of bitterness, but Pritzker has a reputation of not interviewing its own grads, even if you have good grades)
    But Uchicago is a great place to go for a challenging liberal arts education, it's probably one of few pre-med mills where you can comfortably major in a non-science. Because of the quarter system, you end up taking a ton of different classes, which means you can be a pre-med without feeling like one. Another perk is the ridiculously small classes (I once took one with 2 people), and accessibility of the profs makes LORs a breeze.

    Uchicago is a great choce, but be forewarned: the pre-med distribution there is bi-modal, there's a handful of people who somehow get straight As and have no problems getting into med scho0ls, and then there are the people like me, pulling 2.95 BCPMs and worrying about getting into ONE schools. But the consensus at medical schools (except pritzker) still seems to be that they understand the grade deflation and evaluate you with that in mind. Dunno how true it is... I guess I'll have to see after this cycle!

    Another choice that's been brought up on this thread is WashU. I currently work there and it is definitively a pre-med mill. Lots of cookie cutters, but in the end they do really well in the application process. WashU med also likes to accept their own.

    Good luck, and hope you break out of the cookie cutter soon!
     

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