Why do higher ranked schools get better residency results?

bonsaipalmtree

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As I've heard (and I am not a residency PD), PDs form opinions on/relationships with certain schools. If they worked with a student from XYZ School of Medicine in the past, and the relationship was good, then they tend to favor students coming out of XYZ in the future. Top 10 schools invest heavily in their students' training, and so those students, being both intelligent and well-trained (PDs know this), aren't as much of a gamble for PDs as students coming from unknown programs.

Also, top 10 schools usually have excellent hospitals and the best residencies attached to them, and those residencies often take their own students.

Step 1 and LORs mean a lot, but are not absolutely everything. Some of the best Step 1 scores come out of the Caribbean, ad those students tend to have a harder time matching.
 

jvesco22

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In before everyone comes in to defend their current/prospective schools and egoes...

 

DrYoda

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Here's a radical theory: Accept (on average) better students= turn out (on average) better graduates.




and pharmacy student? u bee trollin' brah?
 
Aug 5, 2010
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PDs themselves tell in surveys they don't care all that much (it's low down on the list) where people go to school. However, it makes sense that people with higher standardized scores on MCAT also score higher on Step 1, which does matter.

I would be interested to see residencies matched at by Step I scores and clerkship honors (the criteria PDs say matters the most) and see if there is a difference between schools - I would guess that it is almost negligible.
 

aggie08

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I think you answered your own question.

Top school usually have the highest incoming "averages." Meaning that they tend to accept the best test takers. Residency is based on lots of things, but one of the biggest factors in getting into a super-competitive specialty is Step 1.

So, good test takers do well on the MCAT and go to a higher ranked/number-oriented school where they do well on Step 1 and get a more competitive residency spot.

It doesn't matter where you go, because your grades are up to you (at most schools). You just worry about yourself. If you're good enough to rock Step 1 and have a stellar score you will get into residency wherever you want, "high ranked" schools have a skewed population of people who do well on these exams (personally I think EVERYONE I go to school with is very smart - you have to be to get to med school - but the smartest ones don't make the best doctors....they just get the most competitive residencies and end up becoming 9-5 acne healers ;) ).

Also, publications are a big factor in residency applications and top tier schools tend to be more research-oriented. More opportunities/pressure for research = higher percentage of students who are published = more acceptances to competitive residencies. But, there are options to get published at any school if you look for them, so again with it not mattering where you go - if you want to be published you can be, you just have to do it. I go to a school that isn't very well known, but plenty of my classmates have published research from the summer and great grades and will do great on Step and go into a competitive specialty. They don't push us to do research, it's just an option, but at many top tier schools it's required or highly encouraged.
 
OP
StriveForGlory
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Makes sense. Thank you very much guys.

and pharmacy student? u bee trollin' brah?
Not at all. Looking to apply to med school after pharmacy school.
 
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higher ranked schools, in general, have better students, therefore better applicants for residency.
 

jbz24

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I think you answered your own question.

Top school usually have the highest incoming "averages." Meaning that they tend to accept the best test takers. Residency is based on lots of things, but one of the biggest factors in getting into a super-competitive specialty is Step 1.

So, good test takers do well on the MCAT and go to a higher ranked/number-oriented school where they do well on Step 1 and get a more competitive residency spot.

It doesn't matter where you go, because your grades are up to you (at most schools). You just worry about yourself. If you're good enough to rock Step 1 and have a stellar score you will get into residency wherever you want, "high ranked" schools have a skewed population of people who do well on these exams (personally I think EVERYONE I go to school with is very smart - you have to be to get to med school - but the smartest ones don't make the best doctors....they just get the most competitive residencies and end up becoming 9-5 acne healers ;) ).

Also, publications are a big factor in residency applications and top tier schools tend to be more research-oriented. More opportunities/pressure for research = higher percentage of students who are published = more acceptances to competitive residencies. But, there are options to get published at any school if you look for them, so again with it not mattering where you go - if you want to be published you can be, you just have to do it. I go to a school that isn't very well known, but plenty of my classmates have published research from the summer and great grades and will do great on Step and go into a competitive specialty. They don't push us to do research, it's just an option, but at many top tier schools it's required or highly encouraged.
This has proven to be false time and time again. Average board scores at top schools are not much higher, if at all, than other schools, at least if you believe school-reported average scores.

In terms of research, you just provided an argument about why top schools put their students in a better position for the residency application process. Going to a top school gives you more research opportunities with bigger name people. I don't believe this is a huge factor for your rank (because doing any research in general is important), but it still matters somewhat.
 

SoundofSilver

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Yeah, I would agree that there might be more research opportunities at the top 20 or top 10 schools.

From what I understand, if you're in the top 5-10% of your class, then it really doesn't matter where you go. If you're a middle of the pack kind of person, then I would think going to a big name school might give you a slight advantage over a middle of the road person from a lesser known school.

Since applying to the super competitive residencies is pretty self selecting (i.e. those aiming for derm may not decide to apply after receiving a sub-par board score for fear of not matching), it seems as if many applicants for the top residencies will be pretty homogeneous in terms of board scores, research, etc. so any extra edge may help and that extra edge may be a bigger name school.

Also, with the overall medical school class size growing each year as new medical schools continue to open their doors, residency spots in general will become much more competitive and I believe that school name/rank may become a bigger factor than it currently is.
 
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aggie08

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In terms of research, you just provided an argument about why top schools put their students in a better position for the residency application process. Going to a top school gives you more research opportunities with bigger name people. I don't believe this is a huge factor for your rank (because doing any research in general is important), but it still matters somewhat.
I never said they don't put their student in better positions. My point is that they do in fact match into more competitive specialities and that this could be partially due to a higher percentage of students with research. That is not contradictory to me saying that it doesn't matter what school you go to per se, as long as you open up the same opportunities for yourself. It may be easier to do research at a top tier, but that doesn't mean by going to any other school you screw yourself for competitive specialties. It means that more people do research at top schools. It also doesn't mean that going to a top name school gives you an edge on particular residencies, in fact I think most people would say that it doesn't help you much. A 260 Step score w/multiple publications & honors on rotations from Podunk HSC would still beat out a 225 Step score from Harvard with no pubs and only passes. If they were equal in all accounts who would get in? I think the person with the best interview skills, but I guess I'm biased because I go to Podunk HSC. I'm not arguing this point anyway, this was my opinion and we're all speculating.

Another factor could be that people who choose to go to top name schools care more about the "name factor." Thus, these people are more likely to care about getting into "big name" residency program.

Ex. I don't care one single bit about going to Mayo Clinic for residency. In fact, if I got in there and in Lubbock, TX for the same specialty I would stay here.

People who mess with and try hard to get into top name schools probably feel more strongly about going to a top name residency. So, I guess it would be helpful to see percentages that apply to top name residencies vs. percentages that get in from each school and see if that differs greatly between top tier and other schools. I'm just going to go out on a limb and guess that a lower percentage of graduates from Texas Tech apply to "top name" residencies when compared to the percentage from say, Johns Hopkins.

So, does this mean nobody from here will apply to these residencies? Not at all. It just means some people may not care at all about messing with it and in fact may prefer to go elsewhere. It also means that top tiers may not necessarily be matching more competitive specialties simply because of their name, but that there are most likely other factors at play. Thus, it doesn't matter what school you go to if you work hard, kick butt and apply where you want to go.
 
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OP
StriveForGlory
Apr 5, 2010
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Can I ask why you went to pharmacy school in the first place?
I got into the six year pharmacy program out of high school before truly knowing what I wanted to do. Throughout the years I have begun to realize that a pharmacy career will not fully satisfy my desire for the kind of knowledge and clinical experience that med school and a career as a physician could provide. Thus I have decided to apply to med school after pharmacy school. I love the knowledge that I am obtaining in pharmacy school, however, and see it as very beneficial as a potential med student and future doctor. So I do not feel like I have wasted my time whatsoever. I also know a few people who worked as part time pharmacists during med school. So that’s also a useful way to use my degree while still satisfying my desire to go to into medicine.
 

Narmerguy

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I really don't know any schools that report average scores. Can you link some?
I know that a few schools released them in internal presentations and things like that that some of the posters on the forum had attended and compared so you probably won't find it up somewhere static.