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How difficult is Pre-Med at Emory?

FirstMoveFirstMove Posts: 145Registered User Junior Member
edited August 2011 in Emory University
What is the average GPA for pre-med students? How many actually are admitted into medical schools, and what is the average/estimated GPA of the admitted students?
Post edited by FirstMove on

Replies to: How difficult is Pre-Med at Emory?

  • collegestu816collegestu816 Posts: 206Registered User Junior Member
    Pre-med here is considered to be the hardest among any pre-professional track or major, and the general trend is that premeds here will usually try the hardest yet still have relatively low GPAs. And like premed at any institution there's gonna be a high dropout rate, but this is especially apparent at Emory because of a large number of incoming freshmen that are premed (about 1/3). About half of them will drop out before the end of junior year (when med schools applications start), either because they bombed a prereq science class, got a mediocre grade in a science class and have perceptions about how hard premed will be down the line, or simply find new interests in other fields.

    And among those that apply, the number getting into med school is actually much lower than you would expect for a top 20 university, although it has been increasing recently due to better student planning and mentoring, such as through help from the newly created PHMO. 46% got in to at least one med school for 2009, and 56% for 2010 (they haven't released the 2011 numbers yet) according to those who let AMCAS release their information to Emory's Career Center, which is certainly a big increase but still far from the 70-90% acceptance of many ivy premeds. The Career center gives a more specific breakdown of their GPA and MCAT ranges here:

    2009: http://www.career.emory.edu/parents/pdf/Applicants_Emory_2009_Matrix.pdf

    2010: http://www.career.emory.edu/parents/pdf/Applicants_Emory_2010_Matrix.pdf

    Notice they don't actually tell you the average mcat or gpas, but from some estimation on those charts (using a weighted "midpoint" approach) the average applicant mcat was 29.0 and the accepted mcat was 31.4 in 2009, and the avg applicant gpa was 3.45 and tbe avg accepted gpa was 3.61 in that same year. In 2010 those respective numbers were 29.9, 31.6, 3.51, and 3.65

    Notice that the avg accepted gpa and mcat only increased a little, probably due to the med school spots across the country becoming more competitive every year, while the avg applicant gpa and mcat increased much more, which would explain the higher acceptance rate.

    The numbers should tell you the obvious, which is that med school spots are becoming more and more competitive on top of an already tough process, so only people near the top will get in to even a med school at all (most can forget about getting into a med school ranked a lot higher than their undergrad instiution) just to pay them $40-50k/year in tuition for 4 years. Contrast that will grad school spots, where most people will EASILY get into a higher ranked institution than their undergrad, and even then you get don't pay any tuition but instead get paid $20-40k/year to get a PhD.

    So long story short, don't go premed unless you are a good or stellar science student (it's ok to have other interests but you do have to be good a science), are willing to put in the effort. Those that don't get in either: a) have low gpas or mcat (less than 3.5/30 and you probably dont wanna apply MD (maybe DO or Carribean if they're not that low) b) are missing crucial ECs such as clinical volunteering and shadowing c) apply too late because they're too busy trying to cram in a prereq or take the mcat (med schools interview on a rolling basis), or d) overestimate themselves and apply to only top schools.
  • bernie12bernie12 Posts: 2,602Registered User Senior Member
    Unfortunately, at Emory there are still too many applying. You have to wonder if, after graduating. There shouldn't be 350 people applying to med. school, especially when many/most have sub-30 MCATs.

    Anyway, Emory doesn't really release data about GPA by track/division (however, I can make estimates based upon some info. and my experience). I will say it like this. I think Emory is grade inflated, but not as inflated as some of our peers. I estimate that, since the graduating(senior) GPA is 3.38, the GPA for all undergraduates is probably between 3.2-3.3 which is much lower than most of our close peers (it's grading more like JHU and places like Wake forest and perhaps some top publics), and I don't know if I want to count it as a close peer) who have overall UG GPAs not far from our senior average (almost always the peak average at a university). I took off several points knowing that freshmen perform pretty poorly (3.0-3.15. And yes, collegestu, I know there are plenty doing extremely well, but plenty do extremely weak/mediocre and drag it down a lot, even some of the better HS students. Again, it is not uncommon for institutions to have a frosh average .2-.4 off of the graduating average), and guessed that sophomore and junior year are probably 3.25 and a low 3.3 respectively (seniors tend to get senioritis like in HS and enroll in easier/less courses since unlike UG admission, rigorous senior year matters little to employers or grad/prof. schools. Also, most have already applied and perhaps were admitted to wherever).


    With this said, grades for key pre-med science courses probably have an interesting trend. The following reflects how Emory intro. science profs. for the most part do not curve grades in any form or fashion. They apply strict grading scales. Notice how GPAs fluctuate from year to year (normally doesn't correlate well w/HS stats, only performance in each course, which normally makes that irrelevant. One can't expect an SAT average of 1380 to be worse than say a 1399 as it is possible that sciences self-select anyway): Collaborative Learning | Supplemental Instruction | Learning Programs | Emory College | Atlanta, GA

    Now, lots of people go to SI, but I know that most don't (and the number who regularly attend, as in even, before the vicinity of an exam, is even less), so I will tip the scales in favor of non-SI figure and say that the average is 2.9-3.1 and I'm betting frosh are performing worse than sophomores by and large (some classes like physics are dominated by sophomores, biology has a fair share as well).

    Now, sophomore/junior level courses normally targeting pre-meds, like biochemistry and organic do weird grading and averages are often lower on exams/quizzes than intros. No matter the prof. for an orgo. section, and how easy their exams are, they always design exams (I believe the others sense the incompetence/laziness of their students, so they can design exams much easier than a hard prof., but still hard enough to sink enough students) that they have to curve grades upward. The curve almost always recenters averages at the 2.5-2.7(B-) area, in every class. Biochemistry: I see no evidence that it has any true curve or grade boosting, in fact there may be application of normal Emory scale plus deflationary tactics (like not giving a B+. 89 gets B, not B+), so they probably only yield 2.5-2.7 as well (exams average C/C+, and quiz averages range from D to B+. When the smoke clears, quizzes probably average C+/B-). Given this, you kind of get a sort of sophomore "dip" in grades given in pre-med courses.

    However, by and large, only these few classes (mainly pre-med requirements) are ones where pre-meds need to kind of work to get an A or B grade (B+ to A is ideal). Most other science courses they take are only difficult enough at worst to yield some average between B and B+ w/o needing much of a curve (and when it is needed, it is curved to a B). The only true exception is for those taking NBB 301 where the average is a B-. Chem and bio majors are also likely to run into a couple more (okay, chem majors will run into several) courses where the average is roughly a B- (Cell bio and developmental come to mind, maybe CVA and a few special topics offerings like cancer or immunology), all others seem to be between B/B+, and I understand that some courses like evolutionary biology are so easy (teachers sucked though) that they were between B+ and A- last semester (both sections). NBB major courses and electives associated w/the major outside of NBB 301 and Psyche 103 seem to universally yield B/B+ (so they have 1 exception as opposed to several). If you only want ease as a pre-med, and also want a so called "pre-med major" (basically, do want to fall into a stereotype or not), then go for anthro or NBB. Avoid chem, bio, and psychology (this has plenty of easy courses but will put you through several that grade quite harshly and require lots more work than anthro and NBB. The intro. sequence, psyche stats., and psyche methods, are among these).

    However, if you do this, make sure to take challenging professors and excellent teachers for the pre-med core (bio, orgo, physics, gen. chem, math. Cell bio is a nice auxillary course w/good professors. Same goes for some of the special topics and 3-400 level offerings each year) as this will increase chance of retaining and understanding enough info. to score well on the MCAT w/o worrying about the efficacy (being over-reliant upon) of MCAT prep. courses. If you don't know the info. well already, it may be hard to truly benefit from such a regiment. If anything, it should merely be there to tell you how much you actually do know or reaffirm that you know it (and of course prep. you for getting over taking the exam itself). You shouldn't be essentially learning (they took the courses, but did not learn it) most of the material for the first time, like I suspect many at Emory are.
  • FirstMoveFirstMove Posts: 145Registered User Junior Member
    Are the averages relatively low mostly because of the professors being harsh graders, students not studying enough/not bright enough in science, both, or neither? This: <...the general trend is that premeds here will usually try the hardest yet still have relatively low GPAs.>, worries me. I don't want to study 6+ hours a day just to get a <3.4GPA. That's suggesting people to go to a state school and ace-up a crispy and tasty 3.8+ GPA for the same amount of effort.

    I'll be in the pre-pharmacy track and students in the pre-pharmacy track take mostly the same courses as pre-med. I'm not pre-med damn it! Who do we pre-pharmacy students have to skate in the same ring as them? Not cool, dude.
  • collegestu816collegestu816 Posts: 206Registered User Junior Member
    To emphasize bernie12 and my point that emory students as a whole haven't had the best success applying to med school and that some of them need to be doing some things different, here are some of the most up-to-date charts on acceptance rates to med school from a few peer schools that i could find:

    MIT (2010): 85% (Preprofessional Stats - MIT Careers Office)

    Brown (2009): 81% (Medical Admission Data Snapshot)

    UPenn (2006): 80% (Career Services, University of Pennsylvania)

    Duke (2009): 71% (http://prehealth.duke.edu/wp-content/uploads/Table-1-Acceptance-patterns-20092.pdf)

    WashU (2004-2008): 71% (http://prehealth.wustl.edu/Documents/Handbook2010.pdf)

    Cornell (2010): 67% (http://www.career.cornell.edu/downloads/HCEC/AaChart2011.pdf)

    Johns Hopkins (2008): 63% (JHU Pre-Professional Advising)

    UC Berkeley (2009) 58% combining both 1st time and reapplicant charts (https://career.berkeley.edu/MedStats/2009seniors.stm, https://career.berkeley.edu/MedStats/2009oneyearout.stm)

    Emory (2010): 56% (http://www.career.emory.edu/parents/pdf/Applicants_Emory_2010_Matrix.pdf)

    UMich (2010): 52% (UM :: The Career Center :: Students :: Pre-Medicine :: Medical School Application :: UM Application Statistics)

    GA Tech (2008): they dont tell you the percentage but hit the link to see some stats... (Statistics)

    i'll probably update this list some time when i can find info for more schools...
  • bernie12bernie12 Posts: 2,602Registered User Senior Member
    Berkeley doesn't do as well as I expected, neither does JHU. Except MIT (which has name brand appeal and students of course have excellent science/math training and cannot escape rigor), seems most of the lower grading institutions end up on the lower end. Also, more apps.=bad. 347 (from a standard is different from 284 and numbers in the 100 and something area. Johns Hopkins' 352 doesn't help it either. However, at least theirs can be explained by having a great BME program (Duke does too, but I get the feeling more people, as a percentage, are engineering and science oriented at JHU than Duke despite JHU having amazing polisci and other social science related programs). I think a reasonable goal for Emory would be to catch JHU (not far from it, will probably catch it once pre-health mentoring gets well adjusted as a part of the process). Also, something tells me that students at schools like Emory disproportionately go for only top schools, whereas people at say Tech, just want to go to medical school. You can't expect huge success w/o most of the people willing to take any med. school unless you are say, some particular Ivies, which somewhat feed into prestigious med. schools.
  • collegestu816collegestu816 Posts: 206Registered User Junior Member
    Are the averages relatively low mostly because of the professors being harsh graders, students not studying enough/not bright enough in science, both, or neither?
    A combination of all three. As bernie12 said, premed classes will usually average around a B-. Also many people here will not try very hard freshmen year because they believe their success in hs will automatically carry over (and are busy getting drunk at frat parties 4x a week), and many of those that do try hard don't know how to study effectively or don't have much of a science background (ie got zero credit for AP sciences in hs).
    I don't want to study 6+ hours a day just to get a <3.4GPA. That's suggesting people to go to a state school and ace-up a crispy and tasty 3.8+ GPA for the same amount of effort.

    This has been suggested many times before, and it's probably the best option if you just wanna go plain MD at your state med school or plain PharmD at your state pharm school (which will often not have much preference over taking applicants from elite undergrad schools than those from their respective state undergrad schools), and not go into high selective schools or competitive programs like MD/PhD.
    Who do we pre-pharmacy students have to skate in the same ring as them?
    The upside is the average accepted student into pharmacy school has a much lower gpa than med school, probably due to the much lower demand:supply ratio for spots in pharmacy school at the moment when compared to med school...
  • bernie12bernie12 Posts: 2,602Registered User Senior Member
    Also, the fact that many may be chem. majors which typically grades lower than biological sciences at most schools. And yes, there is less demand, but requirements are the same. I mean, I honestly don't want pre-pharm students to get away w/a weaker background than other science oriented counterparts. They should at least be exposed to the same level of material. As for the grades (especially in uncurved courses), I think a lot of it comes from a lack of true interest for science moreso than incompetence. People learn how to fake interest (the only interest is in the context that taking the courses will get them into prof. school). An interested person, no matter the background from HS will do reasonably well, I see it happen all the time. Others will self-inflate after they realize they don't have a true interest in it, but just want the career.
  • emorydeacemorydeac Posts: 114Registered User Junior Member
    Several things to consider concerning medical school acceptance rates: 67% of MIT's applicants are females (unusual gender discrepancy) and MIT/Brown/Duke/UCB/Emory acceptances are not specifically limited to allopathic schools (ie may include DO and foreign medical schools), and WashU utilizes BCPM GPA rather than overall GPA. Unless schools compare the same parameters, the charts are interesting but not very informative for school premed success comparisons.
  • ilikepizzailikepizza Posts: 507Registered User Member
    what about pre nursing gpa?
  • bernie12bernie12 Posts: 2,602Registered User Senior Member
    emorydeac: agreed.

    ilikepizza- pre-nursing has an advantage in that you can be admitted to a nursing program as an undergrad, and the requirements aren't that stringent to do so (it's only about 1/2 as popular as business). You're a strong student, you should be able to get a sufficient gpa for nursing. I don't know about grad. nursing. It's probably less competitive than med. school, but still quite competitive.
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