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top tier school vs. second tier school for med school prep


Replies to: top tier school vs. second tier school for med school prep

  • donricardodonricardo Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    good insights, thank you, especially the tip about military paying for med school, will check into that more.
  • preppedparentpreppedparent Registered User Posts: 2,251 Senior Member
    I think lots of kids who want to be doctors who go to huge ivies get lost in the shuffle including big classes. My own thought is that it is easier to get the help you may need in a small elite LAC, but that's just my own thinking and advice on strategy.
  • SOSConcernSOSConcern Registered User Posts: 3,435 Senior Member
    I agree about looking to immediate education 'match' - what is student interested in studying for UG? Want to have top grades, and include the courses required for medical school application. Also consider the range of student interests, so student goes to a school where they can change their major (or add to their major) if so desired along the way.

    There is a 'formula' of items for medical school application, but the two 'numbers' are GPA and MCAT scores. Correlation between strong ACT score and doing well on MCAT, but of course depends on what student does in UG education/applying themselves.

    Have student attend where they can do extremely well and where they want to attend/what fits into family budget/what makes sense. Keeping costs down for UG helps with the long stretch of higher ed costs.

    Sometimes a student will get merit at a smaller/private school that makes more sense if state flagship is more costly.

    High stats could mean OOS flagship may be cost effective due to merit opportunities - such as KY or maybe AL (UA has shrunk some of its merit money - 40.6% of the 7407 freshman class scored 30+ on ACT and avg HS GPA was 3.72, with 34% having HS 4.0 or higher GPA).Certainly look into the range of schools in your geographic area. Some states have 'reciprocity' - for example MN and WI (but need to apply for it to get in-state tuition rate).

    Friend's DD went to in-state non-flagship -- was a solid student in HS, but achieved strong enough to now be in optometry school. UG school was a match for her to achieve more stellar and take advantage of EC and educational opportunities at her school.
  • DiotimaDMDiotimaDM Registered User Posts: 962 Member
    edited September 14
    I have a high stats S who is also interested in med school. Here's how we did it.

    1) We had the financial discussion very early, sometime in junior year. With med school on the table, we told S that finances trumped everything else, and there must be no debt for undergrad. He would still have a choice of schools, but we had the right to veto any school we deemed unaffordable. He could apply if he wanted, but he couldn't attend if the financial package didn't work.

    2) S was allowed to add any school he wanted to the research / visit list. He was interested in UT. Research said he'd never get the aid we'd need to make it work. No visit. He was interested in Tulane. Research said full tuition was likely, and a full ride was possible, but highly competitive. It stayed on the list.

    3) We knew S had a good chance of making NMF (he's NMSF right now), so we researched the big money NMF schools and visited four of them (UNM, Texas Tech, OU, UT Dallas) during spring break of junior year. Three of those schools have med schools attached with pipeline programs offering anything from an early read to guaranteed entry. The fourth school, UTD, is a STEM school with an excellent record of sending top graduates to a variety of medical schools. All of them have well regarded honors colleges.

    4) When we toured the first four schools, two strong contenders emerged. In fact, S was so happy with the fit and feel of his top two that he decided he didn't need to see the rest of the schools we planned to visit, including Bama, UAB, Michigan State and Tulane.

    Disclaimer: I don't have nearly as much expertise as some of the folks here. This is my first rodeo. We're a middle class doughnut hole family; your financial situation may be different from ours. That said, I thought you might like to hear our path so far.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 62,859 Senior Member
    In other threads, it does look like the OP is an Alabama resident, based on mentioning in state Auburn. Plenty of big automatic merit choices in Alabama, like 3 UA campuses, ASU, Troy, and private Tuskegee.
  • northwestynorthwesty Registered User Posts: 2,746 Senior Member
    It depends.

    There is value in both pre and post acceptance visits. We did pre visits in order to come up with a very tight and focused app list. Because the app list was tight, we did just two post visits once we had the acceptance and aid info in hand. Comes down to how much time and money you have to devote to visits, and also how focused/unfocused the app list is.

    FYI, if you are playing regular decision you typically only have about four weeks in April of HS senior year (proms, finals, AP tests, pre-graduation stuff) to do post-accept visits. Often, kids and families have a very tough time being able to actually do much post visiting then. Much easier to do post visiting if you are playing rolling or EA. Since you can plan and schedule visits for Jan, Feb, March. My kid's final two were both EA, so we had plenty of time to do those post visits.
  • northwestynorthwesty Registered User Posts: 2,746 Senior Member
    edited September 14
    When it comes to med school, the most important thing is to have a plan B. The med school track is like trying to become a Navy SEAL. 85% of those who start don't make it.

    And don't get mis-led by the school stats that 50% or 80% or whatever % of their kids get accepted to med school. Those stats are usually measuring the med school acceptance for the kids who were still there at the end of the gauntlet. Which is totally different from the kids who were there at the beginning. Some schools actively weed kids out of the pre med track. But even if there is no weeding, all schools have massive self-selection/drop outs as kids realize that med school isn't going to happen or really isn't what they want to do. To me, the only stat that matters is how many kids a school puts into med school year after year. If a school puts 200 kids into med school year after year, that tells me they have their pre-med act together more than the percentage they quote.

    The cheap, lower ranked school that gets you the higher GPA is a great strategy -- IF your kid winds up in the 15%. But think about whether that path is wise if your kid winds up in the 85%.

    My two cents is that you should pick a school that would still be a fit even if med school does not work out. Kind of like telling an aspiring college athlete to pick a school that would still make sense if they would suffer a career ending injury on the first day of practice. That might be the cheaper/lower school. Or it might not.

    If you get tapped out for undergrad but your kid does get into med school, you can always opt for having the military pay for med school.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 62,859 Senior Member
    northwesty wrote:
    If you get tapped out for undergrad but your kid does get into med school, you can always opt for having the military pay for med school.

    That is assuming that the student wants to practice medicine in a military context, and is eligible for military service (only about 30% of young Americans are eligible, with many being ineligible due to medical conditions).
  • chippedtoofchippedtoof Registered User Posts: 154 Junior Member
    ^^ agreed. If one takes this route, make sure one is comfortable with the post-residency options available. There are other aspects and risks that one needs to endure in military medicine that go way beyond the obvious (including lengthening of the number of years one needs to serve). The good news is that most of these issues are researchable online. If you know what you're getting into and you are eligible, it can work out but...
  • katliamomkatliamom Registered User Posts: 11,202 Senior Member
    I personally don't understand the expectation that parents will pay for med school. There are a few doctors-in-the-making in my extended family, and none of their parents is helping with med school tuition/costs. The idea being, we paid for undergrad, you got your BA/BS debt-free, now it's your turn to finance your education.

    Is this weird? Do parents actually think they should be paying for undergrad AND med school? (Provided they're not the 1-percenters, that is...)
  • Jugulator20Jugulator20 Registered User Posts: 1,155 Senior Member
    Is this weird? Do parents actually think they should be paying for undergrad AND med school? (Provided they're not the 1-percenters, that is...)
    No to both questions. We saw to it that S graduated from college with no debt, but the very large debt of med school is his.
  • Jugulator20Jugulator20 Registered User Posts: 1,155 Senior Member
    @mom2collegekids congrats to S as to MGH
  • Jugulator20Jugulator20 Registered User Posts: 1,155 Senior Member
    @katliamom my bad, in interest of full disclosure, I forgot that the bank of mom and dad did pay for moving S to and from med school, travel during holidays, travel costs related to residency interviewing, but med school COA, Step exams and prep,etc are on him.
  • TiggerDadTiggerDad Registered User Posts: 910 Member
    We told both our sons that their college expenses are on us but their med school expenses would be fully their's.
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