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Emory vs WashU in St Louis

SBSapphireSBSapphire Registered User Posts: 90 Junior Member
Hi guys,

I am currently deciding between Emory and Washu in St. Louis for pre-med.

Which university is it easier to get a higher GPA in?

Which one has ample medical opportunities with close proximity (EMT or pediatric shadowing or etc.)?

Supposedly, WashU is more "presitigious." So, would I have a better chance of med school there?

I consider myself a pretty good academic student with a 34 and 4 on AP Bio and 5 on AP Chem and 800 on M2 SAT, 780 on Chem SAT, and 770 on Bio SAT M.

But, I do not want cutthroat competition. I heard WashU pre-med courses are rigorous? I might choose Emory then because its courses are less rigorous. In which school would professors know me better and write better letters of recc?

I heard Emory has 55% med school acceptance rate and WashU has like 70%, so Im confused? Would I have a better chance with WashU? Quick responses would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much guys.
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Replies to: Emory vs WashU in St Louis

  • SBSapphireSBSapphire Registered User Posts: 90 Junior Member
    Also, in my free time, I want to do artistic things and mix creativity with science. I like music and art and events like music and medicine. I like emergency medicine and working with children and research. Does Emory offer more in those areas or does WashU? Does Emory offer much in the creativity and artistic things? I do not think cost is a big factor as both schools cost almost the same.
  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,263 Senior Member
    edited January 10
    @SBSapphire :

    1: Higher GPA; Who knows? Depends on which major and instructors you choose at either. There is no unified grading standards at either. There are recommendations for curves and course GPAs in many departments, and they are similar in STEM, but the instructors DO NOT have to follow them. This isn't high school. So much choice: And what a horrible question to think about as a priority. You should expect and often desire high challenge from high ranked schools, or else you should pass and go somewhere else cheap, and less selective to achieve high grades AND stand out (this goes a long way). You will not stand out getting high grades and doing well from either of these two.
    2. WUSTL at the undergraduate level is hardly more prestigious, but they have been much more of a research powerhouse than many top ranked universities between 11 and 25 for much longer than Emory so this garners them more prestige among academics. Emory is a noob, so it doesn't matter. The two are very similar for undergraduate education but do offer different majors and have different areas of emphasis throughout the curriculum. This is also a silly and petty thing to concern yourself with. The difference, if one exists, will not matter at all. They are definitely peers.
    3. This is dumb (and very department dependent), the courses are very comparable in rigor, but may be run very differently (I can maybe go into how later in case you want to know. But differences mainly occur in neuroscience, chemistry, and biology). I have the course materials to prove it, and once again, DO NOT choose schools based upon this concept. Go visit, talk to students, visit classes, and determine which academic environment you like. Neither are supposedly cut-throat from what I know. I just know Emory is a little different in that more students actually embrace the rigor than complain about it in certain courses. The reason you think it is "more rigorous" is likely because WUSTL students tend to go out of their way to constantly talk about how hard their courses are. This pattern is common at Vanderbilt, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, and Berkeley. They yell really loud about the difficulty of their coursework. When you actually look at materials, Emory ends up usually being comparable, and in many cases more challenging or at least "better" in terms of providing the right type of rigor. Note that the right type of rigor is a great thing that will help get you a high MCAT and Emory and WUSTL have it more so than many other schools between 11 and 25. They have worked VERY hard to optimize their life sciences education to focus on getting students to learn how to think critically, analyze data, problem solve, instead of memorize. Please learn to think in these terms when evaluating the "rigor" of university science curricula. It isn't all about grades. You have to take standardized tests to enter medical school, and that test is very challenging and unlike the the level of exams you took in HS. Wouldn't schools that use their curricula give you constant exposure to the types of tests and skills needed be better? If you are aggressive about learning in a rigorous course with a good instructor, you should do fine. Again, it isn't supposed to be easy.

    *Note also, some students get less rigor at Emory because Emory tries to make every student feel like they are at a medium or smaller LAC style school in major pre-health classes meaning they want to keep section sizes relatively small. Most schools allocate 200+ seats to each instructor per pre-med STEM course and Emory is usually between 70-100 making a much more intimate environment more ripe for different teaching styles and techniques that tend to yield learning. This also means that instead of one say very tough instructor teaching all 200-500 students taking a course, you may get 4-6 instructors and 2-3 of them will have the right level of challenge (as in tough) OR 2-3 of them will be kind of average or below par. I can tell you that the tougher STEM instructors at Emory are usually superior in terms of teaching, learning outcomes, and caring for students They will usually end up mentoring students and this is even important from pre-meds. You need a rec. letter from someone and again, this isn't high school. It is harder to make easier instructors write these for students because they don't usually care that much in the first place, which is why they make their courses less rigorous. So yes, in college, professors who do less rigor are not "nice" and "kind", they usually don't care or have time for undergraduates so avoid giving assignments and exams that make you work. That way, THEY can do less work. I know understanding this requires different thinking from how things go in high school, but is usually the case. If a STEM instructor allows you to be lazy in a course, then they are being lazy themselves. It is not because "they want to see you succeed". What sense does that make if they have to lower the standards below higher rated instructors to achieve that reputation?

    4. Please learn to think about data and what you just said? Do you think that rate is like that because of Emory? Does JHU have a 62% rate because of Hopkins? No, this journey is up to you. One may get a lower rate if 300+ applicants apply for the first time per cycle and some of them have uncompetitive GPAs or MCATS or both and still apply (Emory students can be very hard headed with this pre-med thing. That is a part of its culture). This happens a lot at Emory because students have a ridiculous amount of external pressure to do pre-med so do it regardless of where they stand. It ain't about Emory. Hell, perhaps a lot of them get low MCATS because they came into the school worried about if it would be rigorous, yield a high GPA, or competitive, and chose many joke STEM instructors. That attitude and fear being implemented across the whole undergraduate career would affect its numbers and would not help the future applicant anywhere. Their mindset put them at risk for failure at an elite undergraduate program. Again, these people should focus on learning and they may actually achieve even in rigorous courses, hint hint.
  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,263 Senior Member
    @SBSapphire : Also, I need to give a general note on competition at elite schools. It is never really based on coursework and in that context is usually a myth. What cannot be avoided is that students constantly compare themselves to each other and overly worry about grades, and this is definitely the case for pre-healths because of the nature of the process. However, if you hear that any school is "cut-throat" academically, then its probably a lie or some time of hyperbole. Here is why. This myth is based upon supposed grading curves in STEM courses. Many of the elite schools will have challenging instructors that give exams and assignments that do not yield lots of super high grades, so much like AP they have to put the grades on some type of curve. This curve always HELPs in a challenging course. Say they give exams with means in the 60s or below, or maybe low 70s. They will use that average and center their grades on something other than a D/F or C-. Emory, WUSTL, and the other schools usually re-center pre-health cores at a B- or the C+/B- border. In these types of courses the cut-offs are made statistically, and it ends up looking like they have a quota on As or Bs but this isn't really the case. They are really just trying to separate the As, Bs, and Cs into separate brackets statistically such that a C+/B- (or whatever) average is yielded. In some years the number of As and Bs may be more or less depending on how much they have to curve. Usually the lower the average, the less the amount of As. Cut-throat academic competition really only happens when averages can be too high and the cut-offs shifted higher effectively curving folks down and stuff. This is rare in STEM but does happen in business schools. You need not worry about that. Grades will be either assigned on the "normal" scale if averages are B- or higher already or curved upward in STEM classes. So work hard, and you'll get what you deserve in either case.
  • SBSapphireSBSapphire Registered User Posts: 90 Junior Member
    Hi guys,

    I am currently deciding between Emory and Washu in St. Louis for pre-med.

    Which university is it easier to get a higher GPA in?

    Which one has ample medical opportunities with close proximity (EMT or pediatric shadowing or etc.)?

    Supposedly, WashU is more "presitigious." So, would I have a better chance of med school there?

    I consider myself a pretty good academic student with a 34 and 4 on AP Bio and 5 on AP Chem and 800 on M2 SAT, 780 on Chem SAT, and 770 on Bio SAT M.

    But, I do not want cutthroat competition. I heard WashU pre-med courses are rigorous? I might choose Emory then because its courses are less rigorous. In which school would professors know me better and write better letters of recc?

    I heard Emory has 55% med school acceptance rate and WashU has like 70%, so Im confused? Would I have a better chance with WashU? Quick responses would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much guys.

    Also, in my free time, I want to do artistic things and mix creativity with science. I like music and art and events like music and medicine. I like emergency medicine and working with children and research. Does Emory offer more in those areas or does WashU? Does Emory offer much in the creativity and artistic things? I do not think cost is a big factor as both schools cost almost the same.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,383 Senior Member
    I have not read all of the posts in this thread.

    Seemingly, the most important distinction between the two schools is the admit rate to medical schools. These numbers warrant further inquiry. Does WashUStL, for example, discourage or refuse to recommend less competitive students regarding med school apps ? If so, and if Emory does not, then the numbers become much less meaningful.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,383 Senior Member
    Not sure that WUSTL is regarded as more prestigious than Emory. The US News peer review ratings are equal. And their overall US News rank almost identical.

    Ask how does each school's committee screen med school applicants.
  • HamurtleHamurtle Registered User Posts: 1,543 Senior Member
    WashU actually has classes that allow you to shadow at the Barnes Jewish Hospital ER and do research at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

    WashU isn’t cutthroat (students are collaborative) but the science classes are extremely competitive and have the reputation of being weeders. General and Organic Chemistry are infamous for this.

    School reputation doesn’t really help that much in medical school admissions if a high enough GPA in BCPM classes isn’t maintained. There is no real bump from your undergraduate institution.
  • HamurtleHamurtle Registered User Posts: 1,543 Senior Member
    The acceptance rate for medical school is usually from those students who did well enough to get a letter from the pre-med committee. And that number is from those who remain from the initial cohort of declared pre-meds.

    Also take into account med school costs. We are talking close to 300,000 for 4 years of undergrad at WashU/Emory and 4 years of medical school at the same cost. Be sure to have a backup plan if medical school doesn’t pan out.
  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,263 Senior Member
    Emory doesn't. Perhaps it should, but it doesn't.
  • emorynavyemorynavy Registered User Posts: 225 Junior Member
    @SBSapphire
    You have to get into both first. and the 55% is misleading and I'm sure, not true although I can't find any info pertaining to it.
  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,263 Senior Member
    @emorynavy : There is no need to downplay the 55%...it is usually in or near that range. It is what it is. Too many students apply to medical school from Emory. Period. It isn't our job to sit up here and lie for purposes of getting this person to feel more comfortable applying to Emory. The best we can do is get them to use reason to interpret the data. The take away, is that you should not apply "just cause" if you are not competitive. The process costs an insane amount of money for one.
  • collegemom9collegemom9 Registered User Posts: 242 Junior Member
    Have you been admitted to Emory? If so, wouldn’t that be through the ED round?
  • JemmaSimmonsJemmaSimmons Registered User Posts: 355 Member
    Also, students at WashU often study multiple subjects at once, so it would be quite normal there for you to take music or art classes while premed.
  • HamurtleHamurtle Registered User Posts: 1,543 Senior Member
    Also St. Louis has multiple top art museums. The Kempis Museum on campus (currently under renovation) is one of the top campus museums in the country.

    It’s also possible to take music/art classes as a pre-med at WashU as mentioned above. And there are lots of student music groups outside of classes.

    One of the more interesting minors now at WashU is The Art of Medicine, which focuses on how fine arts, literature, and history have influenced modern Western medicine.
  • HamurtleHamurtle Registered User Posts: 1,543 Senior Member
    edited January 10
    *Kemper Art Museum-autocorrect stinks...

    Forest Park has a large number of museums.

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