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College choices for pre-med

vermonter123vermonter123 4 replies2 threads New Member
Hi, I am a current High School Junior and I am trying to figure out what colleges I want to tour/eventually apply to. I have a very good idea of what I am looking for already and have some ideas but would like some advice.

I am looking for a school with no more than 8,000 students, preferable between 2,000-5,000, that is in a rural or suburban area. I would like to go into medicine, specifically anesthesiology, so I am looking for a school with a strong medical program. I would like a reasonably academically rigorous school with not a big party scene and would like to stay in the northeast, specifically New England.

So far I am looking at Amherst, Colby, Bard, Dartmouth, Colgate, University of New England, UVM, Quinnipiac, and Fairfield University. So far my top choice is the University of New England because I love the location and it seems to have a medical focus, but I am thrown off by the high acceptance rate and it appears to not be as academically rigorous as my other options. UVM is my last choice because it is in my hometown and I would like to go away.

I would appreciate any input or advice, thank you!
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Replies to: College choices for pre-med

  • tk21769tk21769 10688 replies27 threads Senior Member
    Have you and your family thought about costs? Unless you have hundreds of thousands put away for college and med school (or your family income is enough to cover costs out-of-pocket) you need a strategy.

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  • me29034me29034 1768 replies91 threads Senior Member
    What is your gpa? Have you taken the SAT or ACT yet? If not, how about the PSAT? It’s hard to give suggestions without knowing if they are reasonable for you.
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 5859 replies1 threads Senior Member
    There are two things that you need to keep right near the top of your mind.

    One is cost. Medical school is VERY expensive. Many doctors end up paying off medical school loans for many years if not decades after getting their MD.

    Secondly you need to maintain a very high GPA in very tough classes as a premed student if you expect to have any chance at all to get accepted to medical school. The other students in your premed classes are going to include quite a few of the very strongest students in your university. Most of them will not make it to medical school. You need to be right near the top in very tough classes if you want to have a good chance of being accepted to medical school.

    UVM might seem boring. It is right next door and not "exotic". However, it has an excellent premed program. It also has a hospital right on campus with plenty of volunteer opportunities. I might add that the honors dorm at UVM might be the nicest dorm that I have seen anywhere. UVM would also be a bargain since you are in-state.

    If you are serious about medical school, then you should find out how much your parents are willing to pay over 8 years, and whether they are okay with taking anything that you save by choosing an economic school for premed and keeping that "in the bank" for medical school. Then you should run the NPCs on all of the schools that you are considering.

    Given how strong the premed program is at UVM, I would not pay significantly more to go anywhere else unless you are going to be able to go a full eight years through getting an MD without taking on any debt.

    Remember that at Dartmouth College or any similarly highly ranked school every single student in the school was so strong in high school that they managed to get into Dartmouth College, and you are going to have to be ahead of the large majority of them if you want to get a high enough GPA to get into medical school. The competition will be intense. Frankly the competition will be intense at UVM also.
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  • vermonter123vermonter123 4 replies2 threads New Member
    I have a 4.23 GPA and I'm currently in a 2-year health science training program that is college level and will graduate with around 23 college credits on my transcript. I have not yet taken the SAT or ACT and my PSAT score comes on Monday.
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  • vermonter123vermonter123 4 replies2 threads New Member
    edited December 2019
    I am not right now thinking about cost, just trying to narrow my search and get more information about what colleges I might be interested in. The cost will become a factor when I have a better idea of which schools I want to apply to.
    edited December 2019
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  • merc81merc81 10805 replies173 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    Since you've shown an interest in highly selective colleges, you may want to search "The 25 Best Colleges for Pre-meds," a site that supports some of your tentative choices. I'd recommend you don't pursue any schools from this group, however, unless you have an interest in a wide-ranging arts and sciences curriculum. None of the listed colleges, I believe, offers a "medical program."
    edited December 2019
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  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 1584 replies22 threads Senior Member
    Where would you like to go if you didn’t want to go to Med School? The reality is that the likelihood of you actually starting Med School is in the single digits.

    You GPA sounds weighted. What is your unweighted GPA? What do you think you might major in? I don’t know about your specific program, but normally Health Science programs are not feeders into Med School.

    I know that you don’t want to talk about cost, but this is the right time to have the discussion with your parents. That can quickly define the universe of schools. Unless your parents are in the top 5%, if they say don’t worry about cost, you should worry. A lot of parents don’t want to have the conversation.
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  • vermonter123vermonter123 4 replies2 threads New Member
    I have very set on going to med school. I have had opportunities to work in the hospital and intern in many different fields and I know it is what I want to do so I don't have a plan of something else I would want to do.

    My high school does not do weighted GPA's, my GPA is 4.23 out of 4.33. The program I am in is for people who know they want to go into medicine, it is designed to train us for professions in the health field, and the majority of the program's graduates go on to med school. I want to major in something along the lines of "biologically science, general" depending on what majors the schools offer.

    I am aware of how big a factor the money issue will be and my parents and I will definitely look at it when deciding colleges I can reasonably apply to, but right now I want to get a sense of the different schools and their reputations so I can get a better idea of the schools I am looking at and see if there are any other good options I have missed.
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 5790 replies84 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    I agree with the posters for the most part. However not every student at Dartmouth is at the level mentioned. Plenty of athletes and other preference category students like every school - are mixed in.

    Accomplished you bet. Great students. Yes. All vals with a 1600. Yes there are more than a few. But for the most part. No.

    But you may be just as gifted as most.

    However the premed students at Dartmouth or any school in the top 100 are going to mostly incredibly talented. It’s a tough road. But someone has to do and perhaps its you.


    Cost is a huge issue. Also you can change your mind and choose another path. There’s no real medically focused undergrad school. It’s the same core classes everywhere. Focus on the school.

    UVM would be an exceptional option and value. I would suggest moving on from U New England if some of the other options are available.
    edited December 2019
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2529 replies3 threads Senior Member
    I don't like to be the one who rains on he parade. There's a few things you want to consider when choosing a college. First off, doctor is a VERY popular dream for smart kids coming out of high school. Dreaming is a good thing. The reality is that almost none of them go to medical school. College is a maturation process, and as students mature, they discover hidden passions they didn't know about coming out of high school. That being said, NEVER choose a college based on "rankings" or a dream coming out of high school. There's an almost certain chance you'll change your mind later, and you don't want to be stuck in a school you're miserable in or doesn't have flexibility to change majors to something you want.

    Second, whether you choose medicine or not, affordability is key. Medical school is atrociously expensive, and if you have piles of undergraduate debt, it can seriously limit your options in medicine, especially if you decide you want to be a general practitioner, pediatrician.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2964 replies49 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    You can go to medical school from most any undergraduate institution. Right now we don't know your rigor, or unweighted GPA (on a 4 point scale, core courses only), and it doesn't look like you have any test scores yet.....so it's premature to create a college list. Generally you want to be in the top 25% of students at a given college so you are best positioned to have a high college GPA.

    Research the health care advising office at all colleges on your list....noting any specific program offerings, requirements for a committee letter, and whether any student (regardless of GPA/MCAT score) wanting to apply to med school can receive a committee letter.

    Think carefully about your major, choosing one that will allow you to have a high GPA and also best position you for plans B and C, should you not get accepted to med school (currently 42% of applicants are accepted to med school.....and most successful applicants are not directly out of undergrad).

    I am paging @WayOutWestMom to help assess the 2 year program you are in and whether those credits will count toward your sGPA for med school, among other things.

    Do speak with your parents now about what they can/will pay each year for college.

    Lastly, if you do not want a party school I would eliminate Colgate and probably Dartmouth from your list.
    edited December 2019
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  • vermonter123vermonter123 4 replies2 threads New Member
    The college credit I get through my program is all either from UVM or Vermont technical college and will count on my transcript.
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10363 replies216 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    Health science classes are not considered BCPM classes by AMCAS and won't be included in your sGPA calculations. Since those classes DO generate a college transcript, they will be included in your overall GPA by AMCAS.

    See: AMCAS Course Classification Guide

    It's your sGPA that's more important for med school. The median sGPA for matriculating med students last year was 3.68.

    I concur with all the advice given above--there are no guarantees when it comes to getting accepted to med school. Every pre-med need to have a Plan B and a Plan C career in mind because fewer than 1 in 8 of those who start out as pre-meds actually get accepted to med school.

    (BTW, Getting good grades and a good MCAT score does not guarantee a med school admission. Every year 15% of applicants with perfect 4.0 GPAs and a MCAT score >98th percentile get rejected at every single school they apply to.)

    Pick a college that offers you the best combination of fit, opportunity and cost.

    Medical school is horrendously expensive and there is very little FA except for unsubsidized loans. One year at a public med school is currently averaging in the $45-128K range**; one year at a private med school is between $75-$90K/year.

    **NOTE--the $128K/year is NOT a typo. At least 3 public med schools have OOS rates w/ tuition over $95-100K/year

    Pre-meds are strongly advised to minimize undergrad debt.

    P.S. Reputation plays no role in gaining a med school acceptance. Adcomms are pretty agnostic about the name on your college diploma. Getting accepted to med school is about what you accomplish during college--not where you went.
    edited December 2019
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