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Does prestige of undergrad school affect med school admittance?

christina01christina01 Registered User Posts: 61 Junior Member
I am wondering if medical schools give preference to students who attended more prestigious colleges for undergraduate school even if they have a really great GPA, MCAT score, and have great rec.s and extra curriculars. im sure they do to an extent, but i want to know if anyone has any idea how much weight it carries in the consideration for admission to medical school. For example, if i go to this slightly above average school (requires about a 3.7 or higher and usually above an 1180 SAT for admittance) and apply to top medical schools such as Yale, Duke, UPenn, UNC, etc., I mean I know its still a long shot for anyone to get in there but I hope my undergrad. school doesnt hold too much weight if i get really good stats and what not.. i dont want to be turned down because I didnt go to an ivy/elite private college for undergrad since i know the competition will be fierce and i know many of those applying to those top med schools probably went to tougher undergrad schools than me..

(oh and i also would be in the honors college at this undergrad. school, so im hoping that makes up a little for the lack of prestige/difficulty of admittance)
Post edited by christina01 on

Replies to: Does prestige of undergrad school affect med school admittance?

  • 1 Sky Pilot1 Sky Pilot Registered User Posts: 558 Member
    I am wondering the same thing. Prestige in general might not have too much of an impact, but the medical schools probably know which undergrad schools really prepare their students for the pre-med track; those schools might not necessarily be the most prestigious though. As long as you do well in the setting of your undergrad program, you should be fine. In the end I think that it all comes down to the numbers anyway: grades, mcat scores, etc. I hear that graduate schools want diversity too...meaning students from all different undergraduate programs, not just the ivy crew. I am in the same situation as you, really. I'm not sure if I would be better off going to a school where I am in the top 25% and doing well there, or going to a cutthroat prestigious undergrad school where I might be blown away by the competition. Something to think about :p.
  • BigredmedBigredmed Registered User Posts: 3,731 Senior Member
    It's safe to say that ug prestige does not play a role in med school admissions, at least when looking at the general picture of things.

    That's not to say that individual medical schools won't have preferences about certain places and other characteristics of applicants.

    The most important thing though is to go to a school you can succeed at, some place where you'll have success not only academically but also socially, emotionally and physically as well.
  • ctParent2006ctParent2006 Registered User Posts: 376 Member
    Very little. You might want to check the pre-med forum as this topic is covered over there regularly.
  • belevittbelevitt Registered User Posts: 2,005 Senior Member
    They explicitly state that the undergrad institution does not get factored in directly. However, the weight of the letters of recommendation and the research experience you have are derived directly from the caliber of people you work with.
  • hmom5hmom5 - Posts: 10,882 Senior Member
    Agree belevitt, how could it not. While I do believe for med school GPA and MCAT trump all like for anything else, when people see you went to a great college they know you had to be smart and a hard worker to get there. They are human, it has an impact.
  • belevittbelevitt Registered User Posts: 2,005 Senior Member
    It isn't that simple- a bad MCAT or low GPA will trump all else but good MCAT and good GPA alone won't get you admissions anywhere, you really do need to stand out to succeed in a situation where acceptance rates are in the low 20 percent range (probably lower now since I had been thinking about it many years ago).

    Among my major regrets, were that I didn't prepare for MD/Phd programs better. This requires, realistically, publication as an undergrad and a couple of years off in some clinical endeavor. A good (does not need to be the best) school will provide you the opportunity to engage in publishable work and still give you the name recognition it would take to translate a bachelors degree into something in the public health, hospital administration, or some other 'real world' application. If you think you may like science and not just rote patient care, consider this option carefully as it makes you one of the privileged class of scientists in this country.
  • DocTDocT Registered User Posts: 7,279 Senior Member
    I've heard it said that it doesn't matter. However if you are applying to a medical school associated with your prestigious university, work in the medical school labs and have recommendations from doctors there, it must help to get into that school.
  • Hope2getriceHope2getrice Registered User Posts: 1,153 Senior Member
    not directly, but they do tend to favor a more rigorous institution than one that's not so...rigorous.

    For example, a 3.5 from harvey mudd or caltech would likely get you more consideration than a 3.5 from Harvard or Stanford (which are both known to be grade inflation schools)
  • kwukwu Registered User Posts: 4,759 Senior Member
    Hope2getrice, is correct.

    I was reading a book on law school admissions written by a former dean of admissions at Harvard University. She made the highly amusing observation that a 3.3 at Swarthmore would be given far more respect and consideration than a 3.8 from Stanford, if the applicants' LSAT scores were identical.

    Medical school deans, surely, would be aware of the differences in rigor among the best undergrad institutions as well.

    A prestigious undergraduate school is likely more challenging than your run-of-the-mill college, and there are distinctions made between the top schools too.
  • pointoforderpointoforder Registered User Posts: 546 Member
    Of course it matters.

    That said, people from all types of UG schools become doctors, but you are kidding yourself if you think that when a grad school examines your undergrad education, transcript, etc. that they are not considering how competitive the school is, the academic reputation, etc.... a high GPA from 5-star school is not the same as high GPA from 1-star school. In fact, a 3.1 or 3.3 from Williams, Amherst, Swarthmore or Haverford is going to get you a lot further than a 3.9 from Warner Southern, Averett, Strayer, or Huron.

    There's a reason that med school acceptance rates are much higher at the more elite colleges. When med shools know the UGrad colleges, know their curriculums, know that students from certain UGrad schools will succeed/flourish at their med school, all of that matters.

    Of course, one's fate is not written by the undergrad college that one attends, but I think it is misleading to tell prospective doctors that "prestige does not play a role in med school admissions."
  • belevittbelevitt Registered User Posts: 2,005 Senior Member
    There's a reason that med school acceptance rates are much higher at the more elite colleges

    Yeah, I think that reason has to do with elite colleges attracting more talented individuals. This sounds like the chicken and the egg argument though, so I will leave it at that.
  • christina01christina01 Registered User Posts: 61 Junior Member
    yeah i dont think students from elite colleges necessarily have a higher % rate of admittance to med schools due to med schools giving them preference, but rather due to the fact that those who go to elite colleges are usually more talented and more likely to achieve higher MCAT scores and higher GPAs, but im sure the college can come into play.. such as if theyre comparing two students for admission and they have the same gpa, test scores, recs, and ec's then they might use prestige of undergrad school as a helpful tool in choosing who is more qualified and more likely to succeed in medical school but based on the advice everyone has given it seems that its not too much of an issue..

    ive decided to go to GCSU and am going to be in the honors program, and its entirely because of money and i think if i explain that at some point during app. time it could validate my going there (although it isnt a bad school at all its just not as well known as more elite state schools) plus being in honors shows i was at least trying to stay academically competitive so im not too worried and am happy with my decision, plus with this school i will graduate with no debt versus the others i was considering that had considerable debt, so now i can just start saving for med school! thanks to everyone for the advice! =]
  • belevittbelevitt Registered User Posts: 2,005 Senior Member
    While two applicants may have identical grades or MCAT scores, it is impossible for them to have identical research and clinical experience. That is what differentiates who gets in and who does not. I don't think you will need to worry about having attended Georgia College and State University (is that what GCSU refers to?) when you apply for medical school.
  • swimguy112swimguy112 Registered User Posts: 257 Junior Member
    In this thread: People trying to justify their expensive Undergrad College/University

    No, the name of your undergrad college does not matter in any way.
This discussion has been closed.