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U of Michigan or Emory University?

tbhbullstbhbulls 33 replies7 threads Junior Member
CC community, these schools are similar in so many ways yet they have differences in environment, size, etc. Do they both have the same amount of prestige though? I am planning to go the pre-med track-- major in the sciences. Thanks!
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Replies to: U of Michigan or Emory University?

  • bernie12bernie12 5436 replies10 threads Senior Member
    Huh?!, they are not but so similar and what major in the sciences do you plan on doing? "Sciences" is vague and it isn't like one will rule in all UG science depts. Ann Arbor is significantly better for math and physics whereas the two are on par for life sciences except that Emory of course has smaller classes in the beginning. Neuroscience is very good at both except that Emory has a prescriptive core and Michigan is more prescriptive with electives. Honestly, go explore the different programmatic websites yourself and determine what you can gather from it.

    Also prestige really doesn't matter at this point and you would kind of be splitting hairs as each is known for different strengths at the UG level (sciences and even several non-sciences at Emory are known for their pre-health slant). Neither will have any sort of advantage over the other in med. school admissions. You are basically choosing between a more personalized learning experience (if you actually want it) with a more pre-professional environment and more course offerings and a more hard science slant (as in Ann Arbor has much more career plan diversity in the sciences, which kind of makes sense due to the fact that it is....well...Michigan and also they have an excellent engineering school). Course intensity in life sciences is somewhat similar (again, except in physics and math) and both have lots of STEM education innovation going on.....Ann Arbor just does it in the context of larger class sizes. I would go based on the "feel" honestly. If you like big state school and/or big sports fervor and stuff, do not bother coming to Emory. The academics can be just as hard or harder than Michigan (especially if you seek good instruction) and you won't be having that much fun if you prefer more of a state school atmosphere.

    Ann Arbor is awesome for those who want that and very challenging academics. Emory is honestly more for a cerebral and/or pre-prof type of person who doesn't mind the lack of D-1 sports or that sort of fervor from the get go and can easily find other, perhaps more quirky methods of having fun (even other than Greeklife) or will simply over-extend themselves in various endeavors and positions outside of class (or make their academics spill into some out of class project). I can't recommend one over the other. You need to figure it out. You can now remove prestige as an issue however.
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  • tbhbullstbhbulls 33 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Yes, I should have been more clear. I plan to major in Chemistry. Is there a night and day difference between the math and physics at each school though?
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  • bernie12bernie12 5436 replies10 threads Senior Member
    Yes, I would say so....especially for the courses that pre-meds take. If you took advanced courses or intermediate ones, the physics courses would then end up: good and some of the math courses would end up: "alright". Ann Arbor is much more of a math/physics/engineering school in terms of strength. Both are really good at chemistry. Emory is much more of an organic chemistry and biomolecular (and/or materials science related to biomedicine) chemistry oriented place for if you want to do any research and Michigan has more range in things like inorganic and green chemistry. Curricula at most schools is pretty standardized and both schools are on the higher end of the rigor scale based on materials I've seen from both. However, it looks like their intro/organic series may be abbreviated by a semester whereas Emory's is currently more traditional (I think they are still trying to implement some changes in 1-2 years but those may actually expand the intro/intermediate suite of courses). Michigan's upperlevels and grad/advanced courses look pretty similar and any offering Emory doesn't have is offered by other depts and more easily accessible than other upperlevels in such depts (courses like physical biology for example).

    For pre-med, I suspect something general chemistry is generally harder (but nothing out of the ordinary still ) and organic (assuming you take rigorous instructors at Emory) is much more challenging than many other elite schools but they achieve this differently. Exams at Michigan are standardized in ochem and they focus primarily on "mechanisms"(look up what this is-showing electron movement for reaction) and reaction product prediction. However, the problems are all from primary literature so typically involve more complex molecules than normal. Mechanisms will have not been explicitly been taught in class at all but are similar. Emory's best instructors' methods is to use this general framework but then actually asks students to explain certain things that are exceptions to rules or are high level applications. These types of problems usually require a much deeper knowledge and ability to read and extrapolate from lots of information (much like an MCAT, except ochem at both schools is much harder than MCAT ochem) and then formulate some model to explain things that you may not have learned (basically you're deriving an explanation for a new case). If you want to avoid challenging instruction you are basically picking your poison. Since Emory isn't standardized you can avoid them, but usually the easier instructors are much worse or teach at such a lower level that it can't be of much benefit for those folks in upperlevel chemistry (why a chemistry major would dodge rigorous and good instruction at lower/middle divisions I don't know, but it usually does not work out well. It would be understandable if the teachers were bad and difficult, but the hard ones are definitely better by a mile) or even courses like biochemistry.
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