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Smaller state school vs. Top Rated Research University

type1momtype1mom 74 replies9 threads Junior Member
My D was accepted to a very affordable state school that keeps giving her grants and merit aid but doesn't have a research facility/medical school or any opportunities close by. She's worried about being behind the curve not being able to participate in engaging research opportunities while in school as opposed to other students who are at larger research universities. She was also accepted to a couple of schools that have many of those opportunities in the city and a couple that have research opportunities on campus/medical schools. We are not sure paying triple the cost at those other universities are worth it though. We can afford some of the other options but are considering encouraging her to go to the state school so that she can save her college savings for medical school. I know that a lot of kids switch their majors too, so we've also thought about that possibility, and she's mentioned possibly going into Public Health (which the state school offers) or Global Health. Just curious what thoughts are on the importance of being at a school that has many internships/research positions for premed students--is it a necessity for one's resume or is getting that experience during the summer adequate?
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Replies to: Smaller state school vs. Top Rated Research University

  • CreeklandCreekland 6510 replies92 threads Senior Member
    I agree with WOWM, students get accepted into med school from the whole range of schools that are out there from small to large, religious to secular, high prestige to ‘where is that?’ and everything in between. I asked why once and was told med schools are training doctors for the whole population, so they want students from the whole population. They just want the top students who have shown they can handle the intensity, etc. It makes sense.

    To get a feel for any school ask what recent graduates have done or where they were accepted, etc. Do this for whatever potential future you foresee because most do change from an MD or DO path. If you like what you see, you know it’s possible given the same accomplishments. If you don’t like what you see it’s not necessarily impossible, but put it into consideration.
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  • bgbg4usbgbg4us 1580 replies46 threads Senior Member
    I have NO experience with med school, but had something of interest one time. We visited DC, and took a tour with an intern from our Senator's office. This intern was on their way to Harvard Med school in the fall; after having just graduated with a 4.0 and high med school score from a very small public, directional and rural college in our state. We didn't even contemplate this school for our older two kids; so we were impressed.
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  • moonpiemoonpie 572 replies6 threads Member
    Like @WayOutWestMom I have 2 daughters who went to a top 20 private (expensive) college with the hopes of going to med school. My oldest will be graduating med school in the spring, and the younger one was just admitted to med school for this coming year. Yes, they had great research opportunities, but they also struggled with the extremely rigorous science "weed out" classes at their school (they both went to the same college). My middle daughter took 2 cycles to get in because her science GPA was not great her first 2 years and had a huge hole to dig. She got waitlisted at 2 schools her first cycle, and never got in. She did a Post Bac SMP and got a 4.0, but is STILL accounting for few C's 5 years later, LOL. MCAT and undergrad GPA are the biggest factors to GETTING an interview, then all the other stuff helps to a degree. BOTH would say now, if you're REALLY set on going to med school, go to school for as cheap as possible, because medical school is NO JOKE expensive, and financial aid and scholarships are rare. But I will add one little side note, if it's worth it, both girls have said that they were far more prepared for the rigor of med school and SMP due to learning how to study at then intense level required.
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  • CreeklandCreekland 6510 replies92 threads Senior Member
    I should add that my Top 30 Research School lad told me he was more prepared than others in his med school class too. At his school they had covered material in class so he already knew what some had to learn. “Same” class in other schools did not cover it.

    That said, the others are still in med school and the material is there to learn. It requires learning at some point. Only the point differs.
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6410 replies1 threads Senior Member
    You might want to try to look in detail at what opportunities are available at your "very affordable state school".

    We have a daughter currently studying at a very affordable small public university. We have been very pleasantly surprised at the research opportunities available to her. Unknown to us until she went there, there is a government funded research facility not too far away that seems to cooperate with the public university and offers substantial internship opportunities. There is also more medical / biological research happening on-campus than we had realized. We have been very pleased with the opportunities that are available for biological / medical research for an undergraduate student. However, our daughter is not premed, and has not looked for direct hospital volunteering opportunities.

    Of course you are almost certainly looking at a different public university, so whether the same applies where you are I do not know.
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  • texaspgtexaspg Forum Champion Pre-Med & Medical 16597 replies342 threads Forum Champion
    Have you checked out the following:

    1. Which are your state schools for medicine;
    2. What percentage of instate students are accepted;
    3. How many students are normally going to the instate medical school from the school you are considering as best financial option for you.

    These probably have a bigger impact than her research.

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  • type1momtype1mom 74 replies9 threads Junior Member
    edited January 11
    @texaspg There are only two medical schools--one large public flagship school and one private. The flagship accepts 70% from in-state. Latest data shows 128 residents and 53 out-of-state. I would guess more of them attended the flagship rather than the smaller one my daughter is considering but I can't find data to support that assumption. Looking through other threads, it seems most people have suggested in the past that kids should choose the flagship over the smaller school if going premed but mine doesn't want to apply there because of the size and proximity to home--about an 8 minute drive.
    edited January 11
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  • texaspgtexaspg Forum Champion Pre-Med & Medical 16597 replies342 threads Forum Champion
    edited January 11
    @type1mom - does the smaller state school have any premed advising? Most schools should have some stats of how many of their students go to medical school each year. Some times the medical school also publishes how many of their students came from which colleges. If this is your state flagship and only public, they need to provide some level equity for all in state applicants and not accept only their graduates.

    You can message @wayoutwestmom and she could probably tell you in 2 minutes some of these numbers.
    edited January 11
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10881 replies231 threads Senior Member
    @type1mom

    Sent you a PM with the data.
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  • moonpiemoonpie 572 replies6 threads Member
    @type1mom I'm a mom of 2 type 1's.... so your name caught my attention! One thing I will say is that on recent interviews, my daughter has been asked A LOT of questions about her research, and even asked for links to her publications during interviews (she had brought copies with her JIC). My impression from my oldest (who interviewed 4-5 years ago and is getting ready to graduate med school) and my middle (who has been accepted, and is through interviewing) is that the trend towards expecting some kind of research is going up. Not sure if others have seen this as well? A family friend is applying next cycle and she was told by her med school advisor she needed near perfect grades, a 510+ MCAT, Research, and 100+ volunteer hours as her starting point to have a solid application. Just in case your child is interesting, Vanderbilt has a summer research program in diabetes! We were talking to the head of the program at an event last weekend and he was urging my daughter to apply, LOL.
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6410 replies1 threads Senior Member
    "the trend towards expecting some kind of research is going up. Not sure if others have seen this as well?"

    I have wondered how common it is for undergraduate students to get involved in research. This seems more common than it was when I was in university -- which was a long time ago.
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  • katwkittenskatwkittens 2272 replies41 threads Senior Member
    Son did research as an undergrad, in econ and Greek studies and a botany project, something about glowing plants. Nothing directly related to medicine but as a high schooler had done some cancer research which later led to the botany stuff linking the glowing plants. I have no idea how it was all inter-connected but it was what interested him. He highlighted what it was he enjoyed about that research, why it was a long term project.....he wasn't concerned whether it was a done through a hospital/research setting or in a small lab.

    Son had a 4 year commitment to the public middle schools in the district (low SES) where his undergrad was located for their science projects and science fairs all year long.

    What school is your daughter most comfortable and most excited about attending? Comfort can be both positive and negative. Reaching beyond the comfort zone can cause growth, while comfort can lead to less stress and anxiety. What type of learner/student is she?

    As the above posters have mentioned med school is very expensive and the path to getting there is also expensive. GPA and MCAT scores gets one over the threshold for being interviewed. All the other stuff helps to get you in along with the GPA and MCAT. And after med school the road to residency can be very expensive as well.

    Son received several med school acceptances. Again the school doesn't create the med school acceptances, the student does.....its what she does with her opportunities that makes the difference.

    Kat
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  • type1momtype1mom 74 replies9 threads Junior Member
    I think she will decide once we have all the financials in. She is adamant about not attending the state school, so she has five other options and is waiting to hear from three more schools. Four of them are all about the same price but still 3x more than the state school. I can't say she's really "excited" about any of her options right now. She says she will be happy attending any of the other schools, so it will really come down to price. They are all pretty similar--mid-size, urban. The state school is in a small city and the one most of her classmates will attend if they don't get into the flagship.

    I am confident that she will make the most of wherever she ends up because that's the kind of person she is. She isn't a complainer, is very level-headed, no-nonsense, quirky, non-gunner type student. She knows what she has to get done and she does it. She's not a perfectionist like me and that has served her well. She doesn't sweat the small stuff and has experienced a drama-free, pain-free middle school and high school experience which I think says a lot about the kind of person she is. A couple of friends who are physicians and work with med students at our flagship school have said that she has the right temperament for being a doctor, whatever that means.

    I think she used to think about going to those brand name schools but she's also practical and realized that it's not something she needs to define her. When I told her we could possibly make one school that was $5000 more than the others work, she said she would just wait to see if the school scholarship came through and if not, she would take it off her list. With five other siblings who want to go to college, she knows exactly how much we've saved for each of them and doesn't want to dip into their pots. And she realizes that if she chooses a pricier school that it means we won't be able to help her with med school....unless some of her siblings decide not to go to college or choose a cheaper state school, which may be the case...hard to tell at this point with the younger ones.

    @moonpie Thanks for the Vanderbilt info--I will definitely keep that info in my back pocket for later. #weneedacure
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10881 replies231 threads Senior Member
    edited February 1
    Info about what types of ECs newly matriculating med students have engage in here:

    https://www.aamc.org/data-reports/students-residents/report/matriculating-student-questionnaire-msq

    See Section 7, p. 6.

    58.9% report engaging in a "Laboratory research apprenticeship for college students"--the percentage has declining slowly since 2015 (earliest year data is available for)
    edited February 1
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  • type1momtype1mom 74 replies9 threads Junior Member
    @WayOutWestMom Thanks for this info--incredibly insightful!
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  • premedsarahpremedsarah 8 replies0 threads New Member
    if these are the only things she has as pros and cons- in other words the location, class size, support systems in place, I'd go with the cheaper. If she wants to do research, the school she's at won't stop her. Jobs, summer internships, etc are great ways to do research. Ultimately he most important thing is that she likes her school and is able to succeed there academically. I would place much more weight on the faculty support and here she sees herself fitting in best rather than research opportunities.
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  • moonpiemoonpie 572 replies6 threads Member
    @type1mom yes!!! We need a cure!! Sounds like your girl is a lot like mine. She will thrive wherever she lands!
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