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Academics at Emory

pacnwmompacnwmom Registered User Posts: 94 Junior Member
edited March 2013 in Emory University
Emory is one of the few schools my daughter applied to that she hasn't visited. She really likes what she has learned about the school from the website but was less impressed by the presentation she attended. (They spent a lot of time on the quaint surrounding neighborhoods and not so much on the academics.)

She is pre-med and an Emory Scholar semi-finalist. Can anyone fill us in on the academic environment? Rigor? Class size? The community of students? What do you especially like?
Post edited by pacnwmom on

Replies to: Academics at Emory

  • trex792trex792 Registered User Posts: 104 Junior Member
    If she gets an academic scholarship, I would say that she should considering going there. But to be honest, it is not a good school academically. The med school acceptance rate is not great. The administration is incompetent. If your daughter is an Emory scholar semi-finalist, she can probably get into a much better program.

    Does Emory Lack Passion? : The Emory Wheel
  • esimpnoxinesimpnoxin Registered User Posts: 182 Junior Member
    Not true, trex. Emory is a good school in terms of academics, especially for the sciences. Its neuroscience program, for instance, is one of the top 10 in the country.
  • PhilovitistPhilovitist Registered User Posts: 2,739 Senior Member
    (link, plox)
  • ExpendableAssetExpendableAsset Registered User Posts: 81 Junior Member
    Emory's English & Creative Writing department is ranked top 5 in the nation as well. If you want to become a writer, you go to Emory.
  • PhilovitistPhilovitist Registered User Posts: 2,739 Senior Member
    (she's pre-med)
  • emorydeacemorydeac Registered User Posts: 114 Junior Member
    Seems I must post this every year to debunk the myth of Emory having a poor medical school acceptance rate:

    Emory is an outstanding premed school with an excellent acceptance rate. They are one of the few schools that actually posts their med school acceptance numbers while most schools simply state an acceptance rate which truly has no meaning. Examine Cornell's medical school acceptance graph and Emory's graph. You will notice equality in the number of students accepted with similar GPA and MCAT scores. The difference is Emory has many more students apply with sub par GPA's and sub par MCAT scores. As an example, for the 2009 year, 165 Emory applicants scored 30 or higher on the MCAT while 182 Cornell applicants scored 30 or higher. If you score 30 or higher on the MCAT and have a GPA of 3.5 or higher Emory's acceptance rate over the past 2 years is 80%-85% while Cornell's acceptance rate is 85%-86%. This begs the question why is Cornell's overall acceptance rate 71% while Emory's acceptance rate is 46%-48%. One explanation is Cornell's data only includes students applying for the first time while Emory's includes all Emory College applicants. Emory also has a high percentage of international students who tend to have difficulty gaining acceptance to an allopathic (MD) school. Moreover, many schools include acceptance to a DO school or a foreign medical school when calculating the medical acceptance rate. I could only find published data on Emory, Cornell, and Wash U. and find he other schools reluctance to provide such data highly suspicious when quoting such lofty medical acceptance numbers. As with all statistics, the devil is in the details. Emory is an outstanding premed school with great opportunities for meaningful undergraduate research, hospital volunteering, shadowing opportunities, and teaching opportunities as a supplemental instructor for the intro sciences. On a side note I also believe Cornell is an excellent premed school and this post is in no way an attempt to denigrate their program. Don't take what schools tell you at face value. Statistics can be manipulated to support nearly anything someone or something is trying to sell you. Dig deeper and you will find the truth.
  • centennial13centennial13 Registered User Posts: 188 Junior Member
    But what is her major?
  • Classof2015Classof2015 Registered User Posts: 4,364 Senior Member
    I think I'd describe the academics as rigid. This is from my own daughter's description and chats with other parents of Emory students.

    Did she apply RD and she's waiting to hear?

    Does she have any other acceptances yet?

    If your net cost is low and she's pre-med, pre-med seems to be the one area Emory prides itself on. But I could also make a case for having her aim at less selective schools where she might get more aid and better grades which will help her get into med school. It seems like the professors don't mind failing students and it's hard to get your GPA to recover from those type of grades.
  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,393 Senior Member
    The fact that students and their parents have been saying that is almost hilarious (I can imagine the convs. of freshmen and have overheard some. "I actually have to study now, and I never had to in HS". "I'm looking at the bio p-set and I have to look up most of stuff because it's not even in the lecture ppts." One would think they were never asked to apply material and perhaps do a little research in HS). Academics at Emory are not that "rigid" (hard) for most people. The only courses that typically give pre-meds a hard time are the chemistry courses, and that is often said of most elite schools. It's the only department at most institutions that does not change the curriculum to accommodate the pre-health students (and it shouldn't, because among the sciences, chemistry has a more even distribution of those who want to pursue prof. school, grad school, and industry. If you water down the courses, you only do harm to those pursuing the latter two who need a very solid foundation in chemistry to succeed). Neuroscience courses all have over a 3.0 average (except maybe NBB 301), and introductory biology, which most pre-meds take is likely well above 3.0 as well (so is physics and math courses are in the 3's and sometimes approach high B+/A- averages). At tough schools for science, intro biology, chemistry, math, and physics classes are in the 2s. Those who find Emory "rigid" are often the spoiled students who have never seen even a B+ and freak out when they get them because not many people fail courses at Emory, even the chemistry courses (chem gives more C's than the other depts, but not many Fs or Ds. Though if you earn it, they will give it to you, but it's pretty hard to earn below C+ or B- if you are trying).

    As for pre-med.....there are many great classes (science and non-science) pre-meds could take that would help acquire the type of thinking needed to be successful on the MCAT (and if you do the work and are willing to adapt to different styles of courses, you'll keep a decent GPA. Unfortunately, a lot don't love the status quo "recall the info" type of classes and find it hard to adapt) and as a student/scholar in general, but many won't take them because they believe they are too "hard" (they often aren't, the students have just become complacent from following an algorithmic approach to earning good grades in science courses; For many of the better ones, that approach doesn't work as well. They require more critical thinking and independence). If students at Emory were less fearful of rigorous academics which they are supposed to pursue anyway, the numbers would be better. Wouldn't one want to have a legit edge over someone at another school paying 1/5-1/10 the price? Part of this comes from exposure to a more challenging curriculum.

    If you give yourself a GSU rigor education when you can handle more, then money is wasted and the academic advantage is squandered (get ready to put the same amount of effort studying the MCAT as "student at school that costs 1/5-1/10" will because you did not really learn it as such courses allow students to "get by" on memorization or algorithmic learning for each exam; exams that often don't assume you know stuff from the last exam). I mean, they could at least choose classes and profs. with medium rigor as opposed to always choosing the easiest courses possible. Much less than half of the fault for those numbers is Emory's. Could Emory make changes to encourage a different environment where students embrace the curriculum? Yes. It would even be nice to have more of them take social science and humanities courses for more than just a GER. Those are some of the best courses and foster the development of many more skills than a lot of science courses could ever dream of doing. The writing of many science majors, for example, is atrocious.

    Phil: Pre-meds don't have to major in science and English majors who are pre-med apparently do well on the MCAT (and many other prof-school and grad. school entrance exams) so the quality of that or any other program is indeed relevant.
  • esimpnoxinesimpnoxin Registered User Posts: 182 Junior Member
    Am I the only one on Emory CC who isn't interested in pre-med?
  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,393 Senior Member
    esimpnoxin: I doubt it. Plenty of people are interested in other things. It's just that pre-meds are more vocal about their academic concerns (grades in their coursework is so important that they tend to be a bit more anxious about the academics), so tend to make threads like this. However, many people who comment in these threads are not pre-med.
  • whenhenwhenhen Registered User Posts: 5,641 Senior Member
    I'm not premed. Plenty of Emory students aren't, although because the school is noted for its biological science/ medical programs, it tends to attract quite a few more pre-meds than a school like UCI or Georgia Tech.
  • Classof2015Classof2015 Registered User Posts: 4,364 Senior Member
    Rigid doesn't mean hard. Rigid means rigid -- an approach to education that is not flexible or open to interpretation. In my discussions with my student and other Emory parents, I have heard them use this term to describe the academic mindset of the professors.
  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,393 Senior Member
    Ah, I kind of disagree actually. However, that depends on the discipline. If the sciences, of course many professors are rigid (this can be said at most schools, especially research universities, where many profs. don't really have the patience to even try to implement a more inquiry based approach to learning) and will usually not be receptive to other interpretations or ways of viewing concepts/material. However, fortunately, there are many who teach upperlevel courses who encourage this sort of approach. If you have been talking to parents of freshmen/science majors, I would give it some time if these students are indeed looking for profs. who are actually flexible and encourage alternative viewpoints. Also, it is up to the student to choose these professors. I think many students who actually complain about such rigidity find that they actually like the profs. who have extremely structured course formats that basically call on the student to accept and recall the material. The science professors with looser course structure that build more inquiry and creativity into the curriculum are often regarded as difficult because they remove the existence of magic formulas (just being obedient and doing all the work) to success that exist in more structured courses (the open structure profs. are usually avoided by the average student). I really enjoy the more open learning format and sought out professors that built it into their courses. This was really easy to do for social science and humanities courses as many of them, by nature, are such. However, science profs. w/the format have to be cherry-picked. And yes, you will likely end up being more challenged in these profs. classes than another good lecturer w/a more traditional course structure.

    Unfortunately, while I get what you're saying, if it was freshmen, I think a lot of them mainly meant tough (they often want "openess" so that it benefits them when the prof grades exams or assignments. Not necessarily intellectual openness) when they said "rigid", because the reality is, as I said. Many freshman really struggle with introductory courses that have less rigidity. For example, while most students really liked Dr. Passalaucqua's teaching, many of the freshmen really did not like the case studies which involved a lot of critical thinking and perhaps some creativity (instead of them having a "case day", many students preferred lecturing. As in, did not want the active learning at all. However, this is apparently a common pattern amongst pre-medical students for some reason). The freshmen who took Eisen when he ran the case based section really found it overwhelming (his cases and exam structures were very rigorous when compared to every other intro. biology section at Emory. He also did not really lecture on book material and would more or less expect students to read that so that they are prepared to come and discuss more provocative topics that would help with the week's case). This is just my insider perspective though. Students can easily obtain flexible profs. They really need to make sure that it is indeed what they want and that they can learn that way. The more open formats, when applied to the sciences, requires a lot of independent learning which goes against the grain of many students who believe that the teacher is supposed to teach exactly everything they need to know for the test (including how to apply and think..lol).
  • pacnwmompacnwmom Registered User Posts: 94 Junior Member
    Thanks to all for your input, especially bernie12! She is probably going the biology route. While maintaining gpa is important for pre-meds, she is looking for challenge and rigor and was concerned that it may not be challenging enough. She isn't afraid of hard work and enjoys thinking about things. She didn't make finalist for the Scholars program, although the letter said she could apply again once she was a student there. Three other schools have flown her in so she has a good feel for most of her favorites. Hopefully we will be able to get her to Emory so she can get a feel for the students and overall environment. After reading that other major Emory thread it is a little off-putting to see so much negativity. I understand many are positive also, and there are pluses and minuses everywhere, but not all schools have that kind of discussion going on. If we can't get her to Emory she has other great options to choose from once we see the FA packages.
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