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How to know the PreMed college that gives the Best GPA

parentofsparentofs Registered User Posts: 127 Junior Member
Our up-front apologies for the long Qs. Parent of S. My S ready to apply this fall to Pre-Med UG route with a long term goal of MD. My S's SAT score is at 99th percentile in the nation. Bright, Flexible, and Tolerant kid. He wants to apply to those UG colleges that gives him the best MD chance. We understand, getting accepted to any elite school is a challenge. We have been reading these forums last 2 years. We get the overall picture of MD requirements (GPA, MCAT, ECs, Passion, Holistic-Approach, Read-The-Featured-Threads-1st, No-Magic-Bullet, No-Guarantees, Do-what-u-do-best, Answer-Depends-on-StudentSkillLevel, Go-2the-College-ThatGivesUBestChance, UG-CollegeName-is-notImportant etc., etc.). This question is related to Go-2the-College-ThatGivesUBestChance.

(1) In the link https://www.aamc.org/data/facts/applicantmatriculant/ look at the (1a) and (1b).
(1a) Table 20: MCAT Scores and GPAs for Applicants to U.S. Medical Schools by State of Legal Residence, 2012
(1b) Table 21: MCAT Scores and GPAs for Matriculants to U.S. Medical Schools by State of Legal Residence, 2012
Couldn't believe this stat of 40% acceptance to MD!!!. Only 45K applicants for 19K MD seats!! WoW. We thought most of the college freshmen (should be around million students) wants to do Pre-Med. How come, Only 45K ended up applying to MD. Which is the biggest reason for 45k? Is it?
(1c) College GPA > 3.7: Too hard to achieve?? OR
(1d) Scoring in MCAT > 30: Too hard?? OR
(1e) Kids changed their minds??

(2) Here is how we see, Science GPA from one college likely equates to other. We understand that no can say it correctly, but some pointers would be useful before applying to these colleges
HYP/Stanford : Greater than (3.5 GPA OR 60th percentile GPA)
Duke/JHU/MIT : Greater than (3.6 GPA OR 70th percentile GPA)
UNC/Davidson/WakeForest : Greater than (3.7 GPA OR 80th percentile GPA)
NC State Univ : Greater than (3.8 GPA OR 90th percentile GPA)
East Carolina Univ : Greater than (3.9 GPA OR 99th percentile GPA)

(3) Are we correct to assume that the above GPA #s are needed to have a good shot at MD.

(4) Are there any historical data that shows (Avg Science GPA OR Percentile GPA) of the graduated students from these colleges? For Ex: One of friend's S was a 4.0 GPA local public high school kid who went to Duke. Couldn't cross 3.4 GPA in Duke UG. Want to avoid making the same mistake. Basically we want to know the level of curve that is built into these college GPAs. OR is it safe to assume that the curve gets harder as we go up in the ladder ECU -> NCSU -> UNC/Davidson/WF -> Duke -> HYP.

(5) Are there any historical data that shows Avg GPA of the students of these colleges, who got enrolled into MD?

Thank you all for your patience, time and effort.

Replies to: How to know the PreMed college that gives the Best GPA

  • dina4119dina4119 Registered User Posts: 364 Member
    Many of the students who start out as pre-med end up not applying because 1) they change their minds since many of them had naive notions about medicine to begin with and 2) they get "weeded out" of classes, many schools make pre-med pre-reqs intentionally difficult/harshly curved in order to get rid of weaker applicants.

    Science gpa from one school most certainly does not equate to another school, I've been told by many adcom members that the UG is taken into account. This doesn't mean school prestige (some prestigious schools are known to inflate grades), it means that med schools know how to deal with students from particular schools based on the difficulty/curves/grade inflation or deflation. But yes, you do need a good gpa but it does depend on the school.

    The curve doesn't always get harder as you "go up in the ladder". I suppose you could look up grade distributions for specific classes at these schools, but I'm not sure if a lot of schools actually post those numbers. And yes, many schools publish the gpa of their students who got into med school, all you have to do is google it; keep in mind, not every student reports their gpa/acceptance so it isn't entirely accurate.
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 9,674 Senior Member
    edited April 2014
    Grade inflation is real and does not necessarily correlate with public vs private or Ivy vs no name public.

    See this informative database/article:


    According to several adcomms on that "other" pre med site, only a handful of schools have grade deflation bad enough to compensate for a significantly lower than average GPA. UChicago, Princeton, maybe Berkeley, maybe Rice, maybe Cornell, maybe one or two others depending on who is reading the application. Some consideration too may be given for the difficulty of the major.

    When it comes to med admissions, the MCAT is the great equalizer. It helps adcomm determine if the student coming from an unfamiliar undergrad has an inflated GPA/sGPA. And regardless of where an applicant attends undergrad, adcomms are universally suspicious of a low GPA/high MCAT combination. (It's a sign that a student may not have the work ethic needed to succeed in med school.)

    However, please realize that a "low" GPA (as in the minimum cut off for the computerized first round screening done by med schools) is around 3.2. Once an applicant passes that hurdle, other factors become much more important. Here's a AAMC report of what admission directors look for when deciding which applicant to interview and accept:


    Numbers are important, but they aren't everything when it comes to med school admissions. Mission-related ECs, state of residency and other factors play large roles in determining who will be interviewed at many schools.

    Be aware that any data on individual college websites about how many students get accepted into med school is unreliable and has been thoroughly "cooked" for public consumption. There is no single, uniform way** this is calculated and invariably does not include the ~75% of freshman pre meds who never actually end up applying to med school as juniors/seniors.

    ** For example, does the school use a committee letter to prevent those who the school feels are weaker applicants from applying by denying them their recommendation? Does the number of accepted students include only current grads or does it include current grads and alumni? (Some schools count alumni for up to 5-10 years AFTER graduation in their stats.) Does it count only US allopathic med school acceptances? US allopathic and osteopathic acceptances? US allopathic, osteopathic and all other allied health science grad programs? Caribbean and other international medical school acceptances?
  • parentofsparentofs Registered User Posts: 127 Junior Member
    Thank you both.

    WayOutWestMom: We have read many of your posts and you are a wonderful knowledge database. Thank you. What is yr take on Q#2?
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 9,674 Senior Member
    Re: Q2

    I'm not entirely sure what your question is asking. Are you asking if a 3.5 sGPA at Harvard is as hard to achieve as a 3.9 sGPA at East Carolina?

    If so, I think your premise is flawed since it fails to account for a ton of nebulous and not-so nebulous factors like grade inflation/deflation, major, course load, student work ethic, high school preparation of the student, native student aptitude for the material, etc.
  • parentofsparentofs Registered User Posts: 127 Junior Member
    What I mean is: My S has a good shot in getting accepted to Duke/UNC/Davidson/WF/NCSU and ECU. Let us say he gets full ride in ECU (plus he is closer to home). All other college gives no money and far from home. He wants to attend ECU and chooses the same major as what he would do in other colleges. I know that Top Ranked school's GPA has more value than Less Ranked school's GPA? My question is "How much is that weight difference?" That might influence my S to decide whether he wants to attend schools other than ECU.
  • parentofsparentofs Registered User Posts: 127 Junior Member
    BTW, we told our S that money should not be a factor when compared to GPA. We told him to choose the college that gives him the best chance to get into MD. Education comes 1st. Money will come automatically after he gets the education.
  • katwkittenskatwkittens Registered User Posts: 2,274 Senior Member
    edited April 2014
    Parentofs are you and son NC residents?

    ECU med school only takes NC residents and UNC is capped at no more than 18% OOS. ECU and UNC has one of the lowest in-state tuition rates for med school. Son is a med student at UNC. He is a p'ton AND NCSU alum. His roomate at UNC med is an ECU alum. His best buddy at NCSU graduated with a 4.0 in biochem and did not get into ANY NC school and is at an OOS public paying $75,000+ per year.

    Look at where the students at UNC, ECU attended undergrad and look at where the Duke and WF med students attended. WF gets tens of thousands of apps and take a few from NC. They like GW, Georgetown and a few others have a low acceptance rate because so many apply, their GPA and MCAT threshold are lower than other med schools.

    No school will help your son get in. Rather it is what your son DOES at each school to get in. The tenth of decimals for GPA at each school in your Question #2 doesn't make sense. The medical school admissions committees have access to their exact transcripts and coursework. They know harder coursework when they see it.

    The stats let them know if they can do the work academically. It's everything else that signals what kind of physician they would become.

    Have your son apply to schools he would like to attend as an undergrad. While as an undergrad he needs to shadow physicians to experience their day to day life. His pre-med prereqs will also help him see if that is what he can handle. It might also lead him down a different path, or reaffirm what it is he wants to do.

    If money is an issue the scholie's offered at different schools would be beneficial down the road for med school costs. And there are other schools besides HYP/Duke/WF/Davidson. Vandy, Emory, Rice, Wash U, and even the other coast.

    Son's peers in med school are from all over. He has Harvard alums and App State ones, small LACs and large OOS...UCLA, Michigan.....Amherst and Swat and Peace and Meredith. And he saw many of the same ones on his med school interview path.

    Again his GPA and MCAT that get him an interview. After that it is WHO he is and WHAT he does that garners an acceptance.

  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP Registered User Posts: 16,184 Senior Member
    Historical / statistical data is NOT meanningful to you personally.
    You will have a higher chance at better GPA at school that fits your personality and wide range of interests the best. Do not overlook this fact, which is probably the most neglected of them all. People chase various statistics / ranks, etc., instead of focusing on researching each place under consideration to see how each of them fits applicant personally.
    "We told him to choose the college that gives him the best chance to get into MD" - college that gives him the best chance is the one that would fit him the best. Not his best friend, not anybody here, but him personally.
    Another fact is that money spent on UG education is important. It is better to say that money unimportant when choosing Med. School than to say it when choosing UG. If you want specific example, here it is. My D. went to UG on full tuition Merit award. While money was not her top criteria, it still was important. Because she choose her UG so wisely, we told her the money were NOT important choosing Medical School. We did not pay for her UG, so we decided to pay for her Med. School. Some families make this type of decision. She has been happy so far with both choices. She was choosing places that fits her personality and various goals. One of her goals for the UG was low cost. I am not sure about the reason for thinking that person will get inferior education at lower ranked school. My D. does not fell inferior in comparison to many in her Medical school class who came from Ivy's and other elite places, Berkeley outnumbers them all. While we do not have ultimate result yet (which is match), she was told that she is done well so far. It looks like the student's personal accomlishments in UG and Medical school are much more important than the names of these schools. and in regard to UG, the name of it might be close to irrelevent.
  • parentofsparentofs Registered User Posts: 127 Junior Member
    Thank you. Yes. We NC residents.

    MiamiDAP: I have read and admired many of your posts also. Good input. Thanks again.
  • cedarelmcedarelm Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Not expert like many here are and don't know how it is at other schools, except bits and pieces I've read here after child went through process. Just seemed that the whole application process at Duke was so well supported by committee with level of expertise that must make process easier for applicants.
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 9,674 Senior Member
    I think Kat has offered you fabulous advice and it's pretty much the same thing I would tell you.

    Your son should attend the school where he would be most likely to thrive and be happy. There are objective data that demonstrate a happier student is more successful student.

    Med school is about much, much more than numbers. Like Kat's son, D1's classmates attended schools all over the US--including top schools on both coasts. She has classmates who attended community college and others with PhDs from elite institutions. It's not about the school your son attends; it's about what he does while he's there.

    Although you say money doesn't matter, in many families it does. (Certainly did for my kidlets!) You should not go into significant debt or spend your retirement monies on your son's college education. There are no guarantees he'll go to med school. You cannot assume that he will make fabulous amounts of money after he finishes college and med school. Med school is breath-takingly expensive.

    Take a look at this chart if you don't believe me:


    And costs rise each year. Your son will be in significant debt when he graduates from med school (and it'll be mostly unsubsidized loans which will be accruing interest from the day he signs the paperwork). After med school he will be working for low wages while he is in residency and fellowship (another 3-10 years after med school) and that interest will continue to accumulate. You (and he) should not take on significant undergrad debt to pay for college because it just puts him in an even bigger hole when it comes to paying back his debt.
  • parentofsparentofs Registered User Posts: 127 Junior Member
    I am a working parent. Of course I know money is important. When I said money is not a factor: I ran the EFC in Duke/Davidson/UNC/NCSU/ECU. I am likely to pay more or less same irrespective of which college he goes.
  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP Registered User Posts: 16,184 Senior Member
    "Just seemed that the whole application process at Duke was so well supported by committee with level of expertise that must make process easier for applicants."
    -This is a very good point. Something to research at any place under consideration. The strong committee will make a difference. And it did at D's UG (in-state public). We did not research this aspect. Looking back, D. got lucky with her committee and I strongly agree with the advice to check it out as not everybody got lucky with this very important side of application process. As far as Duke goes, so far I heard that Merit awards are not that widely available there and it is extremely pricy. Frankly, from our family prospective, we would not consider it for UG for this reason alone.
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 9,674 Senior Member
    I am working single parent too. NPC are not always accurate. D2's FA offers varied from school to school. Sometimes A LOT. They also varied in the types of aid offered. A college may offer Parent Plus loans and call it meeting your need--when actually they haven't met your need at all.

    D2's offers ranged from where the college was essentially paying her to attend (full tuition plus $8000/year at the state flagship) to nothing but loans.

    Caveat emptor.
  • parentofsparentofs Registered User Posts: 127 Junior Member
    Not sure about Duke Merit awards. EFC does not include Merit awards. Purely based on income/assets.
This discussion has been closed.