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Per the Savvypremed Site, Highly Selective Colleges Among Top Choices for Medical School Aspirants

merc81merc81 10505 replies161 threads Senior Member
edited October 14 in Pre-Med Topics
"The 25 Best Colleges for Pre-Meds"

1. Bowdoin
2. Princeton
3. Duke
4. Bates
5. Bryn Mawr
6. Dartmouth
7. Johns Hopkins
8. Swarthmore
9. Union
10. Brown
11. Carleton
12. Rice
13. Chicago
14. Hamilton
15. Stanford
16. Amherst
17. Tulane
18. Middlebury
19. Williams
20. Columbia
21. Northwestern
22. MIT
23. Harvard
24. Centre
25. Colgate

With respect to evaluating opportunities for pre-med students, portions of the methodology seem substantive.

edited October 14
61 replies
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Replies to: Per the Savvypremed Site, Highly Selective Colleges Among Top Choices for Medical School Aspirants

  • crankyoldmancrankyoldman 700 replies59 threads Member
    edited October 13
    Sorry but have to disagree. Yes, some of the standards seem objective, but many seem pretty pointless-e.g. whether a school is "popular" with pre-meds isn't reflective of anything objective. And the list itself covers pretty much every top school in the country, with a few exceptions. And those exceptions are pretty significant-not a single public college/university makes the list. So if you attend any of the UCs or Virginia or Michigan, forget medical school.
    And a list which has Harvard as #23, just ahead of Centre College? Of course, Centre claims "Recent first-time applicants achieved an 83% acceptance rate, among the highest in the nation."
    Sounds great, right? But Centre doesn't define how it got to first time applicants, and how it determined this was "among the highest in the nation." They don't state anywhere on their website how many started as pre-meds and how many actually apply? So are they brutally weeding out pre-meds, or do all who start as pre-meds go on to medical school(or at least 83% of them?).

    edited October 13
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  • TiggerDadTiggerDad 1940 replies71 threads Senior Member
    In the comments section, someone pointed out that there are several schools on the list known for grade deflation. I found the response by The Savvy Premed quite interesting:

    "Grade deflation is really hard to measure. In general, I agree that a student should be wary of selecting a college known for grade deflation. However, many med schools adjust GPA's for the difficulty of the school......"

    This is the first time someone definitively stated that "many med schools adjust GPA's for the difficulty of the school." Hope this to be true as my son's school is well known for grade deflation and is high up on the list....

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  • crankyoldmancrankyoldman 700 replies59 threads Member
    edited October 13
    Best wishes to your son, but there is no evidence that "many med schools adjust GPA's(sic) for the difficulty of the school." It's best to keep in mind that this is one opinion, not based on any objective data.
    Most important line from the above site:
    "And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter below to access the full list of schools!"
    It's also telling that "savvy premed" answers questions in the first person...again, the whole website is one person's opinion, with little or no objective data.
    edited October 13
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34496 replies383 threads Senior Member
    @crankyoldman's two posts are spot on. It's something that needs to root itself in the minds of all these "aspirants."

    The more usual phrasing is "xx% of med school applicants got into one of their top 3 choices." No, that does not tell you how many applied to undergrad wanting to later go to med school. It doesn't tell the vast and brutal weeding, to get to that much smaller number of "applicants."

    And unfortunately, your record when you apply IS your record. No guessing, adjusting or "maybe ifs."

    But you do not need a 4.0 to be viable. You do need a threshhold gpa, the right pre-med courses, high MCAT results, the right experiences, and, very important, enthusiastic support from the UG committee.
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  • apple23apple23 504 replies14 threads Member
    Addressing the comment above (#1), Centre reached its position irrespective of any claims regarding medical school acceptance rates. The linked site entirely disregarded that aspect in its methodology (for all schools).
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  • CU123CU123 3608 replies69 threads Senior Member
    Well from this list CalTech is definitely not a desirable pre med school.
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  • Sue22Sue22 6263 replies113 threads Senior Member
    edited October 14
    not a single public college/university makes the list. So if you attend any of the UCs or Virginia or Michigan, forget medical school.
    I have no experience with med school applications but that surprised me as well so I googled "ucberkeley undergraduate acceptance to medical school" and this is what popped up:

    MODERATOR'S NOTE: Link not allowed, so I deleted. The article is entitled "3 Reasons Many UC Pre-meds Regret Their College Choice" which you can find via Google.

    Among their points is that UCB, with 587 medical school applications per year
    has only two dedicated pre-med advisors. UCSD, with 571 applicants, has one.
    These numbers only reflect the people who are actually applying to medical school. These dedicated pre-med advisors are also responsible for another 2,000 or so future pre-meds who may need guidance about their courses, how to prepare for the MCAT and what they should be doing to become a competitive candidate.

    That means that a small school like Bowdoin or Bates, with fewer graduating seniors than UCB or UCSD has actual med school applicants has as many dedicated medical school advisors. Getting an appointment seems to be much easier. If you look at UCB's med advising site it shows that they have half hour 1:1 meetings with an advisor but they're not available to first year students and they caution,
    If you do not see an appointment, check back! Additional appointments are released each week.
    Bowdoin's med advising system seems comparatively easy to access. They offer 1:1 advising as 50 minute intro meetings and 50 minute extended meetings, both first available a week from now or 25 minute standard meetings, first available this week.
    edited October 14
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10246 replies206 threads Senior Member
    edited October 13
    UCB, with 587 medical school applications
    These numbers are several years out-of-date.

    AMCAS has data from the most recent cycle here: https://www.aamc.org/data-reports/students-residents/report/facts

    (There is a separate database of undergrads that supply 5 applicants/year. It's a subscription only database and requires a med school email account to access.)

    BTW, the number applicants produced annually includes both current undergrads and alumni applicants. AMCAS only captures the applicant's baccalaureate-granting institution of record.. The alumni may be several years (even decades) out from graduation, may have earned graduate degrees or attended post-bacc programs, may have completed the bulk of their education at one school but received their degree from another---there's no way to tell.

    Also be aware that less than 40% of matriculating med students move directly from undergrad to med school. Most take one or more gap years. And 1 in 6 med school matriculants have been out of undergrad for 4 to 10 years.
    (Data from the 2018 MSQ.)

    RE: HP advisors

    I wouldn't consider easy access to premed advisors necessarily a major plus for an undergrad.

    Since there are zero training requirements for health profession advisors, many are truly horrendous and often give spectacularly bad advice. (There 's a recurring theme offered by actual med school adcomms over on SDN: the road to med school is littered with the corpses of students who listened to their pre-med advisors.)

    Additionally, very few, if any HP advisors, have much experience with the vast majority of med schools. They may know something about one or two med schools if their school serves as "feeder" to particular med school or if there is med school associated with the undergrad.. But med schools outside their locale? Or outside the school(s) the undergrad typically sends students to? Hopeless. The best they can do is point the student at MSAR.

    Also HP advisors have no idea what to with non-traditional applicants or students whose journey to medicine has been atypical.

    The truth is , even at smaller schools, student get very little guidance beyond generic guidelines: fulfill the pre-reqs, study hard for the MCAT, make sure you have appropriate ECs, make sure you have strong LORs from 2 science and 1 non-science professor. All information readily available on line.

    Students don't receive guidance about what schools to apply or how many.



    edited October 13
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  • texaspgtexaspg 16515 replies340 threadsForum Champion Pre-Med & Medical Forum Champion
    edited October 14
    I wouldn't say Stanford has any real premed advising.
    "Grade deflation is really hard to measure. In general, I agree that a student should be wary of selecting a college known for grade deflation. However, many med schools adjust GPA's for the difficulty of the school......"

    This is simply a made up statement. If someone believes this, I own the Brooklyn bridge that is weighing heavily on my portfolio and I would be glad to sell.
    edited October 14
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  • otispotisp 386 replies3 threads Member
    edited October 14
    I agree that med schools probably don't make official institutional adjustments for UG difficulty, but from one of my past lives in the admissions office of a selective UG I can understand how a reader's own biases about a particular school might have some affect on their academic assessment of an applicant. We, and I assume most med schools, didn't look at an applicants GPA as a raw number, but rather gave a 1-7 score based on their transcript (rigor, and all that..). Based on my experience (and what I heard from others in the office) I formed opinions of which schools were a little more lenient on their grading, and conversely even got to know the names of which APUSH and TOK teachers tended to be tough graders (to put it nicely) - and I suppose that probably nudged my assessment a point in one direction or another. I'll bet some med school readers do the same. And, yes I know this doesn't prove anything by itself, but the average GPA of an admitted MD student from Princeton and Swarthmore (which both are in the top 5 for MD admit rates) does happen to be a full point below that of the national average.....
    edited October 14
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  • crankyoldmancrankyoldman 700 replies59 threads Member
    edited October 15
    I'll admit I'm confused by your post:
    " ...the average GPA of an admitted MD student from Princeton and Swarthmore (which both are in the top 5 for MD admit rates) does happen to be a full point below that of the national average....."
    Do you mean a tenth of a point? And where is the data to support this assertion? And note that in Swarthmore's case, according to their numbers, the successful applicants' MCAT mean was much higher than the national admitted average.
    And even in that case, those numbers don't tell the whole story-as in, how many started as pre-meds, and how many actually applied?
    In Swarthmore's case, it's claiming that 83% of its applicants were admitted the most recent cycle, but also states that "between 20-25%" of freshmen" in an incoming class expressed pre-med interest. According to their common data set, there were 414 freshmen, so approximately 100 would have been pre-med. For the most recent application cycle, a total of 29 seniors/alumni applied to medical school, of whom 24 were accepted-so using that data loosely, a Swarthmore freshman pre-med has a 24% chance of getting into medical school.
    https://www.swarthmore.edu/sites/default/files/assets/documents/institutional-research/MedSchool.pdf

    https://www.swarthmore.edu/sites/default/files/assets/documents/institutional-research/2018-2019 Common Data Set Swarthmore College.pdf

    While many assert that medical schools give bonus points for applicants from selective colleges, there is no information from any medical schools confirming this.
    edited October 15
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2342 replies3 threads Senior Member
    There's a lot of opinion and fluff, but the best chance of medical school is from your own home state, because of residency preference. Rankings, especially for "premed" are pretty much worthless, because medical schools look at grades and MCAT scores far and above anything else.
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  • otispotisp 386 replies3 threads Member
    I'll admit I'm confused by your post:
    While many assert that medical schools give bonus points for applicants from selective colleges, there is no information from any medical schools confirming this.

    I totally agree. My Swarthmore/Princeton comment was meant to be an interesting aside, not evidence to the contrary of your statement. I am glad you posted that Swarthmore med school link. That data actually comes from AAMC (bravo to Swat for being one of the few colleges showing that instead of some alumni survey), and when they post the latest revision it will show that their admit rate stayed almost the same for 2018-19 while the number of applicants is back up to the 15-16 level. It will also show a big leap in the mean MCAT for applicants from Swat to above the national average for accepted MD student (which helps explain their high MD admit rate). And yes, I meant a tenth of a point on the GPA thing.
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10246 replies206 threads Senior Member
    edited October 15
    @otisp

    I will point out the both Princeton and Swarthmore use committee letters to artificially limit the number of students the schools allow to apply thus keeping their med school acceptance rates high.
    edited October 15
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  • otispotisp 386 replies3 threads Member
    edited October 15
    @otisp

    I will point out the both Princeton and Swarthmore use committee letters to artificially limit the number of students the schools allow to apply thus keeping their med school acceptance rates high.

    This might be one of the only times I will ever even mildly disagree with WOWM, but I'm not sure I'd characterize the committee letter process at either of those particular schools as "artificially" limiting their med school applicants. Both are very clear about what it takes to get a letter all the way through their advising process (meeting deadlines, taking required classes, etc.) . If you can't fulfill those requirements, maybe you shouldn't be applying to med school, and a pre-med committee certainly isn't going to write a very glowing letter about you anyway. However, I am concerned that students from other colleges have complained that they were never informed about committee letter criteria until they were "ambushed" when it came time to apply. And, I definitely agree with WOWM that the committee letter process can affect the number of applicants from a college, is something that an aspiring premed student should consider when applying to a particular school, and is one of the reasons you shouldn't base your college pick purely on its MD admit rate.
    edited October 15
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  • FinalthreeFinalthree 135 replies17 threads Junior Member
    As the parent of a kid at Centre who was pre-med I can tell you they have a tremendous number of resources to help students get into med school. Due to the rigor of the academics, there are some med schools that give Centre grads a bump due to the notorious grade deflation at the school, and they are very diligent with providing research and internship opportunities within the medical field. I don't know how they arrived at their numbers or if it's accurate or not, but I can tell you there is a concerted effort to help the kids navigate the med school admission process.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34496 replies383 threads Senior Member
    There are a number of colleges that similarly mentor kids through the process. They have the rep of putting forth solid med students.

    It's not so much about accepting grade deflation as the quality of the applicants from certain colleges and recognizing their success history through med school.

    In that respect, a prestige UG is not necessary.
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  • crankyoldmancrankyoldman 700 replies59 threads Member
    No doubt Centre is a fine college, but can't find, anywhere, evidence that its applicants receive a "bump due to the notorious grade deflation" from "some medical schools."
    But if there is evidence, please provide.
    And it seems that everyone attends a college-or is in a major-which is "notorious" for grade deflation.
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  • FinalthreeFinalthree 135 replies17 threads Junior Member
    I don't have the "evidence" -- I am simply sharing that I was satisfied with the anecdotal stories, the resources they offered her and looking at the med school admissions stats when helping guide my daughter on her college decision. And in the end, it's up to the individual kid vs the school. Out of five siblings, I am the only one not an M.D. with numerous nieces and nephews either MDs or currently in med school. The undergrad school they attended and med schools they were accepted to were as varied as you can imagine.
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  • crankyoldmancrankyoldman 700 replies59 threads Member
    Which is exactly my point; it does a disservice to medical school aspirants to claim that a certain school-in this case Centre-offers its students an advantage at certain medical schools. Beyond your anecdotes(which you decline to share), there is no evidence anywhere, apparently, that such a "bump" is offered to students at that college.
    It's a nerve-wracking experience for pre-meds, all the way through application and (hopefully) acceptance and it doesn't help anyone in the process to make unsubstantiated claims.
    And a quick scan of SDN shows several threads on school selectivity and school specific grade deflation. While not dispositive, the two regular contributors who say they are on medical school admission committees deny any "bumps" as described above are offered to any colleges.

    The list posted by OP is one person's opinion, and that opinion does not hold up well under scrutiny. Not a single public school listed, many well known LACs and national universities left out; it's clearly not something that anyone should use to determine what UG to attend if medical school is the ultimate goal.
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