Big fish in small pond or small fish in big pond?

<p>Hey guys I was just wondering what your takes are on being a top student at a state flagship versus being "average" at a USNWR top 25 school.</p>

<p>This is in regards to graduate school. I plan on attending either medical or law school and keeping a high GPA is very important so i guess my next question is: is it easier to do well and get into Tier 1 grad schools at a state flagship (e.g. UF) or a top 25 school (e.g. Emory/Duke)? </p>

<p>Discuss por favor :)</p>

<p>Thanks for any input in advance.</p>

<p>I would go to a school where you will be motivated and feel good about your prospects. A tough way to start would be to think you will not do so well at this school and better at this one. Whether at a state flagship or a top 25 school, you will have to work and apply yourself and keep those grades up. At the smaller schools, you may forge relationships with the faculty that you may not at much larger schools. It depends. Relationships are necessary when you need references for graduate school. I believe the top way to get into those tier 1 grad schools, is to distinguish yourself as an undergraduate.</p>

<p>It may be harder than you think to be a top student at a flagship university, especially these days when more and more students are migrating to state schools due to the economic crisis. The times they are a changin'.</p>

<p>Does it de-motivate you to be below the top 10% or top Quartile of your peer group? If so, why on earth would you CHOOSE to enter a "competition" that demotivates you? I intended to use the word "competition"... as much as it is better to learn for the sake of learning, and more motivational as well, I acknowledge many college students simply see undergrad as a means to admittance to grad school ... and I think you're in that camp based on your first post.</p>

<p>It is not easy to be at the top at a state flagship. They are huge, and have many valedictorians and other stellar students, including students who for financial reasons turned down top universities. I know many people who went from state flagships to places like HPYS for graduate and professional schools. No matter how smart and accomplished one is, it's easy to be a small fish in a large pond at a state flagship.</p>

<p>Ditto to the above. Just because a school isn't highly ranked doesn't mean there aren't brilliant students there who could also do very well at 1st tier schools. I don't go to a highly ranked schools, but as a science major I compete with some incredibly bright and motivated students who set some pretty crazy curves. Choose a school that offers good opportunities and seems like a good fit both academically and otherwise.</p>

<p>Some environments are better than others for different people.</p>

<p>I'm a better person because of how my peers really challenge me. I've become a big fish in some ways, and a small fish in others, and that, more than anything else, has finally helped me determine my own path and what I'm actually accomplished at.</p>

<p>I never felt I had any stand out talents and was just pretty good at many things-- now I feel quite differently and understanding my own strengths and limitations has been critical to my growth.</p>

<p>Liberal arts colleges in general will prepare you very well for grad school</p>

<p>Thanks guys.</p>