GA Tech vs William & Mary vs The College of New Jersey for biology/pre-med

Good Afternoon,
It has been a blood bath of a college application season. I can’t believe we are this late in the game and not settled. My son has three great options. He is admitted as a biology major (with intention for Med School) to Georgia Tech. Is it worth it as an OOS? GT is about 50k. We all love William & Mary, but that is closer to 62k. He has a twin brother headed to Gettysburg at about 48k too… so money is kind of an object.

He was also offered a 12k scholar at The College of New Jersey, an excellent liberal arts college in-state. Likewise, he is graduating HS with 68 college credits. TCNJ will recognize his associates degree. He would graduate in 2 years at a cost under the cost of one year at GT.

Any experience with this? Would the GT or W&M name on his degree help him enough to justify an extra 150k-180k?

THANK YOU.

My 2 cents - save the $$ for med school. My understanding is that when applying to med school GPA and MCAT scores are what’s important, not the name on your undergraduate diploma.

Btw, did he get into Rutgers?

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I don’t think personally that Georgia Tech is a great place to be premed. The most important thing when applying to med school is a GPA generally above 3.8 along with MCAT scores. Georgia Tech will be a lot harder to get that GPA than most schools. It is a challenge for everyone. Like they tell you during orientation, all of you were in the top 10% of your class and now 90% won’t be. If the goal is med school and he is sure about that, I wouldn’t consider it particularly out of state. Now if there’s a chance he will switch from premed to another stem major then absolutely keep it on your list. Pre med has a very large attrition rate.

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How much will TCNJ cost?

GT is fairly generous with transferring credits. S20 most likely will graduate in 3 years. Study abroad pays in-state tuition. Internships and co-OP’s can make a few dollars. That said, it’s a tough school. I won’t say grade deflation but getting above a 3.7 takes some dedication.

Better ask questions on the med school forum. Not sure all med schools accept CC or AP transfer credits.

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So if my parents were good with spending $48K/year for my brother but wanted me to take my 3rd choice school b/c they didn’t want to spend $50K on me I would be looking for some equity! Would you ‘make it up’ by putting the difference toward med school? If so, even my adolescent brain would get that there is equity in that :slight_smile: and my adult brain would say that is a better way to spend money than for a bio UG degree.

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I have read this post twice and don’t see a “blood bath,” even in a figurative sense.

I was going to make a similar comment about taking CC credits. @WayOutWestMom @Creekland may weigh in here.

I also echo @VirginiaBelle 's comments about the rigor at GATech when GPA is so important to premed. My in-state premed D21 seriously considered GTech because of the partnership with Emory, advising and in-state affordability. If we were OOS it most likely would have been ruled out for the reasons others mentioned.

ETA: For what it is worth, we followed the money for undergrad to save for med school costs.

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What can you as the parent actually afford without taking parent loans or cosigning student loans?

What were the previous promises and understandings you had with both kids about college funding? What about fairness in college funding – if your pre-med kid chooses cheap compared to the other one, will you offer the money not spent on undergraduate toward (expensive) medical or other professional school costs if he goes?

Remember also that medical schools may not be too enthusiastic about very young medical school applicants, particularly those who took most of the pre-med courses at community colleges (although taking upper level biology courses may somewhat mitigate that situation, he may want to take additional higher level chemistry, physics, and math as well). All medical schools are highly selective, and most pre-meds do not get into any medical school.

Remember also that biology does not have very well paid job prospects at the BA/BS level if he does not go to medical or other professional school.

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FAQ Pre-med courses, AP/IB/etc. credit and college/DE courses, etc. may be worth reading in the context of credit the student may have already earned.

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It’s true, unfortunately. Not all med school schools accept CC credits and even more med schools don’t accept AP credits.

Please read this pinned post in the Pre Med forum:

Med schools are rightly skeptical of younger-than-typical med school applicants. They will question their maturity and their commitment to medicine as career. (And whether there’s been undue parental influence on their choice of profession.) Proving otherwise falls squarely on the shoulders of the applicant.

There is also an issue with timing if you child wants to matriculate directly into med school from undergrad. Since the med school application process takes a full year, your son will apply in June of his junior year to matriculate in August of the following year. That means in the first 20 or so months of undergrad, he will need to not only finish his pre-reqs, but also study for & take the MCAT, gather strong LORs from at least 3 professors, complete several hundreds of hours of the expected pre-med ECs (community service, physician shadowing, clinical experience, leadership roles in his ECs and lab or clinical research). It’s a lot to expect any person to do.

RE: his choice of schools…
If he is 1000% sure he wants medicine, take the least expensive route possible. Med schools place little value on the name on the diploma. And they don’t adjust GPAs for “grade-deflating” undergrads or majors.

If he has any doubts about medicine–and remember that 60-75% of freshmen premeds never actually apply to med school–then he should choose a school where he has the best opportunities to network and explore other career paths.
Note that most of those who do drop off the pre-med path do so not because they don’t have the grades for med school, but because they find other careers and other passions along the way. Or because they decide it’s not worth postponing their lives for 7-15 years while they finished their medical training and going hundred of thousands of $$$$$ into debt.

Anyway, your son has some great choices!

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Also, only about 40% of those who do apply to MD medical schools in the US get admitted to any medical school.

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^^

Absolutely true. Every premed needs to have a Plan B career option.

There are no guarantees when it comes to med school admission. Even top students with 4.0 GPAs and 99th percentile MCAT scores get rejected every year. There simply aren’t enough seats to admit all qualified applicants.

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Would your son have the option to apply the TCNJ scholarship to the graduate portion of a 4+1 degree program, as well? Because, as others have said, applying too young to med school isn’t necessarily a win; and also, you need time to do the necessary volunteering/shadowing, prep for the MCAT, and so on. But TCNJ has a 4+1 MPH option. If he could get the BS/MPH done in 4 years along with all of the test prep and non-academic stuff to create a strong med school application, that could put him in a position that could be meaningfully stronger than where he’d be after four years at one of the more expensive schools, and with more money left over to pay for med school.

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Holding a MPH won’t make any meaningful difference in his competitiveness for med school. At best a MPH has a neutral effect on admission chances.

Many med school applicants do 1-3 gaps years where they work full time in clinical jobs to improve their competitiveness.

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There’s not much I can add that hasn’t already been said. Hopefully the college courses he’s already taken have been all As as their GPA will count toward his med school GPA, both for science and overall (not APs, just any actual college courses).

Med schools are extremely competitive to get into. Being young is not a plus. Any particular name of a school on a diploma is not a plus. Having a high GPA and MCAT is almost a must. Having a ton of hours shadowing and volunteering is a must. Having other ECs is a must. Med schools tend to not like to see cc classes and if they allow them, it’s often for those who decided later in their lives that they want to go to med school - not those starting out with med school in mind.

What med schools say they have for minimum requirements is not what I would have on my app when so few even make it to the interview stage.

Read this profile of one med school’s students - then google for other years if you want to compare. They aren’t the only med school looking for kids who have done so much and kept high grades.

If med school is certain, consider cheap to help with med school expenses later and expect to take higher level courses to counter all of the “completed in high school” pre-req classes, then work to become someone his med school can write about.

If money is not an issue - no raiding retirement, mortgaging houses, or high loans, then pick the place he likes the best because students who like where they are and what they are doing often also do the best.

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Haven’t read the whole thread but W&M is known for grade deflation ( could hurt for med school apps), GTech is an academic power house also so he’d need to get very competitive grades. Personally, I’d lean away from College of New Jersey given the other options. But med school is a lot of $$ so you need a financial plan.

W&M doesn’t have grade deflation. Like pretty much every undergraduate school, it has actually had grade inflation. You can see average undergraduate GPAs in these grade reports:

Not sure that shows anything other than grades. Would be interesting to see W&M GPA’s on a list with many others.

TCNJ has an excellent reputation within NJ. If he does well, then the in state schools (RWJ, NJMS, Cooper) will take notice. He will need a GPA > 3.7 and MCAT > 514 to have a decent chance. Going to a tough school like GaTech where his GPA will be deflated doesn’t make sense.

He will undoubtedly have to take higher level science classes in lieu of the dual enrollment/AP credit. This will look better on his transcript.

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@Htas, it shows the average GPAs for the student population by semester at the bottom. So Spring 2021 was 3.56 and Fall 2021 3.45 and so on. There is also comparative information on gradeinflation.com, but it appears they stopped updating it at some point. Last for CNJ was 3.22 in 2007, Georgia Tech 3.25 in 2014, and W&M 3.33 in 2014.

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