Georgia Tech/Emory vs. UGA

I want to know which school/program sets me up best for potential med school. I plan on pursuing the BioMedical Engineering program at Georgia Tech, which partners with Emory. I’d be taking classes at both GT and Emory for this particular major. For UGA, since their engineering department is weak, I’d most likely pursue Biology or Physics. The GT/Emory BME program is pretty spectacular, however, it will be hard to maintain a competitive GPA. On the other hand, the BME program is rated extremely high and presents more research opportunities.

So which would set me up best for success if I plan to pursue med school?

If your goal is medical school, do not take BME at GTECH, its a GPA killer as you already know. But if your goal is BME and Phd in BME, GTECH is a great school. There is no reason that you should not go for BME AND premed, but you are forewarned about the GPA killer, if you can make it and some students do, you could have a phoenix in hand.

@artloversplus Med school is a likely endeavor but not at all a guaranteed goal of mine at this point. I would love to keep my options open for the possibility, though. I want to pursue a major which I would be happy with in case med school is not on the table, and I much prefer BME to other typical pre-med majors such as Biology or Chemistry.

Also, what matters more, research or GPA, and how much? The GTech-Emory program has will inevitably provide more research opportunity for me. For example, would a 3.7 and great research/experience be looked at better than a 3.9 and mediocre research/experience?

GT is very difficult as is BME at GT. A 3.2 at GT is graduating in honors to put GPA’s in perspective. They have other higher levels of honors too. For med school I would pick UGA or Emory. You can get great research experience at UGA. A friend of mine’s child graduated from UGA and got a full ride to a prestigious med school and accepted to every residency program applied for. I don’t know what their child majored in but the outcome was fabulous.

Medical related research is only important in the top 20% research oriented medical schools, ie Havard, Yale etc… If a 3.2 is what you expected from GT, you are not going to get in any of those schools, and most likely, you won’t get in any med schools, it really does not matter how much research you have. GPA is the king for medical schools. My D, had 2 full years of research in a top 5 research Univ., when comes to med school, her work was not recognized or received too well.

GPA always trumps research…let’s put it this way - without a good GPA (3.7+), your research means nothing.

^^Research will mean a lot, if the work can become a contender in Nobel Price, or become a Nobel Price winner.
Seriously, as an UG student, the BEST you can do in research in Bio-medical is work as an Research Assistant, working under a professor in a large project. Most likely, you will be a Research Technician work as a very low level helper in the lab. Med schools really want some one who can initiate a research project and follow thorough from soup to nuts, including gaining a grant. Those projects are far and few from the reach of an UG student.

I see, so the process is much more “quantitative” in a sense that the objective aspects, such as GPA and MCAT, trump the more subjective aspects like Extracurriculars and Research? A lot different than undergrad admissions, but I guess I should’ve expected that.

It still feels wrong to turn down the opportunity for a world-class program. Not to say UGA’s programs aren’t great, because they definitely are, but it’s hard to beat GT in engineering. Engineering itself, though, probably isn’t the best idea for med school. However, I don’t want to take a major just because it’d be easier to raise my GPA. I feel like that’s a cop-out, and I don’t want to pursue a degree I have little interest in.

If I do want to pursue med school and don’t think I could get in straight out of undergrad, would it be advisable to take a few gap years working/doing research and/or enrolling in a graduate school?

Get this into your head, if you do not have a good GPA and Mcat, no matter how much “work”, “Master Degree” or “Research” you have, Med schools ARE NOT going to take you in. Top med schools require TOP Scores and TOP ECs, that include research, average med schools still require 3.7GPA and 80% or better Mcat.

You can re-apply for med schools, after 5 years from your UG school, as a non-traditional. Its like a second chance in med school, when the first time around is not successful. But you STILL need the GPA and Mcat, you just can re-take those requirements again, after 5 years,

Thank you for answering my questions. I am quite ignorant when it comes to these matters, so I appreciate you helping to fill me in on the details.

OP - unless you are really interested in engineering AND really good at subjects related to engineering (like Physics, Calculus, proved by high SAT2 scores), there is really no point to pick BME (or any engineering major) as a pre-med. BME or any engineering do not give you much better job prospect (CS might be much better) as plan B but they sure will kill your GPA (ie, your plan A).

Your undegrad GPA and your MCAT score are the first line you need to cross (pass computer screening). Graduate GPAs (Master/PhD) are counted differently and won’t help much. If you know someone who applied to med school, ask to see their AMCAS application to understand how sGPA (BCPM), cGPA are calculated.

Your ECs (volunteering, shadowing, research…) can be easily fixed in summers/gap years, but your undergrad GPA is NOT. If you really want to get into any med school, take care of your undergrad GPA first, then MCAT, everything else can come later.

Someone said in another thread “applying to med schools is like applying to colleges again, except this time all med schools are Harvard-level (admission rate)”.

Is Emory better option for premed
My student is thinking about it
We are in same situation
Plus if gpa drops can you retake a class ?


Students can always retake a class, but…

for med school application purposes, both the original and retaken grade for a class are included all GPA calculations.

This is true even if your the college only records the most recent class attempt on the student’s transcript.

GPA and MCAT is the first discriminator used by med school when screening applicants. If the student’s stats don’t make the (computer-screening) cut-off, then nothing else matters.

All I can tell you is that Tech’s biomedical engineering school is considered in the top 3 in the country…there’s truly not a better program out there. But that said, it’s incredibly difficult…BME at Tech also stands for “Business Major Eventually.”

Med schools get thousands, some over 10k+ applications to fill a couple hundred spots. Med school admissions tend to be small in staff size. They have to have some way to thin out the herd. They do this first by using computer programs…if an applicant doesn’t have certain GPAs/MCAT scores, no human eyes will look at your application, you’ll be rejected. Assuming you get past the GPAs/MCAT screening, med schools will then look for evidence (eg ECs, PS, LoRs, secondary essays) to see if you possess traits they expect MDs to have (eg compassion, altruism, leadership, communication skills, fit with school’s mission statement, maturity, etc). Assuming yes, you may be offered an interview (or waitlisted). Screw up your interview (eg be rude, immature, god’s gift to medicine, etc) and you can say adios to your chances at that school.

So no, everything is important. As all US med schools are good schools, applying broadly is an important consideration as well.

Not just Georgia Tech, but any top rated school, BME and pre-med don’t mix well and weed-out rates for BME are just as high as for pre-meds.

@SouthernHope can I borrow your acronym for BME? Because WashU is the same-son’s friend is BME pre-med and the Dean of the Engineering school pretty much told the potential BMEs that a lot of them would end up transferring to Olin Business after freshman year.

^^ It sounds familiar and it is pretty much the same in all schools. Nevertheless, its not too bad being a business major. My Friend’s D who did not make premed in UChicago and took Economics, she is now making well over 100K at some investment banking. Actually, if you are in M&A, a billion dollar deal can net you over a million, even if you are at a staff level.

I have a friend many years ago that did a second undergrad degree because they wanted to go to med school right after they graduated. From there got two masters and then got accepted to med school with a crappy GPA from the first undergrad degree. God knows how much money was spent doing that. The name of the game is gpa for med school so if that is your dream go to Emory as it will be the easiest to keep your GPA high.

I would look at how many get into med school out of GT and what they majored in. It appears you want to attend GT but just know you are rolling the dice and may need to switch gears.

You don’t have to major in Engineering at Georgia Tech. Pick a different major.

What would be a good back up plan then
Where you can maintain a high gpa plus have s good backup if premed does not work out