On Tiers and Chances

<p>So, can somebody explain this "tier" thing to me? More specifically, do I stand a chance of getting into a decent English grad program if I got to Kent State? I am majoring in English and Philosophy, am doing an independent study, writing an honors thesis, and currently have a 3.878 and so on. I am also taking a graduate English course </p>

<p>Er, does any of this really matter seeing that I am going to Kent? </p>

<p>Candor won't bother me.</p>

<p>Pro's: You seem to have good creditential, and Kent State isn't a third tier school, but somewhere around a second. A third tier school isn't just a school that isn't nationally renowned. It's a school that is like, Western Eastern State University of North Dakota Christian.</p>

<p>Con's: English grad programs are mad hard to get into.</p>

<p>Okay, how exactly is "tier judgment" decided upon? External rankings? Is it even a formal system?</p>

<p>Also, can anybody elaborate upon what, in essence, makes a third tier school what it is? --- thanks</p>

<p>"Third Tier" is usually based on rankings, because that is the only way you can classify schools and thus bestow a "tiered" system on them. Usually Third Tier schools have poor funding, limited grants for research and faculties that are unimpressive. However, some third tier schools will have specific programs that are very good. An example would be FSU that, although not a third tier school, is by no means a first tier school, and yet it has one of the best Film programs in America.</p>

<p>I am bumping this thread up. Florida State University is NOT comparable with a tier 3 university...it is a tier one school ranked 112 among all private and public National universities by USnews. It is ranked even higher among public schools, and many of its programs are very well respected and pined after by potential graduate students. It is by all means a tier one university with a law and medical school...I am not sure why the last poster would make an assertion otherwise! So ridiculous!</p>

<p>Orchid, I assume you go to FSU? Seeing as this is your first post, I hope you didn't create an account just to post this. Being ranked 112 by US News does not necessarily make FSU fit into the "top tier" school in the country category, in my opinion. No offense.</p>

<p>According to US News, FSU is ranked in the "Top Schools" tier. Besides the Film School, FSU has highly regarded programs in Business, Law, Family Medicine, Chemistry, Physics, Social Work, Information, Music, Arts, Criminology, Political Science, Meteorology, Hospitality, Education, and a few others.</p>

<p>Never heard anyone refer to FSU as a "third tier" school or even compared to one.</p>

<p>This seems like a bit of a naive view on tiers. Although FSU is not a third tier school, just because it is mathematically in the first tier of schools in the US does not make it a truly "first tier" school. When someone refers to the "first tier" they are usually refering to the top 50 or so schools at an UG level and around the top 15-20 at a grad level.</p>

<p>Personally I thought "tiers" were assigned by the numbers...the first fifty highest-ranked schools in the first tier, the second fifty in the second tier, and so on. By that system FSU's undergrad program, ranked #112 by USNews, would be third tier. Obviously the cutoff numbers for each tier are open to interpretation. (I got my numbers from the fact that in its guide to graduate programs, US News lists, for example, the top 100 Law Schools, and then goes on to list ~50 "third tier" law schools and finally ~50 "fourth tier" law schools.)</p>

<p>But more important is to recognize that USNews is not judging the quality of FSU's law school, med school, film school, or graduate school when they rank FSU's undergrad program #112. USNews ranks graduate programs by field and degree. For example, FSU's law school is ranked #53 this year and its graduate chemistry dept. is ranked #48. So certain graduate programs at FSU are ~ in the top tier.</p>

<p>I don't know about FSU specifically, but it's hard to imagine an institution with a medical school as being "third" tier. Medical schools are enormously expensive to run.</p>

<p>The amount of money that goes into building an allopathic medical school, followed by the research money that invariably gets sent their way, is astronomical. I will blatantly assert that a legitimate medical school at an institution, will in itself, guarantee that that institution has some credibility as a research institution, and will guarantee that that institution has a minimum degree of wealth.</p>

<p>I don't equate either of those with 3rd tier status. Again, I don't know the specifics of FSU, but I'm talking generalities.</p>

<p>so you're implying all LACs are bad because they don't have medical school? or some LAC are bad but some are good even though they have no medical school ? or there is not bad school at all. Because in an idealistic world, there is no third tier school (because the alum of the school will defend the school reputation to death and you'll believe them) but we live in reality where there are good and bad schools. Granted, your priorities and definitions of bad and good may be different from others. </p>

<p>
[quote]

Also, can anybody elaborate upon what, in essence, makes a third tier school what it is? --- thanks

[/quote]
</p>

<p>the easiest way is go to your local bookstore, check the rankings on USNews magazine, financial times, etc. Check the top 50 = first tier, top 100 = second tier and so on. You may believe them, you may not but at least they have done some calculations and research. If you're the "critical and don't want to believe all the hype about ivy-league" type, check each school's website and do your own calculations using the school facts then rank them according to your own criteria. Of course, the general population may won't agree with your ranking... but what do you care, as long as you're happy in the school who cares... </p>

<p>PS: employer may care though so take my advice with a grain of salt. :p</p>

<p>
[quote]
don't know about FSU specifically, but it's hard to imagine an institution with a medical school as being "third" tier. Medical schools are enormously expensive to run.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>I disagree with this. I have heard medical schools referred to as "cash cows," and here's why: the students pay to attend them and the patients pay to get treated in them. Meanwhile, the profs at medical schools who are involved in research pay their own salaries (and those of their assistants) by bringing in grants. I would be very surprised if medical schools don't run a profit, just as many hospitals do.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I will blatantly assert that a legitimate medical school at an institution, will in itself, guarantee that that institution has some credibility as a research institution, and will guarantee that that institution has a minimum degree of wealth.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>In the sense that med schools are "cash cows," having a med school does guarantee that a school has some degree of wealth. But why do you think that having a med school guarantees that the school is not third-tier? There are third and fourth tier medical schools, just as there are third and fourth tier graduate programs. Tiers aren't defined by the school's endowment ("wealth") or RU/VH Carnegie status (amount of outside research funding), but by the quality of the education students receive (grad placement, % completion, % publishing, peer reputation, etc.).</p>

<p>Ask anyone at Harvard whether interest on that colossal endowment, or med/business/law school profits for that matter, are being channeled into research in basic science. The answer will be an emphatic "no." PIs are required to bring in their own funding, so the institution's wealth per se has no impact on the quality of research being done there. Having a medical school or a large endowment does not predict which tier the physics, economics, or even biology departments will fall into - can you explain to me why it would?</p>

<p>
[quote]
I would be very surprised if medical schools don't run a profit, just as many hospitals do.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>To be completely honest, private institutions are businesses, and businesses are out to make profits.</p>

<p>masta_ace,
No I do not attend FSU, but am seriously considering it. I attend Ohio State, which I loathe. No I did not join this forum solely to post on this topic as you seem to think. I am very active on another forum, the "Grad Cafe" and am interested in learning about all of the schools that have accepted me. I am also excited to share this process with my peers in the same boat. Sorry if I ignited any bad feelings on the topic. </p>

<p>I was just shocked to read post #4, because it seemed as though someone chose to make a pretty strong assertion without being properly informed. Many people in the life sciences/organismal/evolutionary biology dream in a number of the bio sci labs at FSU. While FSU is considered "more selective" by USnews I applied to a variety of programs including those that were "most selective" based on the research quality of individual advisors. I was accepted to three great institutions and will ultimately be basing my decision on research possibilities not tier...even though they are all technically in the same one. It seems like the free USnews site does not rank schools outside of tier one. School like "The University of Akron" just have a "Tier three" notation without a position in a list. Just what I've observed. Good luck all.</p>

<br>


<br>

<p>Perhaps. Do you have a list for this? Don't all graduates from allopathic medical schools qualify to practice medicine? Do tiers even matter in medicine? Isn't that why they have the USMLE?</p>

<p>I wasn't suggesting a medical school will improve a university's department of geosciences, but I was suggesting that a medical school (due to its size/wealth) probably will guarantee that that school at least receives a minimal amount of research dollars, in at least the area of health research. I'm not aware of any allopathic school of medicine that is not substantially involved in research. </p>

<p>Anyways, I'm not going to argue this. If some of you overly-sensitive LAC folks are offended by this view (I made no suggestion anywhere that universities without medical schools are bad - you folks did), then that's your issue. I think it's clear universities have to have a pretty established infrastructure before they set about building a medical school.</p>

<p>Hey Ace of Spades (if that is your "real" name):)</p>

<p>While I understand your point, I also have to agree with others. Heck, to be honest, if admitted to an umbrella program I would almost be more eager to join a dept that falls under the medical school than one that does not simply for issues of funding (ie Cell and Molec vs Biology).</p>

<p>That said, I think there are probably a great number of schools that have a medical school that are not in the top tiers for biomedical research. Virgin islands and Guam aside, take for example the University of Central Florida. Ok, they are just building their medical school, and hopefully that helps bring in money but I would be hard pressed to list it even in the top three tiers when it comes to biomedical research. I mean, they do not even have the money to have interview weekends for prospective students, and their stipend is ridiculously low (I think it is around $18k). When I think of top tier schools I think they at least would have the funds to fly prospective students in to see the school.</p>

<p>So yeah, I get your point in theory, but I do not think you can really say med school=top tier without qualification. There are plenty of exceptions.</p>

<p>Getting back to the OPs question...</p>

<p>Your basic credentials (GPA, coursework) are good. You'll also need to take the GRE general test and possibly the subject test. You can strengthen your application if you have a solid grasp of one or more modern research languages. Check the programs you're applying to to determine what's right for you. French and German are pretty typical.</p>

<p>Now, forget all about tiers. </p>

<p>Graduate school in the humanities is a whole different animal and the competition for jobs at the other end (i.e. once you have a PhD) is fierce. Your speciality interests and the strength of various programs in those areas will determine where you apply. When you start to talk to your professors about LoRs you can also engage them in developing your list of schools.</p>

<p>Chances... humanities graduate admissions are impossible guess at. In any given year and at any given program you might be a lock or have no chance at all. This is another place your professors will be able to help. They'll know (or can find out) what specific programs are looking for in your year, whether or not Prof. Big Name In Field will be accepting new students and so forth. </p>

<p>Read over the first page of "Graduate School Admissions 101". It is somewhat oriented toward the sciences and engineering, but the general advice is sound. </p>

<p>Good Luck!</p>

<p>Watch out New_User, some University of Central Florida students/alums might come in here and lash out at you now!</p>

<p>Hah...yeah. Actually I have friends that go to UCF, and I think they would probably agree. </p>

<p>All that said, they do have a pretty decent engineering program. Which would, of course, be totally unrelated to the medical school.:)</p>

<p>"Perhaps. Do you have a list for this? Don't all graduates from allopathic medical schools qualify to practice medicine? Do tiers even matter in medicine? Isn't that why they have the USMLE?"</p>

<p>Tiers do matter in medicine, especially when it comes to competition for fellowships, but also for residency programs. Not everyone sets out with the goal of completing an incredibly prestigious fellowship, of course, but there are people who do.</p>