Pre-Med at LACs

<p>Speaking in terms of preparation for medical school, are LACs decent? I've always ruled them out because I assumed that the opportunities for research, etc. were too limited, but I would like to get some other opinions, preferably from anyone who attempted and succeeded/failed in this endeavor. Thank you in advance!</p>

<p>The better LACs have superb pre-med programs and extremely high placement rates. Some of them could be described as med school/law school factories.</p>

<p>Hope College has more undergraduate research in biology published in peer-reviewed journals per student than Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, Columbia, Emory, Washington University, Duke, Dartmouth, and the University of Chicago.</p>

<p>That should begin to answer your question.</p>

<p>At a number of the better LACs you can do research with actual faculty rather than some graduate student who hopes you won't annoy him or her too much. Of course, you need to be serious about doing research before any faculty member will be interested in your talents. The only advantage of research at larger schools is if the research requires specialized and expensive equipment. A larger university may have it (often as a showpiece) but an LAC may not have the cash to buy it. Even with this distinction, however, that specialized equipment may be reserved for graduate students thereby making it irrelevant in your analysis.</p>

<p>"I've always ruled them out because I assumed that the opportunities for research, etc. were too limited,"</p>

<p>Wow. That's just completely wrong.</p>

<p>"Hope College has more undergraduate research in biology published in peer-reviewed journals per student than Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, Columbia, Emory, Washington University, Duke, Dartmouth, and the University of Chicago."</p>

<p>It also has half the number of students.</p>

<p>"Wow. That's just completely wrong."</p>

<p>I appreciate your help...that statement clarified EVERYTHING for me.</p>

<p>Thank you to the rest of you...</p>

<p>California, one stat that I find interesting when looking at schools as feeders to Med school is the percentage of students from the college who were accepted to med school, not of "applicants" as I feel that can be so easily manipulated (who is an applicant?) , but total accepted as a % of total graduates. </p>

<p>Some better LAC's have an almost unbelievable % of graduates who are attending med schools. School who have reported %'s of graduates attending med school over 10% include but are not limited to : Bowdoin, Hendrix, Austin, and Centre. I am sure there are a few or possibly several more.</p>

<p>I do not know if this speaks to all of the issues involved in selecting an appropriate school to attend but at least it does tell you that you won't be plowing new ground. Some schools D has looked at claim a 90% or higher acceptance rate for students who apply to med school. We have found that those numbers are often manipulated or misleading. </p>

<p>Several schools that claim such high rates can do so because they only count students as applying if they were recommended graduates of their pre-med program. Those figures are easily manipulated by stat conscious marketeers by only "approving" those sure to get in to medical school. Others claim 90% are accepted to medical/health professional schools and include D.O. school , Podiatry schools, Optometry school, Pharmacy schools and in one case-Veterinary schools. Sometimes when you read all of the data together you find that 1 or 2 or 5 kids a year are accepted to actual M.D. schools, yet pre-med is a common entering "major". </p>

<p>Another trick is to say "our recent graduates are attending -" .Then they list schools that someone is attending but it may not be for the M.D. degree, or that they may attended several years ago. Who is to say what "recent" is if the term is not specifically defined?</p>

<p>It may be best to reverse engineer the process. Look at the med schools you'd be interested in attending and see where their students come from, then adjust for regional biases if necessary. It is also important to note that if you intend to be a clinician any U.S. medical school is great , as Dr. Sedrish says, but if research or academic medicine is your goal, top 20 medical schools are more likely to care about where you earned your undergraduate degree . </p>

<p>At this point D, who desires to be a clinician, and I are convinced that a smallish LAC like those above with a high % of total graduates attending medical schools at least guarantees her that there will be other like-minded students, and a faculty advisor that knows how to get a kid into medical school. Anybody got a better system? As always, JMO and I'm willing to learn. </p>

<p>The more I think about it, an interesting number to know would be the % of students who entered the college pre-med who are actually attending medical school (M.D. school). If you assume that at selective schools all entering pre-meds are ,at the least, good enough students to be accepted to the undergrad in the first place. And then further assume that all schools have approximately the same number of students who opt out voluntarily as their interests change. The resulting % might indicate how well that school does in getting their students qualified for the MCAT and other med school admissions criteria.</p>

<p>Thanks...the reversal idea is a good one...</p>

<p>I was thinking the same thing as California. Why are you guys so against the thought that smaller schools have less research opportunities?</p>

<p>Because for undergraduates largely the converse is true. They have far greater research opportunities. That and we think little LAC's are sooooo cute.</p>

<p>Simply because it isn't true.</p>

<p>Look - I was a graduate student once. I PAID for the opportunity (or was paid by the university) to be the one doing the research, not some undergraduate. And the future reputation of the university lay in my hands, not in those of some undergraduate. Yes, the very best undergraduates did get decent research opportunities (as they would have anywhere they'd gone). The question is not what happens to the top student, but to the average one. And the average student would be competing with ME for those opportunities. Fat chances they had.....</p>

<p>The reality is that, for the average student, there is much more in the way of research opportunities going on at the LACs. And I am not only talking about the so-called top 10. Check out Hope:</p>

<p><a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>or Earlham, or Kalamazoo, or Lawrence, or (though it may be top 10) Grinnell. There's nothing going on for the average undergrad at JHU that is even close.</p>

<p>and they're cute.</p>

<p>I live in New York, so I'm only looking at schools from Maine to about Maryland. (Airfare thing, long story) Does anyone know of any LACs that are good for research in that area?</p>

<p>I can't speak specifically to research at these schools but they put a good many kids into Med School-look at Ursinus, Allegheney, Juniata for a good Pennsylvania start.</p>

<p>thanks. yeah, i've heard that about Ursinus. I never really looked into their research opportunities though...</p>

<p>Ursinus also has the added benny of being a trainstop or two from Philadelphia. D met with admissions rep at a CTCL tour for both Allegheney and Ursinus and was very pleased with what she heard from both about undergrad opportunities in the sciences. I was not a party to the conversation so they could have discussed specifics. If you zero in on a school, ask to speak to a professor in your major field and ask them directly-what opportunities or types of opportunities are available? I would. D had a Dean tell her about a particular prof and then received a letter from the prof extolling the virtues of his department and the opportunities for meaningful work. I don't believe that that was unusual for LAC's at this selectivity level. Good luck.</p>

<p>one thing to keep in mind is that is is practically an unwritten requirement for med school to have experience in the field such as by volunteer work. Not only that, but its a good idea for any career field to get an idea of whether you'd be happy in that career early on in college rather than graduating and finding out you don't like it, one reason internships can be so key.</p>

<p>My point is that if you're thinking of a more remote LAC, be sure to ask if there will be opportunities to volunteer in the health care field. Sure, every community has a hospital and some nursing homes, but you should inquire to make sure the college students are welcomed at these places.</p>

<p>however I think a LAC in general is a great place for someone thinking of medicine. You will have faculty contact from the get-go instead of being in large classes, typical of larger colleges for lower-division math/science classes. Not only is this beneficial in its own right, but letters of rec are crucial in applying to med school and you need profs to know you by more than an entry in a gradebook.</p>