Stanford/Yale Premed

<p>Well, I've read through the entire "Good Pre-med Schools" thread to start off.</p>

<p>I was wondering if anyone could offer any sort of insight/opinion on these two schools' relative premed programs!</p>

<p>Thank you!</p>

<p>Is there an actual reason why they have to be compared? Have you been admitted to both and have to pick one?</p>

<p>It is sort of a long story (considering that the deadline to choose was back in May 1), but yes, I still have a bit of time to choose which school to matriculate. I know that choosing based on good premed programs is a bad criterion for decision, but it is one of many.</p>

<p>Premedical programs at both are probably pretty solid. I don't have the Yale data. The Stanford data is excellent but not without some mild room for improvement. (That is, if somebody were to tell me Yale's data were better than Stanford's, I wouldn't say, "That's impossible, Stanford's are basically perfect.")</p>

<p>If I were in your shoes now, I would go to Yale basically without question -- but not for any marginal benefit to premeds.</p>

<p>Thanks for the reply; why Yale?
Also, is there a place where I can see these stats?</p>

<p>1.) Yale's a much more serious academic environment, both in terms of the environment you'll experience and the way people will perceive you. Stanford's science research is probably a little stronger, but frankly that would only matter if you were currently picking a graduate program for a PhD in biology.</p>

<p>In my opinion, there's two schools who offer a better undergraduate education than the rest: Yale and Princeton. Stanford is certainly hard to get into -- probably the hardest in the country -- but that's not the key element of determining where you're going to get the best education. You get the best education when you're surrounded by bright students who take their education seriously and who will motivate you to take your own studies seriously as well.</p>

<p>I don't think there's any question that Stanford students are just as bright as Yale students, but I don't think the Stanford campus atmosphere and reputation are as fundamentally grounded as Yale's. This is not to say that Stanford students don't care about schoolwork; it's a question of degree, not of kind.</p>

<p>Stanford's geographic diversity is not as good; sports are very strong and comprise a prominent part of the student body's admissions process; the Yale network is probably broader than Stanford's, especially in law, politics, and the humanities. (In the technology industry, of course, Stanford is king. In any case premeds don't need very strong alumni networks.)</p>

<p>2.) Unfortunately, Stanford refuses to release this data electronically. I have personally seen the data sheets comprising their statistics, which are only released to already-admitted students who actually visit the campus. Their admitted student GPAs are quite low (low is good), in the 3.5 range or so. Their overall percentage is 75%, but their overall number is much higher than I expected (I believe about 450). Remember: Stanford has to deal disproportionately with the ultra-tempermental University of California admissions process, which will make their numbers seem artificially poor -- and they already look pretty good.</p>

<p>3.) I do not like Stanford's advising. I've talked with several premeds coming out of there and the advice they're getting is frankly pretty poor and often very vague. Celestial disagrees with this categorization, and I used to be quite willing to take her word for it, but over the past few months I've just seen too much bad advice coming out of that office.</p>

<p>What that means is that Stanford undergrads must be insanely talented (which we know) with many, many good opportunities (which we could have guessed, but it's nice to confirm). Because their advising sure isn't what's helping them do so well.</p>

<p>4.) I don't know much about Yale's team. I know their former premedical advising Dean, and she's brilliant, caring, active, and amazing. My suspicion is that her successors are almost as good.</p>

<p>For what it's worth, their Dean left her job to become the Dean of Admissions at a highly selective medical school, so it should tell you something about the relationship medical schools have with that office.</p>

<p>5.) Although, a school-wide outbreak of mononucleosis every October is good epidemiologic training if you ever want to get an MPH. So that's a point in Stanford's favor.</p>

<p>6.) In the end, you have to walk around the campus and meet the students: in four years, who do you want to be more like? Which students would you like to serve as your role models over the next four years? Because you will adopt the attitudes, to a certain extent, of the people around you. You are going to assimilate, if only ever-so-slightly. Which group do you think you could be prouder to be a part of?</p>

<p>When I was applying to undergraduate programs, the choice was pretty clear. (It was not Stanford, Yale, or Duke, although any of those three would have been great.) I'm guessing it will be equally clear for you when the time comes.</p>

<p>Yale and Stanford, pre-med issues aside, have very different campuses and atmospheres. If you have not visited the campuses, it would be difficult to make an informed decision.</p>

<p>Here is some generic Yale pre-med info: <a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Here is page with a link to statistics: <a href=""&gt;;/a>
(You will need a current Yale student to access the info).</p>

<p>Y '84</p>

<p>I never realized we had a Yalie here!</p>

1.) Yale's a much more serious academic environment, both in terms of the environment you'll experience and the way people will perceive you.


<p>Yale's environment did [and still does] seem more serious than Stanford's. Yale students have fewer distractions due to weather, urban concerns, and many fewer student owned automobiles. As previously noted, there are no athletic scholarships; residential college affairs, rather than athletics dominate campus life.</p>

<p>For better or worse, people perceive you differently depending on your undergraduate alma mater. I have had intelligence, stupidity, arrogance and humility attributed to my undergraduate background. (In Southern California, I was disqualified from a position because the firm only hired USC grads.)</p>

<p>Yes. (BDM, You could have known that already by searching my posts). :)</p>

<p>(The 2004 Presidential election was not one of Yale's shining moments...)</p>

<p>Why does Yale quote a ~93% acceptance rate into medical school for their undergraduates, while Stanford's is at ~75%?</p>

<p>As mentioned above:</p>

<p>1.) A disproportionate number of Stanford students are CA residents, meaning they have to deal with the ultra-labile UC admissions system.</p>

<p>2.) I don't like Stanford's advising team.</p>

<p>3.) Stanford has many more premeds than my reference point (Duke), while I'm **guessing **Yale has fewer. This may imply some watering down of their pool, which means that Stanford is better than this discrepancy makes it appear.</p>

<p>according to the aamc total med school applicants by college 2006</p>

<p>Stanford 286
Yale 216
Duke 322</p>

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

<p>Lower acceptance rate for Stanford may be due to students, unwisely, applying only to CA med schools. If they apply all over, then their admit rates should be comparable, in spite of difficult admissions climate for CA med schools. </p>

<p>Perhaps Stanford permits/encourages applications by their marginal students more so than does Yale?</p>

<p>Afan: Your information is clearly from the best source available -- but I'm about to explain my confusion. Please do know that I'm not arguing with you -- only trying to discuss a discrepancy.</p>

<p>I distinctly remember very clearly going over the numbers with a student who'd been admitted to both Stanford and Duke and was comparing them to each other. He specifically mentioned that Duke seemed to have a higher admissions percentage, but he was concerned that the lower number from Duke (about 300 students) reflected some kind of screening, and I took great pains to reassure him that this was not the case.</p>

<p>If Duke had had a higher number, as the AAMC data seem to indicate, then that entire conversation would have been moot. As is, I remember Stanford having not just a higher number but a MUCH higher number.</p>

<p>Have things changed in the past year or so? Was 2005 just an anomaly? Was 2006? I'm not sure, but my memory on this subject is really quite clear and I'm not sure what to make of the data discrepancy. Does Stanford underreport to the AAMC?</p>

<p>EDIT: Is Stanford smaller than Duke?</p>

<p>Even with all those things considered, a near 20% difference is way too large, no?</p>

<p>As a premed at Stanford (as BDM mentioned), I can't accurately compare it to Yale, but I can give several reasons for why I love being at Stanford and do not regret choosing it over other "more prestigious" schools.</p>

<p>1) Stanford excels in many departments, from Biological Sciences to Psychology to Classics. I feel that I have so many options of what to study; I can take a course from a renowned professor in any field, and if I find something new that I like, I can pursue it, and I know I'll receive a great education in whatever field I choose.
2) To further the point made above, Stanford is on the quarter system, so you get to take more classes per year. The pace is quick but manageable, and I like being able to take a variety of courses. The courses are certainly challenging and thought-provoking; I don't at all believe that they are broad overviews that sacrifice quality or depth.
3) In addition, there is a 2-week shopping period at the beginning of each quarter, so you can visit multiple classes and decide which ones you like best and want to take for the duration of the quarter. You will probably have to keep up with the work for all the classes that you shop, though, so that you're not behind when you eventually pick your classes.
4) Declaring your major is relatively easy, and you do not have to declare until you become a junior, and you can still change your major after that. Declaring a major typically involves meeting with an advisor to sign some paperwork, or perhaps writing an essay about your interests. It is not difficult to change your major.
5) There are many, many research opportunities as well as opportunities for funding. When I was trying to find a research position in the Biological Sciences department or similar departments at the medical school, I found that many labs were willing to accept younger undergraduates, even those with no experience, because they wanted to train students for long-term projects. I have applied for and received 2 research grants from the Undergraduate Advising and Research program here, and the process was not difficult.
6) Student life is vibrant, diverse, and exciting. There are 665 student groups currently registered, ranging from tutoring organizations to fraternities to club sports to streetdance to ceramics to a Chicano club that focuses on health education. It's wonderful to be on a campus where so many people are passionate about something, and it is not difficult to find others with similar interests as you and to pursue them.
7) Dorm life is quite nice; residence staff are generally great about setting up activities and providing resources to make you feel comfortable. I've loved getting to know the people in my dorms, finding out how different and yet similar our histories are, chatting for hours over lunch, and going out for dorm movie trips or dinners. I'm simultaneously excited by the variety of people I live with and feeling supported by those around me.
8) Sports are pretty darn good here, and it's fun to go to events from basketball games to gymnastics meets and cheer on our excellent athletes! (Incidentally, I know several athletes, and they're incredibly intelligent and definitely belong here. They're also generally fun, down-to-earth people.)
9) Weather is great and students are generally happy. However, it's not as if we all put on happy faces and secretly go into our rooms and cry about all our stressors. People certainly have their secrets, but dorm culture facilitates discussion about how we're doing and what stressors we feel about classes and life in general. For example, it's no secret that people feel tired and worried about exams; I hear about it every night at dinner. Also, it helps that there is a Peer Health Educator on the staff in most dorms; this is the person who is trained in counseling techniques and is always someone you can talk to. This person is very useful if you don't have a friend to confide in, want confidentiality ensured, or want a third party's opinion on something.</p>

<p>I'm a happy premed here - as BDM alluded to, I feel that I have enough academic support and guidance - but I think it's equally important, if not more, that I'm a happy person in general here.</p>

<p>Please feel free to ask me more specific questions about Stanford.</p>

<p>Re: number of premeds. I was surprised too. I had assumed Stanford and Duke would be about the same (overall they are almost exactly the same size for undergrad enrollment). </p>

<p>The number of medical school applicants is up substantially nationally, perhaps Duke is ahead of S on this trend.</p>

<p>In either case, I think the numbers are not particularly important. All three are outstanding schools and regularly send lots of students to medical school.</p>

<p>If you have the opportunity to go to Stanford, then contact the admissions office or the premed advising office and ask them about medical school acceptance for Stanford undergrads. If you can get to a premed advisor, tell them you are considering Stanford, you are planning on medical school, and you want some general information about the process, environment, and medical school acceptance experience. If their response does not address the relatively low rate, compared to the few other colleges at Stanford's level, then ask this directly. If you can, also try to find out the mean gpa and mcat for accepted Stanford students, and for applicants. This will tell you whether S really does have a lot of people with poor grades and MCATs applying to medical school and pulling down the acceptance rate. Ideally, the mean gpa for accepted students should be about the same as the mean gpa for all Stanford students. </p>

<p>That information will be far more useful than all this speculation.</p>

<p>Needless to say, you can't go wrong at either place. Lots of students would love to have this "problem."</p>

<p>.02, </p>

<p>If you have access to the Yale data, can you post it for the benefit of those who are not Yale students?</p>

Ideally, the mean gpa for accepted students should be about the same as the mean gpa for all Stanford students.


<p>You're certainly right that this would be ideal, but I think this might be a bit much to ask, even for Stanford and Yale. I'd settle for anything remotely close.</p>

can you post it

I believe he does not have access to the data, as the website implies that one must currently be an undergraduate there.</p>


<p>celestial: Stanford is undoubtedly a wonderful place, but with the exception of the quarter system I don't see anything there that any other top-notch school wouldn't have.</p>


<p>coconu: No, actually 20% sounds pretty reasonable to me. Given those three factors, I'd have expected the gap to be even larger.</p>


<p>And a warning: we do not yet have documentation on Stanford's 75%. This is from the same piece of paper which told me that Stanford had a much larger number of premeds than Duke did, and there's clearly some kind of discrepancy between this and what the AAMC seems to think. So don't jump to any conclusions until you've got some more official data to work with.'</p>

<p>And in any case, you should not trust me (as an anonymous bulletin board poster) regardless. (I trust me a great deal, and my memory on this point is very sharp, but each of you should await documentation before you use this statistic to help you make decisions.)</p>


<p>Here's a weird question. What if Stanford does weed its premeds? And then one day somebody accused them of weeding out premeds to just boost their numbers? So they continued weeding out premeds -- because frankly some of them need it, almost like a "mercy rule" -- but now include them in the numbers they pass out to prospective students? This way nobody can accuse them of inflating their numbers?</p>

<p>This strikes even me as being far-fetched and faintly ridiculous. I'm just grasping at straws here to explain the difference between what I can see (AAMC) and what I have seen (Stanford's self-published data).</p>

What if Stanford does weed its premeds? And then one day somebody accused them of weeding out premeds to just boost their numbers? So they continued weeding out premeds -- because frankly some of them need it, almost like a "mercy rule" -- but now include them in the numbers they pass out to prospective students? This way nobody can accuse them of inflating their numbers?


I firmly believe that Stanford does not try to weed out premeds. It is true that the introductory courses are difficult (o-chem, bio core), but they're certainly not awful. If you are a determined premed, you'll make it through, and probably do well too. The way I see it is that Stanford offers so many wonderful programs, and many former premeds discover something new that they love, and they decide to pursue that instead (anecdotally, this is what I have seen; I know of multiple people who got A's in the intro classes but then discovered a passion for biology research or even international relations). More power to them. Stanford culture (advising, faculty, peers) does not tell people who are doing less well to not be premed, as far as I know.</p>

<p>The mean GPA of Stanford students who were accepted to a medical school in 2005 was 3.57. Mean MCAT by section: 10.61 Verbal, 11.16 Physical, 11.45 Biological, P Writing. I don't have any more recent data.</p>

Stanford is undoubtedly a wonderful place, but with the exception of the quarter system I don't see anything there that any other top-notch school wouldn't have.


My point was solely that Stanford is indeed a wonderful place. I am not in the position to say that Stanford is better/worse than Yale or any other university. I just wanted to describe what I love about it and give an "insider's perspective".</p>