Does COLLEGE PRESTIGE Matter? | Ivy League vs Public Universities

September 26, 2019 0 By Kody Olson

Does your undergraduate reputation matter
for medical school admissions? It’s a bit complicated. The answer is both yes and no. Stick around to find out why. What’s going on guys, Dr. Jubbal, There have been a handful of interesting recent
economic studies examining the effect of university prestige in long term success. A recent study by Ge and colleagues found
that there was no relationship between college selectivity and long-term earnings. However, for women, there was a significant
correlation between attending a college with a higher average SAT score for matriculants,
and increased earnings and reduced rates of marriage. It’s important to note, however, that these
women aren’t earning higher per-hour wages, but rather, they’re working more hours per
day. On average, these women delay marriage, delay
having kids, and stay in the workforce longer than similar women who graduate from less
selective schools. In short, they are more career-focused. Chetty et al in 2017 found that lower-income
students at elite schools had a higher chance of reaching the top 1% in earnings compared
to those at public universities. In a broader sense, these data suggest that
if you’re affluent, Caucasian, and male, the effect of college prestige is minimal. After all, you’re likely to be more connected
than a less affluent minority student, which is exactly why elite colleges have a larger
effect on those who are not rich, not white, and are not men. Rather than relying on connections through
family, elite colleges provide the connections and credibility that connect these graduates
to higher paying jobs. Now this all makes sense for students in general,
but what about students specifically pursuing a career in medicine? Blue and colleagues studied whether there
was merit to undergrad university selectivity in predicting medical school performance. They found that the student’s GPA and MCAT
were much more effective predictors of medical school performance than the school from which
they graduated. Unfortunately, there is a paucity of literature
examining undergrad school selection and success in medical school and beyond. But luckily, at Med School Insiders, our combined
dozens of years of medical school admissions experience provides us with a vantage point
to tell you what it’s like from the perspective of medical school admissions committees. In short, we’ve found that when medical
schools look at your application, the reputation of your undergraduate institution is not high
on the list in terms of importance. If a student’s GPA, MCAT, extracurriculars,
personal statement, secondary essays, and letters of recommendation are all strong,
then this is simply a strong applicant, regardless of the school that they attended. Now let’s illustrate this with an example. Johnny goes to a state school that is not
highly ranked. Rather, his school is known for being “fun”,
if you know what I mean. But he was able to avoid the allure of the frat
parties, and by the time he’s ready to apply, he has a 4.0 GPA, an MCAT score
of 520, two publications, leadership experience in a couple organizations, and excellent letters
of recommendation. Sally, on the other hand, attends Harvard, and by the time she’s
ready to apply, she has a 3.5 GPA, an MCAT of 508, and while she has letters of recommendation
from some of the most world renowned Alzheimer disease researchers in the world, she wasn’t
able to create as strong of a personal connection, so those letters are somewhat generic. Between Sally and Johnny, who do you think
is going to be the more competitive applicant? Despite going to a top university, I would put
my money on Johnny. But that isn’t always the case. There are some advantages to going to a more
prestigious university. Allow me to explain. If you take two students who have identical
scores and extracurriculars, the student coming from the more prestigious university will
be viewed more favorably, all other factors being equal. This is even more so if they attend a highly
competitive school with grade deflation, like MIT or Caltech. Getting a 3.7 GPA at one of these institutions
is much more impressive than getting a 3.7 GPA at your local community college. But the main reason your university matters
is less because of the direct effect of reputation, and more because of the indirect effects – notably
the program’s resources and opportunities for pre-meds. If you want to go to a top ranked medical
school, research is an important part of that equation. You’re much more likely to have significant
research experience with abstracts or publications at a school like UC Berkeley than you are
at a community college. Similarly, hospital volunteer and clinical
opportunities are going to be easier to find at an institution of this caliber that caters
to a significant number of pre-meds. Now I’ll start by sharing what I did when it
came to applying to college. I scored in the 99th percentile on my SAT
and had a strong application, but I didn’t apply to Ivy league schools. I was born and raised in California, and I
really like it here. So I decided to apply to California schools. When deciding between UC Berkeley and UCLA,
I chose the latter, because I was keen on exploring a new region of California, and
I loved the campus. I knew that either program would provide me
with a solid education. I believed that the driver of my success
was based on me, not my school, so I didn’t really sweat it too much. My college career was a great success, and
I was a strong medical school applicant, interviewing and getting acceptance offers at multiple
top 5 medical schools. Again, I chose UC San Diego, a top 15 program,
over some more prestigious or elite programs, because I knew I would get a solid education,
and it’s still a terrifically strong program, even if it’s not a Harvard, Penn, or Wash
U. So choose a strong program where you believe
you’ll get a strong education and have the resources and opportunities available to you. If a private school is too expensive, don’t
be afraid to go public, like I did. I went public my entire life and still got
top numbers and matched into one of the most competitive specialties. In short, I went to great programs, but I
didn’t sweat the prestige or rankings when making my decisions. I knew that after a certain point, program
quality is strong, and the rest is going to be on me. The key point is this: the talent and merits
of each individual student are worth far more than the resources and prestige of elite schools.
Ultimately, it’s more important to worry about the systems you implement in your life
– the habits that you create and that ultimately dictate your trajectory, rather than the school
you go to. Systems produce results. And this is our philosophy at Med School Insiders. Each individual is unique, and it’s a matter
of maximizing your systems and habits to grow, learn, and become the best version of yourself. It’s more than just checking in the boxes. While research, top scores, and strong extracurriculars
are key, the foundational principles that facilitate those aspects of your application
are just as, if not more, important and it is these same principles that will help you
generate compounding success into your future. Our mission is to create a generation of happier,
healthier, and more effective doctors. And the best way to do that is with a personal
and individualized plan to maximize a student’s potential – not just checking in all the boxes. To learn more and see how we help students
maximize their potential, visit The first 30 customers will receive $30 off
their purchase of $100 or more using the coupon code SYSTEMS30. Link in the description below. Thank you all so much for watching. Let me know where you are going to college,
and where you hope to go for medical school. It’s always a lot of fun hearing from you guys, so please leave a comment down below. If you liked the video, make sure you give
it a thumbs up, and if you’re not a fan, I really don’t mind if you leave a thumbs down. New videos every Saturday morning at 8AM pacific
time, so make sure you’re subscribed. And I will see you guys in that next one.