Does COLLEGE PRESTIGE Matter? | Ivy League vs Public Universities
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Does COLLEGE PRESTIGE Matter? | Ivy League vs Public Universities

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.

About James Carlton

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100 thoughts on “Does COLLEGE PRESTIGE Matter? | Ivy League vs Public Universities

  1. I’m a sophomore in high school and I want to go into medicine. I really want to go to WashU, even though it’s a great school and it’s not very far from home for me, I’m just concerned if I’m making the right choice for an undergrad degree, it just have great opportunities and a great pre-med program

  2. Dr.Jubbal, what about the reputation of the med schools? Does med school prestige influence your chance of getting into residency?

  3. The biggest effect of going to a higher ranked undergraduate school is that is simply pushes you more. One is hit hard from the first day and there is an easier transition into medical school.

  4. I'm going to attend the College of Wooster, which is a small research/liberal arts school in Ohio. They have a great Pre-Health program and quite a few opportunities to do research, volunteer at local hospitals, etc. It isn't a "prestigious school," per-say, but the collaborative atmosphere with individualized attention will definitely be a plus! In addition, I would ideally like to attend Northwestern medical school in the future.

  5. Prestige college do not matter anymore, we as medicine student study same material around of the globe in different University. We had same subject like pharmacology, pathology, microbiology, immunology…etc.
    I know person who was in prestige college but not successful, and I know person who was in less prestige college became very successful as young surgeon with multiples research paper.
    You are right that not school but it is person thing!
    In my opinion that someone who dictate which college is more prestige and less prestige does more harmful than beneficial thing, all universe deserve to threaten equality and deserve to have good quality resources, and most importantly everyone deserves to attend college which they are very interested into, no matter which grades they got in highschool.
    This whole hypercompetetive thing is not healthy for society and in personal level.
    I wish you will successful enroll your wanted direction! Wish all luck!

  6. I'm transferring to University of Maryland – Main Campus to finish off my undergrad. My friend is a plant geneticist major there and he's told me of all the possible research opportunities at UMD. Along with that, the College Park fire department allows for tuition reimbursement and a place to live for free. I love volunteering as a Firefighter/EMT and I think it will be just a great experience to still be able to do that while at UMD and also further my education at a great university with plenty of resources and opportunities. Anyone go to UMD care to share some insight?

  7. Dr. Jubbal, excellent video as always. I have one question I'd like to ask. What considerations, if any, are made when passing judgement on a student who has held a job throughout their education, but possibly lacks one of the few sought out "determinant factors" such as, limited time devoted to extracurriculars, GPA, research, etc.?
    Thank you.

  8. I don't know why I'm watching this video. In Germany (and I guess Europe) we don't have colleges and can start to study right when you have finished your A-levels. Americans are a mystery for me.

  9. Oh my god! You uploaded the video right on time! I was literally stressing about which college to go to, today. Thank you so much for the video

  10. Dr. Jubbal, does it matter what medical school you go to? I’ve heard differing opinions on this topic, and I’d like your opinion on this. I’ve come believe that while it may not matter a whole lot, it can affect what residency you get into, which matters way more than what med school you go to.

  11. For most of high school I dreamt of going to notre dame or duke or some other elite school, but the closer I got to applying the more I realized that they’re all incredibly expensive and not necessary worth the cost, especially since I knew I wanted to go into medicine. So I ended up applying to three schools, all cheap state schools where I knew I would get good scholarships.

    In undergrad I had good grades, 99th percentile mcat, research publications, and then a job working in a healthcare consulting firm during my gap year, all which apparently look great when applying to med school. I didn’t apply to any “top” med schools because again I didn’t feel like it was worth getting into 100k+ debt, so I chose the (relatively) cheap(er) public school in my home state.

    Maybe it would be nice if I could tell people I went to Harvard for undergrad or med school, but nowadays schools like Harvard don’t bring that much more to the table relative to their high tuition costs.

  12. I am currently a freshman at Florida Gulf Coast University and i hope to go to an ivy league medical school (harvard, yale, cornell and penn are my top picks for med school) but i highly doubt i can get into any of them. But we shall see.

  13. I am interviewing for medical schools rn and I am gonna add to what is being said in this video. Where you go to college absolutely matters. While it is not directly the deciding factor, going to a big name university allows you better opportunities for research and involvement and the letters of rec that you get are from leaders in scientific fields. Also, the education, mentorship, and networking that you get are arguably superior which allows you to be better prepared. moreover, some medical schools have a bias for their own students. So in short, yes it does matter where you have graduated form.

  14. It seems like more prestigious schools have better resources, but everything ultimately comes down to what you make out of it.

  15. This video came right on time. I’ve been struggling to choose a graduate school, but ultimately won’t choose a school just because it’s prestigious.

  16. Don't listen to him. Prestige matters a lot. Whaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!! 🙁 It doesn't matter, they said. Go to a state school, they said.

  17. I love your mature mindset, and it's really great advice. I also found that schools that are /aren't a match with personality type can impact performance. I transferred out of an Ivy to a smaller school where I was able to establish relationships with my professors and peers and the environment wasn't so cutthroat. I felt like I was able to allow my curiosity to direct my learning, so in that respect, more of my internal resources were available.

  18. Hi! I am a spanish first year medical student (studying in Universidad de Barcelona) and I want to do the residency in USA. I would really appreciate it if you could do a video about IMGs. Love all your videos, thank you for your great work!!

  19. I’m currently a UCLA undergrad 3rd year transfer, do you have any recommendations at UCLA to make me stand out as a med school applicant next year?

  20. I'm curious why you chose UCSD vs Harvard for the thumbnail. Both are prestigious and excellent schools. This year's incoming freshmen class has an average goa of 4.1 (weighted). It would be more accurate to put a Cal state (which are still really good), a school that doesn't rank, or a community college. It felt mismatched for the title.

  21. Please let me know what program do you use to make your videos (infographics) so interact! thank you! I went to an Ivy League for graduate school and I confidently say that it has open doors that would otherwise not be possible. I made the most of the resources.

  22. I am studying in the Universitate de medicina și farmacie Iuliu Hațieganu in Romania 🙂 in Europe we don’t have to do any undergraduate before med school. But our medical studies take six years.

  23. Just go to a good school just in case lmao. It’s pretty easy to get into a decent college like Uchicago or Cornell it doesn’t have to be a top school

  24. That's kinda not true though.
    It has a better effect on people without money because they are trying to change that situation and will work ten times harder.
    As a teacher, I have seen people who believe they belong there never actually accomplish anything (rich people) and get carried along.
    However, people who couldn't afford it went above and beyond to make it work for them.

  25. Dr. Jubbal – I hear you when you say that what ultimately matters in medicine (and in almost any endeavor) is YOUR effort and YOUR work ethic. That was my motto too, all throughout college and since arriving to the United States at 13. However, nowadays I find myself doubting whether that is at all true, at least in terms of medical school admissions. And here is why: At an Ivy League medical school interview, most (~10/12) came from top colleges, like Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Duke, etc. I, in turn, graduated from a state school in Florida, not into the party scene, missed out on some family and friend gatherings because of the all too familiar “sorry, i have to study”, and had part-time jobs here and there. It was “worth it” because I graduated with a bachelors of science in biomedical engineering, summa cum laude, first in my class, and first in my family to get a degree in the US. During college, while some opportunities were readily available, like becoming a student leader, others were much harder to get (My school does not have its own medical center or hospital, like some schools do, like University of Michigan or Rutgers New Brunswick for example. So, early on, when I became interested in medicine, I applied to be a volunteer at a local hospital. The Volunteer Services office sent me a nice waitlisted letter – rightfully so, because they were overwhelmed with the amount of volunteers already serving). I know many other highly qualified students who could sit at a top medical school interview, because they have the work ethic, their grades are good, they volunteer in their community, some do research while others work for a living. To conclude, and to avoid an even longer comment, I think that where you go to college, specifically speaking to the resources and opportunities they have, has a substantial impact on your trajectory as a competitive applicant. I’m not saying that premeds who are not at a top college are out of luck. Some state schools can provide you with meaningful opportunities. At others, you’d be pretty much on your own when it comes to finding meaningful experiences.

    Thankfully, I was accepted by another med school. But that experience at the Ivy League school has shaken my beliefs. This does not directly apply to the topic of the video, but I keep hearing over and over again that job-seekers with a prestigious college name on their resume are more likely to get an interview and even the job. And i’ve come to believe it too.

    Dr. Jubbal, any thoughts? Do med school admissions committee actually review each application holistically?

  26. I have always believed in the following statement: “It is the student that makes the school (not the school that makes the student!)
    I think, but am not sure, that prestigious universities get their prestige based on the success of its current/former students. The more successful students that attended said college, the ore prestige the school re wives over time until they are seen as a school that produces “winners” or “highly successful students.”
    I’m not sure what the criteria is for student acceptance but I’m almost sure it is partially based on the potential success of the student to be admitted and how that success will benefit said university. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a prestigious school because “IT IS THE STUDENT THAT MAKES THE SCHOOL.”
    Can I get a AMEN???

  27. Nooooo! It does not matter which college you go to. If you don’t have a high GPA, you won’t even get an interview. Ultimately you are better off going to an easy university and getting a high GPA vs Prestigious school and doing mediocre.

  28. Right now I am at a community college and hope to attend a UC in 2020. Not the best student around but with the help of this video, I know I can go to a good school where I can represent myself

  29. This was comforting. I was accepted into UPenn for undergrad, but I turned them down solely for financial purposes. At Penn, I wouldve accumulated over $80k in debt… So now I’m waiting to hear back from the other universities I’ve applied to. 🙂

  30. I'm sure others have asked, but, how about med school reputation for residency? How much does it matter? It obviously does to an extent, but how much so?

  31. The most important to choose university is how many that university connecting to companies? Is the company that university connecting with, is met your criteria?

  32. In general, yes, it matters b/c ivy league is seen as more favorable when it comes to any context/situation (i.e. applying for school, social settings, applying for jobs, etc.)…even if one doesn't make the most of the opportunities/research etc that's more available at ivy league schools.

    med schools are mainly concerned with gpa and mcat, so ivy league matter less, but still is preferred with all else being equal.

  33. going to Berea College this fall in Kentucky and I’m thankful I get to go to there bc there’s no tuition for any student admitted(33% acceptance). Thankful I get to go and live on campus and leave home with little to no debt going into DPT school.

  34. "Highly ranked school with grade deflation like MIT or Caltech."
    MIT is not one of them. They have grade inflation (Source: This video confused it with terms like high or low "average GPA".
    I observe that it's generally private, elite, liberal arts, and extremely selective institutions such as Harvard and Stanford that gets hit by grade inflation a lot. Public schools get hit by grade inflation… not so much. And community colleges are hit by grade deflation. Tech. Institutes like MIT or Caltech may also have low average GPAs, but then again, engineering and similar majors get lower average GPAs than majors like history or fine arts. If these schools were liberal arts and not engineering schools, I would bet that their average GPAs would be closer to 3.6 and not a 3.3 on a 4.0 scale.

  35. I did terrible on my SAT and went to UConn… but was accepted to a dozen MD schools. I agree with this video, it's all about how you do it in ugrad!

  36. Currently a community college student at Pasadena. Hoping that I can get into a UC or CSU here. But while at a community college I am researching in Caltech and volunteering at a Clinic. Receiving my phlebotomy license and biotechnology certificate. My end goal is an MD/Ph.D. in infectious diseases.

  37. Hey doc undergrad here can you do more med school and residency vids. Especially pertaining to classes that are taken in Med school. And how to study in residency.

  38. No patient will give a single damn if you went to Harvard or community college, as long as you can relieve that tension pneumo competently. At the end of the day, that‘s really all that matters.

  39. Dr. Jubbal,
    Will taking intro science pre-reqs at a community college make one less competitive for Med Schools that accept community college courses if other admissions criteria is strong?

  40. I've recently finished my A levels and about to study Medicine as an undergrad. I've always wondered why the U.S needs you to be a postgraduate to apply for Med-school?
    Is it because it's super competitive so if you don't make it, you have a degree to fall back on? I've never known.

  41. When I was younger I wanted to go ivy or elite but as I got older I realized that doesn’t matter and money was a big issue

  42. Makes me feel better about going to public college for biology. Seems like a waste of time, effort and money to procure that degree from a prestigious school.

  43. I love this video and I went through a similar realization in the beginning of my sophomore year in undergrad. I came from one of the worst high schools in New York City then got placed in SUNY Geneseo, a school renown for its academic excellence in the sciences amongst most other SUNYs. Coming here made me realize that the school I went to wasn’t necessarily meant to teach me how to find a derivative or solve an equation using the laws of physics, etc. It was meant to give the discipline necessary for success at a higher level which is something that I am currently building up within myself at this moment. To all the students, a GPA isn’t a measure of how smart you are, it’s a measure of how disciplined you are which is why it’s so important. Make sure that you are taking every opportunity possible to bring that GPA up as high as possible. College is hard but it tests determination more than intellect, we are capable of learning any and everything guys.🙏🏿

  44. If want to change my school then i should go to normal school or good school for studies nd did it effect for college life that i have studies in best schoo or normal school

  45. This is so cool! Great insights. I’m a community college student with hopes to become an MD one day. Here in the US , the cost of undergrad and medical school is insane and I do not want to be drown in debt. I’m transferring this fall and so far accepted to awesome universities (UVA, College of W&M, Virginia tech, UNC Chapel Hill, and U Richmond). I should look into their programs, and make my decisions. Thank you med school insiders.♥️

  46. If so many opportunities exist and they are so great, why is the cost higher than the product.
    Work the system, don't be worked by the system because it will be no different working a dead end job as a burger flipper at McDonald's.

  47. I think prestigious schools come into play for the financial sector on Wall street and big cities for sure. Alot of time those schools are major feeder schools for fortune 500 companies.

  48. Smart-ass (in a good way) decisions for approaching post secondary school selection. Good on you, mate. I'm planning to teach high school science and math in New York City. I won't be a dedicated college adviser, but I still want to guide students by helping them make cost-effective decisions, when selecting a university. Unlike most people I have 2 bachelor degrees (math and chemistry), and I'm finishing a masters in materials science and engineering, before pursuing a teaching license. Even though I've been in school for so long, I found ways to essentially break even financially in every case. I just enjoyed learning math and science so much I decided to stick around. In a sense I went to college purely as a scholar, but I decided I didn't want to be broke anymore so I'm studying personal finance in the hopes of becoming a millionaire later.

  49. I know this a very specific question, but please if you are able to answer I need advice. I’m a senior trying to select between USF honors and UF and I don’t know which is best for a biology major with a premed track.

  50. I wonder if how community college and public university compare when you want to go to a med school. I'm aiming for a good university in my state but if it's not financially feasible, I'm afraid I have to go to cc instead.

  51. The truth is often nuanced, not black and white. Always be careful when people say things like "college doesn't matter!" or "only ivy leagues are good everything else sucks". The truth is always more nuanced. Thanks for watching and I hope I can continue to speak to this nuance in future videos if you're willing to listen =)

  52. I plan on going to film school after I get my bachelors in media production and visual arts minoring in psych getting my bachelors in a smaller state university. I plan on applying to USC, Chapman, NYU. I’m going public, and I know this school is right for me because of internships, and connection opportunities. I still get everything I need here, and save tons more money I know I’m making the right choice without going to a higher need school

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