ranking medical schools?

Hey! I’m applying to medical school for the fall 2007 cycle. Does it matter what medical school one matriculates through when applying for residency programs? I’m accepted to a school and waiting to hear from others. I want to land a residency in surgery. Do residency directors look at schools, or do grades, board scores, and “fit” matter most? I’ve heared so many things…


For the most part, I don’t think the particular medical school you attend matters as much as your USMLE scores and your marks in your clinical years and probably your didactic years, too.

I’m not in med school yet, though, but I wanted to at least respond to your post.

Going to a ranked school doesn’t necessarily gain you a lot in your residency application. I’ve heard some say that the strength of your LOR from your rotation in your proposed residency if far more important. If your school has a strong surgery program, for example, a strong LOR from them may carry more weight than a less well regarded surgery program. But - I don’t know you should base your decision on that either, as a lot medical students end up matching in a specialty other than what they were originally interested in.

I won’t say that going to ranked school won’t make ANY difference, but I think it’s probably down on the list aways, after things like your grades in 3rd year, honoring in the rotation you want to specialize in, and board scores.

I definitely don’t think it matters enough to make yourself miserable by going to a ranked school if you don’t think you will be happy there.

From what I know a good USLME step one score then

If you went to any US medschool most programs are open to you, certain Ivy league may get you like a top residency in Surgery ( as long as Step 1 score high) after that Caribbean schools will limit your choices with some programs not considering you even with the top Step one score.

  • wisemanwithnoname Said:
Hey! I'm applying to medical school for the fall 2007 cycle. Does it matter what medical school one matriculates through when applying for residency programs? I'm accepted to a school and waiting to hear from others. I want to land a residency in surgery. Do residency directors look at schools, or do grades, board scores, and "fit" matter most? I've heared so many things...


Hi there,

It isn't so much the rank of your school as YOUR performance there. The top performers of a low-ranked medical school are going to go further than the folks who did not do so well at a top-ranked school. Wherever you go,you need to keep your academics high through out school. The more competitive the specialty, the higher your academics need to be.

Choose the school where you feel the most comfortable and where you feel you can excell. You can be at the highest-ranked medical school in the country but if you hate your classmates and your environment, you won't do well there.


Thank you!!!

thanks a million

I don’t really have an answer for this question. At the present time I am considering two schools-Duke and a well respected state school. By looking at the match data I learned that Duke placed 11 folks in derm residencies while the State school placed 2 (even though the state school is classified by some magazine as top 25). Naturally, Derm is hard to get…you do the math.

Just as a correction…I’m sure you know but no school “places” anyone into a residency. The students do that. I think it’s a mistake to look at the residency match of a school and assume your chances are better. There are many variables…as many as there are students.

Valid point. Although the name/ranking of the school you attend may certainly be one factor in how many students match into competitive residencies such as derm, there are many other factors. What the match results that schools show you don’t tell you is how many of the students who applied in derm MATCHED in derm. It might look great that 11 students matched in derm, but if 20 students applied in derm, then that casts a different light on the subject. Another example is my school this year - only 5 students matched in Emergency medicine this year. You could look at that stat and say “Wow - OSU doesn’t do a very good job of placing students into EM.” Or, you could find out that only 6 students even APPLIED to EM this year.

Other factors are probably more relevant to matching in a competitive specialty than your school - your board scores, your grades, any research experience, letters of recommendations, etc. Don’t choose a school solely based on match lists without doing some more investigation.

Also note that as a private school, Duke’s tuition is presumably waaaaaay more than the state school, and so there is an economic incentive, sadly, for Duke students to look for the high-paid specialties.

There were more folks in my class at GWU who went into ophthalmology than went into family medicine. Sad but true…

I’m not sure you really gain anything by looking at a school’s match list. Where you match is absolutely, positively, within your own personal power and has little to do with your school.


I hear people say all the time that a person at the top of a low ranked school will go further than a person at a top ranked school who does average, but I think it VERY much depends on which 2 schools we’re talking about and the residency program. If it’s Harvard versus ECU then I think it’s debatable.

Another very valid point about rankings is the situation where a person attends say Stanford and is in the bottom 10% of the class compared to a person from UMin Duluth. I seriously doubt any residency program will see these 2 people the same, all things being equal.

P = MD is going to be my mantra no matter what school I attend, so I probably need to attend the highest ranked school I can, lol!!!

Problem is ALL things are never equal. Even if the applicants gender, race, and stats were identical what I hear about residency is they are looking at personality. Whether or not they can see themselves working with this person for the next x number of years. Even if one is the most personable person in the world they might interview at a place that thrives off of sarcasm and dark humor or they might just be having a bad day and come off as a jerk of an interviewee.

Nothing is ever equal. There are way too many variables so you control what you can. If anyone thinks that x school will be a better fit for them then so be it.

Trust me, from having been in the medical professions since 1983 in a variety of capacities virtually 100% in teaching hospitals - once you graduate from med school & become an intern/resident, no one gives a rat’s @$$ where you went to med school, whether you are an MD or a DO or what your Board scores or MCAT scores were. Every single one of you MUST earn your stripes (and respect from colleagues, allied health personnel & your patients) by doing your absolute best at all times, working hard & legtimately caring for the pt’s in your charge. Furthermore, the process of earning this respect is far more challenging than earning a berth at Harvard, Stanford, Mayo or otherwise. Int/Res is where the rubber meets the road for the first time…many of our colleagues find this the most challenging transition in the process, esp if they have been blessed with a history of “silver spoonedness”.

Internship & Residency is the ultimate leveler of the playing field.

well said!!!