Tier rankings??

Does anyone know what the significance of this tier rating is? I wanted to go to the University of Iowa for my undergrad, but my dad lives in Hawai’i and I was considering the University of Hawai’i at Hilo. UI has a tier 1 rating and UH-Hilo has a tier 4 rating. I have read somewhere else that tier ratings don’t matter (from someone attending a tier 4 school) and someone else said that going to a tier 4 school is like getting a glorified high school education. Of course, I don’t believe everything I read or hear so I emailed the graduate school of my choice and asked them if they accept applicants from tier 4 schools and what if any significance that little number might have. I just wondered if someone out there had any insight on this subject.


Tier schmear… Go to any accredited University. Work hard, get good grades, study the material backward and forward until you are sure you know it, prepare for the MCAT as far in advance as possible, and you will be fine. Reminds me of an old joke, what do they call the guy who graduates last in his medical school class? “Doctor.”

Though I certainly agree with the “Work hard, study hard” comment, I wouldn’t dismiss the value of academic reputation or rankings on your schools of choice or even personally. I’m sure the person who started that joke was last in his medical school class and had fewer options for residency than others.


Some of this may depend on where you want to go to medical school in that schools may look more favorably on you if you had gone to their undergrad (assuming it’s a solid undergrad).

One other thing I would look at is how easily you’re going to be able to get into your classes. Check with the admissions departments at each school and ask to speak with their pre-med program. Then ask specifically how readily students move into their coursework without disruption of sequence. This will also give you an opportunity to ask how robust their pre-med program is, what kind of placement they have for their students wishing to go to medical school, and what types of institutions the accepted students end up attending.

I doubt that either U of I or U of H-Hilo are looked at negatively by medical schools when applying. So take a look at the things above as well as making considerations for other things that may be important to you (proximity of family, finances, etc.)

Rankings are arbitrary and capricious. It all depends upon who is doing the rankings. Given all other things being equal, I would tend to hedge my bet on excellent GPA, excellent MCAT, and good interpersonal skills and volunteer history. A friend of mine went to Harvard, doing excellent (cum laude) in undergraduate work (English). Slightly better than average MCAT,so so volunteer work, average interpersonal skills - No Medical School offer! Go figure. He told me that just going to Harvard guaranteed NOTHING although that is what almost 100% of the students attending there thought. Don’t depend upon a school reputation. You will be disappointed. That reputation is the school’s, not yours. You can be a shining star wherever you set up at, just make a personal commitment to excellence. If possible, I highly recommend touring your prospective campuses and even staying over for a night or two as a guest of a current student. Many universities offer this experience. They will even let you shadow your host in their classes most times. You will get a real taste for the flavor of the place and this will help you make up your decision.