Unranked Med School???

I’m wondering if anyone had any thoughts on attending a school outside of the top 50. Obviously, there are many medical schools which fall into that category and I know that generally USNews rankings can be very controversial. But whether or not, there is any truth in them, I know that for some other types of schools (law, business, etc.), what ranked school you go to is directly tied to its perceived quality - reputation - and ultimately your employability. I know that even in these industries, you can go to the worst school and if you are the top of the class, this can equalize the difference in perceived quality of the education. How does this relate to medical school, if at all? If I go to an unranked school - school outside of top 50 - does this mean that I will have to excel (be top 10 of my class)? I know you always have to do well, regardless of the rank of school, but sometimes it’s a difference between being in the top 30% of your class, versus being in the top 10 of your class. Anyhow, just trying to get a feel - any observations would be appreciated.

Depends on your aspirations. I’m not trying to be cute–but if you want to be a primary care physician, there is not necessarily a marked advantage to going to high-ranked schools. If you want to be an academic physician, then it is more important (though not essential) that you go to a resarch-oriented and higher-ranked school. That said, what’s more important than grades is the quality of your work throughout. This is not like law school exactly; the third year of medical school begins an apprenticeship phase that lasts through residency and fellowship.
I know a guy who did a lot of public health and research projects within a large urban health department, who said, "I went to the nation’s worst medical school [by ranking], and now I’m a doctor and I’m doing exactly what I want to do!"
So, I think there is some potential mobility in medicine that there might not be in law and business.

Hi there,
I attended a bottom-ranked medical school. I believe Howard is ranked #116 out of 120 or so. It hasn’t seemed to hurt my career in General Surgery and I am on track for a great fellowship at Cleveland Clinic. Rankings do not matter as long as you attend medical school in the United States and do well.

Yeah, I know what you mean about the seeming controversy of those rankings. It’s SO annoying in my opinion how otherwise critical, inquisitive people will drop everything and go all goo goo when the Barron’s or US News rankings come out. Even the most esoteric of academics are suddenly willing to put their trust in the “science” of magazine journalism! At the same time we are at US News’ mercy. My brother recently transferred from one law school to another, and the ONE step up in rankings led to an immediate improvement in internship offers he got. Of course my brother is way less studious now that he’s moved to New York (where he transferred to), but hey who cares?!

Sorry, I can’t answer the question, but you’ve gotten good input so far. I guess in any situation, you should always go to the place that seems best for you.

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The process of getting a residency position is extremely individualized, and this is why you’ll find most people don’t think the rankings are very important. Medicine is extremely clubby. If you decide you want a particular specialty at a particular place, you can network and do a guest rotation there and as long as you’re not a jerk you’ve got at least a reasonable chance of matching into that program… obviously it’s more than that, because someone with, say, average med school grades and USMLE scores isn’t going to get into ophthalmology just 'cause they did a rotation in it. But even in competitive specialties there are a lot of opportunities to, um, grease the skids to get where you want to be.