Harvard as pre-medAnswered
Would you recommend Harvard for pre-med? Compared to other schools, is there anything that makes it stand out?
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@hghg, there are some pros and cons of attending Harvard or other super elite schools and pursuing a pre-med track. First of all, Harvard has fantastic STEM programs and research opportunities. You'll take challenging classes full of talented students, you'll work with brilliant, famous professors, you'll have access to great pre-med advisors, and you'll be able to take advantage of the endless labs and hospitals not just on Harvard's campus, but also all over the Greater Boston Area for amazing research, internship, and shadowing opportunities. Second, Harvard also has fantastic non-STEM programs. If you decide you're not interested in pursuing pre-med, you can take advantage of Harvard's world-class programs in any other field. Finally, if you manage that perfect or near perfect GPA and back it up with some solid research experience and a good MCAT score, you shouldn't have much trouble getting into even the best medical schools.
The drawback to going to Harvard to pursue a pre-med track is the same as the first positive attribute I mentioned: you'll take challenging classes full of talented students. While Harvard is known for its "grade inflation," this unofficial policy doesn't exactly extend to its pre-med classes. As with most any school, these classes are often cutthroat, and performing well in them can be extremely difficult. Given that medical schools care deeply about college GPAs, going to a very competitive school isn't always the best option if you're positive that you ultimately want to attend medical school. In fact, unless you are quite confident you can do well in Harvard's pre-med courses, it actually might be beneficial to go to a slightly less competitive or prestigious program and stand out as the "big fish in a small pond," where it may be somewhat easier to maintain a 4.0.
I'd recommend Harvard for anything. The pre-med course options, advising, and research opportunities are terrific, and the many people I know who pursued pre-med pathways there all ended up at great medical schools. This doesn't mean it's the easiest option, of course. If you're certain you want to go to medical school, there's absolutely nothing wrong with going to a decent public university and getting through with a perfect GPA.
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