The term “overrated” is a lot like the term “cliche” - usually looked at as a bad thing, but also indicative of something’s success, ubiquity, and lasting power.
Essentially, if something is “overrated,” it was good enough to earn that notoriety amongst its haters, so it must be doing SOMETHING right.
Some things are “overrated” simply because a bunch of contrarians decided to rebel against the mainstream, but this isn’t the case with our list!
Our list is the result of careful research and calculation, with the intent to dive deeper than prestige and reputation (a.k.a. the “mainstream” quality) when evaluating the best colleges for pre-meds:
We had no agenda when we set out to make this list, but we did have strong opinions on what makes a college good for pre-meds, and we had metrics for gathering data on these criteria.
It all began when we did research to produce our 25 Best Colleges to Be Pre-med list (you can see the full methodology in that article).
We took into account many factors, such as number of dedicated pre-health advisors, student-faculty ratio, early assurance programs, available research and service opportunities, etc
One of our criteria in the Best Colleges list was “Prestige” (10% of total score). This was measured by a school’s rank in various lists on the US News and World Report (including National, Regional, and Liberal arts).
And that’s where we discovered our measure for what counts as “overrated.”
What made these colleges overrated was the discrepancy between their prestige (based on US News and World Report) and their calculated rank in our master list (based on all the other metrics listed above).
We used the US News rankings and assigned different point values for the prestige of different lists so that we could compare that to our more calculated rank.
In some cases, like Duke for example, its calculated prestige rank and the US News rank are the same, but others, like our Top 10 above, they have objectively less to offer than their ranking suggests.
For whatever reason, our Top 10 overrated schools don't match their supposed prestige with their other offerings. They don’t have small class environments, and they’re marked by inadequate or lackluster pre-med advisors.
Although they usually have strong research opportunities, they lose points for other things like service or clinical opportunities.
They usually have lots of pre-meds, but don’t place a strong emphasis or allocate many resources to pre-health departments.
Most of our “overrated” schools are large state schools. Admittedly, our ranking is a little unfair, since these large schools could never compete with the offerings of the small liberal arts colleges.
We also don’t focus on cost, and large public schools are cheaper almost across the board; since cost is quite relative, it’s up to the individual student to decide how much that affects their decision.
We really believe in the criteria we established in our methodology. Our research has been supported by our student testimonies over the years. There are a lot of solid programs with little recognition, as well as many highly regarded schools with relatively poor pre-med departments.
It’s important to note that you CAN be successful at these “overrated” schools, if you’re a go-getter who is willing to embrace the heavy competition and challenges of supply-and-demand that come with a high pre-med volume.
On the pre-med college hunt? You can start by asking yourself these five important questions.
What do you think? Did your school make the list? Do you think it should or shouldn’t have?
Let us know in the comments and we’ll respond personally!