The word ‘underrated’ gets thrown around a lot, usually by zealous fans of cult films, obscure indie music, and prematurely canceled TV shows.
But most of the time, something is “underrated” based on opinion, or a general sense of underappreciation, rather than some actual measure.
We at Savvy Pre-med know that ‘underrated’ is a loaded term; that’s why we put a lot of thought, time, and energy into the research for this list:
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 ‘underrated.’
Our 10 most underrated schools might seem random - schools with different cultural environments, smattered all over the country. Some large-ish, some very small.
What made them underrated 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, have much more to offer than their ranking suggests.
We really believe in the criteria we established in our methodology, and only by analyzing them can we give the smaller or lesser known schools a fair shake.
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.
So what’s the lesson here?
DON’T just apply to big, prestigious schools. Keep an open mind and look for diamonds in the rough.
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!