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Stony vs. UMDNJ

Discussion in 'School Specific Discussions' started by AndrewNJ, 02.23.11.


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  1. AndrewNJ

    AndrewNJ

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    I haven't seen much in the way of direct comparison for these two schools other than a post with a few replies last year. Searching only brings up 4-5 year old threads after that.

    So I'm currently debating whether UMDNJ or Stony Brook is the best choice for me next year. Both are excellent schools and I am very lucky to have this choice (although its a difficult one to make). I am a NJ resident but cost really isn't an issue here. Summing everything other than Cost of Living, UMDNJ ends up being maybe $7k more than Stony Brook even with the $47k out of state tuition I pay for the first year.

    So here are my pros and cons (listed in red) for both schools. If you have any others, let me know and of course, please share your thoughts.

    UMDNJ:

    * Very strong clinically
    * Classes with Dental Students (may be a tiny bit more relaxed than SB's med/dent curriculum
    * A bunch of brand new clinics and lecture halls with lots of room. I actually really liked the building and facilities here. Facilities also seemed more spacious than those at Stony.
    * The faculty I met here seemed really great.
    * Location is central to friends and family (no more than an hour from each)
    * Lots of stuff to do (NYC is close, Devil's games, mens league hockey)
    * Girlfriend's company has an office right in Morristown

    * Cities are not really my cup of tea. I can live in the suburbs, but still its definitely not as nice of an area as Stony Brook.
    * Cheating scandals and corruption tarnish the reputation.
    * NJ's dire financial condition could result in sizable tuition hikes over the next 4 years.


    Stony Brook:

    * Very strong academically
    * Small class yields better 1:1 time with faculty
    * Still very good clinically
    * Faculty also seemed great here
    * More wooded, suburban setting
    * My veteran benefits are higher in NY state than in NJ
    * Additional $4k/year grant from NY HESC for veterans
    * My friend just graduated from SB Medical School and swears all the Dental students had very high morale.
    * Great reputation within Dental Community
    * More affluent patient base means maybe more higher end procedures during school

    * Located well off the beaten track. 3 hours to family, 2 hours to girlfriend
    * Not much to do when I need to blow off steam
    * Their hockey team is the Islanders :(

    I am a non-traditional student. I'll graduate when I'm 36, so at this point I have no intention of specializing. I want to complete school, potentially do a GPR, and pay off school loans asap since I'll have less time to save for retirement than many of you young guys. I really can't go wrong going to either school. They were my top 2 choices out of the 13 schools I applied to. I'll come out just a bit ahead financially at Stony Brook, but my quality of life will probably be better at UMDNJ.

    Anyways, I'd be interested in hearing other's thoughts on this match up, especially current students at either school

    Thanks.

    Edit: Does UMDNJ operate on a trimester system that bills your tuition in 3 installments? This is actually important to how I calculate my veteran benefits.
     
  2. rickblas

    rickblas

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    What I am getting from your post is that Stony Brook would be about 27,000 cheaper than umdnj for all four years (correct? i am estimating) but UMDNJ will provide you with a better location and experience. How important are your family/ GF to you? Suburban Long Island is pretty far from many parts of NJ (and as such your family etc.) and this should be a main factor in your decision.

    Also realize since you do not want to specialize maybe a more generalized dental curriculum focused on clinical at UMDNJ may be more appropriate for you than Stony Brook where students take classes with med students for first two years and learn things that may not be as important to you as you would want (Also consider that this means your class size isn't going to be as small a you thought for the first two years at Stony at least).

    Also... if your GF is in NJ.... travel from SB to NYC alone can take up to 2 1/2 hours driving with traffic and all....so probably to NJ may be more realistically 3 hours from your GF not 2 (this is from my experience traveling there).

    I wouldn't suggest a school to you as this seems like a very good comparison and there are very good pros and cons to each school...you just need to see which PROs from either SB or UMDNJ outweigh the cons better depending on your preferences (Do you want a cheaper experience far from home or pay a little more for convenience and a better location with a curriculum that may suit your goals better?). I hope my input helped, good luck! and congrats, both are great schools at great prices!

    P.S. i don't know anything about UMDNJ and trimester system. Perhaps make a quick phone call?
     
    Last edited: 02.23.11
  3. AndrewNJ

    AndrewNJ

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    Thanks for the response Rick. Stony would be about $6500 cheaper over the course of the 4 years, which translates into about $11000 over a 10 year repayment schedule. My spreadsheet could be wrong, but thats what I come up with. This is somewhat dependent on the term structure and how it effects my veteran benefits.

    That is also a very concise way of describing the issue. My education may be a bit more comprehensive at Stony and a shade cheaper, but UMDNJ will offer a better experience overall I think. My girlfriend lives up in CT, my family down in Princeton, and my brother's family in NYC. All within 1 hour of Newark.

    The GF will probably be my fiance around the time that I start dental school, so she is definitely a priority :). And my brother will be having his second child soon, so I really want to be able to easily get into the city to visit and play the part of the proud uncle.

    These are all good points. Ultimately, a stronger clinical program is better suited to my goals. I am intending to do a 1 year GPR as of now, so the clinical difference b/w these schools may not be such a big deal in the end. But there is little doubt that UMDNJ will have me perform more procedures and theoretically be more competent right out of the gate.

    I'm planning on taking my GF to both schools in the next few weeks for a tour of the school and surrounding area. Thanks alot for your input. Its definitely helpful to hear another person's interpretation. Helps me to gain perspective on my own thoughts.:thumbup:

    I see you are accepted for next year. Where are you going to be attending?
     
  4. rickblas

    rickblas

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    NP, I hope my advice helped. I, at the moment, will be attending Penn. Actually, I would sell a kidney to get into Stony Brook since it is my state school and I thought it would be perfect for me (also have friends going/attending), but alas I am wait listed. I also was very interested in UMDNJ but sadly was outright rejected. I didn't want to be like one of those douche-bag SDN people and try to persuade you to go to UMDNJ so a spot would open up for me on SB's waitlist...so I tried to be as objective as possible. Good luck to whatever school you choose!
     
  5. AndrewNJ

    AndrewNJ

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    Rick,
    Congrats on getting into Penn! Thats my alma mater from quite a long time ago. Philly is a great city to live in, and the Penn campus feels a lot safer than the Temple campus. I might have chosen Temple had it not been so much more expensive for me, just to live in Philly again.

    I appreciate you giving me impartial advice. I will *probably* end up selecting UMDNJ and if I do, I hope my spot at SB goes to you. Its a tough decision for sure though. Both are great schools at a great price.
     
  6. AndrewNJ

    AndrewNJ

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    Just got an answer from the school regarding tuition billing. It is billed twice yearly, spring and fall, which makes it about a $20k difference over 4 years in Stony's favor. With interest, thats about $33k less in debt to go to Stony Brook. But cost is just one factor to consider and Columbia is still $150k more!
     
  7. Impulse155

    Impulse155

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  8. AndrewNJ

    AndrewNJ

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    The complaints listed in that article have mainly to do with the undergraduate dorms and how the undergrads perceive their relationships with faculty. Neither of which have to do with the Dental School.

    With 40 students per class, you are going to have better faculty/student relationships than the 1000s of undergrads. I would also be living off campus, so I don't particularly care what the undergrad dorms are like. As long as the Dental facilities are good and the education is good, thats all I'm concerned about.

    The location and lack of nightlife may get some young kids down and add to their unhappiness, but I can't say thats really a factor for me. I'm beyond the bars and partying stage of life, so as long as I can escape to do some trail running every now and then or catch a movie, I'm happy.

    Feel free to post your comments about what you didn't like about Stony undergrad though. Everyone is different and I'd be interested to hear your opinion, in case any of it resonates with me.
     
  9. babypapa

    babypapa

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    I have not seen many undergraduates who speak highly about their schools especially, when they go to big public schools. I am one of those. Given your circumstances, I believe Stony Brook would be the best school to you for the reasons you have already listed. Hopefully see you there.:laugh:
     
  10. rickblas

    rickblas

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    My cost estimate then was almost spot on then haha.

    Stonys benefits seem to be cost now and smaller class size for the majority of the four years (but not all). I don't know which curriculum youd prefer but make sure to decide on works best for you looking at your career goals in GDentistry. Once again good luck!

    (Also thanks for the wishful thinking! If you choose umdnj OR stony brook know that you are making someone on their waitlist very happy at least...hopefully if you chosoe umdnj that person would be me hahaha.)
     
  11. Impulse155

    Impulse155

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    Just saying from a personal view of stony brook unviersity and there have been other posts on this forum about their D school, if I get in anywhere else in america im choosing them over stony is where I am at right now. (also assuming i get into stony I would be getting into other schools lol)
     
  12. babypapa

    babypapa

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    Just wondering why you hate Stony Brook. I have been to more than ten schools for interview including all schools in NY state but I found Stony Brook provides the most ideal environment for me; small class size, well balanced curriculum, suburban location, clinics and so on so on. The only school I would choose over Stony Brook among schools I've visited will be Harvard which rejected me already . I don't get it why you put so much of your time and energy to deter other folks from going to Stony Brook.
     
    Last edited: 02.24.11
  13. camshaft

    camshaft Loves mucosal tissue

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    Well I'm in the UMDNJ masters, but have been accepted to dental school this cycle. I would not however want to attend UMDNJ for dental school if I had the option to go to Stony brook. Don't take that the wrong way though. UMDNJ is a good school, and I enjoy the dental classes I take here. I don't however see much that makes it stand clearly above other schools I visited, and I can't stand the location. If you aren't a city person to begin with, you especially won't enjoy Newark. The only means of public transportation is bus, and it's not city as in "everything you'd ever want is within walking distance", like other major cities. Many of us eat in the hospital cafeteria simply because the only other places to eat within walking distance of the school are a couple fast-food places. You wouldn't want to venture out at night anyway though. If you do decide to come here, bring a car. You'll feel trapped without one after a month.

    I used to be of the mentality that the quality of a school is far more important than it's location and surrounding area, but if you aren't fond of cities to begin with, I really think you'll soon be unhappy here. Yes, NY is close, which is nice, but I still prefer to drive into NY from here and then just use coupons from the NY Central Parking website at their garages. Getting into NY via public transportation means waiting for a bus that often isn't on time, then a 15 min bus ride, then wait for PATH train, then cross over to upper PATH train, then walk or take the subway to where ever your final stop is. So it can be over an hour before you're actually where you want to get.

    Also, the cheating/old exam scandal has put a tension in the air that many of the students aren't thrilled about, because it hurts that camaraderie of upperclassmen giving notes/tips/etc to lowerclassmen since there's that fear of someone overstepping the line.

    Admittedly I haven't personally visited Stony Brook, but I've only heard people speak well of it, and it sounds like a school I'd enjoy. Hope that may help a bit.
     
  14. Impulse155

    Impulse155

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    When you go here, lived here your whole life, and volutneered at the dental clinic you start to see how bad it really is.

    Im not saying the education isnt great, you get what you payed for and 100x more. Its just in my opinion the environment is not great and they have no intentions of changing it from what ive noticed over my past 3 years of being here. From what I say, I speak SOLEY on undergrad as I am an undergrad here and not in dental school. Its just from how it impacted me I feel that it wasnt a good school socially, and they do nothing at all to improve it, if anything they try and make it harder on students when you get into the politics (as a board member of clubs I have been impacted by this).

    I feel the education I am currently receiving however is absolutly amazing.
     
  15. babypapa

    babypapa

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    Could you elaborate more specifically? I really don't get your point especially about environment part.:confused:
     
  16. Impulse155

    Impulse155

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    When I meant environment I didnt mean it in a sense of like its dirty lol. I meant it as in just the mood and atmosphere here at Stony Brook.

    For example, they had a concert last week that had prolly over 1000 people in line to try and get in. Of those 1000 people they only allowed maybe 400 in. The place where they booked it has a limit of 650. Why not allow another 250 in? They also decided that in the middle of the show they were going to kick out the performer an hour early. So he was only actually able to come on for maybe 30 minutes or so.

    Im part of a club on campus, (a worldwide known club too) I dont want to name names though. We have tried to get a budget here on campus for almost a year now and they refused us multiple times forcing us to find our own ways to get funding, they have also tried to stop most of the ways we have done fund raising. For example we wanted to sell roses on valentines day since stony brook has never done this before. We rented a table from them and got permission, but they denied us the permission to sell roses. 2 days later we find out that they ordered roses and are going to be selling them.

    As for the student life, EVERYONE is from the city or closer. What does that mean? That everyone is withing an hour driving from stony brook. Of the dorming life here at stonybrook, we consider Thursdays our Friday, since on friday I would say 80% (not an exaggeration) go home on the people. So if your from out of state, it can get very lonely. I know people who are seniors now and are still yet to stay a weekend on campus.

    If you want a school PURELY based on price and academics. Stony Brook is the way to go.
     
  17. AndrewNJ

    AndrewNJ

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    Thanks for the responses guys.

    @Camshaft
    You hit my biggest worry on the head. While UMDNJ will have more out-of-school activities, its not a walking city, so I'll be driving everywhere anyways. The school is somewhat of an island given the surroundings and I would not feel too safe walking anywhere off campus. And making a bunch of transfers to get up to the Upper East Side to visit my brother will probably take longer than just driving there.

    @Impulse
    Thanks for elaborating on some of your gripes about Stony. It doesn't sound like any of that will really be of issue to me, but its good to hear. I probably won't really have the time or the inclination to take in the school social scene. Another trip to the school is definitely in order in the next few weeks though.
     
  18. achilles2

    achilles2

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    wow I can't believe I am about to say this I mean 999/1000 times I would say go to Stony Brook no ?'s asked

    but after looking at your unique situation I'm gonna say UMDNJ might be a better fit

    Few reasons:

    Stony is strong clinically but chock full of gunners (my cute way to saying type A personalities)
    I mean I love type A's...I am one!!! But I can see why we are not always the most fun people to be around during stressful situations.
    (disclaimer I am not a Stony Brook student)

    I think you will get ALOT better mental support being closer to your family/friends/girlfriend....Stony is kinda in the middle of nowhere

    I am NOT trying to bash Stony I think it is flat out 1 of the best schools in the country and the entering class statistics speak for themselves, and if you followed any of my posts you will see me do nothing but pimp the school as greatness....I just feel the ops situation is unique.
    I do know a number of SB faculity and I have to say they really are outstanding and great people, I am unsure about NJ faculty so that ones in your hands or if someone who goes there wants to chyme in.


    Op if you have ANY interest in specializing I think Stony is the better choice (but along with that comes the long hours of studying, stress to do E/C's, etc) if you want to become a great GP and keep your mental health in check I think NJ might be the better choice.


    and I lol'd at your islanders comment

    PS I see you are a veteran, thanks for your service! I am not sure how the benefits differ from NJ vs. NY so that COULD be a deal breaker but I am totally ignorant to that info.

    regardless gl w/whichever choice you make, I would DEF re-visit both schools and talk to the faculty they might be able to give you some better insight (thats prob the best advice you are gonna get on an online forum)
     
  19. AndrewNJ

    AndrewNJ

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    Just to close out this thread, I chose UMDNJ. While both programs are excellent, I think the location of UMDNJ will be better for me over the next 4 years. So there is now a newly opened spot at Stony Brook.

    Thanks for all the advice. It helped me make my decision.
    Best of luck to anyone on the Stony Brook wait list!

    Andrew
     
  20. rickblas

    rickblas

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    Good luck at UMDNJ! :D
    Its good that you thought thoroughly through the decision, and you made a great choice!:thumbup:

    (And woot open spot at stony waitlist :smuggrin:)
     
  21. crax

    crax

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    this is a no brainer, the new jersey devils have been an amazing franchise for many years, and continue to be. while the islanders did have a good run, things are not looking very well for their organization. This is the first time nj hasnt made playoffs in over 8 seasons i believe..
    Newark is great IMO, why not support their economy with tuition hikes i say.
     

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