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2014 SUNY Downstate v Albany Medical College

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by CR7MedStudent, 09.20.14.

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  1. CR7MedStudent

    CR7MedStudent

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    Anybody has any advice on choosing between SUNY downstate and Albany Medical College?

    I just had my AMC interview the other day.

    Pros of AMC-
    -I was quite pleased with how the campus looked and what the students had to say about it.
    -The students who spoke to us on interview day really highlighted the support system that administration offered.
    -The school looked pretty updated/new
    -It is the biggest hospital in that area, which means a lot of good pathology would be seen in MS3 & 4
    -The area directly around the school is a lot better than SUNY downstate.

    Cons of AMC-
    -I wasn't that impressed with their match list. I myself would prefer to enter a residency in NYC or close NJ or Long Island.
    -20k more expensive than Downstate.
    -The snow!! I would probably need to buy a car then shovel it out a lot.

    I had my downstate interview a bit earlier.

    Pros of Downstate-
    -It is much closer to home compared to AMC.
    -All the people I know who went there raved about the clinical exposure and experience.
    -More "scud" work to practice basic skills.
    -It is connected to the biggest hospital in Brooklyn.
    -Their match list is more impressive in terms of what I want to go into (currently ortho or em)
    -Additionally I would think more heads and chairs of NYC and surrounding programs went to Downstate compared to AMC, or be more familiar with the students.
    -Downstate is also 20k cheaper.

    Cons of downstate-
    - Surrounding neighborhood is really lacking/sketchy.
    -Albany's facilities were much nicer.
    -Seemed less supportive and welcoming than Albany

    Has anybody been in same predicament or highly recommends one school over the other?
    Thanks in advance.
     
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  3. pink/\floyd

    pink/\floyd 2+ Year Member

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    This is assuming you get accepted to both schools. I'm not saying you wouldn't get accepted, but the "don't count your chickens before they have hatched" proverb def applies here.
    You don't wanna be this guy..
    [​IMG]
     
  4. CR7MedStudent

    CR7MedStudent

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    Funny video, that guy was totally unaware lol. I know what you mean though. But I'm in a combined BS/MD institution where my program has relationships with different medical schools, SUNY Downstate and AMC being 2 of them. We do the first 2 years of medical school here and the last 2 at one of 5 medical schools. The application process is similar to the residency match process where you interview at different schools who have all your grades and LORs and stuff then based on how the school ranks you and you rank them you are placed at one of these 5 schools for the last 2 years of medical school.

    Anyone has any opinions between the 2?
    Thanks
     
  5. pink/\floyd

    pink/\floyd 2+ Year Member

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    Gotcha. I'd personally go with Downstate then. They have a better reputation, match list and cheaper tuition (this is huge).
     
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  6. Psai

    Psai ヽ(´ー`)ノ 2+ Year Member

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    Good lists, I took the liberty of editing the fluff out and left in the things that actually matter.
    My personal opinion is go to downstate and your pros/cons list also point towards downstate in the event that you have a choice. Sophie is a nice program though, one of the guys from it at my school matched uro
     
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  7. CoffeeBean1

    CoffeeBean1 2+ Year Member

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    I also interviewed at the two, and as far as Downstate.. People complain about the surrounding area, but honestly, if you use common sense and don't walk alone late at night, you should be fine. And when people say the surrounding area is "lacking"... you're in probably the coolest borough for young people in one of the best cities in the world. You're a a few subway stops away from really nice areas in Brooklyn with a ton to offer and a short trip from Manhattan. It's not like you need to have an apartment or hang out in Flatbush.
     
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  8. CR7MedStudent

    CR7MedStudent

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    Thanks, you are right. I am leaning more towards downstate. Just trying to see if people have any experiences that can tip the scale more in one direction. I'm surprised you knew my program just based off of the "match" description. Not too many people know about, in my opinion.
     
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  9. CR7MedStudent

    CR7MedStudent

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    True. But do you know if a lot of students do that? For example, wouldn't you rather a closer apartment if you are like on call or something. Honestly I don't know much about schedules in MS 3 &4.
     
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  10. mik30102

    mik30102 5+ Year Member

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    Albany actually hasent seen much snow the past 5 years with the downstate area actually getting more. As someone who is applying to both I would without a doubt choose downstate. Albany is kind of boring, and Downstate is significantly cheaper. I also feel downstate has a better reputation and better oppurtunities to do away rotations at very attractive sites in the city
     
  11. chocolatethunder

    chocolatethunder 2+ Year Member

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    SUNY Downstate definitely!

    In regards to the campus/neighborhood, I spent the last 10 years living in Brooklyn and I live very close to the medical center. It's certainly not the prettiest neighborhood to live in but I wouldn't go as far as to call it sketchy.
     
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  12. Keladry

    Keladry 2+ Year Member

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    People love to complain about the area around Downstate, but it is REALLY not that bad. Is it hip/trendy/fun? No. But as a med student, you probably can't afford to live in one of those neighborhoods anyhow, and they're always a short subway ride away. Be smart, keep your wits about you (as you should anywhere in NY!) and you'll be fine. I live a few blocks away, and I love the convenience plus the amount of space I have for the rent I pay (plus I'm saving $100/month by not having to commute).
    EDIT: you asked if a lot of students live there vs. commuting. I'd say there's a pretty good split. Lots of people live in the dorms, or nearby off-campus; some commute from home (wherever that may be - some in Queens, some in LI, a handful in Manhattan); some get apartments in other neighborhoods and commute from there. It's up to you. Personally, I love the convenience and saving money (on both rent and not commuting), as mentioned above.

    I've found the students/faculty/staff to all be super welcoming/supportive/friendly. I'm sorry you didn't find that it was that way! I can promise that's not the norm. :)

    Some of Downstate's facilities aren't great, but they've got everything you need to get a good medical education, plus there's a new building opening next fall (literally no idea what it's for, though - might be public health related? Who knows. Whatever. We just got new chairs/couches in a bunch of different places in the existing buildings which is nice I guess?). But yeah, you're gonna get a good education. Plus there's one of the biggest trauma centers in the country right here, so it's a great place for both ortho and EM exposure.
     
  13. Lord Osis

    Lord Osis SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    I used to live in Albany, and I've got something to say here.

    1. It should be mentioned that Albany is NEVER a safe town. You'd be surprised to know that crime rate in Albany is more than twice of that in New York.
    It's true that the statistics is a little skewed because there certainly are very safe, affluent parts of Albany. Not near the campus, though.

    2. Although it snows a lot around the capitol region, Albany's transportation system doesn't get affected all that much unless it's really really really crazy snowy. Albany is kind of hilly, which makes the city government send snow trucks frequently to make sure there is no dangerous conditions on the roads.

    3. Parking is always a major headache, especially near the city center, and more so during the winter.
     
  14. CR7MedStudent

    CR7MedStudent

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    Thanks a lot. Do you mind if I ask why you chose to live off campus compared to dorms? I currently live in Manhattan so either will probably be cheaper, my rent is ridiculous. Also, it's good to hear that people are friendly and supportive at Downstate. Some people I spoke to made it seem otherwise. Lastly, have you done any away rotations?
     
  15. Keladry

    Keladry 2+ Year Member

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    For me personally, I'm OOS, so I need to establish residency in NY for tuition purposes for next year. :) So that was a deciding factor. My 2 roommates are both in-staters, though, and they both wanted to live off-campus because it's cheaper (and, personally, I think where we're living is nicer). I haven't seen much of the dorms, just one friend's studio, which seemed decent, so I don't know what the space is like for a 2-bedroom and can't comment on that. We've got a really spacious place, though, and I'm super happy about it.

    Haha I'm only an MS1, I've been in medical school for a grand total of 2 months, so that'd be a resounding no. :p
     
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  16. SallySparrow

    SallySparrow 2+ Year Member

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    Hey, saw your ping. What do your Sophie upperclassmen say? I feel like they might be able to weigh in better than random strangers on the internet;) I only have experience with AMC, although I did do an away rotation at NYU, and I saw you were looking at that school as well.

    Regarding our match list, I don't entirely know how to judge it, as I feel every specialty is different in terms of where the good programs are. There are probably people from any given school who have family/geography limitations which affects their ranking as well. And a lot of the students here are from California (probably a third of the class), so a lot of them are trying to get out of the area. I think what would be more informative would be to know what percentage of the people who wanted to be back in the city got back to the city. They tell us that a large percentage get one of their top choices, unfortunately I don't know the exact statistic for you, but it sounded pretty good. (like probably >80% getting one of their top 3 ranks, but don't quote me!)

    Tuition is high at AMC, but cost of living is low. I don't think it's low enough to make up that 20k tuition difference, though;) Unless you're independently wealthy, I do think this is a valid consideration.

    I agree that the area around isn't always the best/safest (there have been several burglaries in the area near the school recently, and Washington Park at night can get sketchy), so just exercise some common sense and precautions like in the city.

    As for clinical experience, I feel like there is definitely the opportunity to get a lot of it. We do have nurses/support staff who do a lot of the ancillary stuff, so while I hear people say they want to get busy and learn to do all of that scutwork, it does free up your time to learn other things. (I did do a 2 week rotation at Bellevue, so I know the tradeoff from having to do a ton of scut is you get to be a little more involved and take more ownership of your patients, which is pretty cool.) I'm hoping to go into surgery, so I do feel like I got plenty of chances to get my hands dirty at AMC, though. My family med preceptor let me do all sorts of procedures, blood work, xrays, PFTs, etc. My friend said on his ED rotation he did a ton a suturing and procedures when they heard he wanted to do surgery. Our trauma service is pretty busy. (one of our trauma attendings mentioned it's the busiest in the state; I don't know the most recent data or when this report is updated, but here's a press release from 2012 http://www.amc.edu/PR/PressRelease/3.2.12_Tra.html) I got to do a lot in the OR on my MS3 surgery rotation, but it definitely depends on what service you're on. I distinctly felt like we saw a lot of cool Peds pathology because we get a lot of referrals from the surrounding area as there aren't a lot of other centers nearby that have all the relevant specialists, and I'm sure that applies to a lot of other specialties as well.

    I don't think parking is an issue - if you live far from school, you can park in the shuttle lots down the block for free, or just find some street parking fairly easily. Most live within walking distance of school though (e.g. 10 minutes.) Having commuted (1.5 hrs on train/subway each way) for my job prior to medical school, I think that's a big pain, especially when you're working long hours and so much of your time is not your own during your clinical years, so losing several hours to commuting on top of a long day is just draining to me. And yes, Albany does plow pretty well, though you will have to shovel out your car if you don't find a place with off-street parking.
    I think it's nice to be able to have all your rotations in one place if you want to (though I personally did a number of rotations at farther sites, actually.) You don't need a car for rotations (though you might want it for other things!) I don't know how your options to do rotations at other NYC programs affects your match prospects later; but I can see where that might be helpful to get to know the hospitals/programs and to get your face out there.

    How does your program interact with the scheduling of NYU's clinical program? I did think one of the neat things for the MS3s I spoke with while I was at NYU was that they got to take more electives earlier, but I'm not wholly familiar with their entire schedule. E-Med is a 4th year course at AMC, so you would need to reach out to the department a little earlier, but they're good about that. You can do a week of ED on your peds third year rotation. You can choose Ortho as one of your 2 week surgery subspecialty electives during your surgery core as a third year. And then do your 4-week 4th year elective and up to 2 aways.
     
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  17. jonnythan

    jonnythan Some men play tennis, I erode the human soul 2+ Year Member

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    I am at AMC and am incredibly impressed with it. That said, I'd recommend Downstate solely for the tuition difference.
     
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  18. CR7MedStudent

    CR7MedStudent

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    @SallySparrow , that's pretty cool they give you additional responsibilities if they know you are interested in surgery.Do you feel most preceptors are that helpful? I myself am interested in ortho and I know how important it is too impress your preceptors during MS-3 &4. Also do you feel you have a better shot at matching to Albany for whichever speciality you choose? Like it would be cool to match to columbia presbyterian for ortho, if by next year it is still my #1 speciality, but almost all their ortho residents went to columbia med. Do you feel Albany does something similar, with taking their own?

    @jonnythan , what's your favorite thing about Albany? During my interview I really liked it, but from the other threads I've read on here a lot of people can be easily swayed away from Albany??
     
  19. jonnythan

    jonnythan Some men play tennis, I erode the human soul 2+ Year Member

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    The school's culture.
     
  20. SallySparrow

    SallySparrow 2+ Year Member

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    There's always some variation in preceptors, good and bad in each department. Just ask around and be nice to the clerkship coordinators, and they'll try and match you with your preferences. As for the match, each department is different and ortho is one of the surgical specialties I knew I wasn't interested in, so I haven't had any experience with them. We've taken a AMC grad or two each year for the past few years. http://www.amc.edu/academic/gme/programs/OrthopaedicSurgery/residents_fellows.cfm Most schools/departments will have a preference for their own, or rotators, as long as they were hard working decent people, since they are a known entity as opposed to people they are interviewing for a day. It also may reflect how many grads may have ranked staying at AMC as a high priority. But you're probably correct that there's some networking that happens down in the city that we may not be a part of up here; some of the match is also about who you know. If you're really set about staying in the city, then it probably does help to go to school in the city.
     
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  21. CR7MedStudent

    CR7MedStudent

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    @SallySparrow , Thank you for your detailed response. Do you mind if I ask what pushed you away from Ortho?
     
  22. SallySparrow

    SallySparrow 2+ Year Member

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    I had done some rotations as a premed at a community hospital, spent a day or two in the Ortho ORs and realized I wasn't as interested in the subject material as for other surgical subspecialties. I have met some really nice Ortho attendings, and all orthopods are really smart people, but it seemed Ortho could be an old boys club, moreso than some of the other surgical subspecialties, and a lot of carpentry. I liked surgeries that required fine dexterity and finesse and technique. Not to say Ortho may not be those things in some respects, but my experience as a premed, during ortho lectures, and on my family med rotation just made me feel like it's wasn't a good fit for me. As a female student, none of the attendings at AMC are female, and none of the residents are female, save a single female intern this year. I've seen female students match in the past, so maybe it's not as much of an issue in other departments, but nationwide it's only about 7% female. And again, I'm not as crazy about biomechanics, fractured bones, joint replacements, etc. It's important work, and I'm glad there are students like you interested in it! I think a lot of people get a lot of satisfaction from it because they get really good results and feedback after surgery because it tends to improve people's functionality significantly. Different strokes for different folks.
     

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