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5 days left - which medical school should I go to?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Ookers12, May 10, 2008.

  1. Ookers12

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    So I must admit that I've been very lucky in the admissions process to have been admitted into some pretty good schools. But now I'm just so confused about which would be the best fit for me, and what factors I should make my decision based on. I have narrowed it down to two: Dartmouth and Georgetown.

    When I was interviewing, I absolutely loved Dartmouth - great people, small school, lots of personalized attention. But now I'm worried about the location since its kind of in the middle of nowhere (seemed charming during my interview, but not sure I can handle it for 4 yrs) and its COOLD (I've lived in warm places my whole life). I've also read (this may be untrue) on SDN that Dartmouth has not-so-great Board scores due to a curriculum that isn't focused on Boards material. Since I do want to go into optho, I am worried that DMS may not be the best place.

    I wasn't blown away by Georgetown when I interviewed, but after thinking about it some more - it is definitely the better location, better weather, etc. However it is a much larger school (about 2.5 times the class size as DMS), definitely lacking in personal attention, and it just didn't seem to have that "we will take care of you" feel that DMS did. However, I'm not sure I necessarily need someone to be looking out for me, but it would be a nice bonus I suppose. (I went to a public school so definitely not used to personalized attn anyway). Also has a grading system during the first 2 years. Georgetown also seems to have a better match list in terms of more people going into surgical specialities, and I like that they offer you the opportunity to pick a surgical subspecialty during your 3rd year rotations. I'm not sure if other schools do this.

    So all in all, I feel like I SHOULD go to DMS because it is the better, smaller, more "caring" school. But I really WANT to like Georgetown because of its location and perhaps better match list/opportunities after graduation. But I base these assumptions on my very limited knowledge, so I would love to hear what fellow SDN-ers with much more knowledge and experience than I have to say about this.

    Your help is really appreciated!
     
  2. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    In terms of weather, the winter in NH is much nicer than the muggy humid summer in DC. Most schools have you trying multiple surgical subspecialties during your third year rotation so I'd be surprised if Gtown was offering anything different than the norm in that respect. And either of these med schools would be a fine launching pad for surgery, if that's what you still like at that point (odds are decent you will change your mind at least once) so ignore whatever match list trends you mistakenly think you are seeng here. I personally would pick Dartmouth hands down in that pairing.
     
  3. TheDundies

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    agreed- i dont' know a whole lot about g-town, but i did an MPH at dartmouth and lived up there for 2 years. it is certainly a small town, where there isn't a lot going on.. that said, it is incredibly charming, and the students are AWESOME. im friends with a lot of them- very down-to-earth people. if you're into outdoorsy stuff it is a great place to be (awesome hiking and skiing very close by). and it's an easy 2 hour drive from boston (which is the greatest place on earth!;)) also you have the option to do 3rd and 4th yr rotations in a bunch of different places - san fran, florida, alaska i think - so you can get a diverse clinical experience, and also have some time away from hanover if you get bored at all:) i have heard great things about DC too though so it sounds like you'll have a great 4 yrs wherever you end up! good luck:luck:
     
  4. blackbird11384

    blackbird11384 Junior Member
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    I am a bit biased towards Georgetown since I am a SMP student here (have taken 5 core science medical school courses and have interacted with the medical school class for the past year), graduated from the undergraduate college, and plan on attending Georgetown if admitted, but I can give you my perspective on the issue.

    First of all DC isn't that humid. I have always loved the climate (but I personally would see Dartmouth's average climate to be a plus, I like cold weather). A class size of 190 isn't too large compared to some other much larger private medical schools, and I personally wouldn't want to be in class small enough to be the size of my highschool class. As for the "caring" issue, students here get lots of attention from the faculty and administration. Student attention is very much a part of the Jesuit tradition in teaching, and all of Georgetown's schools (save for maybe the law school, so I have heard) pride themselves on caring for the student's needs and promoting a down-to-earth interaction between students and the faculty.

    Hmm, what else can I say to persuade you. We do have a very vibrant school spirit, even in the medical school, especially around basketball season. Georgetown has made a recent climb in the US News rankings (I know some people don't put any faith in these rankings, but it does show that our research dollars have been steadily rising) and the medical center is really pushing to obtain more and larger grants. The medical school campus is not too bad to look at, but the adjoining undergraduate campus is beautiful. DC is a very exciting and young city, with lots of networking potential.

    The curriculum next year will be brand new, having been formulated for the past 4 or 5 years, and will include integrated modules (similar to systems or organ based curriculums) each being an integrated sum of the traditional medical disciplines. As for matching, Georgetown is known for putting many students into surgical specialties (whether that is self selection or not, I don't know), and I heard from the administration that this year's match day was the best in history. Nearly 50% matched with top 25 centers/hospitals (I'm assuming they are referring to US News hospital rankings).

    I can't give you much insight into third year surgical subspecialties, but I can answer any questions about the atmosphere and student body here. PM me with any questions you have. Sorry for the long post, I just love this school!
     
  5. blackbird11384

    blackbird11384 Junior Member
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    reposted by accident. Whoops...
     
  6. kuhlguy

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    so i'm biased ... id say dartmouth all the way

    First, it seems other than weather that its where you want to be. And it's not like you expressed that you really liked Georgetown. You seemed to bring up a lot of hesitations about Georgetown.

    While I didn't interview at Dartmouth here is why I didn't like it at all. But remember this is me speaking so you have to decide if you agree because it's ultimatley your choice.

    The main thing for me was the size as you already mentioned. I'm sorry but 255 students is just too much. In addition you take classes with the PA studnets, so your lecture will have 300 people in it. When I walked into their lecture room I was like crap, back in g chem again. I have to say that I liked big lectures in undergrad, but I'd like a little more closeness in med school.

    Next, grades!!! ... my goodness that sucks. I think it was H/HP/P/LP/F (or some variation of that). Thats A, B, C, D, F in disguise!!!! When asked about competitiveness my tour guide said that it's there and people definatley watch out for themselves becasue they know there's a curve, but you'll find your friends to help you along. I was shocked!! At EVERY medical school I interviewed at, the students were always assuring me that the gunner mentality really didn't exist. This was a major turn off.

    Finally, another HUGE thing, was the hopsital. I just didn't like it. I didn't hate it, but I didn't feel like it was a place I'd wanna do my 2 years of clinicals (even if you do a few away rotations)

    O yea. One last reason. The $$$$$!!!!!!!!

    All in all, I decided immediatley to withdraw from Georgetown. I love DC, my sister has lived there for 4 years now, but would not go to Georgetown. I know it's a good school and the right school for some people, but not for me. You need to see if you agree with my evaluation

    Hope that helps!
     
  7. blackbird11384

    blackbird11384 Junior Member
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    Damn mouse key...double clicking and double posting things.
     
  8. blackbird11384

    blackbird11384 Junior Member
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    Well first off there is no PA program at Georgetown. We are Physiology students (a masters program aimed at improving your credentials for gaining admission to medical school).

    We only take 5 courses during the year with the medical school class. We don't take Gross Anatomy, Biochemistry, Genetics, any of the clinical or humanities classes. The grading scheme is Honors/High Pass/Pass/Fail. Low Pass does exist, but it counts as the same thing as a Pass (it's just a little nudge to tell you were close to failing). Honors is top 10% of the class (sometimes 15%), high pass is the next 10% usually, and the pass generally becomes the rest of the 80% of the class (since very very few fail). So, when you break it down, the majority by far is just getting a "Pass" on their transcript, no reason to freak out about it since so many people are considered in the "Pass" range. So Honor and High Pass are just for bragging rights and those people who like to ace everything.

    There may be competitiveness among those top 10%-20% students, because often times they are the same people in each class. But honestly, you are going to find a competitive group of students at any medical school. Then you have the massive chunk of 80% of the students who are conent with the Pass. Even within the gunners attempting to Honor everything, the only competitiveness I have seen is competitiveness with onself. Many people study together and exchange notes. In addition, almost 95% of the time, the cutoffs for Honors is always the same (around a 90% final grade), and the curve has never been blown out of the water by a crazy group of gunners.

    About the hospital. Yeah it's not the best looking hospital, but I think a lot of Georgetown medical students would agree that it gets the job done and then some. It's connected to the school of medicine which is a plus, and the hospital administration is putting a lot of money into the hospital to beautify it. You also would get to do rotations in the Washington area's largest hospital center (Washington Hospital Center).

    As for cost:
    Dartmouth - $37,850
    Georgetown - $39,957

    ...Not much of a difference if you ask me. Granted DC is more expensive to live in than Hanover, but that's because you get to live in one of the most active bustling cities in the nation.
     
  9. flip26

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    Hanover is shockingly expensive for cost of living - very high rents.

    But DC is definitely worse, on a par with Boston...
     
  10. Ookers12

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    Wow - thanks everyone for bringing up all these great points! Its especially nice to see so much school pride for both places. If I was to be totally honest with myself, I did like DMS more. But I'm skeptical about how much a couple hours of interview/lunch can really tell you about a school. That is why you guys' posts help so much!

    For example, I had no idea that 50% of Georgetown's class matched into top 25 hospitals. Anyone know anything about Dartmouth's success in that respect? How about Board scores and curriculum?
     
  11. blackbird11384

    blackbird11384 Junior Member
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    Because I am man of honesty I will retract my statement about 50% matching into top 25 programs. It seems like it was around 45% as indicated by our newspaper. And they say that 45% matched into the "top quarter" of U.S. News ranked institutions. I'm pretty sure they are refering to medical school rankings. In any case, the administrator I talked to said it was their best year yet.

    Here is a more informative link:
    http://www1.georgetown.edu/gumc/update/50707.html

    Here is the original story I posted:
    http://www.thehoya.com/node/15729
     
  12. ronaldo23

    ronaldo23 The Truth
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    talk about a high class problem
     
  13. ChubbyChaser

    ChubbyChaser Yummmy
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    BUt who really cares how many ppl match in the top 25...what really matters is that 90% match in one of there top three choices.
     
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  14. gbennett

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    dartmouth, no question. the small class size, the supportive environment, and the possibility to rotate at different sites are really great. at dartmouth, although your 4 years of medical school are difficult and stressful (as is true everywhere), youll still have a great time. i have friends who go here and have never regretted it. youre not too far from the big cities either, when you just need to go shopping or want to visit some nightclubs.
     
  15. physicsnerd42

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    Dartmouth.

    Look, you'll learn medicine at either school. I definitely think Georgetown is a good med school (every LCME-accredited med school is a good med school). It's the other factors that come into play when you choose a med school. It seems like you're worried about location, but don't be.

    Before coming here I had always lived in a city: Ottawa (Canada), Portland, Oregon and the San Fran Bay Area. I love this place (and I'm even saying this 5 days before my last set of finals in 2nd year med school and a month before I take Step I) and I love the people. I'm perfectly happy spending ~8 years here, so 4 should be no problem for you. If you have more specific questions about Dartmouth, post them here or PM me.
     
  16. thesauce

    thesauce Senior Member
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    Why do you say that?

    You have to get an interview at the place to put them on your rank list. So if you match at one of your "top three choices," it likely wasn't one of your top three choices, it was just one of the top three that invited you for an interview.

    My school is in the middle of the pack as far as med schools go and even we match ~90% to their top three choices.
     
  17. jelly476

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    hey i went to gtown for undergrad and I say based on your tone that you should go to dartmouth. I really loved my time at gtown and washington is a love it or hate it city, but location alone isnt why you should go to a school. go to the better school that you feel would be a better fit educationally. you seem to like the small class idea and hands on attention better. it doesnt matter what the stats are for residency match, it matters how you do personally and dartmouth is a great school. i also had the same problem where one school i got into was a better school but than the other that was in the better location and it really comes down to which SCHOOL you feel better at. you will have some free time but hell you can road trip to boston if you want.
     
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  18. Law2Doc

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    I'd take the match list stuff out of your decision process altogether. Folks at both these schools do fine. But you are unable to interpret a match list at this stage. Each specialty has its own top schools. The top school for surgery may be a crummy one for IM etc. It's all about how good versus malignant the personalities are at the various programs. Which change a bit year to year. You pretty much have to use word of mouth of mentors once you get to your 4th year of med school before you have a clue of what places are "good".

    As for board scores, schools aren't expected to publish these and when you do see them, it is often skewed or misrepresented anyhow. Most schools claim have above average stats, which cannot be true. So ignore this as well.

    Curriculum is a legitimate thing to look at when considering schools.
     
  19. dienekes88

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    QFT.

    It's entirely possible that people at Dartmouth have less inclination to pursue surgery, because fewer people think it's cool. That's partly a product of the culture, but also a product of the class.

    I vote for Dartmouth. Cool place. Great for cycling.
     
  20. pride4jc727

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    Go to Dartmouth, and open some spots for waitlisters like me at other places.
     
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  21. Coastie

    Coastie Junior Member
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    Dartmouth, hands down.
     
  22. Ookers12

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    Well the reason I was giving a fair amount of importance to location was because I'm not sure how else to really differentiate between these schools. Both are equally prestigious (not sure that matters even?) and seem to have equal research and rotation opportunities. From what you guys are saying, it seems like both schools do very well in terms of matching. The people who said to go with Dartmouth, can you tell me a bit more about how you made your decision?
     
  23. Aynsl156

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    Does Darmouth do P/F grading? If so, I'd vote for Darmouth.
     
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  24. Ookers12

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    Hmm... I read a post on the "dartmouth" class thread in the SDN forums. The person said the following:
    - 2nd yr courses are poorly taught, poor class attendance
    - curriculum isn't Boards forcused (you will know this best since you are currently studying for the Boards!)
    - 5 ppl failed the Step 1 last year

    Does anyone know if there is any truth in any of this?
     
  25. physicsnerd42

    physicsnerd42 Member
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    Hi,

    I got the PM, but I might as well just answer these for everyone to see.

    1) 2nd year courses are taught by more professors than first year classes and pretty much all of the lecturers (and small group leaders) in second year are clinicians. The upside is that the lectures are more clinically-relevant, the downside is that some classes have 20+ lecturers and while some are awesome, some aren't as good. All are very nice, especially in small group, and treat us like colleagues. They're working on making lectures better. I would say that the quality of the teaching overall in second year is about the same as first year (which is to say that it's pretty good), just most people figure out that they can be more efficient by not going to class, especially since MP3s, powerpoints, and lecture notes are provided. Also, it fluctuates by class. Maybe 30-40% of my class regularly attends lectures, but 90% + of the current 3rd years went to second year classes.

    2) We probably learn more than we need to know for boards because they also want us to know what we're doing in clinic (and the boards don't necessarily cover all this) as well as understand the science behind everything. I've set aside 3 weeks from the end of finals until I take boards and it's looking like that will be plenty of time. I know that they're not entirely accurate, but before starting to study for Step I, I took a NBME practice Step I and passed (and I am that guy who is usually within a couple of points of the class average on most tests, so definitely not at the top of the class). I feel like they actually do a very good job of prepping us for the boards, even if they do throw in a little extra info.

    3) Yeah, no one really understand why that happened. Every year typically 0 or 1 people will fail step I. Last year it was 5. Apparently all who failed had either split second year and/or had failed a class and were told that they were "high risk" for Step I failure. I'm guessing that last year was a blip: it doesn't have much to do with Dartmouth, but more to do with those people not studying enough for Step I.
     
  26. hippiedoc13

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    I think you have answered your own question. Your original post tells me you'd be happier at Dartmouth. I say this without any bias--I have no ties to either school.

    When choosing a medical school (and later a residency program), you can analyze the stats all you want, but in the end it comes down to where you will be happiest and feel most at home. That's the place where you will excel.

    Don't worry about the "average" board scores or ranklist of either school. It has little to no predictive value for your specific future. Remember, the "average" means that some were above and some were below. Board scores and residency match are MUCH more dependent on you and your own personal preparation and motivation. They'll teach you medicine well at both places. The rest is up to you.

    Congratulations, good luck, and listen to your gut!
     
  27. keepitgangster

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    Georgetown would be better for surgery, IMO. I have lived in both places and shadowed docs at both hospitals. Georgetown surgeons were much more awesome.
     

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