Advise on Choosing a Med School

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Adcadet, Nov 5, 2002.

  1. Adcadet

    Adcadet Long way from Gate 27

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    Hey all in the allopathic forum -
    I am applying to medical schools, and am currently waiting on 3 schools to give me their decision. I feel very good about my application, and think I may be blessed enough to get multiple acceptances. Since most of you are in medical school (and some beyond, I'd imagine), what advice would you give to a premed who's looking at different schools?

    Does a school name/US News rank make a difference in getting into competitive residencies? Does the only thing that really matters is wheree you'll be comfortable? Should I worry if a school doesn't seem to teach to Step 1? Should I go to a school that has a top-ranked residency in what I want to do? Since I currently do a lot of research, how can I use that to help me into a good residency?

    Any help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
     
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  3. Hoosierdaddy

    Hoosierdaddy Member

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    Adcadet,

    My advice would be to go wherever you are most comfortable. I believe that it is much more important go where you will be happiest than it is to go to a "top ranked" school. I turned down a top 20 school to be closer to my family and friends. The U.S. medical education system is the best in the world, and you will get an excellent education wherever you go in this country. However, if your interests are in research, you might want to put a little more weight into the rankings. It all comes down to what is important to you.

    I wouldn't worry about going to a school that has a top-ranked residency in what you want to do; most students change their minds multiple times during their med school career. Just some things to think about . . .
     
  4. merlin

    merlin Senior Member

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    I think this decision is really a personal one that doesn't have any strict formulas that will equate where you are going to be the happiest, score the highest on the boards, or get the best residency from. I really hope for your sake that around May you end up with a couple of places to choose from. My situation last year was that I essentially only had one choice of where to go and so that is were I went. If I had had a choice of a couple schools, both school location and reputation would have been the two main factors for me. What I tell applicants when I talk with them during the lunch is that the curriculum is going to be the same for almost every school. Whether you go to a "lower tier" school or a top program, you are going to be reading the same textbooks and learning the same material. Location is really a key factor in my mind though. I feel that my entire perspective on how much I like the school and consequently my impression of how strong the education that I am getting is, would be different if the school was in a different location. Location really affects your quality of life and if you are miserable where you are living (granted not much of my time is spent away from school) then you are going to also have a less enjoyable experience in school. I think at many times in med school you are going to be miserable and unhappy and start thinking that you made the wrong choice of where you went. That much is fairly unavoidable. So what am I trying to say? Really evaluate where you are going to be the happiest living for at minimum the next four years of your life and also give some thought, albiet maybe less weight, to where that school is going to get you four years from now in relation to where you think you might be at that timel. Good luck. Cheers. :cool:
     
  5. nuclearrabbit77

    nuclearrabbit77 commercial sex worker

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    i agree with most of the previous posts, however, i think it's important to stress the fact that curriculums can be quite varied. (PBL vs. traditional, pass/fail vs. grades, # of class hours, etc.) can vary from school to school. another element that wasn't mentioned was the cost. i know plenty of people who opted out of a highly ranked private school in order to save money and attend their state institution. (many of these instate schools aren't even "ranked").

    even if you like research, the ranking of your school in terms of research matters little since you'll hardly have time to do research besides a summer fellowship between your first and second year, or if you decide to take it to the next level with a mstp, howard hughes, etc.
    in addition, specific departments will be stronger at some universities - ex. derm research at X university is top notch even though it may not be highly ranked in the overall u.s. news rankings. if you have a particular research interest and you know that you want to pursue that further in medical school, then you should look at that specific program at your prospective university.

    to echo the previous posts...

    go with your gut feeling, and don't think about us news so much.
    you can still become a sexy dermatologist even if you go to some non-ranked med school.


    nuclearrabbit

    northwestern - 2006
     
  6. souljah1

    souljah1 Attending

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    I think your comfort should be one of your top priorities (if you are that lucky). For me, I wanted to go to a school that was progressive, was P/F, had an integrated curriculum, had strong clinical programs, and had a reputation for having a cohesive group of students. Everyone's priority will be different and I think the advice provided in this thread is sound. You have to ask yourself what you are looking for. Reputation does have its place, but I don't recommend that you make it your most important decisive factor. Regardless of which school you attend, your own hard work will determine your board scores. Where you attend medical school CAN impact on the level of clinical training that you receive. Not only will it impact on when you are introduced to clinical medicine, but the quality of clerkship experience will vary from medical school to medical school.

    I also think cost factors are important to consider as well. Yes, I would have happily attended a private school and payed 200,000 dollars for four years if it meant that I would reach one of my goals in life. However, I am much happier knowing that my medical education will be half of that, atleast. The added stress of accumulating debt (for someone who is having to pay for the education without any family support) can be overwhelming for some. Luckily, I was blessed with the opportunity to go to a state school that is very inexpensive (11K/year in fees), but also has a good reputation when it comes to residency.

    So, all in all, I would think about comfort/location, style of curriculum, amount of clinical opportunities, potential funding for international clinical experience and/or research, cost, and reputation (if you are interested in academic medicine). Getting a feel for the medical student body is really important as well, although I don't think you can get a really good sense of that in one day. I am still realizing how great many of my classmates are, and truly feel privileged to be sitting next to them. It is a slow process of unfolding.

    There are those who seem to let US News dictate their desires, but I think that those people are ridiculously narrow minded...mules, in many ways.
     

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