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Albert Einstein Questions

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by buckyboy484, Apr 25, 2007.

  1. buckyboy484

    buckyboy484 5+ Year Member

    Oct 18, 2006
    To those fortunate individuals currently at AECOM:

    I've been wondering about the academic environment there. The first two years are pass/fail (right?), so I would imagine that things aren't too cut-throat. Do students study together? Share study notes? What are the study aides? (Online video/audio recordings, comprehensive syllabi, do you actually need textbooks?). How many of the students regularly go to class? What is the breakdown of large lectures and smaller groups? Are the tests staggered or in blocks? What (if any) prep does the school offer before USMLE1? What else would you comment on, good or bad?

    Sorry, I know it's a lot, but whatever you can throw me would be much appreciated. Thanks!!
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  3. Mortal_Lessons

    Mortal_Lessons H.Perowne 10+ Year Member

    Aug 15, 2006
    New England
    Please visit the AECOM class thread in the Allopathic forum for answers to your questions. While there may not be answers to all of them there (I know some of your questions are definitely answered there), there are AECOM students who regularly monitor the Allopathic thread and will be willing to answer your questions about AECOM.
  4. amabbi

    amabbi New Member 2+ Year Member

    Aug 8, 2006
    You're correct, first and second year are P/F. Students are generally pretty tight and often will email out notes and charts that they made. There's a pretty good online resource ( where the best notes haev been uploaded.

    I'd say around 60-70% of students generally go to lecture. this is a complete guestimate, but I think it's pretty ballpark. Pretty much every class will have case conferences with around 15-20 students each led by a faculty member. Exams are in blocks (anywhere from 2-4 exams per block). The school doesn't offer any Step 1 prep courses, but usually sometime during second year, a representative from Kaplan will come by with some decent deal packages.

    As far as other things to comment on. My take: I regret my decision to come here. The neighborhood is lousy; there's nothing to do around campus, and it's not as safe as they make it out to be (we just got a notice today warning parents to watch their kids because there's a kidnapper on the loose). Manhattan is a good 45 minutes away by public transportation, which doesn't run frequently enough late at night. Waiting for 2 hrs for a bus in the middle of the night in the Bronx is not fun. The apartments are cheap-- but you get what you pay for. I know someone whose toilet was broken for a year. They never got around to fixing it despite numerous maintenance requests.

    The administration really doesn't give a **** about students. They forced about 10 kids in my class to 'decelerate' -- basically take an extra year to finish the first 2 years. They are completely unresponsive to student needs. Even basic things, like printouts of lecture notes, seems to come late every block, and they're invariably of poor quality. They *finally* got around to computerizing grades this year-- until then, they posted an excel spreadsheet of everyone's grades outside someone's office. The rest of Einstein is still trying to catch up to 1994.

    Despite the fact that Einstein sits on "hospital row" with 4 large hospitals in walking distance, for the most part to get to your 3rd year clerkships, you need to either take a shuttle or a taxi.... to places as far away as Flushing or Long Island. You don't really have much of a choice about where you end up, either (there's a lottery, but remember that you'll have to compete with 179 other people who don't want to take a cab to Long Island every day).

    Oh, and the best thing about Einstein, something that they don't tell you on the tour or in any brochure-- the exam results are "sequestered." What does that mean? You'll never get back any exam that you take. You never know what you got right or didn't. The only way to see an exam after you take it is if you fail-- and then you get 1 hour, supervised, during which you can look over the exam, but you're not allowed to write anything or look up any notes to see what the correct info is. It's the ****tiest thing, and something they don't mention to you until well after orientation.

    On the bright side, it seems like a lot of changes are coming around. We just got a new dean, and he's slowly replacing a lot of the old timers. In particular, the dean of students is the biggest moron imaginable (he makes George Bush look like a MENSA member) and he just got fired. Hopefully with his replacement, things will get better.... but I wouldn't cross my fingers.
  5. bigman43

    bigman43 Banned Banned 7+ Year Member

    Apr 13, 2007
    if its pass fail, what about GPA?!
  6. amabbi

    amabbi New Member 2+ Year Member

    Aug 8, 2006
    It's all based on your 3rd year grades.
  7. bigman43

    bigman43 Banned Banned 7+ Year Member

    Apr 13, 2007
    ****! thats baller
  8. Doctor~Detroit

    Doctor~Detroit this poll sux!!! 2+ Year Member

    May 9, 2006
    wow. this is the first outright "unhappy" post i have read about aecom. your points about the inconvenience of the rotations and the downside of the apartment situation are well-taken. i've also head of the housing department forcing new tenants to pay for a torn down separation wall (for the third bedroom?) if the previous tenant had chosen to tear theirs down. doesn't sound fair.

    the neighborhood issue and distance to manhattan really shouldn't be a suprise to anyone who interviewed there. i mean, i flew in to the bronx the morning of my interview and flew back home that afternoon, and that was plenty enough time to see what the neighborhood had to offer (since there isn't much to see). and the express bus schedules are online.

    sequestering exams seems like an unfortunate, but practical, way to deal with the issue of cheating. but i do agree that it's ultimately counter-productive to learning.

    i'm not sure what to think about the deceleration issue. it seems like this should only be an issue to a small percentage of the student body. i'm also suspicious that the academic alternative to those who were decelerated wasn't advancing with the rest of their class, but rather failing out of school.

    i'm tempted to ask, how many of your classmates share this level of unhappiness about aecom? it doesn't fit with the students i met on the interview day or previous students who've posted on sdn. do you think your experiences at aecom and resulting perspective are unusual?
  9. BadgerMD

    BadgerMD 2+ Year Member

    Feb 12, 2007
    Yeah, amabbi, you're scaring me! You really are the first person I've heard of that sounds unhappy at AECOM. How many of you guys feel like this?!
  10. amabbi

    amabbi New Member 2+ Year Member

    Aug 8, 2006
    You're correct about the wall. I think it's something on the order of $800 to put up a wall, which you will have to if you're moving into a previously unoccupied apartment. Completely random and unfair, but nothing you can really do about it.

    As far as the sequestration policy, I think it just belies the attitude of the administration in that they are willing to sacrifice the learning experience of the 99.999% of students who won't cheat, because they don't know how to deal with the 0.001% of those who might. They don't see us as people, just as faceless automatons that are stuck in their system.

    I think the entire issue with deceleration just emphasizes the point. Granted, the people who are asked to decelerate aren't obviously doing well. For the most part, though, it seems to me (and this is all just from anecdotal evidence) that their academic difficulties are a manifestation of some other problem in their life. Rather than suggest ways to deal with tough situations, their response invariably seems to be (1) suggesting or forcing deceleration, (2) suggesting or forcing counseling, and (3) insulting those in these situations. I've heard of multiple people being told that they don't "have what it takes" to make it in med school. The associate dean of students even told someone who took a leave of absence that coming back was a mistake. They don't realize that we are people, that we have problems that have nothing to do with our abilities to become capable and excellent physicians. They don't seem to care about our education, so long as we go through the motions of getting that 65+ to pass the exams.

    And yes, I am completely bitter and I am viewing my Einstein experience through ****-colored lenses. So take it with a grain of salt, if you wish. I just want you to know that I wasn't always like this. I was perfectly content with Einstein up until a few months ago when something happened that forced me to deal with the administration. The administration has admitted that what happened to me is completely not my fault, but they are unwilling to do anything to help me-- even though they acknowledge that what is going on will likely detrimentally impact my career as a physician. I don't want to go into details because I don't know who reads this, but if you send me a PM I'll be happy to fill you in on all the details and let you judge for yourself.

    As far as my views not fitting in with those you met on your interview... well, I'd venture that you're not getting an accurate sampling of student happiness here... just in that if a student doesn't like it here, they're not likely to lead student tours or meet with interviewees, right? And they are, essentially, getting paid to sell the school to the applicants.

    I don't know how many of my classmates share my sentiments. I honestly doubt that very many people here know just how unhappy I am. You might be tempted to ignore me as an outlier... which might be fair, but remember that you never know when things happen to you. I never thought that I'd be in this situation, and but for a run of bad luck, I wouldn't even have to be here telling you the truth about Einstein.
  11. cleothecat

    cleothecat 10+ Year Member

    Feb 1, 2007
    I would beware of trashing a school based on one opinion

    I know several grads who had a fantastic experience at AECOM recently and who highly recommend the school.
  12. amabbi

    amabbi New Member 2+ Year Member

    Aug 8, 2006
    Cleo-- fair enough. I'll admit that chances are, if you go to AECOM, you'll get through it without having to deal with the administration. If, unfortunately, you do, you will understand why I am so pissed at the school. (After all, no one complains about their cheap health plan or car insurance until they actually need it... )

    Like I said, if you're seriously considering Einstein and you want to know the details of my situation, feel free to PM me. I want to make sure that you know the truth about Einstein before you make your decision.

    But just a few more points. Looking back at my first 2 years here, I can see numerous instances where the administration made it rather clear that they don't really care about us or trust us. For instance, the school does not videotape or digitally record lectures for us. During 1st yr, they audiotaped lectures only for the transcript service. My class decided not to do the transcript service for 2nd yr-- so they didn't record any lectures. A few people decided to bring their MP3 recorders and record lectures anyway (which were bad quality since they didn't go through the sound system). One of the deans found out and forbid us from posting the recorded lectures online-- citing privacy and copyright concerns. As far as I know, most schools wouldn't have any problems with this, given that it might be useful for people to learn-- but not so at Einstein.

    And just another thing about how slow things are here. The 2nd year class is halfway through the last round of finals. We submitted our lottery requests in early March. Most people are taking off for home to study for boards on Friday afternoon. We still don't know what our schedules are like. We don't know which hospitals we've been assigned to. And when they're finally posted, they won't be posted online-- you have to go to someone's office and look it up on a bulletin board. So if you're going out of town to study for boards for 6 weeks, AFAIK you will either have to ask someone to look up your schedule, or you'll have to ask someone to go over to the office and look it up for you. This might affect your 1st lottery if you're planning on driving and the hospital requires a parking permit-- since there is a several weeks-long waiting list. Not such a huge deal, I know, but it's just another example of the slow-as-molasses pace of education at this school.

    Once again-- I'm not saying that you definitely shouldn't go to Einstein based solely on my experience. But at the same time, I think that my experience shows just how little the school cares about the well-being and future careers of its students. Something you really want to consider before you commit 4 years and massive sums of money...

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