Amazing offers- need help sorting it all out!! Please offer advice!

violincuty

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Hello all! I am in desperate need of some unbiased advice- I thank everyone in advance for taking the time to read about my situation and offer a thoughtful response.

First of all, I want to say that I am incredibly fortunate. I came from a below average state school with a 28 on my MCAT, and somehow I was able to land acceptances at UCSD (MD-only for now, potentially MD-MPH (PRIME)) and Dartmouth (MD-PhD). The Dartmouth offer is fully-funded, and the UCSD offer is partially funded (~100k total debt for 4 years).

If I were going to follow my heart, it would be a simple decision. UCSD is on the west coast close to my family in LA, they have a strong internal initiative of helping underserved communities, I LOVE the student-run clinic, the students I met were serious but fun/well-rounded, and overall, it is where I want to be. It is a miracle that I even got in to UCSD as an OOS applicant with my scores! I worry about the debt, but I feel that they offered me a generous financial aid package (with my limited knowledge of what constitutes a "good" financial aid package for MD-only students). I could transfer internally, potentially, into the MSTP if I really wanted it; however, I am not entirely convinced that I want/need a PhD to acheive my career goals anymore. I have been doing a lot of soul-searching into what I am hoping to get out of my medical education as of late, and my desire to complete the PhD portion seems to be in flux.

Dartmouth is an incredible school, too. They had an extremely supportive student community, strengths in placing people into great residencies, lots of student involvement in the administration and incredible research opportunities. Their location in limiting, though, in that the population is quite homogeneous and the student-run clinic doesn't hold a candle to UCSD. However, I was one of only a handful of people to be accepted into the MD-PhD program here- it's a hard offer to turn down.

Other considerations- I am waitlisted at UCLA and I was approached recently by the navy offering me an HPSP scholarship for UCSD. The HPSP offer is incredibly tempting, but it would restrict where I can do my residency and it seems like it would isolate me from my medical school class. On the upside, I would finish medical school with no debt and a small savings. I could also practice medicine the way it is meant to be practiced- without worrying about malpractice, patients who cannot afford healthcare, etc, and I can give back to my country by helping injured soldiers. I would be limited in my options to help underserved populations and go on medical missions to third-world countries, though. Luckily, there is a Naval hospital in San Diego, so I would likely be able to stay there for residency. I have no idea what military life would be like, so if anyone has any insight into physician life in the military that they can share, I would greatly appreciate it. I wonder how easy it is to go into private practice in the civilian world coming froma naval residency- does anyone know what others have experienced in their transition?

I have incredible options, and I really appreciate being in this position! I know there are no wrong choices; however, I really want to make an educated decision, one that I will not regret in the long run. Thanks again for taking the time to help shed some light on my issue :)
 
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Dartmouth. $.

Going outside California is good. People in CA live in some self-made bubble.
 

drizzt3117

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I'd go to sd if you don't care about the phd. Four years of salary > 100k even with interest if you're looking at it from a purely financial perspective nm the time investment if you don't really want the degree.
 

theWUbear

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Congratulations! I would go with the UC because it is so important to have a great support system during medical school. Staying in California, with family nearby, will keep you comfortable and 'in your element' so you can focus on school and do your best! Both are great options.
 

MilkmanAl

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Well, the first order of business is the easiest. Don't do the HPSP unless you would probably join the military anyway. It's not really a good financial deal in the long run. It gets stickier after that.

You really need to nail down whether or not you want or need the PhD to do what you want. If you're anything less than certain about getting it, I wouldn't go for MD/PhD. From the outside looking in, it seems to me that the benefits of having a PhD are very minimal unless you're going to do straight research after med school. That decision will tell you which school you should go to.

The list of schools you applied to is simply baffling. I wouldn't have advised you to apply that way if you're gotten a 38, but I'm glad it miraculously worked out for you. Talk about a success story!
 

violincuty

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I'd go to sd if you don't care about the phd. Four years of salary > 100k even with interest if you're looking at it from a purely financial perspective nm the time investment if you don't really want the degree.
Thanks for the advice :)

I am honestly not sure if I want the PhD or not. When I went into this cycle, I felt 100% sure, but after interacting with MD-PhD students and faculty, I feel that I may be better suited for academic medicine. I truly enjoy working with people and teaching, so the PhD may be wasted on me.

I am trying not to worry about the money too much- it will all figure itself out in time. I just want to pick an option that will offer me a fulfilling career and en environment that I will be comfortable in. I see myself fitting in better in SD rather than Hanover, NH, but it's hard to say from such short visits to both locations. I could pursue any graduate degree that I choose to at either institution, so I am thinking that I am better off choosing a school for other reasons than the program that I was accepted into. I hope I am not looking at this too naively.

Thanks again for the response- I appreciate it! :luck:
 

Geekchick921

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Just from reading your posts here, I think you really want to go to SD, but you're posting here to have others tell you to do it. Nothing wrong with that, if that's the case, though! :)

I agree with Al, too, do NOT do the military thing unless you were going to do the military anyway. Congratulations on your very successful cycle.
 

violincuty

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Well, the first order of business is the easiest. Don't do the HPSP unless you would probably join the military anyway. It's not really a good financial deal in the long run. It gets stickier after that.

You really need to nail down whether or not you want or need the PhD to do what you want. If you're anything less than certain about getting it, I wouldn't go for MD/PhD. From the outside looking in, it seems to me that the benefits of having a PhD are very minimal unless you're going to do straight research after med school. That decision will tell you which school you should go to.

The list of schools you applied to is simply baffling. I wouldn't have advised you to apply that way if you're gotten a 38, but I'm glad it miraculously worked out for you. Talk about a success story!
Thank you so much for the kind words!!! My options still seem surreal- I wake up every day and pinch myself to make sure it's really happening. I couldn't have hoped for a better outcome, and there were many many days along this application trail that I thought I would never see this day. I could not be happier!!! :D

I honestly think that my bizarre disadvantaged story got me to where I am. For the heck of it, I am going to post the autobiography that I had to write for my UCSD secondary because it might be helpful for some of those in the application cycle to see what goes into one of these secondary essays. It's incredibly long, so don't feel obligated to read it all ;)

7500 words- the UCSD secondary (and my life story)...
"My youth presented unique challenges that I needed to overcome in order to achieve my educational goals. Neither of my immigrant parents spoke English well or completed the equivalent of a high school education. I have no relationship with my father because he left home while I was an infant; thus I was raised in Las Vegas by my mother who lived in relative poverty and put me to work early to support her gambling addiction.

While I was growing up, our main source of income was the money my mother and I earned at a local swap meet. I worked with her at the swap meet every weekend throughout my childhood, which created social problems for me because I never had the opportunity to spend weekends building friendships. When I was 15 years old, I got a job at a sandwich shop most days after school to help earn additional income for the home. Unfortunately, we often had very little money due to my mother’s severe gambling problem. I missed many days of school because my mother would keep me at the casino or have me sleep in the car all night while she played Baccarat. Additionally, the home I grew up in was severely vandalized when I was five years old, and this incident left us without air conditioning, heating, a working kitchen, flooring, or furniture. In addition to living in substandard conditions, there were many days we could not afford to buy food. We did not have access to healthcare or government support (i.e. welfare, subsidized meal plans, or state health insurance). Furthermore, I was not able to participate in sports at school because of a lack of health insurance.

In spite of my upbringing, I graduated from high school at 16 as the valedictorian of my class after skipping the 4th grade and my senior year of high school. While I wanted to pursue a college education immediately following graduation, I was neither in a position emotionally nor financially to go directly into college. That year, my mother agreed to let me move in with a family friend in exchange for money that she needed to save her home from foreclosure. I spent the next three years working to save enough money to continue my education. First, I decided to pursue convention spokes modeling because it gave me exposure to many professional fields and an opportunity to improve my public speaking skills. Concurrently, I decided to become involved in personal training in order to have the opportunity to teach aerobics and yoga classes. These classes were my first exposure to teaching in a classroom setting, and I found the experience of working with people to be very enjoyable and rewarding. When I was 17, I chose to focus on a job with clinical relevance in preparation for my career in medicine. I began working as a veterinary assistant because it gave me the opportunity to learn and perform many clinical techniques. Although I decided to pursue veterinary medicine because of my love for animals, I quickly learned that the central focus of the job was dealing with the pet’s owners. I discovered that there was a certain art to explaining a condition or a treatment to people who were often not familiar with modern veterinary practices, and I enjoyed the gratification that came from earning the owner’s trust. I also learned that not every terminally ill patient could or should be saved, and while this lesson was a difficult one, I feel that the growth I gained from experience was integral in my decision to further pursue a medical career.

At 19, I returned to school to continue my quest towards achieving my goals and am on the cusp of taking the next step towards realizing my dreams. Having not taken the SAT or the ACT, I had to begin by enrolling in remedial courses as a non-matriculated student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). Once I completed these courses and became admitted, I was awarded several scholarships for my academic achievements in high school and a Pell Grant every semester. I have supported myself, entirely debt-free, through scholarships, financial aid, and conducting paid research throughout my school years and summers.

The academic culture of the University of Nevada Las Vegas provided me with unparalleled opportunities for professional growth as I was able to take the initiative to get involved in research early in my undergraduate education. My first experience at the Desert Research Institute during my sophomore year exposed me to the many rewards of scientific research. As I began to discover the vast amount of unanswered questions that still exist in biology and relished the challenges of working to answer them, I came to the realization that research was my calling. In subsequent years, I have undertaken additional research opportunities at Columbia University, the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and the University of California San Francisco, and I will bring these diverse learning experiences to the University of California San Diego. I am confident that my early successes, which include receiving five competitive research awards, presenting the results of my research at ten professional conferences, co-authoring one publication in the Journal of Bacteriology, and being awarded a 2008 Goldwater Scholarship, are just the preface of accomplishments that my lifelong commitment to research will yield. Additionally, my exposure to the administrative side of academia during my time as the coordinator for the National Science Foundation’s Undergraduate Research Program provided me with a well-rounded perspective of the research experience from that of an undergraduate researcher, a student mentor, and an administrator. Coupling this with my teaching and mentoring experience as the instructor of a course in scientific leadership gives me a uniquely holistic understanding of my pursuits.

My family and friends are often puzzled by my passion for scientific research. While they appreciate my enthusiasm for my work, they have trouble understanding why I seemingly enjoy analyzing data more than doing just about anything else. It is my research that defines my sense of accomplishment and what drives me every day. This is why I am so excited about the prospect of pursuing an education that is individualized and without intellectual constraints. My graduate training will provide incomparable intellectual growth as it will foster my ability to think independently and improve my analytical approach to problem solving. During my four significant research experiences, I found that I enjoyed the process of generating purposeful research questions and designing efficient experiments to test the validity of my hypotheses. I am planning a career in academic research at the interface between basic science and clinical medicine, and many aspects of the Ph.D. education, such as the oral comprehensive examination and the process of composing a thesis, provide essential training in the skills required to succeed as a future research faculty member. I am confident that the M.D./Ph.D. program is ideal for me because I will have the opportunity to pursue a fulfilling profession that explores the humanistic aspect of helping patients achieve a better quality of life through the development of novel treatments.

I intend for my story to give context to how I will bring a unique perspective and voice to my class. My atypical path in overcoming this adversity has been integral in shaping my vision and drive for a biomedical research career. My diverse background, including immigrant roots, years of work between high school and college, and being an entirely self-supporting student, provide me with a unique and well rounded perspective of the reward that taking risks and persevering through immense challenges can bring. In this way, I strive to be a role-model and mentor for non-traditional students on a similar educational path."
 

drizzt3117

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I would think about it this way. You can absolutely do both as a md/phd, but I think if you want to spend more time doing clinical work, the degree isn't necessary. If your intention is to run a lab, it may be helpful but most pis are still not md/phds so it's not essential there either. You have really strong research credentials, though!

Thanks for the advice :)

I am honestly not sure if I want the PhD or not. When I went into this cycle, I felt 100% sure, but after interacting with MD-PhD students and faculty, I feel that I may be better suited for academic medicine. I truly enjoy working with people and teaching, so the PhD may be wasted on me.

I am trying not to worry about the money too much- it will all figure itself out in time. I just want to pick an option that will offer me a fulfilling career and en environment that I will be comfortable in. I see myself fitting in better in SD rather than Hanover, NH, but it's hard to say from such short visits to both locations. I could pursue any graduate degree that I choose to at either institution, so I am thinking that I am better off choosing a school for other reasons than the program that I was accepted into. I hope I am not looking at this too naively.

Thanks again for the response- I appreciate it! :luck:
 

violincuty

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Just from reading your posts here, I think you really want to go to SD, but you're posting here to have others tell you to do it. Nothing wrong with that, if that's the case, though! :)

I agree with Al, too, do NOT do the military thing unless you were going to do the military anyway. Congratulations on your very successful cycle.
I agree, I think that is what I want too. However, I thought about canceling my Dartmouth revisit today, and I just can't bring myself to turn down their offer quite yet. I am really torn. I am more or less seeking unbiased opinions- I know no one can tell me which choice is best for me.

My life is kind of serendipitous. I was sitting around worrying about the debt on Friday when randomly a navy surgeon/recruiter offered me a fully-funded HPSP offer. I am considering it, but I am not yet convinced that it is a great offer for me (as you suggested). This is what I love about SDN- you can solicit advice from many people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives :)
 

drizzt3117

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You have an amazing story! I'm sure you'll be successful no matter where you go. Ultimately I'd go where you'll be happy. Going to the revisits is probably a good call, they might help you solidify your decision.

I liked Dartmouth a lot. During my cycle it almost made my top 5, just because of feel. I declined to interview at SD, but I heard that the environment has gotten a lot better there in recent years. You'll get a great education at any of the schools though!



I agree, I think that is what I want too. However, I thought about canceling my Dartmouth revisit today, and I just can't bring myself to turn down their offer quite yet. I am really torn. I am more or less seeking unbiased opinions- I know no one can tell me which choice is best for me.

My life is kind of serendipitous. I was sitting around worrying about the debt on Friday when randomly a navy surgeon/recruiter offered me a fully-funded HPSP offer. I am considering it, but I am not yet convinced that it is a great offer for me (as you suggested). This is what I love about SDN- you can solicit advice from many people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives :)
 

violincuty

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You have an amazing story! I'm sure you'll be successful no matter where you go. Ultimately I'd go where you'll be happy. Going to the revisits is probably a good call, they might help you solidify your decision.

I liked Dartmouth a lot. During my cycle it almost made my top 5, just because of feel. I declined to interview at SD, but I heard that the environment has gotten a lot better there in recent years. You'll get a great education at any of the schools though!
I agree, I should go to both revisits. Here is the catch about that, though- I have to decide between them by April 30 because that is the AAMC trafficking date for MD-PhD programs. The Dartmouth revisit is April 30-May 1. I opted to go two days early, so I will be there on April 28. I will still have to make my decision in the middle of revisit weekend :oops:

I wanted to dislike Dartmouth because it's so far away from home and the climate is far from ideal, but honestly I had an amazing interview experience there and have nothing negative to say! I am so torn....
 

Evergrey

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Wow! I am envious of you, but I am happy for you more than I am envious. Congrats!! Good luck in your decisions, and some idle advice from an ignorant person -- don't join the military just to pay for medical school! You will pay the loans off eventually without it.
 

violincuty

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Wow! I am envious of you, but I am happy for you more than I am envious. Congrats!! Good luck in your decisions, and some idle advice from an ignorant person -- don't join the military just to pay for medical school! You will pay the loans off eventually without it.
Awww, thanks! Like I said before, it still doesn't seem real! Evidently, dreams really can come true :love:

I agree that the loans aren't the biggest deal in the world. I have never taken out loans to pay for my education, so the idea is really new to me. At the same time, I know most people go ~200k or more into debt to go to medical school and the offer UCSD gave me puts me significantly below the national average.

The navy offer is intriguing for more reasons than just money. It's also an opportunity to practice medicine "the right way", to give back to my country, to learn some stability/discipline in life, etc. I am not sure if it is right for me- just considering it. Regardless of which path I choose, I will never be a money-hungry doctor...I just want to live a comfortable life and make meaningful contributions to science/medicine. The other consideration is that UCSD doesn't have the most amazing board scores on average (Dartmouth is about 20 points higher), and if I want to get into a competitive residency, I may have trouble with my history of taking standardized tests. In the navy, it was my understanding that I will almost be guaranteed a residency in whichever field I choose on a naval base (hopefully the one in SD if I end up going to UCSD!) I guess I just need to speak to someone who has done it.

Thanks for the kind words!! I wish you the best of luck in your upcoming cycle as well :xf: Let me know if you want/need help with any part of your AMCAS! I will gladly proofread or share mine with you if it would help :)
 
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Awww, thanks! Like I said before, it still doesn't seem real! Evidently, dreams really can come true :love:

I agree that the loans aren't the biggest deal in the world. I have never taken out loans to pay for my education, so the idea is really new to me. At the same time, I know most people go ~200k or more into debt to go to medical school and the offer UCSD gave me puts me significantly below the national average.

The navy offer is intriguing for more reasons than just money. It's also an opportunity to practice medicine "the right way", to give back to my country, to learn some stability/discipline in life, etc. I am not sure if it is right for me- just considering it. Regardless of which path I choose, I will never be a money-hungry doctor...I just want to live a comfortable life and make meaningful contributions to science/medicine. The other consideration is that UCSD doesn't have the most amazing board scores on average (Dartmouth is about 20 points higher), and if I want to get into a competitive residency, I may have trouble with my history of taking standardized tests. In the navy, it was my understanding that I will almost be guaranteed a residency in whichever field I choose on a naval base (hopefully the one in SD if I end up going to UCSD!) I guess I just need to speak to someone who has done it.

Thanks for the kind words!! I wish you the best of luck in your upcoming cycle as well :xf: Let me know if you want/need help with any part of your AMCAS! I will gladly proofread or share mine with you if it would help :)
I agree with pretty all that has been said. It seems fairly straight forward that u shud do the UCSD route, non MD-PHD and NON-Military. Let me emphasize this last point. DO NOT do the military route. I have gotten a stack of letters from the military quoting all the same stuff as you. "practice medicine the right way", etc.

Like you, I was intrigued and did much more thorough research. Here are my observations/concerns that I found about military medicine from many many different sources:
1. The military lifestyle is vastly different from any other and one should be very familiar with it before making a long-term commitment.
2. Contrary to what you stated, there are NO guarantees in residency placement or the military in general. If the military needs more of "X" specialty they will put more docs through those residencies regardless of their preference.
3. Some view Military residencies as sub-par with major weaknesses in training for some aspects of civilian practice.
4. If you truly want to serve your country in the military, there are better ways. You could serve before you go through med school or (more likely for your situation) get all your training done first and then volunteer to serve (as a physician). This way you get much better benefits, pick of location, and shorter service commitment (~2 years)

GL in your decision and congrats on your outstanding success!
 

violincuty

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I agree with pretty all that has been said. It seems fairly straight forward that u shud do the UCSD route, non MD-PHD and NON-Military. Let me emphasize this last point. DO NOT do the military route. I have gotten a stack of letters from the military quoting all the same stuff as you. "practice medicine the right way", etc.

Like you, I was intrigued and did much more thorough research. Here are my observations/concerns that I found about military medicine from many many different sources:
1. The military lifestyle is vastly different from any other and one should be very familiar with it before making a long-term commitment.
2. Contrary to what you stated, there are NO guarantees in residency placement or the military in general. If the military needs more of "X" specialty they will put more docs through those residencies regardless of their preference.
3. Some view Military residencies as sub-par with major weaknesses in training for some aspects of civilian practice.
4. If you truly want to serve your country in the military, there are better ways. You could serve before you go through med school or (more likely for your situation) get all your training done first and then volunteer to serve (as a physician). This way you get much better benefits, pick of location, and shorter service commitment (~2 years)

GL in your decision and congrats on your outstanding success!
Thanks for the thoughtful message! " Some view Military residencies as sub-par with major weaknesses in training for some aspects of civilian practice."- I had not considered that before. The recruiter seemed to stress that I would have my choice of specialties, but I suppose that is her job. I think you brought up significant points, and I will look into it more to sort out those issues. I am not convinced that my personality is best-suited for the military, either. I was hoping to visit the naval base in SD during the revisit weekend for UCSD to interact with people who have done it.

Thanks again! :)
 

LizzyM

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Do keep in mind that you can not see into the future and can not know what or where the US may be engaged in conflicts 5-10 years from now when you will be "paying back" for your Navy-funded education. You could end up, as one of my students did, in a Naval base in Cuba. Or you could be attached to an Army unit (yes even if you are in the Navy) and find yourself practicing in a field hospital in a third world country as one Navy OB-GYN did last year. Or you could be an emergency-medicine wannabe who ends up doing basic primary care as the sole physician on a remote Naval Air base. None of these assignments lasts forever but take with a grain of salt anything that a military recruiter tells you. It is never worth doing it for the money.
 

flip26

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I usually advocate "follow the money" but your options are not equivalent - they come with serious strings attached.

The proper primary motivation for going MD/PhD is the pursuit of the PhD. The proper primary motivation for the military is to be in the military. The fact that both of these options have significant financial plusses should be fairly far down the list for someone who is in your position and with your goals and motivation, at least what I understand of your desires per this thread.
 
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you dont sound interested in the phd really at all...its such a long path and you could easily do academic w/o the phd. If you arent dead set on the phd id think youd regret it spending all that time in school. Personally Id go UCSD based on what you said. 100k in debt over 4 years as an IS applicant is AMAZING for a UC school seriously. As on OOS you seriously got a sick fin aid package. The navy is something id pass up for sure unless you really want to serve your country. Lizzy brought up a lot of good points. grats and good luck. Wish I had your UC acceptances :)
 

Stixman28

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Im really not trying to flame, but how did you get these interviews?!

I saw your goldwater and another scholarship which are always impressive, but those are some incredible interviews, not to mention acceptances with your mcat. :confused:
 

violincuty

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Do keep in mind that you can not see into the future and can not know what or where the US may be engaged in conflicts 5-10 years from now when you will be "paying back" for your Navy-funded education. You could end up, as one of my students did, in a Naval base in Cuba. Or you could be attached to an Army unit (yes even if you are in the Navy) and find yourself practicing in a field hospital in a third world country as one Navy OB-GYN did last year. Or you could be an emergency-medicine wannabe who ends up doing basic primary care as the sole physician on a remote Naval Air base. None of these assignments lasts forever but take with a grain of salt anything that a military recruiter tells you. It is never worth doing it for the money.
Thanks for the advice on the military issue. I thought it would be a great opportunity to give back to the government and serve my country. There are lots of obvious pros and cons- as of today, I am leaning against it. You always give such thoughtful posts, though. Thanks for checking out mine :)

I usually advocate "follow the money" but your options are not equivalent - they come with serious strings attached.

The proper primary motivation for going MD/PhD is the pursuit of the PhD. The proper primary motivation for the military is to be in the military. The fact that both of these options have significant financial plusses should be fairly far down the list for someone who is in your position and with your goals and motivation, at least what I understand of your desires per this thread.
Yeah, I would agree. It seems like I will be able to make a greater impact in my career with the most freedom, so in my case it's academic freedom > money. I'm not worried about 100k debt- I think that's awesome considering what most of my friends have to pay loan-wise. I would be able to pay that back easily with any specialty, even one in which I am serving under-served populations. I am SO excited for the future!! The more I talk about this, the more my excitement builds. Thanks for the post ;)

you dont sound interested in the phd really at all...its such a long path and you could easily do academic w/o the phd. If you arent dead set on the phd id think youd regret it spending all that time in school. Personally Id go UCSD based on what you said. 100k in debt over 4 years as an IS applicant is AMAZING for a UC school seriously. As on OOS you seriously got a sick fin aid package. The navy is something id pass up for sure unless you really want to serve your country. Lizzy brought up a lot of good points. grats and good luck. Wish I had your UC acceptances :)
Yeah, I agree Elijah. I really thought I was interested in the PhD when this first started out, and I know that if I chose that route, I could be a great scientist. However, my heart lies in patient interaction and public speaking, and I think I am going to go with where I will be the most happy. There are plenty of people who will make amazing contributions to science with talents in the lab/independent thinking that are greater than mine. It's just hard to spend 4 years preparing for a research career and then take a 90 degree turn. I bet if I end up in academic medicine, I will conduct research as an MD. I am too addicted to it to never pursue it again. That is one thing I loved about the UCSD program- their ISP research requirement.

I wasn't sure how good my aid package from UCSD was until I read your post. I have nothing to compare it to of course, but I am starting to realize it's an incredible offer. I feel really lucky!!! :luck: If you end up at UCLA, we'll have to meet halfway and grab a drink someday!

Im really not trying to flame, but how did you get these interviews?!

I saw your goldwater and another scholarship which are always impressive, but those are some incredible interviews, not to mention acceptances with your mcat. :confused:
Hehe, I thought the same thing when I got them! Each one was a celebration. I had heard so many times that I am not applying broadly enough and that I would have to wait for another cycle to get in. My adviser still can't believe I got the offers that I did (and honestly, neither can I!) I love being an anomaly....I hope it inspires people to be the best that they can be even if they don't have the best numbers. I think my story, ECs, leadership credentials, etc. made up for my poor MCAT score. Funny enough, I was rarely asked about my MCAT in my interviews. The one that did ask about it at UCSD seemed amazed that I got a 28 without taking a prep course. I was not so amazed when I received the score, but I was sure glad she felt that way ;)

Most of my interviews were fun, exciting learning experiences! I've learned a ton about myself and what I hope to get out my medical education on the interview trail. I was exposed to different student cultures and ways of thinking about patient care. For those that haven't interviewed yet, the MCAT and AMCAS/secondaries are the hardest part. I think the interviews should be fun! You've earned that opportunity to experience the school, and you wouldn't have been invited if they didn't feel you were qualified. I see so many student approach the interview with the wrong attitute and unfortunately fail- people who would make incredible doctors.

Anyway, thanks for posting and sorry for the tangent. I know I am an anomaly and I really do feel incredibly fortunate. I pinch myself every morning just to make sure it's really still happening :D
 
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Hoody

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Im really not trying to flame, but how did you get these interviews?!

I saw your goldwater and another scholarship which are always impressive, but those are some incredible interviews, not to mention acceptances with your mcat. :confused:
home girls got a 3.97 GPA.
 

MilkmanAl

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So does everyone else applying to the schools she applied to, except they have MCAT scores a good standard deviation or two higher than hers. It's that story she posted (an her personal statement, no doubt) that'd make me want to interview her. I've got to believe her LOR's were spectacular, too.
 

violincuty

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home girls got a 3.97 GPA.
Yeah, but it's from a state school in Vegas....I was told by certain schools that my education must have been poor if I can earn that GPA and still only get a 28 on the MCAT. That's fine with me- they are welcome to accept students based on numbers alone. I wouldn't have done well in that competitive sort of environment anyway :p
 

jboz

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Yeah, but it's from a state school in Vegas....I was told by certain schools that my education must have been poor if I can earn that GPA and still only get a 28 on the MCAT. That's fine with me- they are welcome to accept students based on numbers alone. I wouldn't have done well in that competitive sort of environment anyway :p
oh snap, which schools told you that? Do tell.
 

violincuty

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Life reality check for you:

Dartmouth =

Year 1 paid for
Year 2 paid for
Year 3 paid for
Year 4 stipend (I assume)
Year 5 paid for
Year 6 paid for
Year 7 paid for

= total debt = small amount

Your classmates at Dartmouth =

Year 1: attend classes with you (you and them can do basic research)
Year 2: attend classes with you (you and them can do basic research)
Year 3: they do clinic stuff while you go learn how to do research
Year 4: they graduate from medical school and you do second year of research
Year 5: They did first year of residency with a salary of around $42k, start repaying back student loan debt, while you do final year of PhD work (if you get a small stipend it won't be enough to say any money)
Year 6: You do third year medical school stuff. They complete second year of residency with a "raise."
Year 7: You finally graduate from medical school. Several of your classmates will have now completed residency or are very close to it.
Year 8: Year first year of residency. Several of your classmates will now be earning around $150k/year.

You total potential lose of income compared to your classmates = $450+. Only way you could ever make it up is to earn more than them. Which is not likely the case.

The Caly school....

You graduate in four years with about $100k of debt.

First year of residency would be your fifth year at Dartmouth. Go into internal medicine and you become an attending while having gone to the Caly school = year first year of residency having gone to Dartmouth.

On the finance side of things you will be losing going to Dartmouth.

Wow, thanks for taking the time to write that thorough analysis! ;)

I agree, though, with what most people have been saying. The Dartmouth offer only makes sense if I really want the PhD. Having this discussion on this thread has helped me more clearly see that my heart is already at UCSD. I appreciate the thoughtful post :thumbup:
 

violincuty

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oh snap, which schools told you that? Do tell.
eh...school bashing seems wrong to me. It was more than one school, actually. I understand their reasoning, though. To be fair, the MCAT is supposed to standardize your academic credentials and the reality is that I did not make the cut in that department. I am really glad to see that some schools take a holistic approach to their application process, and that is the only reason I got the offers that I did. I hope that I will be able to handle the academic challenges that are in my future- I will certainly try my best :)
 

violincuty

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The reason why I say Dartmouth is the wrong choice when you look at the money is the about of repaid money with the debt from the Caly school would be less than the loss of income by going to Dartmouth (loss potential income is greater than the repayment of the debt).
That is so true, and it breaks my heart a little when I see students who choose to do an MD-PhD "just for the money". Not only is it not a financially sound option, it is also disingenuous and takes that spot away from someone who would have potentially accomplished great research with it. The competitiveness between medical type people is my only real gripe...I wish people worked more collaboratively with one another. After all, we're all colleages- why not be conscious of the fact that I need research to advance my medical career as a clinician and leave those opportunities for those who will fill that niche? I wish there was more of a synergistic relationship between medically inclined professionals....I guess I will work to alter this mindset in my own little bubble ;)
 

loveoforganic

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I usually advocate "follow the money" but your options are not equivalent - they come with serious strings attached.

The proper primary motivation for going MD/PhD is the pursuit of the PhD. The proper primary motivation for the military is to be in the military. The fact that both of these options have significant financial plusses should be fairly far down the list for someone who is in your position and with your goals and motivation, at least what I understand of your desires per this thread.
:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

Oh, and congrats on the awesome success!
 

Parts Unknown

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If I were going to follow my heart, it would be a simple decision. UCSD
This is really all you need to say. Go to UCSD and never look back.

To do an MD/PhD program you really need to be gung ho about it. It's an enormous commitment, much larger than you can comprehend at this stage of your life. I know it's difficult to turn it down, but there is no shame in letting someone else have the opportunity if you aren't 100% sold on the idea.

It's hard enough to finish an MD/PhD and do research when you are 100% sold on the idea. Otherwise it won't be long before you are feeling your life erode while your classmates are moving into productive and rewarding clinical careers.

As for the HSPS idea, I will side with LizzyM on this one. There are a number of people for which this is a good idea, but that doesn't mean you are one of them. I have a close friend who joined the Air Force at the end of her M1 year, subsequently got "placed" in a small, malignant AF residency program, didn't match into her chosen fellowship at all, and still had three years of payback after that. That's a lot of crap to eat for only $90,000.
 
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I think the better thing to do is stay near to your family and your friends. Despite the financial debt that you will have in the future, you will hopefully be a MD and be able to pay off your loans. The UC system creates great doctors and getting accepted amongst the large applicant pool means you really stood out to them. My advice, UCSD.
 

Evergrey

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Awww, thanks! Like I said before, it still doesn't seem real! Evidently, dreams really can come true :love:

I agree that the loans aren't the biggest deal in the world. I have never taken out loans to pay for my education, so the idea is really new to me. At the same time, I know most people go ~200k or more into debt to go to medical school and the offer UCSD gave me puts me significantly below the national average.

The navy offer is intriguing for more reasons than just money. It's also an opportunity to practice medicine "the right way", to give back to my country, to learn some stability/discipline in life, etc. I am not sure if it is right for me- just considering it. Regardless of which path I choose, I will never be a money-hungry doctor...I just want to live a comfortable life and make meaningful contributions to science/medicine. The other consideration is that UCSD doesn't have the most amazing board scores on average (Dartmouth is about 20 points higher), and if I want to get into a competitive residency, I may have trouble with my history of taking standardized tests. In the navy, it was my understanding that I will almost be guaranteed a residency in whichever field I choose on a naval base (hopefully the one in SD if I end up going to UCSD!) I guess I just need to speak to someone who has done it.

Thanks for the kind words!! I wish you the best of luck in your upcoming cycle as well :xf: Let me know if you want/need help with any part of your AMCAS! I will gladly proofread or share mine with you if it would help :)
I don't know too much about military medicine, but my friend in the Army has been trying to talk me into going to USUHS. I don't think I will apply though, just because I really believe in keeping my options open. I don't know how I will feel about things after 4 years of medical school, so I don't want to limit myself like that.

I do understand the attraction of being a military doc though. You do have to make sacrifices but I can also see how that kind of career would be very fulfilling. I think there are some pretty cool military medical research labs too but I don't know a lot about those. I have also heard that there are quite a few opportunities to do philanthropy depending on your assignment -- helping out people who have poor access to medical care in the country you're stationed in. There's no way to predict where you'll be though which is the biggest drawback (IMO) of a career in military medicine -- the uncertainty about what you'll be doing, and the lack of ultimate control.

I have contemplated the MD/PhD path myself but ultimately decided that it is not for me. There are still significant research opportunities at an MD program, especially at UCSD. That is ultimately what made me realize that the MD degree (or a 5-year MD/biomedical research degree a la U.Pittsburgh or Cleveland Clinic) is what I want. You can still do a research year through a fellowship during medical school, and do a post-doc or research during residency. And if you decide that you do want to do the physician-scientist route, you can pursue the NIH Extramural Loan Repayment Program (link). And of course there are residencies/other opportunities to get the PhD if you still want it! It might take a year or two longer and cost a bit more money though, depending on the opportunities you are able to find. But this path is much more organic -- you make the decisions when they come up, instead of committing outright to an 8-year education process.

Good luck making your decision! You still have a few weeks yet, so definitely take your time! Thanks for the offer about my application by the way, I might want to take you up on your offer -- I am writing my personal statement right now and it is giving me all sorts of frustration :)
 

violincuty

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This is really all you need to say. Go to UCSD and never look back.

To do an MD/PhD program you really need to be gung ho about it. It's an enormous commitment, much larger than you can comprehend at this stage of your life. I know it's difficult to turn it down, but there is no shame in letting someone else have the opportunity if you aren't 100% sold on the idea.

It's hard enough to finish an MD/PhD and do research when you are 100% sold on the idea. Otherwise it won't be long before you are feeling your life erode while your classmates are moving into productive and rewarding clinical careers.

As for the HSPS idea, I will side with LizzyM on this one. There are a number of people for which this is a good idea, but that doesn't mean you are one of them. I have a close friend who joined the Air Force at the end of her M1 year, subsequently got "placed" in a small, malignant AF residency program, didn't match into her chosen fellowship at all, and still had three years of payback after that. That's a lot of crap to eat for only $90,000.
I agree with you...I didn't work this hard to not follow my heart. I am 99% certain I will choose UCSD, especially after my experience on this thread. These types of conversations really help put things in perspective for me.

I am sorry to hear about your friend's experience in the army. I have heard that the different branches treat their people differently, but I really don't know too much about it. I just wrote an email to one of my interviewers at UCSD whose wife became a navy physician through HPSP. He wrote me an email back within 5 minutes with his cell phone number (I LOVE how supportive the faculty/staff are at UCSD!!!) We spoke for about a half hour and he had nothing but glowing reviews about how amazing the program is. He also offered to set me up with people in the program to speak to them while I am there for revisit. I am trying to keep an open mind...it seems like a great opportunity, but I am not yet convinced it is right for me. We'll see :oops: Thanks so much for the insight, though! I appreciate your time.

I think the better thing to do is stay near to your family and your friends. Despite the financial debt that you will have in the future, you will hopefully be a MD and be able to pay off your loans. The UC system creates great doctors and getting accepted amongst the large applicant pool means you really stood out to them. My advice, UCSD.
I absolutely want to stay close to my only relative, who happens to be in LA. I think SD is a much healthier environment for me! I also feel incredibly fortunate to have been accepted into a UC school- thanks so much for the kind words! :thumbup:

I don't know too much about military medicine, but my friend in the Army has been trying to talk me into going to USUHS. I don't think I will apply though, just because I really believe in keeping my options open. I don't know how I will feel about things after 4 years of medical school, so I don't want to limit myself like that.

I do understand the attraction of being a military doc though. You do have to make sacrifices but I can also see how that kind of career would be very fulfilling. I think there are some pretty cool military medical research labs too but I don't know a lot about those. I have also heard that there are quite a few opportunities to do philanthropy depending on your assignment -- helping out people who have poor access to medical care in the country you're stationed in. There's no way to predict where you'll be though which is the biggest drawback (IMO) of a career in military medicine -- the uncertainty about what you'll be doing, and the lack of ultimate control.

I have contemplated the MD/PhD path myself but ultimately decided that it is not for me. There are still significant research opportunities at an MD program, especially at UCSD. That is ultimately what made me realize that the MD degree (or a 5-year MD/biomedical research degree a la U.Pittsburgh or Cleveland Clinic) is what I want. You can still do a research year through a fellowship during medical school, and do a post-doc or research during residency. And if you decide that you do want to do the physician-scientist route, you can pursue the NIH Extramural Loan Repayment Program (link). And of course there are residencies/other opportunities to get the PhD if you still want it! It might take a year or two longer and cost a bit more money though, depending on the opportunities you are able to find. But this path is much more organic -- you make the decisions when they come up, instead of committing outright to an 8-year education process.

Good luck making your decision! You still have a few weeks yet, so definitely take your time! Thanks for the offer about my application by the way, I might want to take you up on your offer -- I am writing my personal statement right now and it is giving me all sorts of frustration :)
I had never heard of the repayment program, thanks! I also appreciate the insight into the military physician life...it's going to be a tough decision. It seems like a polarizing option, too. People either love it or hate it. Thanks for taking the time to comment and share your view :luck:

Uhh you got to be kidding me. California is the best place to live in the US hands down.
:thumbup: Agreed!

New Hampshire is cold :(
Yes, yes it is. I interviewed in November and it was *only* 20 outside...which is evidently warm to them. They spoke about "wait until the mucus membranes in your nose freeze for the first time..." and I got scared. That being said, it was quite an amazing little community. They are SO supportive of each other. When one student is having a rough time, they all pitch in to cook for them, take turns spending time with the student in need, etc. Coincidentally, the student that hosted me happens to be best friends with a 3rd year MSTP student at UCSD (they went to undergrad together). When I wrote to the Dartmouth student to tell him about UCSD, he seemed really supportive and gave me the contact info for the UCSD student. It turns out that I had already spent hours talking to the UCSD student at the student-run clinic the night before my interview, and I had forgotten to exchange contact info with him. Is it a small world or what??!?! I am so excited about the future no matter what happens! I am confident that I am about to join an amazing group of future colleagues in the medical profession regardless of which school I end up choosing in the end :D
 

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Hey, UNLV is not a 'below average state school'.

Dartmouth and UCSD are polar opposites. Dartmouth will have a very diverse student body, with people from all over the country. There is also waaayy more stuff to do in the NorthEast. You can go down to Boston & catch a bus to NYC for $10, go to Montreal, and possibly, be independent of a car. UCSD will be primarily California-types who say 'hella' a lot... However, UCSD has higher admissions standards than Dartmouth, so there will be more 'gunner' types at UCSD will will try to honor all other courses at freakish study pace. Weigh out the pros and cons. If you think you can produce some significant research, publish & present as first-author, & produce a career where you can perform research & practice (if that's your intent), then I'd go for the MD/PhD. You can also do this as an MD-only, if you are know what you are doing... If you are just looking for a free-ride, then I'd stick with MD-only. You'll be miserable in the loooonnnggg 7-year MD/PhD route, if you'd rather be working & driving fast cars & buy Coach purses, or whatever women like to do (I'm being very sterotypical, here, and I'm sorry).
 
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violincuty

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Hey, UNLV is not a 'below average state school'.

Dartmouth and UCSD are polar opposites. Dartmouth will have a very diverse student body, with people from all over the country. UCSD will be primarily California-types who say 'hella' a lot... However, UCSD has higher admissions standards than Dartmouth, so there will be more 'gunner' types at UCSD will will try to honor all other courses at freakish study pace. Weigh out the pros and cons. If you think you can produce some significant research, publish & present as first-author, & produce a career where you can perform research & practice (if that's your intent), then I'd go for the MD/PhD. You can also do this as an MD-only, if you are know what you are doing... If you are just looking for a free-ride, then I'd stick with MD-only. You'll be miserable in the loooonnnggg 7-year MD/PhD route, if you'd rather be working & driving fast cars & buy Coach purses, or whatever women like to do (I'm being very sterotypical, here, and I'm sorry).

I am sorry...I did not mean it in a negative way. I personally had an amazing experience at UNLV and had the opportunity to do many things that other students at bigger research schools did not get to do. I phrased it that way because that is the exact phrasing certain schools used with me when they explained their admissions decision to me. Unfortunately, rankings play a large role in the admissions process it seems :(

I don't think I fit either of those stereotypes, honestly. I am not the antisocial research type person nor am I going to be a "doctor to the stars". I want to make a meaningful contribution to science/medicine- whatever that may mean as I go along my journey and find my niche. I am really not concerned about money; I am much more concerned about finding a career that is the best fit for me. It's hard to know what I want out of my career without having done clinical clerkships and having been immersed in the medical school lifestyle. However, I know that I can pursue my initiative to serve under-served communities at UCSD and will have an amazing humanitarian experience there. That, along with the supportive nature of the faculty/students, is what attracts me to the school (above location, prestige, and all else). Also, the honors thing won't matter because they have no internal rankings and the first 2 years are P/F. Thanks for sharing your views, though :)
 
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randombetch

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Hey, UNLV is not a 'below average state school'.

Dartmouth and UCSD are polar opposites. Dartmouth will have a very diverse student body, with people from all over the country. There is also waaayy more stuff to do in the NorthEast. You can go down to Boston & catch a bus to NYC for $10, go to Montreal, and possibly, be independent of a car. UCSD will be primarily California-types who say 'hella' a lot... However, UCSD has higher admissions standards than Dartmouth, so there will be more 'gunner' types at UCSD will will try to honor all other courses at freakish study pace. Weigh out the pros and cons. If you think you can produce some significant research, publish & present as first-author, & produce a career where you can perform research & practice (if that's your intent), then I'd go for the MD/PhD. You can also do this as an MD-only, if you are know what you are doing... If you are just looking for a free-ride, then I'd stick with MD-only. You'll be miserable in the loooonnnggg 7-year MD/PhD route, if you'd rather be working & driving fast cars & buy Coach purses, or whatever women like to do (I'm being very sterotypical, here, and I'm sorry).
No one says "hella" in Southern California - this statement alone completely discredits your post!
 

violincuty

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No one says "hella" in Southern California - this statement alone completely discredits your post!
:laugh:...that made me laugh. Cute response ;)

(you're right, btw)
 

jboz

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I can't help but notice how many times the word "incredible" and its variants have been used in this thread. Why is everything "incredible", please stop saying "incredible/incredibly"

Thanks

















inb4 "incredible post brah"
 

violincuty

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I can't help but notice how many times the word "incredible" and its variants have been used in this thread. Why is everything "incredible", please stop saying "incredible/incredibly"

Thanks
Hmmm...well, I certainly did not mean to piss anyone off with my choice of phrasing. I would argue that my situation is rather incredible, though. I don't encounter people with outcomes like mine every day :cool: I have several friends with much more impressive stats who have not yet been accepted anywhere. If that isn't incredible (relative to medical school admissions processes), what is?
 

jboz

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Hmmm...well, I certainly did not mean to piss anyone off with my choice of phrasing. I would argue that my situation is rather incredible, though. I don't encounter people with outcomes like mine every day :cool: I have several friends with much more impressive stats who have not yet been accepted anywhere. If that isn't incredible (relative to medical school admissions processes), what is?
LOL

 

JasonE

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i think SD would be more fun.

i also think this thread is the perfect example of why the whole mdphd track is stupid. barely anyone really knows that they want to do it, but then they write essays and interview about how its perfect for them. really more of a program for people who cant choose md or phd.
 

addo

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I agree with you...I didn't work this hard to not follow my heart. I am 99% certain I will choose UCSD, especially after my experience on this thread. These types of conversations really help put things in perspective for me.
If i was ever in a dilemma, this is what i would want it to be. Congratulations on your acceptances, and for apparently reaching a decision. Hope it works out for you.
 

teddy bear doc

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First off, congrats on your acceptances!

As for the matters at hand: go for UCSD. You basically sound like you aren't really interested in Dartmouth at all. Plus, it's frickin San Diego. You would be crazy to not want to live there! And I agree about the homogeneity of the population in Hanover. Much more diverse in SD, and if the opportunities to do what YOU want (with the clinic and whatnot) are better, then what are you even debating about? Money isn't that big of a deal, as many other people have said previously.

Which brings me to point #2: the HPSP. I am not saying it's a bad idea. I know several people who have done it and are doing great. But really know what you are getting into first. For example, you keep mentioning the navy... Navy docs pull double duty, in a sense, because guess what? The Marine Corps does not have any of their own. So if you are in any way squeamish about actually going to war yourself (as opposed to helping from the sidelines or way far away from the real shooting and blood and guts) DON'T go Navy. Some of that stuff they don't really mention.

Also go over every single word of the contract. Five or six times, preferably. With a lawyer. And your mom. And your best friend. And some random guy who lives down the street. Recruiters are there to sell you on the idea. They talk up the expenses and how hard loan repayment is, but they don't talk about how hard it would be to be deployed for a six-month tour four months after you have a baby or two days after you get married or something. I'm not speaking from personal experience or anything, but just think about the future: relationships, marriage, kids (whether or not and when you might want them). If you just look at right now, sure, it's no big deal and it seems like a great way to get out of school with no debt. But you need to know that the commitment is LONG. Sometimes it's tough to predict what is going to happen 4, 5, 10 years from now, and realistically the commitment is more like 12 years (4 years of school, 4 of residency, plus 4 year service time). If you think about all that stuff and are okay with it, or at least okay with handling that type of stuff if it comes up, then take the money and run. If not, just remember that even if the sheer amount of money is terrifying, you will be out of debt eventually, and if you can continue to live frugally for a few years after med school, that "eventually" won't be too far off.

Just some food for thought, and congrats! You definitely seem to deserve it.
 

violincuty

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Medical Student, Resident [Any Field]
i also think this thread is the perfect example of why the whole mdphd track is stupid. barely anyone really knows that they want to do it, but then they write essays and interview about how its perfect for them. really more of a program for people who cant choose md or phd.
No argument there... I really was convinced that the MD-PhD route was ideal for me until I started interviewing and interacting with MD-PhD students. They seemed like good enough people...but not necessarily a cohort that I could identify with. Part of being in college is figuring out what's a good fit for you and changing your mind accordingly. It's really hard to know what you want unless you've experienced what it is like to hold those degrees and pursue that career. I would like to try med school first, I think, and add the PhD later if it becomes apparent that I really want it. It's hard to even say this statement definitively, though, because less than a week ago I was "definitely" pursuing the MD-PhD. Le sigh...

If i was ever in a dilemma, this is what i would want it to be. Congratulations on your acceptances, and for apparently reaching a decision. Hope it works out for you.
Thanks for the kind words!! It's not a bad dilemma to have at all, and I know many other people would kill to be in my position! Dare I say that I am incredibly fortunate? ;)
 

violincuty

OB/Gyn resident
7+ Year Member
Jun 22, 2009
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Medical Student, Resident [Any Field]
First off, congrats on your acceptances!

As for the matters at hand: go for UCSD. You basically sound like you aren't really interested in Dartmouth at all. Plus, it's frickin San Diego. You would be crazy to not want to live there! And I agree about the homogeneity of the population in Hanover. Much more diverse in SD, and if the opportunities to do what YOU want (with the clinic and whatnot) are better, then what are you even debating about? Money isn't that big of a deal, as many other people have said previously.

Which brings me to point #2: the HPSP. I am not saying it's a bad idea. I know several people who have done it and are doing great. But really know what you are getting into first. For example, you keep mentioning the navy... Navy docs pull double duty, in a sense, because guess what? The Marine Corps does not have any of their own. So if you are in any way squeamish about actually going to war yourself (as opposed to helping from the sidelines or way far away from the real shooting and blood and guts) DON'T go Navy. Some of that stuff they don't really mention.

Also go over every single word of the contract. Five or six times, preferably. With a lawyer. And your mom. And your best friend. And some random guy who lives down the street. Recruiters are there to sell you on the idea. They talk up the expenses and how hard loan repayment is, but they don't talk about how hard it would be to be deployed for a six-month tour four months after you have a baby or two days after you get married or something. I'm not speaking from personal experience or anything, but just think about the future: relationships, marriage, kids (whether or not and when you might want them). If you just look at right now, sure, it's no big deal and it seems like a great way to get out of school with no debt. But you need to know that the commitment is LONG. Sometimes it's tough to predict what is going to happen 4, 5, 10 years from now, and realistically the commitment is more like 12 years (4 years of school, 4 of residency, plus 4 year service time). If you think about all that stuff and are okay with it, or at least okay with handling that type of stuff if it comes up, then take the money and run. If not, just remember that even if the sheer amount of money is terrifying, you will be out of debt eventually, and if you can continue to live frugally for a few years after med school, that "eventually" won't be too far off.

Just some food for thought, and congrats! You definitely seem to deserve it.
Thanks for the thoughtful message and the kind words!! :)
I think you're right...there really isn't an argument anymore. I wrote to a few people at UCSD to ask if they will let me do a clinical rotation this summer. I can't wait to start!!! I STILL CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S REALLY HAPPENING!!! I <3 life!

The military thing is tricky...I feel like it will stop me from following my heart, which would be sad. That being said, there are lots of benefits above the financial aspect of it. I don't know what to do. I think I am going to talk to people at the Naval hospital when I go to SD for revisit weekend. I spoke to one of my interviewers at UCSD tonight whose wife did her medical training in the navy, and he had nothing but amazing things to say. He really wanted to see me pursue it. I have a gut feeling against it, though, and I can't tell you why. I know almost nothing about the lifestyle of a naval officer :oops: