Apr 25, 2020
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Hi everyone,

I know this question gets asked every year but I think the schools change enough year-to-year that the consensus might change too. I really enjoyed my interview experiences at both schools and even though everything was virtual this year I think that the cultures of the schools are great and I would be happy at either one. The match lists to me look very similar, the cost of attendance is about the same, and the curriculums are both designed similarly so I'm having a difficult time choosing one over the other.

About me:
- I'm not from Dallas or Houston so I don't really have a strong location preference
- Would like to practice in Texas eventually (possibly private practice but not sure yet)
- Might be interested in a surgical subspecialty (ENT, Ortho, etc)
- Don't really care about the "prestige" of residency program I match to, but I want to be at a med school that has enough clout and resources where the risk of going unmatched isn't going to be a big concern (and I obviously want to go somewhere with a reputation for strong training)

BCM Pros:
- In the TMC, heard it's in a super nice part of Houston
- Very strong national reputation
- Slightly smaller school, more individual attention from admin/faculty?
- Loved the faculty and student interactions that I had during the interview process

BCM Cons:
- Very high cost of living compared to Dallas
- I've heard the in-house residencies haven't been the best since the split from Memorial which might be a liability come match time
- I haven't really been impressed with their limited communication throughout the application cycle
- Heard back from them later in the cycle and I was mentally ready to go to UTSW so not super enthusiastic to go here at the moment (though this will probably change)
- Not sure how strong their programs/faculty/mentorship are in the specialties that I'm interested in

UTSW Pros:
- Administration seems very progressive and responsive to student feedback
- Protected research time built into the curriculum which would probably be helpful for the specialties I'm interested in
- Extremely strong clinical training at the med student level
- Student culture (colleges system) seems great here and the GroupMe/Facebook group feels a lot more live than the BCM one
- Many of the in-house residencies are nationally recognized for their strength of education and resident autonomy, especially in the fields that I'm interested in
- I've gotten constant communication since prematching here in the fall (and I guess I feel a little more "wanted" here)
- Also loved the interviews and student interactions

UTSW Cons:
- I've heard this part of Dallas is kind of sketchy and might not be the safest to be alone in
- Bigger school, might feel less personal than a private school
- Baylor has historically been higher ranked and had better match lists, but my personal opinion is that UTSW is making huge improvements to their curriculum/training every year and the match lists this year were virtually indistinguishable (UTSW was even better in my chosen specialties)

Overall: At the moment, I'm leaning slightly towards UTSW based on their strong in-house residency programs and the overall vibe of the school, but I'm well aware of Baylor's historical reputation and I want to make sure that I'll be best positioned to accomplish my goals for the future. Any advice would be appreciated!
 

Banco

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You seem to be indifferent to location, costs are the same, reputations are similar, curricula are similar, student success if similar, both have regular pipelines into the specialties you want - you can't go wrong with either frankly, but you clearly like UTSW more.

Go to UTSW.
 
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Apr 25, 2020
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You seem to be indifferent to location, costs are the same, reputations are similar, curricula are similar, student success if similar, both have regular pipelines into the specialties you want - you can't go wrong with either frankly, but you clearly like UTSW more.

Go to UTSW.
Thanks for the input! That’s what my brain is telling me but I also feel like I’m dismissing BCM way too early. Their second look weekend is coming up so my opinion might change more based off of that. I wish there was a way to attend both schools...
 

DokterMom

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Definitely make the time to visit both schools as Houston and Dallas are very different cities with very different vibes. Odds are you will strongly prefer one over the other, and hopefully, you can find out which before you have to choose! Having lived in both cities for 5+ years each, I'll give you my personal take, but would suggest you also ask others and look online for 'Houston vs. Dallas' comparisons. In my personal opinion:
  • Dallas is much more conservative politically and socially and Houston is much more liberal.
  • Dallas is more southern/midwestern U.S. and Houston is more international.
  • Dallas has a good bar scene but Houston has a much better restaurant scene.
  • Dallas has better barbecue but Houston has better Mexican food.
  • If you're LGBTQ, Black or Hispanic, you'll probably feel more welcome in Houston. If you're a conservative Christian, you'll probably find more fellowship in Dallas.
  • The Texas Medical Center is freaking amazing - world class. Of course, Parkland is pretty great now too. Parking in the TMC is something you'll want to avoid ($$$) so look into that.
  • Dallas has better weather.
  • The cost of living isn't really all that different once you standardize the housing options. There are some cheap living options and some nice living options near both. Of course, the nice options cost more... You're right that much of the area around UTSW is kinda sketchy.
Make it a point to disregard the acceptance timing to the extent possible since the two schools have completely separate and distinct application processes. Baylor runs on a much later cycle, so the timing doesn't at all mean they love you less. (Who knows - they just don't do the whole match thing.)

Anyway -- Visit!
 
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Banco

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Thanks for the input! That’s what my brain is telling me but I also feel like I’m dismissing BCM way too early. Their second look weekend is coming up so my opinion might change more based off of that. I wish there was a way to attend both schools...

Yeah, give it time to ruminate and attend second look. You're career is off to a good start no matter where you go from these 2.
 
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Skittsie13

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For your living concerns -- a lot of UTSW students live in the Medical District, but personally, I and all my friends live in Uptown which is about a 10-15 minute drive away and one of the most desirable areas of Dallas with lots of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, etc. And as a fourth year, I would agree that our residency programs are across the board stronger than BCM's, with the exception of pediatrics.
 
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Sep 24, 2020
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For your living concerns -- a lot of UTSW students live in the Medical District, but personally, I and all my friends live in Uptown which is about a 10-15 minute drive away and one of the most desirable areas of Dallas with lots of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, etc. And as a fourth year, I would agree that our bunny boot camp programs are across the board stronger than BCM's, with the exception of pediatrics.

I hear a lot about how UTSW has stronger residencies. Would that still be relevant to a student who is considering matriculating at BCM and matching OOS or at a UTSW residency? Basically, not wanting to stay at BCM/Houston for residency.
 

Banco

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I hear a lot about how UTSW has stronger residencies. Would that still be relevant to a student who is considering matriculating at BCM and matching OOS or at a UTSW bunny boot camp? Basically, not wanting to stay at BCM/Houston for bunny boot camp.

I think you have a strong chance of matching both OOS or UTSW coming from BCM under the condition you have the requisite scores/application.

But there is definitely a home student advantage. I.e. UTSW students will almost universally have an easier time matching their home institution. This applies to more or less every medical school.
 
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Apr 25, 2020
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Ideally I'd love to do something like what was mentioned above (BCM for medical school then UTSW for residency to get the best of both worlds) but then if my goal is to end up at UTSW anyways it would make much more sense to position myself for that through med school. The only thing that concerns me a bit is potentially spending 10+ years in the same city - I feel like I would be missing out on valuable experiences by doing that. I'm definitely making plans to visit both cities soon so I can try and get a better feel for them.
 
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Updates and impressions after Baylor's second look day today:

- Admin and faculty seem pretty decent, it was hard to judge virtually but I enjoyed all of the speakers and breakout sessions, everyone was very direct and honest, and they seemed to relate to medical student issues very well

- We got a virtual tour today, the facilities for students are beautiful and there's clearly a lot of money and resources being put into education (but I've heard great things about UTSW's massive sim center)

- All of the students loved the curriculum being true P/F and the collaborative learning environment, but one thing I was slightly put off by was the discussion around AOA. BCM changed AOA to an application process that looks holistically at your grades, extracurriculars, etc. not unlike the way UTSW lays it out on their website. However, at BCM there's no clear criteria, and one of the deans explicitly referenced the social justice issues from last year informing future selection (as someone who's not a URM, there is a 0% chance that this is good news for me). People have stressed the importance of AOA a lot for residency applications, and I don't know if I trust a nebulous process that de-emphasizes actual academic performance for selection into what's supposed to be an academic honor society.

- Another concerning thing for me was when a current student brought up the fact that Houston is not especially strong in orthopedic surgery. I'm definitely going to keep an open mind about specialties going into med school, but BCM being weak in one of my goal specialties isn't a good sign.

- The pathways seem really cool, and since I don't have a typical premed background I was really excited to see the different ways that I might be able to apply my skills from undergrad into my medical education. Someone also mentioned the close partnerships with Rice's research departments, and I think I could find some really unique opportunities here that I wouldn't be able to at UTSW.

Summary: After today, I feel a lot more excited about potentially attending BCM and being in the heart of the TMC, but there were a couple of nontrivial issues that could potentially become big problems when applying to residency. Overall though, the schools are a little bit closer in my mind now, but if someone held a gun to my head and made me decide today I would probably still go with UTSW at the moment. I have plans to visit both cities soon so we'll see if that changes anything.
 
Sep 24, 2020
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Updates and impressions after Baylor's second look day today:

- Admin and faculty seem pretty decent, it was hard to judge virtually but I enjoyed all of the speakers and breakout sessions, everyone was very direct and honest, and they seemed to relate to medical student issues very well

- We got a virtual tour today, the facilities for students are beautiful and there's clearly a lot of money and resources being put into education (but I've heard great things about UTSW's massive sim center)

- All of the students loved the curriculum being true P/F and the collaborative learning environment, but one thing I was slightly put off by was the discussion around AOA. BCM changed AOA to an application process that looks holistically at your grades, extracurriculars, etc. not unlike the way UTSW lays it out on their website. However, at BCM there's no clear criteria, and one of the deans explicitly referenced the social justice issues from last year informing future selection (as someone who's not a URM, there is a 0% chance that this is good news for me). People have stressed the importance of AOA a lot for residency applications, and I don't know if I trust a nebulous process that de-emphasizes actual academic performance for selection into what's supposed to be an academic honor society.

- Another concerning thing for me was when a current student brought up the fact that Houston is not especially strong in orthopedic surgery. I'm definitely going to keep an open mind about specialties going into med school, but BCM being weak in one of my goal specialties isn't a good sign.

- The pathways seem really cool, and since I don't have a typical premed background I was really excited to see the different ways that I might be able to apply my skills from undergrad into my medical education. Someone also mentioned the close partnerships with Rice's research departments, and I think I could find some really unique opportunities here that I wouldn't be able to at UTSW.

Summary: After today, I feel a lot more excited about potentially attending BCM and being in the heart of the TMC, but there were a couple of nontrivial issues that could potentially become big problems when applying to residency. Overall though, the schools are a little bit closer in my mind now, but if someone held a gun to my head and made me decide today I would probably still go with UTSW at the moment. I have plans to visit both cities soon so we'll see if that changes anything.

I heard that too about ortho, but I don't think you can say it's weak if they matched 10 into ortho (same # as UTSW 2021 match, albeit slightly lower caliber institutions than UTSW's ortho list this year, or just their preference)
 
Apr 25, 2020
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I heard that too about ortho, but I don't think you can say it's weak if they matched 10 into ortho (same # as UTSW 2021 match, albeit slightly lower caliber institutions than UTSW's ortho list this year, or just their preference)
Agreed, at the end of the day Baylor is still a T20+ school and for the most part is going to be able to get students where they want to go. I’ve also been advised not to put too much stock into this year’s match lists because of the clown covid cycle, and looking at last year’s match Baylor sent people to HSS, UPMC, and Mayo for ortho so the name clearly carries weight. I guess I’m just concerned because the question was something like “how easy is it to find research opportunities” and the student used ortho as the example for the weak and disorganized department compared to well run ones like plastics or anesthesia.
 
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Kracin

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As a current Baylor student with lots of friends at UTSW... I'd choose Baylor all over again. For the TMC, P/F preclinics, and Houston > Dallas.

You're not going to be able to strongly differentiate the academic prowess of the two. Research in TMC and on UTSW are both good. They both match about the same (don't read too closely into "caliber" because that doesn't represent student strength in top schools). You'll find that AOA is very subjective and political at any school you go to, even if they publish their criteria. Additionally, I do fully believe that UTSW's incorporation of preclinical grades into AOA makes for a less enjoyable environment than Baylor where it's been explicitly stated that preclinical isn't factored.

Again, I'm a BCM student, so it makes perfect sense why Baylor resonated with me better than UTSW.
 
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