Baylor vs Dell (scholarship)

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Sep 19, 2017
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Hey, I have been really back and forth about this. At first, I was feeling about 70% Baylor, 30% Dell. But after attending second look at Dell, I'm back to about 50-50. Just lookin' for some thoughts from y'all. Thanks!

Baylor College of Medicine
  • In my hometown, parents are 45 minutes away
  • Big name, established reputation in the minds of residency directors
  • Tuition is crazy low for a private school of its caliber
  • TMC, obviously
  • Unparalleled research opportunities
  • My older sister is a student there (big plus)
  • Could potentially attend pro sporting events (not the biggest item, but still a pro for me, Go 'Stros, haha)

  • Interview day didn't blow me away/didn't feel super valued by faculty (then again, I haven't been to second look yet)
  • Social scene isn't exactly what I'm looking for (I don't drink, but the church scene there is weak-ish)
  • Large class size (this one doesn't really bother me)

UT-Austin Dell Medical School
  • 12-month preclinical curriculum
  • A whole extra year to do MBA, MPH, research, etc.
  • 1/2 tuition scholarship (so, about 10k per year in tuition cost)
  • Austin is awesome, has a stronger social/church scene (church is important to me). I've always wanted to live in Austin.
  • Felt really valued and appreciated by the faculty
  • I liked the other people at second look, esp. the older students (M2s, M3s).
  • Small class size (50 students)
  • Intent on changing healthcare, doing things differently--I have an interest in value-based care, and they have one of the biggest names in VBC on their faculty
  • Super high step scores from the M3 class (avg 244, median 249)

  • Brand new, no match list until next year. (Big, big con)
  • Further from home, about 2.5 hours
  • Clinical and research opportunities limited compared to Baylor

Summary: The general feeling I get is that I could really be happy at either place, but I do want to keep competitive specialties/programs open as a possibility, and Baylor is obviously the safe choice for that. Am I undervaluing the ability of Baylor's reputation to help me match? Or overvaluing it? I like that Dell really focuses on helping people become a doctor plus something else. I think that I want to do something like that, but I'm not really decided yet. At the very least, Dell would nurture that interest and help me figure it out.

It seems like cost of living will be about the same in both cities.

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What specialty(s) are you interested in?

Edit: Baylor is clearly way ahead in terms of prestige. It also has your hometown, and family support system. Theres no going wrong with this choice.

However, I am sure that Dell is going be a strong program and will match very well for a couple of reasons. 1) They have already shown extremely strong performance on Step 1 2) The faculty they have recruited for each department are very well known, well connected, and can easily help you get to your residency of choice. 3) Despite being a new school, they have home departments in many of the very competitive specialties. (Dermatology, Plastics, Ortho..and are growing quickly. Other pros I'm seeing for Dell are obviously the dope 1 year preclinical and 1 year to do whatever you want. + the awesome scholarship. If I were you, I would send a polite email asking to get a bump in the scholly money to 75% or 100% tuition. This can definitely happen, as they have the funds, and I know some people who are even turning down full tuition at that school for OOS top tiers.

PM me if you want help writing the letter
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I am mostly undecided, but I'm thinking something surgical. I like ophthalmology a lot, and I really enjoyed shadowing neurosurgery, but my experience is of course limited.
Yeah so Dell has departments in both of those, and even has supersubspecialties like pediatric nuerosurg and retina optho, so I don't know if you should really be worried about matching from there. Main considerations are IMO location, money, and other opportunities that come tied with the school
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I would say go to Baylor.
Support system is invaluable; Baylor is already so cheap. If you go there over Dell you would still take out way less loans than the majority of the country, for great value. With the ability to match to any competitive residency.
I know some very devout Christians going to Baylor next year as part of your class, you can definitely get connected to the church scene even with your own class!
Attend Second Look- seems like they definitely try for Second Look. I interviewed at Baylor and know what you mean about feeling undervalued, but I think Second Look could change your mind.
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I am in a very similar situation and I am leaning away from Dell for a few of the reasons you stated. No track record of matching, several residency departments not hosted at their own hospital, unknown variable with "prestige/reputation" compared with established schools.

Honestly, Baylor is hands down the better choice. Plenty of wonderful believers at Baylor who I know personally. I would say you will actually find a more solid "church" scene in Houston/Baylor than in the UT Austin community. Baylor is a top-ranked school with endless research opportunities and awesome "home" residency programs. I am not weighing Dell's high step score too much. After all, they snagged 50 kids who were headed to top schools...paid them tons of money...and that is their inaugural class. It makes sense that those kids would score well. Keep in mind also how small the class is. Idk, need a few more years of data points before you can/should read into their step. Also...Baylor has a proven track record with crushing step so... yea.

I also am very interested in an MBA...but! Oddly, I don't like how they cram that MBA/MPH year in your third year. That year is very important for research to match to more competitive specialties like you mentioned you're interested in. When we asked about how to balance getting plenty of research to be competitive with a potential MBA with also completing your clinical rotations, the student panel essentially told us--> "you are smart kids, you'll figure it out. It's very hard, but you can do anything if you try hard enough." :laugh:

I actually think it would be more beneficial to add a year for an MBA between 3rd and fourth (like nearly every other school does- Dartmouth, Penn, Emory, Baylor, etc.)

BUT...I totally get the draw to Dell. I also felt it. The campus is beautiful, the students seem excited/happy, the culture is very progressive/innovative. Most of my research thus far is health policy/value-based care oriented. And that really is the bread and butter of Dell! If that means a LOT to you, Dell will definitely meet that goal. I also believe it will be a highly ranked school, surpassing even UTSW, in a matter of time. But it just isn't there yet, unfortunately.
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