Originally posted by rager1
I really like Yale's proximity to both Boston and NYC and it might be nice to leave Texas for a while (again) since I will most likely return here after residency.
If you want to return to TX for residency, going to Baylor would be better not only because you would save a ton of money, but also because residency does have a regional bias. Remember, as an academic (I too want to enter academic medicine) our pay scales won't be as cushy as those entering private practice. You might as well save the 120k, especially if you do want to return to TX. Also, if you're entering academia, most people in academic medical centers know Baylor better than the general public, so you wouldn't be at a disadvantage there.
Yale is really really chill from what I hear because of the lack of grading and the ability to pace yourself. The thesis requirement is pretty good too, considering its a research school. Baylor doesn't have a thesis requirement, but it does have a 5 year research program where you waive tuition and get paid a 20k stipend for research, which is nice if you want to enter academia. The residency placement is actually very good for Baylor, in terms of specialty. Most people are from TX to begin with, so stick around anyway (so fewer national program matches, but the specialty breakdown is very good for the competitive ones). The board score average is 235ish, similar to Penn's, because they both have that great 1.5 year curriculum. I too have heard about people stressing, and really, you are probably going to be working harder at Baylor than at Yale (simply because of the grading system), but from what people tell me, it really shows up well in terms of boards.
In terms of clinical training, the TMC is way bigger than Yale. While this will play a greater role in your choice of residency, it doesnt hurt to have letters written by some of the top guys in their field. Then again, this is true of Yale as well.
You sound like you're pretty much set on the northern schools, which is cool, its a good change of pace compared to Texas. But as someone who also left TX to go to college elsewhere just because I was tired of TX, I have to say the metro areas of TX aren't bad at all in the grand scheme of things. Im laughing as I read these comments about New Haven being similar to Houston and how close it is to NY and Boston. First off, Houston is actually a real city and is the 4th biggest in the US. Ive been to Yale, and there is definitely a LOT MORE to do in Houston. Aside from the sporting events, music, cultural events, festivals, etc, I dont see how you can make the comparison. Sure its hot and humid in Houston, but you're usually inside working during the day anyway. So weatherwise, yeah, take your pick between the heat of Houston or the cold of New Haven, but don't for a second think that they are equivalent in terms of entertainment and cultural activities. And I would ask Yale students how often they go to NY and Boston before believing you make a bimonthly sojourn there. The ugrads I know there generally only go to a major city during longer holidays, most have told me that the regular weekend is too short in general to enjoy the big city. But I mean, Id ask around, this is what my friends just told me.
But I definitely agree that for the lay public, the names Yale and Columbia have a much greater 'wow' factor, but if youre interested in academia and a residency in TX anyway, I don't see how Baylor can hurt you relative to those other schools (now, if you wanted a residency in the NE, I could understand that 100%). You do have access to the ugrad campus immediately for Yale, but Rice is nearby Baylor as well. The curricula, while Baylor has only 1.5 years preclinical, the edge has to go to Yale simply due to their grading scale. I mean, their grading system is definitely the best out of the top schools as far as I know, and this is probably a huge deal. Im not sure how this affects boards, or whether that matters though.
One last thing, it seems as if you've been in the South a long time (like me). Don't underestimate the effect constant cold will have on your happiness. At least at Columbia you have NYC, which is fantastic, but Yale might get depressing in the winter (I speak from experience for some friends who go there from TX, who said the winters are killer and they said it took almost 2 years to adapt after having lived in TX all their life). But I mean, each person is different in that way, just wanted to point that out at least for consideration.
Good luck, I don't think you can make a bad choice here.