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Brandeis, Davidson, Macalester, Baylor... help

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by tjshine, Apr 12, 2007.

  1. tjshine

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    Hello,

    I'm and international and I've been accepted to the above colleges, and waitliested by WashU.

    I want to attend a college where GPA is manageable, and plenty of opportunities available to students like myself.

    Baylor will probably be the most convenient place to win a high gpa, but the school is rather conservative (although I'm a baptist) and has 50-60% med school acceptance rate. The rest of the three colleges have 80-90% med school acceptance rates, and plenty of opportunities.

    The premed officer in Davidson told me that there weren't any internationals admitted the last 3 years, due to the lower GPAs... Macalester has quite a few internationals admitted and this is really attractive for me. However I personally want to attend Brandeis because it's in Boston and has a better reputation...

    In the end, all the universities contradict eachother concerning reputation, GPA curve, acceptance rate and so forth. I am seriously thinking of going to Brandeis, but I would like to hear if anyone thinks I am making a mistake here. Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks!

    tjshine
     
  2. epigastric

    epigastric Stewart U. Class of '11
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    Brandeis is actually about 10-20 miles outside of Boston, not in Boston. While it sounds like a short distance, it's at least 30-40 minutes to get into Boston from there because of the traffic on the Masspike. It has proximity to Boston, yes, but my friends who went to Brandeis tell me that Boston is more of a twice-a-month trip rather than a real experience of living in the city.

    While Baylor can be considered conservative, living in Texas could conceivably give you access to the Texas match (sorry, I don't know how it works for international students), which is probably your best chance at multiple acceptances if you can participate. If it helps, almost every American university has less conservative groups within them -- from what I know, the Baptist affiliation barely comes up nowadays.

    I'd argue that since all of these schools are roughly at the same prestige and academic difficulty level, you should pick a smaller school at which you can possibly play the state residency game (if legally allowed) and have a better chance of standing out. In that order. For example, your chances of claiming MA state residency are impossible. Being part of the Texas match sounds at least more likely.
     
  3. Mortal_Lessons

    Mortal_Lessons H.Perowne
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    Go to Brandeis. You'll get the best education there, plenty of opportunities to become involved in extracurriculars, and a strong name to back you up when you are applying for medical school.

    And to the poster above, Baylor is not on the same level as Brandeis.
     
  4. SB100

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    Check my sig, there's no question about it. :D
     
  5. pagemmapants

    pagemmapants Unknown Member
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    There were 3 Davidson students admitted outright to Duke this year. In contrast, only 2 students were accepted from the entire UC system, none from Macalester, none from Brandeis.

    We like keeping people who have (even 4-year) ties to the state. Plus NC is just gorgeous.

    However, the point of being a part of the texas match system is a good one. That's a lot of "in state" schools to have available to you.
     
  6. NCF145

    NCF145 Not Politically Correct
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    If you go to Baylor get into the Honors College or University Scholars. The Honors College has a med acceptance rate of ~80-90% and the University Scholars have a 100% acceptance rate to medical school.
     
  7. epigastric

    epigastric Stewart U. Class of '11
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    I deliberately said "roughly," actually, because I had a feeling this was going to come up.

    My friends who chose Brandeis loved their time there, but I've noticed Brandeis's reputation is seen as significantly better only when people a) are from the northeast or b) live and die by US News. When I scan resumes at my job (disclaimer: not med school admissions), I'd give equal preference to any of those schools and not think of one as more prestigious. I've yet to see evidence that undergraduate school prestige doesn't make or break a med school application after top twenty or so. And, anyway, if we're going by US News, Davidson wins that game.

    Now if Brandeis has some stellar premed program I've never heard of, I'm prepared to take back everything I said. My friends were all business/finance/etc majors. :D

    I'll stick with my original point, though: the OP should realize his/her chances will always be best at a state school, if they can qualify for in-state preference, and should know that they won't be able to apply to UMass if they have no prior MA residency. Between Texas, Minnesota, North Carolina and Massachusetts, the state with the most state schools is Texas by a mile, with Minnesota as the runner-up.
     
  8. sagemedecon

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    I think Davidson is hands down the best of those schools. Its size will ensure personal attention and more personalized rec letters. The school is extremely well respected in the south and is considered in the top tier of liberal arts colleges.
     
  9. JohnMadden

    JohnMadden Political Refugee
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    Go to Davidson. I almost went there but I needed to be closer to home for family reasons. My cousin is a student there and she LOVES it. Here's what I know:

    1. They just recently eliminated all student loan debt - This is huge for people who KNOW they want to go on to graduate school.

    2. One on One research opportunities with professors.

    3. Davidson encourages (and often funds) students to study abroad for at least a semester. I think 60-75% of the students study abroad for at least 1 semester. Someone should verify that.

    A major con:
    Davidson has a reputation for grade DEFLATION!!! No one graduates with 4.0 and super high GPAs are rare, which may make it harder to stand out in the application process.
     
  10. nager105

    nager105 So it goes.
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    Unless you're a social leper who enjoys the company of other social lepers, then don't go to Brandeis.
     
  11. foofish

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    Brandeis actually is known for having an amazing premed program...it's one of the undergrad's major strengths. But then again, I'm from the Northeast, and couldn't even tell you were some of those other schools are. :)

    The OP is an international student, so if they're not a US citizen, I'm not sure if state residency is even an option.
     
  12. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    :laugh:
     
  13. aliendancer84

    aliendancer84 Junior Member
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    I love Brandeis! I am soooo glad I decided to go there for undergrad. The premed office is really helpful, and I don't know of anyone who applied to med school and hasn't gotten in this year (I'm sure there's someone...but no one I know).

    Brandeis is actually 9 miles from Boston. Takes about 20 minutes to get there. Some people go to Boston like once a semester, but there are other people who go several times a week (mostly international students).

    PM me if you want the contact info for the person in charge of premeds.
     
  14. tjshine

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    Thanks guys for the information.

    Again, I am an international student. Many of you have mentioned about the eligibility for the state medical schools, but I do not think I will have an advantage by going to baylor and applying to Texan schools. If I am mistaken please correct me.

    Davidson is probably not a realistic option for me because of the history of denied international applicants and the gpa deflation.

    Brandeis is 8-9 miles away from Boston so I don't think there's much of a problem there. BTW, just because I'm not from MA doesn't mean that I can't get into a med school there? I've heard internationals get into the Tufts early program from Brandeis!
     
  15. longdistancerun

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    The OP who says s/he is baptist may also want to consider that Brandeis is a HUGELY jewish school.
     
  16. epigastric

    epigastric Stewart U. Class of '11
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    MA residency is only required for UMass, so you're not restricting yourself there.

    Thanks to the Brandeis student who clarified the actual travel time to Boston -- I'm originally from the midwest, and I wanted to point out that you can't always assume that 1 mile ~ 1.5 minute travel time in the northeast like you can at home. Traffic skews everything. And same with discussing the premed program, as I'll know that in the future.

    I have no idea how state residency requirements work with respect to international students. I would have said no way, but a girl from Canada told me last week that it's more flexible. I highly suggest you check into them just in case you can get them in your favor...for instance, had I known ahead of time, I would have moved to NY for undergrad.
     
  17. tjshine

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    longdistancerun, I am fully aware that about 50% of the student body is Jewish, but the school is not a nonsectarian... my parents are Christian missionaries and they are very open minded about it.

    The decision factor is reputation (since im an international and the peeps at home don't know about u.s universities except for harvard :confused: ), and the chance for me to get into a med school.

    Forgive my pickiness, but I really want to make the right choice for the med carreer... thanks.
     
  18. sagemedecon

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    If you are concerned about reputation Davidson wins without question. I wouldn't get scared off by the school's reputation of grade deflation. When schools have a reputation for grade inflation it often only applies to non-science/math departments. You'll find that pre-med coursework is difficult everywhere and if medicine is your goal you will have the motivation to do well. And don't forget the great equalizer, the MCAT, find the school to give you best foundation to dominate this exam. You should also keep in mind that four years from now you may decide medicine isn't for you, despite your confidence now. Given that you're likely to get the best all around liberal arts education from Davidson I would head there. I go to a different top 10 liberal arts school but I have a very high regard for Davidson as do I believe the rest of academia, including medical school admissions officers.
     
  19. tjshine

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    hey,

    I really don't think I will be able to compete in the Davidson environment. You know sometimes you have this feeling that tells you "you won't fit in here..." I've heard from many friends and I take their words for it, that Davidson can be overwhelming. Plus, the lack of diversity thing is also unattractive for an international like me... You're right, any premed program is tough, but I will need a more international-friendly environment.
    (Hey, if I were an American I would attend Davidson. I have no doubt about its reputation)

    I'm really curious about this texas resident flexibility :eek:
    What's the deal? Anyone know informed about this?

    Still boston... Brandeis... Cosmopolitan...
     
  20. epigastric

    epigastric Stewart U. Class of '11
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    I was curious, so I looked it up for you (from here):


    Q. I am an international student and I want to know how I can establish residency?
    A. The following international students are eligible to establish a domicile in Texas under the law and can obtain Texas residency if they meet the basic residency requirements as listed in the first question on this list:

    * Parolee, holder of asylum status or refugee
    * A student who has applied for adjustment of status to permanent residency (must have received an I-485 notice of action for the green card application)
    * Holder of a visa that is eligible to domicile in the US. See THECB list of eligible visas.
    * High school graduation in Texas after 36 months of residence in the state (see next FAQ).


    The list of eligible visas is at this link.
     
  21. tjshine

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    epigastric thanks for the help.

    I don't think I'm eligible for the residency at all!
    Nor am I a highschool grad from texas,
    nor am i a refugee
    If I do get a Texan fiance then I'm eligibe for THECB lol

    Anyway thanks :)
     
  22. ms1finally

    ms1finally Senior Member
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    I am a 2nd year med student who graduated from Davidson but has lived most of her life in the Northeast. Davidson is, far and away, where you will get the best education, IMNHO. According to those silly rankings put out by USNews, it's also ranked above Brandeis (and many other small liberal arts colleges).

    As I understand it, Davidson students' usual acceptance rate to med school is somewhere above 90%, but getting to the point of applying is no cake walk. Your grades at Davidson will probably be MUCH lower than they would be at many other schools (I can not speak to any of the other schools on the list, but every time I took a summer class at another school I ended up with an A).

    On the other hand, the work at Davidson IS overwhelming for science majors and if you have a feeling it's not a good fit, I would cross it off your list (I still have to post this, though, out of love for my alma mater). One of my best friends came to Davidson even though she didn't *LOVE* it and she ended up transferring elsewhere, where, come to think of it, she still wasn't terribly happy. But I digress.

    It sounds like you are leaning toward Brandeis, but if you are an international student and your parents are missionaries that sounds outrageously expensive. In any case, good luck with your decision. If I were making the same decision you are it would still be Davidson hands down for me, but I am also a big fan of "going with your gut" and it sounds like your gut is telling you otherwise.
     
  23. scgroat

    scgroat New Member
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    I would also argue that Davidson is the toughest by far of the schools listed. With that said, you are right to be a bit concerned about your prospects for success there. I will simply say that those who excel there go on to do whatever they want and go wherever they want to go. Also, a lower GPA there will carry more weight at other graduate schools than a comparable gpa from from most other schools. As for the diversity, everyone is very friendly and open at Davidson. Anyone can make friends, and there is certainly no shortage of motivated (though not ostentatiously competitive) individuals. Nonetheless, if you fear that you might get overwhelmed at Davidson, then perhaps consider another school. Davidson's workload is one of the heaviest in the country, and grade deflation is not a myth. Everyone is there to help, though. I got swamped at Davidson, almost flunked out, but, in the end, am proud to say that I graduated from there. Hope this helps. Sorry for the rambling.
     
  24. tjshine

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    Thanks guys,

    You've once again helped me draw a realistic picture :)

    Btw I got scholarship from the above universities so the tuition part is handled. I have 4 siblings, I have to show some responsibility lol

    Can anyone comment on Macalester? I have heard a lot about Davidson...
    Macalester also has about 80% admittance rate and they give GREAT opportunities for premed students! The only thing I'm getting lingered on is the reputation... yes the international reputation... (sorry I'm repeating this over and over again).
     
  25. sagemedecon

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    I think you're going to find yourself in trouble if you are looking at schools with great opportunities for premed students. You want a competent premed office and you've already found sdn. A lot of premed offerings from a school often means cookie cutter activities that tons of other premeds will have as well. I think having a hostipal nearby and research opportunities are important but beyond that you should spend your four years in undergrad doing 1. things that interest you 2. things that will set you apart from a very competitive and impressive medical school applicant pool
     
  26. BloodySurgeon

    Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Have you guys ever seen, "Beauty and the Geek?" Well, one of the cast members was a Brandeis graduate with a double major in Spanish and something else and he had thick glasses and pants up to his chest. He was the ideal geek who had admitted on the show that he has never kissed a girl and he worships the ground they walk on. This image always pops up in my head when someone tells me they want to go to Brandeis...

    [​IMG]

    Don't get me wrong, I have great friends who went to Brandeis--but even they admit the ratio of dweebs to others are unmistakable.
     
  27. mlle3000

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    ummm...i'm in LOVE with davidson. i always was. the only reason i didn't attend is because my mom steered me away from there when it was time to decide which school to attend (she was upset that the swim coach lead me on about scholarships only to find out that he was only able to give me 5k). whatever. i should have followed my heart - i fell in love with that school the moment i walked on campus. great academics. great community. strong honor code (which i think helps build such a strong community). great location. no grad school (which can be seen as a negative, but i think this is a positive since ALL the focus is on undergrad education.)

    go to davidson so i can live vicariously..... :)
     
  28. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    Macalester has a huge number of international students and is very good about matching international and local students so that from the start you have someone help you get your bearings in St. Paul. The student body is one of the least religious in the country, so if that is important to you it is something that you may want to factor into your decision.

    Macalester has a pretty good track record with regard to pre-med (although it is considered to be a stronger social science and humanities school) and I've seen several students from that school on the interview trail.
     
  29. tjshine

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    Lol I love your posts

    Especially "live vicariously" :laugh:
     
  30. medhawk1

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    Speaking of international students I'd like to point out former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan class of '61 attended Macalester. It is a very international student friendly school and huge on diversity to boot. The science faculty will bend over backwards(especially if you get to know them, which is easy with the small class sizes) to get you research experience if you desire, which is incredibly beneficial. Not only that but volunteer opportunities of every kind abound in the twin cities area.
     
  31. pedsdoc2b

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    I'm afraid I can only comment on Brandeis, as I know very little about the other schools. Here's what I can tell you about Brandeis:

    1) We got a new premed dean last year - she is awesome! Really helpful, very knowledgeable about the process, and really nice.
    2) Tufts Med School has an early admissions program that accepts students from (I think) a few schools, one of which is Brandeis. A huge number of Brandeis students apply and are accepted during their sophomore year.
    3) While Brandeis does have a large Jewish population, and is a very Jewish-friendly school, they also have numerous non-Jewish religious groups. I am not Jewish and I never felt uncomfortable about religion there.
    4) Brandeis is a very international-friendly school, though on this I'll admit I'm going on anecdotal evidence and not fact.
    5) The Northeast rocks!

    That's my input. I'll be the first to admit it's biased, but for what it's worth...
     
  32. jochi1543

    jochi1543 President, Gunner Central
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    Hey,

    I graduated from Macalester last May with a foreign language degree. It's a great school! At times, I've wished that my school had a "bigger" name to it, but trust me, all the people in the right places know it. I actually got into a higher-ranked school (Grinnell), but opted for Mac because it was in an urban area.

    I can't compare it to the other schools you mentioned since I didn't apply/go there, but let me tell you what I liked and disliked about Macalester.

    Good things:

    1) Small class size, of course. I've made great friends in my classes, I am still friends with some of my profs (as in, we e-mail weekly). Friendwise, since there's a lot of opportunity for presentations and other group work and since the classes are more interactive than lecture-based, you get lots of opportunities to talk to people.

    Anecdotally, my college advisor in HS recommended I apply to Macalester because all my friends in HS were internationals....and now all of my close Mac friends are at least 1st generation American. Kind of ironic. However, I went to a US high school (don't know about you) and that extra year probably helped me adjust faster and thus didn't make me isolate myself from the domestic students as much as some other intl students do.

    Professor-wise, a small class means that you will ALWAYS be able to talk to your prof if you're having difficulties or simply have an interest in the subject area. Never ONCE did I not get an opportunity to talk to a prof during office hours. They really make themselves available, with the exception of some Economics guys (I was in Econ for 2 years before I switched...hated it).

    I can tell you how great it is because I took a few courses at large universities and the difference was DRASTIC and not for the better.:thumbdown:

    2) Dorms and dorm living. At Macalester, you are required to live in the dorms for the first 2 years, no matter where you come from - even if your parents live in St. Paul. Some locals hate it, but honestly, I made lots of good friends living in the dorms. It REALLY helps to build a tight community. The dorms themselves (with the exception of one, where your humble servant resided for one semester :rolleyes: ) are very modern and pretty comfortable. I don't know if you're male or female, but they have both coed and single sex floors for first years, which can be helpful if you are more traditional and need some adjustment.

    3) Food. Dorm living requires you to be on the meal plan. It can get old pretty quickly, but I do have to say, Macalester has a GREAT cafeteria. There are lots of healthy choices, ethnic foods of all kinds (from Vietnamese to Norwegian), and the cafeteria itself is quite nice and clean. I've never been to a cafeteria better than Bon Appetit at Mac.

    4) Foreign language/cultural interest housing. I lived in the Japan House for one semester (I studied Japanese) and a friend lived in the Hebrew House (she's Jewish). There are other "houses" as well, the aim being to bring people of a common culture/common interest in a particular culture/language together. You have to submit specific applications for it, but few people get rejected.

    5) Community service. Macalester has TONS of community service options. If you check out the Princeton Review rankings, it's in the top 20 (if not 10) for community service engagement. I amassed a huge number of volunteering experiences there. The community service has a huge inventory of local organizations, all of which are very familiar with Mac students and are happy to offer meaningful opportunities. You're bound to find smth you like.There are also work-study programs where you do non-profit work instead of on-campus employment to earn your award. These require specific applications and are rather competitive, but also very rewarding.

    6) Connections. As I said, Mac maybe small and not super well-known, but its grads go on to get jobs at major places. In my Econ program, 14 out of 22 people matched into top investment banks in NYC, San Fran, and the like, and only 2 ended up with run-of-the-mill jobs.

    7) Financial aid. Granted, this was back in the need-blind days (2002 entry for me), but when I only got a $4,000 scholarship + work-study from Mac and e-mailed them to say I can't afford to come, I got an e-mail saying "how much should we give you in order for you to come to Macalester?" I almost sh!t my pants.:scared: I was modest though, and settled for 11K a year...not bad. Most schools don't give ANY aid to internationals.
    Also, when I was having some financial problems in my 4th year, the Fin Aid staff was VERY helpful in finding very good loans for me. As you may know, it's nearly impossible for intl students to get loans, but I barely had to lift a finger to get one at Mac.



    And now, the things that bothered me about Macalester.

    1) Race drama. Macalester (like any LAC) is obsessed with getting as many people of color as possible. Here's my White point of view: The liberal brainwashing gets to a point where you simply feel uncomfortable around your fellow students of color because there's constant psychological pressure to feel somehow inferior and guilty. It's not at all uncommon to hear a person of color (INCLUDING staff :rolleyes: ) to make public statements such as "there are too many white people at this college." Ironic, considering this is Minnesota and Mac has a greater %age of people of color than the state. You can imagine the hoopla that'd ensue if a White person said smth like "There are too many Black people at this college."

    2) Religion. I'm an atheist, but even I often felt uncomfortable with the tacky public jabs at Christianity (of course, Christianity only, because attacks on other religions suggest you don't like people of color, and that's a BIGGG booboo at Macalester as mentioned above). I personally found cartoons of Jesus hanging around in bed with prostitutes as featured in the school newspaper very offensive, and as I said, I'm not even religious, let alone Christian. The WASP bashing gets really old, especially at a college that preaches tolerance toward every other single group of people.

    3) On the same note, excessive liberalism. I also consider myself to be liberal (you better be, at Macalester). However, I feel like some (very vocal, too) people there confused liberalism with close-mindedness towards people with different political views. I'm all for educated political dialogue, but a lot of people just get caught up in "I hate Bush" and "Republicans should go to hell" crap. I had one openly Republican friend who often felt ostracized and uncomfortable on campus, and I found it quite sad that she had to be subjected to this type of treatment at a supposedly tolerant college. If you find yourself to be on the conservative side (or sometimes, even on the simply reasonable side), it's not uncommon to see people jeer at you if you speak up in class. As I said, I consider myself to be liberal, and I still found some of my "liberal" classmates to be nothing but close-minded snobs. However, many LACs are like that.

    So, there you go! Hope it helps you make a decision.
     
  33. jochi1543

    jochi1543 President, Gunner Central
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    Oh yeah, and I don't know which city you live in right now (or if you are even in the US at all), but Minneapolis/St. Paul is a pretty good city to live in. The Twin Cities are big enough to have everything you could ever want and more (ethnic restaurants...museums....theaters....cool grocery stores...nice little shops with cute stuff...etc). The economy is in very good condition - there is a large number of huge companies based there - Target, Land O Lakes, 3M, US Bank, etc, which means lots of summer job/internship opportunities. However, the cost of living is low compared to many other large US cities. I split a $500 2-bedroom basement with a friend, and it included everything except for internet/cable ($500 for the apartment, so $250 for each of the two of us). Good luck finding that in Boston is all I can say! And we lived right next to the expensive area of St. Paul, where the governor resides (Macalester area, really, lol).

    The crime rate, however, is high. There's a reason why it's nicknamed "Murderapolis." There are some very bad areas in both Minneapolis and St. Paul, and I've been robbed at gunpoint there and had druggies and hobos living in our garage. My old apartment (the $500 one) was nearly broken into - my friend was asleep at home at the time and the intruder bolted once he realized someone was inside.






    Also, another good thing to consider with Macalester is its membership in the ACTC - Associate Colleges of the Twin Cities program. ACTC unites all private colleges in the area (though you have to admit, Mac is better than all of them...however, Hamline is quite good as well). You can take a course at any of the colleges in the association without having to pay any extra tuition, and there are free shuttles running constantly between the schools - I think there are 7 schools altogether. This is good if you wanna take a course not offered at Mac (say, forensics at Hamline) OR if you want to just take an easy course. I took Gen Chem at St. Thomas and it was an absolute joke. Lots of people go to St. Thomas to take Spanish as it's ridiculously easy there compared to Mac as well. So ACTC really expands your educational opportunities AND allows you to work your GPA a little.
     
  34. mlle3000

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    glad my completely biased opinion amused you.

    in the meantime, i thought of another reason why i love davidson. they do your laundry for you. seriously. there is a place that you can drop off your dirty clothes and then pick them up smelling fresh and clean. *magic* at the time i applied (YEARS ago), they were only one of 2 colleges in the US to have laundry service. my mother rolled her eyes when she heard about this and said, "leave it to my daughter to pick a school does her laundry for her and helps her put off being an adult for 4 more years..." :rolleyes:
     
  35. scgroat

    scgroat New Member
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    That's why I went!;)
     
  36. SB100

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    Is that you Julie? I saw your mdapplicants and it said you got accepted to St. Louis, so I assume its you. Is it? :D
     
  37. ms1finally

    ms1finally Senior Member
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    Oh my gosh, I think I know who you are!!! You graduated in '02, I thinK?
     
  38. physiclas87

    physiclas87 Member
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    I go to Brandeis, so I should throw in a few things:

    1. Davidson is NOT ranked higher than Brandeis on US News, they are ranked in SEPARATE CATEGORIES. Still, Brandeis has a better reputation overall, unless you are in North Carolina.

    2. Boston is awesome.

    3. We have a fantastic premed program and plenty of research opportunities.

    4. I know a lot of people who turned down a lot of top schools for Brandeis. Two of my really good friends turned down Amherst, another UPenn, another UVA, and I also have met people who have turned down Yale and Princeton (I would say Harvard too, but that person transferred there after 2 years).

    5. The class '10 was <50% Jewish, which is typical of pretty much any northeast college.
     
  39. JohnMadden

    JohnMadden Political Refugee
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    I don't think Brandeis has a better reputation than Davidson. However, they are both excellent schools.
     
  40. MahlerROCKS

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    I go to a top 15 lac, and I have personal experience with people from both Davidson and Macalester. I have to agree with another poster that Macalester has excellent social science and humanities programs, but their science programs are not nearly as strong as those at their peer institutions. On the other hand, my friends from Davidson are arguably some of the best scientists (or soon-to-be-scientists) that I have ever met.

    Another good thing about Davidson is that it has an excellent reputation in the south because with the exception of W&L, it does not really have any competition. Macalester on the other hand, while an excellent school, competes in a crowded field with other Midwestern LACs for prestige.

    Finally, if for no other reason, Davidson has people who will do your laundry

    If you have any questions, PM me. I faced a similar choice to what you are contemplating now: go to a LAC where I will be challenged and ultimately have a mediocre gpa at best, or choose a large university with easy academics and grade inflation--ultimately I chose the former, and granted there are days that I'm frustrated about my gpa, I never regret my choice because I am receiving an amazing education
     
  41. scgroat

    scgroat New Member
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    They'll both ultimately get you into med school if you let them, right? Then again, to claim that Brandeis has a better rep outside of NC is, well, a bit misleading. In Texas, the general public likely has not heard of Davidson or Brandeis, but local colleges and universities certainly have. To the OP, you really can't go wrong at any of the schools listed. If you want the school where a high GPA will carry the most weight, I'd pick Davidson. Then again, I'm obviously in a position where it is difficult to be objective.
     
  42. scgroat

    scgroat New Member
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    On an aside, I always told myself while at Davidson that I would have better grades at a state school. I was angry, frustrated, and certainly felt mistreated some of the time when, what I thought was an honest effort, did not pay off. What Davidson did was teach me that anything was easy (maybe not easy, but attainable) in comparison. I did not give an honest effort there, but I came out with a new definition of what it meant to apply oneself. While getting into med school after an abyssmal gpa has been difficult, maintaining close to a 4.0 at a public university hasn't been too bad in comparison. I guess part of it was pride; I wanted to justify how much easier it was and could not settle for a B. Another part was confidence, which I don't think I would have gotten unless I was pushed to the limit.

    I don't know whether this would scare someone away from a tough liberal arts school or make him or her want to step up to the challenge, but I know I am more capable having gone that route myself. I'm also more gracious and humble to know that there is always someone smarter than I am. I thought I might share this story because I think it exemplifies something about a solid liberal arts education that cannot necessarily be quantified.
     
  43. afterthought

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    Here's the deal with state residency, Texas vs. Mass (the ones I know something about).

    Going to undergrad in Mass will NOT get you Mass residency and you will NOT be able to get into UMass Med, the only public school in the state. Of course, you could get into Tufts, BU or Harvard, the other 3 med schools in Mass, because they're private (just as you could coming from any other state).

    You might have to finagle it (purchasing a condo or something) but if you go to Baylor, you could manage to get Texas residency, which is a very, very useful thing to have in applying to med school (as long as you're happy staying in TX). On the other hand, Baylor doesn't compare to any of the other schools on your list academically (and it would def be harder to get in an out-of-state school from Baylor than from any of the others); it's a second-tier school in Texas (with a wide first tier consisting of Rice, UT-Austin and A&M). It's super-duper conservative (and Baptist) too, if that's of any interest.
     
  44. afterthought

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    I very much agree with that last paragraph, having gone to a competitive private school. I, however, KNOW my grades would have been better had I gone to my well-regarded state school because I took summer courses there and came out at the top of my classes. That never happened in my private school classes.

    Still, I believe I benefited greatly from going to that private school instead of the state school--but my GPA would take issue with that statement.
     
  45. panda2

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    Go to Davidson. Granted your gpa might be lower ( I believe the average pre-med gpa is a 3.3) it has an over 90% acceptance rate into medical school. The pre-medical advisor is amazing. He is president-elect of the National Association of Health Advisors Profession, and he knows how to get students into medical school. Grade deflation is a major reality, but admissions committees know this. Moreover, you learn to work at Davidson. A major plus when it comes to handling the medical school curriculum. Davidson students have a reputation of actually excelling in medical school.
     
  46. tjshine

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    jochi1543 thanks for the information about Macalester.

    I am aware that the pre-med officer is very well-known, and he's actually told me that for the last 3 years internationals were not admitted to med schools. The reason was because they could not get a 3.7 gpa or something. Statistics aren't everything but the truth is that internationals have to be top in their academics... Davidson is strong in all aspects, and that's the one reason why it will be too overwhelming for me...
     
  47. nager105

    nager105 So it goes.
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    tjshine, a fellow intl student who went to Brandeis and did the premed thing.

    good things about Brandeis:
    1)very international student friendly. their international student service is really proactive with any visa issues which come for everybody at some point.
    2) their premed program is pretty rigorous. They keep track of you and make sure you're done with everything by Feb, so that you can apply early, though I'll admit it feels a bit too much like hand-holding sometimes.
    3) I agree the new premed dean is great, approachable, answers questions promptly (even the perceived "stupid" ones)
    4) Its a small school, so it's easy to stand out socially and academically. Except for basic science prereqs, the classes are really small - very very important for getting good recommendations.

    5)Research - Great labs that are not turned off by premeds. Intramural scholarships that are not restricted to US citizens: a big help if you want to do research in the summer, but can't finance housing.
    NEGATIVE: One big concern for intl students - A lot of labs don't have enough money to pay you. SInce you can't work off campus, that can make it hard on your pocket. If Brandeis gave you work study, then its not much of an issue.
    6) Lots of amazing hospitals in Boston when you want to shadow docs. Brigham and Women's has a really good volunteer program geared towards premeds. Children's bought the hospital right next to Brandeis, and are expanding it big time. That might a good place for clinical experience as well.

    bad things about Brandeis:
    1) If social life is really important to you, Brandeis might not be so good.
    2) Many of the premeds are gunners in the making. It is a dog-eat-dog environment; people screwing up other people's experiments..that sorta thing. Some of them stoop as low as begging for grades, whine about every point they get off in exams, or try to make you fee stupid if you got a 31 on the MCAT and they got a 32.
    But, all my best friends were premeds, and a lot of them are mature and friendly, and I imagine you have some annoying and whiny premeds at any other school.
    3) Brandeis is very tolerant of non-Jews, but pretty much everything shuts down for Shabbath. Forget getting anything on campus if you get the munchies on Friday night. I personally felt a bit out of place because I'm not into religion, but it features very highly in the general Brandeis atmosphere.

    Hope this helps. If you have any detailed questions PM me.
     
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  48. SB100

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    Haha no kidding! I know someone who may be preventing his current TA in a lab class from receiving a teaching award because he complains about his unfair grading and accuses him of favoritism :eek:
     
  49. tjshine

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    lol oh boy
     
  50. jochi1543

    jochi1543 President, Gunner Central
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    I'm going to a state school this fall to fix my GPA, haha.:laugh: I'm in Canada now though, not much in terms of private schools anyway, and tuition at provincial universities is a joke (4 years costs as much as 1 year at Macalester). Well, my GPA was mostly ruined by non-science (economics) and pure laziness in first year. And yes, I sure had a huge ego in 1st year after going to a very selective private HS and doing quite well both in terms of grades and TOEFL/SATs...figured I didn't have to go to to class and would still get an A. A C and a C+ later I had to buckle up.:rolleyes:

    But I agree with you, I feel quite fortunate that I was able to attend schools with people who were smarter than me. I feel that I learned TONS from my peers, both in the classroom and outside. On the contrary, when I took a class at the "easier" school, I found myself to be the God of All, which was good for the ego, but not very good for learning - I kept getting pestered by my classmates there, but not a single person in the class was able to help me out if I had a question. If you stay at the top and don't have to work hard to keep your position, it causes you to lose motivation eventually....the same reason why gifted kids tend to do badly in public schools that simply fail to challenge them adequately. And I feel like this experience has prepared me for a rude awakening in med - I'm quite aware that a large # of people will be smarter than me. I think it has helped me to be more chill about grades - you definitely won't find me in med gunning for the A, I'll just be going for the "pass" and being quite happy with it.
     

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