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BU vs Rochester


New Member
May 19, 2020
Hey all. I recently got off the waitlist at University of Rochester and I'm really torn between there and my current acceptance at BU. They're both solid mid-tier schools with similar match lists, so I mostly feel like I'm struggling to decide between prioritizing $$$ vs. location (also fit somewhat). Here are my pros and cons:
Boston University:
-Slightly higher rank (#29)
-Location. I've always lived in major cities and think I would do better in an urban environment. I grew up near NYC so I would be closer to family. I also have a few friends from college living in the area which would make settling in easier. I feel like there would be more opportunities to do research and make connections throughout the city (BU, Harvard, tufts).
-Mission: I'm really excited by the school's commitment to working with underserved populations. My experience working with those communities are a big reason I chose medicine in the first place, and would want to build on that work in my career. BMC being a safety net hospital would allow me to see a more diverse caseload/patients with unique complications.
-Strong opportunities for public and global health. I may be interested in doing research/work in those fields as a physician, and I think BU would set me up better for that.
-Expensive. All loans, ~$355,000 COA ($80k of which are subsidized institutional loans, so they wouldn't start to accrue interest until I graduate).
-Felt the school lacked a sense of community.
- Combination of need-based and merit scholarships would bring total COA to ~$280,000.
- Really vibed with the school on my interview day. There was a strong sense of community and everyone was really down to earth. It felt really collaborative and genuine.
-No recorded lecture.
-Location. I don't know anyone here and it's got more of a suburban feel. I'm afraid that I would regret choosing to live here when I could have lived in Boston. I don't think I'd be interested in staying for residency.

I need to decide by tomorrow so I'd really appreciate any input!
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Full Member
5+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2015
  1. Medical Student
So full disclosure - I am planning on matriculating at Rochester and I’m from Boston.

I think this one comes down to the cost benefit of paying more for Boston. BU is ridiculously expensive for a school, and with interest those loans are pretty brutal. The rank differences are negligible here. While Rochester normally doesn’t record lectures, in our post-covid world they have moved to online lectures for now and I suspect that will be the case for some time, so that is something to consider.

As someone who likes an urban environment as well, I get the appeal of Boston, but I don’t think Rochester would hold you back from matching somewhere urban for residency, and there is enough to do there to keep you busy. Also Rochester is a city filled with underserved populations (and I’d argue more diverse than Boston which is hella white), although BMC probably deals with a more diverse set than the other academic hospitals in the city.

Would being saddled with the extra loans be worth four years in Boston? I think that’s the question to answer here.
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Full Member
5+ Year Member
Jul 24, 2015
  1. Medical Student
Bias alert: I gave up a BU acceptance because it was too expensive. When I went to BU for the interview, it didn't make me excited. Students don't seem particularly happy and the immediate surrounding area is not super lively. I would definitely say that BU is not worth the money, especially in this case because BU and Rochester are similarly ranked.

n=1 but I have a friend who goes to Rochester and she loves it there and she says that the community in Rochester is incredibly friendly and laid back.
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