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Case Western Vs. Robert Wood (Please Help)

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by liquidshadow22, Mar 26, 2007.

  1. liquidshadow22

    liquidshadow22 Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 23, 2006
    Hey all,

    I would really appreciate your opinion. I just got back from Case second look weekend and I was so desperately hoping that it would have resolved my difficulty. Instead, I am still caught in the middle.

    I really enjoyed the curriculum at Case and it seems like the students enjoy being there. Roughly 8 hours of lecture a week and 6 hours of PBL (which I like since I'm the type that likes to interact and ask questions) and P/F for the first 2 years. Tests are every 12 weeks with Thursdays off. Also, I've never seen a city so devoted to healthcare. There are five hospitals to choose from as far as rotations go (this includes Cleveland Clinic). With one med school in Cleveland (Case), I would think getting whatever internship you want will only require a simple email.

    The negative aspects are that I don't like Cleveland as a city. The city's weather is depressing and it's far from safe (which I suppose is a give and take with the advantage of the city patient population). Moreover, I've already spent 4 years away from home for undergrad and family is important to me. Lastly, the total cost of Case is roughly 64k/year.

    So for RWJ: It puts me close to home. The tuition is 20k less than Case per year, and possibly more if I get a scholarship (a good chance). Both schools were very friendly and I definitely liked RWJ a lot too (otherwise I wouldn't be having such a hard time deciding).

    The curriculum seems to be much more lecture based and a good amount of class each day (9-4 type of schedule). I can deal with this but obviously I would prefer Case's curriculum.

    So my additional questions are how much should I be weighing the financial difference? How important is reputation in determining residency (I want to go into surgery)? Some surgeons tell me that Case has a noticeably better rep than RWJ while others say both schools are solid. Also, I want to stay on the East Coast either way and perhaps RWJ would help me in establishing these connections?

    Lastly, how much weight should I be giving to the fact the hospitals are much better in Cleveland?

    As you can tell I'm lost. Please help.
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  3. weathertalk

    weathertalk 5+ Year Member

    Nov 28, 2006
    use the search function "money vs. prestige"
  4. UMP

    UMP Recovered Under-Achiever 7+ Year Member

    Aug 27, 2004
    it's more than money vs. prestige... this is money vs. better fit
    personally I think RWJ would be better for you in the long run because of family, but it's a tough call... Case is hard to pass up
  5. liquidshadow22

    liquidshadow22 Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 23, 2006
    I feel as if I'm going to have some sort of regret either way.
  6. searun

    searun 5+ Year Member

    Jul 31, 2006
    I am giving up Case for California sunshine and I am feeling some regret. I think Case is a really good school with great students.
  7. AIRMJ4

    AIRMJ4 Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 16, 2004
    I'm in a similar bind, Case vs. SUNY downstate. I'm from NYC, so I've pretty much decided to go to Downstate for financial and family reasons. I too find Cleveland pretty depressing and even though Case may have a better reputation, I know I won't be happy for four years especially when the tough times come around in med school and having family around would be great company during those times. Having learned from undergrad experience, I'm not planning on living that far away. Good luck in your decision
  8. liquidshadow22

    liquidshadow22 Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 23, 2006
    I also wonder how much time I'm going to have to actually go home.
  9. Darkshooter326

    Darkshooter326 Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    May 30, 2006
    If you liked what you saw at the second look, then I would probably choose Case. You listed more 'positives' for Case than you did for RWJ, so it seems you favor it more. I know it's hard to take money out the equation, but that's the best way to make a decision. The med students I've talked to who seem unhappy say not to go somewhere because of finances.
  10. Piper2011

    Piper2011 2+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2007
    As a Cleveland native, I can speak to both the good and the bad sides of Cleveland.

    It is true that the weather can be sub-par, especially compared to California, but it is dramatically played up at times, and really is not much worse off than most of New York state (I went to undergrad in upstate New York, so saw a bit of both, and most times my parents said that it was pretty much the same at home as compared to school). As a side note--the weird weather during second look (I was there also) was an anomaly. We hardly ever have fog like that for the entire day and night. It was kind of bizarre.

    Yes, we have lake-effect snow in the winter, and it's grey a lot. But think of it as really appreciating those crystal clear blue and sunny days even more! If you have some sort of outdoor winter activity you like (skiing, cross country or otherwise, snow shoeing, etc) then you start to look forward to the winter rather than dread it. And the summer? Well, it can be hot, but FYI- It's hot in a lot of places during the summer.

    Cleveland has a fantastic system of parks surrounding it that aren't too far away if you want to get out of the urban/suburban feel, and are especially nice in the summer time. One of the parks is even on the lake with a nice beach, so you can feel like you're on the Ocean (haha, okay, I don't even by that, but whatever).

    As far as crime goes, the area that Case is in really isn't that bad. I work at Case right now and walk to my car (about 10 min walk away) almost every day, and haven't ever felt uncomfortable. There's an extensive bus system around the University Circle area also if you feel like you don't want to walk somewhere. The neighborhoods around Case are pretty dominated by students and young adults in the same sort of situation. Being intelligent when walking alone late at night is really the only precaution I can ever see taking. Just like anywhere else really.

    The city of Cleveland itself is the poorest in the country I believe, but considering so few people actually live downtown, this isn't all that surprising. You'll go truely downtown really only for bars.

    Entertainment-wise... Cleveland has just about everything you need. The problem that the city is experiencing, though, is that they don't do a good job of advertising themselves, so great bars and restaurants and clubs are difficult to find except via word of mouth. BUT they are out there. you just have to be willing to look a little harder.

    And you're spot on with the hospital-bit. There's a lot of fantastic healthcare options for someone looking for training in almost every field.

    All of this being said, though, if being close to family is really important to you, or you know that having grey weather for a lot of the winter will bum you out severely, then maybe Case is not a good option. As far as finances... well I'm in the same boat--Case or a cheaper in state school.

    If you have any other Cleveland specific questions, don't hesitate to PM me, I'm more than happy to answer them!
  11. steppwolf

    steppwolf Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 14, 2006
    Obviously this is a very personal decision. From an outside perspective, though, I'd say that the next 4 years are going to be dedicated to preparing yourself to practice medicine with little time for anything else. Give the least weight to things like weather and setting. Give the most to how well you like the curriculum plan and the students/faculty, and how well you think each school will prepare you. Give somewhat less weight to the cost differential, and in doing that make sure you know the true cost of going OOS if there is a good chance for financial aid.

    And as you agonize over the decision, don't forget to rejoice at the good fortune of having a choice.
  12. CCLCMer

    CCLCMer CCLCM Alum c/o 2011 7+ Year Member

    Jul 10, 2006
    Cleveland expatriate
    You haven't gotten financial aid packages from either school yet, right? As much as I'm loving it here at Case (I'm in the CCLCM program), if I had to pay full price to go here, I'd have gone somewhere else. I don't think any med school in the country is worth paying $41,000 for tuition alone, assuming you have a choice, of course. This is also assuming that Case doesn't also come through with a nice financial aid package for you, which they might. So don't decide anything until you hear about what they'll offer you. Good luck! Oh, and if you're interested in serving the underserved and you do end up here, make sure to come volunteer at CHI. CHI is the student-run free health clinic. CCLCM students started it earlier this year, and now things are worked out where all Case students can volunteer there.
  13. Smish

    Smish 2+ Year Member

    Feb 21, 2007
    I'm an senior at Case undergrad right now... so if you want to know anything specific about the campus or anything, please, let me know!

    It's not as unsafe as you might think, I feel like with University Circle police, Case police, Cleveland Clinic security and Cleveland Heights police roaming around campus all the time, it's not too bad on campus itself.

    I personally love the school (and hope they accept me!!), but I can understand what you mean about the city. I'm a chicago native and so I really really understand... there's just not as much to do and not as many benefits of a huge city.

    But still, I've enjoyed many indians games, cavs games, and the beach is amazing during the summer...

    Hope this helps!
  14. ny skindoc

    ny skindoc Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 30, 2002
    I agree No matter what your choice you will feel this way so its good you understand that.
    It sounds to me you would like to be close to home.Thats a significant thing.I dont think that the decision should be primarily financial but 20kplus per year less in loans is something.It is true that Case is a bigger name in medicine and will offer some professional edge,but RWJ has a good residency match list and if you want surgery you will get it.You cant go wrong either way.
  15. liquidshadow22

    liquidshadow22 Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 23, 2006
    One of the things that did stick out in my mind when I went to Case was how often the students would say they wouldn't memorize facts, they would actually learn them through Case Based Learning.

    It's logical to think that students who actually apply the knowledge to cases would remember it better than someone who sat in lecture 8 hrs a day and just memorized it.

    Any thoughts?

    Also, do you think it helps to go to RWJ since I want a residency on the east coast?
  16. CCLCMer

    CCLCMer CCLCM Alum c/o 2011 7+ Year Member

    Jul 10, 2006
    Cleveland expatriate
    My opinion is that PBL (or CBL, which ours is kind of a hybrid of) is way more fun than lecture. That's why I didn't want to go to a lecture-based school. But honestly, people have gone to traditional programs for decades and done just fine. It's not like you'll automatically be a horrible doctor if you don't do PBL/CBL. There are a lot of excellent schools that still use traditional curriculums, and their grads do fine as physicians. You will have to get through some things in med school by brute force memorization no matter where you go, because (to paraphrase Mao Zedong) medical school is not a dinner party. Some parts are really fun and interesting, and other parts are really disgusting and boring and stupid. The latter tend to be things that require memorization. That will be true no matter where you go.

    As for your second question, I don't know. But I suspect if you do well in school and on the boards, and you get really good LORs, it won't matter that much.

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