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Cheap vs Dream School: Residents Chime In!

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Cheap school or Dream School?

  • Cheap School

    Votes: 46 34.1%
  • Dream School

    Votes: 89 65.9%

  • Total voters
    135

doctorsareneat

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A couple of weeks ago I posted a poll asking if you would go to your expensive dream school or your in-state cheap school.

The results were about 2.5 to 1 dream school (last time I checked).

So, I posted the same thing on the Residents forum, and the results were about 3 to 1 cheap school.

It kind of opened my eyes to how this debt really is going to affect my life, specialty choice, family, etc. Not that I was so naive before, but hearing from residents (I feel) really nailed it down for me.

With this new (totally scientific) poll info in mind...

Which would you choose? The Cheap School or the Dream School?
 

Stolenspatulas

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why can't your cheap school and dream school be the same!

I just blew your mind.

also, your poll is entirely too simple...how cheap is cheap (100K total?)... how dream is dreamy(I would pay 100K more to go here than my cheap school, but not 150K?)... quantify my friend, the world is not always just pink and brown.
 

doctorsareneat

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sorry, I should have linked to my first post, but the SDN search almost never works for me and I can't find it.

In that post I explained that 'cheap school, dream school' was my situation. I had a school that I fell in love with far away for lots of $$ and my state school right down the street (which is a good school, but not my 'dream') for a lot less money.

I think a lot of pre-meds find themselves in this situation (I would guess almost anyone who gets accepted to more than one school).
 

Nomemory

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Yeah my dream school is my cheapest *potential* choice. Downside: possible lose-lose. Upside: possible win-win. :scared: :scared: :scared:
 

spicedmanna

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why can't your cheap school and dream school be the same!

I just blew your mind.

also, your poll is entirely too simple...how cheap is cheap (100K total?)... how dream is dreamy(I would pay 100K more to go here than my cheap school, but not 150K?)... quantify my friend, the world is not always just pink and brown.

Exactly! :thumbup:
 

diosa428

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I picked my dream school. I don't regret it, and never will.

BTW, the difference between the schools wasn't that much. Max, prob ~$50K. Minimum, prob ~$20k.

But, before I got into my dream school, I was choosing between my state school and a private school. I picked the state school, even though the difference was only $40k (same as between dream school and state school). So I guess the real question is, how much more do you love the dream school than the cheap school? Only you can make that decision.
 

TleilaxuMD

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I would go with the higher ranked school regardless of cost or dream....it will get you a better residency....i believe.
 

Kuba

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I would go with the higher ranked school regardless of cost or dream....it will get you a better residency....i believe.

every doctor I have ever talked to says the opposite. I've worked in the hospital for 2.5 years now and all the doctors I meet say to go to the cheapest school you get into. I understand many competitive pre-meds are so focused on rankings and "prestige" and whatnot, but it seems the real world doesn't care at all.
 

Smiles91084

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You can have both your cheap school and your dream school. One example is UCSF. Cheap and perfect for many Californians. UCLA and UCSD too.
 

TleilaxuMD

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You can have both your cheap school and your dream school. One example is UCSF. Cheap and perfect for many Californians. UCLA and UCSD too.
Most would have a better chance at winning the lottery than getting in to those.

BTW-I am not included in the "most" I was talking about.
 

Smiles91084

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Depends if you're Californian or not. People do get into those. I can already name four people in my head and that's only my close friends and family.

Most would have a better chance at winning the lottery than getting in to those.

BTW-I am not included in the "most" I was talking about.
 

Smiles91084

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Another good school is U of Wisconsin, Madison. They have a good rep and cheap school for residents. I'm not from Wisconsin, but if were, I think it would be a good school to attend.
 

diosa428

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every doctor I have ever talked to says the opposite. I've worked in the hospital for 2.5 years now and all the doctors I meet say to go to the cheapest school you get into. I understand many competitive pre-meds are so focused on rankings and "prestige" and whatnot, but it seems the real world doesn't care at all.

When you get to med school, you realize that, in terms of education, where you go matters a lot less than you thought it would. For the first two years, you will teach yourself most of the information, and the information is the same no matter where you go. How you do on the boards is not a factor of where you go to school (despite what everyone on these forums will tell you), it is a factor of #1 - how hard you study, and #2 - how good of a test taker you are. When you're doing your rotations, you'll realize that what you learn on them does not have anything to do with the school that you're at, or even the hospital you're in. Sure, if you're in certain hospitals you might see some cooler stuff. But what you actually LEARN will be dependent on your attendings, your residents and your interns and how well they teach you, which varies from person to person. It is NOT related to what school you go to. I would imagine that most doctors, thinking about this retrospectively, and possibly with considerable debt, would think that cheapest is best, and maybe when you're a doctor, you'll look back and think that it didn't really matter where you went either. BUT I will tell you this: while you should take this into consideration, they are looking back on med school, which they survived, and got to where they wanted to be, and so they think it doesn't matter. It DOES matter. You will be spending the next 4 years of your life somewhere. If you don't like the location, the people, the school, etc, etc, you may not be happy for the next four years. Medical school is not fun. You don't want to make everything worse by picking a school you're not crazy about just because it's cheaper. Yes, in the long run you will get to the same place and probably won't care where you went (looking back now, was high school REALLY so bad?). But for the next 4 years of your life, you will care.

Of course, there are shades of gray, and most decisions don't come down to a school you would like and a school you wouldn't. It's usually a school that you like and a school that you like more. But be aware that, while reputation and whatnot may not matter, your happiness will.
 
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Smiles91084

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or University of Michigan. That's a public school, right?
 

Shpamme

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Depends if you're Californian or not.

Hehe.. as a fellow Californian with less than stellar undergrad stats, I can tell you that for a great number of us (especially nontrads), they are still dream schools.

That said, maybe it's idealistic, but I think anywhere you go, even if it's your cheap state school (because you're lucky enough not to be Californian), you can make it your dream school. A lot of med school is what you make of it, or so I've heard. Sorry, I just re-read that and it sounds preachy. I didn't mean for it to.. but you get the idea. =)

Ohio seems like a great place to combine the idea of dream/cheap school, with 8 Ohio schools. I don't know if all those are state schools though..
 

cakebaker2

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Thanks for starting this thread doctorsareneat - for people with multiple acceptances, I'm sure it's a tough decision. I was accepted at Drexel, and if I'm accepted at my state school it will be hard to decide. Out of the two, Drexel is my dream school - the faculty seemed really supportive, the students were friendly, they're big on utilizing technology. But at my state school, the faculty and students didn't seem as interested in the applicants/interviewees and overall the interview day didn't feel as welcoming (of course the advantages are cost and being able to stay close to home).

Do you guys think in general most public schools don't cater to students as well as private schools do? :confused:
 

doctorsareneat

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Do you guys think in general most public schools don't cater to students as well as private schools do? :confused:

I think that private schools can afford some opportunities that public schools usually can't. I might start a war by saying that, but I still think it's true. But a public school can still earn great prestige (UCSF, UCSD, UM, UVA, etc.), and with prestige comes money and with money comes opportunity. So I guess more than public vs private, it's big name vs no name.
 

foofish

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I'd also wait to see whether the cheap school is still the cheap school once you get the fin aid packages. While the state school might have lower tuition/COA, often the private school gives a larger amount of scholarship money so in effect the private school might be the cheaper option for you. It doesn't always work that way, and depends on your financial situation, but it's something to consider.
 

Funky

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A school like mayo which gives you scholarship could be a dream school and cheap school. 45% of students get a full ride. But not many people get into mayo.
 

PeripateticMD

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I think that private schools can afford some opportunities that public schools usually can't. I might start a war by saying that, but I still think it's true. But a public school can still earn great prestige (UCSF, UCSD, UM, UVA, etc.), and with prestige comes money and with money comes opportunity. So I guess more than public vs private, it's big name vs no name.

Dean Wofsy at UCSF straight up tells applicants (or he told my applicant group) that the number 1 reason that people do NOT decide to go to UCSF (after being accepted) is because they get better financial packages at other schools and that UCSF has almost only need based moneys. So even with all that prestige... they don't have money to give out the fantastic merit scholarships you see elsewhere. So nope, it's more public vs. private (at least if you're a CA resident) than small name vs. big name.
 

sirus_virus

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What the hell is a dream school? I have heard of dream cars, dream houses, etc, but who the hell dreams about school?
 

YupGypsy

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"the inconvenient truth about debt is that it has to be paid back"
 

Khanal007

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every doctor I have ever talked to says the opposite. I've worked in the hospital for 2.5 years now and all the doctors I meet say to go to the cheapest school you get into. I understand many competitive pre-meds are so focused on rankings and "prestige" and whatnot, but it seems the real world doesn't care at all.
I gotta ask, what schools did these doctors attend? What specialty were they in school for?

General internal med...cheaper school would make sense. derm, or orthopedic surgery, or desire to enter academic medicine, a higher ranked can have its merits.

Also, for me, my state school has an average debt of 100k, while many of the top ten schools also have average debts of 100k -- so price doesn't matter.
 

Gut Shot

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Also, for me, my state school has an average debt of 100k, while many of the top ten schools also have average debts of 100k -- so price doesn't matter.

You can't rely on average debt figures. Yes, there is financial aid but you might not get any. Yes, you will have classmates whose parents pay for their med school. The only thing that matters is what the school is going to cost you.
 

doctorsareneat

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What the hell is a dream school? I have heard of dream cars, dream houses, etc, but who the hell dreams about school?

sorry, I'm kind of new to this so I don't know if you're being sarcastic, but I definitely dream about school. It's four years of my life, and education and learning are two of the most important things in the world (to me). I value them over cars and houses (not that I can't dream about them, too).
Of course, if you were just kidding, I just made an ass of myself...
 
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