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Choosing a med school: What do you value most?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by deeproots, Sep 7, 2014.

  1. deeproots

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    Hi guys,

    I've been fortunate enough to have a few interviews this cycle, and I'm surprised to say that I've loved all the schools I've seen so far but for somewhat different reasons. For example, I loved School X's curriculum, but the city of School Y is amazing, and School Z has so many opportunities for shadowing, preceptorships, etc.

    This got me thinking: What are the most important aspects to consider when choosing a medical school? Curriculum? Location? Places to live? The people? The atmosphere? Opportunities/connections? Class size? Step 1 scores? Residencies? Early clinical exposure?

    I'm applying in Texas, so I'll have to rank the schools I've applied to in my order of preference... This is intimidating because I love all of the Texas schools but for different reasons!

    Anybody have advice to offer those of us who may have to make some difficult decisions in the near future?
     
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  3. Dr. Retractor

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  4. grivacobae

    grivacobae Whatascrub
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    Countdown City! (210)...

    Also really inexpensive school
     
  5. Cyberdyne 101

    Cyberdyne 101 It's a dry heat
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    I value location (Texas sounds great!), curriculum (I like schools that have research requirements), dual degree options (ie MD/MPH), and it would also be nice to have access to a strong ortho department.
    In terms of cost, I'd prefer to not take on exorbitant debt. Although, I would pay more for a specific school if it's a better fit.
     
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  6. Afford

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    Location, happiness, and price.
     
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  7. deeproots

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    When y'all say that location is important, do you most value location for personal reasons (e.g., commute to school, lots of things to do, scenery, weather, close to family/friends, etc.) or educational reasons (e.g., located in populous city --> more patients, located in medically-underserved area, etc.)?

    I'm absolutely in love with one school in particular (everything about the curriculum is amazing, and the class size and collaborative environment are great), except for the location. I really don't like the location, but I don't know if that should be a super-important factor in my decision.
     
  8. Zelda840

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    The most important thing for me is overall cost, taking into account cost of tuition and cost of living in that particular location. I'm looking for a school in a city small enough that I can afford an apartment and large enough that my partner can still find a job.
     
  9. Afford

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    I chose location for personal reasons because I'd rather stay close to friends and family and my hometown has a really good medical school, so it's a win-win if I get in. I'm applying to all of the Texas schools, too, and I can understand that some locations are less desirable than others. I would try asking some current students on their opinions of the location. Although, if you have any questions about Houston, I'd be happy to answer them.
     
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  10. Aerus

    Aerus Elemental Alchemist
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    Judging by your name, shouldn't price be the number 1 reason? :laugh: /joke
     
  11. Cyberdyne 101

    Cyberdyne 101 It's a dry heat
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    Some schools can offer a location that satisfies both personal and professional interests. What concerns you about this specific location? Are you a suburban person that would have to make an adjustment to an urban environment (or vice-versa)? And/or is the school in a sketchy area?
     
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  12. Afford

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    Haha you got me there.
     
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  13. JPA178

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    Classes that are completely pass/fail the first 2 years. Location, price, teaching hospital reputation, residency placements.
     
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  14. karayaa

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    P/F, patient population, mission, price, diverse rotations, dual degree options, gap year option, small size, global health options, curriculum, cost of living, public transportation.
     
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  15. deeproots

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    I'm really not a big-city type of girl, but I can adjust to that. (Although I'd definitely prefer a suburban location). My biggest concern is that my husband and I have 4 large dogs that are basically our children, so I'd want to live in a decent-sized house with a decent-sized backyard. It seems that housing accommodations like this are hard to find in cities unless I want to drive 30+ minutes everyday to get to and from campus :/
     
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  16. Cyberdyne 101

    Cyberdyne 101 It's a dry heat
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    I just PMed you.
     
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  17. DermViser

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    I love these threads.
     
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  18. MrLogan13

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    What I value most probably isn't what you value most. This is a question that only you can answer.
     
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  19. G_Marker

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    1. They accept me.
    2. Curriculum (early clinical, systems-based teaching style, P/F, etc)
    3. Research/EC opportunities
    4. Location
     
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  20. Ace Khalifa

    Ace Khalifa I am the definition of awesomeness
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    5. Total cost of attendance - will pick state school over prestigious school every time.
     
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  21. RespectTheChemistry19

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    Whoever will take me!

    If I did have a choice, I think it would come down to cost of attendance and proximity to family.
     
  22. Osteoth

    Osteoth Fake it till ya' make it
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    1. Curriculum (Grading scheme, availability of combined programs, special schoo-specific programs)
    2. Location
    3. Price
     
  23. SouthernSurgeon

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    Among the factors you listed I would largely ignore early clinical exposure.

    Most overblown and meaningless part of the admissions propaganda game.

    I think factors worth considering include
    -Academic opportunities (research and clinical - i.e. attached to a large academic medical center with "home" departments in the majority of specialties)
    -Clinical rotation sites - quality of clerkships and teaching, degree of responsibility, not having to set up rotations for your self
    -Curriculum (and related aspects such as availability of lecture recordings, mandatory attendance policies, etc)
    -Quality of life (geographic location, size of town, adequacy of housing options, etc)
     
  24. karayaa

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    @DermViser, what do you think are some good factors to consider?
     
  25. NickNaylor

    NickNaylor Thank You for Smoking
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    Nah man, erbody knows that getting into the clinics/in front of standardized patients in the first week of med school are the most educational experiences you'll have.
     
  26. G_Marker

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    I'm working in a clinical setting now, and I love seeing patients everyday and learning on the job. I'd like to be able to continue those interactions in my first year at medical school. It might serve as a nice reminder about why I'm studying so hard, while helping to put what I'm learning in context.

    Why is it overblown/meaningless? Do they not let 1st year med students do anything?
     
    #25 G_Marker, Sep 9, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014
  27. SouthernSurgeon

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    Because it adds nothing of substance to students' education. "Early clinical experiences" are awkwardly shoe-horned into the curriculum in such a way as to try and make them relevant, and in reality all they end up doing is being a time-sink for students who are stressed out studying for their next exam. So the human aspect of it which they should be appreciating ends up being an early introduction to the deprioritization/dehumanization of medicine.

    Oh and it's also meaninglesss because every school has these opportunities, yet a select few brag about theirs as if it is a revolutionary concept that has totally changed their school for the better.

    You'll spend your whole life working with patients. You'll get plenty of "real patient experience" in the clinical years, assuming they are done well.

    ...

    In other words....a lot of pre-meds think something exactly along these lines:
    Schools know this and prey on that line of thinking, even though anyone who has actually gone through the experience can tell you how trivial that ends up being.
     
    #26 SouthernSurgeon, Sep 9, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014
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  28. deeproots

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    This is very, very helpful! Question, if you don't mind: How would one go about evaluating the quality of clinical rotations?
     
  29. SouthernSurgeon

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    This is a post I made a while back on the subject:

    How to tell strength of clinical years?

     
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  30. deeproots

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    This is exactly the information I was hoping to get when I started this thread. Thank you so much!
     
  31. NickNaylor

    NickNaylor Thank You for Smoking
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    It's not that they don't let you do anything, it's that you don't know enough to do anything. Even if a patient with a basic bread and butter medicine problem were plopped down in front of you, you likely wouldn't be able to conduct an effective history much less a physical much less offer any sort of insight into management. And that's not your fault - it's just that you're a little sapling and yet you have the expectation that you'll be doing the work of the 100 year old tree. That's not how it works.

    And I second what @southernIM mentioned with respect to this not being all that unique. Many schools play it up as if they're somehow innovative in his regard. They aren't. Don't buy into the marketing.
     
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