asundran

7+ Year Member
Jun 18, 2011
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Medical Student
Hey all,

SDN has been an invaluable resource throughout my pre-med journey and especially in my application cycle and thought I would call upon your guys' expertise one more time. At this point in the cycle, I am pretty much done.

I got several acceptances and have narrowed it down to two schools but am not sure what to prioritize in terms of selection factors. One of the schools is an unranked school in Texas where I got in as an OOS applicant and with scholarship that would bring the total cost of attendance for all four years to just under $100k.

The second school is my decently ranked, big, instate university. It has better residency placements, is closer to home, and on the whole I liked the curriculum a bit better than the TX school. The COA for all four years would be about $25ok. I also have four siblings either attending the same school for grad/undergrad or living in the same city, so that is definitely a draw for my instate school. I ultimately also want to practice in state relatively close to home, so that's another notch for the instate school.

Both schools were incredibly welcoming, had an awesome community feel, and I could see myself being happy at either institution.

I guess what I'm asking is what factors are you guys using to determine which school to attend if picking between multiples? Some people say that med school is med school, where you go doesn't matter a whole lot. You also hear that there is a regional bias (i.e. if you are from an area, attend school in the area, and do your rotations at the hospitals in the area, you have a better chance of getting a residency placement there). The instate school feels like a better fit, but when looking at the difference in debt load of $150k, I'm having a hard time choosing.

So what factors are all of you using in picking a school?
 
Oct 24, 2011
281
32
Philadelphia
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Medical Student
I would choose the school you like more. Yes it is more expensive, but being close to home and in the area you want to practice is a huge plus. During my 1.5 years of school so far, DUCOM has given a lot of data that applies to demographics and laws for the Philadelphia area. Problem is, I want to go back to the west coast. If you are going to school in the same area you plan on practicing, every piece of data you receive is something that will stick with you and something that you will actually use. In my opinion, cost shouldn't drive you away from a school when so many things are good about it.

Just look at your own post: Texas school is cheap. Other school is more expensive but is close to home, better curriculum, more prestige, siblings nearby, better residency programs. Based on what you wrote, I think you unconsciously made the decision yourself.
 
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Lucca

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I agree with Jojo, it seems you want us to justify another 150k in tuition. Think about the lifestyle you want and whether you feel comfortable paying that off in a reasonable amount of time and making the sacrifices necessary to do so. What's the average level of indebtedness at Close-to-home School? Is there any possibility of financial aid?
 

Perrotfish

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Remember that the extra 150K is not really 150K. That's what the school collects, but your debt starts growing the day you take it out and just keeps growing while you're paying it off. The extra 150K will cost you closer to 450K over the life of the loan. And that's after tax dollars, so you'll need to earn something like 700K to pay the 450K for the 150K that you originally borrowed.

I don't think I could have gone into my profession (Peds) if I had 250K in loans to pay off. Debt can close doors. You need to judge if its worth it for the experience you'll have at the school.
 

dbeast

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USNews rankings difference x 5k = amount of money you need to save for the lower school to be worth it.
Simple formula.
 

shan564

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Unless you go to a "top 10" type school AND you want to go into either academic medicine or a potentially competitive specialty, the reputation of the school is pretty much irrelevant.

You can't make determinations about the curriculum as a pre-med. You're not even close to being capable of judging that yet.

Being close to home, however, will make your med school experience much better. Med school is tough, and it would have been great to have been close to family. In retrospect, I think that would have been worth the extra $150k in loans. You'll be paying back that loan money when you're an attending making $300k... so the question is whether 4 years of being close to family is worth an extra $50k/yr (after interest) when you're earning $300k. Some people would take a $50k pay cut from a $300k salary in order to be near family, while others won't. I guess it depends on your family dynamics.

That said, the grass is always greener on the other side, and I'm speaking from the perspective of somebody who went to med school very very far from family. If I were close to family, I might be saying "family is too much of a distraction in med school, so get as far away as you can."
 
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asundran

7+ Year Member
Jun 18, 2011
26
40
Status
Medical Student
Thanks for all the advice guys. I'm not banking on any need based financial aid. I am leaning toward the instate for the above listed reasons. When I sit down and write it out, the one thing that is superior is Texas is the debt load. Everything else points to the instate school. I guess more than anything else I was just curious as to what other criteria people are using.

I went a thousand miles away from undergrad and got by fine for 4 years, but definitely did miss my family. Now that I've been out for almost two years and back closer to home, I think it would be harder to leave again.
 
Oct 19, 2013
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I would personally go to the cheaper school. Getting out of med school with less than 100K in loans would be like winning the lottery. No way could I pass that up.
 

Euxox

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USNews rankings difference x 5k = amount of money you need to save for the lower school to be worth it.
Simple formula.
Yeah, that's helpful when one of the schools in question is unranked. :rolleyes: