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SarahGM

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I'm looking for some advice from some current medical students. I'm currently living in Durham, NC and have been accepted to Columbia P&S and UNC as a NC resident.

Both schools are great, but it's pretty certain that I'll get a better financial deal with UNC.

Some thoughts weighing on my mind... how important are these in the overall decision-making process?

--my proximity to chapel hill right now, and the annoyance of having to find a place on my own here for 2 months (i work at my current job till august) when my current lease runs out in june, should i decide to go to columbia.

--residency match-lists... will i be more limited by UNC? i thought their match list was impressive, but others have implied that i might be somewhat limited/geared toward a career in the south. along those same lines, i know that a degree from columbia could go a long way in residency match.

--the fact that i'm originally from new york state, and don't really enjoy the south so much (i'm missing the cold, the snow, etc).

--the cost of living here in nc would be SO much cheaper than in nyc. or is that factored into cost of living and covered by loans/grants/scholarships? do people find it manageable to live in nyc?

thanks for your help! i'm sure i'll think of much more.

Sarah
 

banannie

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SarahGM, you need to go to Columbia
I can already tell that's the decision you're going to make, and it's a great one, so stop fretting over these minor details.

Yes, life is simple now, and things like trying to figure out where to live for 2 months seem like a very big deal, but trust me, in a year's time, you're not even going to remember the hassle. Don't let something like that make up your mind for you.

Cost of living is factored into financial aid/loan packages. You will not need a car in NYC. Correction: you will not want a car in NYC, so there goes a big thing you no longer have to spend money on. Think of all the shows you watch about people who have fabulous lives in NYC (friends, will&grace, SATC). Does anyone on any of those shows have a car? No. And neither will you.
 
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SarahGM

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I know that it's hard to say without having actual financial numbers... but are you telling me that it would truly be worth the (much) greater financial burden to go to Columbia over UNC?
 

forbin

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I think gut feelings are very important in these sorts of decisions. Where will you be the happiest for the next 4 years? If it's Columbia, go there. If it's UNC, go there.

If you really like both of them equally, I would try and find out your financial aid from both places before making a decision- most likely UNC will be significantly cheaper, but you never know what the fin aid people will do.

As far as the residency match goes, Columbia will probably give you a small boost, especially if you are applying for very elite/competitive programs (i.e. derm at Mass General). However, if you do well at either school, I don't think you will have any trouble matching at an excellent residency.

I hope this helps.
 

SistaKaren

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Ooh, I had that very same decision to make last year. But I ended up choosing Columbia. But a lot of my decision was based on the fact that I wanted to leave NC and do something new.

The cost of living is definitely factored into the package. And the financial aid packages at Columbia are nice. But as you intimated, it can't really compare to how cheap UNC is, especially for in-state people.

So it just depends on what's important to you. I wouldn't let the fact that you'd have to sublet this summer be any factor in your decision. And if you don't really enjoy the south, then that may be a factor against UNC, since you have to do community weeks in rural areas.

I dunno, with knowledge about both curriculums, I'd say I like Columbia's curriculum better. It's more flexible. So it just depends on how you feel about certain things.

Personally speaking, I think it was totally worth the extra financial burden. There's a lot of resources here, that I think I wouldn't necessarily have access to at UNC. But UNC is really awesome. But I'm glad I went to Columbia.
 

tarheelmd07

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just my 2 cents...

I had a similar situation last year...UNC as an in-stater vs. WashU and ended up choosing UNC, where, btw, I've been very happy. I've lived in NC my entire life and went to UNC for undergrad b/c they were very generous with scholarship money. I loved my undergrad time in CH but thought that I wanted to get out of NC and try something new for med school. When it came time to make the decision, I ended up picking UNC mostly for the cheaper tuition. My rationale was that by going to UNC I'd still get an excellent education and, 4 years from now, I'll again have the chance to move somewhere new -- and all the money I saved on tuition to get settled in with.

If you don't like NC that much, well, that's another story...but I'd say that if you think you could be happy in Chapel Hill, then put some serious thought into whether it's really worth several times the in-state tuition rates to head to NYC. Like I said, just my opinion...but know that the knowledge that you'll graduate with very little debt (or in my case, debt free) is a wonderful thing

oh, and if you have any questions about UNC, feel free to ask...
 
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