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Columbia vs. UCSF

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by marcusab, May 4, 2004.

  1. marcusab

    marcusab Junior Member
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    Hi all,

    Do any of you have an opinion on this one? I like UCSF's academic program, large amount of free time for students during the first two years, and the fact that the students seem ridiculously happy. Columbia is pulling me away because of New York (SF's great - I've just grown up in the Bay Area and am itching to get away).

    Are you Columbia students happy with your med school experience? How much free time do you have? I've got 2 weeks left, and I'm switching my decision every day. Also, it seems like UCSF has an edge in residency matching. Do you agree?
     
  2. MDPassion

    MDPassion Junior Member
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    Congrats on your great choice. They're both obviously great schools. The biggest difference will be in curriculum and atmosphere. Yes, UCSF has a very flexible new curriculum that will give you more free time to do research, community service, spend time with your family, etc. I'm sure if you manage time well you'll have free time at Columbia too, but you'll definitely be in class more. I feel this is secondary however. Bottom line is where will you be happy? In my opinion it comes down to atmosphere:

    I could be wrong because I don't go there, but Columbia seems to be a more rigid place. There's also a superiority complex, an "ivy-league" attitude. You'll have talented classmates, but most of them will be from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Stanford etc. In my opinion Columbia is a more arrogant place with some very prideful people, and a dean who seems to micromanage the admissions proceess and select for ivy leage, Rugby playing, prep school, frat boy like students. I know quite a few narcissistic people there. UCSF students are on average more down to earth and perhaps more mature because the mean class age is significantly higher and many students have done other things before med school. They'll also be talented. UCSF gets the majority of common admits from every school besides Harvard. I personally feel that Columbia, though a great school is not quite in the same league as UCSF SF is a powerhouse and virtually every clinical and research department there is among the very top in the country if not the top. The faculty at UCSF also care more about teaching, and I think UCSF is more into community service and primary care, perhaps because it's a state school. However, Columbia has a distinguished track record of producing great docs in the surgical subspecialities.

    Did Columbia offer you a good Aid package? UCSF tuition might be going up 40% in the next few years.

    The most important thing is where you'll be happy. Happiness doesn't have to be a rational decision. Living in NYC and getting away from CA could be the experience of a lifetime. SF is nice, but there is no place on earth like New York. You'll learn just as much from living as from med school. If SF is your home you can always return there, and you should be in a very strong position to match back in California if that's your goal because Columbia has a great reputution. There's more to med school than just med school. Med school is 4 years of your life. Also, your med school experience will be what you make it. Stuff like I've written above or that you'll hear from others is much more subjective than objective, and in the end you should just go with your gut. Then it's up to YOU to make sure you make your medical school experience a success. Columbia is definitely among the elite so it definitely won't hold you back. Good luck.
     
  3. TheFlash

    TheFlash Playtime Is Over
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    There should be a rule in which they force newbies to run a search before posting a new thread. Anyway, this topic has been discussed in another thread before. I'll post the link for you. To summarize, the vote from most of the long time posters, including superstars like Habari and souljah, was for UCSF hands down, especially if you're a Cali resident. Can't be beat. On an entertaining note, indianboy mentioned that you would be "a dirty ponce" for turning down UCSF as a Cali resident for Columbia.

    Here it is: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=109730&highlight=columbia+ucsf
     
  4. Harps

    Harps Jatt Denominator
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    Gotta love indianboy's sense of humor! He's so much more entertaining than the Big H. :D

    -Harps
     
  5. tbo

    tbo MS-4
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    I'll interject here. I've gone to school in the Bay Area and am at P&S now (for grad school). The atmosphere is entirely different - the pace in New York is furious. You just don't get that out in the Bay Area (for better or for worse). Differences in weather - some of my friends from college can't stand the weather out here. Some love having seasons (certainly the minority). Everything else is similar - big cities, great institutions, great hospitals, diversity)

    As for academics, while I think quite highly of the P&S curricula, Columbia grad school isn't really as in-depth as Cal undergrad. Granted this isn't exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, but I can certainly say the academic culture is different. It's close to what you'd expect - fluid, open 'liberal' California school vs rigid, tight-lipped, hierarchical Ivy League. I would venture a guess to say that UCSF would be similar.

    Bottom-line, for me personally, I'd choose UCSF - the curriculum would just fit me better (I like a more fluid open-minded education), but going to two such vastly different schools (and geographies), I would suggest to *anyone* that they should go to two different schools in their lifetime, if the opportunity came by. You have so much more appreciation for education in either form. Good luck and congratulations on the great (and yes, difficult) choice.

    -tbo
     
  6. BerkeleyPremed

    BerkeleyPremed Membership Revoked
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    My vote goes to Columbia ALL THE WAY. P&S has SUCH a phenomenally high average GPA and MCAT for their entering class so you know that the students you'll be working with are the absolute creme of the crop from around the country and around the world. This is in stark contrast to UCSF where the VAST MAJORITY of the students you're with are the creme of the crop from CALIFORNIA only. You're bound to meet a much more diversified set of students from different locales around our beautiful country and around the world if you go to Columbia.

    Columbia has the huge benefit of NOT being a public university...thus, it has no obligation to admit X percentage of students from the state of New York and it gets to enjoy a robust endowment for biomedical research as well as research in all subfields of biology. Again, stark contrast to UCSF which is STILL a part of the UC system (despite it being a health sciences campus only) and will suffer from routine budget cuts which will inevitably affect the faculty quality at the school as well as research dollars. Going to UCSF won't even save you the big $$$ like it would have in past years because UCSF tuition is expected to increase by 40%. Thank you Governor Schwartzeneggar.

    The effect of the UC system's lack of funding was CLEARLY portrayed in an article in the Daily Californian from last week regarding the Integrative Biology department at Berkeley losing one of its star professors to Duke University. The professor is Dr. Tyrone Hayes and his research concerns the genetic mutations in frog species. The UC system is having a hard time increasing faculty salaries (because of budget cuts) and thus, cannot compete with private universities (mainly, Ivy League schools) in retaining top faculty members. Dr. Hayes was offered a significant salary increase by Duke University AND Duke agreed to pay for private school for both of Dr. Hayes' children. (Just goes to show you that the Duke administration was ready to practically fellate Dr. Hayes as long as he agreed to teach at Duke...kinda pathetic actually). In all probability, Berkeley will lose Dr. Hayes to the lesser institution in Durham, North Carolina.

    I really would not be surprised if UCSFs top faculty members are being offered lucrative packages to pick up and leave the Bay Area to go teach at Johns Hopkins, Harvard Medical School, Duke Medical School, Columbia P&S, Wash U of St. Louis, etc. In addition, you said that you grew up in the Bay Area and you've been here long enough...you only get to be YOUNG once so EXPLORE the world while you still can!! When you have a family, bills to pay, mortgage payments, etc...you will not be able to freely roam around this country attending the institutions of your choice. You got into the best medical school in New York City!!! Don't turn down this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so you can just rot away in the Bay Area for 4 years.

    P.S.: I'm definitely biased regarding the geography here because I HATE living in the Bay Area. I've never even visited NYC (but I will this summer) but I imagine that it HAS to be better than SF. People don't call it the greatest city in the world for nothing. Before I forget, CONGRATULATIONS on your achievement!
     
  7. Alexander99

    Alexander99 Ghetto Fabulous
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    UCSF hands down.
     
  8. Cerberus

    Cerberus Heroic Necromancer
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    UCSF, as BerkPrem (AKA GUNNER DOUCHEBAG) points out, Columbia is all about high numbers meaning their students are bland douches (like Berk Premed).
     
  9. Peterock

    Peterock "PeeT-Ro'k"
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    Hmm Duke's ugrad has a higher SAT and gpa than Berk's (not to mention MCAT ave) and is a private school meaning it takes the best and brightest from around the country, not just NC.

    Gee.. and you just stated that Columbia is a private university that has a really high entering gpa and MCAT so it must be better than UCSF. So by your logic, wouldn't that mean that Duke is better than <cough cough>....

    It's funny when snobby people contradict themselves....

    ~To the OP, go to UCSF.
     
  10. rager1

    rager1 Anatomy-be-gone
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    Congrats on an incredible choice. I went to Stanford for my undergrad and absolutely loved the Bay Area. I think San Francisco is incredible. Expensive, but incredible nevertheless. And the weather really can't be beat.
    Things look a little shady for the UC system right now in terms of money but it's currently cheaper than private school (except perhaps baylor).

    I'd like to point out just for the sake of argument that Columbia is no more interested in high numbers than UCSF. According to USNews:
    Columbia's average GPA is 3.79 and UCSF's is 3.76. Who here thinks a .03 difference is significant?
    Here are their MCATs:
    ------------------------------Columbia UCSF
    Overall average composite------ 11.7----11.2
    Verbal reasoning----------------11.1----10.4
    Physical sciences---------------12.1----11.4
    Biological sciences--------------12.0----11.7
    Average MCAT writing------------Q-------Q

    Verbal and Physical sciences seem to be somewhat different but the overall composite means there's only about a 1.5 point difference in the overall average scores...who the hell cares about a 35.1 versus a 33.6 average?

    Anyway, the pointless number comparison aside (because when comparing these schools I think you should do it by feel), the activity of the Columbia student body in extracurricular activities that are athletic, musical, or otherwise time-consuming is testament enough that they're not bland douches. They might still be douches--I don't know, I'm not at school there yet :laugh: --but even if they are, they're definitely douches of a variety other than "bland."

    And frankly, to provide the personal anecdote, I'm not the greatest numbers candidate for Columbia (a good bit above their average for MCAT and a good bit below their average GPA) but have really unusual extracurrics and what I assume are appealing specific interests in medicine that helped me make up for that. I met a lot of people with similar stories.

    People at Columbia are a little older than their straight out of school peers(average age ~24) which means many people took their time getting into medical school to explore and pursue other interests. Nearly all the people I met seemed really fun. It's possible that Columbia is just one of those schools--and c'mon we know there are schools like this--one that attracts people with both high numbers and interesting backgrounds. I have no way of knowing about UCSF but I do know Columbia has these people.

    ...But I can't say anything about them being douches... ;)

    --Rager
     
  11. TheFlash

    TheFlash Playtime Is Over
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    oh. my. god. You haven't even applied yet, much less even visited New York. I second Cerb's comment that non-applicants should stuff it.

    I agree with the sentiment of almost everyone else on this thread: UCSF. I do feel that Columbia is a great institution, but I don't see how anyone could get into a sunny, beautiful and top of the line school like UCLA, UCSD, UCSF, or Stanford and turn it down to come to the blistering cold of the Northeast. And that's not even mentioning the vast difference in the type of people.
     
  12. CalBeE

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    Berkeley Premed, no offense, but you haven't applied to med schools yet, and are making the suggestion based on location and your perceived level of prestige for each school...

    With that being said, I personally am not extremely fond of Southern Cali (Bay Area is a different story). You hear people complaining about snow and cold all the time in Northeast, but people around Southern Cali actually DO complain about the heat. These past few days have been insanely hot...I have to avoid being under the sun for too long or I'm gonna die of dehydration. And plus I've sweating like crazy and I need like 3 showers per day...not to mention that I have to keep the AC in my apt on 24/7 just to keep it cool.

    THe bottom line: Extremely hot weather is equally unbearable as cold snowy weather
     
  13. hamhamfan

    hamhamfan internet fairy
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    OMG it has been so hot down here, and this is considered "coastal"! It's not even summer yet! I had this one classmate who's AC in his car is broken, and he has to drive all around in that oven of his. :scared:

    Supposedly, the Bay Area doesn't get that hot or cold anyways. I mean, if it gets cold, it's not so cold that layers of clothes don't help.

    Right now, I feel so sticky that I really should head over to the shower.
     
  14. CalBeE

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    This past week every day I walked to campus with the sun directly over me, I swear I'm gonna just shoot myself to end my suffering! LOL...The heat is actually bearable, as long as you're not outdoor for like 8 hours.

    I'm just mentioning the heat b/c it almost seems like everyone complains about the cold snowy Northeast and idealizes the "Sunny warm" California.
     
  15. VCMM414

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    Probably only if Dr. Hayes' children attend Duke. This sort of gracious gesture is pretty common among private universities, not just Duke alone. And there's nothing wrong with proposing higher salaries to recruit a star professor. As it is university professors and researchers are quite underpaid; I have no problems with them getting salary raises.
     
  16. VCMM414

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    Dude, hasn't it only been in the lower 80s max this week?
     
  17. mdmike24

    mdmike24 Member
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    I don't think it's fair to say that UCSF is 'hands down' better than Columbia. They're both great medical schools and academically, have similar reputations. New York Presbyterian, Columbia's hospital, is one of the best in the country. Columbia has a pretty diverse class and they come from all over the country; yes, even from California. Columbia's match list is also better than UCSF's. And Columbia's students are also extremely happy.

    Don't get me wrong, UCSF is a great school. But you've already experiences the WestCoast. Head east for med school and, out of a place like Columbia, you can always go back to Cali for residency.
     
  18. Cerberus

    Cerberus Heroic Necromancer
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    I didnt mean to imply that Columbia is full of douches (well actually I did but didnt really mean it). Mainly I just wanted to point out that saying "X school has a higher GPA/MCAT therefor you will have better classmates" is a pretty stupid reason to choose a school.

    p.s. I hope BerkPremed gets stuck at StGeorge
     
  19. Gleevec

    Gleevec Peter, those are Cheerios
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    BerkeleyPremed,
    How the hell are you qualified to make any of these statements? You really should understand what you're talking about before posting, and it might even help to be in the application cycle before making such rash and unfounded generalizations about schools.

    1. MCAT and GPA averages has nothing to do with the creme of the crop, this debate has been rehashed over and over again. By your logic, WashU and Columbia have better students than Harvard and JHU due to the former's higher stats-- this is indeed not the case if you asked the unbiased but informed observer.

    2. Student geographical diversity is overrated. No one cares if Gunner A or Best Friend B is from Alaska or Florida. Its moderately useful in having friendly rivalries in sports, but thats about it. Otherwise, its relatively useless.

    3. By your own IDIOTIC standards Berkeley is an inferior institution to Duke and any other private school because by your OWN MORONIC STANDARDS: 1. private > public, 2. geographical diversity > predominantly in-state 3. YOU GO TO BERKELEY SO IT SUCKS ARSE 4. US News has Duke >>> Berkeley. Of course, I dont care so much for your stupid criteria, but by your own criteria Berkeley isnt fit to hold Duke's jock (which it isnt, academically or in sports). So suck it.

    4. Cornell might just be the best medical school in NYC. It might not have the numbers, but it has the facilities and research.

    5. BerkeleyPremed, stop posting on this stuff, you just make yourself look like a huge idiot and you misinform everyone. We are all dumber for having to read your posts, so save some bandwidth and go play Snood or something.

     
  20. Gleevec

    Gleevec Peter, those are Cheerios
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    I think UCSF and Columbia are both pretty good. If you feel the pull to leave, go to NYC. UCSF has a great academic program, and you would do fine wherever you decide to go. Just remember, its cold in NYC. While that might not mean much now, it will when your friends in SF are talking about their 65 degree temps while you're shoveling snow.

    You cant go wrong academically on this one, so go where your heart tells ya.
     
  21. Gleevec

    Gleevec Peter, those are Cheerios
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    This is in fact very common at private schools, they basically cancel out debt for professors. It can even apply towards a discount to private schools part of that "program."

    Its called capitalism BerkeleyPremed, I know you probably dont get too much of that at Berkeley, but the better professors will naturally go to better programs.

    Thus, Berkeley will always lose professors to Duke, and Duke will always lose professors to Harvard. That's just the pecking order of things. And its how capitalism works.
     
  22. Cerberus

    Cerberus Heroic Necromancer
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    [​IMG]
     
  23. Catalyst

    Catalyst Enjoying Life
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    Brilliant. Mad props, Gleevec. If I could still give you karma for that post, I'd make 100 screennames just to give how much you deserve for keeping it real. Thank you.
     
  24. CalBeE

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    I don't know about the exact temp, but it surely FEELS hot...now I know it's nothing compared to Texas or Arizona...but heat is something I have a hard time adjusting to...ironically I was born and raised in a hot place...
     
  25. mdmike24

    mdmike24 Member
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    first, SF has awful weather. microclimates that are completely unpredictable. rain and clouds a whole lot. and it gets pretty cold too.

    second, gleevec's post is hilarious. berkeleypremed: you post was really stupid. i looked up some of your other posts too and they're all just as stupid. like the one about how you wish med schools would start looking favorably upon nontraditional students and how you wish they would focus on diversity in their classes?! what do you think they've been doing for the past 15 years?
     
  26. rackd8ball

    rackd8ball Member
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    I love how this kid is gonna base a life decision on the opinion of strangers, who are all obviously giving the most biased opinions possible. It's like everyone has personal grudges against certain schools. But from what, who knows? Anecdotal knowledge of random student X or professor Y from that school? Rejection?

    Ridiculous!
     
  27. BaseballFan

    BaseballFan Senior Member
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    I had similar choices to the OP, deciding between the powerhouses in both CA and NY. I am from California originally.

    SF is a nice place to live. NYC is also a nice place to live.

    I agree with the advice that you should try to choose the *location* you think would be most enjoyable for the next four years.

    Both schools have smart, talented students, and you'll do fine in the match and will have opportunities to be a resident in hospitals across the country if you succeed at either school.

    I chose NYC in the end, for me it seemed right.

    Good Luck!
     
  28. Habari

    Habari Senior Member
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    i can assure you that this is not the case - there will be no substantial drain from their faculty; ucsf is a destination, not a way-point. the only attrition that may result is because of normal movement for location [i.e. cori bargman to rockefeller university].

    in terms of research and an institution, ucsf has invested heavily in the mission bay campus, and will be moving the med school there eventually. it's picturesque, new, and one of the most lucrative places to be.

    whoever said a school was better than another because the students have higher grades/mcats -- is clearly not in med school.
     
  29. bez2

    bez2 Member
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    I am a first year at P&S (almost 2nd year...****). I'll try to put this as succinctly as possible as it has probably been said before. Both Columbia and UCSF are great schools. You will get a great education at both schools, get into a great residency, and most importantly become a great doctor either way. In terms or curriculum it is very hard to say what it is like at any school until you have gone through it. That being said, you have plenty of free time at P&S to pursue outside interests and enjoy NYC. I personally find the curriculum excellent and very flexible. Now onto the more important issue. What I feel sets Columbia apart is that we see medical school as more than simply academics. While that is of course important it should not take over your life. In the end I think your decision should be based on where you will be happiest during the next 4 years. NYC is the greatest city in the world and you will have plenty of time to explore it at P&S. Most importantly, where do you feel you fit in the best. The students at P&S are amazing and are definitely the greatest asset. Either way, you can't make a wrong decision. If you have any more questions just post them.

    P&S 2007
     
  30. elias514

    elias514 Senior Member
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    Go where you think you'll be happiest, because essentially you're splitting hairs in this comparison. Both schools have outstanding reputations in the medical community (although, Columbia is more of a household name) with very strong clinical departments across the boards. They're both in great cities that are VERY expensive to live in. In regards to the student bodies at both schools, I'm sure that both schools are filled with very bright and talented students, the differences in MCAT scores and geographical diversity notwithstanding.

    So where do you want to spend the next 4 years and possibly even residency--San Francisco or New York City? Location and gestalt feeling should be the decisive factors here. :cool:
     
  31. elias514

    elias514 Senior Member
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    Columbia's 2004 Match List:

    ANESTHESIOLOGY (2)
    Columbia (2)

    DERMATOLOGY (3)
    U TX SW
    Stanford
    Columbia

    EMERGENCY MEDICINE (8)
    Cornell (3)
    Metropolitan-NY
    Northwestern
    Hopkins
    Brown
    Penn

    GENERAL SURGERY (6)
    St Lukes-Roosevelt
    Columbia (3)
    Penn
    UMDNJ
    Emory

    INTERNAL MEDICINE (36)
    U Washington (2)
    Columbia (7)
    Hopkins
    MGH
    Lutheran
    UCSD
    UCLA (4)
    NYU
    Yale (3)
    Northwestern
    U TX SW
    Cornell (3)
    U Missouri
    Harbor-UCLA
    U Chicago (2)
    UCSF
    Stanford
    Mt Sinai
    Boston U
    Jefferson
    St Lukes-Roosevelt

    NEUROLOGY (6)
    Rochester
    Columbia (2)
    UCLA
    Harvard (2)

    NEUROSURGERY (6)
    UCSD
    Columbia (2)
    Barrow
    Brigham
    U TX SW Med Sch-Dallas

    OB-GYN (5)
    Einstein (2)
    B I Deaconess-MA
    Yale
    Emory

    OPHTHALMOLOGY (5)
    U Wisconsin
    Mt Sinai
    UT-Dallas
    Emory
    U Iowa

    ORTHOPEDIC SURGERY (13)
    MGH
    Penn
    Pitt
    New England Med Ctr
    Hosp Spec Surg-NY (2)
    Columbia (2)
    St Marys
    Hopkins
    NYU
    St Lukes-Roosevelt
    BI Deaconess

    OTOLARYNGOLOGY (3)
    Northwestern
    Columbia
    Einstein

    PATHOLOGY (4)
    Columbia (4)

    PEDS (14)
    Columbia (3)
    Yale
    Boston Children's (2)
    Einstein
    NYU
    U Mass
    UCLA
    Children's Hosp Philadephia (4)

    PHYSICAL MEDICINE & REHABILITATION (1)
    UMDNJ

    PSYCHIATRY (9)
    Cornell (2)
    MGH (2)
    St Lukes-Roosevelt
    Columbia (2)
    Emory
    Beth Israel-NY

    RADIOLOGY (12)
    SUNY Brooklyn
    U Washington
    UVM
    Columbia (2)
    NYU (2)
    Wake Forest
    U Michigan
    Hopkins
    UCSF
    Maimonides

    UROLOGY (5)
    Boston U
    Columbia (2)
    Emory
    Brigham


    These matches are insane: over 60 matches in top ten residency programs and 37 matches in highly competitive programs, out of a class of approximately 140 people...over 2/3 of the class secured a spot in a top residency program. With a match list like this, you have to wonder about the class composition at Columbia; the classes are probably full of gunners. Columbia's "name" doesn't secure spots in programs like Barrow or Harvard for neurosurgery--those students must be super geniuses or gunners par excellence (my bet is on the latter).

    Do you really want to be surrounded by gunners?
     
  32. SarahGM

    SarahGM Senior Member
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    What the heck kind of logic is this? Columbia has an amazing match list, so don't go there because it must be full of gunners? I would think that the match list, if anything, would imply that the OP might match well when the time comes.

    I'd be interested to see what the UCSF match list looks like as well.
     
  33. elias514

    elias514 Senior Member
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    My logic basically stems from the assumption that institutional reputation per se does not secure top residency spots, especially in highly competitive specialties--individual achievement, on the other hand, does. If you think that Columbia's "name" accounts for the tremendous matches (e.g., neurosurgery at Barrow) on that list, you're crazy. Those people are gunners. 
    Period.


    :cool:
     
  34. CycloneDub

    CycloneDub Slave to the beat
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    I wasn't going to write anything, but I think that there needs to be a bit more balance of opinions -- especially from medical students.
    First of all, congrats on the acceptances and I am sure you will do well wherever you go.

    I went through the same process 4 years ago and had to choose between UCSF and Columbia. I ended up choosing Columbia over UCSF.

    It wasn't an easy decision because I loved both schools and love the Bay Area (I am not a Cali resident either) and NYC. In fact, I went to the Columbia revisit day thinking that I was definitely going to UCSF -- I had friends already there scouting apartments for me, etc. -- but meeting the people in the class made me reevaluate everything.
    All the BS about Columbia being full of douces is funny, because I picked the school where all the people were so interesting, fun to hang out with. It seemed like the antithesis of the gunner school I heard talked about on SDN and other places. I am so glad I did because I had a great 4 years here (and you see our match list above) and excluding a couple of outliers, this was the most cooperative group of people that I ever been with. People share notes, group study, help out each other during rotations... our class did do well in the match (as does UCSF, Duke, Harvard, etc.) because the people are generally smart and are reasonably personable. Of all the people who went into the competitive specialities (I am one), I can't think offhand of anyone who I wouldn't want to intern with. Even the NS crazies... and my sense is that the other classes feel as tight-knit as we do.
    The dean does have extraordinary powers of admission, but he actually does a damn good job at picking an interesting bunch of people who can go to class, work together, and then go and enjoy NYC together. And whatever anyone says here, there is PLENTY of time to enjoy NYC during 1st, 2nd, and 4th year. I got out during 3rd year too, but many people stuck closer to home during the rotations.

    Now I am sure that UCSF (I have friends who are there now) is a great place (they love it), but since I have only hung out there with them a few times, I can only say that they seem happy too. SF is a great town and so is NYC. Both have most everything you could ever want (food, bars, art, neighborhoods). NYC does have normal seasons, does occasionally get snow, but it usually melts pretty quickly afterwards. Also, NYC is just on such a larger scale and don't get me wrong -- the pace is New York's alone. But you get caught up in it, have fun with it. I mean, if you are a city person at heart, NYC is amazing. If you aren't, it can be overwhelming. I came here also because I felt like I should live in NYC once in my life because if there is any city to live in and experience day to day it is NYC. I liked it so much that I am going to hang around for residency.

    I can tell you from personal experience that although the Columbia Presbyterian's neighborhood is not Times Square, it is perfectly safe. In fact, it is one of the hot neighborhoods in NYC for hipsters to move to (because it is still relatively cheap and starting a bit of a renaissance). I wouldn't be surprised to see more new restaurants and cafes (a new wine bar just opened up the street) in the near future. Also, I can tell you that you do not have to live on the campus if you really want to be in the hub of NYC. The subways are an easy commute (I did it for my 1st and 2nd year b/c I wanted to live downtown) -- so easy that I am going to live downtown as a surgical intern.

    But in the end, I think you should screw all the opinions and advice and just go with your gut. Both schools are great and you'll probably match wherever you want. You'll work hard at both schools, but you'll have plenty of time to play in each of the cities. If you have any other questions (I am not on this much anymore), feel free to PM me or post again.
    And I'll probably see you Rager, SarahGM, and bez2 on the wards at some point...

    Good luck with it all,
    CycloneDub
     
  35. CycloneDub

    CycloneDub Slave to the beat
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    Not to contradict, but smart, personable people end up being liked by interviewers not gunners. Simple as that. Yes, you need to score a certain amount on your Step I to get in the door and having a little research behind you always helps (the guy going to Barrow is a great guy who took a year off to do research with a top NS team at Columbia (which is known for NS)).
    Gunners are totally different (frequently get caught as a gunner-type some time during the 3rd year) and usually get picked off in the interview session when their own craziness somehow sinks their battleship.

    CD
     
  36. lyragrl

    lyragrl Mold-a-rama fan
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    This argument is looped. First, SDNers criticize schools for having crappy match lists. Now I've seen a school criticized for having a match list that's too good.

    Elias, I'm struggling with whether to choose Columbia or another school. That's not because I'm a gunner but because of finances, cost of living in NYC, family obligations, etc. (All the normal things most incoming med students struggle with.) I'm also on the high alternate list at Michigan and could likely have the option of attending UMich. But by your logic, it seems like if I attend Columbia I'm a gunner, but if I attend Michigan I'm not a gunner. That's kinda lame.
     
  37. elias514

    elias514 Senior Member
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    I should clarify the meaning of the word gunner as I used it: by "gunner" I meant an individual that is extremely focused on academic success but NOT necessarily in a malicious way. Indeed, I didn't mean to use gunner in the derogatory sense--i.e., a person that succeeds at the expense of his/her peers. Don't get me wrong, I think that academic success is a positive thing and that people who diligently pursue an extreme form of it are remarkable. But I'm a firm believer in balance, in the sense that extremes tend to be unhealthy. Thus, I wouldn't want to be surrounded by gunners as I've defined them. My previous post, believe it or not, was neither a condemnation of Columbia students nor a subtle criticism of the quality of the Columbia match list. It was just a speculatory comment, that's all. :)
     
  38. elias514

    elias514 Senior Member
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    Also, I didn't imply that there aren't plenty of gunners at UMich--gunners abound at Michigan, too. However, based on what current Michigan students tell me, there is a pattern in the class composition at UMich: every other class is filled with gunners, which means (thank god) that my class will be laidback by Michigan standards.
     
  39. CalBeE

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    I don't see why you don't wanna be around your definition of "gunners"...you're basically saying you don't wanna be around people who are bright, interesting, hardworking, and motivated to achieve their goals...
     
  40. jlee9531

    jlee9531 J,A,S
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    oh...berkeley rules by the way.
    we have no $$ :(, but we are the top public univ in the nation.
    we can hang with any of the top ivys academically.
    our sports program have great upside (football, basketball...)
    and most of the profs i had...were awesome.

    just saw some berkeley bashing so i had to give props to my school. :)

    now...as you were...
     
  41. elias514

    elias514 Senior Member
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    No I'm not. I don't want to be around EXTREME versions of bright, hardworking people who want to achieve their goals.
     
  42. TheFlash

    TheFlash Playtime Is Over
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    You're tied for that honor. ;)
     
  43. CalBeE

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    Berkeley's nowhere as cool as LA! :p

    And Elias, if we keep talking about this issue, we'll be hijacking the thread. But then coming from a high school where no one's even close to "extremely" motivated...almost to the point of not caring about the future...I can tell you that's the kind of environment I'll try to AVOID
     
  44. mdmike24

    mdmike24 Member
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    Elias, your argument is full of holes. just because columbia's match list is better than michigan's (by a lot, i might add), doesn't mean that their class is full of gunners. CycloneDub is right: residency programs will pick smart who are also friendly and outgoing and personable enough to work with for 3 or 5 or 7 years. they don't want headaches and screen out the cut-throat types who will inevitably cause problems and not get along with others. med students at columbia are smart, they all do well on the mcats (which usually translates to doing well on the boards), and yes the columbia name carries them a long way.

    as for every other class being full of gunners at michigan, that's b.s. what kind of logic is that? it makes no sense at all.
     
  45. MDPassion

    MDPassion Junior Member
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    A few more things to consider:

    Again, Columbia's great, but you should not decide against UCSF due to concerns that it's funding, faculty, or academic quality might be compromised by the UC budget problems. In reality, UCSF will always have more many to spend on medical education, patient care, and research than most private schools (Columbia included), unless its Harvard with it's $10 billion endowment. That's because you'll always be receiving a fluctuating, though stably massive amount of funding from the millions of California taxpayers and NIH. If anything, UCSF's academic enterprise is really growing, as I imagine Columbia's is as well. A few examples:

    -Last week, UCSF hired Dr. Arnold Kriegstein from Columbia (head of stem cell program) to become head of it's Stem Cell program. At least in this case, someone felt UC was offering enough money and other incentives to leave his private school.

    http://medschool.ucsf.edu/news/news/042204_Kriegstein.aspx

    -Last summer UCSF hired David Kessler the Dean of Yale School of Medicine and former FDA chief, to become it's new Dean.

    -At least from these two cases, UCSF is still highly successful in recruting what it views as top faculty and leadership.

    -Finally, UCSF is buidling the Mission Bay campus. MB is a 44 acre life sciences campus that's currently the largest medical and biotech construction effort going on in the country. It will double the size of UCSF's research and clinical capacity over the next ten years. It will include a dozen new research buildings (3 of which are completed), and a new hospital or two.

    Again, Columbia is growing too. I don't know details but I know they did just construct and impressive new children's hospital. My point is just that UCSF is doing well also.

    -I don't think the argument about diversity holds weight. You can't get more diverse than UCSF with the range it has in age, previous experience, educational background, etc. True, 80% of students are from CA, but CA is a big place and at Columbia the majority of students will also be from the east.

    -Yes, Columbia is ivy league and has a more well known household name, but I think that's a terrible way to pick a med school. First, if you care about name dropping, Columbia is not Harvard or Yale which in my opinion are the only two universally recognized school names. You'd be surprised how many "regular" people or those in the west think "Columbia" is that country in South America or the space shuttle we tragically lost. Columbia University though a top university is not as well known as some might think. At least in northern CA going to what's known as "UC Med" is the bigger name. In the end what will matter most is how you're viewed in the medical profession, and there, both UCSF and Columbia are big enough names.

    I suggest again that you base your decision on location, curriculum, and other personal factors. Visit both schools again if needed and talk to as many students as possible. Then go with your gut.
     
  46. BerkeleyPremed

    BerkeleyPremed Membership Revoked
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    It will NEVER quite sink into your thick skull, will it? I NEVER SAID that Insitution A>>>>Institution B solely because of higher average stats...in other words, Undergrad A cannot be better than Undergrad B JUST BECAUSE of higher SAT averages, higher GPAs, etc. The whole point of that post is that the OP will get to interact with the BEST and brightest from AROUND THE country instead of the best and brightest from JUST California...a place he's already lived in for many years. Did I even compare the average MCAT and average GPA of the entering classes at UCSF or Columbia? No...I didn't...why not? I have access to those stats because I have a copy of the 2004 US News&World Report's America's Best Graduate Schools ...but funny, I don't remember posting the stats. That's because the difference between Columbia and UCSF in stats is MINIMAL...both have phenomenally high stats...just ONE of the schools is able to attract the best from around the country while the other basically gets the best from California.

    I do concede that I think that being a private university definitely is an advantage over being a public university (see discussion of budget cuts). And we've already gone over this DOZENS of times...do we really need to go over this again. You've sent me dozens of hatemails in my PM box about this already..so I really do NOT want to rehash this point..but Berkeley is hands down better than Duke for GRADUATE SCHOOL. We're not looking at undergrad here because everyone on this forum already IS an undergrad...that train has LONG since passed already. We're looking at graduate programs because many people on this forum are considering medical school, grad school, or both (MD+PhD). Sorry, I hate to burst your bubble...but Berkeley outranks Duke ACROSS THE BOARD in graduate programs. Don't believe me...see the National Research Council rankings yourself: http://stat.tamu.edu/~jnewton/nrc_rankings/nrc41indiv.html
     
  47. BerkeleyPremed

    BerkeleyPremed Membership Revoked
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    Jesus Christ...learn how to read you blithering idiot. I said that BOTH (UCSF and Columbia) have the best and brightest students..only ONE attracts the best and brightest from around the COUNTRY while the other attracts the best and the brightest from around CALIFORNIA only (please don't bring up the out-of-state population at UCSF...we're looking at PERCENTAGES here). Why didn't I just bring up the average MCAT and average GPA stats from both schools and compare them? I DO have access to those stats...why didn't I post them? Because the DIFFERENCE IS MINIMAL...I said that BOTH schools have phenomenal students...one is able to draw from a larger POOL of applicants though.

    Secondly, I VALUE geographical diversity because there practically is none at my school. That's WHY I made that point. I don't care if you don't consider it significant enough to merit posting.

    "By your own IDIOTIC standards Berkeley is an inferior institution to Duke and any other private school because by your OWN MORONIC STANDARDS: 1. private > public, 2. geographical diversity > predominantly in-state 3. YOU GO TO BERKELEY SO IT SUCKS ARSE 4. US News has Duke >>> Berkeley. Of course, I dont care so much for your stupid criteria, but by your own criteria Berkeley isnt fit to hold Duke's jock (which it isnt, academically or in sports). So suck it."

    Those aren't my standards you imbecile. I never said that Institution A has a higher average MCAT than Insitution B...thus, Insitution A must be BETTER than Insitution B!!! Where in my post did I say that? Learn how to read you illiterate...I concedede that UCSF DOES have a very strong incoming class...I just don't appreciate drawing practically everyone in that class from California...a clear disadvantage of being a public university.

    And lasty, Duke undergrad is ranked higher than Berkeley undergrad...but why is it that Berkeley's graduate program (and I mean practically every single ****ing one of them) are ranked HIGHER than practically all of Duke's equivalent graduate programs? And what's even more pathetic...and they're CONSISTENTLY ranked lower by different sources...both US News and National Research Council have DUKE<<<<<<Berkeley for graduate programs. This holds true ESPECIALLY in the sciences (physics, chemistry, molecular biology, organismal biology, and so on).
     
  48. Gleevec

    Gleevec Peter, those are Cheerios
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    BerkeleyPremed,
    You're hopeless. I read your moronic response and its obvious that 1) you can't write 2) maintain any semblance of logic and 3) flip flop between positions as convenient.

    I frankly dont care if you realize how stupid your post is, what a failure of the education system you are, or how in fact your contradicted yourself numerous times within your posts. I DO care that the OP learns not to listen to idiots like you who have no idea what youre talking about.

    You seriously have not made a single positive contribution to SDN, in general I point out your numerous errors in different posts (if another SDN regular doesnt beat me to it). Seriously, do you think you are helping the OP with your idiotic story about one professor going from BERKELEY to Duke. Perhaps you should learn to read and realize that this thread is about COLUMBIA and UCSF. One anecdote of a professor studying FROGS moving between two schools not even mentioned by the OP is useless. And no it doesnt even illustrate a funding point, professors move around all the time. Thats academia, and thats the free market. And, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS THREAD SO WHY DID YOU MENTION IT MORON.

    BerkeleyPremed, you really are hopeless, and Im glad there are other posters on this thread giving more valuable information to the OP. Maybe you should consider that the world doesnt revolve around you and that instead of masturbating to your posts and crying about a professor transferring between schools it might be good to just NOT POST.

    It sucks for you that you hate Berkeley (I think most SDN regulars are actually happy at that fact that there is some justice in this universe), but it has nothing to do with the OP. So if you want to whine about losing a professor to another school, well first youre a loser, and second try posting another thread on it so that we can post on that thread and insult your stupidity there instead of having to hijack someone elses thread. Yeesh, its like talking to a wall, just dumber.
     
  49. BerkeleyPremed

    BerkeleyPremed Membership Revoked
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    The fact that Berkeley might lose Dr. Hayes (and I'm not even sure about it...he could choose to stay..he's been offered packages like this MANY times in previous years by schools that are better than Duke... and turned them down to stay at Berkeley) won't even really affect the undergraduates you idiot. You might actually want to look into this issue (as in...learn something about it) before you come here and blather about it like you actually know what you're talking about. The fact that we might lose him will affect the GRADUATE STUDENTS...all the GRAD students rave about his course in endocrinology and grad students are dying to get into his research lab.

    Thus, this is an issue between Duke's graduate programs and facilities versus Berkeley's graduate programs and facilities.

    "Its called capitalism BerkeleyPremed, I know you probably dont get too much of that at Berkeley, but the better professors will naturally go to better programs." That's the WHOLE POINT...he's NOT leaving to go to a better program. If he leaves, he'll end up at a LESSER program. LOOK at the graduate school rankings for Dr. Hayes' field before you comment on this...
    US News&World Report Graduate School Rankings in the Biological Sciences:
    1. Stanford University
    2. UC Berkeley
    Harvard
    MIT
    5. CalTech
    Johns Hopkins
    UCSF
    8. Rockefellar University
    9. Princeton University
    Scripps Research Institute
    Yale University
    12. Duke University
    UW-Madison

    He's going to a LESSER program. I can also post the National Research Council rankings of graduate schools to confirm this. That's part of the reason he's AT Berkeley right now you idiot..he knows it's in the top 5 programs for his field of study. Berkeley is not a waystation for professors to get into a private university (especially a lesser private..like Duke)..it's a destination. You think these professors at research institutions at Berkeley actually care about UGRAD rankings? NO..they care about what AFFECTS THEM...which are GRADUATE school rankings. The grad programs are where they draw the MAJORITY of their researchers that work in their labs...they care about RESEARCH funding...and where the best and brightest in their field are currently working. Sorry to burst your bubble...but in biology...Berkeley>>>>Duke.

    NRC grad http://stat.tamu.edu/~jnewton/nrc_rankings/nrc41indiv.htmlprogram rankings:
     
  50. mdmike24

    mdmike24 Member
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    i'm laughing out loud. gleevac is hilarious.

    berkeleypremed, just cut your losses and run dude. stop trying to change what you said. you'll be caught red-handed, like amarosa lying to the camera. we can all read your first post. Cal's a great school, but you've got a lot of things you need to work on.
     

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