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Cooper vs Howard

Discussion in 'Allopathic School-Specific Discussions (<2017)' started by ekdoctobe, May 13, 2014.

  1. ekdoctobe

    ekdoctobe 2+ Year Member

    Aug 31, 2013
    Which to choose?

    Seems like Howard is cheaper, much better neighborhood, good match list, established track record. Howard is in a decent neighborhood in a great city (district?). Cooper is in Camden, with one of the highest crime rates in the country.

    Both put a huge emphasis on primary care in the underserved community, which is great for me.

    Cooper is not yet accredited, and I assume only one class has even taken Step 1 so far. No real track record to speak of. I guess we can assume eventual accreditation, but how serious a risk is it? What's the downside if accreditation fails to happen before I graduate?

    I have heard that Cooper has the potential to be a "better" school than Howard, whatever that means, although I haven't heard much in the way of specifics. One thing I know about Howard is that the students put much less emphasis on classes in the second year in favor of studying for the USMLE. At the interview our first year student tour guide told us that when thinking about housing for the second year, assume you'll only be on campus once a week. Another first year friend of mine told me that only a handful of second year students show up for lecture. I'm not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, I feel like that may indicate that students aren't serious. On the other hand, maybe it's an indication that they ARE serious...serious about doing well on STEP 1 and getting a great residency. I guess it's good that the school seems to be ok with students' spending so much time studying for Step 1. Maybe Cooper has the same issues. I have heard it's not uncommon in general.

    One cool thing about Cooper is lecture ends at 1:00 (if I remember correctly), and the rest of the day is basically study time. At Howard, especially with lab, you could be in school from 8 am to 6 pm before you start studying.

    On a personal note, I have friends and close family in DC, and nothing and no one in NJ.

    Sorry if this is a bit rambled, but that's a perfect reflection of my thought process when comparing these schools; I can only choose one, after all. Both of them are perfectly good American medical schools where I know I'd find happiness and (hopefully) success, but I'd like to get feedback from the SDN world.

    Thanks, everyone.
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  3. wiloghby

    wiloghby Perpetually interviewing 5+ Year Member

    Jun 16, 2012
    The consequences of no accreditation on graduation are very serious, but the risk of failing accreditation is very, very minimal. So I would not factor that into your decision at all.

    I would make the decision based on happiness, the curriculum and style of the instruction, as well as the strength of the teaching hospitals. Cooper University Hospital has been around forever even though the medical school is new, and that hospital is VERY well-respected in the region. So you can't really discount Cooper so quickly for med school. Also, lecture/lab from 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM would be an absolute deal-breaker for me. I suspect the reason that Howard students disappear for their second year is that they have to make up for the fact that they had very little extra study time in first year with that kind of schedule!

    With Cooper, my reservations would be: 1) Cost, 2) Location, 3) the structure of the M3 year. I don't know how I (or residency program directors) feel about their clinical curriculum approach.

    So there are some definite drawbacks to both schools. I guess taking everything into account, I'd probably go to Howard. You have friends/family in the area and the location is much better. Sure, the pre-clinical schedule might make STEP 1 preparation harder, but at the same time there are lots of upperclassmen you can consult for tips.
  4. ekdoctobe

    ekdoctobe 2+ Year Member

    Aug 31, 2013
    Thanks for the super quick response!

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