Cornell or Columbia?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Chicago, Mar 9, 2000.

  1. Chicago

    Chicago Junior Member
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    Which would you go to? Any thoughts you could give would be great. I got into Columbia, I hope hope hope Cornell will be nice to me ('course that's always up in the air - I was rejected from George Washington)

     
  2. turtleboard

    turtleboard SDN Advisor
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    They're so similar that it's probably really difficult to choose between the two, but luckily for me, I never had to make that choice. [​IMG]

    I think you should examine where you'd like to be for the next four years. I personally think Cornell's affiliations are stronger (Hospital for Special Surgery -- the world's greatest orthopedics institute, and Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center -- 'nuff said).

    Tim of New York City.
     
  3. Sheon

    Sheon Senior Member
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    From a purely social perspective, you'd have to think that Columbia would be better. They have the whole University in NYC. Cornell just has the med school.

     
  4. Dr'04

    Dr'04 Member
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    I'm not going to have to make this decision either (I don't know if I'd say that makes me lucky [​IMG] ), but I know that Columbia is proud that it's located a little deeper in the trenches of the real world than is Cornell. I'm told that since Cornell is located in such a nice area of NYC, you only deal with private patients. At Columbia you mostly deal with public patients and inner-city situations. It really depends what you want your med-school experience to be like. Columbia's students seem much happier and nicer to me (but who really knows) and Cornell's facilities are REALLY nice (although Columbia's are pretty amazing as well). I guess I haven't really helped here, but let me say that given the choice I'd probably go to Columbia. To me it was just a better vibe. Good luck!
     
  5. turtleboard

    turtleboard SDN Advisor
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    Well part of my original reply was going to say what Sheon noted, that Columbia has its entire university right here in New York City. In that sense you'd have the resources of both NYP-Columbia and the Morningside Heights (let's get real, it's Harlem) campuses.

    As for which school sends its med students into the trenches, I'm not sure, but I'd say Columbia has the upper hand. Cornell does have affiliations with hospitals in the Bronx, namely St. Barnabas and I believe Lincoln Hospital, so in terms of trenches you get more trenchier than the Bronx.

    But then Columbia has Harlem Hospital, so it's a toss up.

    The point is any school in New York City will have some affiliation with some trenchy hospital. Luckily for me, and my boy Sheon there, we have the dubious honor of being at the trenchiest of the trenchy schools. [​IMG]


    Tim of New York City.
     
  6. jawurheemd

    jawurheemd xx ToXiC xx
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    in terms of clinical rotations, I don't think the hospitals make much of a difference anymore since the cornell and columbia health systems merged -- i think students at either school rotate through any of the hospitals within the cornell-columbia circuit. correct me if I'm wrong. both schools are excellent. even though columbia has its "whole" university in nyc, the medical school and hospital are actually located about 40-50 blocks north of the main campus -- basically it's pretty far away from the main attractions of nyc. cornell would put you within closer reach of downtown nyc. in the end, you need to find which curriculum appeals to you most. it's a difficult decision, but in the end you will get an excellent medical education. Hope this helps.

    -James
     
  7. turtleboard

    turtleboard SDN Advisor
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    The Columbia and Cornell systems merged, but the med schools remain separate with separate curricula and separate rotation sites.


    Tim of New York City.
     
  8. chury

    chury Member
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    Yes Tim,
    I was at Downstate interview on March 7. Man, it looks trenchy!!! Everybody mentioned the area around the school. How do you survive there? Scary!!!!!
    I wish you good luck and use the security escort service to subway or car!!!!
     
  9. turtleboard

    turtleboard SDN Advisor
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    Aren't you the same guy who proclaimed Brooklyn College to be the greatest institution our City has ever had the pleasure of having? Brooklyn College is essentially in the same area, so I ask how you survive, and then you'll have my answer.

    But to be honest, the neighborhood leaves much to be desired, but so long as you're smart, utilize services that will make your trip safer, and not do anything stupid (like walk around at 3 or 4 in the morning, you'll be completely safe. The medical center is well lit at night with perimeter lighting, University Police abound, security cameras mounted in every corridor, outdoor cameras at key locations, security guard stations on campus, and the flood lights from the top of Kings County Hospital Center that illuminate the area, making East Flatbush a true contender with Times Square.

    March 7, huh? That's kinda late for an interview. Hope you enjoy Einstein!


    Tim of New York City.
     
  10. chury

    chury Member
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    Tim,

    My original interview date was February 8. However, since I was not interested in attending Downstate I had changed it to March 7. I did go to this interview only because of curiosity. Anyway, I am not trying to disrespect your school. I only said that the area is bad.
    Yes, I went to Brooklyn College. However, BC has one "bad side"(Flatbush) and one "good side" Bedford avenue which is mostly populated by the upper middle class.(mostly jewish). Since I was taking B6 bus, I rarely spent any time on Flatbush Ave.

    I never said BC is the best school in NYC. I said you could get into good med school with BC degree without paying a bunch of money.
    You went to a private school but you go to Downstate.
    I went to Brooklyn College and will go to Einstein. My loans so far are $0.
    Who will get better residency in case two students have equal USMLE scores (and all other scores)? An Einstein Student or a Downstate one???
    You can keep your loans and a private school diploma!!!
     
  11. X-RayGuy

    X-RayGuy Junior Member
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    The cliff notes version:

    Harvard or Hopkins?

    Toss a coin.
     
  12. Sheon

    Sheon Senior Member
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    Chury,

    Ouch! I grew up down the street from Downstate! You are talking about my home, take it easy. [​IMG]

    Also, a diploma is what you get for graduating high school, nail school, and truck driving school. [​IMG] When you finish college you get a degree. [​IMG]

    Last thing, (and I am asking because I don't know) is there really that much of a difference between a $28,000/year Eistein degree and a $11,000/year Downstate degree?
     
  13. turtleboard

    turtleboard SDN Advisor
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    Chury,

    You see college as a means to an end. I don't.

    I'm not going to get into a "mine is bigger than yours" discussion with you, but understand that whatever differences exist between SUNY Downstate and Einstein have more to do with money than anything else.

    And, uhm, where's your Nobel Laureate? Not too shabby for a state medical school.


    Tim of New York City.
     
  14. Just a reply to keep this current since I knocked it off with all the med school posts.

    ------------------
    Jim Henderson, MD at http://www.studentdoctor.net
     
  15. buttercup

    buttercup Senior Member
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    I gotta disagree with Sheon, who said that Columbia's social life would be better, since the whole university is in the city.

    Although having the entire univeristy in the city must have some perks, I think they're more than made up for by the difference in location within the city that exists between Cornell and Columbia.

    But I'm biased

     
  16. riverweb

    riverweb Member
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    One of my main goals in med school is to live to graduate. Methinks you would live through Cornell. Methinks you would get mugged multiple times at Columbia.

    And yes, CU's undergraduate campus is in the City, but about 50 blocks south of the med school. Do you think you would ever know the undergrads were there!??
     
  17. Paradocs

    Paradocs Junior Member
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    Chicago, I'm choosing between Cornell and Columbia, too (well, also NYU and Einstein - got into all the NYC schools and waitlisted everywhere else...go figure!! Guess I'm gonna be a New Yorker...)

    My impression, contrary to an opinion expressed above, was that they are VERY different places. Cornell's curriculum is very problem-based; Columbia's is very didactic. Cornell's class, at around 100, is much smaller than Columbia's apx. 160.

    CAVEAT: this is all based on my impressions from a couple of visits; you may have entirely different reactions, and my opinions might change with more exposure.

    The most overwhelming difference to me seemed to be the atmospheres. The students at Cornell seemed to all know each other and be very close. Because of the small group emphasis of the curriculum (they do have lectures, too, though), they seemed to work really well together. Because they have to make presentations all the time, they all seemed very good at speaking up, contributing their ideas, and having discussions. I admired that. Their grading system is Honors/Pass/Fail, which in this case seemed to give students something to shoot for but discourage cutthroat competitiveness, which I also liked.

    My impression of Columbia's atmosphere was less favorable. The students seemed less mature, more competitive, and cliqueish. I sat in on a few second year classes, and watched how people interacted during breaks. There definitely seemed to be people (mostly, as far as I could tell, the older members of the class) who were isolated from the cliques, and like that might be detrimental to their learning (the "I won't talk to you, even to tell you this nifty thing I just learned" syndrome.) I didn't like that people could be marginalized in that way, and it seemed worse there than at any other school I visited.

    That was my main concern about Columbia. I also understand from my SO, who did a master's there, that the entire university's administrative bureaucracy doesn't know its right hand from its left toe and moves like molasses in an Arctic winter. FWIW.

    The things that worries me about Cornell are 1) the clinical exposure (they kept reassuring us that you really do get plenty of experience at the NY Hospital and the affiliates, but I don't know how to objectively judge that); and 2) PBL sounds great and all, but I'm just not sure that it's the style of learning that works best for me.

    Anyway those are just a few of my rambling thoughts. As you can probably tell, I'm really leaning toward Cornell. I'm so nervous about making a decision, though!! Regardless of the differences, they really are both great schools, and I know I'm so lucky to have a choice. Congratulations on having the Columbia choice and I hope you heard good news from Cornell. If you didn't/don't, don't feel bad about it - because they're so small, I got the impression that their admissions process is even more random than most places. Let us know what you decide, and definitely post your thoughts about making your decisions! [​IMG]
     
  18. Chicago

    Chicago Junior Member
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    Thank you to everyone who replied! You gave some very good advice.

    So here's an update - I didn't get into Cornell (sigh), so I guess the original question is obsolete.

    Now my top choices are Columbia and Mt. Sinai - I am also considering U of Chicago and am wait-listed at Yale. What do you think of these?
     
  19. DarkChild

    DarkChild Senior Member
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    looking for more info... anyone have any more light to shed on the cornell v. columbia issue?
     
  20. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo IEatShavedPussyCats
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    Methinks you need to remove your head from your ass.


    OK..as a student at Columbia medical school, I will defend it. I have never been mugged at Columbia. You WILL NOT GET mugged if you go here and you have common sense. The area is not bad at all.
    I must say that I love this place. It's grown a lot on me in the past semester. The quality of the professors teaching us and the students themselves are great!
    The person who responded about the people acting cutthroat I have no friggin clue if you were really at Columbia. Our class is the least competitive I have ever seen! They send out numerous emails about the upcoming tests with hints, typed up notes, transcripts, etc etc etc. PLUS, we are pass / fail for first year now....everyone is helping everyone out. No one is out to hurt anyone or try to score better with them. I think going to a school with pass/fail curric is insanely important.

    NOW, a ton of people in my class go to undergrad a few times a week. Many of us meet the undergrads there and hang out with them. OR we hang out with the other grad students. Last week I went to a party down there and met many undergrads who are pretty cool and who I will be hanging out with again...
    The undergrad is 52 blocks downtown, but come on..this is new york. That's like 4 stops down on the 1. That's about a 15 minute ride max. I'm actually heading down there today. You make it seem like we are completely isolated which is not true. We have use of everything on the undergrad that we want. Gym, libraries, etc etc...

    For me, I knew PBL would not do it for me. My friend at Cornell was talking to me one day and mentioned that she had learned something really cool about something called "referred pain" and how you can have pain in an area where it's not really coming from....I was like..."go on.." and that was it...I thought, "gee, that's great...we just had 6 months of anatomy in which every lecture referred to a different type of referred pain." That's one example. there are many more...but it's not worth it to go into it. I'd say go whereever is cheaper for you. Both are great schools...Sinai is a great school too...

    But I'm extremely happy at Columbia. Great opportunities and great instructors!
     
  21. jlb102

    jlb102 Member
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    I have to say that I'm with Scooby on this one, as a fourth year at Columbia, I can say that I have personally spent hours of my time leading panels and talking to students in the years below me to guide them as to what to expect and how to prosper. Columbia is a place where we take care of our own. While I certainly admit that there may be social circles, they do overlap. Though I have my own group of friends, I also go out with many of my classmates who I am not best friends with and we have a great time and enjoy each other's company. As a member of what will surely go down in history as one of the most intense classes Columbia has ever admitted (and likely ever will admit, this is well known by most P&S students, for whatever reason we have this reputation (the fourth year class that is)) I would say that there was never an instance where help was withheld from a classmate in need or when study sheets were not forwarded to the entire class, I remember first year histo when one of my classmates put all the slides into a slideshow and put it on a CD that he left on his door. Everyone borrowed it, put it on their own computer, and passed it on. This is a family, we sink or swim together.

    As far as Cornell, I can only say the two institutions could not be any more different interms of medical education philosophy. The PBL curriculum works for some people, not for others, and in some instances is a miserable failure. The same can be said of a didactic curriculum. For me, and this is a person-by-person decision, Columbia has a perfect mix of small group in the first and second year combined with lectures. First year is probably 70/30 (lecture/small group) and second year is 50/50. The benefit of this is that people who were not science majors in college can learn the basics through lectures along with those of us who were science people learning the details and reviewing the basics. I would say though that these schools attract very different people, if you feel like you lean towards Cornell, jump off the damn fence and do it. You can't make the wrong decision if you listen to yourself- you will be happy wherever you go and will get a great education.

    Re: Trenches, though columbia has a private hospital, it functions like a public hospital in that we do about 90million$ of non-reimbursed medical care for the people in our neighborhood. This means that for medical students, you will never be told that this patient doesn't want you to examine them or whatever, this is simply not done, hell, I even examined a foreign head of state who was on our VIP ward.

    Anyway, this was the right place for me, my classmates are great people and I have made some life-long friends and many life-long colleagues.

    JB
     
  22. Thewonderer

    Thewonderer Senior Member
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    Every year's entering class is different. It is useless to worry about it. There will be years where many of your classmates can be real COMPETITIVE people but there will years where they are pleasant, both at Cornell and Columbia. It is random at times. So don't worry about all these arguments about "my class has been so close, we are like a family!" Because you have no control over who your future classmates are.

    That being said, Cornell is in a better part of city.

    I don't believe too much about Cornell's hospital being SO private that it will suffocate the student's clinical experience. It is probably hyped up by other schools who have nothing else to say about Cornell. As you can see, I am cynical about the hypes.

    Most of the time, you will hang out with med students. I would not worry too much about having the undergrad campus around you or not. NYC itself is a big campus.

    And Cornell, I repeat, is in a better part of the city. Would you rather live on the Upper East and commute to downtown or midtown from around 60ish st or live in Washington Height and commute from 140ish st (that's pretty much as far north as the Bronx, to me)? To me, traveling time is important because going to downtown once or twice a week will bump up your travel very very fast. In addition, subways do not come that often late at night when you are done with your partying. This, at least, is a fact that cannot be disputed by all the hype out there.
     
  23. trout

    trout Senior Member
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    Maters and MD are likeing comparing apples to elephants...not to mention we have different deans, different administrations and the school is very proud of the medical school. On a weekly basis, we have feedback lunches for every class. I have never seen people working so hard to adapting the ciriculum and making life better for us.

    [/i]

    The things that worries me about Cornell are 1) the clinical exposure (they kept reassuring us that you really do get plenty of experience at the NY Hospital and the affiliates, but I don't know how to objectively judge that); and 2) PBL sounds great and all, but I'm just not sure that it's the style of learning that works best for me.
    [/img]
    [/QUOTE]

    The other reason why I turned cornell down is because of the PBL. I sat through a 2 hour class of 15 students not saying a word. I was under the impression that these sessions were suppose to be student driven discussions which for this particular instance was not the case. I talked to some people in the class and they said that most are good but about a third aren't so good because of group synamics, the preceptor or even the topic. So, I decided that spending 3 months out of the year being required to sit in a boring non-existant discussion was not my idea of fun. They also every year have been adding more classes back to the schedule.

    One thing that tim said also that is not true is we do rotate at the same hospitals, I see cornell students up here at the hospital all the time. THere is also a shuttle that runs between the two.

    THe 50 blocks to the undergrad, is only a short hop away. (There is also a free shuttle here too!) I actually really utilize the campus. I take squash down there, you can take scuba, yoga, kick boxing offered a much larger gym than either medical school individually you can also take any class you want, I am looking forward to taking photography next fall. Wynton marsallis (sp?) is playing at the miller theatre in may and we can get $7 tickets! I have been to numerous lectures and discussions and had the opportunity to meet many other grad students. It is what you make of it.

    When the final discussion comes down you just have to chose where you are comfortable. They are both great schools, I have friends at cornell that love it, however, I am very happy I chose columbia. As far as the competitiveness, I agree with scooby, I don't see it. Medical students by their nature are competitive and aggressive (you wouldn't be at this stage in your life if you weren't) I have never seen someone been cut throat here or withhold information. We have classmates that send replies to emails of questions for the professors to the entire class. The reality is you are at medical school to learn, you are going to get a good match regardless again there is very little need to try to outshine your classmates. Good luck with your decision! Have fun this summer you (everyone) deserve it for all their hard work!
     
  24. souljah1

    souljah1 Attending
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    Scoob,

    glad to see that you are having a great time in Washington Heights. i really enjoyed living there as well, and i think that people who think that neighborhood is dangerous haven't really spent a lot of time there. i remember you were a little concerned about how you'd make out on the east coast, since you are strictly a cali-man. it isn't hard to enjoy nyc. i miss it. don't get me wrong, i am loving san francisco and everything about ucsf, but there is something about nyc that can't be replaced. i'll be back there in april for 9 days or so (my girl is finishing up a master's at Teacher's College down on 120th).

    as far as this thread is concerned..i don't have anything to contribute. just wanted to give a greeting to scoob.

    peace.

    souljah
     
  25. DarkChild

    DarkChild Senior Member
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    thanks for the awesome responses guys.
    can any columbia folks comment on the super long anatomy classes? i'm a little confused as to why columbia's is so much longer than every one else - are you guys taught different stuff? taught in a different way? whats the deal?
     
  26. CycloneDub

    CycloneDub Slave to the beat
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    It's true -- our anatomy is I believe the most involved course out there. We have classes 3 days a week from October - March and from what I can gather from friends at other schools, we cover everything that they do but at a much greater depth. We spend a great deal of time with many subtle/difficult facts (referred pain, conjoint tendon anatomy, etc.)
    I think that it one of strong points of Columbia. During my third year, I have referred back to my anatomy teaching time and time again to answer random pimping questions. Although it does last longer, Dr. April and Dr. Ambron's teachings stick with you well -- through second year and into the clinical years.
     
  27. Bones99

    Bones99 Member
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    I was just wondering about Columbia's financial aid. I was extremely happy to be accepted at Columbia, as it was my top choice. I know its a pretty expensive school, and I don't come from an upper class family, so does the school make a good attempt to help those who are financially "strapped." Thanks for your help!
    -Bones
     
  28. ks9340

    ks9340 Junior Member

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    Trout -
    I am an older student who will be attending Columbia next year (95% decided). I do not plan to live in Bard Hall (don't think i can do the no kitchen bathroom thing). I mentioned this to some people and they said i might have a harder time making friends with the students etc. Do you live in Bard? Does it really make a huge difference?
     
  29. trout

    trout Senior Member
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    I don't live in bard, but I still live in columbia housing the towers, so I am actually attached to bard but live in a very nice 1 bedroom apartment with my boyfriend and 125lb choc lab. (it is very hard to find an apartment that will let you have one of those!) I don't think I could have lived in bard, but that is an entirely personal decision. We have classmates who are my age that live there and love it, we have classmates that live in apartments/studios in the area and some that live downtown. I don't think it made an enormous impact on making friends etc. I hang out and go out with lots of people in our class. Having said that though I made sure I made an effort in the beginning of the year to get to know people. The other advantage is that I get to live in my apartment for all 4 years and never have to move!
    If you have any other questions just email my account.....Congratulations on your acceptance!
     
  30. fat_thrombosis

    fat_thrombosis 36-24-36
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    hey Scooby and Trout,

    just wanted to say hi from a fellow first-year here at Columbia. trout, the chocolate lab was a dead give-away. so anyways, here are my two cents about the whole medical subway-series. the people here at columbia (at least the first-years) are a bunch of cool, happy people. it's one big family of 150 or so. we all know each other personally and we get along, by and large. i ain't the easiest person to get along with and i'd say there are only 2 people that have rubbed me the wrong way. 2 out of 150. which, by my epidemiological standards, is significant. what scooby said about people helping each other out is completely on target, especially right before exam week. oh yeah, we're pass-fail, so for all those people that might consider us "cutthroat" all i have to say is puleeeeez how can you be that way when all there is to compete for is a P. anyways, at Columbia you'll find a liberal amount of anal-retentiveness (as you would anywhere) but that's balanced by the generous helping of relaxed attitude that's shared by a good number of us.

    another thing, about the sacred undergrad-med bond that a few of you have mentioned, I feel quite connected to the undergrad campus. there's a free shuttle that takes you right there and it runs with muy bueno frequency. Butler library, down at Morningside, is beauty and magnificence rolled into one ginormous erection -- aesthetically and functionally superior to Lamont and Widener (for those of you privy to Crimson-flavored parlance).

    lastly, look at the average step1 scores and at the matchlist of Columbia and i'd say we boast a considerable edge over the other NYC med schools. but yeah, that's pretty superficial.

    - fatty

    ps: scooby and trout, in case you were wondering, i'm the big dude with the gimpy shoulder.
     

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