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cornell vs columbia - advice needed

Discussion in 'Allopathic School-Specific Discussions (<2016)' started by futurenycdoc92, 05.18.14.

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Columbia or Cornell

Poll closed 06.17.14.
  1. Columbia

    56.4%
  2. Cornell

    43.6%
  1. futurenycdoc92

    futurenycdoc92

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    hi guys i was born in a country that starts with bang, but live in a country north of the united states in terms of latitude. I went to a good school in georgia. please help me in my life decisions.
     
    Last edited: 01.29.15
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  3. Ebrithill

    Ebrithill 2+ Year Member

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    isn't the deadline to choose a school past now? o_O
     
  4. Serous Demilune

    Serous Demilune 2+ Year Member

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    UES is pretty homogenous, mostly rich white people. Washington Heights is largely Dominican but I imagine it's becoming more gentrified lately. It's much farther uptown but has better access to public transportation to the places you'll want to hang out by. Location comes down to whether you want to live in a rich boring area or a poor interesting one.
    As far as prestige, both schools will give you easy access to the best rads and gas residencies, but Columbia will give you a slight edge with some of the other most competitive subspecialty and fellowship programs. I've heard major complaints about Cornell's preclinical curriculum in the past, and being the guinea pig for change is probably not the best idea. I'd have to go with Columbia on this one.
     
  5. Ace-Co-A

    Ace-Co-A taking up the mantle cell lymphoma 2+ Year Member

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    OP could have come off a waitlist at one of those institutions, no?
     
  6. hopefulMD12

    hopefulMD12

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    Come to Cornell and be my classmate. I don't buy that Columbia will give you a slight edge in competitive specialties. Cornell students regularly match into the top hospitals in the country! Both schools are prestigious and have a strong record so I won't comment much on that. The people at Cornell, however, are fantastic. I went to second look and the admissions department did a fantastic job selecting the class of 2018. Plus the UES location is ideal. It is residential enough that you can get your peace and quiet but all the fun is close by.
     
  7. chillaxbro

    chillaxbro 2+ Year Member

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    Columbia is probably a better school overall but I hear the students are really cutthroat. Dunno about Cornell
     
  8. nemo123

    nemo123 5+ Year Member

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    That's not the impression I got from the students on interview day. Out of all the schools I interviewed at, Columbia had the most outgoing, happy, and chill group of students.
     
  9. seeinghowitgoes

    seeinghowitgoes 2+ Year Member

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    Seconded.

    Cornell had some of the least agreeable students during my interview day. Not positing that as "truth," really just pointing out unless you visit a school multiple times it probably hard to base a decision on that type of thing.

    But really, my own observation aside, both schools (as evidenced by your dilemma) probably attract a similar type of student.
     
  10. futurenycdoc92

    futurenycdoc92

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    hey what do you think
     
    Last edited: 01.27.15
  11. Cyberdyne 101

    Cyberdyne 101 Runnin' Down a Dream Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    I live relatively close to Cornell Med. The neighborhood is amazing. It has quiet spots, busier avenues, it's close to the river, Central Park, there are tons of bars and restaurants in the area. The Met is nearby. And unlike with Columbia, it's actually easier to get to other spots in Manhattan from Cornell's neighborhood.
    A lot of young upper east siders are into running and triathlons (which is a way to meet people if that's your thing). But aside from that, the UES is densely populated enough where you'll have plenty of opportunities to meet ppl. And don't forget that there are grad students at Cornell, Rockefeller, etc. Also, NYU and Sinai are relatively close-by. I'm sure you can mingle with students from those schools as well.
     
  12. VballDoc

    VballDoc 2+ Year Member

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    Granted, I don't go to either school so I can't give you all the ins and outs, but I can just say what I know. Background, I went to undergrad at Columbia, and I was accepted to Columbia and waitlisted at Cornell, but ended up choosing NYU for med school.

    Washington Heights, IMO, is a pretty ****ty area. It's not only removed from the Columbia main campus at 116th, but much of the "exciting" parts of NYC as well. As such, the medical school tends to stay completely separate, as you are too removed and too busy to intermingle much with other schools, with maybe the exception of the dental school. As a medical student myself, I feel like NYU is more chill than either Columbia or Cornell, and med school is still very busy and stressful. When I do go off campus (which isn't as often as you think), I'm fortunate that so much of the city is close by. This would not be the case at Columbia, but would be the case at Cornell. Location in NYC ended up being a big factor for me, and I treasure a fun and active environment that will be there regardless of how busy I am.

    As for the curriculum, I would be a little weary of being the guinea pig at Cornell. NYU redid their curriculum several years ago (with our current 4th year class as the guinea pigs). The vast majority of the kinks are worked out now, but the 4th years will tell you that it was rough. They did have a 240 average on Step 1 last year, though!!! So clearly the new curriculum helped.

    Finally, as for mixers, you will meet new people in NYC if you venture out and try to. At NYU, we've had a mixer with Cornell med, and to be honest I can't remember their names. But I have joined a city rec league volleyball team, and I've meet so many new friends that way that are not in med school. I think it honestly depends on how much you branch out, especially since the medical school at both of these institutions tends to remain separate.

    As for "rankings" and "prestige", they honestly don't matter. If you work your tail off, get good Step 1 scores, and excellent letters of recommendation (and honestly pretty much any type of research in your field of interest), you will be fine no matter where you go. Go where you feel like you will fit in best and where you think you will be happiest. Seriously :)

    GOOD LUCK!!!!
     
  13. mmmcdowe

    mmmcdowe Duke of minimal vowels Gold Donor SDN Moderator 7+ Year Member

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    Columbia is only fifteen minutes away from the "nice" parts of town and honestly Washington Heights gets nicer every year. Many new restaurants/bars have opened in the last year alone. We also have monthly mixers with the other graduate programs downtown. We also have tons of mixers with the other medical schools, though Sinai and NYU are the ones that usually show up in force besides us. Social life is easily had, and dating is as well.

    Columbia does not internally rank. I would think hard about whether or not you want mandatory PBL. Columbia does have small group learning a few times a week, but it can be skipped for the most part unless there is a quiz/patient/etc. I preferred having that option because some PBLs I found very helpful, and others I preferred to do in the comfort of my own bedroom. All lectures are nonmandatory.

    A good way to choose is to come visit both again if you can.
     
  14. medx88

    medx88

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    If meeting people is a big concern, I would strongly consider Columbia. From the above post, it seems like Columbia provides many more opportunities to meet people (mixers) without even needing to try that hard! Personally, I am not all that outgoing so I would appreciate this. I would also love to get to know med students from other schools. This is purely anecdotal, but a close friend of mine who goes to NYU med got a pretty negative view of the Cornell students at a mixer saying that they were "kind of antisocial." Then again, someone else told me Cornell had a great group of students, so who knows!

    Columbia is a top 10 school. The students have unbelievably diverse backgrounds. Non mandatory lectures and NO INTERNAL RANKINGS! Curriculum is solid, unlike Cornell where you would be a guinea pig. As for the location, it is equally easy to get places via subway (the upper east side is a pretty boring and rich part of NYC). If I were you, I would choose Columbia no question. (FYI I am on the waitlist for Columbia, so I would also be supportive if you chose Cornell :)) Good luck on your decision!
     
  15. Amygdarya

    Amygdarya 7+ Year Member

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    This is a common misconception about WCMC. The fact is, WCMC does have PBL, but in the new curriculum there are going to be only two 1-1.5 hours PBL sessions a week (fewer than at most schools that do PBL); the rest is lectures, labs, small groups.
     
    Last edited: 05.19.14
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  16. Amygdarya

    Amygdarya 7+ Year Member

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    (to the bolded part) Haha, no bias detected :D For anyone reading this: don't forget that for cities "boring" often translates into "safe"; UES is one of the safest neighborhoods in NYC, which is something I can't say about Washington heights.
    But I agree with you about being cautious in regards to being a member of the first class to go through the new curriculum, it's certainly not for everyone (though I'm choosing Cornell myself regardless).
    I agree with you that one should visit the school more than once to have a fair assessment of its students. To be honest, Cornell didn't blow my mind during the interview day (though neither did I hate it), but I absolutely loved its second look, for the most part because of its students, both current and accepted. Cornell students are diverse in pretty much any way imaginable (not only in terms of race as many schools tend to understand diversity, though there is plenty of ethnic/racial diversity as well), talented, interesting, genuinely nice and real people. Or maybe I felt that *I* would fit in with Cornell really well because of some common interests, experiences etc. Maybe people who have different values/interests would not fit in with Cornell students as well, I don't know. I think it's one of the things that's about individual fit and can only be assessed by the person him/herself. The best is to revisit the schools and meet their students - OP, since you live in NJ, could you request a revisit with Cornell and/or Columbia?
    I don't know if you'll have more opportunities to meet people at Columbia, but I don't see how you could possibly have any difficulty meeting people if you go to Cornell.
    As for lectures, yes, it seems like students are highly encouraged to attend lectures at Cornell, though I don't know how many of them actually regularly attend lectures; current Cornell students should answer this.
    The problem with this thread is that many of the replies are pure hearsay (case in point: the post I quoted above, no offense to its author; Cornell students are amazingly diverse as well, and this is a fact rather than an opinion). I understand the concerns about the new curriculum, lecture attendance etc., but I wouldn't put too much stock into other people's opinions of Cornell students (including mine ;)). OP, seriously, try revisiting the schools and meeting their students if you can.
     
    futurenycdoc92 likes this.
  17. futurenycdoc92

    futurenycdoc92

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    Thanks @Amygdarya - I appreciate all your advice. I didnt get the chance to go to 2nd look since I got off the wait list. Your posts are very reassuring though!
     
  18. mcatzzzzzz

    mcatzzzzzz

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    Regarding lecture attendance I think a current student told me everyone goes at the beginning, but only like 40-50% at most go as the year progresses @ cornell
     
  19. Amygdarya

    Amygdarya 7+ Year Member

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    You're welcome :) Both schools are great, so you can't really go wrong with any of them. I hope you make a well informed decision that's *best* for *you*.
    Thank you, it's nice to know.
    In the spirit of full disclosure, I'd like to add that PBL sessions *are* mandatory at Cornell and that they are scheduled at 8 am twice a week. (I imagine this may put off some people... then again, don't forget that in a mere 1.5 years you'll be going to your clinical rotations much earlier.)
     
  20. futurenycdoc92

    futurenycdoc92

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    hey what do you think?
     
    Last edited: 01.27.15
  21. Cyberdyne 101

    Cyberdyne 101 Runnin' Down a Dream Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    Quality of life means different things to different ppl. What role does diversity play in your decision? The UES is quieter and far less diverse, but some prefer that. Even the UWS, which has comparable rent prices (or possibly higher) than the UES is more ethnically diverse.
    Edit: agree with @Amygdarya about patient population.
     
    Last edited: 05.28.14
  22. stuckinthelab

    stuckinthelab

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    I pretty strongly believe that Washington Heights would be a "cooler" place to live- it's definitely an up-and-coming area. Lots of neat places to eat/go out and way more diverse than the UES. And closer to the subway than Cornell. I have a college friend who's an M1 at Columbia and LOVES it. She's met great people from some of the other schools and there's plenty of opportunity for socializing. The area near Columbia is also geared way more toward younger people than the UES, which I think can feel kind of stuffy (just my opinion..).

    In general, the consensus from those I've worked with was that Columbia medical students receive a far broader range of experience as a result of working with a more diverse patient population.

    Again, this is just the opinion of someone who lives in the area and has no direct experience with either school- I'm sure you'll get a great education wherever you choose to matriculate! Good luck with your decision and let us know what you decide.
     
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  23. Amygdarya

    Amygdarya 7+ Year Member

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    I don't have a strong opinion on the advantages of living in the UES vs. in Washington heights, but the bolded sentence is a common misconception people have about Cornell that I'd like to correct.
    Yes, Weill Cornell Medical College and its flagship affiliated hospital, NYP-Cornell, are in the UES and, indeed, there are plenty of rich white folk around. However, patients from all walks of life come to NYP-Cornell (among other things, it's level I trauma - unlike NYP-Columbia, by the way - which means that all major traffic accident trauma from FDR etc. comes here). More to the point, Cornell students rotate at community hospitals in the 4 boroughs of Manhattan (not only UES, but a downtown Manhattan hospital with a significant Chinese immigrant population, Lincoln Memorial hospital in South Bronx, low income and mostly Hispanic and African American community, one of the busiest if not the busiest ED in New York and level 1 trauma as well, also hospitals in Brooklyn and in one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Queens), plus there are sites in Westchester, Upstate New York and Houston, TX. All in all, Cornell medical students are exposed to one of the most diverse patient populations, which, yes, includes rich white folk, but it's far from only rich white folk; Cornell students get exposure to *all kinds of folk*.
    On the other hand, I fail to see how being closer to poorer neighborhoods qualifies a school as having a more diverse patient population - and I don't mean Columbia specifically, but rather the accepted SDN "wisdom" that a school that is closer to a poorer neighborhood equals higher patient diversity.
     
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  24. Cyberdyne 101

    Cyberdyne 101 Runnin' Down a Dream Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    I've volunteered at Cornell hospital and you do see ppl from all walks of life there. The neighborhoods though, are very different.
    And I guess I should edit my above post. Unless you specifically want to interact with patients from Wash Heights, then don't rule out Cornell in terms of a diverse patient population.
    Also, I'm sure Columbia also has its share of wealthy patients.
     
    Amygdarya likes this.
  25. mmmcdowe

    mmmcdowe Duke of minimal vowels Gold Donor SDN Moderator 7+ Year Member

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    Quality of life has little to do with the patient population. Rent in Washington Heights is cheaper and increases as you migrate down to the Upper West Side. The Upper East Side is prettier but more expensive unless you live in student housing. The both have access to everything you would need to have a quality lifestyle ultimately, and if you don't like either neighborhood you can always migrate. Heck, you could even theoretically live near Cornell and commute via the free bus service to Columbia and vice versa, though I wouldn't recommend it. Cornell is further south but Columbia has better access to subways. Ultimately your travel time to various parts of the city is going to average out to be about the same.

    As far as the diversity of the neighborhood, it definitely has a strong mix of hispanic and non-hispanic (mostly students/employees) populations. 50% of the patient population of CUMC is hispanic.
     
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  26. ace12345

    ace12345 2+ Year Member

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    Amygdarya nailed it, as is often the case on these comparison threads. Just from a city standpoint I will say though that Columbia is also pretty far uptown. Cornell is farther from the subway, but 69th St. is still a lot more central.
     
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  27. Amygdarya

    Amygdarya 7+ Year Member

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    Sure, I have no doubt that Columbia has a very diverse patient population including wealthy patients (hello, top cardiothoracic surgery!). I just don't like this notion of "poor neighborhood=diverse patient population" that is so popular on SDN.

    All in all, I think both schools have great clinical training and offer tons of opportunities (including the opportunity to explore NYC), so choosing between them comes down to individual preferences. Which neighborhood do you like more? Do you prefer a bigger (Columbia) or a smaller (Cornell) class? What did you think of the current and accepted students (if you attended second looks)? Are there any specialties that you're interested in? (none of these schools will limit your choices, but Columbia may attract people interested in, say, cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery, and Cornell attracts people interested in ortho and cancer)
     
    Last edited: 05.28.14
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  28. mmmcdowe

    mmmcdowe Duke of minimal vowels Gold Donor SDN Moderator 7+ Year Member

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    Columbia produces anywhere from 10 to 20+ students into ortho a year. If you had to pick a stereotype for Columbia students it would be surgery in general (though only 30% of the class does something surgical).
     
  29. Cyberdyne 101

    Cyberdyne 101 Runnin' Down a Dream Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    Thanks for bringing that up. Many (myself included) associate Cornell with orthopedics due to its attachment to HSS. I don't think that can be helped lol.
     
  30. Amygdarya

    Amygdarya 7+ Year Member

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    Haha, this year someone from Cornell matched into integrated thoracic surgery residency at Cleveland Clinic, and another into an integrated plastics program at UT Southwestern (one of the very top plastics programs for those who don't know), not to mention people who matched into uro, ENT, gen surg, neurosurg and, yes, ortho. That's why I said that neither of the schools will limit your specialty choice ;)
    It's actually ironic, but there's been a substantial number of people who came to Cornell for ortho and ended up pursuing different specialties :) Which kind of goes against my earlier statement, but the point is, Weill Cornell is associated with HSS (and all the ortho research etc. there), and that's what attracts people interested in ortho to Cornell.
     
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  31. futurenycdoc92

    futurenycdoc92

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    Hi everyone, thank you all for your input and advice. I wanted to say that after weighing the pros and cons(not many) of each school, I have decided to be at Weill Cornell!!! I am very excited about it and am looking forward to a great medical school experience.
     
  32. Cyberdyne 101

    Cyberdyne 101 Runnin' Down a Dream Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    You'll love it!!
     

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