Cornell vs. Penn

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by abram, Feb 21, 2002.

  1. abram

    abram Member

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    I am waiting to hear from both of these schools (after good interviews) and I would like to know what some of you think about them, comparatively. Thanks.
     
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  3. vkrn

    vkrn Senior Member

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    I didn't get an interview at UPenn, but I did at Cornell.

    There's a SDN thread with a lot of opinions about Cornell: <a href="http://www.studentdoctor.net/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=008113" target="_blank">Columbia v. Cornell</a>

    That might help partially; there's a long comment from a current Cornell student there.

    I don't know what you'll find if you do a search on Penn.
     
  4. UCLA2000

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    Are you kidding? There's no comparison Penn rocks! I interviewed at both schools and let me tell you Cornell wasn't all that great. The students at Cornell didn't seem happy whereas the students at Penn are loving life.

    I heard complaints at Cornell that the administration was not supportive of the students, and I heard nothing but praise about the administration at Penn...

    The curriculum at Penn rules. Only 1.5 years of book work! You can't beat that!
     
  5. zancudo

    zancudo Member

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    I interviewed at both schools, was accepted to Cornell, and am waiting to hear from Penn in the upcoming month.

    I dont really know why some people make Cornell out to be such a horrible place. All of the students that I know there (and there are many) seem to really enjoy it, and they say the opposite about the administration's willingness to help students.

    I think both are great places, and if I get into Penn it is going to be a tough decision.
     
  6. arrowsmith

    arrowsmith Member

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  7. deva

    deva Senior Member

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    I interviewed at both schools, and I don't know what UCLA2000 is talking about. I LOVED Cornell and I *HATED* Penn. Hated.

    At Penn, the staff members were not particularly helpful. No one could answer my questions about the new joint MD/MPH program that they are implementing next year. No one could tell me where my first interview was (because no one recognized the name of the room - you'd think they would figure this stuff out before the interviews, right?) The students seemed happy, but did not seem enthusiastic at all about their classes and what they were doing in medical school. Also, there seemed to be very little camaraderie between the students. My student interviewer told me that he didn't think it was necessary to learn about how different ethnic groups interpret disease and health care (this is something I strongly disagree with - if you are going to treat a variety of people you need to understand and respect them). My faculty interviewer told me that he "didn't know much about the American health care system." When I said that I had done a research project on Medicaid and CHIP enrollment barriers, he said, "Medicaid? That's the one for poor people, right?" Yeah, it is primarily for poor people, but I would really hope that a doctor would have a better understanding of our health care system. He made it clear that he didn't have any respect for health policy and public health research (I am interested in health policy research, by the way, and I made this clear). The only thing good about the interview visit was the free lunch.

    At Cornell, the students seemed really happy and excited about their classes and experiences in medical school. Also, the students showed an amazing amount of camaraderie. The students seemed to have a real community - unlike the situation at Penn, where students seemed to barely know one another. The staff members were super friendly and helpful. The faculty members were amazing - and seemed to get along very well with both the students and the office staff. Whenever I mentioned that I was interested in health policy research, I heard the same response: the public health department at Cornell would love to have me working with them on health policy issues. Cornell med students just have one lecture a day, and they with classes by 1pm. The facilities are great - the classrooms where you do PBL are incredible.

    I don't know why anyone would choose Penn over Cornell.
     
  8. TommyGunn04

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by UCLA2000:
    <strong>
    The curriculum at Penn rules. Only 1.5 years of book work! You can't beat that!</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Sure, you can beat it...only ONE YEAR of book work at Duke! I agree though, Penn is a pretty awesome place.

    But I liked Cornell a lot too. I didn't experience any problems there, nor did I get any negative impressions of administration/faculty/students/etc. Even if I did though, I'm not sure it should enter into my decision about the schools. After all, seeing only a very small part of such a large and diverse place in only a few hours of one day can hardly show me exactly what my experience there would be like. I don't think it's fair to count a school out just because a secretary didn't know where a room was, or because you heard from a friend of a friend that they're not friendly with students there. These sorts of complaints usually come from extremely isolated situations, and hardly represent life at that institution.

    Cornell is very PBL-based, and the flexibility of your clinical rotations is unparalleled! And Penn emphasizes hands-on work and minimizes classroom time. They're both great places, with great students. For me, it just comes down to where I want to go to school, and more importantly, what style of learning I'd like to pursue.
     
  9. synite

    synite Senior Member

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    I think your experience would be vastly different at each school. I got into both schools and just withdrew from Cornell. I happen to think Penn is hands-down a much better place overall.

    The 1.5 year curriculum is a great idea...gets you into the hospital faster. I also dont think that lecture is a bad thing. Penn has a much more structured curriculum, where there is less guesswork and anxiety placed on students. You KNOW what you have to learn, whereas the impression i got from Cornell was that they basically throw you into the PBL system without much preparation. Even Cornell students told me that it takes a while to get used to and ends up being very stressful at times, especially during the first few months of school and just before USMLE step 1. At Penn, there is plenty of "problem-based learning" where students get to apply basic science knowledge to hypothetical cases...in fact, something like 50% (forgot the exact number but it is in the viewbook and online) of class time is spent in small groups. I think Penn has a great balance between a structured learning environment and an open-ended one. also, penn finishes with classes at 12noon three times a week.

    I dont think anyone can refute that the clinical experience at Penn outshines that at Cornell. Penn has HUP, one of the nation's premier hospitals and CHOP, one of the nation's premier children's hospital, not to mention the VA hospital. You see everything at Penn, from the most basic "street" cases to complex tertiary issues. At Cornell, whether they like to admit it or not, you end up seeing a smaller slice of the real-world patient population....it's a rich hospital that caters to private patients. Cornell students dont get as much hands-on training because of this (I figured this out because it was a question that was basically avoided everytime i asked). Penn has socio-economic population that is conducive to students taking a more active role in patient care, and hence learning more during their rounds.

    Other perks: Penn's entire campus, undergrad and all grad schools, are located together...no separation. You get the big campus feel and plenty of interaction with other students and can take advantage of general campus activities. Administration and faculty have a reputation for being extra-supportive...i didnt get that feeling at Cornell. After every block, there are manditory feedback forms, and committees meet to debrief on the curriculum and ways to improve it MULTIPLE times a year. Matchlist at Penn is simply more impressive. The big benefit that Cornell has is location, but I happen to like Philly.

    I've given this serious thought and turned down a number of top schools for Penn....
     
  10. choker

    choker Senior Member

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    synite, i dont suppose your opinion of penn is slightly skewed from the full-ride scholarship they gave you?
     
  11. abram

    abram Member

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    I second choker's question.
     
  12. ValleyGal

    ValleyGal Senior Member

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    I think that everyone is overanalyzing the situation as both are very good schools. Both will give you a great education from very smart people and both will get you good residencies.

    Cornell = PBL and New York
    Penn = not as PBL and Philly

    Which one do you like more? Do you like NY? That should make your decision for you. Don't underestimate the school environment in choosing.
     
  13. synite

    synite Senior Member

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    hi choker....i know it'd seem that way. but Penn was my top choice since i interviewed in november. i would have chosen it regardless of the scholarship. the scholarship was amazing, but it didnt change my opinion of the school.... :)
     
  14. deva

    deva Senior Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by TommyGunn04:
    <strong>I don't think it's fair to count a school out just because a secretary didn't know where a room was, </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I didn't count Penn out because the secretary didn't know where the room was. If you read the whole statement you will see that that was just one of many negative instances at Penn. At the time, it didn't make any difference to me. What I really hated about Penn was that the students did not seem excited about their coursework and did not exhibit the same level of camaraderie that was present at Cornell. Also, no one seemed to respect health policy research. These things made me count out Penn. The secretary's lack of building knowledge was not important.
     
  15. Thewonderer

    Thewonderer Senior Member

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    I would imagine that Penn has less of a class feel because students tend to live off campus (some do live with other grad students at Samson Place, the graduate housing), while at Cornell, I have the feeling that they take advantage of subsidized housing and live together.

    I remembered seeing Cornell's and Penn's matchlists from 2001. I don't see how anyone can say that Penn's is better. They are both good. Plus, Penn seems to send like 50% to HUP/CHOP and 25% to other hospitals in Philly and only 25% get out of that city. That's my impression. And matchlists do change from year to year depending on student interests.

    HUP+CHOP does not necessarily means it is better than NYH+Sloan-Kettering

    NYC is awesome. Philly is a good city too but in terms of safety around campus, you cannot beat the Upper East side. In terms of public transportation, Philly's is very poorly developed. I took their so-called "subway" from Samson Place to Center City and was greeted with one-cart trolley (the size of a bus) and a smelly station when I gets off.

    Cornell gets too little respect on this board. But if you turn it down for your own greener pasture, well then other people will take it! So it should all work out in the end.
     
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  17. Trek

    Trek Grand Uranium Member

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    Cornell left a bad taste in my mouth. Well, the students did. At that lunch/info session part we had a few fourth years and some first years. Frankly i found their show to be pitiful- they openly made fun of each other, treated each other with disrespect and gave off the worst possible vibe. I remember one girl that was going into ENT was a particularly cruel human being- she was making fun of other people and their physical appearances. Terrible. --Trek
     
  18. chgpwd

    chgpwd Member

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    Abram,

    Coming from Penn and Philly, how do you feel about going back for 4 more years, with a 50% chance of staying for your residency? I was also in a similar situation and was considering U Chicago simply because it was not Penn. I'm MSTP, so I guess I have more reason to be concerned, but aren't you feeling the need to get away from family?

    - the psychic.
     
  19. squeek

    squeek Senior Member

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    "Cornell left a bad taste in my mouth. Well, the students did. At that lunch/info session part we had a few fourth years and some first years. Frankly i found their show to be pitiful- they openly made fun of each other, treated each other with disrespect and gave off the worst possible vibe. I remember one girl that was going into ENT was a particularly cruel human being- she was making fun of other people and their physical appearances. Terrible. --Trek"

    Well, I guess there're always a few "bad apples." But please don't lump all 400 of us into that group...a lot of us can't make it to the applicant lunches, otherwise you might see a different group of students. :)

    I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience, though. It's unfortunate, as my class really is full of nice people.
     
  20. TommyGunn04

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by squeek:
    I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience, though. It's unfortunate, as my class really is full of nice people.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I second that squeek! I had a really awesome student luncheon experience! The Cornell students I met generally impressed me more than those at any of the other 11 schools I visited. Perhaps I got all the "good apples?" <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
     
  21. Sir William Osler

    Sir William Osler Senior Member

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    to choose a school based on your encounters with a handfull of students on your one interview day would be a mistake in my opinion. do you think the student bodies at schools differ that much? I would not imagine so. In fact, you will see just as much deviation class to class as you will school to school.
     
  22. deva

    deva Senior Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Sir William Osler:
    <strong>to choose a school based on your encounters with a handfull of students on your one interview day would be a mistake in my opinion. </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I agree that your impressions during the interview visit are highly subjective - and that you can't possibly get a completely accurate view of the school and its students during that visit.

    But I also believe that your impressions of the school should play a major role in your final choice. Think about it. Med schools are trying to impress you during your visit. They want to show their schools in the best possible light. If you get a bad feeling from a school when it is at its best, then you really don't want to see it at its worst. Just a thought.
     
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  23. Thewonderer

    Thewonderer Senior Member

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    I agree with Sir William Osler.....

    Student body, hospital, matchlist, reputations are pretty much the same.

    Go with location and financial aid. Premeds really really make their decisions harder than they should. They also take rejections/waitlists too personally. I personally did that before. But sometimes, the best school in your mind might give you a waitlist before accepting you (or another school might court you with perks or some extra $$$ to massage your delicate egos). But suck up your pride and make an informed decision!
     
  24. abram

    abram Member

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    chgpwd,

    The need to move to a "fresh" location is another thing fueling my interest in cornell. I have been in philly too long. At this point, it is highly possible that I am gonna be here for another 4-5 years (either at Jeff on a full ride, or Penn*). If that ends up being the case, you can bet that you won't find me around here for residency.

    *I'm waitlisted tier 1 at Penn.
    Another correction: while I'm doing a year of research here at penn, I did my undergrad at Haverford.
     

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