dvd200e

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hello everyone. as the date for duke's decisions loom, i find myself contemplating whether indeed i would attend if granted admission. i was hoping some current duke students (or students who know another duke student well) could share some of their thoughts on the pros and cons of the school, for example the rigorous first year, competitiveness of the student body, etc. thanks!
 

doc05

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duke is an awesome school and you should go there if you've been admitted. the "rigorous" first year is nothing to worry about as everyone who is admitted is smart enough. The benefit of early exposure to clinical clerkships is huge, so I would suggest any school that reduces the preclinical (less relevant) time. Duke, Penn, and Baylor do this...I'm not sure where else. best of luck.
 
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dvd200e

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doc05, thanks alot for the input. it helps alot that you pointed out that they have an advantage in lessening class time in favor of more clinical training. hopefully i can get in! if i remember correctly, they interview alot of students though...anyone know their #interviwed/accepted? thanks!
 

Sohalia

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When I applied that one book that everyone's supposed to have (I think it's called something like the Medical School Admission Guide or Admission Requirements or something like that) had the # interviewed and # admitted for every school.

The thing about having only one preclinical year is that everything is compressed in the classroom, so you have to learn things on your own. The third year (research or time for another degree) is great. I got an MPH in epi at UNC-Chapel Hill with mine (this meets the research requirement as well). Duke is a big research school. A relatively high number of students (other than the MD-PhDs) even opt to take another year for research (i.e. 5 years total med school, with 2 years of research included), or get an MPH and then do another research year (5 years=MD, MPH=2 years research+clinical).
 
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dvd200e

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sohalia, thanks so much for the info. i will definitely look into getting that book for the numbers. also, being that i dont see myself going so deeply into research, the opportunity to get another degree is nice. i see that you got your at UNC. would i be limited to only getting this degree at a nearby school or could i look elsewhere in the country during third year??? thanks!
 

Sohalia

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dvd200e said:
sohalia, thanks so much for the info. i will definitely look into getting that book for the numbers. also, being that i dont see myself going so deeply into research, the opportunity to get another degree is nice. i see that you got your at UNC. would i be limited to only getting this degree at a nearby school or could i look elsewhere in the country during third year??? thanks!
No, I think you can get whatever you want wherever you want, it just might take more work to set up if you don't do it at Duke or Chapel Hill. I know of people who got their MPHs in Cali; I think I heard someone went elsewhere for a JD (that person won't be able to finish the whole JD during their 3rd year though). I think it could be arranged to do an MBA elsewhere (MBAs take about 2 years). :luck:
 

TommyGunn04

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As a current Duke 3rd year, here's my two cents.

I chose Duke quite simply because of its innovative, unique curriculum...I didn't really care where it was, how it was ranked, etc....I just wanted to be in a place where I wasn't going to be forced to spend two grueling years in the classroom memorizing minutia that I wouldn't even remember a year later anyway, and which to be honest really isn't important in the practice of medicine. Getting onto the wards a year sooner is a HUGE advantage, because the sooner you're immersed into medicine as it's really practiced the better you'll be when it really counts, when you have REAL responsibility and life or death situations as a resident. For me, this opportunity makes Duke the best of all possible programs, but of course it isn't for everyone. However, it's important to recognize that contrary to popular belief, Duke does NOT squeeze two years of basic science into one. I can't stress this enough. There are simply a lot of things we don't do in the classroom. Given the rapid development of science and medicine, Duke recognizes that you simply can't learn it all, and so we don't spend time doing a lot of things other schools do because we don't think they're as important as clinical experience. When you can't learn it all you must make choices, and Duke chooses differently than most schools, but I think it's very much for the better. This is especially true for me as I'm not a great didactic learner. But once I got onto the wards and was able to put things into the context of a real patient, and see how disease really presents itself, it made an enormous difference in my education.

I also think this is an advantage from a USMLE point of view, as Step 1 is very much a clinically-oriented exam despite being a test of "basic science." Of course, during first year we learned all the basic science we needed in order to do well on Step 1, but we also get to amass tons of clinical knowledge that most other students don't because they aren't even allowed on the wards until they pass Step 1. I think this is one reason why Duke students do so well on the boards...most of my class hasn't taken Step 1 yet, but of the few who have, I've already heard of 3 students who scored over 250!!! The national average is 217, with a standard deviation of about 23, and as a previous poster noted, the average Step 1 score is in the 230's at Duke. I imagine this puts Duke somewhere at the top nationally.

What I see as the other enormous plus of the Duke curriculum is the third year. While it is a "research year," please don't get the impression that you must spend your 3rd year pipetting your brains out. I really abhor wet lab research, but I haven't had to set foot into a lab here. To give you an idea what some of my classmates are doing, I'll try to break it down quickly. There are around 10-12 MD/PhD students, then about 10 students getting an MPH at UNC Chapel Hill, two more getting an MPP (Masters in Public Policy), a couple doing humanities work in medical history and ethics, one getting a masters in philosophy, a number doing clinical research, at least 4 or 5 at the NIH in their "Cloisters Program," etc. etc. Clearly, there are a LOT of options! For me, the 3rd year is enormously valuable, because I'm able to get a degree that would take me at least an extra year to do at any other school, if even available. This realy helps open up career options, and I imagine makes you more attractive as a residency program applicant. In addition, for those interested in very competitive fields like ortho, optho, derm, radiology, and the like, the 3rd year is an opportunity to do research in that particular field and also do clinical work in that specialty, thereby allowing you to not only test out whether or not this is really what you'd like to do with your life, but also to make connections with people in the field and to even get a publication or two under your belt to really show how dedicated you are to this specialty. I think this is a HUGE advantage. Students at most other schools often have a very difficult time squeezing research into their medical careers, and often feel pressured to do so despite the difficulty, particularly if they're aiming for a very competitive specialty. This quite simply is not a problem at Duke!

Anyway, I hope that helps. Feel free to PM me if you have any further questions. I love Duke!!! :)
 
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dvd200e

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tommygun, i just thanked you in the pre-allo forum but your responses have helped me out so much that i needed to do it again. thanks for clearing up my misconceptions about duke and the curriculum. more clinical exposure and an open 3rd year to do what i want...how could i turn that down! i am really hoping that i get accepted, but it is so competitive to get in and so i am preparing myself to go elsewhere as well. good luck in your career!
 

Phaedrus

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doc05 said:
duke is an awesome school and you should go there if you've been admitted. the "rigorous" first year is nothing to worry about as everyone who is admitted is smart enough. The benefit of early exposure to clinical clerkships is huge, so I would suggest any school that reduces the preclinical (less relevant) time. Duke, Penn, and Baylor do this...I'm not sure where else. best of luck.
Hopkins
 

DukeDoc08

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Phaedrus said:
I replied (a long rambling statement in pre-allo at 3 AM) so I'll keep this brief.....I hope to take Tommygunn's spot as he moves into 4th year and into the real world at keeping SDN informed about the the goings on at Duke...
I am a first year and just getting into block III: body and disease (I call it being a doctor 101)
I spoke a lot about my feelings of the 1st year in pre-allo so I will make this one different. our 1st year is 11 months of hard work (harder work than other schools? for some maybe)...think of it this way...as you study for a test are you going to study to do the best you can or are you sooo confident in your ability that you can study just to pass? get an 80? maybe a 95? probably you are going to study and work as hard as you think you need to/ want to whether you have 50 things to know or you have 150 things to know....that's my take on it. Tommygunn is absolutely correct...there is NO possible way that we are learning everything that other med students are learning but I PROMISE you we are learning everything you NEED to know PLUS some stuff that you don't...and then it is reinforced immediately (3 weeks later) as you go into your 13 month second year on the wards....
I can't speak for previous classes (although they were not much different) but my class is really really supportive (I should know....they support me A LOT!) at least twice a day I get an email sent to the entire class with an outline of entire weeks of notes and good websites that people have found to illustrate important points....and when you get closer to exams you won't even have enough time to look at all of the study notes or outlines or resources that people are sending out...I have not felt competition the entire year!! I bet there are gunners and competitive people but the atmosphere doesn't feel like it.....
outside of the classroom people go out in small groups, large groups, and with other classes and everyone is always invited to everything. this leads to a much smaller emphasis of cliques and more hodge podge of friendships....it's really cool. also the events that take place include everything you could imagine: bars, musicals, movies, watching sports, taking out prospectives, dinner, ski trip (last weekend), jazz, poetry, community service, trivia night, on and on!!
I love Duke and my hope is that ALL of you end up at a place that you love (or at least a place that loved YOU enough to accept you!! (if you can't be with the one you love you should love the one you're with!)) Also, realize that the education you get does not come from the name of the school you went to...it is the effort and work you put into it and studying for your boards to have a shot at better residency training programs...in the end you will as good of a doctor as YOU want to be (the people I have met and worked with over the years came from all over the place and went to schools all over the place and I bet they were ALL darn good doctors!
good luck...I don't envy you but you'll never forget your first time (getting a thick envelope that is...it makes me smile just thinking about it....and I had to wait a long time to get my first!!!)