Deciding where to matriculate....

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Ambitionista

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Hey everyone!

So it looks like we are finally (somewhat) approaching the end of the interview season. I don't know about the rest of you, but I found this whole process to be, although exciting, exhausting and stressful. Congrats to those who have finished interviewing (or almost there) and those holding onto acceptance(s)! As the end of cycle acceptances start rolling in (fingers crossed!) how are you going about deciding where to matriculate? :D

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EMDO2018

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Hey everyone!

So it looks like we are finally (somewhat) approaching the end of the interview season. I don't know about the rest of you, but I found this whole process to be, although exciting, exhausting and stressful. Congrats to those who have finished interviewing (or almost there) and those holding onto acceptance(s)! As the end of cycle acceptances start rolling in (fingers crossed!) how are you going about deciding where to matriculate? :D

Cost is a major factor for me
I'm also looking for a good school with a great pass rate, solid clinicals, P/F grading, no dress code or attendance policy
I'm a single guy so a city where there is something to do and places to go will also figure into the decision.
 
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Ambitionista

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Cost is a major factor for me
I'm also looking for a good school with a great pass rate, solid clinicals, P/F grading, no dress code or attendance policy
I'm a single guy so a city where there is something to do and places to go will also figure into the decision.

I agree. Financial aid will definitely play a huge role in my decision. If any of my schools offer me a sizable scholarship :rolleyes: I am almost certain I will be attending.

I think the next major factor for me is the feel of the student body. I'm at a competitive undergrad and although I was probably what most would consider your typical "gunner" my freshman year, I'm kinda tired of the competitive atmosphere. I suppose second look will help me get a better feel for this.

I completely agree with the other factors you mentioned; however, the issue I'm running into is that most of the schools I applied to/been accepted to are very similar what I am looking for in terms of curriculum, grading, and clinical experience. [[[I don't know of any schools with dress codes though. Is that actually a thing?]]]
 
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ChemEngMD

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I agree. Financial aid will definitely play a huge role in my decision. If any of my schools offer me a sizable scholarship :rolleyes: I am almost certain I will be attending.

I think the next major factor for me is the feel of the student body. I'm at a competitive undergrad and although I was probably what most would consider your typical "gunner" my freshman year, I'm kinda tired of the competitive atmosphere. I suppose second look will help me get a better feel for this.

I completely agree with the other factors you mentioned; however, the issue I'm running into is that most of the schools I applied to/been accepted to are very similar what I am looking for in terms of curriculum, grading, and clinical experience. [[[I don't know of any schools with dress codes though. Is that actually a thing?]]]

Haha Medical College of Georgia and Loma Linda have dress codes (I think). Are none of your schools P/F the first two years?

I personally am scared of one of my schools because it is starting a whole new curriculum in the fall and that is pretty terrifying to me.

I want the cheapest P/F school I can get and since I've only been accepted to 1 P/F school so far I guess I have 1 option at the moment haha.
 

Ambitionista

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Haha Medical College of Georgia and Loma Linda have dress codes (I think). Are none of your schools P/F the first two years?

I personally am scared of one of my schools because it is starting a whole new curriculum in the fall and that is pretty terrifying to me.

I want the cheapest P/F school I can get and since I've only been accepted to 1 P/F school so far I guess I have 1 option at the moment haha.

Is UChicago not P/F?

I think all of the schools I've been accepted to are P/F... Or so I thought haha. And yeah I think 2 of my schools are starting new curriculums next fall as well. Their plans sound awesome but I'm not sure I want to be in the guinea pig class.
 

ChemEngMD

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Is UChicago not P/F?

I think all of the schools I've been accepted to are P/F... Or so I thought haha. And yeah I think 2 of my schools are starting new curriculums next fall as well. Their plans sound awesome but I'm not sure I want to be in the guinea pig class.

Haha UChicago is P/F...UNC is P/F the first year but H/P/F second...Wisconsin is P/F first, A/AB/B/BC second...so UChicago is my only "true" P/F
 

WolverineDoc13

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Financial aid was huge for me... Not gonna lie.

I had a very tough time choosing which school to attend (I decided on the day of the deadline). I highly recommend attending as many second look weekends you can fester. (Free food. Why not?) It also helps you gather a feel for the program in a lower-stress atmosphere than your interview days.

I chose my school on these factors:
- financial aid (duh)
- location (I'm in an urban school with a diverse patient population-- that appealed to me)
- diverse class (the other schools I was considering were MAD whiter, which made me feel more uncomfortable)
- gut.
- gut.
- gut.

While P/F is nice to have, it's only for the first two years anyway, so I chose a program that's was honors/pass/fail, and still ended up liking it. While I agree that having true P/F can make learning less stressful, there's more to your med school than grades, honestly.
 
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DR MOM

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I haven't decided yet. I'm still waiting to hear from two schools and I already can't imagine saying no to the schools I have been accepted to.

I could go to a state school and graduate with zero debt (through scholarship and state veteran benefits) or I could go to one of my dream schools for lots more than zero debt.

I think all of my schools are pass/fail, so that is awesome. Other factors -

financial aid (when do we get the bulk of the offers?)
weather - specifically winter
research funding and opportunities
school culture and other school factors (Wednesdays off/TA opportunities at Stanford, Selectives at Mayo, possibly getting into PRIME at UCSF)
family housing/supportive family environment
quality of public schools

It doesn't help that the second looks all overlap with at least one other school I'm considering...

We are so lucky to have these choices, but it is a daunting decision process!
 

naijacardriodoc

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State school w/zero debt... U will thank yourself 10 years from now.
 

El Nino

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Cost (state schools for the win, seriously)
- So far it looks I will be living with my parents for pre-clinical year, and a getting an apartment (in the city, near majority of hospitals) for my clinical years

Grading (must be pass/fail for pre-clinicals) I have heard countless times that "pass/fail" provides a lot of psychological benefits.

Student body (I prefer diversity though I understand that this is not a reality in medicine. I also like schools that have a lot of camaraderie within the class and between classes)

Clinical years (I applied to only schools in urban areas due to likelihood of varied pathology. Also I was want a lot of hand-ons experience opposed to an advanced form of shadowing)

Location (I'm a city guy so I need to attend a school in a city. I've had my share of rural areas, and I'm not the biggest fan of these places)

Support systems (I wanted to attend a place where I'm supported and included by my peers and faculty)
 
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El Nino

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El Nino, it's easy to pick state school when your state school is UCSF!

Haha, I guess. At least UCSF allows non-residents to convert to California residency for tuition!
 

WolverineDoc13

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Yeah, speaking of state schools, the actual state matters (i.e. CA, WA, MI tends to be more reputable than... Oh... Oklahoma... Jus sayin')

And I hate to stir the pot, but for some residency programs DO look at the name of your medical school. I go to an ivy, and on the residency interview trail (going into psychiatry), I noticed an abundance of other ivy kids --along with some other top programs like NYU, Sinai, UCSF, etc. It's sad, but true. (Maybe it's just a thing in psych? Not sure about other specialties.)

Should this affect your decision 100%? Of course not. (I still say go with your gut.) But just offering an inconvenient truth to keep in mind (from a jaded med student who has a proclivity for parentheticals).
 

ChemEngMD

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Yeah, speaking of state schools, the actual state matters (i.e. CA, WA, MI tends to be more reputable than... Oh... Oklahoma... Jus sayin')

And I hate to stir the pot, but for some residency programs DO look at the name of your medical school. I go to an ivy, and on the residency interview trail (going into psychiatry), I noticed an abundance of other ivy kids --along with some other top programs like NYU, Sinai, UCSF, etc. It's sad, but true. (Maybe it's just a thing in psych? Not sure about other specialties.)

Should this affect your decision 100%? Of course not. (I still say go with your gut.) But just offering an inconvenient truth to keep in mind (from a jaded med student who has a proclivity for parentheticals).

Would you say a Top 10/20 non-ivy would trump a lower ranked ivy (i.e. Brown or Dartmouth)?
 

WolverineDoc13

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Would you say a Top 10/20 non-ivy would trump a lower ranked ivy (i.e. Brown or Dartmouth)?
(Again, from my experiences applying in psychiatry, so it may differ in other specialties) Dartmouth and Brown are still very high on the "reputable" list (which differs a little from raw rankings)-- I saw many Dartmouth (not as much Brown) on the trail. Frankly, if you're in the top 20 or so, you're in the position where your school's name/reputation can help you. Otherwise, you'll have to work harder to prove yourself (get higher board scores, more publications, higher clerkship grades, etc.)

But it's very hard to assess which schools trump others per se (because it depends on the program director, specialty, history wih previous graduates, etc). I feel bad writing this, because it sounds shallow and unnecessarily superfluous. However, it's something to keep in mind if you're choosing between U of Oaklahoma over Yale. Yes, the state school is cheaper, but Yale will open more doors in the long run.
 

ChemEngMD

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Things just got a little more complicated for me....two scholarships on the table now. Anyone else in this position yet? If not, I'm sure you will be soon enough.

This is going to be tough.
 
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WolverineDoc13

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Congrats!!! (Sorry I'm late on the upkeep)

How is everyone's decision-making process going?

With residency applications, we go through a match process, so we don't decide--- a giant computer makes the decision for us. I'm very happy where I matched (match day was march 21st). You'll be there soon enough!
 

DR MOM

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Congrats on your match! I'm still not close to deciding where I will be, but I'm going to a couple of second looks, so hopefully that, plus getting the rest of the fin aid info, will help me decide.

My wife described a few of our choices today as "earthquakes, terrible winter, or snow plus racism." LOL
 
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WolverineDoc13

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Congrats on your match! I'm still not close to deciding where I will be, but I'm going to a couple of second looks, so hopefully that, plus getting the rest of the fin aid info, will help me decide.

My wife described a few of our choices today as "earthquakes, terrible winter, or snow plus racism." LOL

Hahaha! My guesses are:

"Earthquakes" : California
"Terrible Winter" : Michigan and/or Chicago
"Snow plus racism" : Boston (I avoided this city for a reason)

I loved all of the second looks I attended. It's something about being recruited and wanted by a school that tickles the narcissist in me...
 
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jvquarterback

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So you guys already probably know this but if not, just about every school's financial aid offer is negotiable. If you get a great aid package at a school call the one you really like and tell them you want to go there but you have a great scholarship offer somewhere else.

I know it's hard but read Getting to Yes or some other negotiating book and go for it. The worst anyone can do is say no.

Also, check the match lists for the schools you are considering. Look where people match and what they match in. Your residency will determine to a much greater degree how happy you are with your life than will your medical school.

Good luck.
 
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WolverineDoc13

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Also, check the match lists for the schools you are considering. Look where people match and what they match in. Your residency will determine to a much greater degree how happy you are with your life than will your medical school.

I second this, and it speaks to my earlier point about selecting a top program over blindly choosing a state school (and whether it's worth it). You can generally google [program name] match list 2014, and some permutation of a match list pops up. You'll want to look for the number of top hospitals (UCSF, Yale, Penn, Mass Gen, Columbia, etc) and specialties of interest (if you're interested in ortho, are there many people who match in ortho from that school). You may also want to look at match results for the last 5 or so years to assess variance. If one isn't available (I can't seem to find the list for NYU's list, for some reason), don't hesitate to contact the admissions office and they should procure a list for you.
 

DR MOM

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I've gotten all but one financial aid offer so far and it has helped me to slowly start releasing schools. It also taught me not to assume a state school would be my best financial option. (My state school did happen to be cheapest for me but that was due to outside factors - their straight up aid offer was pretty much on par with any of the private schools)

I'm not set on a school yet, but I'm leaning heavy! If only a fairy godmother would appear with some glass slippers I could sell to pay for it.

How's it going for y'all?
 

Tijou

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So you guys already probably know this but if not, just about every school's financial aid offer is negotiable. If you get a great aid package at a school call the one you really like and tell them you want to go there but you have a great scholarship offer somewhere else.

I know it's hard but read Getting to Yes or some other negotiating book and go for it. The worst anyone can do is say no.

Also, check the match lists for the schools you are considering. Look where people match and what they match in. Your residency will determine to a much greater degree how happy you are with your life than will your medical school.

Good luck.

*sigh* all but UCSF, they explicitly said it wasn't negotiably during interview day and in the email they send you about your offer. I'm still as confused as ever.
 

WolverineDoc13

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I'm not set on a school yet, but I'm leaning heavy! If only a fairy godmother would appear with some glass slippers I could sell to pay for it.

I may not be a fairy godmother, but I am a fairy! (Whomp whomp)

Best of luck! Also, keep in mind that FA offers are not set in stone. You can negotiate if necessary. (I.e. "Dear financial aid officer, I really like X school for X reasons, but I'm a bit restrained financially and was hoping if there is any extra school funds or scholarships that can help augment my financial aid package.)
 

DR MOM

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And, I'm shocked! I went into my last second look of the season 99% sure I had made up my mind to attend another school and my gut kicked in last minute. I withdrew all of my other acceptances and I will be attending the Mayo Medical School (which starts in JULY). Bye bye summer and hello Rochester, Minnesota.
 
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Lucca

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And, I'm shocked! I went into my last second look of the season 99% sure I had made up my mind to attend another school and my gut kicked in last minute. I withdrew all of my other acceptances and I will be attending the Mayo Medical School (which starts in JULY). Bye bye summer and hello Rochester, Minnesota.

Congratulations!

I'm curious, what kicked you in the gut? Surely it wasn't the hell winters.
 

DR MOM

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There is just a magic about Mayo. I loved my shadowing experience and got a great feeling from the current students. I think the small class size and the curriculum are a great fit for me.
 
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bonedoc82

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Cost is a major deciding factor. Big name schools (Harvard, Yale, Georgetown) you will usually pay more for tuition, living. Essentially you are paying for the name which is extremely important when applying for residency.

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