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Drexel ($30k/yr Scholarship) vs. SUNY Downstate

LetsDoThisThrowaway

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So this is rough for me because I was deadset on Downstate this entire cycle, but money is a huge factor. I am roughly $200k in debt already from undergrad + post-bacc + graduate school.

Please contribute your reasoning if you vote, if you don't mind


SUNY Downstate
Pros
  • I'm from NYC and man I love it here, wouldn't have to move, have a dope and relatively absurdly cheap apartment with my friends already
  • Plan to stay in NYC during residency
  • Prefer Downstate's curriculum
  • Better clinical training
  • Step 1 going P/F, I feel my chances are landing a top NYC residency may be relatively higher by attending Downstate
Cons
  • When you factor in CoL, Downstate will probably cost about $120k more over 4 years



Drexel
Pros
  • I did a Masters at Drexel several years back and am very familiar with the curriculum and faculty, a lot of my friends are current DUCOM students (though they are M3s and M4s)
  • Roughly 120k cheaper
  • Maybe a change to the suburban life of the area around DUCOM could be good for me?
Cons
  • Coming from NYC I didn't really care for Philly. I was pretty excited to visit home during the 2 years I spent in Philly. Mind you, the Masters program people sort of did their own thing so maybe I'd have more fun when I'm part of a larger cohesive class
  • They lost Hahnemann


All-in-all, as someone who is already in debt I feel almost guilty considering Downstate, a school I love, over Drexel, a school that loves me enough to offer a substantial scholarship.

Thoughts?
 
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iluvmedicine528

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I think it depends on the type of specialty you're interested in. If you want to specialize in a non-competitive specialty, then I would say Drexel. However, if you see yourself specializing in a competitive specialty, then it might be difficult for you to match in NYC (I don't know the match lists at Drexel). Either way, a 120k difference is significant but not as significant for you to choose Downstate over Drexel. Tough choice, perhaps you can see if Downstate can match?
 
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LetsDoThisThrowaway

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I think it depends on the type of specialty you're interested in. If you want to specialize in a non-competitive specialty, then I would say Drexel. However, if you see yourself specializing in a competitive specialty, then it might be difficult for you to match in NYC (I don't know the match lists at Drexel). Either way, a 120k difference is significant but not as significant for you to choose Downstate over Drexel. Tough choice, perhaps you can see if Downstate can match?

I messaged Downstate today and waiting for a reply, though I believe Downstate, being a state school and relatively underfunded as is, very rarely gives scholarship. Though if they could close the gap that'd be nice.

As for residency, I'm a non-trad career changer so while I know a lot of med students do change up what they want to do, I'm pretty deadset on the direction I want to go into which would be IM (so non-competitive), though since I'd want to stay in NYC I'd prefer it to be at the big 4 (Columbia/Cornell/NYU/Sinai). I feel like I'm getting ahead of myself haha, but suppose that's useful information.
 

iluvmedicine528

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No that makes sense haha! As someone from NYC, I definitely understand and would want to stay in NYC for residency also. I think your next step would be to reach out to someone from Drexel, preferably a 4th year I think there’s one on their sdn thread, and see where in NYC their medical students match. Considering you’d prefer to be at one of the 4 big institutions, I think your best bet is downstate. I know the difference is somewhat significant but you’ll be able to pay it off!
 
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ctvlf6

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I was in a similar position (same 30K scholarship) and I went with Drexel and so far have no regrets. Remember that 120K difference will balloon to 200K+ once it is all said and done. I also love Drexel and have had a really great experience so far! Lots of people say "oh you can pay it off" but definitely consider how significant of a burden an extra 200K+ will be on your future. Plus, while Downstate is a great program its not like you are comparing Harvard Vs. Drexel. Both will get you where you want to be. And FYIW, our match list this year is very strong and has lots of solid matches in NYC!

Edit: Woah, I didn't even see that you are already 200K in debt. If it were me, this is a no-brainer. Don't let the SDN hive-mind sway you into giving up this much free money. Just my .02.
 
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Skittsie13

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Downstate! The loss of Hahnemann is a big knock for Drexel -- I would be worried about the quality of your clinical experience, and Downstate is known for having good clinical experience. If you want to stay in New York long term, it makes sense to stay there now.
 
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ciestar

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Wolvvs

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Thats 2019’s
Yeah I think the 2020 one isn't available for release yet. And I realize my previous post sounds a bit snarky, I didn't mean to say why is it so hard for all of you to find it--I meant it was difficult for me to find it! I only found it through another SDN post, I couldn't find it on their admissions website...
 

ciestar

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Yeah I think the 2020 one isn't available for release yet. And I realize my previous post sounds a bit snarky, I didn't mean to say why is it so hard for all of you to find it--I meant it was difficult for me to find it! I only found it through another SDN post, I couldn't find it on their admissions website...
Yeah and idk why they havent released it. I have access to it and we did very well, but they warned us not to release it without permission.
 
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ctvlf6

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My choice isn't really about which choice is superior for matching, and as in my post I found Philly to be kind of drab and boring :laugh:

My leaning is still towards Drexel anyways if I can't get aid from Downstate

If you only checked out the parts of Philly around DUCOM (East Falls), yeah it's pretty boring. But a 10 min train ride into the city gets you most things you could want out of a big city, as a student at least. Great, affordable nightlife, dining, museums, parks, etc. Obviously not NYC but also is like 1/4 the cost lol. I think its a perfect, fun, vibrant city for a busy/broke student! Of course I am biased, though.
 
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LetsDoThisThrowaway

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Downstate! The loss of Hahnemann is a big knock for Drexel -- I would be worried about the quality of your clinical experience, and Downstate is known for having good clinical experience. If you want to stay in New York long term, it makes sense to stay there now.

This is something that is a concern for me, I really enjoyed the degree of Downstate's clinical education, how early it starts, the populations you're exposed to and I'm not sure how much Drexel can compare to that.

And while a minor detail atm, I grew up in NYC and like many others never learned how to drive, so I imagine I'll have to add learning to drive, getting a license + a car to the "Things to Do" if I attend Drexel just to reach the clinical sites.
 
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Ole_Toe

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Without your existing debt, Downstate is a safer choice and worth the extra 30k/yr. But walking into MS1 with almost a quarter million in loans...that extra 120k is going to accrue a lot more interest and balloon over time. If your goal is in non-academic IM, Drexel seems like it's worth the savings. Whatever you do, make sure you calculate what that 120k is going to look like after interest on top of your existing loans with interest. Might make your decision easier.
 
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Phillyboi

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I would disagree that downstate is better for competitive specialties based on both schools matches. A lot of people on here like to speak poorly of Drexel, especially since Hahneman’s closure, but IMO they seem uninformed. While Drexel’s partnership with Tower Health is new, it has a lot of potential as Tower is a large multi hospital system whereas Hahnemann was not. Tower already started a new gas residency this year and derm is soon to follow. When it comes to competitive surgical specialties I’d recommend checking out AGH, many of their attending are Drexel faculty. Thats also not to mention the fantastic basic science and BME research Drexel has.

At the end of the day both are great schools and you can be successful at both, just don’t let a bunch of trolls on premed 4chan convince you to give up 120k for nothing.
 
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Rachapkis

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Given that you’re likely to enter a non-competitve specialty, I voted for Drexel. Adding $120,000 in debt to your existing mountain of debt will take a toll on your life after medical school. Plus, if it is really important to you, I suspect that you will find a way to get back to NYC (if you don’t fall in love with Philly in the meantime).
 
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ciestar

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Figured I should give an update - I decided on Drexel. The lower CoL + the scholarship money can't be beaten. I love NYC but I suppose a more laid-back location could be a nice change of pace for a while.
Yes, you absolutely cannot beat the savings.
 
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