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So Decision Time is fast approaching and I have been lucky to have been accepted to both Drexel and VCU and I'm having an incredibly hard time deciding between them.

Any opinions out there? I've thought myself in circles on this one and I'd really appreaciate any outside points of view / insights that people have.

Thanks so much guys!
 

mybubbles627

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So Decision Time is fast approaching and I have been lucky to have been accepted to both Drexel and VCU and I'm having an incredibly hard time deciding between them.

Any opinions out there? I've thought myself in circles on this one and I'd really appreaciate any outside points of view / insights that people have.

Thanks so much guys!
What are your pro/con list for each? What factors are important to you? Price? Prestige? Location?
 

Rumalum

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Please go with Drexel. I am absolutely dying to get off of VCU's wait list
 
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spezimdoc

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Not 100% familiar with VCU but I would recommend basing your decision on personal preference. As a Drexel MS4, probably the biggest differences that will matter most are:

Location - Philadelphia and Richmond are two very different cities
Curriculum - Drexel has the option of PIL or IFM
Cost - VCU is cheaper if you get in-state tuition but more expensive if you're an out-of-stater

Looking at the match list from previous years (most recent one of VCU's website is 2010), both schools are comparable with VCU obviously having more of a southern lean and Drexel more of a northeastern lean.

I have loved my time at Drexel and would highly recommend it. Feel free to PM with questions.
 

flodhi1

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I personally picked VCU over Drexel because of many reasons. The VCU/MCV campus is close to the hospital, not requiring shuttles in clinical years unlike Drexel. VCU has a lot more research funding going on then Drexel thus giving a greater opportunity if you want to focus on certain specialties/field. VCU has a larger faculty to student ratio which could be positive in the sense that you have a greater academic support system. Without a doubt when it comes to scholarship, financial aid VCU has been a lot more impressive than Drexel. VCU sent a random email and provided a pretty big scholarship without even applying for them. VCU offers academic programs such as prematriculation programs and personalized step preparation that I don't think Drexel offers or they did not mention it to me. During my interview I was not really impressed with the vibe I got at Drexel and the campus seemed pretty small. These are just some of my reasons, hopefully it helped! Good luck!
 
Nov 22, 2011
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What are your pro/con list for each? What factors are important to you? Price? Prestige? Location?
Thanks for all the responses guys!

MyBubbles, my pros and cons are loosely as follows:

DREXEL:
Pros:
- In Philadelphia where I currently live & near to my family (~1 hour away)
- Really like the PIL program, feel like this might be a great way for me to learn / retain information
- When I visited and got a chance to meet some students they all seemed pretty relaxed & happy
Cons:
- The med school is 15 minutes outside of the city and away from the hospital, I've heard this doesn't make a difference but I feel like it might be weird to have such a fractured campus
- Clerkships are all over PA, NJ & DE. I could see this being a good thing since it allows for experience with a whole bunch of different patient populations, but it also makes me a little nervous about continuity of learning / standardization of the quality of experience at each location
- That Drexel is one of 5 med school and 4 university hospitals makes me wonder about the more interesting patient cases going elsewhere in the city
- They don't do anything extra to help studnets prep for step 1/ step 2

VCU
Pros:
- I loved VCU when I was there for my interview, really felt like it "clicked" - unfortunately this was 4+ months ago so I don't remember much of why I felt that way
- Slightly better reputation
- The major hospital in the area which means everything comes through
- Seems to give excellent support for the boards
- Seems very organized from my interactions with them so far
Cons:
- Far away from my family / friends
- Richmond is less cosmopolitan than Philadelphia
- Don't really have an impression of what the students are like there. My tour guides were very nice and seemed happy, but a sample size of 2 doesn't really make for a strong argument

Otherwise, price is very, very importnat to me, but I'm having trouble figuring out if there will be much difference between the two since I'll be out of state at VCU. Drexel hasn't offered me anything beyond the stafford loan and I haven't heard from VCU about aid yet. I get the impression that they give better aid than Drexel but I'm not sure that will come through for me since my parents make a decent amount of money.

Thanks again for the input guys
 

icd22

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I would personally pick Drexel since being close to family is important to me. Plus I think the ranking difference between Drexel and VCU is not that great to put yourself through the extra hassel of traveling during holidays/breaks.
 

rabsa

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VCU has a larger faculty to student ratio which could be positive in the sense that you have a greater academic support system.
A more important pre-clinical priority for me was (and still is) video recorded lectures. Drexel has this, but I don't think VCU does.

Drexel hasn't offered me anything beyond the stafford loan and I haven't heard from VCU about aid yet.
You should at least wait to hear back from VCU to see what the financial aid offer is.
 
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spezimdoc

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Thanks for all the responses guys!

MyBubbles, my pros and cons are loosely as follows:

DREXEL:
Pros:
- In Philadelphia where I currently live & near to my family (~1 hour away)
- Really like the PIL program, feel like this might be a great way for me to learn / retain information
- When I visited and got a chance to meet some students they all seemed pretty relaxed & happy
Cons:
- The med school is 15 minutes outside of the city and away from the hospital, I've heard this doesn't make a difference but I feel like it might be weird to have such a fractured campus
- Clerkships are all over PA, NJ & DE. I could see this being a good thing since it allows for experience with a whole bunch of different patient populations, but it also makes me a little nervous about continuity of learning / standardization of the quality of experience at each location
- That Drexel is one of 5 med school and 4 university hospitals makes me wonder about the more interesting patient cases going elsewhere in the city
- They don't do anything extra to help studnets prep for step 1/ step 2

VCU
Pros:
- I loved VCU when I was there for my interview, really felt like it "clicked" - unfortunately this was 4+ months ago so I don't remember much of why I felt that way
- Slightly better reputation
- The major hospital in the area which means everything comes through
- Seems to give excellent support for the boards
- Seems very organized from my interactions with them so far
Cons:
- Far away from my family / friends
- Richmond is less cosmopolitan than Philadelphia
- Don't really have an impression of what the students are like there. My tour guides were very nice and seemed happy, but a sample size of 2 doesn't really make for a strong argument

Otherwise, price is very, very importnat to me, but I'm having trouble figuring out if there will be much difference between the two since I'll be out of state at VCU. Drexel hasn't offered me anything beyond the stafford loan and I haven't heard from VCU about aid yet. I get the impression that they give better aid than Drexel but I'm not sure that will come through for me since my parents make a decent amount of money.

Thanks again for the input guys
Just wanted to address some of your cons re: Drexel.

Year 1 and 2 are almost exclusively at the Queen Lane campus so a vast majority (>85-90%) of the students live around there. It is pretty much a campus just for them. It isn't really until Years 3 and 4 that students are split between Queen Lane and Center City and the other clinical sites. By that time, the distance between the two doesn't really make a difference in regards to getting together with friends and as a class.

I also initially thought rotating through different clinical sites doesn't optimize education. However, now the only negative I can really say about it is having to learn about the different hospitals, computer systems, etc. But, as a med student, this really only takes a couple days to a week out of the 6-12 weeks you are there. In the end, you get a broad exposure to patient populations, pathologies, and systems. Plus the affiliation with other hospitals expands the network of Drexel when applying to residency, jobs, etc. They also just recently announced that Kaiser Permanente in Cali will be an optional rotation site starting in 2013.

I won't deny that Penn probably gets more rare/interesting cases... it is Penn after all. However, we still get our fair share and our clinical exposure is definitely on par with other urban hospitals. Given that the population of Philadelphia is pretty significant (and not the most healthy), having 4 academic hospitals isn't a problem at all.

I was under the impression that our Step 1 prep was comparable to most other med schools (at least when I was interviewing). Not sure what other schools have.... However, our Step 1 mean is above the national mean and we have a very high pass rate. I think almost 100% for the Class of 2011 (1 OMFS student failed) and 98-99% for the Class of 2012. I only know the stats for those 2 years.

For Financial Aid, from my personal experience it's been decent (albeit not great). Each year I've gotten on average $10k in need-based scholarships/aid. My parents also make a fair amount of money.

Either way, I think both are great schools.
 

xanthomondo

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I agree with spez

There's a lot of hospitals in Philly, but people go to where their insurance allows them to. Hahnemann/St Chris gets lots of interesting cases because all of the other hospitals reject Medicaid/no insurance patients. You get some different pathology in this population.

Also I'm not sure what you want the school to do for you in terms of preparing for step 1. After they teach you for two years it's really on you to review all of the material. The more control you have over this the better, because you know your weaknesses better than any school/review course/whatever does and can study more efficiently.

Price and desired location should be your two biggest concerns with the schools. Personally I'm not a fan of the city so I would love Virginia. Your feelings may differ, though.
 

Slack3r

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I was a Drexel post bacc student and I interviewed at VCU. IMO, VCU definitely. Hanheman kinda sucks, Queen Lane is kinda out there, and the lecture schedule at Drexel is pretty intense (non block schedule). Oh, and VCU does have video lectures.

You can take a bus from Philly to Richmond for $30 and it takes about 6 hours. Not an awful commute, IMO.
 

flodhi1

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A more important pre-clinical priority for me was (and still is) video recorded lectures. Drexel has this, but I don't think VCU does.


You should at least wait to hear back from VCU to see what the financial aid offer is.
VCU has video recorded lectures that are uploaded within 2-3 hours of lecture being complete, usually recordings are up before 1 PM. In my opinion that early upload is a huge advantage compared to many other schools that have video recordings but upload them in the evening or even the next day at times. Again I simply provided my reasons for picking VCU over Drexel and did not misinform the OP to my knowledge both schools have video recorded lectures. However, I think the overwhelming faculty to student ratio at VCU compared to Drexel is a positive thing but that's just my opinion based on my learning style.
 
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