Duke vs Einstein

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New Member
May 1, 2024
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Hi all! I was mentally committed to going to Duke but I just got off of Einstein’s waitlist. I’m super conflicted and would love to hear opinions!

Duke (COA ~$250k)
- I’m interested in trying to pursue a competitive specialty (think plastics or derm)
- I love the curriculum, which would give me extra time to do research without having to take an extra year
- when I visited for second look, I absolutely loved the people and the place. I could seriously see myself living in Durham long term.
- P/F pre clinical and P/F clerkships

- even though they gave me a pretty good financial aid package compared to other schools, it still costs a lot
- further from my family and SO, both of who are in MA (~2 hour flight, ~11 hour drive)

Einstein (COA idk how much does it cost to live?)
- free tuition
- still matches really well
- love the mission of the school, haven’t talked to enough students to know if that comes through in the education though
- much closer to my family and SO and I have college friends in NY already too

- not as prestigious as Duke
- no P/F clerkships and AOA, my mental health may struggle
- students I met on interview day did not seem as happy and one even told me she cried a lot her first week

Would love some opinions, thank you!!

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Yeah, this is a kinda tough one imo. I think the big question you need to weigh here is whether you want to prioritize prestige and greater opportunities or lower cost and proximity to support. If it were me personally, I would probably choose Einstein since it’s still a very solid school that will probably only improve in reputation in the future due to the game-changing free tuition. Also, it’ll probably be 120-150k cheaper than Duke, which is not an insignificant amount of money. Either way, you can’t really go wrong. Congrats!
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As someone who made the same choice, I went with Einstein. Ultimately, the advice i got from physicians was overwhelmingly "take the free ride". Good luck!
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I’m CTE at another school, so no horse in the race. I was accepted at Duke and I have been thoroughly impressed with their program. If I had not gotten my top choice, that is where I would be going. I think their 3-year curriculum with built in research year is a huge value add that simultaneously streamlines medical education without sacrificing competitiveness for residency. There is no doubt that the Duke name will carry you farther and open more doors than Einstein (not that Einstein doesn’t match well, it does, but Duke is one of the top academic powerhouses in the world).

It sounds like you would be much happier academically at Duke and are weighing that against finances and support system. The COA per Einstein’s published budget is $136k across all four years from fees and living expenses. Honestly, for a $114k price difference, I think Duke is entirely defensible. I have spoken to students who took the full ride over the name brand and regretted it; you’ll find experiences on both sides of the fence. Figure out how much the program and opportunities mean to you vs. other factors like support system, since the difference in price will not be so dramatic in the long run.

Congrats again and best of luck!
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I would like to know your COA at Einstein and how that compares to Duke's $250k COA before making a decision. I think if Einstein's COA is north of $150k ish then I'd choose Duke because the difference may be worth it, but if Einstein's COA is less than $150k ish then I think Einstein is the better option
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This could be useful in estimating COA at Einstein. Given the on campus apartments, it seems that total COA comes out to roughly ~140K (at least as calculated by the school). Decision here seems to come down to ~110K savings + proximity to support system vs. prestige. I personally think that paying anything more than ~100K (and that's without considering interest) is not worth it for prestige, especially since Einstein is nothing to sneeze at either. There is plenty of research to go around at Einstein and they have in-house residencies for all competitive specialties - you should be able to match well if you work hard.
I was just making a similar decision between Einstein and a t15 that was farther from home, more expensive, but better opportunities/research as I am also interested in competitive specialties like ent and optho. I ended up going with Einstein just bc of the cost and being near my support system is important to me and I found it hard to justify paying an extra 100-200 k to be farther away from family just for prestige. Happy to talk through what I thought through with you!!
Where did you end up choosing? If you feel comfortable saying.