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Apr 21, 2020
7
18
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
ECU Brody

pros
  • low COA (in-state tuition, inexpensive area, could take out NC FELS forgivable loans of up to $14k/yr if willing to practice in the state for an equivalent number of years which I wouldn't mind)
  • small class size (86 last year)
  • got a great vibe off the current students and interviewers - seemed friendly, collaborative, close-knit
  • the attached hospital (Vidant) is the major medical center for basically the entire eastern third of NC
  • the school and the hospital are connected, literally can walk from one into the other via a hallway
  • easy (<2hr) driving distance from parents, friends, Raleigh-Durham area, the beach
  • already live in the state, wouldn't have to move cross-country with a cat in tow in the middle of a pandemic
  • good weather (by NC native standards)
  • starts in August - more time to stay on UNC waitlist
cons
  • lower rank - now that Step 1 is going to P/F this feels weightier
  • the health sciences student center might be new (which is a plus I'll admit) but the med school building itself is old
  • strong primary care focus - not necessarily a bad thing but idk what I want to specialize in yet, though I'm pretty sure I'm okay with staying in NC. that being said I'm acquaintances with a neurosurgery resident who graduated from here so people definitely don't all go into primary care
  • letter grades, not P/F, unlike the other two schools. current students didn't seem too troubled by this
  • no dedicated Spanish program (I minored in Spanish and would love medical Spanish proficiency)
neutral
  • small town, rural area - could see this being a good thing for avoiding distractions, could see it being a bad thing for a lonely queer such as myself
  • computerized exams - were sold as a good thing to prepare for Step but I honestly haven't talked to enough people to know how med students feel about paper vs computer exams - not sure how important it is
  • entire student body from NC, or at least current NC residents. they haven't admitted OOS students in decades

Case Western

pros
  • top 25 and all its attendant glories (research opportunities, match list, etc)
  • absolutely gorgeous new med school building, like jaw dropping
  • interestingly, despite how different the two schools are, felt that Case and ECU had similar great vibes from current students and interviewers re: friendliness and collaborative feeling
  • opportunities to do rotations at four very different metro hospitals (including Cleveland Clinic)
  • speaking of Cleveland Clinic, it's literally right across the street
  • medical Spanish course
  • had never been to Cleveland before my interview but spent that weekend exploring and liked what I saw
  • students come from all over
  • the IQ small discussion groups seem awesome
cons
  • COA, even after a $20k/yr scholarship, makes my eyes water
  • Midwestern weather, Midwestern winters, concerned about seasonal depression on top of med school stress. plus it seems like you're not supposed to swim in the lake, which, what is even the point
  • I have zero connection to Cleveland and don't know anyone even remotely close by, and would have to take two flights to get home. didn't feel like as big of an issue before COVID-19
  • couldn't explore more of the city or get a look at potential housing because second look weekend was canceled due to pandemic
  • thinking about getting myself, all my belongings, and one very anxious cat from NC to Ohio sometime in June and moving into an apartment basically sight unseen makes me want to die
  • starts at beginning of July - a whole month ahead of everywhere else on my list - losing a month of potential waitlist time at UNC
neutral
  • they do a two-week anatomy crash course and then the rest is Hololens, which seems like it has upsides and downsides

UNC

pros
  • sits at the beautiful intersection of being a top 25 but also a state school - all the prestige, a lot less of the debt
  • intensive, longitudinal medical Spanish program (if you can get in - it's selective)
  • I already live super close by, would hardly have to move at all (the cat would approve) and could stay at least somewhat involved in the community I already have here which I think mentally would be good for me. parents also not far
  • fellow interviewees seemed cool (although to be fair they did at the other two schools as well) and we connected well on interview day
cons
  • class size is huge. 180 and growing
  • there are multiple clinical tracks and most of them require you to go elsewhere for 3rd and 4th year (Asheville, WakeMed in Raleigh, etc) which kind of sucks
  • between the above two factors it seems like no student knows everyone in their class
  • current students were nice enough but didn't leave as much of an impression on me as the other two schools. didn't feel like I ever really clicked with my traditional interviewer, had a gut feeling that if there was a school I wasn't getting into it would be this one
neutral
  • lots of construction currently as they tear down some really old med school buildings and work on new ones

summary: despite being dazzled by Case and its opportunities I'm leaning toward ECU for financial and logistical reasons (especially in light of the current global situation) but want to make sure I'm not shooting myself in the foot re: residency choice, lack of P/F classes etc, especially given the Step 1 changes. feeling conflicted about what I would do if UNC accepted me off the waitlist because based on the top three points of my pros list I would choose them in a heartbeat if there weren't things about the school that made it feel more impersonal to me than the other two.
 
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