dazedconfused98

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Hi all

I'm a hs senior and I'm deciding between going to Emory for ugrad or to VCU for an 8 year BA/MD program. Mostly I'm just looking for people who go to these schools to give a little insight into their programs. Grade Inflation/deflation? How abundant are opportunities for research/ clinical work? Competitive/laid back, etc. I don't care about prestige but I want to make sure the ugrad I go to has opportunities to cement my interest in medicine and explore things outside of medicine so I am as sure as I can possibly be when I matriculate to medschool.

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I'm at the VCU Gmed program. I kind of have to run to class now so I can't fill out a long response but I just wanted to let you know so you can PM me with any questions you might have. I'll post a more lengthy public response after i'm done with classes tonight (probably around 8:30)

I'll jump to my conclusion though: VCU BS/MD >> Emory undergrad but you probably already guessed that :laugh:

I had lunch with a group of interviewees a bit back so I might have met you. I don't remember what day that was though.
 

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I'm at the VCU Gmed program. I kind of have to run to class now so I can't fill out a long response but I just wanted to let you know so you can PM me with any questions you might have. I'll post a more lengthy public response after i'm done with classes tonight (probably around 8:30)

I'll jump to my conclusion though: VCU BS/MD >> Emory undergrad but you probably already guessed that :laugh:

I had lunch with a group of interviewees a bit back so I might have met you. I don't remember what day that was though.

Hi all

I'm a hs senior and I'm deciding between going to Emory for ugrad or to VCU for an 8 year BA/MD program. Mostly I'm just looking for people who go to these schools to give a little insight into their programs. Grade Inflation/deflation? How abundant are opportunities for research/ clinical work? Competitive/laid back, etc. I don't care about prestige but I want to make sure the ugrad I go to has opportunities to cement my interest in medicine and explore things outside of medicine so I am as sure as I can possibly be when I matriculate to medschool.

Thanks

There are many pros and many cons to the VCU program.

Pros
In a city (this may be a con for some)
Direct acceptance to MCV medical school provided you do ok
Eclectic mix of students
pretty laid back atmosphere
ample research opportunities
rapidly expanding university that is really one of the up an comers in the country- expect to see a lot of good things in the future
A lot of autonomy

Cons
The city is dangerous- it is not terrible right around VCU but it is more dangerous than it seems
The undergrad has traditionally not been regarded very highly although it is moving up in the world
VCU doesnt have a real college feel. There are a significant amt of commuters and there isnt really an insulated feel that most colleges have. You probably will find this in any urban university though.
The average student isnt exactly going to be one of 'the best and the brightest' although those in the BS/MD program are going to be very smart.


Other considerations would be cost. If emory is significantly more expensive you would be better off at VCU. Looking back at those in my class, those who went to private schools and have a ton of debt are kicking themselves because they could have saved a ton of $ by going to a decent public university.

Basically, if you know you want to go into medicine you would be best served at VCU or any BS/MD program for that matter.
 
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If you want to apply out...go to Emory. If you don't go to VCU. You get to med school either way. One is just easier than the other.
 

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Vicinihil is a cool guy both online and offline and I respect his opinion but in this case, I'll have to disagree.

You're smart enough to get into the VCU program and assuming that VCU is not your number one pick out of all the schools in the world, do you need the guarantee if you're applying out anyways? I'd think yes. With the application process as random as it is and given the possibility that you may stumble in undergrad (it happens to the best of us), its just much better to have the guarantee. If you want to come to VCU, its a dream come true and even if you don't, its a wonderful safety net.

Consider also that you can study things that you would otherwise not study. If I did not have the guarantee, I would have taken something easy like bio so I could get by with a good gpa and into med school. Instead, I decided to push myself to the limits to see how far I can go with the hardest curriculum that I could come up with. I could only do this knowing that if my GPA took a major hit, it wouldn't matter that much. You could just as easily take the time and slack off to have 4 years of "rest" before med school and travel abroad or do research at other schools. VCU lets you do what you want to do before med school and even lets you go somewhere else. What more can you ask for?

VCU's programs are a mixed bag with some being pretty crappy and some being very good. We have a relatively new engineering school with a brand new engineering building that was built across the street from the "old" school of engineering that was finished in 1998. Our biomedical engineering program is the only accredited undergrad BME program in Virginia. As someone mentioned before, we are "up and coming." and hope to be well known nationally as a very good school within 20 years. We strongly try to encourage undergraduate research participation through summer research programs both at the monroe park campus and the medical center. This year, four of our undergrads became Goldwater Scholars, that is more than the number that VA Tech, UVA, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and yes, even Emory can claim. Two of these were from our BME department.

VCU is not in the best of locations. Downtown richmond is kind of boring and can be unsafe at night. However, the campus is rapidly developing and there are all kinds of things being built. The area around the honors college is slated to be turned into townhouse style housing for students. and the remaining blocks at broad and belvedere are to be turned into student facilities and parking lots. A new life sciences engineering building is under construction behind the "old" school of engineering. On the med campus, a new 250 bed critical care hospital is nearly complete and so is the new student lounge, which is amazing. Sanger hall, which is the largest research building on campus, is undergoing renovations to revitalize the laboratory facilities and the nearby AD williams clinic and West Hospital will be replaced with a 10 story School of Medicine building that should be ready after 2010. As the campus expands, more of the problems associated with inner city richmond should be more distant as well.

VCU isn't for everybody but I had choices like you did, decided to go to VCU and never regretted my decision. I'm very proud of my school and even though I probably won't go to the med school here, I would not discourage anybody from doing the Gmed program.
 

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I have never heard of Goldwater scholars... what is it for?

From the Barry M. Goldwater Scholars website:
"The purpose of the Foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields."

From wikipedia:
"Competition for the Scholarship is exceedingly intense. As a result, the Scholarship is widely considered the most prestigious award in the U.S. conferred upon undergraduates studying the sciences."
 

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Thanks for the responses

Do you know anything about the school of public health and how amenable they are to ugrad students doing research with them? Is Richmond a place that's interesting once you find out places to go or is it just a pretty boring place overall? is the vcu campus itself safe... can i go running late at night and not have to worry
 

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is the vcu campus itself safe... can i go running late at night and not have to worry

NO! NO! Seriously, no. Not even close. The VCU neighborhood is NOT a safe neighborhood to go running around late at night. It is very much an inner-city neighborhood that mostly missed out on the gentrification happening over the past 10 years in some other cities such as New York. Richmond has one of the highest crime rates in the nation, one of the top 5 for murder rates, and the VCU campus is not in a good neighborhood of Richmond (the good hood would be more where the University of Richmond is).

I went to a different school in Virginia, and when my girlfriend took a summer class at VCU for an easy A, there was never a safe place to park her car. Either she had to leave it in a really sketchy hood or she got a ticket. Eventually she would just get tickets and pay them rather than park in the bad parts of that neighborhood... which is basically the whole neighborhood.

Also, it has to be said... VCU is not a very good school except for its med school. You won't be surrounded by the "best and brightest"... not even close. If you're from Virginia, and want to be surrounded by highly intelligent people to learn with, you might consider schools such as UVa, William & Mary, Mary Washington, JMU, and other state schools that have more competitive entering classes than VCU.

There is no comparison at all to be made between VCU and Emory in my opinion.
 

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VCU's programs are a mixed bag ... Our biomedical engineering program is the only accredited undergrad BME program in Virginia.

http://bme.virginia.edu

Not that BME is the real subject here, but UVa has one of the top biomed engineering programs in the country.

EDIT: Now I see the "accredited" qualifier. ABET doesn't seem to correlate with quality however. UVa BME is ranked in the top 15 in the country last I checked, above schools more known for engineering such as Stanford and Berkeley. I don't think VCU BME is ranked at all.
 

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The city is dangerous- it is not terrible right around VCU but it is more dangerous than it seems ... The undergrad has traditionally not been regarded very highly ... VCU doesnt have a real college feel. There are a significant amt of commuters and there isnt really an insulated feel that most colleges have. You probably will find this in any urban university though.

You don't really find that at every urban university. Columbia feels way more insulated than VCU, and it's in West Harlem! What VCU is missing is a centralized grassy area of the campus where all the students could play ultimate frisbee like at other colleges. And the commuter-school status is probably the nail in the coffin that gives VCU that "not a real college" feel to it.
 

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I could only do this knowing that if my GPA took a major hit, it wouldn't matter that much.

The best thing I could say about the VCU program is that if it put out someone with your MCAT (clicking through to your MDapps) then it looks like you can definitely learn a thing or two there! I would have been worried that my classes would be graded on too easy a curve for me to learn much there (like VCU Calculus II & III... gf got A+/A+ basically just for not being a total idiot)... but it looks like you not only got the easy A's but learned everything you needed to completely ace the MCAT. Well done.

(And by God, now run away from VCU as fast as you can!)
 

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whoa whoa whoa... i come back from taking a few weeks off SDN for research and finals and find that apparently it was VCU bashing season and nobody told me. I've got a few things to say about that!

Doctor, I'm sure you've had your own impression of VCU so I respect your opinions. but...

The VCU neighborhood is NOT a safe neighborhood to go running around late at night.
One of the points that I'll agree with you on. Don't do that. At any other time of day, its perfectly fine though... I do that all the time and never ran into any problems, but when it gets dark... probably not a good idea. VCU's undergrad campus is not insulated as you pointed out as well so random people can walk in. Monroe Park is a perfectly fine central grassy area though and people use it for frizbee or just relaxing all the time. However, it does get invaded by hobos sometimes.

dazedconfused98 said:
Do you know anything about the school of public health and how amenable they are to ugrad students doing research with them?
Don't know anything about the school of public health. It was founded in 2005 so it is very new but apparently it is also the first one in Virginia. Other than that, I can't tell you much more.

You won't be surrounded by the "best and brightest"... not even close.
*cough* i'd like to consider myself fairly bright. I came into college with more than 60 credits (near the top of my class in HS, 2300 SAT, turned down other schools for VCU). There are many other people like me here too in the program.
I kind of skipped all of the gen ed classes so I cannot say anything about that but within my major, I have met some very bright people. I already mentioned goldwater above so I won't have to again. Within my social group, every one of them is doing some kind of clinical or basic science research project and is on their way to a publication. One of my friends has a job with the US military doing weapons design waiting for him after graduation and he is only a sophmore. Another friend is majoring in mechanical engineering and physics and is still finding the time to spend a summer studying in Japan. More than one friend has spent time studying at oxford for a summer or semester. I have one friend who is graduating will be going to grad school (engineering) at Harvard next year and got accepted by Cornell and many other schools. Within my major at VCU, we have a more than 85% acceptance rate into medical school, which is better than MIT premeds can claim. You have a point in that the classes are often easy, but if you are driven enough, this means that you have more time to accomplish things and learn material outside of class, which for me, is more important. Self-learning is a skill you have to master before going to med school anyways.

There is no comparison at all to be made between VCU and Emory in my opinion.
We're comparing Emory undergrad only and VCU Gmed here... and in my opinion, there is also no comparison: with VCU coming out way on top. Look, Emory undergrad is great, no doubt about it. It was one of the schools I considered back in the day too. However, Gmed trumps everything except a guarantee into a better medical school. Can Emory give you that? no way. I know somebody who turned down Gmed to go to william and mary. Turns out he didn't get such a high GPA and his mcat didnt' save him either. He still hasn't gotten into med school after 3 tries and is kicking himself for what might have been.

Emory undergrad is better than VCU undergrad, nobody is trying to tell you otherwise. However, VCU WILL give you a good education if you want it and is offering you the guarantee so that you (and I) will help improve its undergraduate program. VCU will help you achieve your goals if you will help it achieve it's goals. Ask yourself if your goal of becoming a doctor is more important than getting a slightly better undergraduate experience.
 
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I completely agree with RapplixGmed, VCU is simply a stellar school for any pre-medical student. But what are we debating here? Emory Undergrad vs. Guaranteed Admission to a fine medical school? Like RapplixGmed said, there really isn't a choice. Of course choose the guaranteed med!

You don't have to settle with just the guaranteed acceptance once you come to VCU. The acceptance can be used as a stepping stone for even greater things. It gives you a chance to explore and learn without the looming pressure of getting into medical school. If you really want to go to emory, then shoot for medical school at emory! At VCU you can really shoot for anything. I've seen people get anything they've wanted at this great school. What I really like about VCU is the insane amount of opportunities. You can do ANYTHING you want here. Professors are ridiculously supportive and they provide a truly genuine nurturing environment. I know this is not the case at other schools. Alot of my friends at UVA complain about the lack of aid or help they get from professors. With all the help here, you can become whatever you want.

There are many fine programs at VCU like biomedical engineering. There are tons of super students in this program worthy of acceptance to any top school in the country. The acceptance rate for those that applied to medical school from this program was over 90%! Aside from medical school, students that wanted to continue their education in biomedical engineering found themselves getting acceptances to Cornell, MIT, Harvard etc with full rides.

I am truly proud of VCU, it is an awesome place.
 

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Go to VCU. It's a cool undergrad and a great med school. Richmond, while not safe, is still a pretty cool smaller city.
 

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VCU undergrad is not a great school but it is hard to pass up an automatic acceptance. There are no gaurantees you will get into med school after emory. Plus as others have said, if you do well you will have plenty of other options if MCV doesnt suit you.
 

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RapplixGmed and mmmcat, Are you familiar with the Preferred track program? How difficult is it to get into Gmed from preferred track? Do you know how many get into Gmed from overall VCU and BME in particular? Website says 3.5GPA; but, I guess that is only the requirement. What is the minimum GPA with which people have been able to get into from pref track? What extracurricular activities will make it attractive? I am joining freshman year and main attraction to VCU has been (1) Preferred track (2) BME and (3) Presidentail scholarship in that order.
Also, your comments about safety alarms me. Is it safe to go back to Westgrace housing from library in the night?
 

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RapplixGmed and mmmcat, Are you familiar with the Preferred track program? How difficult is it to get into Gmed from preferred track? Do you know how many get into Gmed from overall VCU and BME in particular? Website says 3.5GPA; but, I guess that is only the requirement. What is the minimum GPA with which people have been able to get into from pref track? What extracurricular activities will make it attractive? I am joining freshman year and main attraction to VCU has been (1) Preferred track (2) BME and (3) Presidentail scholarship in that order.
Also, your comments about safety alarms me. Is it safe to go back to Westgrace housing from library in the night?

I came out of VCU's Gmed program as well. As with anything, if you're satisfied with the high potential of staying at MCV, then by all means, do it. If you're not...then I would reconsider the choice of going to VCU for MCV. The only reason why I say that is because going to VCU MAY stifle your chances at ELITE medical schools UNLESS you are EXTRAORDINARY..while someone from say Emory or an Ivy or Stanford can just be good. My friends and I all had issues getting interviews/admission from schools out of the region. Most schools in the North-East won't really look at us but schools in the region will.

That being said, Pref app is hard to get into. They look at more than just grades but volunteering/community service etc. Don't go to VCU based on that alone, there's nothing guaranteeing the fact that you'll get in. If you like the free money go. BME is attractive, especially with the massive amounts of money the E-school has. Your order for VCU, reasonably, should be Money/Bme/Pref App. I've known many people coming to VCU for pref app and not getting it. Don't hinge on a probability.
 
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flip26

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Given the scary descriptions of the undergrad campus location, is the VCU med school in the same location / neighborhood?

I looked on the med school website, but did not see a locator map to compare to the undergrad...I don't know Richmond well at all...
 

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no MCV is in a MUCH nicer area than the ugrad is. The area where MCV is, is purely medical.
 

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vicnihil, ty for your reply. I wish I had asked these questions before May 1st. What are the schools that those students who are not admitted through preferred track get into? Did they have to abandon their med school dreams because of the choice? From the other posting in this thread, it looks like 85-90% of BME applicants get into med schools (does that translate to around 25 students a year, assuming only 50% of students apply to med school?). I had Case western and Miami as other two choices (mainly because of scholarship money-- but, will cost more than VCU still)..I was wondering if I should call them and ask if they would still take me ? < grin>

 

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flip26 said:
Given the scary descriptions of the undergrad campus location, is the VCU med school in the same location / neighborhood?
The MCV campus is about a mile or so away from the undergrad campus. Theres a bus thats about a 15 min ride that connects them. I like walking between campuses during the day and I have never been mugged or shot during the process. *knocks on wood*

MedPrepS said:
Did they have to abandon their med school dreams because of the choice? From the other posting in this thread, it looks like 85-90% of BME applicants get into med schools (does that translate to around 25 students a year, assuming only 50% of students apply to med school?).
I believe everybody I know who has not gotten preferred track has not given up their med school dreams. They will be applying by the normal process. You have to realize that they only accept 7 or so people into preferred track and at VCU, everybody and their mother who is a premed and has a 4.0 applies. There is a lot of competition for one of those seats.

I think the 85%+ statistic represents about 15 people per year. Fewer than 50% of the entering BME class applies because there is a good amount of attrition involved (as with any premed program and any engineering program). The killer is Quantitative Physiology, which is structured around a 1st year med school curriculum and is taught by med school profs, some of which sit on the admissions committee. Its taken in the sophmore year for 2 semesters and slays a good number of people who just don't have the study habits to keep up. However, if you pull an A and impress the profs, they'll want to bring you into their med school.
 

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Those stats, I heard, were skewed by Dr. Miller, director of BME program. Of course, I have no reason to think differently, but the Gmed advisor said differently. Therefore, I have no idea who to trust! However, BME average GPA, I heard, is about a 3.2...a bit on the low end. Anyone gunning for a spot, will try their best for a higher gpa. Given an average gpa of 3.2, 50% have less, while 50% have more, roughly. So for every 4.0, there is a 2.4. I hardly think 85-90% get into medical school. I wonder people with what sort of gpa/mcat applies. If you're like Rapplix and have 100 on the MCAT and 100 in life apply...then I'm not sure how relevant 85-90% is to the rest of us.

I know rapplix so kissing his *** is called job advancement for me in the future :p.
 
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thanks for your replies, vicnihil and rapplix. Rapplix, How is the grading in BME and VCU? Are the grades curved (like 10% of students get A, then below xx% get B etc). Also, is there a A+/A-/B+/B- etc.? Also, what is the general thinking as a decent GPA in BME from VCU to be competitive for med schools?
Did you do Orgo also in the sophomore year? Looks like that is the toughest year.
 

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"
My friends and I all had issues getting interviews/admission from schools out of the region. Most schools in the North-East won't really look at us but schools in the region will

Vicinihil,When you say in the region is it difficult to get interviews from other state schools also? like in MD or WVa? How about GWU or GT? Or the difficulty is only with Elite schools ?
 

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The grading system at VCU is pretty sweet. 90-100%=A, 80-89%=B, 70-79%=C. There is no A+, A- or whatever. Its just an A, all 4 beautiful points of it. You usually won't see any curving in most classes except for a few Biomedical Engineering ones. These are the toughest, like Quantitative Physiology and Biomedical Signal Processing (back in the day). In physio, our professor made an 85% an A for the past few years.

I think a good GPA for a BME is 3.5. It's known that biomedical engineering is the toughest major and medical schools do take this into consideration. Applying as a BME also separates you from an ocean of bio and chem majors.

I actually believe that our director's statistics concerning admission are true! Out of the nine students who applied this year, I know of 8 that have been accepted. 88%. Keep in mind that doing premed in BME is like fighting a war of attrition. Around 75% of the original BME class started out as premeds in their freshman year (out of a class of around 50). The lot of em are brought to reality during sophomore year where they battle quant physio, organic and other tough classes at the same time. By the time application season starts, you end up with only 9 kids applying.
 

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Given the scary descriptions of the undergrad campus location, is the VCU med school in the same location / neighborhood?

I looked on the med school website, but did not see a locator map to compare to the undergrad...I don't know Richmond well at all...

MCV is located around 11th and Marshall.

The area around MCV is actually worse than the area around VCU. It is surrounded by the projects on one side. That said I would say that the MCV campus is much safer than the VCU campus because of the police presence. I have never felt unsafe on the MCV campus.

Note though that the things that makes Richmond "bad" also make MCV great. We have a level 1 trauma center with its own designated helicopter to air lift in the major trauma cases. All major cases- trauma or not- in the Richond area are diverted to MCV. We have the 4th largest teaching hospital in the country (~780 bed now with 252 more to open in august).

The "diversity" of the surrounding population creates a haven for interesting cases.
 

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MedPrepS said:
Rapplix, How is the grading in BME and VCU? Are the grades curved (like 10% of students get A, then below xx% get B etc). Also, is there a A+/A-/B+/B- etc.?
The curving depends more on your own grade than what grades other people get. In some of the harder classes, 85%+ grade is an A. This was the case for Quant Phys and Signal Processing. In Quant phys, the prof looked at the distribution of grades and it was clearly multimodal so he just gave the clump of people with the highest grades an A. We don't have pluses or minuses in our grading system, which is wonderful!

MedPrepS said:
Also, what is the general thinking as a decent GPA in BME from VCU to be competitive for med schools?
I'd say anything above a 3.6 is competitive for mid tier schools. Note that there are still a good number of BMEs who have close to a 4.0 (maybe 4 or 5)

MedPrepS said:
Did you do Orgo also in the sophomore year? Looks like that is the toughest year.
Yup, a typical sophmore year includes Quant Phys, Orgo, Physics, Electric Circuits, Computational Methods and whatever gen eds you need to finish up. This is definitely the weed out year. After that though, its pretty much smooth sailing once you get into the "in major" courses since they already know you can do the work.
 

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NO! NO! Seriously, no. Not even close. The VCU neighborhood is NOT a safe neighborhood to go running around late at night. It is very much an inner-city neighborhood that mostly missed out on the gentrification happening over the past 10 years in some other cities such as New York. Richmond has one of the highest crime rates in the nation, one of the top 5 for murder rates, and the VCU campus is not in a good neighborhood of Richmond (the good hood would be more where the University of Richmond is).

Being a little alarmist, aren't we? If you subtract approximately one square mile in the northeast part of the city, the crime statistics drop precipitously. VCU's main campus is indeed in an urban environment, and this brings all the usual good and bad features of urban living to bear. Still, literally thousands of coeds reside in the vicinity, and very few have problems with crime during their stay.

The general rule of thumb for the area is that it gets safer and more upscale as you move west. The Fan is a cool place to live (I loved every minute of it), and as you move further out you pass through Carytown and into the yuppified Grove/Libby area. It's not a bad setup, as you have a variety of living environs with easy access to a major urban medical center with a fantastic patient base.
 

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No, not being alarmist... in fact I probably understated how dangerous VCU's neighborhood is. I was recently informed that another student at VCU was recently murdered, so am re-visiting this thread. Here is the story. They found the suspect in the student's car... were able to catch him quickly because of the rescue squad license plates that the late pre-med had.

VCU student robbed and shot in back, left for dead

My thoughts go out to this kid's family... :( If any of you do attend or choose to attend VCU, please be safe and don't walk around at night.
 

Doctor

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No, not being alarmist... in fact I probably understated how dangerous VCU's neighborhood is. I was recently informed that another student at VCU was recently murdered, so am re-visiting this thread. Here is the story. They found the suspect in the student's car... were able to catch him quickly because of the rescue squad license plates that the late pre-med had.

VCU student robbed and shot in back, left for dead

My thoughts go out to this kid's family... :( If any of you do attend or choose to attend VCU, please be safe and don't walk around at night.

Did some more Googling and the VCU student who was shot and killed a month ago was an Art major, not pre-med. He was on the local rescue squad, however. He's not the first VCU kid to be murdered either. I recall there were a couple killed when I was in college.

Here are some pics and a writeup of the VCU student killed in March at the "Find a Grave" website: click here
 

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Here is a tidbit from an overall positive article:

"One certain blemish is the murder tally. VCU and the University of Central Florida are the only universities in the country to report a murder in both 2004 and 2005."

And that's not when I was in college... in the late 90s I know there were some VCU students similarly murdered on the streets of inner Richmond. But to be included in the VCU statistics, I think you have to actually be murdered on campus.
 
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So, all particularly those stayin in west grace or lived there in the past, how safe is a walk from the library to the dorm in the night? particularly for a girl? Is campus police prompt in providing escort service in such situations?
 

RapplixGmed

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Tyler actually lived on my hall in freshman year and we are all saddened by the loss. :( He was a good person and would have become an excellent sculptor.

That being said, this event occurred at Byrd park, which a couple of miles or so outside of campus in the city and at around 1am. There is a lesson to be learned here too, which is you should not be outside very late at night in downtown Richmond where campus security cannot help you.

Campus security is very good and VCU police often arrive within a minute or two of a call. On campus, especially between WG and the library, there are always students walking around. I don't feel unsafe walking from the library to WG late at night at all.

These things can and do happen but you kind of have to make it a point to avoid putting yourself in these kinds of situations and you'll be fine. Be smart and be safe.

I have never felt the need to use the escort services but I have heard from friends that they are very convenient and responsive. The only reason I'd ever really consider using them is if I'm stuck working at my lab in MCV and I have to go back after the campus connector shuts down at 1am. However, in that case, it'd probably be more convenient just to go to the med student lounge and sleep till morning.
 

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No, not being alarmist... in fact I probably understated how dangerous VCU's neighborhood is.

No, you're being alarmist. Pointing to anecdotal crimes, however horrific, does not accurately tell the story. VCU is a big school, with over 26,000 students; given enough time bad things will happen to the unfortunate few. I could point to the events at Virginia Tech last year and decide that Blacksburg is an incredibly dangerous place to enroll, but we both know that's not the case. If anything, VCU is remarkably better than it was when I began frequently Richmond in 1992.

A more telling analysis is found in the "overall positive" article you linked:

Within the state of Virginia, the rate of .99 violent crimes per thousand students was comparable to the University of Richmond.

In other words, despite the perceptional gap between urban VCU and suburban, whitebread U of R, your risk of being the victim of a violent crime is approximately the same in either place. Furthermore, if you compare the total reported campus crimes (2002 data) on a per student basis, VCU ranks #7 of 22 Virginia schools with 34.54, well behind U of R's 90.51 and William and Mary's 51.76. Perhaps the numbers are skewed by alcohol violations, I'm not sure.

The bottom line is this: VCU is isn't the safest place on Earth, but it's far from the most deadly. I would agree that solo female jogging at night isn't the greatest idea, but the overall risk of violent crime is literally one in a thousand. Of the crime that does occur, 96% of it is theft. Hence, not attending VCU's BA/MD program because one is afraid of Richmond is probably excessive.

Incidentally, you can read Emory's annual security report here. Their grand totals for 2006 include 10 robberies, 3 aggravated assaults, 15 motor vehicle thefts, 57 burglaries and 10 forcible sex offenses.
 

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Go to Emory!!! I also chose between a large state school and Emory, and I am so glad I chose Emory. The difference between a private university and a state school is huge. I'm able to get into all of the classes I want and I know my professors. Emory also has a huge amount of money to throw around, so the facilities are all 'the latest in technology' and the campus is gorgeous. A ton of people are also pre-med and there are pre-med advisors who really know what they are doing to help you when you apply to med school.

Even though VCU guarantees you to get into med school, you probably have to maintain your gpa and get so and so on the MCAT anyway. And you may decide to apply to other med schools once you've taken the MCAT. So either school you go to, you'll end up with the same amount of work. You still have to work hard either place you go to, and you may or may not end up at VCU for med school.

Not to mention that Emory is also just a fun place to be. It's close enough to Atlanta that you can hop a cab and enjoy the city but it's in the suburb of Decatur which is a safe place and has a funky vibe. I've walked home in the middle of the night between Clairmont campus (mostly residential) and main campus and nothing has ever happened to me.

Going to Emory, you'll have a solid foundation for med school and an education from one of the best universities in the country. And you'll have a ton of fun. Pick Emory!!!
 

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Oh, and you also asked about research opportunities and clinical work. Emory is an enormous monster of a medical complex. Emory medicine is huge, gargantuan. The hospital is right on campus (patients walk around campus, it's seriously right there). So clinical work is not a problem. And research definitely is not either. It is so easy to get a research position, it's actually not even an issue. Emory also has many scholarships to do research which are pretty easy to get. The school really encourages undergrad research. Really, everyone and their mother is doing research and the school shoves it down your throat. But at a big public school, you probably have to be pretty stellar to land a job. And I doubt a public school has money to pay you to do research.
 

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A ton of people are also pre-med and there are pre-med advisors who really know what they are doing to help you when you apply to med school.

Even though VCU guarantees you to get into med school, you probably have to maintain your gpa and get so and so on the MCAT anyway. And you may decide to apply to other med schools once you've taken the MCAT. So either school you go to, you'll end up with the same amount of work. You still have to work hard either place you go to, and you may or may not end up at VCU for med school.

Personally, I'd take a guaranteed acceptance over the advice of advisors who may or may not be able to help you get into a medical school.

You have to maintain a 3.5 at VCU, which honestly, if you can't do, you probably won't have much of a shot at other medical schools. You don't have to take the MCAT at all, unless you want to apply to other schools. You can apply to other schools, so why not go to VCU and have that safety net?

Just my 2 cents.
 

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A more telling analysis is found in the "overall positive" article you linked:



In other words, despite the perceptional gap between urban VCU and suburban, whitebread U of R, your risk of being the victim of a violent crime is approximately the same in either place. Furthermore, if you compare the total reported campus crimes (2002 data) on a per student basis, VCU ranks #7 of 22 Virginia schools with 34.54, well behind U of R's 90.51 and William and Mary's 51.76. Perhaps the numbers are skewed by alcohol violations, I'm not sure.

The bottom line is this: VCU is isn't the safest place on Earth, but it's far from the most deadly. I would agree that solo female jogging at night isn't the greatest idea, but the overall risk of violent crime is literally one in a thousand. Of the crime that does occur, 96% of it is theft. Hence, not attending VCU's BA/MD program because one is afraid of Richmond is probably excessive.

The article you posted is utterly ridiculous. For starters U of R is in the safest area of Richmond- if you even consider it part of Richmond (which technically it's not). It is in the rural suburbs surrounded by enormous houses. The cops out there have nothing to do so you see alcohol violations and other relatively worthless crimes.

I am all for the OP going to VCU undergrad since it is a smarter choice BUT let's call a spade a spade.

There are a few reasons that this article is skewed. First, half of the students at VCU are commuters. That means that while there may be 30K students only around 15 live in or around the campus this skews the per student statistics pretty severely.

Second the term crime and in the first article violent crime was not standardized. Are we talking about 2 drunk frat boys who got into an argument and both got arrested or a student getting mugged at knife point?

Third the boundaries of VCU protect it from having crime on the surrounding areas be considered in the statsistics. For instance 3 years ago there were 7 armed robberies right around the 7-11 on main in one night. None of these would have been considered in the statistics yet they were literally across the street from the VCU undergrad campus. Granted it was an abberation but it underlines the point.

You can manipulate statistics to say that U or R or william and mary (really? you think this is a valid study? Have you ever been to williamsburg much less to william and mary?) have more crime but these are not the true facts.

Even though VCU guarantees you to get into med school, you probably have to maintain your gpa and get so and so on the MCAT anyway. And you may decide to apply to other med schools once you've taken the MCAT.

Going to Emory, you'll have a solid foundation for med school and an education from one of the best universities in the country. And you'll have a ton of fun. Pick Emory!!!

I am sure you will have a solid foundation after going to emory but this is essentially a sure thing. You must maintain a 3.5 which is not too tall of an order at VCU and you have a gauranteed acceptance.

I think they are also making students take the MCAT now. I remember people in may class saying they are making you get a 26. Thats not exactly a stellar score to have to get.

Emory is an enormous monster of a medical complex. Emory medicine is huge, gargantuan. The hospital is right on campus (patients walk around campus, it's seriously right there). So clinical work is not a problem. And research definitely is not either. It is so easy to get a research position, it's actually not even an issue. Emory also has many scholarships to do research which are pretty easy to get. The school really encourages undergrad research. Really, everyone and their mother is doing research and the school shoves it down your throat. But at a big public school, you probably have to be pretty stellar to land a job. And I doubt a public school has money to pay you to do research.

You are making some wild claims:

Enormous monster? It is half the size of the MCV hospital ...
Let's look at some numbers to compare: MCV has about 50% more admissions per year, 6 times more outpaitient visits, 4 times as many emergency dept visits...

I worked for 3 years doing biomedical research at MCV during the summers. I was paid pretty nicely. You have options to do research at MCV or VCU.


Personally, I'd take a guaranteed acceptance over the advice of advisors who may or may not be able to help you get into a medical school.

You have to maintain a 3.5 at VCU, which honestly, if you can't do, you probably won't have much of a shot at other medical schools. You can apply to other schools, so why not go to VCU and have that safety net?

Just my 2 cents.

QFT
 

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OP - I just graduated from VCU with a B.S. in Forensic Science. While I can't comment on the BME or GMed/Preferred tracks, I was a member of the honors college and was active on the campus for four years. If you have any additional questions about the school itself I would happy to answer them.

Also, in regards to the safety concerns. I have never felt unsafe around the campus except for a few isolated incidents when I walked back to my car alone. Tyler Binsted was killed at a location off-campus (Byrd Park). If you stay with people and stick to areas actually within the campus, I don't think you'll have many problems. There are over 30,000 students at VCU and there are generally people everywhere on campus at most times, even pretty late at night.

The main reasons I chose to come to VCU were the incredible and highly-regarded Forensic Science program, its location to where I grew up, and the low cost of attendance (I'm in-state). However after deciding a career in Forensic Science was not for me I decided to apply to medical school, and hopefully I won't run into too many problems graduating here. Although I didn't kill the MCAT like vicinihil or Rapplix I'm hoping I still get some love from schools outside of the region.
 

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OP -
Also, in regards to the safety concerns. I have never felt unsafe around the campus except for a few isolated incidents when I walked back to my car alone. .
Hi, can you elaborate on the incident you had while walking back to car. Was car parked away from the campus locations? What would you have done differently?
 

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Hi, can you elaborate on the incident you had while walking back to car. Was car parked away from the campus locations? What would you have done differently?

Well my friend's apartment is on Broad Street, and one time I walked all the way down Harrison Street to Cary & Harrison (where my car was parked in a parking deck). If you're not familiar with VCU I would say it's about a half mile. Anyway, Harrison street is pretty much the very edge of the VCU campus, so there are a lot of residential buildings along that road. It was Friday night after midnight, and I was walking alone. Nothing happened, I just felt a little uneasy. Had I been with a friend I would have felt perfectly safe.

In all honesty it's really not that bad - you just have to be smart about where you are and who you're with and you'll stay out of harm's way.
 

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Yea the scariest thing that has ever happened to me was that a homeless guy chased me down once at 10pm on a sunday night. I thought he was going to rob me or something but he was just asking for directions. go figure.

The hyperlink club right down the street from WG is a pretty shady place though but VCU plans to acquire that block and turn it into student housing.
 

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That is something VCU is very good at- buying litereally every thing around the campus and putting up buildings.

I think there was a figure that said something to the effect of by 2020 VCU will have spend a Billion dollars on new buildings.
 

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didnt read all the comments but heres mine.

University wise, Emory is much more prestigious, but
my personal feeling...BS/MD programs > Everything even HYP (harvard,yale,princeton)
 

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That is something VCU is very good at- buying litereally every thing around the campus and putting up buildings.

I think there was a figure that said something to the effect of by 2020 VCU will have spend a Billion dollars on new buildings.

YES! I'd like to point out the VCU masterplan

Some of the recent undergrad improvements have been:

A new school of engineering building
A new school of business building
Recently renovated Hibbs Hall

Future undergrad improvements:
Expanded student housing along West Grace
2x New parking decks (one near new business, one near WG)
New Student Resident Hall near new engineering/business buildings
New life sciences engineering research building (under construction)
Cabell library expansion
Monroe Park Renovations
Plans to acquire even more land around campus!

Med Improvements

Hunton Student Center (this place is amazing!)
New Critical Care Hospital and bed tower (should be open by this fall)
Student athletic facility renovations
Sanger Hall Renovations
Medical Science building 2 (under construction)
demolition of west hospital
New massive school of medicine building (12 floors, will stand where west hospital and AD williams clinic is now)
new school of public health
demolition of north hospital (will be replaced with a clinical support hospital and a cancer center hospital)

VCU needs more top students and faculty to take advantage of these top of the line facilities but with the seemingly infinite money it has, I'm sure that it will find them. I'm very excited about where VCU is going.
 

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The article you posted is utterly ridiculous. For starters U of R is in the safest area of Richmond- if you even consider it part of Richmond (which technically it's not). It is in the rural suburbs surrounded by enormous houses. The cops out there have nothing to do so you see alcohol violations and other relatively worthless crimes.

Yes, I alluded to just that, myself. The data from the U of R Police is here. A few forcible sex offenses, a few assaults, a few arsons, a few stolen vehicles, a decent number of burglaries, and quite a few liquor law violations.

instatewaiter said:
I am all for the OP going to VCU undergrad since it is a smarter choice BUT let's call a spade a spade.

There are a few reasons that this article is skewed. First, half of the students at VCU are commuters. That means that while there may be 30K students only around 15 live in or around the campus this skews the per student statistics pretty severely.

Second the term crime and in the first article violent crime was not standardized. Are we talking about 2 drunk frat boys who got into an argument and both got arrested or a student getting mugged at knife point?

Third the boundaries of VCU protect it from having crime on the surrounding areas be considered in the statsistics. For instance 3 years ago there were 7 armed robberies right around the 7-11 on main in one night. None of these would have been considered in the statistics yet they were literally across the street from the VCU undergrad campus. Granted it was an abberation but it underlines the point.

You can manipulate statistics to say that U or R or william and mary (really? you think this is a valid study? Have you ever been to williamsburg much less to william and mary?) have more crime but these are not the true facts.

Wow, take a deep breath, sir. I had no idea that I would stir up such rancor. I posted that total crime ranking tongue in cheek, I apologize if seemed that I was actually proposing that U of R has three times the crime problem of VCU. Nuance doesn't convey online very well. I stated earlier in this thread that safety improves as one moves west from the undergrad campus, and anyone who knows Richmond knows this to be true.

I'm all for calling a spade a spade, but I have great disdain for the use of anecdote to feed negative perceptions. It's a cheap psychological trick that stokes fear disproportionate to the actual risk.
 
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