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z31

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I have no preference location-wise. Family is far either way, and while Boston is a fun city, Baltimore is more similar to the city that I grew up in, so if anything I prefer it.

So, location aside, which would you choose?

I like the Harvard curriculum, but think Hopkins has better mentoring and a stronger teaching culture.

Would the Harvard name open doors that Hopkins wouldn't? I am aiming for a career in academic medicine.

How true is Harvard's reputation for having unsupportive administration/faculty? At my interview I was turned off by the number of times I heard "Our students are so well-qualified that we don't need to train them, per se". I met a student who was struggling through red tape to get scholarship money that Harvard had promised him. On the other hand, interviews really don't expose you to a large sample size.

Opinions welcome!
 

JasonE

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i think both schools offer more of the same. if you're interested in academic medicine, both are more than fine. in the end, its about what you get accomplished and the impression you make on your superiors (their rec letters and support are what count). simply working in a big name lab doesnt make or break it. many people i know who are entering academic research went to state schools and worked in random, not even top 20 grad schools. but they were talented and now are post-docs at top 5 schools.

$ wise, jhu would be cheaper cost of living and tuition. but you kind of need a car in baltimore just for some sanity. boston probably not.

come to think of it, you can also probably search this. im guessing this has been brought up before.
 
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are you harvard NP or HST? if you are HST then i'd hands down recommend going to HMS. the small size of the program allows you to integrate yourself into a tight-knit network of faculty and alumni (not mutually exclusive by any means) and make the kinds of connections that will help enormously you in an academic career down the road.

i can't really speak for all of HMS faculty and administrators (there are something like 11,000 affiliated faculty with HMS), but i work in a small HMS lab and my PI is incredibly supportive. as an undergrad, i work directly with him on projects rather than being attached to a post-doc or grad student, and my PI has gone above and beyond to expose me to exciting science and opportunities, forge collaborative connections for me with other labs, and make sure that my experience in his lab has been fun and rewarding. on the other hand large, high profile labs will likely not give you the same support.

i think the main thing to realize is that harvard is a huge enterprise, and as such it can either overwhelm and paralyze you, or it can open doors. it is what you make of it.

if money is an important factor, wait for financial aid. HMS may pull through if you meet their middle class income criteria.

with all that said, i did like hopkins a lot too. i'm going to both revisits, and you should too!
 

JasonE

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on the other hand large, high profile labs will likely not give you the same support.
very true statement. those are great labs to postdoc in because you have all the funding/resources to do what you need. not great for learning because you often lose that "open door" policy
 
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are you harvard NP or HST? if you are HST then i'd hands down recommend going to HMS. the small size of the program allows you to integrate yourself into a tight-knit network of faculty and alumni (not mutually exclusive by any means) and make the kinds of connections that will help enormously you in an academic career down the road.

I was talking to my PI the other day (who worked at Harvard for a long time, but then was recruited away to my institution), and it was almost rather painful and embarrassing, because he seems to have much more respect for Harvard than Hopkins. (For context, I'm probably going to Hopkins MSTP.) He is admittedly very much removed from clinical work, but it still made me wonder if I made a mistake by not applying to Harvard. I honestly do have to wonder if I will get different opportunities as a Hopkins MD/PhD grad than I would have otherwise, because I know that people who think like my PI do (prioritizing prestige of the institution, of the journal, of the lab, etc) are not uncommon.

z31, it's unfortunate that you can't come to revisit for JHU, but if you want, I can take pictures/write you a description of how it goes? Just shoot me an email if that'd be helpful. Good luck deciding!
 
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I've been lurking for awhile, but just wanted to share my thoughts. I've also been incredibly fortunate to find myself in this position. I've been thinking about this a lot and I personally am leaning heavily towards Hopkins when comparing to Harvard's NP (didn't apply HST). I would probably choose HST over Hopkins, but not NP. I think the GTS curriculum makes a lot more sense than NP and really does (at least on paper) better prepare students to be excellent doctors. Instead of 2 years of preclinical, GTS is 1.5, with 1 month of "Transition to the Wards," which teaches skills that would be critical to clerkships. So you head into clerkships with a far better understanding of what to do and can really spend that time learning and contributing rather than worrying about making a fool of yourself. I also like the built in flexibility. I think in NP, you're required to do all the core clerkships first (please correct me if I read wrong). But in GTS, you have time to delay one of them until 4th year. So if, for example, you have no intention of going into Neuro, you can push that to 4th year and have the extra time during 3rd year to take advanced clerkships or electives to get better/more targeted recommendation letters for your field of interest. I also like that all the core clerkships in GTS are 2 months and that these are broken up by 1 week intersessions, where you discuss issues on the practice and social aspects of medicine. It's a good way to maintain perspective and to also catch a break. I think Harvard's far superior in terms of location. But I think reputation, cost, and educational quality are on par, if not a bit skewed towards Hopkins. Hopkins actually gets higher scores (US News) from residency directors. And Hopkins Hospital has a better reputation than the most highly ranked Harvard hospital (MGH), which is still a little schlep from the medical campus. And depending on your parents' financial situation, ie if you don't qualify for the middle income initiative, Hopkins might be cheaper. And Hopkins also has a brand new educational teaching facility that is just gorgeous.

I just wanted to put these thoughts out there since I didn't see anyone rooting for Hopkins and I think it's actually, at least for me, a much tougher call.
 
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meeps

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Take a look at the new Hopkins residency match list. I think the match list this year is even stronger than last year. It's incredible. I don't think this reflects anything about the Hopkins reputation, however. It really reflects the preparation.

Hopkins students (I'm not one but know several well) work very hard and put intense pressure on themselves, not because they are competitive with each other but because each one of them are so internally motivated to learn all they can, because they love medicine and are dedicated to becoming the best physicians they can become. I think you should think about how you like and want to work in choosing a school. Hopkins gives their students thoughtful and involved and caring mentoring but they expect a great deal of work in the main curriculum blocks (with breathers during intersession). By the time step 1 and rotations come, students feel prepared. There's no catch up or cramming then.

The real surprise for students I know has been the very warm-hearted and welcoming research mentoring and the wealth of opportunities.

Go meet the students. They are very caring and passionate about medicine.
 

z31

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To answer a few questions that came up

- I have both NP and HST options, but only seriously considering HST for the reasons jla314 mentioned.

Unfortunately, I also agree with oriole that Hopkins seems otherwise on par with Harvard - unfortunate because I'm still stuck deciding!

(For anyone who's interested, my choice is more specifically between Harv HST and Hopkins' MD/PhD. I need to figure out how willing I am to re-try applying internally for MD/PhD or pursuing the subsequent fellowships I would need if I were to go to Harvard, but within this thread I want to hear more about the med school side of things).

- wordswordswords, you're wonderful! I would love pictures.
 
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JasonE

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To answer a few questions that came up

- I have both NP and HST options, but only seriously considering HST for the reasons jla314 mentioned.

Unfortunately, I also agree with oriole that Hopkins seems otherwise on par with Harvard - unfortunate because I'm still stuck deciding!

(For anyone who's interested, my choice is more specifically between Harv HST and Hopkins' MD/PhD. I need to figure out how willing I am to re-try applying internally for MD/PhD or pursuing the subsequent fellowships I would need if I were to go to Harvard, but within this thread I want to hear more about the med school side of things).

- wordswordswords, you're wonderful! I would love pictures.
wouldnt you get full $ for the mdphd? that makes it seem like a no brainer unless im missing something
 

FluffyRabbit

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If it's MD-only vs MD/PhD, assuming you do actually want to do an MD/PhD, you should probably go with Hopkins. Applying internally is likely to take some effort, has no guarantee, and you'll have to pay some tuition during the first 1-2 years anyway.
 

JasonE

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not really sure why anyone who wants to do an mdphd would choose an md acceptance over an mdphd one. id imagine going an alternative route could build quite a bit of debt that would take a while to pay off if you want to do research after the whole md track. but i guess we all have different reasons.
 
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To answer a few questions that came up

- I have both NP and HST options, but only seriously considering HST for the reasons jla314 mentioned.

Unfortunately, I also agree with oriole that Hopkins seems otherwise on par with Harvard - unfortunate because I'm still stuck deciding!

(For anyone who's interested, my choice is more specifically between Harv HST and Hopkins' MD/PhD. I need to figure out how willing I am to re-try applying internally for MD/PhD or pursuing the subsequent fellowships I would need if I were to go to Harvard, but within this thread I want to hear more about the med school side of things).

- wordswordswords, you're wonderful! I would love pictures.
so way back in the fall, I told myself I could only apply to one of these two schools, mostly because I am wicked poor & it felt like (at the time) a waste of money to try out for both. I decided to apply to Hopkins only, because I came to the conclusion that the clinical training at Hopkins is better, especially with the curriculum revamp & the week of prep you get before each rotation--which is particularly important for you & me, since we'd be doing the bulk of our rotations after a long PhD. Probably the biggest factor in the decision though was the difference in the attitudes of the two programs & schools. I think what I've come to realize though is that having access to the combined scientific resources (by which I mean labs) of Harvard and MIT might actually be worth that difference (hence my regret at not applying), but it really depends on what kind of support/guidance/mentorship you think you'd need during this long-haul program.

Depending on your scientific interest, Hopkins may or may not be the best place for you (I want to do cancer/metastasis, so I'm quite pleased :love:) but even if it isn't, you received a full scholarship plus stipend to the best medical school ever. That's crazy, right? Harvard is just a school, same as Hopkins, and in this case Hopkins has way more to offer you. Run with it.
 

naijaboi

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Both are amazing schools and I am sure you will have similar opportunities at both places. Since location does not matter to you, and you have full funding at JHU, I would say, take the money at John Hopkins and don't look back. If you get off the HMS MD/PhD waitlist, then start up this thread again.

MD/PhD at JHU >> MD (HST or NP) at HMS.
 

z31

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Haha, ooohh I should have kept the MD/PhD bit out as I did in my original post.

My intention here is to compare only the MD side of each (which probably makes this thread more general and useful for other sdn-ers too), because the research side will depend most heavily on my particular preference for particular labs.

Other people have also told me that Hopkins is a no-brainer over Harvard, but I just want to be fully informed. If I hear reasons for the Harvard HST curriculum, name, student satisfaction, MIT connection, etc being better, I can't simply write them off, however much I like Hopkins. If there are concerns about Hopkins, those are great for me to hear too, since I do have another MSTP that I would then consider more heavily.

Thank you very much guys :)
 

JasonE

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as far as i know, both schools are P/F. after that, IMO, the cirriculum doesnt matter (at least not enough to sway a decision). its just bells and whistles here and there. you'll still learn the same stuff. you were smart enough to get into both these schools, im sure you'd succeed/excel in both.
 

JHopRevisit

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Some opinions from a current student, though they are obviously just opinions:

1) There are no doors Harvard can open that Hopkins can't. For that matter, there are no doors that Hopkins can open that Columbia, WashU, or UCSF can't. And for yet another matter, there are no doors that Hopkins or Harvard can open that your state school can't, though at the latter you may have to bust your butt a little bit more and seek out better known faculty to get where you want to be.

The advantage of a Hopkins or Harvard is the opportunities you can take advantage of while you're there. Ultimately, you can end up at the same place - the difference is what you do while you're there. So don't focus on which one will get you into the residency you want, for example - they all can, and ultimately it'll be up to you. I'd focus more on the experiences you'll have, the patients you'll see, the faculty and students you'll work with, the city you'll live in, etc.

2) Also try not to focus too much on pre-clinical curricula. Seems like there's a lot of discussion on this board regarding GTS vs NP vs HST. At the end of the day it's all the same material. You'll get out of it what you put in.

The fun stuff happens when you see the patients. Differences in clinical training are not really something that can be communicated on a message board, so go to Revisits, talk to upperclassmen and faculty and try get a feel for it on the ground as best as you can (tip on Revisits: hang out with the first years for fun, talk to the fourth years to learn about the school, cause it's the clinical years you're interested in).

3) If you want to do MD/PhD, do MD/PhD. An HST MD is not even close to the training you get as a PhD anywhere.

Congratulations on your acceptances. Revisits are only a few days, and all of the important things are subjective and difficult to assess, so there's not really a perfect way to select which school is better. Luckily, better in this case is probably meaningless, so relax, enjoy yourself, and take comfort in the fact that you can't go wrong.
 

jbz24

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I don't really understand the comparison here. If you want to do MD/PhD, you should go to Hopkins. If not, go to Harvard. Don't assume you can go to Harvard and join the MD/PhD program because it's not always that easy. There's no reason for you to compare the schools because you're accepted to different programs at each.
 

z31

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I don't really understand the comparison here. If you want to do MD/PhD, you should go to Hopkins. If not, go to Harvard. Don't assume you can go to Harvard and join the MD/PhD program because it's not always that easy. There's no reason for you to compare the schools because you're accepted to different programs at each.
(I understand the confusion, but see post 17. The MD years are separate enough from the PhD years at both schools that I think this comparison is ok)
 

jbz24

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Not at all, you should have a clear plan beforehand whether you want to do MD only or MD/PhD. Only after that can we talk about which school is better for you.
 
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I agree. It seems almost as if you are trying to get reasons to turn down full funding at Hopkins to rake up hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt in a less intensive program at Harvard, which very few sane people should recommend. Unless there is something we're missing (minus those who are convinced that Harvard is this God-like institution, most of whom I'm guessing aren't even of legal age to drink), for most people this is kind of a no-brainer...
 

z31

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I do agree with the logic here between funding and no funding, and that tips the decision in a big way. But from what I've gathered elsewhere, some amount of funding is possible from sources besides the mstp grant if you're willing to work for it, so it's closer to funding vs. some funding with a lot of work (and additional time to pursue the PhD or post-MD fellowships separately).

So yes, this is a good way to put it--
It seems almost as if you are trying to get reasons to turn down full funding at Hopkins
-- not with the intention of being obnoxious, but because I wanted to hear any compelling reasons that this additional work and time would have been worth it.

The resounding answer from this thread is that there are no such reasos (with other variations like "you're insane!"). Replies from Oriole, JHopRevisit, and a PM from jbz24 have been particularly helpful -- thanks :).
 
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