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kierkegaard

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Probably more of a ranking disparity than most of the other comparisons out there, but I have some personal pull for SD that brings it a bit closer to even. I'm hoping some UCSD students will advocate for their school and point out academic (please no geographic!) advantages SD has over Harvard, as so far I have gotten very one-sided advice from those around me to go to Harvard. I will obviously welcome HMS-positive advice as well. Thanks for your input!

I'm not sure whether I want to do primary care or specialize, and I am vaguely interested in academic medicine at this point.
 

RunningDiva

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ucsd for u... cuz anyone 'seriuosly' considering this doesnt deserve hms.
sarcasm for the mispelling? :confused:

for this reason, whether sarcasm or not, is why i say ucsd. people are really nice, no snobbery, and its a fantastic school with clout on the west coast. i love the fact the they have a 6 week long prematriculation program for the non-trads out there. the scholarly project can be done at any time in the 4 years. finish in the 2nd year like my host and you have a few extra free months in 4th year. you can take electives, do research, or vacation. the 2009 match list is fantastic, especially if you want to stay in CA. i love boston for the city, but i'm not in love with any school there.
 

kierkegaard

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haha thanks for catching that... shows you that humans get into harvard as well. A little embarrassed I must admit...
 

JasonE

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haha thanks for catching that... shows you that humans get into harvard as well. A little embarrassed I must admit...
id also vote UCSD. i absolutely love their investment into the whole free clinic setup they have. its truly outstanding. on top of that, the laid back atmosphere of the west coast seems great for a medical education. being nothing less than 100% happy seems impossible at ucsd, especially with the new curriculum.

IMO, academics will be similar. wherever you go, the circle of willis is the circle of willis. wheter or not you learn that out of a gold-plated book is irrelevant. and its not like ucsd is weak either. they are one of the best med schools in the country and also have OUTSTANDING graduate programs.

on another note, i think it will be hard to find many uscd supporters. for that reason, i'd say make sure you make this decision for yourself based on how you feel. congrats overall. id drop everything for ucsd.
 
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mirrorpair

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You should ask yourself: what do you want from a medical school? What will your life be like there? What do you want to do after you graduate? Then ask what are the pros/cons for each school according to those metrics?

If you want to do academic medicine then HMS is better. If we assume money is an issue and that you want to be a primary care doc then UCSD is better because it is cheaper and the debt won't be as crushing. If you go into a competitive specialty then HMS would give better connections and give a slight leg up when applying for residency (though a lot of people disagree with this). If you have family near UCSD and moving away will make you feel isolated then you should probably go to UCSD to avoid being miserable.

I also don't know much about how 3rd and 4th year rotations work at each school; my guess is that at Harvard the docs treat you like garbage (based on some very dated books I've read) while UCSD treats students better.
 

JasonE

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You should ask yourself: what do you want from a medical school? What will your life be like there? What do you want to do after you graduate? Then ask what are the pros/cons for each school according to those metrics?

If you want to do academic medicine then HMS is better. If we assume money is an issue and that you want to be a primary care doc then UCSD is better because it is cheaper and the debt won't be as crushing. If you go into a competitive specialty then HMS would give better connections and give a slight leg up when applying for residency (though a lot of people disagree with this). If you have family near UCSD and moving away will make you feel isolated then you should probably go to UCSD to avoid being miserable.
this is a good post. i agree with most of your reasoning. i do feel, however, that whatever (if any) slight leg up you get from HMS is far outweighed by other factors such as location and $. going to ucsd will not hinder you from applying to any specialty.

im guessing you are IS for ucsd? that should make it a ton cheaper. boston is expensive, but then again, so is la jolla
 

searun

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Ask yourself, what would Kierkegaard do? It is hard to imagine Kierkegaard sitting in the sand on a warm beach. I think you have your answer.
 

alibai3ah

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Why is this such a shocker?? UCSD is a great school and I would go there over Harvard. It's much cheaper, better location, and guarantees a great California residency....What's not to like
 

alibai3ah

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You should ask yourself: what do you want from a medical school? What will your life be like there? What do you want to do after you graduate? Then ask what are the pros/cons for each school according to those metrics?

If you want to do academic medicine then HMS is better. If we assume money is an issue and that you want to be a primary care doc then UCSD is better because it is cheaper and the debt won't be as crushing. If you go into a competitive specialty then HMS would give better connections and give a slight leg up when applying for residency (though a lot of people disagree with this). If you have family near UCSD and moving away will make you feel isolated then you should probably go to UCSD to avoid being miserable.

I also don't know much about how 3rd and 4th year rotations work at each school; my guess is that at Harvard the docs treat you like garbage (based on some very dated books I've read) while UCSD treats students better.
I disagree....UCSD is ranked in the top 15 for research. Anything within the Top 20 makes absolutely no difference. Plus cheaper + better location >>>> prestige
 

CalBear2009

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ucsd for u... cuz anyone 'seriuosly' considering this doesnt deserve hms.
This post is the exact reason why you should not go there. It is this type of attitude that would push me away from these types of schools. Yes Harvard has a great reputation, but there is no reason to feel pressured to go there if you feel strongly for another school. UCSD has a great academic/research reputation.

I think you need to go where the money is, and wherever is gonna minimize the debt for you and your family. You can be competitive for residency at either school. I know how much you liked SD so go for it!
 

guyski79

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Why is this such a shocker?? UCSD is a great school and I would go there over Harvard. It's much cheaper, better location, and guarantees a great California residency....What's not to like
I think this is an excellent point.

If you have family in CA or if your ultimate goal is to be there, then UCSD might actually be better. Then again, what the hell do I really know. I'm just a noob like most everyone else on this board.

Both are fantastic options. You can't really go wrong either way. You should be proud.
 
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JasonE

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another point to consider is your classmates. while im sure the people at ucsd will be intelligent as with harvard (after all, these schools take people from all across the board), just based on perception, it may be harder to "stand out" at harvard. you could end up being just another in the pack. you could, however, stand out at ucsd and end up getting further. rank within your class is a factor i believe (check me on this) . just a thought. and i think at ucsd you can work at the salk institute if you want to, which is top-notch!
 

kierkegaard

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Ask yourself, what would Kierkegaard do? It is hard to imagine Kierkegaard sitting in the sand on a warm beach. I think you have your answer.
This made me lol. :thumbup:

Thanks for all the responses. A little more info on why I'm unsure: I really got a great feeling from both schools and liked the med students I met from both. I know UCSD is great, but I was taken aback when I met two 4th year UCSD med students who told me flat out "go to Harvard" and proceeded to tell me it would be a golden ticket into whatever residency I was interested in and that all California students want to go to SD, LA, or SF for residency and there is pretty stiff competition even coming from those schools. Also, at a conference last week I met a Professor in UCSD SOM who told me HMS for sure. That sort of lack of confidence from people who know the system more than I do, and who I would expect to be UCSD advocates, steered me slightly more towards Harvard (which I also really like). Any more advice is greatly appreciated.
 

guyski79

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This made me lol. :thumbup:

Thanks for all the responses. A little more info on why I'm unsure: I really got a great feeling from both schools and liked the med students I met from both. I know UCSD is great, but I was taken aback when I met two 4th year UCSD med students who told me flat out "go to Harvard" and proceeded to tell me it would be a golden ticket into whatever residency I was interested in and that all California students want to go to SD, LA, or SF for residency and there is pretty stiff competition even coming from those schools. Also, at a conference last week I met a Professor in UCSD SOM who told me HMS for sure. That sort of lack of confidence from people who know the system more than I do, and who I would expect to be UCSD advocates, steered me slightly more towards Harvard (which I also really like). Any more advice is greatly appreciated.
See that was kinda my point in my post. I think you should weigh opinions like those more heavily than people on here.
 
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oze

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I think you answered your own question kierky - start looking for an apartment in brookline.
 

alibai3ah

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This made me lol. :thumbup:

Thanks for all the responses. A little more info on why I'm unsure: I really got a great feeling from both schools and liked the med students I met from both. I know UCSD is great, but I was taken aback when I met two 4th year UCSD med students who told me flat out "go to Harvard" and proceeded to tell me it would be a golden ticket into whatever residency I was interested in and that all California students want to go to SD, LA, or SF for residency and there is pretty stiff competition even coming from those schools. Also, at a conference last week I met a Professor in UCSD SOM who told me HMS for sure. That sort of lack of confidence from people who know the system more than I do, and who I would expect to be UCSD advocates, steered me slightly more towards Harvard (which I also really like). Any more advice is greatly appreciated.
While people have varying opinions, I don't think you should base your decision on the few people that you have met. I have a family member who is a professor at Harvard who is desperately trying to come to Stanford b/c he hates both Harvard and Boston weather. Another one of my family friends at medical school hates Stanford and wishes he went to UCLA instead.

Stories like this are everywhere. I know a number of people who hate it at UCSF but I also know others who love it. It just depends on the person. You should really think about where you fit in well, what you liked, don't worry so much about how other people feel about the school (of course unless it is related to something that directly involves the school).

Go on the 2nd visit days. Check it out and then make a final decision. But in my personal opinion, I dont think Harvard is the obvious answer.....
 

BlueElmo

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another point to consider is your classmates. while im sure the people at ucsd will be intelligent as with harvard (after all, these schools take people from all across the board), just based on perception, it may be harder to "stand out" at harvard. you could end up being just another in the pack. you could, however, stand out at ucsd and end up getting further. rank within your class is a factor i believe (check me on this) . just a thought. and i think at ucsd you can work at the salk institute if you want to, which is top-notch!
This is an an excellent point, IMO. Go to a lesser school and stand out among your peers/be high in the class rankings, than go to a top-tier school and just be another wolf in the pack.
 

kierkegaard

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This is an an excellent point, IMO. Go to a lesser school and stand out among your peers/be high in the class rankings, than go to a top-tier school and just be another wolf in the pack.
I was thinking this too until I heard from a quite a few people that grade inflation would adjust for the difference. That HMS gives out over 50% honors in clinical years where UCSD is about 18%...
 

mirrorpair

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This made me lol. :thumbup:

Thanks for all the responses. A little more info on why I'm unsure: I really got a great feeling from both schools and liked the med students I met from both. I know UCSD is great, but I was taken aback when I met two 4th year UCSD med students who told me flat out "go to Harvard" and proceeded to tell me it would be a golden ticket into whatever residency I was interested in and that all California students want to go to SD, LA, or SF for residency and there is pretty stiff competition even coming from those schools. Also, at a conference last week I met a Professor in UCSD SOM who told me HMS for sure. That sort of lack of confidence from people who know the system more than I do, and who I would expect to be UCSD advocates, steered me slightly more towards Harvard (which I also really like). Any more advice is greatly appreciated.
Here is a nice link:

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=104541

Again it feels like nobody wants to admit it but Harvard will probably make your life easier when you apply for residency. You can get into where you want at UCSD but it'll be more of an uphill battle than at Harvard. I hear this consistently. Within neurosurgery I have heard the anecdote where someone is interviewing for residency and they'll be asked something like "your application looks good but why did you only go to _________ medical school?" I know people like to say that it boils down to step 1, grades, AOA, etc for residency but if you're applying for a competitive specialty at a competitive school then the applicants are fairly homogeneous. Then lesser factors, like school name, play a bigger role. The fact that UCSD is a great school mitigates this factor, but it is a factor nonetheless.

I know this debate won't be settled anytime soon and I freely admit that my evidence is anecdotal but no one has really made any double-blind controlled studies on the effect of school prestige on residency outcomes.

Finally I want to give some caveats. If you want a residency in California then UCSD will give a leg up. If you're applying to residencies that aren't super-competitive then other factors easily trump pedigree. And I've heard that some top schools turn out crap interns but I don't know if Harvard falls in this category. I also want to point out that the UCSD SOM professors are likely academics; in their case, pedigree is helpful in getting a job so their opinion is likely skewed.

Earlier someone said that we don't know crap and to take our words with a grain of salt. This is true. But hearsay and conjecture provide seeds for asking better questions. Ultimately you'll need to consult 3rd and 4th year students at UCSD and HMS and find out how they felt at the school, their impressions on getting a residency, and other factors that are important to you.
 

alibai3ah

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I was thinking this too until I heard from a quite a few people that grade inflation would adjust for the difference. That HMS gives out over 50% honors in clinical years where UCSD is about 18%...
50%?????? Jesus.... First the UC's deflate our grades at undergrad, and now even in medical school??
 

JasonE

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the idea of i'll go to boston now come back to SD later may never pan out! im interested in what the 4th year students told you though. i wonder what made them say that and why they believe that. i mean in terms of residency choice, imo, its TOO early to really think about that kind of stuff. i really do think that you (as well as many sdners and nonsdners) will match into the specialty/one of the residencies of their choice when it comes time, regardless of school. i used to think what undergrad you went to mattered for med school and now my wallet is empty!

and if HMS really does give honors to everyone and the P/F everyone years 1/2, that just flattens all the people who go there. i really find that hard to believe. i suppose your step scores would be magnified then?
 

kuhlguy

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I was choosing between UCSD and UChicago ... when it came down to it UChicago was going to be wayyyy cheaper ... but!! even if it hadn't I would still have gone to UChicago

One thing .... Pass/Fail!!!!

My best friend goes to harvard, which like Uchicago is P/F

UCSD IS NOT PASS FAIL!!!! IT IS HONORS/PASS/FAIL ... to me that is such a huge thing ... especially now being in med school ... that I cannot tell you how happy I am to have P/F (and Uchicago is more like pass now/pass later) ... I seriously seriosly cannot emphasize this enough.
 

JasonE

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I was choosing between UCSD and UChicago ... when it came down to it UChicago was going to be wayyyy cheaper ... but!! even if it hadn't I would still have gone to UChicago

One thing .... Pass/Fail!!!!

My best friend goes to harvard, which like Uchicago is P/F

UCSD IS NOT PASS FAIL!!!! IT IS HONORS/PASS/FAIL ... to me that is such a huge thing ... especially now being in med school ... that I cannot tell you how happy I am to have P/F (and Uchicago is more like pass now/pass later) ... I seriously seriosly cannot emphasize this enough.
i believe ucsd has switched to unranked P/F
 

DoctwoB

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I was choosing between UCSD and UChicago ... when it came down to it UChicago was going to be wayyyy cheaper ... but!! even if it hadn't I would still have gone to UChicago

One thing .... Pass/Fail!!!!

My best friend goes to harvard, which like Uchicago is P/F

UCSD IS NOT PASS FAIL!!!! IT IS HONORS/PASS/FAIL ... to me that is such a huge thing ... especially now being in med school ... that I cannot tell you how happy I am to have P/F (and Uchicago is more like pass now/pass later) ... I seriously seriosly cannot emphasize this enough.
UCSD is pass fail now, with a new curriculum starting next year.

That being said, being the first in a new curriculum is always a risk, as you're a bit of a guinea pig.

If there were no CA budge crisis, I'd say that I'd pick UCSD over harvard for the $$$. That being said, UCSD may not be so cheap in 2 years once UC's raise tuition due to lack of funds.

Overall, you can't go wrong with HMS, Its a tough call but I'd go there (especially if they throw a little $$ at you!).
 

kuhlguy

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my bad ... then if it's P/F makes the decision a little less easy

I will say that you might have more networking ability at harvard ... you have MGH, Brigham, and Beth Israel all at your disposal ... UCSD is a great school, but I would favor Harvard
 

FIREitUP

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I think P/F is overrated.
1) From my knowledge schools still carry an internal ranking whether or not they admit it (they disclose these to residencies, even so the first two years are not weighed that heavily for residency matching)
2) You have to learn this material backwards and forwards for your boards, so you might as well learn it well the first time.
 

ScronCron

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Harvard will make you more competitive in your medical career. If being competitive for a "top" residency or getting into academic medicine are important, I believe Harvard is a better opportunity for your goals. Additionally, you will be part of the Harvard network not just in medicine, but also in law, business, public health, sciences, humanities, etc., etc. This is undeniably a great professional and personal asset for you and your family.

Personally, I would go to UCSD over Harvard. I don't think the debate between Harvard and UCSD is outlandish at all. I'm satisfied with my undergrad alum and professional networks and being super-competitive in medicine isn't very important to me. Harvard doesn't really have anything that I need or want relative to UCSD that would compel me to go there and invest more money in my education. (Also, I'm not a big fan of the academic culture there). I think the program, opportunities and culture of UCSD are fantastic and also think I'm a good fit. Plus, I'm from SoCal so I'm close to family here.

Hope this helps and good luck with your decision.
 

ApoK

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the idea of i'll go to boston now come back to SD later may never pan out! im interested in what the 4th year students told you though. i wonder what made them say that and why they believe that. i mean in terms of residency choice, imo, its TOO early to really think about that kind of stuff. i really do think that you (as well as many sdners and nonsdners) will match into the specialty/one of the residencies of their choice when it comes time, regardless of school. i used to think what undergrad you went to mattered for med school and now my wallet is empty!

and if HMS really does give honors to everyone and the P/F everyone years 1/2, that just flattens all the people who go there. i really find that hard to believe. i suppose your step scores would be magnified then?
No, residency directors just think "he/she honored in many clinicals at HMS... impressive." They don't think "well, HMS gives 50% honors while only UCSD gives 18%... so honors at UCSD is more impressive" It's easy to see why HMS students land at the most impressive residencies around... Usually, they are also the cream of the crop students anyway. You are bright or a great leader if you're at HMS/Hopkins/Penn/Stanford or any of the elite schools.

I don't understand why people on SDN don't want to admit that life is easier coming from a top school, regardless of what level it is. Undergrad, grad school, med school, law school, or business school. The reputation of your school does help you. That doesn't mean you can't get on top from a middle/top 20 school... all it means is that things will be tougher.
 

JasonE

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No, residency directors just think "he/she honored in many clinicals at HMS... impressive." They don't think "well, HMS gives 50% honors while only UCSD gives 18%... so honors at UCSD is more impressive" It's easy to see why HMS students land at the most impressive residencies around... Usually, they are also the cream of the crop students anyway. You are bright or a great leader if you're at HMS/Hopkins/Penn/Stanford or any of the elite schools.

I don't understand why people on SDN don't want to admit that life is easier coming from a top school, regardless of what level it is. Undergrad, grad school, med school, law school, or business school. The reputation of your school does help you. That doesn't mean you can't get on top from a middle/top 20 school... all it means is that things will be tougher.
im not going to even bother arguing, but i dont think either of us are a credible source when it comes to how residency directors view schools, candidates, or anything of that matter.

some of us on SDN don't blindly follow prestige as a holy grail. believe it or not, there are a handful of schools i would rather attend than harvard, and im sure many others would as well.

from your other posts, i know prestige is important to you. thats cool no problems. you may have seen this floating around (http://journals.lww.com/academicmedicine/Fulltext/2009/03000/Selection_Criteria_for_Residency__Results_of_a.24.aspx)
i suggest you take a look. its the only source ive read that actually addresses the issue in a credible way. table 2 is key.
 
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ApoK

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im not going to even bother arguing, but i dont think either of us are a credible source when it comes to how residency directors view schools, candidates, or anything of that matter. [/B]
Agreed that we're both in the dark. However, I'm sure you've spoken to doctors that make hiring decisions. The cardiologists I work with say an HMS/JHU/WashU/UCSF degree means something to them when they're hiring. Ironically, my PI's and other docs where I work had somewhat negative impressions of Penn (too laidback) and Duke (too intense). At any rate, this post just proves that much of the evidence is anecdotal... I still view it as valuable though.

some of us on SDN don't blindly follow prestige as a holy grail. believe it or not, there are a handful of schools i would rather attend than harvard, and im sure many others would as well.
Haha, I don't mean to argue with you... although we always do seem to disagree :D. I'm not trying to say there aren't people who wouldn't consider going to places other than HMS/Hopkins. Hell, I didn't even apply to JHU or Yale because of their locations even though both are really great/prestigious. All I'm saying is that there is a certain advantage to a degree from HMS. Whether that's important to you or not is a personal decision, but I believe there is an advantage to being at an elite school. Fin :)
 

JasonE

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everything in this world is anecdotal lol. whatever you seem like a cool guy. you have good choices and will be fine with whatever you choose. they are all "elite". but seriously, check out the paper its fairly interesting.

but for the OP, to me, ucsd is way too much to pass up. i wouldnt worry too much about curriculum. one point current med students often seem to make during my interview days was that choosing a school based on curriculum isnt the best way to go about it. the circle of willis is the circle of willis. you were smart enough to get this far, you can succeed in both environments. the only exception i personally see is something like duke or yale, where the cirriculum is extremely different.
 

ApoK

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everything in this world is anecdotal lol. whatever you seem like a cool guy. you have good choices and will be fine with whatever you choose. they are all "elite". but seriously, check out the paper its fairly interesting.

but for the OP, to me, ucsd is way too much to pass up.
Haha, same to you. It's always fun to have these back and forth conversations on SDN. You're right about people being different in person. Could you imagine the future of American medicine if doctors acted the same way in person as on SDN? God help us all. :laugh:
 

JoshuaR

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Sometimes I do worry about that...

Regarding the OP: Go to the Second Look days, decide within a few days after that. Harvard probably gives a better name, and maybe it's a touch easier to match, but at the same time, Harvard meds tend to match more east, SD more west, so you might not even be competing that much, if there is an advantage.
 

mdeast

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Sometimes I do worry about that...

Regarding the OP: Go to the Second Look days, decide within a few days after that. Harvard probably gives a better name, and maybe it's a touch easier to match, but at the same time, Harvard meds tend to match more east, SD more west, so you might not even be competing that much, if there is an advantage.
But do remember...match results are misleading, especially for UCs...as they represent the preferences of both the students applying and the directors of the programs they're applying to. UCs are primarily in-state students. It's pretty natural that they're first choice residency programs would be in CA. That's their home and where they grew up. Likewise, people who go to Harvard might tend to want to stay on the East Coast, and thus...east coast programs become their first choice. I know it seems a while from now, but many of us med-schoolers might be married, in long-term relationship with non-medical students, or become attached to the cities we pursue medical education in by the time residency rolls around. Many of us will not want to leave.

Point being, UCSD may match more on the West Coast....not because it can't match students on the east coast just as well as Harvard, but rather, that students don't want to pursue residency there.
 

drizzt3117

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Sometimes I do worry about that...

Regarding the OP: Go to the Second Look days, decide within a few days after that. Harvard probably gives a better name, and maybe it's a touch easier to match, but at the same time, Harvard meds tend to match more east, SD more west, so you might not even be competing that much, if there is an advantage.
Yes, going to HMS makes it harder to match on the West Coast... :rolleyes:

This is a no-brainer.

Btw last year there was a UCSD M4 that was posting about his experiences with match, lord jeebus, I believe. You might want to take a look at what he said about prestige and med school and what it impact it had on his situation.
 

d1ony5u5

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Regarding the whole matching in the West coast vs. The East coast: Also take into account, as someone pointed out earlier, that CA has many schools with similar rankings. You are not going to get a good match in CA because you went to UCSD... This because -adding to the million assumptions you are making- you are likely competing with graduates from schools like UCSF, UCLA, Stanford. I've heard that matching into a good program in CA (like LA Med Center, UCSF, etc) is actually pretty damn hard for people who did well at these upper tier CA schools.

As for the rest, I can't really say anything meaningful. Except about location. I went to undergrad in UCSD and I'm done with the whole area. I want to get out and explore the country. SD gets a bit boring after a while. Also, the socal attitude may be off-putting for some (you know, the materialism, lack of environmental consciousness, and in SD, the social conservatism, etc).

Ohh, and yeah, those fee increases that seem to be heading toward CA would also make me think twice about coming here. You could end up paying the same at HMS than here, if some of the propositions being considered are approved by the UC regents.
 

JasonE

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try and make the decision based on something other than where you think you will match better! although that seems to be the premed thing to do
 

alibai3ah

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Regarding the whole matching in the West coast vs. The East coast: Also take into account, as someone pointed out earlier, that CA has many schools with similar rankings. You are not going to get a good match in CA because you went to UCSD... This because -adding to the million assumptions you are making- you are likely competing with graduates from schools like UCSF, UCLA, Stanford. I've heard that matching into a good program in CA (like LA Med Center, UCSF, etc) is actually pretty damn hard for people who did well at these upper tier CA schools.

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While this is certainly true, it is still more likely to get a Cali residency (from UCSD) than if the OP went to Harvard. It's not just about which school is good, it's about connections. Most people who went to medical school in California, stay there for residency, and raise their family and work there. I would assume most of the program directors at residencies at UCSF, UCLA, UCD, UCSD, etc. also went to these schools for undergrad/medical school. Therefore a program director is much more likely to favor somebody from these schools than say Harvard b/c they have no connection or affiliation to that school at all. Sure everyone knows Harvard is great, but personally (if I was a PD) I would be more open to letting in someone who grew up and was raised in California and went to schools here (b/c as a PD I would have firsthand experience with these schools and the professors from there).

EDIT: To gauge how many UC med students stay in Cali for residencies, just look at their match lists. They all got (about 90% or more) residencies in California.
 

alibai3ah

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I don't understand why people on SDN don't want to admit that life is easier coming from a top school, regardless of what level it is. Undergrad, grad school, med school, law school, or business school. The reputation of your school does help you. That doesn't mean you can't get on top from a middle/top 20 school... all it means is that things will be tougher.
No one questions the importance of a school's prestige and national recognition. I just think it matters much more if the difference between the schools is bigger than what the OP has posted.

Within the Top 20 (#1 vs #14) will not make a HUGE difference. The OP can get into a top residency with either school. It's just he or she needs to make a smart financial decision and at the same time look at what would give him the best chance to stay in California. I think UCSD has that more than Harvard.
 

ApoK

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While this is certainly true, it is still more likely to get a Cali residency (from UCSD) than if the OP went to Harvard. It's not just about which school is good, it's about connections. Most people who went to medical school in California, stay there for residency, and raise their family and work there. I would assume most of the program directors at residencies at UCSF, UCLA, UCD, UCSD, etc. also went to these schools for undergrad/medical school. Therefore a program director is much more likely to favor somebody from these schools than say Harvard b/c they have no connection or affiliation to that school at all. Sure everyone knows Harvard is great, but personally (if I was a PD) I would be more open to letting in someone who grew up and was raised in California and went to schools here (b/c as a PD I would have firsthand experience with these schools and the professors from there).

EDIT: To gauge how many UC med students stay in Cali for residencies, just look at their match lists. They all got (about 90% or more) residencies in California.
It's laughable to say this. Students at UCSD are just more likely to desire a spot in CA. Kids from HMS go wherever, but I'm sure a certain portion do go to CA schools.
 

alibai3ah

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It's laughable to say this. Students at UCSD are just more likely to desire a spot in CA. Kids from HMS go wherever, but I'm sure a certain portion do go to CA schools.
Sure they do, but we will never know the background info on that. What is not debatable is that UCSD puts a vast majority of its kids into California residencies (and good ones too).
 

ApoK

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Sure they do, but we will never know the background info on that. What is not debatable is that UCSD puts a vast majority of its kids into California residencies (and good ones too).
Haha, there is no point in trying. If OP is good enough to get into HMS, I'm sure he can do well enough to get into a Cali residency. Can you say the converse? If you went to UCSD, would you be confident you could match to Hopkins or BW/MGH/BI (assuming someone would want to). Not with as much certainty.

Here's another anecdotal example. My friend is finishing her last year at Duke Med. She is not from Cali and does not have ties to Cali. She was accepted to UCLA and Duke out of undergrad, but turned down UCLA for Duke. Moreover, there were at least 14 people of 105 trying to match into her specialty (it's a ROAD specialty) this year, but she still matched early into UCLA med center (one of the best in the country and the best in Cali).

Do you think she made the wrong choice by choosing Duke over UCLA? The OP's example is even more dramatic. He's coming from HMS and considering UCSD. My money says OP goes to HMS and--4 years later--has no issue coming back to Cali if he wants.
 
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Sure they do, but we will never know the background info on that. What is not debatable is that UCSD puts a vast majority of its kids into California residencies (and good ones too).
actually, it's pretty common for HMS kids go to California for residency. California takes the second-highest number of HMS 4th years, second only to Massachusetts (read: Harvard-affiliated hospitals).

Here's an example year:
http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2007/03/match-day-sets-the-course/

You can find match lists for 2008 and 2009 here:
http://alumnibulletin.med.harvard.edu/connect/matchday/index.php
 

Morsetlis

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Harvard. While UCSD is an amazing school at an amazing location, going to HMS gives you a brand-name that you can use for the rest of your life in any country.

That said, I think very few people are qualified to comment on the academics of both campuses. At UCSD, I love the way the faculties prefer grad students over undergrads (lol), and there's a LOT of Biotech companies around w/ opportunities for research/internship. The Salk Institute is also right next door, as well as Scripps Institute of Oceanography (and SeaWorld!)

UCSD does have the "old buildings full of ghosts" vibe to it, and living expenses suck in La Jolla (richest part of San Diego). However, downtown is like 15 min away.
 
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Harvard would be the opportunity of a lifetime. When I interviewed at UCSD, my faculty interviewer seemed under-confident about how good UCSD on the national level. He told me out of the UCs, UCLA and UCSF are much more nationally-regarded in medicine than UCSD. According to him, UCSD is a basic sciences powerhouse, but its hospitals are not so highly thought of. Harvard, on the other hand, seems to have no equal, whether in research or in clinical medicine. THREE wonderful teaching hospitals for you to choose from! And top-ranked people in every single field you can possibly consider. But, prestige/opportunities/career growth is just one aspect to consider. Do what makes you happiest and success will surely come. Best wishes!
 

Penguick

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I know most people feel like prestige is a huge factor, and perhaps it is. We can't really know as first years or as premeds how important prestige really is, but I would say that you learn the same material essentially where-ever you go. Therefore, choose whichever place would make you the happiest. How happy you are will definitely determine your success in med. school. I didn't even apply to most schools in the NE (including places like Harvard, UPenn, Yale, etc), because I knew for a fact that I wanted to be in CA. And even though I knew it'd be hard to get in to a UC school as an OOS student, I still tried really hard, because I knew I'd be happy in CA. And I was right. I am super happy here.

I can't speak for Harvard, but UCSD has amazing resources. We are probably the only school in the nation that has an Office of Educational Support Services, which houses 4 amazing professional tutors. They hold PhDs and masters already, and act as professional students that take our classes with us and then lead review sessions (both in large group and small), create practice exams, study aids and help with USMLE Step 1 in second year. Some of them have been there for over 20 years and know the material front and back and are a huge resource.

Besides this, the support network is great at UCSD. Besides the big-sib little sib program, we also have faculty mentors specifically assigned to us and the administration is extremely receptive to student input.

And if you care about grades, well, we are pass/fail now. In addition, a fourth year told me that his year, the class average step 1 was supposedly something like 235, with a quarter of the class scoring above a 245. As a reference in case you don't know what Step 1 scores are like, the national average tends to be around 220. The average for Derm (perhaps the most competitive specialty there is) is 240. We had 3 4th years match into Derm this year and plenty into other competitive specialities like radiology, anesthesiology, ortho, etc... We have also always been well trained during third year to prepare us for residency.

Plus, the free-clinic system here is a great way to learn and get the continuity in patient care that you won't be able to get elsewhere. Being a part of the specialty clinics gives you a glimpse into the field at a much earlier stage than waiting around for 3rd year rotations.
 

drizzt3117

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Can we please, just stop?

Don't try to argue that USCD is better than Harvard, it's just ridiculous and you're going to make yourself look ridiculous. Please don't try to stroke your own ego by trying to make the argument that SD is as good as HMS. Let's just try to give the OP good info here so they can potentially make a good decision.

UCSD is a great school. It has good resources, and its students get good clinical training. If the OP is from CA and would like to go to medical school in CA, that's a great reason to go there.

The OP will NOT be more likely to match into CA if they go there rather than HMS. That's just WRONG. A student born and raised in CA that did med school at HMS as opposed to UCSD is not going to find it any harder to obtain a residency position in CA than one that went to UCSD, with all else equal. If they are trying to match into a top tier residency, then most likely they'll find it easier. HMS has been the top or more or less top med school in the country for most of the last century. Its alumni are EVERYWHERE.

If you read the thread I suggested earlier, it discusses a senior med student from USCD talking about how CA PDs mentioned that their med school affected their perception of the student. Is that important? Potentially. Will it affect them matching into a specific CA residency? Perhaps, or perhaps not. The OP needs to decide whether going to med school in CA is worth not going to a more well-regarded med school. It might not be, but that's a decision the OP needs to make.
 

JasonE

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whatever school is "better" argument will last forever. IMO, its not nearly as important as other considerations such as location, family, $ etc. public schools often have extra factors that most private schools can't really offer, like fun sports teams to watch, larger student bodies, more school spirit etc.

and another point, and i think this goes unsaid, no one out here can really compare medical schools. after all, you only go to one. maybe harvard really is the best, but maybe not for everyone. you and I will never know that because we can only go to one school. its hard to compare orange juice from apple juice if you're only allowed to drink orange juice.
 

ScronCron

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Can we please, just stop?

Don't try to argue that USCD is better than Harvard, it's just ridiculous and you're going to make yourself look ridiculous. Please don't try to stroke your own ego by trying to make the argument that SD is as good as HMS. Let's just try to give the OP good info here so they can potentially make a good decision.

UCSD is a great school. It has good resources, and its students get good clinical training. If the OP is from CA and would like to go to medical school in CA, that's a great reason to go there.

The OP will NOT be more likely to match into CA if they go there rather than HMS. That's just WRONG. A student born and raised in CA that did med school at HMS as opposed to UCSD is not going to find it any harder to obtain a residency position in CA than one that went to UCSD, with all else equal. If they are trying to match into a top tier residency, then most likely they'll find it easier. HMS has been the top or more or less top med school in the country for most of the last century. Its alumni are EVERYWHERE.

If you read the thread I suggested earlier, it discusses a senior med student from USCD talking about how CA PDs mentioned that their med school affected their perception of the student. Is that important? Potentially. Will it affect them matching into a specific CA residency? Perhaps, or perhaps not. The OP needs to decide whether going to med school in CA is worth not going to a more well-regarded med school. It might not be, but that's a decision the OP needs to make.
Hmmm, I think your post is out of place.

I belive it's understood that, on the whole, Harvard is a stronger program. Few would argue with this and I don't believe anybody in this thread is arguing this. Some may argue that UCSD is better than Harvard in certain respects, but certainly not overall. For the sake of the OP, it is important to recognize that Harvard doesn't do everything better than every school or necessarily better for every student. Some of these differences may be relevant in making this decision.

Frankly, I think it's usually a wiser decision for most people to go to Harvard over UCSD, unless there is a significant different in cost. Personally, however, I would choose UCSD and I posted my reasons earlier.
 
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