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HElp: Private vs. State School

Bigsheed920

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    I have been accepted into NYMC in Valhalla and SUNY Upstate. I was wondering whether tuition should play a huge role in my decision. Am I going to much better off in terms of debt if I go to the state school or am I going to get a better residency if I go to NYMC? I would really appreciate any advice in general...what are the pros and cons of public vs private med school and what would u choose?
     

    KosmoKramer

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      Although everyone will tell you tuition should not be an issue in getting a "quality" education, I say it should still be on your radar, just not at the top.
      I ended up choosing a decently ranked state school over a higher ranked private. I chose the state school because of the huge resources that the university could afford. State money definately helps to supplement education, and is evident in the highly advanced technology at my school. I also chose state school because of the hospital system. The hospital system has a huge very well known cancer center as well as a top 100 hospital. This allows for a very very diverse patient population as well as complicated cases for excellent education. Another reason I chose state school was that with all of the state money plus tuition, our school is able to afford HUGE names in gen surg, ENT, plastics, cardiology, GI, pathology, and other top fields, as not only a big salary, but high numbers of difficult and interesting patients are referred here. This high volume is essential as these big names all do research, and as callous as it sounds, they need patients for their studies. The important thing about these big names, at least at my school is that their letters of recommendations go VERY far in their fields.

      Now, I'm not saying private schools don't have these resources, but the private school that I was accepted to at least, did not compare to the state school in these aspects.

      I would consider these issues, as well as the fact that you can be between $100k in debt up to $200k in debt. MOST people don't start paying back loans significantly until AFTER residency as people start lives, buy houses, have families, etc. So by the end of residency, the $100k often becomes $300k and the $200k can definately reach $600k by the time you finish paying it all off over a decade or more.

      Good luck with your decision. Make sure you go to a school that is right for you most of all, then think about money 3rd or 4th down on your list of priorities.

      KosmoKramer
       
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      fullefect1

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        Go to your state school. I would only choose a private school over a state school if it was in the top 10 or so... I still don't know if I would do that though. I don't know that much about NYMC but isn't it considered a school that some pick as their backups? I am not trying to say that it isn't a good school, I am just saying that I think I have heard of some people saying that it is a low tier school. But then again I am not that sure.
         

        Larsitron

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          I'm not entirely familiar with either of those schools, but I do recall hearing that NYMC often is a backup school of sorts. I don't mean to knock it and it would be wrong of me to do so, but that's what I've heard. It would probably be good to take that with a shaker of salt. So, to all the NYMC people out there, I think you're cool, its just the scuttlebutt that I've heard.

          Speaking from a more general perspective, I don't think this is a clear cut issue. You shouldn't always fall on one side or another. I would say that unless you have a pressing reason to go to the private school there's no reason to go the expense.

          While I don't have this choice just yet (I'm hoping!) I've found a lot of reasons to go to the private school across the country that I think justify the expense. These reasons include a better career track towards academic medicine and, from what I've seen, a friendlier student body. But that's my specific case. Yours will likely be different.
           

          ornis4

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            I'm a grad student at NYMC, and haven't even gotten an interview at the med school yet, so trust me...I speak as someone who knows the school, but is not blindly going to tout every aspect of it. In my two years here, I have enjoyed it and learned a great deal, but I'm not sure I want to attend the med school at this point. It is a large class size, and the whole setup seems very machine-like to me. Now, I am not a med student at NYMC, so I am not the greatest source, but just observing their daily routine, I'm not sure it's for me. The faculty is very good, with a few exceptions, as you'd expect. The students generally seem happy, but are also extremely busy with studying, perhaps more so than I have seen at other schools. The living situation is a bit awkward, and the immediate area is not exactly conducive to a "young adult" lifestyle. However, if you want to concentrate utterly and completely on studying medicine, then there are not many distractions in the Valhalla area. In short, I'm sure it would be a fine place to go to med school, and would certainly prepare you for the boards and give you nice rotations in the city...but for such an enormous financial committment, I would probably go to Upstate even though I don't know much about it. Good luck with your decision and congratulations, I would kill to have a problem like yours!
             

            monstermatch

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              Bigsheed920 said:
              I have been accepted into NYMC in Valhalla and SUNY Upstate. I was wondering whether tuition should play a huge role in my decision. Am I going to much better off in terms of debt if I go to the state school or am I going to get a better residency if I go to NYMC? I would really appreciate any advice in general...what are the pros and cons of public vs private med school and what would u choose?

              First of all, remember that its important to go where you will be happy. Med school is so hard that I would emphazie personal satisfaction above all else. Where would you rather spend the next four years, be honest with yourself - and its not just the school and curriculum but the city, the location, the people, the community. If you like the two schools equally, then you should stick with the state school. You might choose a private school if your state school is bad and the private school is outstanding, but it doesn't sound like this is the case for your example.

              Keep in mind that Medical education is VERY standardized nowadays and your success depends mostly on your own motivaion and work ethic rather than which school you choose to go to. The one big exception is if you want to become an academic physician in a competitive specialty. In that case, you need to think about attending the biggest name institution you can find - Whether that is a state or private school is beside the point. Its just one of those unfortunate realities that some specialties are very elitist and you have to play the name game if you really want to do academics.

              One more thing - look into the strength of the residency you might be interested in and figure out which school has a better program. You might be surprised to find out that there are some pretty random schools out there with strengths in certain fields. If you are unsure of what you want to go into, then again, go with the state school so you won't have a huge debt burdon pushing you into a high paying specialty when you might prefer something like primary care.
               

              GuyLaroche

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                NYMC - Isn't that the super uptight school that wouldn't allow a gay student group form beause of its religious beliefs or something lame like that? I say the school is super uptight, drop them!
                 

                OSUdoc08

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                  Bigsheed920 said:
                  I have been accepted into NYMC in Valhalla and SUNY Upstate. I was wondering whether tuition should play a huge role in my decision. Am I going to much better off in terms of debt if I go to the state school or am I going to get a better residency if I go to NYMC? I would really appreciate any advice in general...what are the pros and cons of public vs private med school and what would u choose?

                  go cheaper---you still get the same degree
                   

                  Bigsheed920

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                    I am surely taking all of your advices into consideration. I appreciate the help. But I still would like to hear from more people. please put your 2 cents in here. Also, Any people that attend upstate or NYMC, your views will be greatly appreciated as well. Thanks guys.
                     
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                    Sanman

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                      Well I know that as far as matching they are about equal, so stature of the schools is about the same. The only thing that I would still chech is how they grade (letter vs P/F) and how they teach (PBL vs. traditional lecture) other than that SUNY is the better choice hands down. That is of course assuming you don't have a preference on where you would want to live.
                       

                      uptoolate

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                        I am choosing my state school over a similarly ranked private school (which was in my favorite city, I might add-ouch). I'm still waiting to hear from a private school that is ranked much higher but I would only go if there was some financial windfall that made it less expensive than my state school. My in-state has amazing resources for keeping up with coursework and a great schedule for non-trads. Its also two blocks from my husband's office and one block from my daughter's pre-schoolnot relevant to anyone but me, but it speaks to the lifestyle aspect of decision making. This is my *third*graduate program (I know, technically m-school is undergrad...) and the debt makes a huge difference once school is in the distant past and you're left holding the check(s).
                         

                        Iamajew

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                          I can't agree with you more, uptoolate. It's such a tough decision though - i'm wrestling with some top tier private schools versus SUNY stony brook. I'm most likely choosing stony brook (for more reasons than just the money...it's an awesome place to go to school), but this is still a very hard decision to make.

                          With how medical education is pretty much standardized and with so many ways to prove yourself in medical school if you're applying for a competitive residency (board scores, extracurriculars, research), where you match after med school is really in your own hands regardless of state or private. That being said, i think that more highly ranked private schools have better match lists because of who these schools attract: overachievers more often than not trying to make it in academic medicine. To an extent, I think that it's misleading to judge a private/state school as better/worse by the school's match list. Many state schools have less competitive residencies on their match lists simply because these schools tend to attract more people who are interested in primary care, family practice etc.

                          Anyway, debt is very important. Really really really important. Sure, you're going to be making a lot of money 10 years down the road when you're an established physician. But why pay more for the same education? When you have to write a check for thousands a month while in residency to cover your private school education, you're going to feel it. Even if you have loans that don't kick in until after residency, you're still going to feel the debt. The difference between $80,000 (upstate) and ~$150,000 shouldn't be underestimated. I have a friend who went to SUNY downstate and is doing a residency at yale medical school who is in very little debt. She always tells me that she laughs to herself about how she works alongside residents who shelled out big money for med school and are in a lot of debt. The point? She's in less debt and at the same residency as those who went to private school. Why? Because becoming a great doctor takes a lot more than spending more on your education.

                          These schools are businesses; you should try to be a smart consumer with regards to where you choose to matriculate. Every private school wants you to believe that you're getting your money's worth if you choose them over state schools and most people who go to private medical schools will tell you that it was worth the extra 15-20 grand a year. I honestly don't believe it is.

                          To the OP, i would strongly recommend going to upstate over nymc for more reasons than just state/private comparisons. Upstate is GOOD: good school, happy students, cheap. NYMC is definitely definitely not worth the extra money. You're just not paying for anything more by going there.

                          Good luck!
                           

                          fuzzyerin

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                            Well, I'll be one of those strange folk that chose to go to NYMC over my in-state school (not SUNY - I'm from a nearby New England state), both of which I was accepted to. Yes, it would have been cheaper to go to my state school, but I had a sneaking suspicion that I would be miserable there. So I chose to take out a boat-load of loans and go to NYMC. And you know what? I'm extremely happy with that decision. I think I have been taught exceptionally well, I have learned an immense amount of material, I was given the chance to live in NYC, and my classmates just plain rock. I have never once regretted my decision - even when adding up my loans leads me to a sum of money close to a quarter of a million dollars. I was happy, continue to be happy, and believe that I can and will pay it back because I'm going to be a good doctor. So my advice is to go where you'll be happy. Weigh the factors, but in the long run, it's a personal decision.
                             
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