Hofstra vs. Wake Forest

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Hofstra or Wake Forest?

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New Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 29, 2014
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Hello SDN,

I'm having real difficulty deciding between these two schools. For me, they have an equal number of pros and cons, so I was hoping to get some feedback from the forum in making my decision. Cost for me will be roughly equal to either school, and specialty-wise I'm interested in child neurology or internal medicine-pediatrics (combined residency) + a fellowship in some pediatric subspeciality. Wake Forest would be closer to home, but proximity to my family isn't very high on my priority list because New York is not that much farther away from home.

Location & Weather: Hofstra is in cold Hempstead, NY (Long Island); Near the beach (which I love) but I'm also sick of cold weather having gone to school in Boston for the last 4 years, though I've heard Long Island has slightly milder weather than Boston. Wake Forest (WFUSOM) is in warm Winston Salem, NC; Winston Salem is suburban (which I like) but also inland (which I dislike)--I prefer beaches to mountains

COL (Cost of Living): At Hofstra, housing is expensive ($900+); most places I've found have run around $1100 for a 1/2 bedroom, unless I rent a room in a house which I'm not very keen to do. At WFUSOM, housing is really cheap ($400+); Winston Salem is extremely cheap to live in--I could probably get a roommate or two and not spend more than $300-$400 a month on rent+utilities

Curriculum: Hofstra has PEARLS (PBL)+ occasional lecture; I would actually really like to attend a school with PBL because I tend to learn and retain information better in smaller, seminar-like classes vs. lecture classes; students I talked to during the interview also said they found PEARLS effective. WFUSOM has Lecture + PBL (apparently there have been some curriculum changes? Could WFUSOM students elaborate on this?)

Need a Car?: At Hofstra, absolutely--all students during interview day said that driving and having a car is a MUST (I currently don't own a car/my parents only have one car, so the prospect of buying a cheap but reliable used car is also something I'm considering). At WFUSOM: Not Really (esp. during 1st 2 years) because medical school is part of Wake Forest Baptist Health and students I talked to during interview day said that they can walk/bike to school from their apartments and easily get rides/bike to places in town (e.g. grocery store, etc.)

Grading System (1st 2 years): Hofstra has P/F (unsure if internal ranking or not) and WFUSOM has P/F (internally ranked); internal ranking doesn't seem like a big deal to me though?

On-Campus Housing Available: Hofstra has on-campus housing but it is expensive ($1100+), whereas WFUSOM does not have on-campus housing but some off-campus housing is in walking distance of school

Site of Hospital: Hofstra rotates through the North Shore LIJ hospitals, which are all off-site. WFUSOM is part of Wake Forest Baptist Health.

Uinque to School: Hofstra trains students to be an EMT-B + work on ambulatory service for city; 4 physician mentors (IM/FM, Peds, Ob/Gyn, and Gen Surg) you assist in their clinics for a minimum of (1) half-day/week beginning first year; research mainly through Feinstein Institute; students practice clinical skills at an off-site, state of the art Patient Simulation Center. WFUSOM has school-provided laptops; DEAC free clinic run by students, availability of different types of research; sorted into one of four "houses" to foster community spirit (students said this so far has not been very effective, but it is still new)

State of Facilities: Hofstra had brand new (a little sterile to be completely honest) and library has all electronic textbooks + resources (we also have access to undergrad facilities next door), whereas WFUSOM has old facilities; itty-bitty gym in the basement; don't know how I feel about not having a dedicated medical school building vs. medical school classrooms built into the hospital

Reputation: Hofstra is a brand new school (would be part of 4th class), whereas WFUSOM is a mid-tier (top 50 in USNWR) w/ good name recognition

What do y'all think? Are there any other points I should be factoring into my decision? Thanks!

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As & Is
10+ Year Member
Jul 9, 2012
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Are you going to go to both Second Looks?

If it were me, I'd choose which one 'felt' better (i.e., where I think I could be more successful based on preferences for living in the city vs. suburbs vs. country). Second Look weekends might help inform these kinds of thoughts if you're planning to go. I'd also lean for the established school over the new one. Overall, I think WFU would be my choice.
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Full Member
10+ Year Member
Jul 25, 2013
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If you would be equally happy at both places, then I say Wake. I'm not exactly qualified to talk about name recognition, but I think Wake would give you an advantage over Hofstra. My father went to Wake back when it was Bowman-Gray. If you are considering practicing in the south Wake has strong name recognition down here and matches well for residency. Patients in the south (and maybe North) will know and respect that you went to Wake.

Baptist is also a very good hospital.

You can easily find a place for a gym outside the hospital.

From my interview day I remember Wake has plenty of PBL (much more than my liking).

I don't know much about Hofstra though so maybe someone else can weigh in


Happy on 5-HT
15+ Year Member
Aug 13, 2008
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Nice input trino.... personally I don't know anything about Wake, but I did interview at Hofstra. I was definitely impressed with the school, it seems like a very fun and energy-charged environment, brand-spanking new M1/M2 facilities (still small but very cozy, but growing as the class size had been expanding to its current level). It was a shame we couldn't see any of the clinical sites, though I would venture that the Northshore-LIJ healthsystem will provide plenty of great exp. during clinical years.

The cons for me are that I don't think the curriculum is quite what I was looking for (I wanted a traditional anatomy experience), but I commend their innovation. Soon we will probably see many schools with this model of an integrated curriculum with no lectures. Listen to your instincts on that one. Also, you said it yourself, the cost of rent, etc near the school is absurd compared to your other choice. Plus I have a feeling the costs associated with driving a car will quickly add up commuting throughout the different sites.

Hofstra will be a unique place to get your medical education, though the reputation is clearly not there. It's always nice to have the backing of a more established institution when given the opportunity. I voted WF
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Full Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2009
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No question at all: Wake Forest.