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Hi all,

I have been incredibly fortunate this cycle and now have to make a very difficult decision between these two schools. I have not received my financial aid package from Hopkins yet, but my aid package from Cornell was abysmal (all loans) so Hopkins will either be equal or better. I am interested in pursuing a competitive surgical subspecialty (possibly ortho) and am also possibly interested in academic medicine and health policy, and definitely interested in doing global health mission type work in my future career.

Hopkins

Pros
  • Incredible reputation, one of the best medical schools in the country
  • Have great opportunities for health policy advocacy (on my interview day I met with students involved in student groups that are actively involved in writing resolutions for Maryland. They also visit Washington DC once a year to meet with legislators)
  • Leader in international medicine, abundant opportunities for global health work
  • P/F curriculum with internal ranking and AOA that are not released until after you match into residency so it does not have any effect on your med school experience
Cons
  • Location is in Baltimore, worried about safety
  • I've heard that it is difficult to get in contact with ortho faculty/they aren't very supportive?!? I'm not sure if this is true, please correct me if I am wrong
  • I've heard that it's a competitive/stressful atmosphere (gunner vibe)?!? It was hard for me to get a sense of that on my interview day though so not sure

Cornell

Pros
  • Great reputation (though not as great as Hopkins)? Not sure how much the prestige difference matters though
  • Cornell is also a leader in global health work, many opportunities to get involved in missions work
  • Located in NYC, I love the city
  • Affiliation with HSS (#1 ortho residency in the country) so potentially good opportunities to make connections with ortho faculty
Cons
  • Historical reputation is not as as good as Hopkins (residency director rankings have it around late teens while Hopkins is #2)
  • Could not find opportunities to do direct policy work like Hopkins (please correct me if I'm wrong though)
  • P/F with internal ranking and AOA that go on your residency app so it may add to competitiveness (I could be wrong about this though, if any current students have input on this that would be really appreciated)
Thank you for taking the time to read this and for your comments!
 

meronebib

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Isn't Cornell going debt-free? The dean strongly hinted at this during our interview day.
Debt-free is only for those who qualify. If OP’s family is well off, he/she will still have to take loans.

I see the only real concern with Hopkins being that it’s in Baltimore. No AOA for residency apps is arguably a good thing. Hopkins’ reputation is strong and will not make it harder for you to match into ortho. If you’re not getting financial aid, it will also be cheaper for you (living in Baltimore is much cheaper than NYC). I’m leaning Hopkins.
 
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When I interviewed at Cornell I definitely got a feel that the rankings made things a bit competitive. Idk it just seemed like they were a bit stressed.

I worked at JHop for a while and I didn't feel like the attendings were like that at all. In fact one of my closest family friends is an ortho attending at JHop and he loves the students, so hopefully there's others like him as well.

HSS is definitely an amazing place but keep in mind that some places the medical students don't do too much and the residents/fellows are doing everything and other places the med students actually really get to participate. Idk how HSS is (or JHop), but it's just a thought that sometimes the best hospital doesn't necessarily mean the best learning opportunities.

To me the only real con for JHop is Baltimore. There are places you can live that are totally fine, but it isn't my favorite city. There seems to be more cons for Cornell imo
 
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Thanks for the comments guys! Keep them coming.

Debt-free is only for those who qualify. If OP’s family is well off, he/she will still have to take loans.

This. My EFC was extremely high, such that Cornell only offered me 7k of institutional loans so at best debt-free would only make Cornell cheaper for me by 7k/year.

Would love to hear more perspectives from people!
 
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Don’t think there’s much of a difference in rep here. Hopkins will help in fields like IM, Cornell in ortho by a large margin (affiliation w HSS plus insane track record in matching into this field). HSS gives advantage in moreso for research and LORs, rather than clinical experience or shadowing which you’ll find at either place.

I’d focus on where you would be happier and less on prestige. If all else is equal, and you’re set on ortho I would go to Cornell hands down. If you were interested in IM it would be a diff story.
 
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Don’t think there’s much of a difference in rep here. Hopkins will help in fields like IM, Cornell in ortho by a large margin (affiliation w HSS plus insane track record in matching into this field). HSS gives advantage in moreso for research and LORs, rather than clinical experience or shadowing which you’ll find at either place.

I’d focus on where you would be happier and less on prestige. If all else is equal, and you’re set on ortho I would go to Cornell hands down. If you were interested in IM it would be a diff story.

Thanks for your response. Besides the clinical aspect of Cornell having an advantage in surgical subspecialties, do you think Hopkins would give me more of an edge in doing leadership type activities such as health policy?
 
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Just a side note, there's no internal ranking during the P/F preclinical year at Cornell. I also think AOA and ranking is decided on your clerkship grades with the rankings involving quartiles rather than giving each student a number value
 
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Don’t know too much about the strength of these schools in those other areas so I can’t say for sure. I cant see a reason why Hopkins would give you an edge other than the fact that much of Cornell’s campus is in Ithaca. Cornell is an elite institution in almost every field, not just med.

I’d again urge you to not focus much on prestige here. It is very important, I usually advocate heavily for considering it. But in your case, both schools are virtually identical in that regard and just have different strengths, and so I would focus on where your quality of life would be highest. 4 years is a long time, and this is the start of your career. Want to do it right by going where you’re happiest and can thrive.
 
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Just a side note, there's no internal ranking during the P/F preclinical year at Cornell. I also think AOA and ranking is decided on your clerkship grades with the rankings involving quartiles rather than giving each student a number value

Oh wait really? When I was talking to some current students at second look they said there was internal ranking during preclinical, I got mixed responses on this so I wasn't really sure. Do we have any current students that can comment on this? Also, does the ranking and AOA show up on your residency app or after you graduate? Maybe @Avada Cadaver has some insight?
 

capriccio

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I've heard that it's a competitive/stressful atmosphere (gunner vibe)?!? It was hard for me to get a sense of that on my interview day though so not sure
I didn't get this vibe at all at second look, and they explicitly said that they are making conscious effort to dispel that reputation and focusing on students. I thought the other accepted students were very nice/chill, and the current students were all friendly and not gunner-like as far as I could tell.
 
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Don’t know too much about the strength of these schools in those other areas so I can’t say for sure. I cant see a reason why Hopkins would give you an edge other than the fact that much of Cornell’s campus is in Ithaca. Cornell is an elite institution in almost every field, not just med.

I’d again urge you to not focus much on prestige here. It is very important, I usually advocate heavily for considering it. But in your case, both schools are virtually identical in that regard and just have different strengths, and so I would focus on where your quality of life would be highest. 4 years is a long time, and this is the start of your career. Want to do it right by going where you’re happiest and can thrive.

Thank you very much for your honest assessment. I will definitely keep this in mind when deciding
 

capriccio

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If you receive a better financial package to Hopkins, I would pick it without hesitation. If equal, I would still lean towards Hopkins but you should most heavily consider where you think you would be the most happy in terms of location and program fit. If that's Cornell, so be it—the prestige differences among the T20s are not significant enough (imo) to sway a decision wholly. It does seem from your pro/cons that Hopkins is better for your healthy policy and global health aspirations though.
 
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If you’re sure you want to go ortho, you don’t pass up HSS. Getting your LORs from big names at HSS will open many doors.
 
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If you stick ortho they're both pretty fantastic. The matchlists are very comparable over the past few years, and I think that casts doubt over the idea that having the HSS affiliation will give you any more of a leg up than having "Hopkins" on your CV. If you're seriously interested in policy and/or global health then Cornell is great, but Hopkins is on another tier. If you're more casually interested in those two fields, then I'd say it's a wash and you should choose the city/school you think you'd best succeed in.
 
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Oh wait really? When I was talking to some current students at second look they said there was internal ranking during preclinical, I got mixed responses on this so I wasn't really sure. Do we have any current students that can comment on this? Also, does the ranking and AOA show up on your residency app or after you graduate? Maybe @Avada Cadaver has some insight?
Allo!
There aren’t any internal rankings for preclinical! They do keep track of your grades to email you for tutoring if you fail a unit or fail multiple exams in a row or something like that.

As far as AOA, it does show on residency apps. At our last deans breakfast, he talked about wanting to get rid of AOA but I couldn’t tell you when that would happen.
 
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Personally, I would chose Hopkins unless you have compelling reasons to be in NYC, or can't stand being in a small city (Baltimore can feel that way... not a whole lot to do outside a few nice pockets of the city). Go with your gut here: if you cannot see yourself in Baltimore, or you are a born and bred new yorker, you should go to Cornell. If being in a big city is not that important to you but you're just worried about Baltimore, you may be pleasantly surprised!

Re: Safety. The area around Hopkins has been really cleaned up / gentrified over the years; I would not be that concerned. If you have street smarts (if you don't you'll learn with time), it is highly, highly unlikely you will be a victim of a violent crime.

Comparing Hopkins Ortho to HSS is getting into minutae that should not be the deciding factor. You may not match Ortho in the end and both have fabulous match lists.

However, you WILL spend either 4 years in Manhattan, or 4 years in Baltimore. Go with the better fit if one clearly rubs you the wrong way; if you're ambivalent, go to Hopkins, it's the better school, especially if you change your mind about ortho.
 
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Personally, I would chose Hopkins unless you have compelling reasons to be in NYC, or can't stand being in a small city (Baltimore can feel that way... not a whole lot to do outside a few nice pockets of the city). Go with your gut here: if you cannot see yourself in Baltimore, or you are a born and bred new yorker, you should go to Cornell. If being in a big city is not that important to you but you're just worried about Baltimore, you may be pleasantly surprised!

Re: Safety. The area around Hopkins has been really cleaned up / gentrified over the years; I would not be that concerned. If you have street smarts (if you don't you'll learn with time), it is highly, highly unlikely you will be a victim of a violent crime.

Comparing Hopkins Ortho to HSS is getting into minutae that should not be the deciding factor. You may not match Ortho in the end and both have fabulous match lists.

However, you WILL spend either 4 years in Manhattan, or 4 years in Baltimore. Go with the better fit if one clearly rubs you the wrong way; if you're ambivalent, go to Hopkins, it's the better school, especially if you change your mind about ortho.

I’d disagree that Hopkins is a “better” school than Cornell. They’re in the same class. Of course it's specialty dependent, but there are areas where Cornell > Hopkins and areas where Hopkins > Cornell.

Cornell is one of the best med schools in the world, its affiliated hospitals (Sloan, HSS, NYP) are top notch, the reputation of graduates from there is top notch, they place into the same tier of programs as Hopkins. I dont go to either school, but I think you’re underselling Cornell and overselling Hopkins.
 
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I’d disagree that Hopkins is a “better” school than Cornell. They’re in the same class. Of course it's specialty dependent, but there are areas where Cornell > Hopkins and areas where Hopkins > Cornell.

Cornell is one of the best med schools in the world, its affiliated hospitals (Sloan, HSS, NYP) are top notch, the reputation of graduates from there is top notch, they place into the same tier of programs as Hopkins. I dont go to either school, but I think you’re underselling Cornell and overselling Hopkins.

Outside of orthopedics, does Cornell hold the edge over Hopkins for other surgical subspecialties such as plastics?

I think the reason a lot of people are saying they think Hopkins is better (and why I thought so as well) is because residency director rankings (which I thought were supposed to be more insulated from the more unstable USNWR research rankings) consistently have Cornell around mid teens and Hopkins always in top 5 and usually #2.

I know that you always advocate for choosing prestige when it matters, so I was a little surprised when you said these schools were equivalent in terms of that. As a premed, I don't really know how to compare prestige of these schools. I appreciate you taking the time to explain and dispel misconceptions.
 
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I’d disagree that Hopkins is a “better” school than Cornell. They’re in the same class. Of course it's specialty dependent, but there are areas where Cornell > Hopkins and areas where Hopkins > Cornell.

Cornell is one of the best med schools in the world, its affiliated hospitals (Sloan, HSS, NYP) are top notch, the reputation of graduates from there is top notch, they place into the same tier of programs as Hopkins. I dont go to either school, but I think you’re underselling Cornell and overselling Hopkins.

Eh.
JHU = solid top 5
Cornell = solid top 20
 
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bearsfan95

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Hopkins

Cons
  • Location is in Baltimore, worried about safety
  • I've heard that it is difficult to get in contact with ortho faculty/they aren't very supportive?!? I'm not sure if this is true, please correct me if I am wrong
  • I've heard that it's a competitive/stressful atmosphere (gunner vibe)?!? It was hard for me to get a sense of that on my interview day though so not sure
Thank you for taking the time to read this and for your comments!

First of all, congratulations to you. Second, I can speak to a few of your cons having worked at the Hospital.

Baltimore is underrated, an improving city (albeit the gentrification) and the Harbor East, Harbor Point, Fells Point, Canton strip is extremely safe and very close to the Hospital. There is an underserved neighborhood in Washington Hill between the areas aforementioned, but I have never in my travel through it been bothered.

I worked and shadowed Ortho Trauma while I was there and they were incredibly accommodating and responsive to me, and I was not even a medical student. The cases I saw were complex, team-oriented (many people ~10 contributing expertise) and tied into the greater socio-issues of Baltimore (teenage gun violence, drug abuse) which led to me having a great experience. I have nothing but great things to say about the Hospital and it's staff -- who didnt take their job because Baltimore was a city they dreamed of living in, they took a job that allowed them to discover, innovate and advance medicine... as well as be a healer to people who come from criminally underserved areas and from across the globe with rare, intricate diseases you won't see anywhere else.
 
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bearsfan95

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I can't speak to Cornell, it's in an amazing area of the city, with incredible hospital systems accessible to you -- and it may offer the same exact experience and the prestige difference may be meaningless in the end. I do think you can easily match from Hopkins into HSS for Ortho residency... I think the advantage I'll emphasize one more time is that at Hopkins the faculty took their job with a focus on teaching, treating, and researching -- with no outside influence from a big city. This might make Hopkins more ideal learning environment for you as a medical student. Just my 2 cents, good luck!!!
 
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meronebib

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I can't speak to Cornell, it's in an amazing area of the city, with incredible hospital systems accessible to you -- and it may offer the same exact experience and the prestige difference may be meaningless in the end. I do think you can easily match from Hopkins into HSS for Ortho residency... I think the advantage I'll emphasize one more time is that at Hopkins the faculty took their job with a focus on teaching, treating, and researching -- with no outside influence from a big city. This might make Hopkins more ideal learning environment for you as a medical student. Just my 2 cents, good luck!!!
About HSS - OP, don’t think you’ll have some magical ticket into it because you’re from Cornell. I think there was only one Cornell student in the last 3 classes who matched at HSS. You’ll definitely have the opportunity to do research there, but so will all the other Manhattan giants. And the HSS summer fellowship is open to all students (although I’ve heard that Cornell students do seem to be the majority getting this fellowship). But you won’t have any problems securing this fellowship coming from Hopkins.
 
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Avada Cadaver

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About HSS - OP, don’t think you’ll have some magical ticket into it because you’re from Cornell. I think there was only one Cornell student in the last 3 classes who matched at HSS. You’ll definitely have the opportunity to do research there, but so will all the other Manhattan giants. And the HSS summer fellowship is open to all students (although I’ve heard that Cornell students do seem to be the majority getting this fellowship). But you won’t have any problems securing this fellowship coming from Hopkins.
Correct; 50% of the HSS summer fellowship is reserved for WCM students.

Outside of orthopedics, does Cornell hold the edge over Hopkins for other surgical subspecialties such as plastics?

I think the reason a lot of people are saying they think Hopkins is better (and why I thought so as well) is because residency director rankings (which I thought were supposed to be more insulated from the more unstable USNWR research rankings) consistently have Cornell around mid teens and Hopkins always in top 5 and usually #2.

I know that you always advocate for choosing prestige when it matters, so I was a little surprised when you said these schools were equivalent in terms of that. As a premed, I don't really know how to compare prestige of these schools. I appreciate you taking the time to explain and dispel misconceptions.
I can't tell you what opportunities you'd get at JHU that you couldn't at WCM, JHU is an amazing medical school consistently t5. But, unlike USNews rankings, Cornell's residency director ratings has been in the t10 for the past two-decade @4.3-4.1.
 
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Outside of orthopedics, does Cornell hold the edge over Hopkins for other surgical subspecialties such as plastics?

I think the reason a lot of people are saying they think Hopkins is better (and why I thought so as well) is because residency director rankings (which I thought were supposed to be more insulated from the more unstable USNWR research rankings) consistently have Cornell around mid teens and Hopkins always in top 5 and usually #2.

I know that you always advocate for choosing prestige when it matters, so I was a little surprised when you said these schools were equivalent in terms of that. As a premed, I don't really know how to compare prestige of these schools. I appreciate you taking the time to explain and dispel misconceptions.

I dont think Cornell holds an edge outside ortho, I think they’re both pretty equivalent in most areas. Hopkins would have an edge in IM and related subspecialties.

I usually advocate for “prestige” in terms of it making a meaningful difference in a student’s outcomes. I understand Hopkins is ranked higher, but in my opinion that doesnt mean anything.

I think if you look at both schools match lists blindly over past several years, you’ll see there’s no difference in quality of outcomes overall. At my program and similar ones, a candidate is not going to get a “leg up” for going to hopkins vs cornell. The track record for both insitutions placing at cream of crop programs and churning out leaders in medicine is similar. Now you might say what about the actual opportunites in med school. Hopkins boasts one of the best hospitals in the world. But Cornell counters with some of the best hospitals in the world too. Of course there are meaningful differences in patient population etc and so I would def consider that.

That’s why in this case I don’t advocate for prestige. In a field like ortho who you know matters a lot, and the opportunity to work with HSS docs is hard to beat. Hopkins doesnt have a great ortho program. But you can still match well from either school in that field, I wouldn’t fixate on that and I would instead focus on other factors.

As far as other posters saying thins like “Hopkins is top 5 and Cornell is top 20” I really disagree with that mindset of using an arbitrary number to make a decision.
 
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Hi everyone, thanks so much for all your comments. I heard back from FA at Hopkins and it is all federal loans, whereas Cornell would be 7k institutional plus the rest in federal.

I spoke to the Cornell's financial aid, and asked them what would happen if a sibling of mine went to college (this would be the case during my M2-M4 years) and they said my EFC would drop such that I would be receiving 29k in institutional loans instead. If Cornell does go debt free, that would become scholarship money, potentially saving me ~100k over 4 years if they implemented the debt free policy at white coat ceremony this year.

I'm not really sure what to do here. I'm not sure how much substance the debt free rumors have. I directly asked the financial aid office about this and they said they are working towards a debt free policy but they have no idea when it would be implemented. They also said if it were to be implemented, they don't know if they would phase it in and offer it to only certain students, or if they would offer it to everyone who had institutional loans right away.

Any comments or thoughts would be appreciated!
 
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Hi everyone, thanks so much for all your comments. I heard back from FA at Hopkins and it is all federal loans, whereas Cornell would be 7k institutional plus the rest in federal.

I spoke to the Cornell's financial aid, and asked them what would happen if a sibling of mine went to college (this would be the case during my M2-M4 years) and they said my EFC would drop such that I would be receiving 29k in institutional loans instead. If Cornell does go debt free, that would become scholarship money, potentially saving me ~100k over 4 years if they implemented the debt free policy at white coat ceremony this year.

I'm not really sure what to do here. I'm not sure how much substance the debt free rumors have. I directly asked the financial aid office about this and they said they are working towards a debt free policy but they have no idea when it would be implemented. They also said if it were to be implemented, they don't know if they would phase it in and offer it to only certain students, or if they would offer it to everyone who had institutional loans right away.

Any comments or thoughts would be appreciated!

I think you should compare the price of Cornell now (including the price change when your sibling goes to college) vs Hopkins now. I think being dependent on Cornell going debt free is a bad idea. You don't know when it'll happen or if and you don't know the terms. I think you should make your choice based on the current reality and not the what ifs - although I do sympathize with your situation and how tough it must be
 
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Hi everyone, thanks so much for all your replies and advice! I spoke to the Hopkins financial aid office over the last few days, and they told me that during my 2nd-4th years when my sibling would be in college, my financial aid package would work out such that Hopkins would actually be cheaper than Cornell, even if Cornell goes debt free! Their formula was a lot more friendly to my family finances than Cornell's. I decided that it made a lot more sense to go to Hopkins financially.

Furthermore, I realized that while Cornell had a stronger home orthopedic program, I don't know for sure if I want to do orthopedics. In med school, I might end up changing my mind to something else surgical like plastics etc. which Hopkins has strong home programs for. Even if I end up choosing orthopedics, I do not think Hopkins will hold me back. And for residency, I do want to come back to my home state (not NY), and so I would not want to match to Cornell's ortho program, despite it being the best in the country. So for my specific goals, Hopkins will be more than adequate. All this, combined with how I saw that Hopkins has a lot of infrastructure in place for my health policy interests that I did not specifically see at Cornell either on interview day or during revisit, made this decision much easier.

I'm going to be attending Hopkins next year!
 
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