SDN members see fewer ads and full resolution images. Join our non-profit community!

How do I decide between UT Houston and UTMB?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by spacecadet, Oct 15, 2001.

  1. spacecadet

    spacecadet Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    414
    0
    Jul 2, 2001
    Houston, TX
    Well, my interviews are over and it is time for me to rank my Texas schools (the ones I mentioned in the title). I really liked both schools. I don't know how to decide.

    Let me give you some background. I am an almost-32yo non-trad and I live in Clear Lake (~30 miles from both UTH and UTMB). The commute will suck either way, but I'm hoping I can take the bus to UTH. If not, traffic will be horrendous. No bus to UTMB, but traffic is not bad.

    I honestly do not know how to decide. The students were awesome at both schools. The hospitals at UTH are more extensive, but the classes are all day (vs. 1/2 day at UTMB).

    Do any of you UTH or UTMB students have any advice for me? How did you decide? I don't have to rank them right now, but the longer I wait, the less I will remember the schools!

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. SDN Members don't see this ad. About the ads.
  3. simpleton

    simpleton Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    225
    0
    Jul 20, 2001
    I don't think the allopathic med students want to deal with your pre-med woes. Try reposting in the Pre-Allopathic forum. They aren't trying to sound pompus or belittle your problems they are just too busy to have to weed through extraneous post.
     
  4. guardian

    guardian Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    389
    0
    Apr 25, 2001
    NY
    I think this question belongs in the allopathic forum. Who here doesn't like to give advice or information?

    Besides I'm sure threads from a week ago are still on the first page.
     
  5. spacecadet

    spacecadet Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    414
    0
    Jul 2, 2001
    Houston, TX
    Wow, that was rude. By "they" I assume you mean "I".

    I usually post on pre-med, but I'm asking the advice of students who go to the schools - not premeds. My advice would be that you don't click on threads that you are not interested in reading. It's pretty obvious that this message was posted by a premed, don't you think?

    Thanks guardian.

    I'm certainly not trying to start any wars over here, but that response really took me aback. I apologize if other people feel the same way as simpleton.
     
  6. vixen

    vixen I like members 10+ Year Member

    5,760
    1
    Oct 17, 2000
    upstate ny
    Of course you can post here...how would premeds be able to compare the schools when they don't go to med school!
     
  7. Starflyr

    Starflyr Manic Faerie 10+ Year Member

    745
    0
    Apr 11, 2000
    Dickinson, Tx
    Hi Spacecadet :)

    I dont know why some people are unbearably rude, but perhaps they were having exceptionally bad days. Not all of us feel that way! Anyways, I thought I might post something constructive....

    Im a 1st year at UTMB, and I interviewed at UTH as well. I'll tell you my reasons for ranking UTMB first and UTH dead last.

    1) I highly dislike big cities. I would've moved to Houston, so this makes a big difference for me. For you, not so much.

    2) While students were great at both UTH and UTMB, I found UTMB people to be more genuinely friendly (random people in the basic sciences building wished our tour group luck, for example).

    3) I find the curriculum at Galveston better for me. As you mentioned, the 1/2 day classes leave you a LOT of individual study time (courses are NOT ALLOWED to have more than 22 hours of faculty-led learning per week). Also, the balance between PBL and lecture is really good. Houstons curriculum seemed more traditional "unless you stay up all night, you wont be able to go over this material. Hope you learn it in class! Also the houston anatomy lab was BY FAR scarier and creepier than ours (ours has skylights...and is on the 3rd floor...). There are some people who live in Clearlake that come to school here, there is also a commuter van that comes in from Clearlake if you dont want to drive. Also, there are a significant number of "older" students here - families and being married are not uncommon (I dont really know about Houston in this respect. seemed younger to me, but.) The best I can suggest is this: Go with your gut instinct. Dont overanalyze. If you find yourself saying "well, Galveston sounds really good, but I still felt more comfortable at UTH" go with UTH. Ditto if the situation is reversed. Either way, you'll get a good education. Good luck!

    Star
     
  8. SocialistMD

    SocialistMD Resident Objectivist 10+ Year Member

    2,913
    10
    Jan 29, 2001
    Oregon
    I don't really think I can help you decide because the choice should be based on which school fits your personality best. However, for the UT-H perspective:

    I chose UT-H over UTMB for the following reasons:

    1.) TMC, the world's largest medical center. Hands down, the most exposure you will get in Texas if not the US. Medical schools are medical schools. Graduate from any and you will have the same degree (MD or DO). It is the exposure and experience you gain in med school that is important (at least, to me).

    2.) I like big cities. Galveston seemed too far removed from anything to be very fun. I have a tendency to go out quite a bit (especially since I am now in med school; odd, no?) and Galveston just didn't seem like that hoppin' a place.

    3.) My interviews at UTMB and UT-H were pretty much just the opposite of Star's. I didn't even meet a single UTMB student except at their little chat session. I couldn't have avoided the UT-H students if I had tried. Plus, UTMB seemed generally older than UT-H. Still, the main two determining factors for me were TMC and students.

    Other random facts: My class has several "older" students. I would guess that 10-15% of my class has been out of school a few years, and a greater percentage graduated college in 2000. As for the anatomy lab, UTMB does have us beat, especially since we are out at OCB and your class will be, too. However, I rode my bike out there this afternoon (they do have shuttles) and it only took me ~15 minutes. Still, it is an inconvenience. Right now our first year curriculum is more traditional, but I think it is becoming more integrated. Second year is when PBL begins. It really isn't that overwhelming of a courseload provided you keep up.

    Again, it all comes down to where you feel the most comfortable. I can't really tell you which would be better because I don't know what is best for you; only you know this. Good luck.
     
  9. spacecadet

    spacecadet Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    414
    0
    Jul 2, 2001
    Houston, TX
    Thanks for the input so far. I really appreciate the help! You guys are awesome. :)
     
  10. snow100

    snow100 Member 7+ Year Member

    29
    0
    Sep 29, 2001
    hi.

    i interviewed at both and i ranked houston over galveston. i am not a big fan of big cities either but it looks like either way, u will be living in clear lake so that solves that problem. i just hate galveston and that was the deciding factor for me. yeah, houston goes to class longer but that only is the first semester or year i think, then after that it is better. galveston is probably more laid back though. i put galveston dead last mostly because i didn't like the school and houston will give u more options as far as seeing different kinds of things. more hospitals....bla bla bla. funny though.....i am in medical school now and i am dropping out this week! i don't think medicine is for me. i have been doing well, i just don't like it...... so i don't know if u want to take advice from a med school drop out. haha see ya

    snow :)
     
  11. Ray

    Ray Member 10+ Year Member

    46
    0
    Dec 5, 1999
    I just moved from Clear Lake two months ago. I was just down there this weekend for a wedding in Galveston.
    For what it's worth (I'm not sure when rankings are due), I prefered UTH. This is simply because I despise the island. What I would do is move close to 288 in Pearland - it's amazing how quickly you can get to the med center from there.
    Although, if I had to remain in CL, I think I would choose UTMB due to the drive. It is a nice cruise down 45 with no traffic at 90 errrrr...70 miles per hour (I used to work there).
    The fact that UTH keeps their students in class so much would be miserable - combined with commuting to downtown. I'm in med school now and I know I wouldn't enjoy that situation, especially with kids. It's just a matter of having time for studying and family. I have known several people who have done it but...
    One other thing, right now, UTH is sharing their cadavers with the dental school and Baylor since their's got wiped out in the flood. You might want to find out what else they lost.
     
  12. SocialistMD

    SocialistMD Resident Objectivist 10+ Year Member

    2,913
    10
    Jan 29, 2001
    Oregon
    Not any more. We have our own facility back up and running. We also lost the famous "leather lounge" and the LRC, but they are both supposed to be back up by next fall. Other than that, we are still fully functional. The only thing in the basement that would matter to med students was the anatomy lab and the first floor had mostly administrative offices (besides the leather lounge and the LRC).
     
  13. mr_sparkle

    mr_sparkle Member 10+ Year Member

    50
    0
    Jan 20, 2001
    NY, NY
    I would choose UTMB because they're building a Biosafety Level 4 facility out there. Admittedly, I'm biased because I dig medical research. Their microbio dept is aggressively expanding and recruiting more people. It's a neat arrangement, they have the P4 lab in the middle of a moat. In the event of a hurricane the lab has automated incineration capability.

    Anyway, I think UTMB has the "cool" factor going for it.
     
  14. Ray

    Ray Member 10+ Year Member

    46
    0
    Dec 5, 1999
    Dude, y'all lost the leather lounger in the "70's bar"? UTMB all the way then!
     
  15. aliraja

    aliraja Troublemaker 10+ Year Member

    212
    1
    Oct 18, 2001
    I'm from Houston and know a bunch of people at both schools... here's my quick take.

    UTH: Great med center. Amazing hospitals. MD Anderson? C'mon! You can't do any better. BUT (and, please, hold the flames for this) UTH, as an institution, has a chip on it's shoulder since baylor is next door. Take it or leave it.

    UTMB: Not much of a med center, but a great place to live and a really solid school. Really intelligent people that chose to come to UTMB for lifestyle rather than go to some gunner school... Cool med school fraternities...

    Depends. Wanna live in Houston and be in the med center? Wanna be in a frat on the beach?

    Just my take...
     
  16. Jeff698

    Jeff698 EM/EMS nerd 15+ Year Member

    2,000
    14
    Aug 11, 2000
    Salado, Texas
    Easy, in the spot where it says number 1 pick, put UTMB! Of course, I may be a bit biased. :)

    Seriously, go where you feel the most comfortable. Both schools are great and will prepare you well for the boards, residency and practice.

    UTMB was my top pick because of the curriculum. I'm 33 and married with 2 kids. I felt I would have more time available with our curriculum to be a dad and a husband.

    I really like the ability to intensely focus on one topic at a time and then move on to the next. For example, we just finished anatomy and are starting our integrated biochem course (Molecules, Cells & Tissues) in the morning.

    I also really liked the students I met here. It just felt more friendly than the other schools. Obviously, that's a subjective assessment, but for me it helped clear the choice up.

    If you are really interested in spending alot of time out on the town, Galveston may not be the place for you. I don't go out much since I'm with my kids when I'm not studying. For that matter, I could probably be studying in Big Bend and I wouldn't notice. :) It is, however, kind of nice to go walk on the beach at night after a long night of studying.

    If I can answer any questions for you, drop me an email.

    Take care,
    Jeff Jarvis
    UTMB 2005
     
  17. Fah-Q

    Fah-Q Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    504
    14
    Jul 16, 2001
    Things must have really changed since I interviewed. When I applied everyone just sorta snickered when they mentioned UTMB. Now it seems like people are actually choosing UTMB rather than just being stuck there because they can't get in anywhere else. UTMB's curriculum (one class at a time) might seem easier and better for students but I really disagree with the approach. It doesn't teach you to integrate the basic sciences like you should. It seems like you would just learn biochem and then forget about it and never touch it again until two years later when cramming for the boards. UTH has a much better, integrated curriculum. Everything is taught based on systems (cardiovascular), not just subjects (pathology, pharm, etc.). I won't tell you UTMB is a "bad" school because I don't believe it is. The whole idea of reputation is mostly BS but the idea that UTMB is an inferior state school is definitely out there and popular. The clinical education will be much better at UTH. Houston as a city is not that great but it beats the scrubs off Galveston. I'm glad to see UTMB getting more interest from students but if it was me going through this again I would still not rank UTMB higher than UTH, Dallas, or San Antonio.
     
  18. Starflyr

    Starflyr Manic Faerie 10+ Year Member

    745
    0
    Apr 11, 2000
    Dickinson, Tx
    Fah-Q:

    To clarify some curriculum points:

    first year, the blocks are pretty separated.

    1) Gross anatomy and Radiology - includes some development. Radiology includes physics and reading of MRI, CT, NM, and plain films. Heavily lab based. There is also one PBL case each week, one of which is "integrated" - that means it includes stuff from the other 3 classes (ditto for the next 3 classes).

    2) Molecules, Cells and Tissues - includes embryology, histology, biochemistry, molecular, cellular, etc. VERY heavily PBL based.

    3) Pathobiology and Host Defenses - Pathology and immunology, basically. This obviously incorporates anatomy, radiology and MCT stuff...

    4) Neuroscience - neuro and psychiatry. More heavily focused on the brain, but also reviews all innervations.

    Second year begins the organ systems approach - Does the regular systems-based thing, with one block to each system. The added perk is that you already KNOW the anatomy, etc etc etc.

    We also have a 2 year class called Practice of Medicine, where we learn history and physicals, plus we do site visits at clinics or in the hospital. It also covers ethics and all that fun stuff. It helps review, since when you find an abnormality (or learn the signs) you have to understand WHY the sign is such and such. I think its a good curriculm, personally, though, like Jeff, I am a bit biased! LOL

    Star
     
  19. spacecadet

    spacecadet Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    414
    0
    Jul 2, 2001
    Houston, TX
    Thank you all so much for the advice. This is really a tough decision!

    I just went in and ranked UTMB first and UTH second. I really liked both schools, but I think the 1/2 day and PBL format will be better for me. I was also excited to hear that there might be van pools down there from where I live. I liked the students at both schools a lot, and I hope that the UTMB students will be accepting of someone who won't be around to go out with them every night. :)

    Also, another huge factor is that one of my interviewers at UTMB basically told me I would be a shoo-in (sp?).

    Thanks for your time in helping me make this decision! You guys are awesome. :)

    Pam
     
  20. SocialistMD

    SocialistMD Resident Objectivist 10+ Year Member

    2,913
    10
    Jan 29, 2001
    Oregon
    Our loss. Hopefully the shuttle van will work out for you.
     
  21. Jeff698

    Jeff698 EM/EMS nerd 15+ Year Member

    2,000
    14
    Aug 11, 2000
    Salado, Texas
    Howdy y'all!

    Since I'm sort of proud of my school and I'm a big fan of opinions based on fact and not rumour, I'll jump in and offer a rebutal to Fah-Q's insights.

    As for the reputation thing, I'm sure you've heard bad things about UTMB. I've actually heard bad things about every school in the state. I think you should take those for what they're worth (very little). I do know that UTMB has a wonderful history and a great tradition of graduating competent physicians.

    As for the curriculum, I think it helps to actually have a background in curriculum design and evaluation to form an opinion on this. Clearly, this isn't a requirement or there wouldn't be many students, but it does help. Obviously, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but you should probably base your decisions on those of people who've actually had some experience with the topic at hand. For my part, this is what I did for a living for the eight years prior to med school. I developed, implemented and evaluated curricula at both the state and college levels and have been involved in the review of them at the national level.

    The capstone experience for all medical students, the thing which schools design their curricula to target, is the USMLE and state's needs. As I'm sure y'all know, the USMLE has been modified to stress integration of basic science material in the context of clinical application. Our curriculum is a HIGHLY integrated one rather than a non-integrated one as you implied. In fact, in some cases, it might be TOO integrated, but it certainly isn't under-integrated.

    Star mentioned the MCT course that we just began today. We don't have a seperate biochemistry, micro, pharm, histology, etc course. They are all integrated together in one course that is focused on clinical application. This approach is consistent throughout the first year. Our second year is system based, much like many other schools, and incorporates more of the first year topics into it. This does two things. First, it helps explain the clinical stuff we're learning in terms of the basic science and second, it helps us understand the relevance of the basic sciences. A nice plus is that it keeps the information fresh in our hot little (overstuffed) heads for Step I.

    Anyway, the bottom line is that you'll get a great education at any school in the state. If you are worried about reputations, ask practicing physicians for their opinions. The opinions of medical students (most certainly including mine) aren't worth much.

    Take care,
    Jeff
    UTMB 2005
     
  22. Jeff698

    Jeff698 EM/EMS nerd 15+ Year Member

    2,000
    14
    Aug 11, 2000
    Salado, Texas
    Howdy Pam!

    I think you'll really be happy here. It is a great school with very good people.

    If I can answer any questions for you, drop me a line.

    Take care,
    Jeff
     
  23. Fah-Q

    Fah-Q Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    504
    14
    Jul 16, 2001
    Glad you made a decision. I know how hard it can be. As for the comment from one of your interviewers...DON'T put stock in it. I have heard too many stories of students hearing they are "definitely in" and then get waitlisted or denied. You might be high enough on their ranklist to be admitted now but nobody can say for sure whether you will be high enough on the list to match in January. There are still tons of interviews to take place and nobody can predict the future...not even a person on the admissions committee. That interviewer may have loved you and the other interviewer may have hated you. Who knows? I really do hope you get in but I hope you don't take that comment from the interviewer to heart and "let-up" at your other interviews (if you have any remaining). Good luck.
     
  24. spacecadet

    spacecadet Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    414
    0
    Jul 2, 2001
    Houston, TX
    SocialistMD: You are one of the reasons that this was so hard to decide! I loved the students up there. :) And since I only have the two schools, there's a good chance I could get either, right?

    Fah-Q: I'm all done with interviews. I only applied to three schools, so it was over quick. Of course, the comments of one interviewer don't mean I'm in. But he was a very experienced admissions guy and I value his opinion. Ok, I know I said it was a huge factor, but it wasn't the deciding factor. All the schools here are so good that I would be thrilled to go to any of them! That's why the decision is so hard!

    Thanks again everyone!

    Pam
     
  25. PathDoc

    PathDoc Member 7+ Year Member

    26
    0
    Aug 16, 2001
    California
    Congratulations and good luck to you Pam. :)
     
  26. Hopkins2010

    Hopkins2010 Banned Banned

    1,709
    1
    Nov 5, 1999
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Dang spacecadet, a 100% conversion ratio between applications and interviews? Thats some percentage you got going there.

    Its just too bad that the match system in Texas will prevent you from going 3 for 3 and getting accepted to ALL 3 of the schools. I'm sure you would have a perfect conversion ratio (application to acceptance) otherwise.

    Good luck, take some time to carefully think about it. I got shunned from UT Houston, and turned down my interview at Texas Tech, so among the TX schools, I'm going to rank UTMB first and UTSA second.
     

Share This Page