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Macaulay Honors at Hunter or Cornell University

Aspiringearth

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Macaulay Honors College at Hunter (CUNY)

Pros:
- Full Ride (No Debt)
- $7500 Opportunities Fund for Study Abroad or Research
- Priority Course Registration (Important to graduate in 4 years)
- Personal Attention/Mentoring
- Free Dorm first and possibly second year

Cons:
- Not nearly as reputable as the ivy name (does the ivy name matter in medical school admissions?)
- Is a CUNY (facilities aren't the best, neither are the students)
- No "college experience"

Cornell University (CALS Biology and Society Major)

Pros:
- Reputation
- Very Well-Funded
- Biology and Society Major aligns very well with my undergraduate interests
- Was selected as a Hunter Rawlings Presidential Research Scholar (only 2-3 percent of admitted Cornell freshmen are selected)
- Includes 8000 dollar research account and direct access to do research under the mentorship of Cornell professors. Will have guidance in publishing research

Cons:
- EXPENSIVE: Cornell is asking for 30k a year. The financial aid package offered requires me to do:
- Work/study and research hours, which would rack up to at least 15 hours a week.
- Must take out student loans. Still need to talk to family about this, but I'm estimating to meet what Cornell deemed out "expected family contribution" I'd need to take out an additional ~8000 in loans a year

As a rising college freshman, which would be the better option when taking into consideration finances, the chances of being admitted to medical school (possibly the best ones), and my sanity/well-being? Thank you.
 

vivienneau

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Coming from CUNY myself, I’d say if you’re going for pre-med and are discipline enough to handle CUNY, Macaulay is a more sensible choice in the financial aspect. But do note that, CUNY does not provide a lot of personal guidance that you will expect from a private institute. Oftentimes, you have to figure things out yourself, such as registrations and managing your premed track. As Macaulay student, you do get priority in registration, which is a game changer in CUNY. But other than that, you will not have a college campus, friends that will hang out outside of school (as everyone’s rushing home or to work), pretty much no parties, or any typical college life you might expect. I graduated from CUNY Hunter with a full ride and I’m going to a MD program coming Fall. Do I regret my decision? Maybe sometimes. The fact that I had to do everything on my own and basically have only made a couple of close friends make me a loner at school. But having $0 debt going into med school gives me great comfort. Plus I think connections that I’ll make in med school may be way more long lasting than undergrad.
 
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Aspiringearth

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Thank you for your insight. Does anyone else have the alternate perspective, coming from a good private institution but having to take out loans? Or would anyone know more specifically about Macaulay, Cornell, the research program @ Cornell, and how that played into their premed experience?
 

Osminog

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I strongly recommend going with Macaulay Honors. Interest rapidly piles onto pre-med debt while you're in medical school, and it's awful. Also, Cornell is known for its super-competitive environment and grade deflation. As a Cornell pre-med, your "college experience" would most likely involve being hunched over books in the library for days on end.

I know several people at T10 med schools who were in Macaulay Honors at Hunter. If you're self-driven and proactive (when it comes to research, volunteering, etc.) and you do well academically, things will turn out very well for you.
 
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