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Oct 30, 2020
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I know this question gets asked yearly but with TMDSAS ranking deadline coming up soon, I have to make a decision on how to rank these two schools. I was fortunate enough to prematch at McGovern but not UTSW. It’s very likely that I will be pursuing a competitive speciality (leaning towards ortho) but could always change. Both schools are amazing but I just do not want to have any regrets. Overall I want to be as competitive as possible but still want to make friends in school and be happy while doing it. Any advice is appreciated!!

McGovern

Pros:
- TMC
- I love Houston way more than Dallas
- Close to family
- Collaborative environment (loved the interview day here)
- High ortho matches

Cons:
- not P/F
- Not as highly ranked as UTSW
- Traditional 2 year preclerkship

UTSW

Pros:
- highly ranked which helps for competitive specialities
- Have friends in the Dallas area
- P/F
- Only 1.5 years of preclerkship
- TONS of research opportunities

Cons:
- not as collaborative as McGovern
- Unsure about vibe from students
- In Dallas lol
 

bananabread99

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Jan 4, 2018
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Of course, UTSW has the added ranking / prestige, but from your list, it seems like you much prefer McGovern. Since both schools are objectively good, have amazing clinical / research opportunities, and will get you where you need to go (ortho, possibly), I think you should go where you think you will fit in best and where you got the best vibe on Interview Day. Best of Luck :)
 
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Oct 30, 2020
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Of course, UTSW has the added ranking / prestige, but from your list, it seems like you much prefer McGovern. Since both schools are objectively good, have amazing clinical / research opportunities, and will get you where you need to go (ortho, possibly), I think you should go where you think you will fit in best and where you got the best vibe on Interview Day. Best of Luck :)
McGovern would be perfect if it was pass/fail but it’s not. I also really love that UTSW has early clerkship too! I just do not know because they both are great schools!
 

2010houston

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I feel like the uncollaborative / more cutthroat vibe is often posted about UTSW, but when you speak to students who actually went there, they say the opposite. I wonder if you could spend a little time trying to talk to some current students and get a better idea if the vibe you got on interview day is real or not? Maybe you could talk to people specifically interested in ortho or other surgical subs.
 
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Nov 25, 2020
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I feel like the uncollaborative / more cutthroat vibe is often posted about UTSW, but when you speak to students who actually went there, they say the opposite. I wonder if you could spend a little time trying to talk to some current students and get a better idea if the vibe you got on interview day is real or not? Maybe you could talk to people specifically interested in ortho or other surgical subs.
I'm curious about this too. Whenever UTSW students on interview panels were asked about this, they said that they felt it may have been a remnant of an older time / older way of doing things at UTSW (e.g. older curriculum) but that they had never encountered a cutthroat culture/environment during their time. If you learn anything -- or if anyone else knows anything -- about the topic, I would be grateful to hear!
 
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Kracin

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May 17, 2017
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when you speak to students who actually went there, they say the opposite.
Interview day is incredibly tough to gauge what the class profile is like because students self-select themselves to say positive things. I have good friends at UTSW who feel some levels of toxic competition within their class. But I'm not sure if its actually worse than elsewhere, and McGovern has its own cons as well (for ex. how much students hate the graded preclinical).

That is to say, these are both amazing schools with pros and cons. Try to reach out to friends and find students in each school if any particular aspect worries you. Given that your family is in Houston, and you like Houston more - I'd choose McGovern.
 
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Oct 30, 2020
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I'm curious about this too. Whenever UTSW students on interview panels were asked about this, they said that they felt it may have been a remnant of an older time / older way of doing things at UTSW (e.g. older curriculum) but that they had never encountered a cutthroat culture/environment during their time. If you learn anything -- or if anyone else knows anything -- about the topic, I would be grateful to hear!
Yeah they said they had never once felt that cutthroat experience with their classmates. But they definitely had more of an intense vibe compared to the McGovern students on my interview day which isn’t necessarily bad.
 
Oct 30, 2020
14
44
Interview day is incredibly tough to gauge what the class profile is like because students self-select themselves to say positive things. I have good friends at UTSW who feel some levels of toxic competition within their class. But I'm not sure if its actually worse than elsewhere, and McGovern has its own cons as well (for ex. how much students hate the graded preclinical).

That is to say, these are both amazing schools with pros and cons. Try to reach out to friends and find students in each school if any particular aspect worries you. Given that your family is in Houston, and you like Houston more - I'd choose McGovern.
See that’s why I’m apprehensive with McGovern bc of not having P/F, I feel that just add more stress during preclerkship. But you are right hard to gauge anything through a virtual interview!
 

Ole_Toe

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Personally, there is no way I would go to a school that doesn't have P/F preclinical. Maybe someone who attends one of these schools can chime in? You're interested in competitive specialties and you have a choice between a higher ranked school with P/F and a lower ranked school with preclinical grades. Now that Step 1 is pass/fail those grades are going to be even more important. There are so many external factors that can cause you to get bad/mediocre grades for a few blocks or even a semester. Do you really want to make that gamble? You will also have to devote more time to studying in those preclinical years which means that you will have fewer hours to devote to research in the field of your competitive specialty.
 
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Oct 30, 2020
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Personally, there is no way I would go to a school that doesn't have P/F preclinical. Maybe someone who attends one of these schools can chime in? You're interested in competitive specialties and you have a choice between a higher ranked school with P/F and a lower ranked school with preclinical grades. Now that Step 1 is pass/fail those grades are going to be even more important. There are so many external factors that can cause you to get bad/mediocre grades for a few blocks or even a semester. Do you really want to make that gamble? You will also have to devote more time to studying in those preclinical years which means that you will have fewer hours to devote to research in the field of your competitive specialty.
Really good point! Thank you!
 
Apr 25, 2020
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Just to chime in here, I recently learned that UTSW's preclinical isn't *actually* pass/fail like some other p/f schools. The first semester is, but your preclinical grades for the next two semesters are used to internally rank you and count towards AOA eligibility, although your final transcript will still just have Ps (but it will display your class quartile which I'm assuming preclinical grades are factored into). I've heard mixed things about this; on one hand, you have a way to slightly stand out from the crowd with a strong preclinical performance and a little more control over getting into AOA (I've talked to students at true p/f schools where they complain about AOA selection not being like an honor society anymore and placing more emphasis on extracurriculars/ethnicity/etc.), but the internal ranking aspect might contribute to that cutthroat culture that everyone seems to be so worried about. Currently in a similar boat where I'm deciding between UTSW and another highly ranked school with a true p/f preclinical, and since I want the option to match into a competitive specialty if I choose later, I'm also asking the same questions.
 
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