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MCW(Med. Col. of Wisconsin) Vs. UW (U. of Wisconsin)

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by uwguy, Dec 5, 2001.

  1. uwguy

    uwguy Member
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    Are you any of you currently students at MCW or UW? What made you decide to choose one over the the other? I currently debating which would be best to attend.
     
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  3. LR6SO4

    LR6SO4 Senior Member
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    I chose to go to another out of state school (That I felt was better, at least for me) but I wrestled with that decision too. I would have went UW all the way...You've got awesome hospitals to rotate through. You can make some good connections. That being said I also like Madison a whole lot more than Milwaukee. MCW has a lot going for it too, though. Both are really top rate and I would choose based on where you would be more happy (But how can you go wrong living on an Isthmus in an awesome college town!)
     
  4. mcwmark

    mcwmark Senior Member
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    I don't know much about UW, but I can tell you MCW is a great place to go to school. It certainly doesn't have the party atmosphere that Madison would have, and probably is a bit less known throughout the country (other than the midwest), but both are excellent schools.

    One thing that I have heard from former UW students is that MCW is more asthetically pleasing, and our testing schedule (blocks of exams every 4 weeks) is much more friendly (I've heard UW has exams every Monday, which means every weekend is spent studying? ugh.)
     
  5. Smurfette

    Smurfette Antagonized by Azrael
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    Interesting...you're doing exactly what I was doing last year. I chose UW. Here's my take on it...I'll be as objective as I can.

    Personally, I hate Madison (the city, not the school). I'd much rather live in Milwaukee, where I am more comfortable and find it easier to get around town than Madison's confusing maze of streets and one-ways. Madison has a very good reputation with residency directors, and is currently building a new med school facility near the hospital. Also, I liked their policy on doing 3rd and 4th year rotations in various cities (the school finds you housing, and it increases exposure to different hospitals and patient populations). Also, Madison has a smaller class size (140) than MCW (~200 I believe).

    The school I like. The profs help you out when you need it, and are really accommodating. It is rare to get more than 1 person dropping out of the class (last year's 3 dropouts total were the most the school had ever had---the school will do everything in it's power to keep you there. I've heard MCW has already lost 3 in their first year class alone) Exams are almost always scheduled on Mondays (not every Monday, but thank god for entire weekends for studying) but exams are only for one class each, instead of block exams like other schools have that cover every subject. And you can get tutors (free) if you just go in and ask.

    The negatives of UW: Over 50% of my class went to UW as undergrads, so it was really clique-y for the first couple months. And it was assumed you knew your way around town (Considering city of Madison leases all run Aug 15-Aug 14, and school starts Aug 16, I didn't get to explore Madison at all before classes started).

    Why I didn't pick MCW: It seemed really impersonal to me. The students did not seem enthusiastic about MCW at all. However, I was initally very impressed with MCW's academics and facilities!

    Hope this helps a little bit...ask me specifics if you want!
     
  6. uwguy

    uwguy Member
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    Has anyone heard any differences between the clinical experinences or basic science experiences between the two schools?
     
  7. uwguy

    uwguy Member
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    don't let this thread die yet! I need info...help me :)
     
  8. mcwmark

    mcwmark Senior Member
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    I'll put in a MCW point of view. I'm sure someone else has the UW viewpoint they can share.

    I've heard that the classes themselves are comparable, but UW probably has the edge on "teaching", except in the case of Gross Anatomy. There are students that have taken both (via an early summer Anatomy course at UW) and say that our experience is far better. These same students say that UW's biochemistry class is much better. So I really don't know.

    Clinically, I would say MCW has the edge, just because of the larger and more heterogenous population that our hospitals serve. You're probably likely to see a more varied range of pathology in Milwaukee than in Madison. Other than that, I would expect both schools to have an excellent clinical education.
     
  9. Whisker Barrel Cortex

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    I'm an out of state MCW student and didn't apply to UW. I can tell you a lot about MCW and just what I have heard about UW.

    The pre-clinical years at MCW were great in my opinion. Although there are some small group discussions, the curriculum is still pretty traditional with semester long classes (except pathology, which is a whole year). Many of the lectures are good, especially in neuro and pharmacology. Some, however, seem to cover the professors area of research more than what is relevent to a med student. There are tests in all of the classes you are taking (usually 2 or 3) every month and a final at the end of each class (mostly cumulative, some not). The best part of this system, in my opinion, is that many people took anywhere from several days to 2 weeks off from studying right after a block and were able to catch up. There are good notes for each lecture so it is up to you whether you want to go to that 8 am biochem lecture or not. I probably went to about 40% of total lectures and did above average. Most people do very well on Step I of the USMLE.

    The clinical years were excellent in my opinion with great attendings and residents in almost every specialty. Most required 3rd year rotations are in one of the 6 hospitals in Milwaukee although you can do FP or Peds in upstate Wisconsin if you want. 4th year has a lot of flexibility, as in most schools. From what I have heard, UW students are spread out to clinics and hospital around the state for some rotations. I'm not sure if this is optional or required.

    Overall, MCW and UW are very well respected in the midwest and MCW is definitely on the rise with research dollars increasing all the time. UW might be better known on the coasts, but I'm not too sure. There are many MCW students from the west coast who go back for residency, so our name may be known out there.

    Good luck, maybe someone from UW could tell you more about their school.
     
  10. Barton

    Barton Senior Member
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  11. mcwmark

    mcwmark Senior Member
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    I don't know how some of my classmates got into that summer Anatomy course (they were all UW undergrads), so seeing as you attend UW, I'd just call their Anatomy Dept. and ask.

    But 95% of us had no prior anatomy knowledge and we all did fine. Personally, I'd enjoy my last summer :)
     
  12. Smurfette

    Smurfette Antagonized by Azrael
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    Summer gross anatomy at UW is offered every year...I'm not sure how many non-med students slots there are, but I don't think it would be difficult to get in assuming you talk to the dept about it in the spring beforehand.

    BUT, gross anatomy in the summer is 8 weeks instead of the usual 18...so it's very intense...The 20 or so med1's who took it this past summer found it VERY stressful and time-consuming, though their fall semester was much, much less stressful as a result. If you don't attend UW for med school, some med schools will still make you take it...so keep that in mind!
     
  13. Mr. happy clown guy

    Mr. happy clown guy Senior Member
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    This may be slightly off topic, but I am going to MCW for an EM residency interview in 3 weeks.
    Can anyone from MCW give me a "heads up" on living in town (do you like milwaukee? etc) and about the hospitals.
    Good luck to all of the soon-to-be underclassmen.

    Thanks.
     
  14. immediate

    immediate Junior Member

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    It is nice to hear the UW perspective. I made the same choice you made about 4 years ago. I chose MCW based on the following thoughts.

    UW was a great place to do undergrad, but I needed to get out the undergrad mentality to go onto med school. (Many of my undergrad friends were still around and that would have been fun and annoying, but only for about a year until they were gone.)
    Essentially, the first two years are equal at UW and MCW. I am sure that UW offers the same small groups and tutoring that MCW does a great job of hosting. The difference for me was in the second two years. I felt that UW just did not offer enough clinical training in Madison. The population just is not there. So the students end up getting shipped around a lot. Many of them end up coming to Milwaukee for core clerkships. That just was not appealing to me. I like having a place of my own to come home to.
    If you really want to travel and do clerkships away, MCW allows you to do that too, but the difference is, its a choice, not forced.

    I liked Madison very much, but the prospect of taking more classes with the people that annoyed me in my undregrad classes just did not appeal to me. Good luck with the choice.
     
  15. Badgerbabe

    Badgerbabe Senior Member
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    Thanks for your thoughts, immediate. I am having some of the same ones...I am mainly worried about spending the next few years with the cliques that have formed in pre-med (that I am not part of). That sounds shallow, I know, and I really do think UW is a great school, and I love Madison. BUT, with so much else being equal, it seems MCW is moving higher on my list. I don't have an acceptance there yet, though, so I guess it's not really that much of a choice at this point!

    Thanks, though! Shannon
     
  16. Smurfette

    Smurfette Antagonized by Azrael
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    Ok...I could go on about quite a bit with UW (now that I'm done with finals and have time to write lengthy responses) but I will try to stick to how the thread has evolved.

    I did not do undergrad at UW. The first couple weeks were interesting b/c I did not know where ANYTHING was. Probably 50-60% of my class did undergrad at UW. From what I have heard, the admissions office is, if not next year, the year after, going to put a cap on #UW grads admitted to the school, probably to 30-40%. Keep in mind that the med scholars are like 25% of the class. The first couple weeks, all of us new to madison were excited to meet each other, as most of the class seemed to know each other already. However, after a little while, we "integrated" and the original cliques broke up into new ones. Looking back, I think it was that people were looking for a familiar face to talk to, rather than the undergrad cliques continuing on.

    Some people in med school do still have the undergrad mentality, but there are plenty of people who don't. The people who still have friends here attending undergrad tend to have this problem more so than those who don't.

    Interesting about the Anatomy course at MCW. From what I've heard from UW students who have friends at MCW, the main difference is the approach...MCW is a bit more careful and deliberate in the lab, whereas at UW we are more aggressive in cutting and dissecting stuff out. I think this makes it a bit harder to identify things this way, but it's good b/c in live individuals, things are messy and hard to find. So it probably evens out in the end.

    At UW, we have unit exams throughout the semester. These are fairly difficult. MCW does too (I've heard the unit exams are reasonable), but from what I've heard (mcwmark maybe can confirm this?) they have cumulative finals that are like 4+ hours long and fairly difficult. Personally, having exams for each class spread out rather than all in the same week is more ideal for my learning style and sanity. But some people like the all-at-once approach.

    One more thing, that I just learned recently. UW is re-structuring their curriculum (they do this every so many years). They are changing 3rd and 4th year rotation blocks, adding electives, etc. They are making it more student-friendly as far as rotation scheduling is concerned. They are also changing the 1st and 2nd year curriculum a bit (for when the new building is ready) but as this will not affect me, I am vague on the details. I know they will be eliminating a lot of the 1st year labs and replacing them with more technologically advanced systems (computer simulations, possibly some virtual reality, etc. A lot of cutting-edge stuff). They are eliminating the biochem lab completely (they are one of only a handful of med schools that still have it).

    OK, that's all I can think of right now that may be pertinent. Both schools are good schools---you won't make a wrong decision either way!
     
  17. Whisker Barrel Cortex

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    Mr. Happy Clown Guy,

    I'm a MS-4 at MCW and moved here for med school from southern california. I think a lot of how much you like Milwaukee depends on where you're from. If you're used to bigger cities like Chicago, LA, New York, etc, it doesn't have as much to do. I gotta say though, the city has grown on me. There are a lot of cool areas near downtown (Water St, Brady, Third Ward) with nice restaurants and bars if thats what you're looking for. If you are single, the best place to live is on the Eastside, which starts around UWM and goes to downtown.

    If you are looking for more of a family area, the area around Froedert is really nice and not too expensive. You can go further west to get into the suburbs.

    Froedert is a great hospital. As a fourth year who's been on 14 interviews all over the country, it is by far the nicest and newest facility I have seen. The ER program is top notch. ER residents do all of their medicine rotations at St Josephs which is located in a bad area. However, the medicine there is much less intensive than if they had to do it at Froedert. Children's Hospital of Wisconsin is also a great and new facility with a very busy ER. It does all of the pediatric ER and residents rotate there. The peds ER is located right next to the adult ER.

    Good luck. If you have any more specific questions, just post them and I'll try to fill you in.
     
  18. Whisker Barrel Cortex

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    Just wanted to add that if any of the people debating which school to go to MCW or UW are thinking about doing Peds, I would highly recommend choosing MCW. We do our peds inpatient at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin which is the best facility in the state. It is well known throughout the midwest for some specialties, especially cardiology (we had a pregnant women come to Milwaukee from the west coast after her baby was diagnosed with a heart condition prenatally because they researched facilities and found that CHOW would be best equipped to handle it). Although UW hospital is planning on building a new children's hospital, it doesn't sound like it will be on par with CHOW. Milwaukee has a much larger patient population.
     
  19. mcwmark

    mcwmark Senior Member
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  20. uwguy

    uwguy Member
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    Anyone else with more info on either UW or MCW? I've been hearing rumors of curriculum changes at the UW? Anyone with info?
     

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