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Money vs. Prestige Crisis!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by wiki23, Apr 14, 2007.

  1. wiki23

    wiki23 Junior Member 2+ Year Member

    Jun 19, 2006
    So I am debating between 3 schools and the price difference is really huge. I am super happy to be in this position but am having a hard time selecting a school.

    The total debt I would have at the schools are, with the scholarships already factored in:

    University of Wisconsin - $120,000 (with a half-tuition scholarship already factored in)
    University of Pittsburgh - $160,000 (with a 2 year CSTP scholarship already factored in)
    Medical College of Wisconsin - $50,000 (with a full tuition scholarship already factored in)

    Pittsburgh is by far higher ranked but is it worth 3x the money as the Medical College of Wisconsin? I have been reading a lot of posts about loan repayments and it would be nice not to have those huge payments. I don't know what I want to go into. I like Pittsburgh and Wisconsin more than the Medical College of Wisconsin, but don't know if it would be worth the extra money.

    Help please!
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  3. tdd340

    tdd340 Assistant to the sensei 10+ Year Member

    Jun 25, 2005
    I would be packing my bags for Milwaukee. MCW will present you all the oppurtunities you need to excel. They have a strong enough research program if you are interested in that. For the savings I think it has to be the choice. In order to get these scholarships you have shown that you can excel, just do the same in med school and you can write your own ticket. In my mind I don't think any of those schools would hold you back at all or propel you forward because of name alone. Take the money.
  4. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California Moderator 10+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2004
    Go MCW. I just interviewed there yesterday and was impressed with what I saw. If you were considering spending $160K for Harvard vs. $50K for MCW, I'd consider running with Harvard. But Pitt ain't Boston and U Pitt ain't Harvard. Unless you absolutely fell in love with U Pitt and MCW rubbed you wrong, I'd go with the $50K medical education.
  5. bretticus

    bretticus Neuroradiology fellow 10+ Year Member

    Jul 13, 2006
    If it was just University of Wisconsin and Pitt, I might consider paying the extra $40K -- similar to my situation with UT and Vandy/Emory. With MCW so cheap though, there's just no way I could turn that down. If I could go to UT for $50K, I would not even consider the more prestigious schools. Med school is stressful enough from what I've heard. It would feel really good not to stress out about debt.
  6. UMP

    UMP Recovered Under-Achiever 7+ Year Member

    Aug 27, 2004
    MCW, dummy ;)

    Pitt is a great school, but definitely not worth all that much extra... debt sucks big time
  7. curlywurly

    curlywurly hair gel enthusiast 2+ Year Member

    Apr 8, 2007
    As far as cost is concerned, definitely go for mcw. just a word of caution, i live in the milwaukee area and ive been to mcw and its definitely not the most exciting place to go to school. i go to uw-madison and if i had to pick i think i'd go with the uw, just because i like the atmosphere here better. but ultimately, with the money you'd save, it's probably a good idea to go to mcw.
  8. wiki23

    wiki23 Junior Member 2+ Year Member

    Jun 19, 2006
    Thanks guys for your advice. When you are in the middle of the decision everything seems so cloudy. I agree that that Madison is a much cooler place than Milwaukee, but I went to Madison for undergrad and it might be nice to change things up a bit. It is so hard to predict how much $100,000 more in debt will affect your life down the road. Debt is a major concern that I have, but also being happy. I was more impressed with Madison and Pitt, but I don't know if I was $100,000 more impressed.
  9. etf

    etf Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Apr 27, 2005
    the pitt name is not worth $110,000. go to mcw - you're grandkids will thank me later.
  10. OmarLittle

    OmarLittle 5+ Year Member

    Oct 9, 2006
    I am currently finishing my third year of medical school. I had a relatively similar situation a few years back:

    1) Top 75 home state school- full-tuition scholarship (debt 64 K)
    2) Top 40 school- about 85% tuition scholarship (debt 100 K)
    3) Top 20 schools- (debt 150-200K)

    Now my debt difference was lower than yours for MCW versus UW so each situation is still unique. I ended up choosing the top 40 school because I liked the location, curriculum, hospital, and geographical diversity of the student body better. I also figured 35K was a big deal but a sacrifice I could make. I didn't even consider borrowing over twice as much to go to the top 20 schools. You will learn everything you need to know at any US medical school, and you can match into any specialty if you are one of the top students. I think in your situation UW or MCW are both reasonable choices. You have to decide if you like UW that much better than MCW. It sounds like you don't so I would go to MCW, but it is not unreasonable to choose UW. 120 K total debt for med school isn't bad these days. One other caveat being if you are sure you want to be a primary care doc 120 K debt might be more of a concern. For me, I am planning on doing radiation oncology so I am comfortable with the 100K debt I will have.

    Sorry to ramble but your situation was really reminiscient of my own a few years back. I am 100% happy with the decision I made. Best wishes. I am sure you will excel no matter what school you choose.
  11. Guile

    Guile 1K Member 5+ Year Member

    Jul 26, 2006
  12. Tired Pigeon

    Tired Pigeon 7+ Year Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    Pitt is great, but it ain't Harvard or Hopkins. Not worth that much of a premium. You should be able to get what you're looking for in terms of education and research in either place. If it's a purely rational decision, MCW seems like the obvious winner. Of course, not all decisions are (or should be) made this way. If you have really strong feelings that contradict the economic analysis, I'd say trust your gut. Otherwise, MCW.
  13. Doctor~Detroit

    Doctor~Detroit this poll sux!!! 2+ Year Member

    May 9, 2006
    i agree. the difference in price isn't so big that any strong gut feelings should be overlooked. i can imagine wishing i had spent the extra 35-70k to go to a school that would make me happier (unless you're going into primary care, in which case you should take the money, you fool).
  14. Anjlprincezz

    Anjlprincezz 2+ Year Member

    Sep 30, 2006
    A lot of times the school, curriculum, surrounding areas, and other factors that will determine how your life will be for the next 4 years can be more important than 35k or so, since the extra debt is not too much more difficult to pay off.. In the end you have to rely on the more intanigble aspects of the school, like where you felt the strongest connection and such... If you don't care either way, MCW =)

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