Need advice: Baylor, UTSW, or U Michigan?


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Mar 31, 2004
  1. Medical Student
I have my heart set on doing a competitive residency after med school. (I'd be interested in getting a residency in California, although not 100% sure at this point.) I have been lucky enough to land a prestigious scholarship to U Mich....the school is going to end up costing me the same as Baylor. Southwestern is probably my most expensive option of the three, but not by much.

I'm a native Texan, but I would be willing to brave the cold (somehow) if the difference in 6 ranking points (as deemed by US News) would make a difference in getting a good residency.

US news indicates residency directors regard Michigan very highly - 0.8 or so points higher than Baylor and SW. Does this really matter? Why would this be the case when Baylor has the TMC and an expanded clinical program?

I can't decide where I would be "happiest" at this point because I simply don't know. I feel I could find my niche at either of the three schools. Maybe more so at Baylor and Michigan rather than Southwestern...

I am really, really, really torn at this point and would *greatly* appreciate any and all advice you could share about the reputation of these three schools in the residency world.

Thank you so much!


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Feb 1, 2004
I'd definitely go to UTSW. It has a very strong national reputation (stronger then Baylor in many specialties), plus it's tuition for you as native Texan makes it an ideal school for you. I had an undergrad classmate who ended up there and he was very happy with the pre-clinical and clinical curriculum there the last time that I spoke with him. I can't imagine that any residency program would view any one of those schools that differently that it'd be worthwhile for you to choose a school based upon where they were "ranked" in usnews. My impression is that most PD's have no idea where med schools are ranked in usnews, and they certainly don't have the latest copy of it open in their lap when they are making their rank list. All three of those schools are considered top tier schools, congrats on getting in.
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Aug 16, 2002
Dude, I realize that you are being 100 percent serious and that this is the toughest decision that you've ever had to make, but honestly, it just doesn't make that much difference when it comes to applying for residency.

It's not like you're comparing UMich to some Carribean school or something. All three have a national reputation and with equal numbers at any of the three I'm sure your options would be roughly the same. Residency directors - especially in the smaller fields - are more likely to base things on "I know someone at UMich" versus "UMich kicked Baylor's a$$ in USNews this year".

Go where you'll be happy save money, and where you'll get the best education. It's much more important what you've learned when you're done than the name on the diploma. Seriously, when you visit a doc, do you start off with "where'd you go to med school?"

It's always hard to have perspective before you've seen the whole picture.

Also, are you planning on a "competitive residency" because it's what you want to do, or because it's competitive? Food for thought...


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Oct 30, 2001
I would say that coming from either of these three schools is not going to make a major difference in getting a competitive specialty. It is going to make a much bigger difference how you perform in medical school.

I would first decide if you want to live in Texas or Michigan. Anne Arbor is a very different place from either Houston or Dallas which are much larger metropolital areas.

Disregarding any scholarships the price of Baylor and UTSW should be about the same.

I'm a MS4 at Baylor and can answer any specific ?'s that you want. One difference between Baylor and the other two schools is that you are rotating through 5 hospitals at Baylor that are all within a mile of one another.

beyond all hope

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Dec 18, 2003
Agree with previous posters. All are strong schools, all are good names for residency. Some PDs will think Baylor is stronger, others will think UMich is stronger, etc. All can open the doors to top-notch residencies.

You're lucky to have such a great set of options. Choose which one will give you the best time and best education.

Samir Desai

15+ Year Member
Mar 10, 2000
Houston, TX
  1. Attending Physician
Congratulations to you on your acceptances to three wonderful medical schools! In my opinion, you can't really go wrong at any of these places. All have strong reputations and residency program directors will generally consider them to be on equal level in terms of the strength of the school.

What you have to decide is which medical school is the right fit for you. In other words, which one of these three schools will provide an environment in which you will thrive and reach your goals. That's easier said than done but with careful consideration of the factors that are most important to you, you will be able to make the decision. Once again, congrats and best of luck with med school.

Samir Desai


Senior Member
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Oct 20, 2003
The choice is pretty simple really: do you want to freeze your ass off (Michigan), sweat like a pig (Baylor), or cheer for a decadent professional football team with a glorious past but crappy future (UTSW)?


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Mar 19, 2003
Ignore those silly rankings. There is no true statistical difference between the top twenty or so schools. Go with your gut feeling. At which school did you think the students were the happiest? At which school were the other students most like the people that you want to hang out with? Which school has the curriculum that most fits your learning style? For example, UTSW has a very traditional curriculum, while Baylor's is a little nontraditional. You can argue that one way is better than the other, but the important thing is what is best for you!


Full Member
15+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2002
I'm going to be evil and try to hijack this thread.

I'm an MSTP applicant and I'm having a lot of difficulty deciding between these two programs. I'm from St Louis, so I feel like Houston would be very similar to what I'm accustomed to--I'd be able to enjoy the conveniences of driving and greenery. On the other hand, I'm from St Louis, so I really want to "see the world" of the coasts and NYC seems like a great place to start--although I'm not sure I can handle 8 years there.

Any thoughts I can chew on?

Edit: I'm particularly interested in how RDs might view graduates from these programs.
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