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Need Help Deciding - Duke or USF 7 Year BS/MD Program for Pre-Med Undergrad!

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allie2274

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Hi everyone,

I am blessed to have been accepted to Duke's Class of 2023 and University of South Florida's BS/MD. However, I am super stressed about deciding between these two schools. There are pro's and con's of both but I just don't know how important Duke's prestige is (vs. a state school) in terms of med school admissions. So, I have outlined my package at both schools:

Duke
- It would only cost me about $5,000 (all in) for me to go there
- No guarantee of med school
- I do not have connections there
- Ranked 8th in the nation
- High Med School placement rate
- Harder academics? Graded on Curve?
- Great prep for MCAt

USF
- As long as I meet the MCAT/GPA requirements, I will be guaranteed an interview (and likely admission) at Morsani COM.
- I have an summer internship at a local General Hospital working with the med school
- I am a National Merit Scholar so undergrad is FREE and I will get $30,000 to put towards my first year of med school
- I have research connections
- Really nice/supportive advisors
- Lower prestige

Thanks for any/all help
 

asmallpremed

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If you are dead set on premed, and it appears you are since you applied to the BSMD program, go to USF. Also, the money at USF is huge, and no loans for first year of medical is huge. And busch gardens. Going to Duke will not guarantee a spot at medical school, and may even hurt your chances because it is a hard institution with difficult competition. But if you are still unsure about your career plans, go to Duke because it will help with connections and getting into fields outside of medicine, and the degree has value indeed :thumbup:
 
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Dr.PotatoHead

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You would be wise to go to USF if you want to be a doctor
 
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scarletgirl777

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Hi everyone,

I am blessed to have been accepted to Duke's Class of 2023 and University of South Florida's BS/MD. However, I am super stressed about deciding between these two schools. There are pro's and con's of both but I just don't know how important Duke's prestige is (vs. a state school) in terms of med school admissions. So, I have outlined my package at both schools:

Duke
- It would only cost me about $5,000 (all in) for me to go there
- No guarantee of med school
- I do not have connections there
- Ranked 8th in the nation
- High Med School placement rate
- Harder academics? Graded on Curve?
- Great prep for MCAt

USF
- As long as I meet the MCAT/GPA requirements, I will be guaranteed an interview (and likely admission) at Morsani COM.
- I have an summer internship at a local General Hospital working with the med school
- I am a National Merit Scholar so undergrad is FREE and I will get $30,000 to put towards my first year of med school
- I have research connections
- Really nice/supportive advisors
- Lower prestige

Thanks for any/all help
If you apply to other med schools later will you lose your spot?

Wait they are only guaranteeing a very favorable interview? What are the specific GPA and mcat requirements? If they are high enough to get into med school anyway then all you are getting is a year saved off your educational path.
 
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bonedoc5576

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USF is not really a guaranteed medical school admission either so in actuality it is only a question of USF for free vs Duke for 5 thousand dollars, and I think the obvious answer is Duke!!
 
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allie2274

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If you apply to other med schools later will you lose your spot?

Wait they are only guaranteeing a very favorable interview? What are the specific GPA and mcat requirements? If they are high enough to get into med school anyway then all you are getting is a year saved off your educational path.
Yes, if you apply to other med schools you do lose your spot and they are only guaranteeing a favorable interview. You have to maintain a 3.7 science GPA Zane score at least a 215 on the MCAT, but if you do that you are most likely going to be admitted.
 
D

deleted962973

How long is the BS/MD at USF? I’d say it’s worth it if under 7 years, because that gives you an extra year attendings salary that you couldn’t have if you followed the traditional 4+4. However, I tend to be wary of recommending BS/MD programs. A lot of superstar students I know at a school with a BS/MD (and this med school is in the top 20) ended up applying out and getting in to stronger programs. USF is a great school but Duke is a fantastic environment for premeds and you could potentially do even better there than USF Med. Plus the pedigree from Duke would help in case you change your mind about medicine, or if you want to do anything besides traditional practice (ex. consulting, healthcare startups, etc).

However, if you know your goal is to be a practicing physician, take the guaranteed MD seat for sure. I don’t tend to agree with people that prestige is all that important if you just want to do traditional med school + residency- you can do all of that just fine from USF.
 
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scarletgirl777

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Yes, if you apply to other med schools you do lose your spot and they are only guaranteeing a favorable interview. You have to maintain a 3.7 science GPA Zane score at least a 215 on the MCAT, but if you do that you are most likely going to be admitted.
With a 3.7 you would have been admitted anyway. I don't understand the new MCAT scores though. I would say though even if you are 90% sure of going to med school that 10% chance is reason to go to Duke because those connections matter for jobs. Assuming you took rigorous science courses in high school and excelled (be honest with yourself), then you can do well enough at Duke taking the bare minimum premed classes to get into a med school at least as good as USF. Honestly I had a similar choice of a top school vs an 8 year program at a regular school and even though I ended up being a doctor anyway I do not regret choosing the top school. And Duke is giving you so much aid--the price should not even play into this.
 
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fdgjfg

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Both are solid options, but I would choose Duke.

Since your cost at Duke is very manageable, the only thing the USF BS/MD provides to you is the guaranteed seat. While that certainly has some worth, I don't think it is final word. Sure, considering national trends (i.e. 60% overall acceptance rate) a guaranteed seat would be quite valuable for the general applicant. However, you're not a general applicant - given that you have these options, you're likely in a more exceptional bracket, with a much higher acceptance rate (maybe 90-95%) meaning that your evaluation has to be different. Remember, the whole reason they're giving you this offer without even seeing the final product (you as an upperclassman undergrad with an MCAT and college GPA) is that they don't think they could otherwise pull applicants such as yourself in the future. From another T20 undergrad, all of my friends/acquaintances that worked reasonably hard received acceptances to schools of equivalent quality to USF. So to summarize, I don't think that a guaranteed MD seat is as valuable for you, because you are probably very likely to get at least an equivalent quality MD seat in the traditional manner.

You should also really evaluate the qualitative factors - while it's great that you're doing some professional planning and having some forethought, the most efficient or direct way of reaching a specific professional goal is not always the best way to move through life. You should have experiential goals as well, and set yourself up to consider alternate paths. Undergrad is a great time to meet new people, engage with new ideas, and challenge yourself - that's not to say that only Duke could help you do that, but you should really think about what environment is best for you.

I think the quality of both the resources and your peer students at Duke will open up pathways that might otherwise remain closed - sure, USF will get you to the MD fine, but what if you want something more specific than that? Perhaps you'll discover a strong interest in basic science and want to be a top quality physician scientist, where prestige and lab mentorship from well-known groups is important. Or maybe you'll get into policy work, or any number of niche interests that are best served by the environments at elite medical schools. Lastly, there's a reasonable chance that you end up deciding against premed, not because you failed out, but because you had the opportunity to discover something that you loved even more. Duke serves most of these needs better - for example, if you decide that you want to pull in 150k per year at 23 in finance, Duke's recruiting would be a massive advantage.

Overall, as valuable as the guaranteed seat is, I just think you're too young to box yourself in at 18. I would personally choose against it because I think you're likely to get a seat anyway, and I think Duke would provide the better environment for both personal and academic growth. The one exception to this would be if you have a specific affinity towards USF - i.e. you have family here and absolutely want to come here for medical school, like you would choose it over any T5 MD program. In that situation, you of course have to go with USF, because no matter your quality as an applicant you can never be sure of an acceptance to a specific program.
 
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differentiating

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This doesn’t even sound like a true BS/MD program, as admission isn’t guaranteed after meeting the requirements (just “likely”). I’m much more BS/MD friendly than most on SDN, having been in a BS/MD program myself in undergrad, and in this case Duke sounds like it’s probably the better choice. But it also depends on how much you like the two schools in terms of spending the next 3-4 years there.
 
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efle

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Duke 100%. Someone with a 3.7/515 from Duke is going to get interviewed at Morsani anyways. Their BS/MD offers you nothing of substance
 
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Duke 100%. I took classes at USF, can see the new med school being built as I go to hockey games; there is an emphasis on getting USF Morsani into the top 25 via scores/accepts, etc.

You mention connections into research. Duke will do that for you and then some. Duke will place you, more than likely, into better residency programs.

You mention absolute MD program there, but Duke will get that for you as well. There is no way someone of your caliber is going to suddenly fall off a cliff and be moderately eligible for med school. Even in the BS/MD path, you still have to take the MCAT and still have to get a certain score (not likely a problem for you) but that's the same everywhere.

USF is a great school - I love the faculty there - ALL of them are genuinely interested in their students. So is Duke.

My own son is looking into BS/MD programs (4.0 chemistry/Mandarin Chinese) and if he had that choice, despite moving away from me? I'd be all over Duke.
 
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stubblesmcgee

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Either you're going to do well enough in college to get an interview at USF or youre going to have done poorly enough that your guaranteed interview there is basically going to be a waste of time. In my opinion the middle ground, where you did do well enough to impress at your USF interview and get admission but not well enough to get an interview anywhere else, is very slim.

Also, you may change your mind about medicine. You'll be kicking yourself about giving up Duke for 5k all in to go to USF.
 
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Walter Raleigh

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Duke 100%. Someone with a 3.7/515 from Duke is going to get interviewed at Morsani anyways. Their BS/MD offers you nothing of substance
Someone with a 3.7/515 from anywhere is a solid MD candidate and will likely receive several interviews, assuming ECs are up to snuff. And, too, the MD acceptance at Morsani is by no means guaranteed.
 

Lucca

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5K for Duke??? That is a bargain bin deal for a world class degree. Go there. If you’re capable of getting into Duke you will be capable of jumping through the right hoops for med school
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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I would say go with Duke too. my son had two BSMD admissions (one is BU) but chose to skip that for T20 full tuition scholarship and wants to aim for T20 med schools.
 
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dr_kateb

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Duke for 5000, Alex.
 
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highway31

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I attended USF and was accepted to Morsani (but did not do the 7 year bs/md) program and would urge you to take caution when considering their offer. Yes, there's guaranteed admission if you meet the standards, but the standards are high. A 3.7/515 is not an easy feat to accomplish in college, especially in an accelerated bachelors program. Additionally, the new MCAT average is a 517 at USF, and the wording of the bs/md program refers to a "competitive score," which means their standards may go up by the year you apply. I'm not sure how many people who start this program, but the new MSAR shows that only 7 people were admitted through BS/MD

I love USF, but definitely think hard and be realistic about your chances of meeting their requirements.
 
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stubblesmcgee

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Yes, there's guaranteed admission if you meet the standards, but the standards are high. A 3.7/515 is not an easy feat to accomplish in college, especially in an accelerated bachelors program.

Holy cow, did not see the part where that was their minimum. That's really high.
 
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751866

I would recommend you think very carefully about this. In my opinion, as someone very familiar with USF, they are "up and coming" (both undergrad and medicine) but even people in the state of Florida don't know the name of USF. People all across the country know the name of Duke.

I would pick Duke for many of the reasons above:
-USF 7 year isn't guaranteed admissions
- Duke research >>> USF
- If you barely miss the USF 7 year stats, USF's name won't get you nearly as far as Duke's
- Connections, prestige, and opportunity are far greater at Duke undergrad (and if you can squeeze in mentorship/research at Duke's med school, even better)
- UNC, Wake, and Duke are usually pretty favorable toward people who went to school in state or at another big name
- You may think you'll want medicine in 3 years from now, but if you don't Duke is a much better option in almost everything you could think of (college of arts and science majors, business programs)
- If you decide you still want medicine, you likely have a much stronger chance at US MD schools coming from Duke undergrad than USF especially if your academic performance isn't the most stellar
- whether people want to admit it or not, a large proportion of this is a name game: a 4.0 from an unknown entity is good but still ":shrug:" especially when theres a >3.4 ish from a known entity.
- this will impact your residency options: if you're undecided about specialty (no reason why you should know now), a bigger name opens more doors at better programs; if you want IM, top schools are more likely to look at you compared to if you go to USF; if you want Ortho, programs in general are more likely to look at you than if you came from USF
-If you don't believe me about the prior bullet point, check out the match lists this year for competitive specialties or at competitive schools compared to some lesser-known schools-- sure the school isn't the ONLY factor, but at the end of the day, a 240 Step 1 without AOA from a good med school is often taken over +250 with AOA from a lesser known school
- Duke won't close doors for you if you continue to work hard, USF might; decide you want business and Duke > USF, decide you want a PhD program and Duke > USF, decide you want medical school still and Duke > USF.
- your financial cost of Duke is well worth it, in my opinion

Don't let your nervousness about getting in cause you to toss away better options; if you choose Duke, put your head down and work very very hard (i.e. don't squander the great opportunity)
 
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freelancePsychic

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I agree with the people recommending Duke. A 515 is a tall order even for excellent students.
 
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hmockingbird

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If the acceptance isn’t guaranteed at USF I’d do Duke for sure. I don’t understand the new MCAT scores but $5k is a bargain and Duke will definitely help with connections.
 
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Magnolia24

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Hi! I'm in a BS/MD program now but it's expectations are much more manageable. However, I have a friend who was accepted to the USF BS/MD track if you would like to get in touch with her PM me she would be glad to give you an informed decision. I agree with the above though...a 515 is really high. And my thing is, getting a score like that will open a lot of doors to a wider variety of schools as well so your options don't have to be limited to the USF BS/MD. From speaking with her it was basically a guaranteed acceptance once you got that minimum score (unless you somehow messed up the traditional interview).
 

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I would recommend Duke (you could pay off that 5k/yr if you get summer research stipends!!), especially if you make sure to be proactive.... start planning out the types of opportunities on campus and in the nearby area that you might want to pursue, do your research on which professors are notoriously difficult, prepare yourself ahead of time for any subjects you know you're not as strong at or are known for being difficult, approach with caution and don't overload right at the beginning. Never be afraid to ask for help, and become comfortable with cold-emailing people for opportunities.
I didn't go to Duke but went to a school of similar tier, and this helped me excel. Since you were able to get in, hopefully you already know most of this!
 
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allie2274

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I would recommend Duke (you could pay off that 5k/yr if you get summer research stipends!!), especially if you make sure to be proactive.... start planning out the types of opportunities on campus and in the nearby area that you might want to pursue, do your research on which professors are notoriously difficult, prepare yourself ahead of time for any subjects you know you're not as strong at or are known for being difficult, approach with caution and don't overload right at the beginning. Never be afraid to ask for help, and become comfortable with cold-emailing people for opportunities.
I didn't go to Duke but went to a school of similar tier, and this helped me excel. Since you were able to get in, hopefully you already know most of this!
Thank you so much! I committed to Duke for all of the reasons you mentioned :)
 
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I went to a soul crushing elite private university. Don’t do it. Just go to USF. Work hard, stay balanced and kill it. Then go to medical school there. Many of the elite schools, and probably duke as well, will make you work brutally hard for A’s. I should have gone to an Ivy. Or something like USF.
It’s also painful 20 years later when the alcoholic womanizing degenerates that you used to party with are on CNN ringing the bell at the stock market with their billion dollar valuation companies. That’s happened several times.
It happened again just the other day. I was flipping through the university throw away alumni journal and one of my old crew donated an endowed chair for something in the college of science. A quick google search later yielded he’s the founder, president and CEO. Nice. He was a 5 star degenerate. What’s the deal... Market cap... $3B.
Kill me now.
 

Dr.J.D

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I went to a soul crushing elite private university. Don’t do it. Just go to USF. Work hard, stay balanced and kill it. Then go to medical school there. Many of the elite schools, and probably duke as well, will make you work brutally hard for A’s. I should have gone to an Ivy. Or something like USF.
It’s also painful 20 years later when the alcoholic womanizing degenerates that you used to party with are on CNN ringing the bell at the stock market with their billion dollar valuation companies. That’s happened several times.
It happened again just the other day. I was flipping through the university throw away alumni journal and one of my old crew donated an endowed chair for something in the college of science. A quick google search later yielded he’s the founder, president and CEO. Nice. He was a 5 star degenerate. What’s the deal... Market cap... $3B.
Kill me now.
Where did you attend undergrad? Med school?
 
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751866

I went to a soul crushing elite private university. Don’t do it. Just go to USF. Work hard, stay balanced and kill it. Then go to medical school there. Many of the elite schools, and probably duke as well, will make you work brutally hard for A’s. I should have gone to an Ivy. Or something like USF.
It’s also painful 20 years later when the alcoholic womanizing degenerates that you used to party with are on CNN ringing the bell at the stock market with their billion dollar valuation companies. That’s happened several times.
It happened again just the other day. I was flipping through the university throw away alumni journal and one of my old crew donated an endowed chair for something in the college of science. A quick google search later yielded he’s the founder, president and CEO. Nice. He was a 5 star degenerate. What’s the deal... Market cap... $3B.
Kill me now.
Being a good person and being good at things aren’t linked, obviously. I don’t think the OP should skip a good opportunity because you aren’t fond of your experience at another school. All else the same, a 3.6 from Duke has a better shot at Med school than a 3.6 from USF.
 
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Being a good person and being good at things aren’t linked, obviously. I don’t think the OP should skip a good opportunity because you aren’t fond of your experience at another school. All else the same, a 3.6 from Duke has a better shot at Med school than a 3.6 from USF.
The first part contains my useful advice the second part is mostly sarcasm, though true. Focus on the first part.
The cost isn’t a factor, so consider if Duke tends to be a grade inflator or deflator as well as where you want to live for a while. I didn’t attend Duke, so I can only guess that it’s not like Penn for example. I used to date a girl from one of the fancy liberal arts schools and she and many of her classmates took classes at their local Ivy that was not far away to boost their GPAs.
I would wager a significant sum that it’s easier to get a high GPA at USF than at Duke. The MCAT average will probably be lower, but that’s more a reflection on the average student’s ability than any motivated individual.
 
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