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Northwestern or UCSD -- help!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by stressedout, Apr 7, 2004.

?

UCSD or Northwestern?

  1. UCSD

    35 vote(s)
    50.7%
  2. Northwestern

    34 vote(s)
    49.3%
  1. stressedout

    stressedout Senior Member
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    Hi Everyone,

    I know there have been tons of threads about choosing between schools, so I apologize for adding an additional one...

    Picking between these schools has been really difficult for me so any input would really be appreciated.

    Here are pro and cons for me:

    UCSD: hate the curriculum, love the student run homeless clinics, not too fond of the location(I've been in Cali my whole life), a good deal money wise

    Northwestern: love the curriculum, don't think too much emphasis is placed on underserved communities (the community I want to work with),love the location, sort of expensive(but I am considered an independent so I would definitely benefit from the debt-capping program...)

    Most likely, I want to do internal medicine (but, I am honestly not really sure...)And, I don't necessarily need to be in Cali for residency

    Thanks so much for the help...I appreciate it.
     
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  3. I PREDICT that Jalby will make a post about how much UCSD sucks before you can say "Trojan."

    No, seriously, if I were you and if I made the notes listed above I would go to Northwestern. Don't worry about the cost... and Chicago is much cooler than San Diego... NW's had a more innovative curriculum which will be more fun.
     
  4. stressedout

    stressedout Senior Member
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    thanx for your advice...I hope that Cornell works out for u :)
     
  5. Are you going to second look next weekend?
     
  6. stressedout

    stressedout Senior Member
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    yeah, i'm going. i am hoping that will help give me a clearer sense of what I want to do...Are you going? If so, are you planning on staying both Friday and Saturday night? I wasn't sure whether we were supposed to hang out with students that Saturday evening...
     
  7. I'm staying with a student Fri and Sat nights, he offered both nights and to pick me up. I'm going to rent a car though so I can get a feel for what driving is like in them thar parts.
     
  8. I think UCSD will win the poll though, people like the rankings and they like CA and they like cheap. Don't go with the people though my little tomato (?). Go with what feels right, Chicago is cool and if every patient that walks through the door is Oprah Winfrey, then how cool is that?
     
  9. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    Northwestern's a great school and I almost ended up there. The best things about it is that they have 20 or so hours of class a week, they are pass/fail the first two years so that you actually foster a communnity/working together feel, people tend to go to class you you actually get to know (or hate) your classmates. I've never heard anybody say any bad things about the place and the two friends I have going there love it and don't have a single bad thing to say about it (outside of cost). They actually have great board scores (~230 with their incoming classes avg about 3.75 GPA and 32.7 MCAT [that shows that their curriculum is very effective, even with the short hours] )and match pretty well

    Bad things: The cost. As you mentioned, it does mostly serve a rich area (not going to mention that any further b/c UCLAMAN will jump me) Also, if you want to do a really competative residency in Cali, you would be better going to UCSD. It's also not connected to the undergrad so that kind of sucks because you don't have the gym/hot female undergrads.

    For me, it would be Northwestern in a second.
     
  10. UCLAMAN

    UCLAMAN Air Jordan Collector
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    grr...dont get me started on that again.

    another thing to think about...ucsd doesnt do their anatomy dissection until second year like most schools. i guess it isnt a big deal, just something else to think about.

    as far as the underserved communities, there are tons of free clinics that the students participate in from chinatown, to devon, to new life, to ashland, to the free peds clinic. i think there are a few more but i cant remember them off the top of my head. ashland in particular is probably the most autonomous. spanish, chinese, or indian(is there another term?) speaking skills can be very beneficial at these clinics though not necessary.

    based on what you have written i would say come to NU. but of course i am a bit biased.

    NU's rep in california is pretty good so I wouldn't worry too much about not being able to be back in cali for residency. if you want to go back, you can.

    the hospitalists(internal medicine) i have worked with at nmh are all outstanding teachers and mentors. should you decide to choose another specialty...well...look at the matchlist...the sky is the limit.

    if you are interested in chatting/emailing/meeting someone in my class who was in your shoes last year(and also had to choose from ucla and uci as well) and ultimately chose NU PM me and i will give you her email addy.

    good luck with the decision. can't go wrong either way.
     
  11. UCLAMAN

    UCLAMAN Air Jordan Collector
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    :D...maybe i will get oprah to help me too.
     
  12. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    You know how I have a thing for black women.
     
  13. UCLAMAN

    UCLAMAN Air Jordan Collector
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    hmm...so it would turn you on?

    hehe. :D
     
  14. stressedout

    stressedout Senior Member
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    Hey Eraserhead!

    I think I am definitely leaning toward NU, so thanks for the words of encouragement. And, how cute are you with the "little tomato" statement...hee hee!! I'll probably meet you at the UCSD second look. Thanks so much for the help!
     
  15. stressedout

    stressedout Senior Member
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    Hey Jalby,
    Thanx so much for the info...I am leaning toward NW at this point. I guess my only issue is how badly I would want to be in Cali if I were to choose a very competitive residency...Thanks again for your advice. Also, I can definitely live withough the gym/hot female undergrads nearby--I am a girl who is into boys he he (don't really need to see them sweatin at the gym :) ).
     
  16. BerkeleyPremed

    BerkeleyPremed Membership Revoked
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    This one is really close. Both are GREAT schools and you really can't go wrong with either one. If I were in your shoes, I would just pick Northwestern because they're on pass/fail and the location (Chicago) beats San Diego (in my opinion). Northwestern has a strong reputation in California (as mentioned by another poster) so you don't really have to worry about coming back. If you don't mind me asking, what school in Cali did you go to for undergrad?
     
  17. ForceField

    ForceField Impervious
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    What's the overall price difference? From my interview experience last year, Northwestern seemed like the biggest rip off ever. What about other factors such as proximity to family/friends, etc. Just playing devil's advocate.

    I know nothing about UCSD, other than that it'll be instate for you, and if you're pursuing internal med, it may take you awhile to pay off those loans.
     
  18. I'm sure you'll stand out, I mean with the red face and all.
     
  19. Alexander99

    Alexander99 Ghetto Fabulous
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    Just a few thoughts:

    UCSD is basically pass/fail. Yes, there's honors but I heard it's only for the top 10% so unless you plan on killing yourself, you can just treat your classes as pass/fail.

    Also, even if the grading system for a school is strictly pass/fail, they still keep track of your exam scores. Although you personally don't know where you rank, the school does. This is the only way they can comment on where you are relative to your class when you apply for residencies. So although the grading system may be pass/fail, every point still counts in a sense. How's that for disillusionment?

    Finally, Chicago nicer than San Diego? I'm shocked!
     
  20. stressedout

    stressedout Senior Member
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    Hey BerkeleyPreMed,

    I went to UCLA. Thanx for the help.
    But, I was looking at the Match Lists for both NW and SD a couple of days ago and not many people ended up in Cali from NW. Do you think that was just 'cause most people aren't from Cali over there...?
     
  21. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    I think UCSD is a better choice if you want to do a competative residency in California.

    Also, I thought it was 15% of the class at UCSD gets honors, not 10%. As for the difference between a pass/fail school and a honors/pass/fail school. there is a big difference. My views and the views of many other people are in this allo thread:

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?s=&threadid=97397
     
  22. The "Student Survival Guide to UCSD" which you can get from the school if you want says that 10-20% get honors depending on the particular class. Generally 15-20% is what I've heard. It depends on the mean and SD and stuff I guess.

    I'm going to find out more at second look, the fact that the faculty keeps track of where you stand and the means on each test etc. is a bit weird. The means are sooooooo high!!!
     
  23. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    That's not always true, but mostly true. Really depends on the school. I donno about Northwestern off the top of my head.

    On a side note, I've had some friends who were at UCLA where they do this, they were second years, and I told them that they did this. They argued with me for 2 hours saying they didn't. The next week they went to the dean and flat out asked him, the dean avoided the question, they rephrased it, and the dean said exactly what I said.
     
  24. Jalby, so does every school do this? If they do, how is a pass/fail system sooooo much more chill than a pass/fail/honors system?
     
  25. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    Jalby, so does every school do this?

    Nope. My school does use the grade, but it is worth 30% of your ranking for the first two years, with year end tests being 70%. Schools like UCSF start with just the third year rankings, and then adjust according to other stuff. Simple thing is that P/F schools take a huge emphasis off of the grading on the first two years.

    If they do, how is a pass/fail system sooooo much more chill than a pass/fail/honors system?

    Part of this is because the students don't know, but the biggest reason is that for most students it doesn't matter. I explained this in depth in the thread I talked about before, but the readers digest version:

    Honors/Pass/Fail puts your grade on your sheet and most people going into a test thinks they can get in the top 15% of the test. So they are going to study a ton harder to get into the top 15% and get the ranking on their record. This leads to the smartest people in the class not sharing things that could help out other people in the class get a better grade because then they would be worried about falling out of the top 15%. Someone who isn't AOA would still strive to get a high grade in Cardiology because they might want to do cardio, etc, etc.

    Pass/Fail, the grades are used in AOA ranking, and for most Pass/Fail, it isn't factored in as much as third year grades (The entire reason they moved away from grades the first two years) So part of it could be people don't know (depending on the school), but also there is the fact that everybody won't try to get in the top 15% of that specific course. So people are more than willing to share information that would help the rest of the class. You still would have gunners, but not as many because the grades arn't recorded on the transcript.

    Also, people can be happy with getting just an 85%, but also studying just the material that is on the boards. In order to get a 90-95% on most tests, you need to study the parts of the lectures that you know is useless in medicine (As in what the lecturer is doing research in) This makes the amount of material a lot more, and also low yield for being a doctor. And in a point that's more relative to you, it's a lot harder to study 32 hours of classwork searching for the fine details than it would to study a 20 hour a week system. Most Pass/Fail schools also switched their curriculum away from the traditional curriculum when they changed to Pass/fail.


    On a side note, I just remember something I was told at a curriculum meeting last week. When Harvard first considered switching away from a traditional curric to a different system, they also did a test on Pass/Fail versus Grades. They cut the class in half, with half being Pass/Fail and half being grades. They found there was no difference in performance, but they did find a huge difference in student happyness. I'll see if I can find this study for you guys.
     
  26. UCLAMAN

    UCLAMAN Air Jordan Collector
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    well not everyone in our classes are from cali...i'd say the majority of people who want to go back to cali for residency end up there. if you want to get back to cali NU won't be what makes or breaks you IMO. i think the bigger issue is which curriculum you want to deal with for the next 4 years. you will learn better with the curriculum you are most compatible with and hopefully that will translate into higher board scores which are a much bigger factor in getting a cali residency(or any residency for that matter). But I suppose one could argue that even if they didn't like the ucsd curriculum that they could still excel on step 1 because most people still have to put in the time to study on their own. in any event...ucsd will give u a better chance to match into cali since most schools take a really high percentage of their own grads so u would definitely have a better chance to match at ucsd over an nu student if you got your medical education from ucsd. however, i'd caution you to make your decision based solely on this factor. i don't think the advantage is all that great. the main reason that there are a lot of cali matches at the uc's is because all the friggin students are cali residents!

    another thing to chew on. we have 6 exams all of 1st year. ucsd has what? an exam every 2 or 3 weeks? do u feel this will aid or hinder your learning? personal choice.

    as far as pass/fail...yes, the school keeps a record of where you stand in the class. however, it is never reported to residency directors as a raw score. they break the class into like 3 sections...upper x%, middle y%, and bottom z%. there is a term that goes with each of these regions...ie upper x% is written down as "excellent", middle is "very good" etc. i put xyz because i dunno the exact percentage breakdown and i don't think it is into 3rds...i want to say like 40% are given excellent etc. but i don't remember for sure. however, each of your individual grades for each subject will have a P. so residency directors will just know that u passed each subject and your overall general standing with respect to the class. they won't know which subjects u crapped out on and if you were the very last student in the overall class rankings.

    i'd say because the residency directors don't see any definite numerical standings or definite grades for each subject they are forced to evaluate you more based upon your step 1 scores. as jalby pointed out it is nice not to have people gunning to get their H in anatomy lab or the GI unit etc. even if the number is 10% people still have it in the back of their heads that they can get there if they bust ass and bust their classmates' asses too. it fosters a more competitive environment IMO.

    oh ya...the rankings are also used for aoa purposes...but i hear that simply being at the top of the class rankings doesnt guarantee aoa...why? because aoa is based on being nominated...theres a little bit of politics involved from what i hear. but again...other than the administration...no one will ever see the exact scores and rankings that you have earned in the first 2 years...of course...3rd year is h/p/f...but again they never revealyour exact ranking with respect to the rest of the class...just the h, p, or f. and if i remember correctly if you fail a unit and repeat it and pass that it wont even show up on the transcript...not 100% sure on that since i have never failed and dont want to but i am pretty sure that is the case.
     
  27. In an email from a current first year student at UCSD, she said that they have exams about every 2 weeks. Its true. Its not like that ALL the time though. I think the more tests the better, I forget small things after a few weeks.
     
  28. UCLAMAN

    UCLAMAN Air Jordan Collector
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    ya...its definitely personal choice.

    i hear from a friend who is a second year there that they have randomized assigned seating that is now given out via email because they used to hand out seating assignments on cards but some people faked their cards and would cheat by sitting near certain people or by certain places. i also hear that people's notecards have been found in the bathrooms. cheating sounds like its a problem there. randomized assigned seating for an exam? and this happens every two weeks? sounds like the administration isnt even trusting of its own students.
     
  29. Wow, another thing to ask about at second look.

    (Making notes)
     
  30. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    The biggest problem with this is that you never have a time where you have no material that needs to be studied. While you are studying for the pharm test, you put of the pathology test which is 2 weeks after the pharm test. You finish the pharm test, realize you are behind, and start studying your a$$ off for the pharm test immidiately after you are done with the path test. (This is almost word for word from one of my best friends at Columbia who had to do this (with thier old curriculum))

    Whereas having 6 cumulative tests, once you finish a test, you get absolutely no new material until the next monday. And for the next week or three, there isn't much pressure because the next test is 6-8 weeks off and you only have a couple of weeks material.
     
  31. UCLAMAN

    UCLAMAN Air Jordan Collector
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    haha...well...some people like being behind the ball all the time i guess.
     
  32. stressedout

    stressedout Senior Member
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    hey UCLAMAN,

    thanks so much for all of the useful info. I was wondering...do you think you could hook me up with your friend's email who chose NU or ucla and uci?

    Also, just to let everyone know...I spoke with a sd med student and they said that it is often difficult for students to match in competitive residencies 'cause the school is SO stingy about giving out honors.

    And, she also said that they do monitor students while taking exams (as others have mentioned). she basically stated that they're sort of treated like little kids in a sense.

    At this point, I am leaning toward NU....waiting on the financial aid packets.

    Thanx everyone for all of the advice!
     
  33. UCLAMAN

    UCLAMAN Air Jordan Collector
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    Ya...hmm...well with the new format i dunno how to PM...how 'bout you drop me an instant message at "oUCLAMANo"?(letter o's) or if you can wait a few more days i will most likely meet u in person because i am on a mission to meet all the bruins. i can direct you towards the person i was talking about then.
     

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