Aug 2, 2019
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  1. Pre-Medical
Pitt (COA $355)
Pros
  • Very strong research institution, lots of funding opportunities (which I have not seen at any other school)
  • Non-trad friendly school (based on MSAR and class groupme)
  • Pittsburgh (seems like a cool city, and a change of scenery could be nice for this new life phase
  • Vibe I get from current students and potential future classmates
  • UPMC is a top hospital system and seems to dominate western PA allowing for ample shadowing/rotation opportunities
  • Prestige (Interested in an academic career, specialty wise I am rather undecided)

Cons
  • Leaving family/friends
  • COA of $355 ($60K more than UIC, but $30K less than NW
  • Likely aiming to match in Chicago, and won't have the same connections as if I attend a Chicago school


Northwestern (COA $385)
Pros
  • My hometown, most of my family/friends all live here
  • Top hospital system in my state great shadowing/rotation opportunities (likely want to match here)
  • Excellent research opportunities in almost every field, seems like it is quite easy to connect in (maybe not as easy as Pitt)
  • Prestige (Interested in an academic career, specialty wise I am rather undecided)
  • Great MBA program, coming from a business background this may be something I am interested in pursuing, but need to flesh this out still
  • School seems very organized based on how it has communicated with me as an applicant
Cons
  • COA of $385K (most expensive option by a good amount)
  • Not a big fan of Streeterville (neighborhood where NW is located)
  • Very sparse with non-trads, it would be nice to have more people close to my age around

UIC (COA $295)
Pros
  • My hometown, most of my family/friends all live here
  • COA of $295K (~$60K and ~$90K cheaper than Pitt/NW respectively)
  • Love the location/area of of the school
  • Accepted into a innovation co-curricular program I am interested in pursuing
  • Seems pretty Non-trad friendly based on the stats I can remember from MSAR
  • Mission seems more aligned with my own

Cons
  • UIC's name will likely not carry as much weight as NW/Pitt
  • Very large student body, I expect it will be a bit more difficult to gain access to resources/research opportunities
  • Hospital system seems a bit weaker than NW/Pitt


Summary: Incoming non-trad (5ish years out of undergrad) struggling to decide if attachment to better hospital systems, research opportunities, and a prestigious name is worth the extra coin. Aspiring for an academic career (with a research/teaching component) and likely a competitive specialty, although I am undecided. Would love some outside opinions to ponder!
 
Last edited:
May 27, 2020
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Probably NW. The tier difference between UIC and the other two options is pretty big but the cost difference between NW and Pitt is pretty negligible for the pros you listed.
 
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Mar 8, 2021
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You have a bunch of stuff pulling you in different directions. I don't know if there's a clear winner here, since I don't know how important each personal preference weight (location, cost, prestige, non-trad friendliness) is to you. I can see you picking any of these and it being supported by good reasons.
 
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Aug 2, 2019
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  1. Pre-Medical
Cost differences are not big. how valuable is family support given you are a non-trad?
Haha, $90K makes me balk a bit. If the differential was half or double, it would make my decision a lot easier. In terms of family support I would say I am not in significant need (no kids or anything) just enjoy their company. Parents are both healthy and working, so I don't expect to need to help care for them in the near future.
 

EdgeTrimmer

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May 26, 2018
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Haha, $90K makes me balk a bit. If the differential was half or double, it would make my decision a lot easier. In terms of family support I would say I am not in significant need (no kids or anything) just enjoy their company. Parents are both healthy and working, so I don't expect to need to help care for them in the near future.
general consensus is worth spending upto $100K more if you really like one program over the other, but all these are expensive schools. I would go with UPitt based on what you said and you won't have any issues matching in Chicago. I am a parent only so take my advice with pinch of salt :)
 
Mar 8, 2021
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general consensus is worth spending upto $100K more if you really like one program over the other, but all these are expensive schools. I would go with UPitt based on what you said and you won't have any issues matching in Chicago. I am a parent only so take my advice with pinch of salt :)

I disagree with the $100k difference without looking at more context. Sure, 150k and 50k, I'd agree with. But 400k and 300k is different, and you have to factor in the baseline debt. It might mean the same 1-2 years to pay off, but 1-2 years on top of 8-10 years is a different experience.
 

EdgeTrimmer

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May 26, 2018
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I disagree with the $100k difference without looking at more context. Sure, 150k and 50k, I'd agree with. But 400k and 300k is different, and you have to factor in the baseline debt. It might mean the same 1-2 years to pay off, but 1-2 years on top of 8-10 years is a different experience.
I already stated that since all your choices are around $300K.
 

Lemonlime98

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Jan 9, 2018
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You are going to be a crap ton of debt either way, might as well pick the school that you like best and makes it easy to pay back debt. Northwestern is the best option imo
 
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