Snowy Owl

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I am currently making a tough decision between Oregon Health Science (OHSU) and the University of Vermont (UVM). Any thoughts or advice?
 

JA Prufrock

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I don't know much about the schools, but I would love to live in oregon.
 
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SirGecko

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Surfing? In Oregon? (I've never been there but I was under the impression it was kind of... cold, I guess you'd need a wet suit)
 

Snowy Owl

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Location aside, I am interested in the differences between the two schools. I know that UVM has a more modern/tech based curriculum, while OHSU is more traditional in its approach.

Thanks for any input.
 

searun

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People do surf along the Oregon Coast but the water is cold and you definitely need a wetsuit.

The Columbia Gorge, about 1 hour east of Portland, is one of the top two or three wind surfing areas in the entire world. The Columbia Gorge is just a huge wind funnel and the wind surfing is incredible - it is more like flying than surfing.

Oregon definitely has superior snowboarding to Vermont. Vermont has some nice resorts like Sugarbush, but the mountains are much smaller and less challenging than the big mountains of the Cascades, such as Mt. Hood which is 90 minutes from Portland.
 
H

HoorayForMed

Tough choice! I've only ever visited UVM, but it seemed like an AMAZING place to learn when I was there.

But you have to go with your gut feeling. When you interviewed, could you see yourself at either place?

Good luck
 

Snowy Owl

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UVM would be cheaper for me as an in-state student, but I am hesitant to accept a spot there because it feels like the right time experience a completely new and different place. Does this justify the higher cost? Has anyone else faced this choice?
 

sirrileydog

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UVM would be cheaper for me as an in-state student, but I am hesitant to accept a spot there because it feels like the right time experience a completely new and different place. Does this justify the higher cost? Has anyone else faced this choice?

No, you're the first.

It will be a couple months before you know exactly what that cost is at OHSU.

I don't understand these "if you were me, which school would you go to" threads. We don't know you. Some advice: ask people who know you, your goals, your preferences, etc. It's a personal decision and you have two good choices.
 

reezer4

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If I may ask, when did you interview at OHSU and when did you hear about your acceptance?
 

notdeadyet

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I know that UVM has a more modern/tech based curriculum, while OHSU is more traditional in its approach.
Personally, what I saw of OHSU did not blow me away. I didn't see much about the place that I felt was overtly negative, but I didn't find much that delighted me either. It struck me as a solid medical school, but not one that I'd write home about.

UVM blew me away. I was impressed with the facilities, hospital, and (especially) the curriculum. If I were a Oregon resident, I'd have no problems staying home to go to OHSU since UVM is obscenely expensive for OOS students. But if you have instate tuition at UVM, I'd go there in a heartbeat.

That said, it's your call. Neither school is a huge reputation-laden top 10, but neither is low end either. Personally, if you think they both gave you a simliar impression, I'd follow the money.

I think the idea of choosing a medical school as a way to explore a new town is a bad idea. You have plenty of time to do it in your life and little of your time during medical school to really enjoy a place. It won't be like undergrad.
 

tacrum43

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Seems like location should be taken into consideration too. They're in very different areas of the country.
 
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Lshapley

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My preference was definitely OHSU over UVM. A lot of that had to do with the average temperatures though. At OHSU, you can drive an hour to get the snow and cold weather. At UVM, it would be that way for half of the year! If you check out their monthly average temperatures, you would see that Portland is much more temperate...it rarely snows there. Can't say that about UVM. Now, obviously, you are a Vermont native. So if you want to be in the midst of snow for half of the year than UVM might be a better choice.

As for the schools, I felt that UVM was a baby version of OHSU. The medical center at OHSU was larger and services a larger population than OHSU (Portland alone has 10x the population). OHSU definitely has better research funding than UVM. I believe OHSU has a better clinical exposure than UVM (more patients, more options) as well.

The real crux for you though is that tuition. If I were in your position, even though I prefer OHSU for a number of reasons, I would go to UVM because it would be so much cheaper. The school cultures were so similar that you are likely to be just as happy at one as you would be at the other. You will graduate from UVM with about 100k less debt than OHSU...that more than makes up for the differences!

Good luck with your choice!
 

Ella Shepherd

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Personally, what I saw of OHSU did not blow me away. I didn't see much about the place that I felt was overtly negative, but I didn't find much that delighted me either. It struck me as a solid medical school, but not one that I'd write home about.

UVM blew me away. I was impressed with the facilities, hospital, and (especially) the curriculum. If I were a Oregon resident, I'd have no problems staying home to go to OHSU since UVM is obscenely expensive for OOS students. But if you have instate tuition at UVM, I'd go there in a heartbeat.

That said, it's your call. Neither school is a huge reputation-laden top 10, but neither is low end either. Personally, if you think they both gave you a simliar impression, I'd follow the money.

I think the idea of choosing a medical school as a way to explore a new town is a bad idea. You have plenty of time to do it in your life and little of your time during medical school to really enjoy a place. It won't be like undergrad.

Good point. :thumbup:

I think you should go to UVM. :)
 

Womialas

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This is hilarious. I just came to SDN to post on here about deciding between in-state UVM tuition and another school (NYMC). A lot of these replies have helped me out too. I think I know, deep down, that there is no way I would turn down a tuition discount to a school I really liked, even though NYMC was pretty amazing as well. I think the COMET system is going to change the way medical schools teach, and I like having that advantage over more traditional schools.

I've been out of VT for a few years now so I'm ready to go back. I understand your reasoning for wanting to leave (I left for undergrad) but with the programs offered at UVM, like rotations in numerous locations and free room/board if you go to ME, I think you'll still get a chance to do that during school.

Hope to see you there this fall.
 

notdeadyet

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I've been out of VT for a few years now so I'm ready to go back. I understand your reasoning for wanting to leave (I left for undergrad) but with the programs offered at UVM, like rotations in numerous locations and free room/board if you go to ME, I think you'll still get a chance to do that during school.
I'd forgotten about the chances to go to Maine for long lengths of time. I think I blocked that because my wife made it pretty clear she'd skin me alive if I tried to make her move again partway through.

Good of you to bring it up.
 

Lshapley

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If I was a Vermont resident, I would choose UVM. If an Oregon resident, I'd choose OHSU. If neither, I'd choose OHSU. My impression of OHSU is not the same as notdeadyet's, I actually feel like OHSU was a school custom made for me. The students I met were happy and mature. UVM was a great school, and the students were very enthusiastic (particularly the tour guide!) but they are in a small city in the middle of a rural state. Portland is about 10x the size of Burlington. That makes a huge difference when it comes to medical exposure. Also, not that Portland is the most ethnically diverse region in the country, but I am willing to bet the population of ethic minorities in Portland = the total population in Burlington.

I do think that UVM likely has a leg up on OHSU in the first two years with their COMET system, but I am of the opinion that these two years are overrated in many pre-meds eyes and that the clinical years are the most important. When it comes to the clinical years, you will have a much better patient exposure at OHSU than UVM. Also, regionally speaking, OHSU is certainly a regional leader in the Pacific Northwest. UVM suffers by being in proximity to so many good medical schools (that MA schools, Dartmouth and the schools in Montreal) that I would have to think that many patients with hard-to-treat cases would choose some of these medical centers first.

Anyways, that is just my opinion. Really though, my knocks on UVM pale in comparison to being in debt an extra 100K if you decided to go to OHSU.
 

Snowy Owl

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Cost is becoming a bigger factor in the decision the longer I think about it - and the more input I receive. (Thank you, all, for that.) However, it doesn't make the decision as easy as I would like.

As a few of you have noted, I agree that UVM's curriculum in the first two years would be better than what I would experience at OHSU. But the flip side is that the clinical exposure in the second two years would be superior at OHSU.

If I do choose to attend OHSU, I want to be sure that the cost is worth it. While I am working through this in my mind, I am wondering if anyone has any straight forward information on how OHSU students do on Step I of the boards. The curriculum there may be more traditional, but does it get the job done?

Also, any opinions on how I should consider the stats about the "success" of the match at each school? I know that at OHSU it is 85-90% match at one of their top three choices. Is that good? Anyone know the stats at UVM?

Thanks, again, for continuing this discussion.
 

notdeadyet

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While I am working through this in my mind, I am wondering if anyone has any straight forward information on how OHSU students do on Step I of the boards. The curriculum there may be more traditional, but does it get the job done?
How well you do on the Step I on the boards is much more representative of the student than the curriculum. Put Harvard folks through a god awful curriculum and they'll still kill the Step I.

A good curriculum will make your later preparation a lot easier, but even if you don't like the curriculum at OHSU, it won't limit your Step 1. It may just require more out of class studying.
Also, any opinions on how I should consider the stats about the "success" of the match at each school? I know that at OHSU it is 85-90% match at one of their top three choices. Is that good? Anyone know the stats at UVM?
I'd also be careful about match rates. In and of themselves they don't tell you a lot.

For instance, if you have a school with a 90% match rate to their top three choices, that's very impressive if everyone is going to derm and rads. If everyone is going into peds and family practice, not so much.

And if you have a school where everyone is going into peds and family practice, does this mean the school produces students with no other options or attracts students driven to primary care (much more likely).

Sorry if this is unhelpful, but I pesonall think that choosing med school is a very subjective process. There is only one quantitative yardstick I'd pay much attention to: tuition. For the rest of it, it's much more about fit.

Both are great schools. Both will give you the tools to kill the Step I if you have the intelligence and work ethic. Both schools have the ability to get you the residency of your choice, if you perform well enough. Neither school will limit you. Check price then follow your gut.
 

Lshapley

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Both are great schools. Both will give you the tools to kill the Step I if you have the intelligence and work ethic. Both schools have the ability to get you the residency of your choice, if you perform well enough. Neither school will limit you. Check price then follow your gut.

Agreed.
 

epic110

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I'm also deciding between these two schools. I'm going to be oos at either so tuition is going to be high either way for me. Does anyone really know how much OHSU is going to cost, or when we will get our aid packages? Im not sure OHSU would necessarily have better clinical education just because of patient diversity. It seams to me that there are certain core things that you have to learn to prepare you for residency, but you can really learn what you need to anywhere. Don't get me wrong though cause I worked at OHSU for over a year and really liked it. The big plus for me with Burlington is how compact it is compared to Portland. Maybe its because I grew up on the east coast, but everything out here in the west is spread so far and wide. I have surfed both the coast and the gorge and regularly ride on hood, but nothing is as close as people make it sound. Im pretty sick of the rain too. I don't know if its worth moving across the country to go to UVM just to experience Vermont or if I should just stay put for four more years. The grass is always greener you know...

Anyway, Its suppose start snowing again tomorrow, so if anyone wants to ride hit me up.
 

Mandy22

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I just wanted to say something about the Maine thing. The reason UVM has that contract where they send all of those kids to Maine, is that Maine does not have their own medical school, so UVM allows them to apply as in state residents. However, Maine has just decided to open its own medical school, so they no longer need UVM to let their kids apply as in state and therefore UVM lost its little contract with Maine. They are looking to find a new school to send their kids to as their hospital, Fletcher Allen is not big enough. I dont think they have found one yet. Also, I am unsure of when the contract is over.
 

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Mandy, let me say as a current UVM student your understanding of the Maine relationship is not really correct... The contract is good for three more years (ie doesn't necessarily effect this year's incoming class). That being said, there will probably be even more options/locations come this incoming classes third year. Second, Maine students are still out of state (and pay OOS tuition). There is a program called FAME (which Dartmouth, Tufts, UVM all particpate in) that reserves a certain number of spaces for applicants who go through the program. At UVM I believe this is 8 or 11 seats. Maine residents can apply like every other OOS as well through the normal route for "normal" spots. Also, Maine (at least right now) is not openly planning on opening a new medical school. The contract was up and Tufts (who is being nudged out of Boston) offered greater financial incentives than UVM. Maine also wanted 70+ students instead of the 30 that we currently send. Tufts has a larger class so it is really a better fit for what they want. What they are moving towards is a model similar to Dartmouth-Brown in which Tufts will have the students for the first two years and Maine will issue the ultimate degree. Of course remember this is all speculation but probably the case based on their current trajectory. Also, its important to recognize we use "Maine" loosely. Portland Medical Center is a corporation and not a State-run entity. It is Portland Medical Center who is making these moves not Maine. UVM will continue to participate in FAME irrespective of the PMC agreement and as such will still have many connections to the state.
All that being said, UVM is the bomb. I would recommend coming here... (honestly, money really shouldn't come into the equation)... Go where your heart dictates. I am paying an extra 100K to go here and I don't regret one penny...
 

notdeadyet

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All that being said, UVM is the bomb. I would recommend coming here... (honestly, money really shouldn't come into the equation)... Go where your heart dictates. I am paying an extra 100K to go here and I don't regret one penny...
Money shouldn't come into the equation, but unfortunately it does. Particularly for any OOSers who are not eligible for much of the scholarship money and can't declare in state residency.

I fell in love with UVM, but I couldn't ignore the extra $100K tuition. If I were going into family practice, by the time you add interest to it, it would have meant having to work an extra year or two just to pay off medical school, which I couldn't live with.

But if it weren't for the tuition and extra $100K I'd have to pay, I probably would have pulled up stakes and moved across country to a state I'd never lived in to attend UVM. I was that impressed with the place. I do believe it's one of the most under appreciated med schools out there. I'm happy where I'm at, but have a soft spot for UVM.

That said, unless folks are born rich, they'd be foolish to have money not come into the equation.
 

DrBubbles

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I'm a student at OHSU, and I absolutely love it here. With that said, I'll try to be unbiased.

I don't know if this'll work for everyone, but this is what worked for me: I listed the positive attributes about a school that were actually important to me. (E.g. I'm interested in primary care. Therefore, a national ranking of 35 or so, which is largely reflective of how much NIH funding an institution gets, is less important to me than a primary care ranking of #2 in the country. With Vermont at #60 and #5, respectively, they'd be pretty equal for me on the primary care scale, but OHSU would win out on the research end.) Then I ranked each attribute relative to how important it was to me. (1,2 or 3) Then I assigned points to the schools accordingly, and added them up.

It is certainly a limited, an overly quantitative way of figuring out where I'm going to spend four years of my life and jump-start my career, but it's worked now for both my master's and medical school programs, and helped me see which school was really right for me once I factored out all the stuff that people talked about but that didn't make a difference to me.

With regards to tuition, OHSU is hands-down going to be more expensive. But, as a physician, provided you're practicing in a non-third-world country, you'll still be in the top 5% of wage-earners in the United States no matter what field you go into. (In Oregon, that seems to include rural family practitioners.)

Regarding board scores, it's true, as posted, that it depends on the student. It also depends on the class. Each class has their own personality. For example, last year's second-years at OHSU were super laid back--they tended to have hobbies and outside interests, and not be very competitive. The class before them were much more of a gunner class, so I'd imagine their board scores were significantly higher.

Anyhow, best of luck making a tough choice between two wonderful institutions!
 

epic110

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ya, in all my time up at ohsu i dont think ive met a med student that didnt really like it. even the 3rd and 4th year students are still loving it which means a lot to me. i havent spent much time in vermont, but it seamed to be on the same wavelength. i think both schools are generally out of class by noon in the preclinical year, but uvm starts rotations in march instead of july. less class sounds good to me :thumbup:

concerning the above posters comment that oregon has better skiing. would anyone really regularly drive 1 1/2 - 2 each way to mt hood after class to ski (i might...;))? vermont may have hills compared to the cascades but when time is limited easy access is critical. closer = better

i know i would be happy at ohsu, but uvm has a certain draw for me. im not sure though; i would hate to move across the country looking for something better only to be disappointed by what i left behind. i think both rock. decisions decisions
 
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