Where would you go?

  • Penn

    Votes: 31 35.2%
  • Mount Sinai

    Votes: 6 6.8%
  • Cornell

    Votes: 5 5.7%
  • Stanford

    Votes: 46 52.3%

  • Total voters
    88
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Apr 14, 2010
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I've been lucky enough to be accepted by all four. Long time lurker, first time poster. Finances aren't an issue, I don't qualify for aid and I'll likely be taking out loans from the parents. I grew up in Boston and went to school here, so I'm looking to get out of bean-town for the next few years.

Really like the location of Cornell and Sinai (i.e. NYC) and the students, really liked the curriculum at Penn, blown away by the facilities and opportunities at Stanford (it would probably be my first choice save maybe it's suburban location).

I'm interested in a academic medicine career, have done a ton of research. Also, would like to take a year in the middle of medical school to get another degree or do research abroad (particularly the United Kingdom). Maybe IM/Peds as a residency choice, but that's premature in my mind. Family is on the East Coast and part of me wants to end up here, but another part of me likes the adventure of moving to San Francisco eventually.

Thoughts? Anyone in a similar situation?
 

dw2158

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go to stanford. from reading your post i think i hear that that's where your gut is pulling you.
 
Apr 14, 2010
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go to stanford. from reading your post i think i hear that that's where your gut is pulling you.
I did love Stanford. I was slightly urked by its location in the suburbs. And, I slight favor NYC or Philly by location. NYC is awesome and I got this ridiculous Manhattanite feel from Sinai and to a lesser extent Cornell. They're all just a train ride home, and I'm sort of used to living on the East Coast and I think I do eventually want to end up here close to my family.

If Stanford was in SF I think I'd go in a heartbeat. Slightly worried about the isolation, especially being so far from home.
 

dw2158

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I did love Stanford. I was slightly urked by its location in the suburbs. And, I slight favor NYC or Philly by location. NYC is awesome and I got this ridiculous Manhattanite feel from Sinai and to a lesser extent Cornell. They're all just a train ride home, and I'm sort of used to living on the East Coast and I think I do eventually want to end up here close to my family.

If Stanford was in SF I think I'd go in a heartbeat. Slightly worried about the isolation, especially being so far from home.
no offense, but this is why these threads make no sense to me. no one on SDN is going to be able to tell you how to choose.
 

flip26

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no offense, but this is why these threads make no sense to me. no one on SDN is going to be able to tell you how to choose.
I don't get these threads, either.

OP, if Stanford's location offends thee, then don't go. That seems like a lame reason to me, but whatever.
 
Apr 14, 2010
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no offense, but this is why these threads make no sense to me. no one on SDN is going to be able to tell you how to choose.
Yeah. Realize that. Just wanted some outside opinions/thoughts. Especially from people who are making similar considerations or who interviewed at each of them.
 

Otiose

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I'm making the same decision -cornell + UCSF........honestly i have noooooo idea what you should do....except to maybe nix mount sinai based on your strong interest in research? Not that sinai isn't a great research school but compared to the others i think they'd work better for you.

Hmmmm as far as the other schools they're all great so you really can't go wrong. So maybe focus more on what your quality of life would be like in those places? I full on support moving to Cali! Not that you can't make the move for residency. Just if you're trying to end up back on the east coast this might be your shot. Personally Stanford just didn't click with me....being in an urban area is very important to me. Palo Alto is idyllic but it's definitely not a metropolis. Penn dazzled me from the amazing facilities, amazing curriculum, and the overall normalcy/bordering on awesomeness of their student body. I don't really know that much about Cornell but know it's a good school. Why not just pick where you wanna live and go from there? Good luck
 

flip26

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Yeah. Realize that. Just wanted some outside opinions/thoughts. Especially from people who are making similar considerations or who interviewed at each of them.
But your concern about what would be your #1 choice, Stanford, is entirely personal and subjective - proximity to family and the suburban location are evidently your greatest concerns at this point, and that is understandable, but it is kind of useless to ask others to opine on your decision for these reasons.
 

Otiose

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It's nice to hear what others think. Sometimes people bring up faactors i/others deciding hadn't considered. I mean you are reading the thread and posting on it right?

no offense, but this is why these threads make no sense to me. no one on SDN is going to be able to tell you how to choose.
 

dw2158

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It's nice to hear what others think. Sometimes people bring up faactors i/others deciding hadn't considered. I mean you are reading the thread and posting on it right?
yeah. i'm bored at work. doesn't mean i, or anyone else, can be helpful in making the decision.
 
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I interviewed at all 4, and am deciding between Stanford and Sinai (waitlisted at the other two). Personally, I think the schools have really different philosophies.

Cornell seemed to me to be only focused on biomedical research, which is great if that is what you're interested in. It does have amazing facilities, and I have heard that its students have great personalities.

Stanford is very interested in biomedical research as well as other interdisciplinary pursuits, and they hand out research money like it's candy. If you are less sure about what you want to focus on, it is probably a better choice than Cornell. However, I understand your qualms about the location--I have those feelings too.

Sinai is very interested in the humanistic side of medicine, which I was very impressed by, and I agree its location (as well as its housing) is the best in NYC. I am very interested in the medical humanities, which is why I like it, but I'm not sure how much that would attract you.

Penn basically has it all--amazing location, opportunities for interdisciplinary pursuits, medical humanities, you name it. However, you should find out whether it can compete with Stanford's opportunities for research funding. I vote Penn! (However, I would love to get off the waitlist if you decide against it, haha).
 

mdeast

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I'm waitlisted at 3/4 of those schools! And interviewed/accepted/probably enrolling at Sinai. I definitely wouldn't discount Sinai. I think it has pretty comparable research opportunities to Cornell and it's in an awesome location. Penn and Stanford will definitely have more options. Penn and Philly is a great option and pretty much a more manageable NYC feel. I loved Stanford as well, and will admit I think it's probably an overall better program than Penn, Cornell, or Sinai. But, not without it's drawbacks. Tough choice, do what makes you happy. I'm jealous of your options.
 

Otiose

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mmmm i disagree....but lets just agree to disagree...there are like 50 or so threads of this nature....i don't think everyone posting on them is bored at work...


yeah. i'm bored at work. doesn't mean i, or anyone else, can be helpful in making the decision.
 
Apr 14, 2010
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But your concern about what would be your #1 choice, Stanford, is entirely personal and subjective - proximity to family and the suburban location are evidently your greatest concerns at this point, and that is understandable, but it is kind of useless to ask others to opine on your decision for these reasons.
True. I was more wondering what people's opinions are of each program...i.e. passing up on Stanford, for say...Sinai or Cornell, would be a mistake. etc. for someone interested in academic medicine.
 

Jolt21

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go to stanford. a 45 min train ride from SF. kids do it all the time. I even met students who lived in SF and just commuted. (one in particular told me since I was a single male, living in Palo Alto should be a last option...i should just commute from the city)

plus it's affiliation with the undergrad will make it seem like a city on its own regardless.
 

jbz24

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In the end you will have to decide for yourself but...

I would pick Penn going by what you're saying, not Stanford. Closer to home that you can visit your friends and family more frequently than Stanford. Penn's a slightly more prestigious school, although not by much. Getting a second degree and/or doing research abroad you can do at any of these places. Penn's residency programs (on average) are better than Stanford's, especially in IM and Peds. So going to Penn gives you an edge to stay for residency there. Stanford's location would turn me off too, but that's a very personal decision.

If still thinking about NYC, just wanted to say that I disagree that Sinai should be dropped due to research. Research and academic medicine is Sinai's main focus, even more than community medicine. I believe Sinai consistently gets the second most NIH funding every year in NY, behind Columbia and ahead of Cornell.
 

phoenixsuns

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location wise, stanford isn't terrible. i'm from california and palo alto is not a bad city to live in at all. 30 minutes from SF, and there are a lot of things to do in palo alto.

with that said, i'd pick penn in a heartbeat. i don't like stanford's curriculum at all, and i've heard some bad things about the students who go there from doctor's in the bay area who've had to work with stanford residents/medical students. the students there didn't seem to be the most social when i went to visit and some of them were kind of awkward.

i also think penn is one of the best programs in the country and it's one of my favorite schools, so i'm probably biased
 

alibai3ah

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Hands down Stanford!!!!!

Some reasons...
1) Location!! Penn- location just does not sound appealing...Cornell/Mount Sinai - NYC is fun, but bad weather. California wins! I grew up in Palo Alto so its a nice suburban town. You aren't too far from the city life but at the same time you aren't overwhelmed like you might be in a place like NYC or LA
2) Stanford probably has the biggest name (Penn isn't too well known internationally, Cornell is considered the "easy" IVY, and Mount Sinai is almost unheard off)
3) Gorgeous research facilities at Stanford (although the school is almost TOO researchy)
4) Very good shot at a California residency (if that's what you are looking for)

Good luck
 
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Apr 14, 2010
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Thanks for the replies guys. I'm single and am used to the idea of dating people outside of the place I work/study in, so Stanford's location sort of frightens me a bit. I really liked New York and Philly so maybe those are better options.

I guess I was just really blown away by the program at Stanford, how happy everyone seemed, etc.... but not necessarily where it was located.
 

jbz24

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Thanks for the replies guys. I'm single and am used to the idea of dating people outside of the place I work/study in, so Stanford's location sort of frightens me a bit. I really liked New York and Philly so maybe those are better options.

I guess I was just really blown away by the program at Stanford, how happy everyone seemed, etc.... but not necessarily where it was located.
Sadly I don't think anyone can really help you with this, it's a very personal decision. At least you know you can't go wrong with whatever you choose.
 

bobsmith

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Looks like SDN is showing it's heavy California-loving bias again

Anyway, I'm waitlisted at both Penn and Stanford and I'm not really sure what I'd do if I was somehow ridiculously lucky enough to get into both. Based on what you've written here, though, I think Penn might actually be a better fit for you.

While yes, you're "only 45 minutes away" from SF, I'd say there's a pretty big difference between having to plan a trip to the city and being able to just walk out your door and be in it. If you like the feel of just being in a city all the time, it might be tough at Stanford

And as Jolt mentioned -- yes, you could commute from SF to Stanford (and that seems to be the best compromise) but I imagine you'd have to commit ~1.5 - 2 hours to commuting every day. I guess some people do it, but it's something to be aware of
 
Sep 21, 2009
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I had a very similar decision. I agree with Bobsmith and would add one more morsel that has not been discussed on this thread--

If you grew up on the east coast, it could be good to move somewhere temporarily and check out the scene but the west coast culture is certainly different from east coast culture especially when you are in school. Ask yourself if you are ready to make that kind of change for medical school.

Finally, I would emphasize having grown up in cities all my life and only temporarily lived in suburbs, that moving to a suburb, while only a train ride to the city, is still an issue to keep in mind. Do you want to live in a place where you will need a car? Where you can't get a diet coke at 2 AM without driving?
 
Apr 14, 2010
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Yeah. I sort of feel like I'm over-reacting about it though...considering it's not as if living 45 minutes from San Francisco is exactly the worst place in the world. Maybe I'm just being too picky and I'd just end up being happy anywhere.

I missed Stanford's second look weekend. Anyone go? Did it seem like the students had a lot of fun outside of school?

I will say geographically for me. SF >> NYC >>> Philadelphia >> Palo Alto.
 
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from what i hear, as a med student you won't exactly have oodles of free time to think about how much you hate your school's location. people tend to make the best of their situations and you'll have fun wherever you go, even if it's not what you're "used" to.
 

dw2158

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from what i hear, as a med student you won't exactly have oodles of free time to think about how much you hate your school's location. people tend to make the best of their situations and you'll have fun wherever you go, even if it's not what you're "used" to.
i want to point out, though, that NYC is one of the only cities where even if you're super busy and don't have much playtime, you still know you're there. the "you won't get to go out much anyway" argument certainly holds if you're comparing small cities or suburbs or rural areas but once NYC is in the mix that arguments holds no water. i know-- i've been both a student and a non-student here. can't comment on philly in this regard.
 

topsurgeon2010

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congrats man on some amazing choices..i would personally choose between stanford and penn...

if you want to go to a big city, be in the northeast, be close to family, go to a research powerhouse, go to a prestigious school....well then UPenn provides all of that with flying marks..plus philly is only a couple of hours away from NYC and Boston if you ever want to travel on the weekends..there is so already much to do in philly but its nice to have that option

however if i was in your position while it would be a very tough decision i would personally go to stanford over all those schools even though I am obsessed with NYC..stanford's name goes a long way in academics..and getting into stanford med (2nd hardest school to get into in the nation) is no joke..plus SF (an AMAZING city) isn't THAT far from campus (40 min is more than doable)

my preferences:

(1) Stanford (2) Penn (3) Mt. Sinai (4) Cornell
 
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i've never exactly understood the infatuation with NYC - i didn't apply to any schools in new york because i can't stand it! to each his/her own i guess :laugh:
 
Apr 14, 2010
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congrats man on some amazing choices..i would personally choose between stanford and penn...

if you want to go to a big city, be in the northeast, be close to family, go to a research powerhouse, go to a prestigious school....well then UPenn provides all of that with flying marks..plus philly is only a couple of hours away from NYC and Boston if you ever want to travel on the weekends..there is so already much to do in philly but its nice to have that option

however if i was in your position while it would be a very tough decision i would personally go to stanford over all those schools even though I am obsessed with NYC..stanford's name goes a long way in academics..and getting into stanford med (2nd hardest school to get into in the nation) is no joke..plus SF (an AMAZING city) isn't THAT far from campus (40 min is more than doable)

my preferences:

(1) Stanford (2) Penn (3) Mt. Sinai (4) Cornell

Is this based on more because Stanford is hard to get into...or because you like their program better, would be happier to be there. The fact that Stanford has a 2.5% acceptance rate is going to be of no consequence to me once I enroll.
 

bobsmith

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from what i hear, as a med student you won't exactly have oodles of free time to think about how much you hate your school's location. people tend to make the best of their situations and you'll have fun wherever you go, even if it's not what you're "used" to.
Yeah, I do think that most people do end up adjusting to wherever it is they end up deciding to go. Like other people have mentioned, it's a lot of little things like being able to walk/take public transportation to easily get somewhere instead of having to drive, having easy access to lots of diverse food options, and having things open late.

I still stand by the idea that going to Stanford thinking that SF is easily accessible because it's "only 45 minutes away" is a little absurd, though. Considering you won't have "oodles of free time," I imagine it would be much easier to convince other people to join you on a night out when you don't have to convince them to drive 45 minutes there and back. You'd probably just end up somewhere in Palo Alto -- which might be fine for some people, but not for others.
 

naijaboi

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I'll pick Penn because it seems like the best compromise b/w prestige, ranking and academic opportunities. Being an East Coaster myself, the idea of not being able to grab COKE at 2am and having to drive places just to entertain myself frightens me. I also prefer studying in coffee houses, the mall, and not the library. I need the constant stimulation and the crowd of people to keep me focused and to give me perspective. Plus, I hate living in any kind of bubble. Stanford and Palo Alto seems like a student bubble.

You will be very busy during medical school, true. But it is always nice to go out once in a while, or at least to know that you have the option of doing things if you wish. Since you do not have oodles of time, it is better not to drive to SF for 45 minutes just for fun.

PENN > STANFORD > MT. SINAI > CORNELL
 

dw2158

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i've never exactly understood the infatuation with NYC - i didn't apply to any schools in new york because i can't stand it! to each his/her own i guess :laugh:
notice i said "you'll know you're there," not "you'll love it." NYC is a trying place.
 

drizzt3117

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I think if you're really interested in research, Stanford is sort of nice because the 5th research year is sort of expected there anyways. I would go there in your situation, Penn is nice too, after doin grad school I'm not that into the city though.
 

topsurgeon2010

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Is this based on more because Stanford is hard to get into...or because you like their program better, would be happier to be there. The fact that Stanford has a 2.5% acceptance rate is going to be of no consequence to me once I enroll.

oh sorry definitely didnt mean to say that was a legit reason to choose a school..i was just throwing out some things to consider whether they are inconsequential or not...i dont think anyone would argue that stanford has an amazing program, especially if you want to do research (they have some truly unique research going on there)..their research is unmatched

honestly though you cant go wrong with either stanford or upenn...i actually think since you have an east coast/big-city preference Penn would be the school for you as it perfectly fits everything you want in a school plus its a top-3 school on top of all that..cant beat everything that Penn has to offer..and you said you wanted to get another degree..well getting a MBA from Wharton would be amazing (though stanfords MBA is also amazing)..

basically you cant go wrong with either one..since money isnt a factor go to second look weekends and see where you think you would be a better fit..you obviously want to go where you see yourself the happiest
 

topsurgeon2010

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notice i said "you'll know you're there," not "you'll love it." NYC is a trying place.
actually this is what im worried about the most..ive visited NYC many times throughout my life and its a great city with unlimited things to do and is always fun going for a few days but I don't know if I can picture myself living there for years..i can definitely see how it can be exhausting once the initial high of being in NYC wears off
 

alibai3ah

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Yeah. I sort of feel like I'm over-reacting about it though...considering it's not as if living 45 minutes from San Francisco is exactly the worst place in the world. Maybe I'm just being too picky and I'd just end up being happy anywhere.

I missed Stanford's second look weekend. Anyone go? Did it seem like the students had a lot of fun outside of school?

I will say geographically for me. SF >> NYC >>> Philadelphia >> Palo Alto.
If you find this to be true, then I'd go with Penn....

Personally I think California is far better place than the other states you mentioned. But if you really like the East Coast, stay there....SF is still 40 minutes out from Palo Alto. So PHilly might be the place for you. I just thought that Philly wasn't the safest city in the world and so for me Palo Alto would win (despite having "less things to do")
 
Apr 14, 2010
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If you find this to be true, then I'd go with Penn....

Personally I think California is far better place than the other states you mentioned. But if you really like the East Coast, stay there....SF is still 40 minutes out from Palo Alto. So PHilly might be the place for you. I just thought that Philly wasn't the safest city in the world and so for me Palo Alto would win (despite having "less things to do")
You've lived in Palo Alto right? How do think that compares to living in a bigger city? Especially as a medical student.
 

jbz24

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ranked higher in usnews does not equal more prestigious - a lot of other things go into that ranking
I wasn't going by us news ranking, just what I've heard from various people. To me, the leader in cali is UCSF, not stanford. But the difference between Penn and Stanford is probably negligible, I just have an east coast bias.
 
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So the consensus seems to be...forget about Cornell and Sinai. Decide between Stanford and Penn?
There is some validity to the usnews rankings, especially if you're interested in academics. To choose a school 15+ spots below your other options, you'd need a strong and specific reason. Examples of strong specific reasons: I want to go to Sinai because I speak Spanish and feel strongly about working in East Harlem. I want to go to Cornell because I am dead-set on oncology and want to be involved with Sloan-Kettering. I have to be in New York because I am married/committed and my spouse/partner has a job in New York.

From what you've written, it seems like you have many priorities but #1 is research and academics. So go to Stanford. It's not in a city, but that's really not a big deal in medical school unless you plan on going clubbing on weekdays.
 

mmmcdowe

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So the consensus seems to be...forget about Cornell and Sinai. Decide between Stanford and Penn?
I think the consensus is you should really really not rely on SDN advice about picking between schools.
 

jbz24

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I think the consensus is you should really really not rely on SDN advice about picking between schools.
Agreed about this. They're all good places and you will have to figure out for yourself which one you'd be a better fit at. If you're asking us if any of these places would be a "wrong" decision, none of them would be.
 
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I did love Stanford. I was slightly urked by its location in the suburbs. And, I slight favor NYC or Philly by location. NYC is awesome and I got this ridiculous Manhattanite feel from Sinai and to a lesser extent Cornell. They're all just a train ride home, and I'm sort of used to living on the East Coast and I think I do eventually want to end up here close to my family.

If Stanford was in SF I think I'd go in a heartbeat. Slightly worried about the isolation, especially being so far from home.

If UCSF was in Stanford I would take it in heartbeat (I'm deciding btwn UCSF and UCLA btw)

It just comes to show that geographical preferences can be very different for many people. I like the suburban feel and undergraduate campus associated with Stanford more
 

BlueElmo

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I would think the choice would come down to Penn vs Stanford. Tough choice, I would choose Stanford but only because I'm from the West Coast.
 

alibai3ah

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You've lived in Palo Alto right? How do think that compares to living in a bigger city? Especially as a medical student.
I grew up in Palo Alto (10+ years of living)....I think it is a great place to be. It is a neat commnuity, basically what you would find in any middle/upper-class suburban town. But you are right, it is different from a big city....

Downtown Palo Alto has bars here and there, but again the nightlife is not "cracking" like it would be in SF or LA. But you also have to really think about how much partying you will be doing in medical school as it is not like undergrad.

I'm actually getting my first city experience this fall in medical school so I can't compare city life with Palo Alto life. I will be moving to Boston for med skol. But Palo Alto isn't terribly far from some touristy areas...

1) SF obviously about 40 minutes away
2) Tahoe for snowboarding/skiing about 3 hours out
3) Napa about 1.5 hours out
4) San Jose/Santana Row - about 35 minutes south
5) Santa Cruz/Carmel/Monterey, etc.-

The school itself also is pretty big on Sports. Cali is also much more laid back (at least I felt as compared to the East Coast). Weather is pretty nice. Palo Alto is also the heart of the Silicon Valley. So people here tend to be VERY techy. I swear every other person (ages 12+) has a iphone or blackberry and is constantly on it. That is a good or bad thing depending on what you think of it.

Sorry if I can't be much more help. If you want a change, you should go for it. I have a friend who moved here from Michigan and loves California. But I do understand the importance of being close to your family, so that is something to consider. Good luck. In terms of academic medicine, all 4 should pretty much get you to where you want to go.

Also I do have a friend who is a 3rd year at Stanford and if you PM me, I can get you two in touch.
 

topsurgeon2010

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dont know if this is going to matter to you (i personally dont think it should)

but stanford just fell out of top-10 while Penn is ranked number 2 in US News for 2011
 
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