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Pitt vs. Northwestern vs. ???

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by J33, Apr 1, 2004.

?

Which would you pick?

  1. Pitt

    42 vote(s)
    47.2%
  2. Northwestern

    47 vote(s)
    52.8%
  1. J33

    J33 Senior Member
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    Here comes my contribution to this string of school A vs. school B threads....(had to include the necessary qualifier)

    So I have narrowed down my current acceptances to these two schools, and just can't decide between them. I was also told by UMich that I am "toward the top of the top 1/3 of the waitlist" meaning I have a pretty good chance at getting in there if their waitlist is as active as it has been in the past. I am also on the waitlist at WashU, and I would definitely take UMich or WashU over Pitt or NU.

    But I need to decide on either Pitt or NU for now, assuming I don't get off a waitlist. I am not crazy about the idea of living in downtown Chicago like everyone else seems to be. I think I would prefer a more moderately sized (and moderately priced) city like Pittsburgh. The weather at both places sucks, so that's not an issue. But I think I could live either place for 4 years and be ok. I had equally positive impressions of each school during my interviews, perhaps a slight edge to NU.

    So does anyone have any opinions about these schools? Or is anyone else facing the same choice? I'm not sure what specialty I want to go into, so I want to go to the place that would have the best overall reputation, giving me the best chance at landing my residency of choice. I've also heard some negative rumors about the clinical training at NU, and I've heard great things about the clinical training at Pitt. The main positive thing I hear about NU is the location.

    As you can see, I'm very split here. Any opinions or advice would be greatly appreciated!
     
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  3. tonyjerry

    tonyjerry Member
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    i've heard the same thing about the clinical training. im not sure if northwesterns is that bad but pittsburghs is definitely great. the hospital system is also infinitely better. ive got a few friends that are first years and they tell me that you dont see any of their classmates outside of class, so i guess they have a really competitive class this year but ive also heard the same for pitt. my friend said hed prefer to go to pitt over nu but hes interested in ortho which i guess pitt is really good for. what else, living in downtown chicago really isnt that expensive if you find a 2 or 3 bedroom. oh, and i guess nu is much more pbl based which could be either good or bad for you. the student body doesnt really appeal to me either because more than a quarter of them are hpmes (ba/md program) and all hang out together and another quarter or so are non traditionals. not that age is a big deal but i would prefer to be in a class with students i can relate to a, go out with, etc. a little more. if you really want to know specifics about northwestern pm me.
     
  4. tonyjerry

    tonyjerry Member
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    oh, and ive got a question for you, do you remember about what percent of the waitlist gets accepted? thanks
     
  5. coldchemist

    coldchemist Biowulf
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    Chicago or Pittsburgh? Are you serious? Chicago has the Sears Tower!
     
  6. UCLAMAN

    UCLAMAN Air Jordan Collector
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    Hmm...I don't know where people get this whole "bad clinical" rumor from Northwestern. I think because the hospital is ritzy people automatically think that it will be a bad clinical experience(ie patients won't let u touch them). Certainly not true. I'd say our clinical training is great. We are one of the better clinical teaching schools in Chicago(if not the best). The patient population is diverse, you deal with them like you do at any other medical school. I've dealt with many of the housestaff already and they are all wonderful teachers. They are genuinely interested in your learning and will do everything they can to help you succeed whatever the field you are interested in. For PBL it isn't uncommon to for students to just head down to the hospital and flag down a doc in the field pertaining to their learning issue and get all their questions answered straight from the horse's mouth instead of a book. My point is that unless one knows FOR A FACT that our clinical training is horse poo, don't make any such claims.

    As for the HPME kids...People automatically assume because these kids are a year or two younger and have known each other for the past 3 years that they automatically isolate themselves from civilization and they are childish and immature. Newsflash, the HPMErs are human too. They go to bars like you and I. They study like everyone else in the class(no more no less). Some of them offer great insight into medical ethics discussions despite being "younger." I think sometimes they can be more "mature" than some of the trads or non-trads in our class. They do associate with people. It is ok to hang out with them. Some of them are my good friends now. Bottom line, the HPME kids only crime is that they are younger by a year or two from the trads. They do not display any social or mental difference from anyone else who goes to NU that is indicative of their age. Age ain't nothin' but a number. They just add to the broad spectrum of people in the class. This is the case at any medical school, there is a broad spectrum of people. So wherever one chooses where to go, they have to learn how to get along with people who are different. But again, I'd argue that the HPMEs aren't very different than any other medical student.

    if you want to specialize....hmm...have you seen our matchlist?
    here we go...NU Match List 2004
    10 rads, 12 ortho, 3 neurosurg, 9 ophtho, 17 EMeds, 3 ENT, 1 plastics, 2 rad onc, 4 urology, 2 anesth no derms because no one applied to derm as far as i know(doesnt mean we have a crappy derm dept, just that no one from this particular class wanted to apply to derm. perhaps because we had so many orthopedic surgeons...12 of them.)

    I think your decision should be based on any curriculum differences or any differences in the type of city you would like to live in. In terms of training, I'd argue that Pitt and Northwestern are equally as good. In terms of reputation I'd argue that it is also a wash. Both schools get love when one applies for residency. There is no basis for the "NU has bad clinical training" or "Pitt is better for specializing."

    In fact, if I remember correctly from when I interviewed there, Pitt is also PBL based. What I CAN say that NU only has 2 hours of lecture a day. 2 hours!!! It is really good for people who like to study on their own(not that we don't get enough info in the lecture, we do) Some days I am out by noon(3 days of the week). I don't knwo how many lecture hours Pitt has. Also, at NU we have 6 exams the whole year. 6!!! Now, some people may not like that as it forces one to learn and possess large amounts of information for each exam. The 2 weeks before each exam are generally hardcore studying. the 4 weeks prior to those 2 weeks are generally happy go lucky(well, one has to study a little bit. but it certainly isnt hardcore unless you want it to be). I don't know how often pitt gives exams. you may like more lecture if you are a auditory learner. you may not like the idea of 6 exams because of the volume of info for each exam. These are the kinds of things you should be looking into when deciding which school to go to.

    good luck with the decision. one can't go wrong with either school. just make sure the decision isn't based on rumor or claims that have no basis.
     
  7. DrBodacious

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    I was checking out your matchlist, congrats for R. Wang's match at U of M's urology dept! Priceless.

    To chime in on the topic at hand, I think they are both amazing schools (unfortunately I didn't get accepted to either of them, I'm waiting hopelessly for NU...). If it were me, I'd just think about your interview experiences and decide which program was more your style, because they are both very reputable, but with somewhat different auras.
     
  8. J33

    J33 Senior Member
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    bump...anyone else have any opinions on these two schools? Thank you to everyone who replied.
     
  9. CUMD

    CUMD Member
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    I didn't apply to Pitt, but I'm currently accepted at Northwestern and I will be at the second look weekend. I can't speak from experience about Pitt, but I can assume that it is an excellent institution with excellent resources for a medical education.

    Having said that, I also believe that Northwestern can also provide an excellent education. For me, I think location would be the distinguishing factor between these schools, and I think that there is no question that Chicago is a much cooler and enjoyable city. Also, even though NW Memorial looks like a 5 star hotel, it does serve a very diverse patient population from one of the most diverse cities in country.

    Personally, I would pick NW hands down, but Pitt is also an excellent institution. Good luck with your decision!
     
  10. J33

    J33 Senior Member
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    Thanks for the reply CUMD. It appears that you, like everyone else who would pick NU, would choose NU because of the location. As I stated, I'm not crazy about the idea of living in a big city like everyone else is. When it comes down to it, there's nothing in Chicago that I would actually do that I couldn't do in Pittsburgh.

    Is there anyone out there who would choose NU for a reason other than the location?
     
  11. UCLAMAN

    UCLAMAN Air Jordan Collector
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    psst...

    only 2 hours of lecture a day!!!

    New 1st and 2nd yr lecture halls and clinical skills learning center. people didnt get to see them during interviews because they werent open then.

    out by noon 3 times a week!

    only 6 exams the whole year!!!

    newer hospital. brand new prentice women's hospital to open by your 3rd or 4th year as well.

    hmm...i cant think of anything else...everyone is giving location as a reason because location usually plays a big role in people's choices. ultimately i'd say pitt and NU have similar curriculums so it is hard to differentiate between the two based on that. you sound like your heart is set on pitt.

    i don't think either school is going to give you a significant advantage over the other in terms of residency.

    i think it really does come down to location.
     
  12. quideam

    quideam Too tired to complain
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    J33, are you into the outdoors or EM at all? Those are big selling points for me... wilderness medicine is huge at Pitt, and they're an EM powerhouse (one of the top academic EM programs in the nation). They also have the largest simulation center in the country. Oh, and do you really want only six exams a year??!! :D
     
  13. UCLAMAN

    UCLAMAN Air Jordan Collector
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    yes. and don't give me that "itfostersslacking" BS. everyone(for the most part) who gets into medical school works hard and is super type A. fewer exams allow you learn at your own pace, allow you to take a breath of fresh air every once in awhile. but i suppose if you need someone cracking a whip on you all the time then 6 exams is not good. personal choice i guess. in any event i'd say its an important thing to think about with many things between the two schools being fairly similar.
     
  14. UCLAMAN

    UCLAMAN Air Jordan Collector
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    btw...is the OP coming to second look? its a great way to get all of your questions answered.
     
  15. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    When you are in medical school you shouldn't have time for having fun.

    Another totally untrue statement.
     
  16. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    I've heard good things about the first two years of both schools and consider them pretty equal in that matter. I havn't heard much of the 3rd and 4th year of both schools, but I got to disagree with UCLAMAN about the clinical training. I go to a school that has both a private hospital and a county hospital, and the difference in training (what the patients let you do) is absolutely amazing.

    All that being said, I still pick NU by a long shot due to the location.
     
  17. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    Now that I read the OP's post, I'm switching to Upitt because you liked the city. Also, I'm not sure I would choose Umich or Wash U over those two schools.
     
  18. StrngoutAS

    StrngoutAS Senior Member
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    Just wanted to make sure Jalby, but this is the untrue statement or were u referring to something else?
     
  19. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    I know of one school which this is for sure true about.
     
  20. StrngoutAS

    StrngoutAS Senior Member
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    Is that how it is at USC? We're playing the pronoun game :)
     
  21. UCLAMAN

    UCLAMAN Air Jordan Collector
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    are u saying pitt has a county hospital?
     
  22. sunflower79

    sunflower79 Plays well with knives
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    If the OP knows what specialty s/he wants to go into, then that may make a difference in the choice of schools. Pitt is especially known for general surgery, transplant surgery, and orthopedics.

    good luck :) email me if you have any questions about Pitt.
     
  23. quideam

    quideam Too tired to complain
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    And don't forget EM!!!

    J33, are you going to Pitt's second look?
     
  24. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    Nope. You are about 150 miles off.
     
  25. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    I have absolutely no idea. I am saying that NU has very rich patients. But I'm sure Pitt get's the richest of Pittsburgh, too.
     
  26. OMG, not again.
     
  27. UCLAMAN

    UCLAMAN Air Jordan Collector
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    hmm...so whats your point? i can see that someone at a county or va hospital(which we do have) would be allowed to do a bit more. however, i think that one will still get adequate clinical training at a hospital that isn't a county or va hospital. i think it is wrong to assume that just because patients may be affluent that the hospital is a "bad" place to get clinical training.

    i guess the op should reconsider both nu and pitt and just go to usc instead....and absolutely positively should not go to ucsd.
     
  28. SoulRFlare

    SoulRFlare Senior Member
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    I voted for Northwestern because i'm mad at pitt!!:smuggrin:
     
  29. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    Good call.
     
  30. UCLAMAN

    UCLAMAN Air Jordan Collector
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    :D
     
  31. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    I'm actually a pretty big fan of NU and Pitt. I had what I thought was my best interview at NU and there is a good chance I would have been there over USC had I gotten in. In a lot of ways, I think Pitt, Case, NU, USC, and MSSM are all the same school, just in different locations.

    But I do think you have a good point. I think the OP should withdraw from all schools and apply to USC next year EDP.
     
  32. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    UCDavis, too.
     
  33. Aye, more UCSD bashing from people who don't go to UCSD. More useless rumors to scare pre-meds away for no reason. Yay.
     
  34. J33

    J33 Senior Member
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    Ahhh! I took a half-day break from SDN and my thread got hijacked. Just kidding. I appreciate everyone's input on these two schools. I think the poll is the closest poll in history. Right now it's Pitt 32, NU 33.

    Regarding second look weekends...I am going to Pitt. They are on the same weekend, so I had to choose one, and my choice was easy...I was waiting to get my acceptance from Pitt to decide which one to go to, and I ended up not getting my Pitt acceptance until one day after the deadline to register for NU's second look, and I had forgotten the date, so I missed it. I e-mailed NU one day late and they basically said "f*ck you".

    I followed up several times, explaining to them the importance of this decision to me and how it would be crucial for me to get a chance to see the school. They wouldn't put me through to Dean Brown, and told me that it was too late (I even said I'd pay my own way). So I finally e-mailed Dean Brown and she gave me some crap like "you are of particular interest to us. we had a highly competitive year, and I strongly encourage you to come to NU, but we can't help you with the second look. it would compromise the events. but I can put you in touch with a current student or faculty member if you have any questions." After that, I started leaning toward Pitt. I was hoping to go to part of both second looks, so I could judge each school against each other. But now I only get a chance to see Pitt, so I came to SDN to seek more input.

    Anyone else have any input? I mentioned before that I don't know what specialty I want to do, but I'd like to be in the position to do well in anything, even competitive ones.
     
  35. personal jesus

    personal jesus Senior Member
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    If I were a wealthy patient in Chicago I would not pay good money to be attended on by med students. I think it is an unfortunate reality that often med students get their training by working with patients without money to demand more skilled care.
     
  36. personal jesus

    personal jesus Senior Member
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    To the OP
    While I completely agree that it wasnt cool for NU to stiff you on the 2nd look, I would caution against letting this effect your decision. How many times have you interacted with the admissions office of your college after enrolling? Never I bet. I think your best bet is to consider things that actually matter ie. curriculum, clinical training, etc...
     
  37. UCLAMAN

    UCLAMAN Air Jordan Collector
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    you make it seem as though 3rd and 4th year medical students are completely autonomous and make every single call and perform every procedure required by their patients. as a result, attending an institution that is in a wealthy area severely hinders this autonomy because patients refuse to let medical students do anything. in that case, ucla med center must have bad clinical training because it is right next to bel air. ucsd must also have bad clinical training because last i checked la jolla was pretty damn expensive to live in.

    i don't expect a 3rd year medical student to perform a complete unsupervised bowel resection on a patient at a county hospital just because the patients are poorer.

    first off, u make it seem as though every single person that walks into nmh is oprah winfrey. second, i'd saylearning to interact with patients and staff, taking a complete history and becoming adept at performing basic clinical exam skills and coming up with good differentials are the bread and butter of 3rd year. your patients do not need to be poor for them to allow you to learn how to do all of this. i am sure that even oprah would let a med student take a history on her and test her cranial nerves if need be. i'm pretty sure oprah would let a med student listen to her heart. (remember, the attending nmh housestaff will have to see her after the med student anyways. furthermore, by going to nmh or any teaching hospital patients must sign a consent that says they agree to be seen by medical students. being "seen" by medical students does not mean the student is the only person that patient will see or that the student is the last word on treatment.) she stil receives the quality healthcare she came to NU for. most people(rich or poor) see a white coat and automatically think you are a doc. i dont expect the attending surgeon to let the medical student perform oprah's bowel resection. but i dont expect the attending surgeon to let medical student perform a bowel resection on a poor person at county either.

    now sure, county will probably allow med students to do a little more because the patients are "poorer." but a little more may mean closing on the bowel resection more often than one would at nmh or becoming really good at blood draws because the ancillary services at county may suck. will this difference in training prevent one from becoming the orthopedic suirgeon they so yearn to become? no. i'd say the bulk of the more invasive/procedure oriented skills a physician must possess are learned during residency. and how many docs do u know do their own blood draws? find me the medical school that allows their third years to perform tommy john surgery on their patients. i want to transfer there.

    the point is...as i have tried to point out time and time again, training in an affluent area does not make one clinically inept. and training at a county hospital does not make one a "clinical superstar." i'd say that what makes a good clinician is someone who is very good at taking and writing histories and can communicate well with patients and can go from there towards a differential. i'd say that although patient visits are now limited to shorter and shorter amounts of time, what separates a "good" physician from a "bad" is whether or not that physician demonstrates to the patient that they are wholeheartedly invested in their patients well being(obviously the science has to be just as sharp as the communication but a student works with that in their head[ie patients dont know which cranial nerve pathway is going thru your mind when you perform the cranial nerv exams] and can only do so adequately if they have communicated well and have taken a detailed history from the patient). NU drills us from day one on how to become good communicators and empathetic physicians. rounding at nmh will not prevent one from sharpening those skills either.
     
  38. personal jesus

    personal jesus Senior Member
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    At no point did I suggest that med students would have any of the responsiblities that UCLAman alluded to. Obviously students are not preforming Tommy John surgery or anything close. However, within medical schools there is exists a range of clinical responsibilty that students have. Some schools students are relegated to observer status and at others they take a much active role. Most schools are somewhere in the middle. I completely agree that med school is not the place that MDs actually develop their real clinical skills. That is for residency. However, I would much prefer to spend my 3rd and 4th years at a school that allows more student activity. Not only is this a more interesting and enjoyable way to spend 2 years, but participating is a more effective means for deciding a specialty. Observing a speciality does not impart the same knowledge as doing. Will the OP be any different clinical MD at Pitt over NU or visa versa? Probably not. However, I suggest going to the school with the most interesting 3rd and 4th year. Whether that's Pitt or NU I leave that to everyone else to argue.

    With that being said I have to go shoot myself for posting over 100 times on this godforsaken forum :confused:
     
  39. something about the idea strangely excites me :clap:
     

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