04DukeBio

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Greetings all,

Sort of tagged this onto one of my past threads, but thought it best to restate the question in a separate one. Just wanted some opinions of other current applicants about two schools, one versus the other.

Northwestern vs. Washington University (St. Louis)

Compare and Contrast?

a) The curriculum's 'pace' (cutthroat to cooperative) / 'focus' (research vs. teaching) / or 'style' (any particular programs of note?)

b) The area (Chicago vs. St. Louis) (cost/things to do): as a 21 year old, where would you go?

c) Feelings about the students (laid-back or studying like crazy? Coherent bunch or everyone for themselves?)

d) Financial Aid (NU's debt-cap vs. Wash-U's traditional)

e) 'Prestige' (how much would 'rank' fit into your decision)

f) Gut feelings?

g) Final answer, or 'percentile rank' (/100%) for each school

I really appreciate all your help, guys and gals. I'm really feeling the NU love right now, but I have a pretty good chance of getting off the WashU waitlist. If and when that happens I'll have a doozy of a decision. :confused: 'course, my parents would love it if I went to WashU... but I'm still pretty conflicted about giving up NU, the people there, and Chicago, for 'academics.'

Anyways. Y'all have a nice day. I'm excited to hear everyone else's take on this.

04DukeBio
 

J33

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They're both great schools, so I would say go with your gut feeling. Where did you feel more comfortable? Do you prefer a big urban-type city, or a mid-sized surburban type city? Obviously, WashU wins the prestige battle, but is US News rank important to you?

And by the way, what makes you think you have a good shot at getting off WashU's waitlist? Did they tell you this? Just curious.
 

04DukeBio

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Thanks for your reply. I'm relying on a 'hunch' and some not-quite-anecdotal-but-not-quite-definite evidence for my belief about my WL.

Back when I was at Duke, the Dean visited us and told us that waitlisting was pretty common, and that the WashU waitlists were volatile and moved fairly quickly. I read on another post (somewhere on the web, not sure if it was here) that if you hadn't been notified until the last phase of acceptances (last wk of Feb/first wk Mar) then you'd been held by WashU for consideration up until that point. The people on the thread concluded that meant, since they hadn't been rejected, they , were close to acceptance, but didn't quite make it. I'm being optimistic (which is odd for me) and assuming this is the case. I interviewed in early October, I think in the first group for this year. I felt like I had a somewhat nice interview, albeit with a few goofs, and my scores are reasonably strong. So, maybe it was just wishful thinking that I had a good chance. Didn't get my waitlist thing until March :p

I hate this whole waitlist thing - it's like it was designed to drive OCD people like me crazy :rolleyes:

I could be dead wrong about how easy it is to move off the list, of course, and then off to Northwestern I go. But I'm one of those types that likes to obsess about possibilities and have my 'method of attack' planned out. Hence my curiousity about the two schools...

-----------------------------
Anyways.

Prestige isn't so important for me, but to my parents, it's very important. In the end, how much does prestige affect where you go in life? I know NU is not 'ranked' as high as other med schools, but does rank really open up better opportunities for doctors in the future? The ranking issue is what makes me balk at saying "NU, TAKE ME NOW!!!"

On to city life. I've never lived in an urban area. Frankly, the idea intimidates me some, as I'm just a country guy at heart. I suppose urban life has its benefits and disadvantages... I've just never been exposed to them, so I wouldn't know. But, Chicago was fun during my trip. Then again, I was pretty much a 'tourist' during that weekend. I still don't know what it's like to live there.

Well, isn't this what application is all about? Having to make big, huge life decisions without any concrete data to support them :D

04DukeBio
of the wishful thought
 

Auricae

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There are a lot of variables here that makes it hard to say which school is best for you. Do you want to experience a big city urban lifestyle? Is that important to you? What speciality are you driving toward? If it's FP or IM, then the prestige difference is pretty negligible since it's not hard to place in FP/IM. On the other hand, if your goal is to do Derm at Hopkins, then the prestige difference will matter more.

It's probably best if you wait till second look to see where you are happiest. If you get off the waitlist, go visit Wash U again and then decide. If you are much happier at NU, then I think you will be fine going there. If you are comfortable at both, go to Wash U (everything else being equal).
 

emfon1

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I thought I'd offer my advice since I'm an undergraduate here at WashU, but definitely going to NU for med school next fall.

My reasons for deciding on NU over WashU were the cirriculum, the students, and the location. I want to go into clinical practice, which NU does a better job teaching. WashU is extremely focused on research, something that interests me little. I liked the idea of small groups rather than sitting in lecture all day. The students at NU seemed happier, relaxed and genuine. At WashU, the students seemed much more tired and stressed out. I also wanted a change of scenery from St. Louis. If you go to WashU, you need a car to get anywhere. The city does have nice restaurants, fun bars, and decent music, but everything is on a much smaller scale than Chicago. However, the cost of living is significantly cheaper than in Chicago. One reason I picked NU is that I want to live in an urban area at some point in my life, and this seems like the best time to do it.

I think overall, rely on your gut feeling and where you think you'll be the happiest. Both are great schools which will give you superb training to be a doctor. But if you are unhappy where you are, then the ranking of the school doesn't really matter.

I hope this helps! Good luck with your decision!