How far (distance, time, convenience) is Rochester from NYC? From Toronto? Is it a sequestered town, or is there a large contingent of people making such trips? Is there much to do within Rochester itself, or will a medical/graduate student go crazy from the small-townness?
Haha. Okay, I was being lazy. But my question was also directed to people who might have studied, researched, or interviewed at Rochester -- I want to know what it's like there (aside from what I've seen on the university's web site).
Habari did his undergrad there. He's probably busy right now, but maybe give him a PM and I'm sure he'd be happy to comment. I interviewed there and I got the impression that it's got plenty to do on its own because it's a city of I believe like 1 million, though the med school is way out on the outer fringe. At least they have good, cheap student parking
just a note - i live in manhattan now, and this somewhat skews my retrospective of rochester, though i'll do my best.
the medschool is adjacent to the ugrad, and both are approx 5-10 min from the center of the city. there is transportation to the city via the eastman [school of music] shuttle, though i would highly recommend a car. the city itself has all the standard forms of entertainment that most major cities have - except on a smaller scale. it posits itself as a 'cultural' city - and mostly suceeds considering its size. if i had to compare to other schools and their cities - there is quite a bit more to do than around duke, but less than around pittsburgh if that gives you any idea.
people did seem to make trips to toronto every now and again - takes about 3 hours to get there. the nyc trip is rather impractical on a regular basis - 6-7 hours.
i'm sure this has been impressed upon you - but the winters are a bit on the rediculous side. if you have any semblence of seasonal effective disorder - be warned. for a place so 'blessed' with snow - there is a dearth of good places for downhill skiing. conversely the summers are gorgeous, and there are lots of outdoorsy things to do.
like most academic centers, it brings people of reasonably diverse backgrounds to the immediate area around the school.
let's put it like this: i liked the college and my educational/social experience there. the surroundings felt a little lacking [magnified because i didn't have access to a car for the first 2 years]. i was eager to move to a bigger city after 4 years.
i just got back from a revisit to rochester, and let me say that it's definitely not an isolated little town. my initial impression at the interview (not having seen much of anything but the med center) was that i would go absolutely insane if i stayed there for 7-8 years. but i still went back to the revisit b/c of the research and the fact that there are PIs there that I would like to work with.
i went thinking that i would go to confirm my impression, revisit the freezing cold to see that i don't like it, and leave from the revisit being certain that rochester is not a good fit for me. but instead, i'm back and the decision has just become much more difficult than i first invisioned.
there are definately pros and cons... and rochester is nothing in terms of 'things to do' and culture compared to metropolitan havens like LA and NYC. but yeah... you won't die of boredom, and at least for me, it has some definate research related appeal.
I've been doing fMRI research in autism, and I would most likely continue that work for my PhD.
And in terms of graduation period, they told me that the average is down to 7.something... can't recall exactly. And I know for a fact that there is one student that will likely graduate in 6 (if she chooses to do so).
I seriously doubt that average graduation time has changed that much in the past year. Perhaps they just gave me the wrong value last year. However, they were very vehement in defending it by telling me that Rochester gives "real PhDs" unlike other MD/PhD programs