The stars were aligned right this spring and somehow I got into Stanford and Penn. With the 15th just a few days away I'm trying to make a final decision ASAP. I was set on going to Stanford. Stanford and Penn are great schools but what tipped the balance was that I'm from LA and I would much rather be closer to home and in warmer weather. In my enthusiasm for Stanford I read all that I could about it on the web and I went to second look weekend. Much of what I have learned makes me think harder about Stanford like: Stanford's curriculum is way more out of it than I thought. They have a website for the curriculum reform committee. Straight from the committee, comments about Stanford's curriculum include -"not primed for the future" -"Our curriculum does not fit our faculty or our students." -Does not use "the most effective educational methods--i.e., simulations, small group interactive learning, online curricula." -"Insufficient early patient contact." -"Insufficient mentorship and advising programs" -In summary everyone agreed the curriculum needed major improvements, which won't be implemented for several years. I am concerned Stanford's curriculum is so out of touch that it really will impair my ability to reach my highest potential as a doctor. Penn's curriculum on the other hand was just redone. It's integrated, uses lots of technology, has early exposure to patients, etc. Penn's curriculum really is cutting edge -We have all heard about how run down many of Stanford's educational facilities are. The anatomy labs are brand new but most everything else seems like it's from the 1960s. I don't mind if something is ugly, but again I am concerned this will impact my education. All the facilities at Penn are cutting edge. -Also from the Stanford reform committee "Facilities inadequate for variety of teaching methods." -Stanford is having trouble recruiting and retaining top faculty "The medical school has by far the fewest number of faculty members among the 13 consortium schools -- 614 full-time faculty compared to 1,346 at UC-San Francisco, 1,844 at Johns Hopkins and 5,169 at Harvard. The result is that the faculty-student ratio at Stanford is relatively low at 1.4 faculty members for each student -I wonder about the culture of Stanford Med. What kind of an administration and faculty members would allow their medical school to slip into such problems. These aren't things that happen overnight. Were they just too full of themselves, sun drunk, and riding on the Stanford name? -To sum it all up I wonder how Stanford can possibly offer the "world class medical education" they claimed too at the revisit, when it has all these problems. -Is Stanford med simply perceived to be good because of the magic Stanford name? If Stanford med weren't connected to Stanford I wonder if it would still be perceived as a top med school. I don't want to go to a school just for the name to inflate my ego. I want to get the best medical education whether it's at big name U or no name U. I wonder if Stanford med is a school in decline….. -What I do like about Stanford is I feel the students are very happy and cool. And I love the area, the weather, and proximity to home. I'd definitely be happier in Palo Alto than Philly. But then now it feels like I'm choosing a med school just for the location. Since I'll be paying seriously $$$$$ to go to Stanford it only makes sense to me to also get an awesome education and training so I can best help my future patients. So maybe I should push myself to go to Penn. I'm don't feel fully comfy to go all the way over there at the moment. But I don't dislike the place either. I know I can learn to like it once I break out of this frame of mind (that's rapidly crumbling) that Stanford is actually all it's cracked up to be. I'm glad Stanford is finally looking at "reform" and fixing all its problems. However that won't happen for several years and I feel the upcoming Stanford classes just might get the short end of the stick. Feedback much appreciated. I'm sure all med schools have problems. Are Stanford's not as bad as they look or truly a cause for concern?