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Mar 1, 2021
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Hi All,
I'm in a bit of a dilemma here. I have been accepted to both schools, and am torn between the two. I was all in at Colorado, but now am unsure. Colorado didn't offer me much aid at all, and I'm not sure whether Duke will either. I would ultimately like to make it out to the east or west coast for residency, and am leaning towards IM(and eventually a fellowship)/General Surgery


Duke Pros:
  • Research opportunities
  • Strength at matching (Does well along east and west coast, as well as competitive specialties)
  • Well regarded/ highly ranking
  • Students seem very happy
  • Would be a new and exciting stage in my life, have never really ventured far from home.
  • Duke is a bit of a dream school for me
Duke Cons:
  • Not sure if I love Duke solely because of the name/prestige. Am I simply chasing clout?
  • Halfway across country from immediate family
  • Leave long-term significant other behind, not sure whether this will work out
  • Likely will be >100k more expensive
  • Do I really want to do research for a year as opposed to being in the clinic?
Colorado Pros:
  • Cheaper tuition (40k tuition vs ~62k for Duke)
  • Family are very close by (lost family member to COVID, made me realize how important my family is)
  • Friends currently attending Colorado for medical school
  • Long-term SO attends graduate school here
  • Comfortable/safe choice
Colorado Cons:
  • Doesn't match as well into competitive specialties
  • Attended a UC school for undergrad, would like to explore new places
  • Lower rank
  • Comfortable/safe choice (Would I regret not taking the leap later in life?)
Edit: Summary - Will I take a leap of faith and leave my family and SO behind to attend Duke, a much more expensive option? Or will I play it safe and stay in Colorado, potentially opening the door to What If? moments down the road.
 

Ultravox Vienna

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Apr 10, 2017
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Colorado imo because of your family/friend support system, SO, cost, your interests in IM and gen surg (not ultra-competitive)

I'm all for getting out of your comfort zone for medical school but I couldn't justify leaving a long-term SO, friends at the same medical school as you, and family for "prestige" but that's just my two cents
 
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Banco

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May 28, 2014
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So Duke is a huge name and famous school. Colorado is also well regarded. The specialties you're interested are "medium" competitive. Now, I do think that Duke will open some more doors for you, especially if you want to match into top academic programs within those specialties. How much? That's hard to predict. Colorado's most recent match list had a Hopkins gen surg match, a few at Colorado (a great program btw) - so it matches solidly in there. Duke I don't know as I haven't seen it, but I imagine it's chock full of top academic programs.

You have to weigh that with the increased price. In my personal philosophy 100k is sort of the cutoff threshold for price difference here - it is indeed a lot of money, but on attending's salary you will be fine. Secondly (and perhaps most importantly), if being near family and significant other is important to you, then the choice is clear - Colorado. Keep in mind long distance will really test relationships, so if this serious, you want to take that into account.



TLDR: You can get where you want to get to from either school, but Duke will likely make it a little easier to get those tippy top programs in your desired specialties.
 
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Jun 28, 2019
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If you do not care for research, then I would say there is pretty much no reason to choose Duke over UC. Sure, Duke is a T15, but UC is a T30. Realistically, the "prestige" difference is negligible. Plus, matching on the East coast is not difficult. There are FAR more programs in the east than there are in the west (see medmap.io). So if you want to match on the East coast after med school, you could always do that. In other words, staying in CO will make it easier to match out west, while not compromising your ability to match in the east.

There are only a few things that actually matter in choosing a med school:
Family/SO, cost, and prestige
There are some other factors that are nice like P/F grading and no rank, but for the most part, those 3 will affect you most in the long run.

Taking those factors into consideration, UC wins in a land slide. You stay close to family and SO, you save $100k ($160 after interest accumulates over a decade), and Duke's reputation does not outweigh the other two massive factors.

UC will help you match into a fantastic IM, Gen Surg, plastics, derm, ENT program, or whatever you want to do, wherever you want to do it. It is an awesome school, and Duke's prestige matters much more in the long run if you see yourself doing research and academic medicine (which I got the impression that you didn't)
 
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Mar 1, 2021
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Colorado imo because of your family/friend support system, SO, cost, your interests in IM and gen surg (not ultra-competitive)

I'm all for getting out of your comfort zone for medical school but I couldn't justify leaving a long-term SO, friends at the same medical school as you, and family for "prestige" but that's just my two cents
@Ultravox Vienna Thank you for your input! I was slightly leaning towards CO because of the reasons you mentioned, but I felt insane at the prospect of declining a Duke acceptance
 
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Mar 1, 2021
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So Duke is a huge name and famous school. Colorado is also well regarded. The specialties you're interested are "medium" competitive. Now, I do think that Duke will open some more doors for you, especially if you want to match into top academic programs within those specialties. How much? That's hard to predict. Colorado's most recent match list had a Hopkins gen surg match, a few at Colorado (a great program btw) - so it matches solidly in there. Duke I don't know as I haven't seen it, but I imagine it's chock full of top academic programs.

You have to weigh that with the increased price. In my personal philosophy 100k is sort of the cutoff threshold for price difference here - it is indeed a lot of money, but on attending's salary you will be fine. Secondly (and perhaps most importantly), if being near family and significant other is important to you, then the choice is clear - Colorado. Keep in mind long distance will really test relationships, so if this serious, you want to take that into account.



TLDR: You can get where you want to get to from either school, but Duke will likely make it a little easier to get those tippy top programs in your desired specialties.
@Banco I agree, and after some reflection I came to the realization that maybe I like Duke just for the prestige and name recognition. I think I'm going to draw the line at 100k as well, if Duke can come within 100k of the COA for UC, then I will attend Duke, and if not then I'm staying here. The proximity to family and SO is important, but if I can chase this opportunity for <100k then maybe it is an offer too good to pass up. Thank you for your help!
 
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Mar 1, 2021
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If you do not care for research, then I would say there is pretty much no reason to choose Duke over UC. Sure, Duke is a T15, but UC is a T30. Realistically, the "prestige" difference is negligible. Plus, matching on the East coast is not difficult. There are FAR more programs in the east than there are in the west (see medmap.io). So if you want to match on the East coast after med school, you could always do that. In other words, staying in CO will make it easier to match out west, while not compromising your ability to match in the east.

There are only a few things that actually matter in choosing a med school:
Family/SO, cost, and prestige
There are some other factors that are nice like P/F grading and no rank, but for the most part, those 3 will affect you most in the long run.

Taking those factors into consideration, UC wins in a land slide. You stay close to family and SO, you save $100k ($160 after interest accumulates over a decade), and Duke's reputation does not outweigh the other two massive factors.

UC will help you match into a fantastic IM, Gen Surg, plastics, derm, ENT program, or whatever you want to do, wherever you want to do it. It is an awesome school, and Duke's prestige matters much more in the long run if you see yourself doing research and academic medicine (which I got the impression that you didn't)
@m1redsox Thank you for helping me out! I didn't realize it is easier to match on the east than the west. I do ultimately want to end up in an academic setting where I can teach residents and maybe do some research on the side, but research is far from my main priority as I'd much rather be in the clinic. While the prospect of being an internal med resident at Brigham and Women's or Mass General is attractive, I genuinely don't know whether giving up everything to be there is worth it.

Your response as well as the others in the thread have given me comfort in choosing UC over Duke, as that is a decision I couldn't imagine making at the beginning of the cycle. I am going to wait and see how the financial side shakes out, but if it remains unchanged then I guess I'm sticking around for at least four more years!
 
Mar 2, 2021
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I think that the specialty you are looking to pursue a residency position in will sitll be very easily attainable shold you go to Colorado or Duke. At the end of the day, I think you will really feel happy with the choice to attend Colorado especially considering how much of a support system you will have (family, SO) etc. Unless you are die hard about performing a lot of research Duke wouldn't make much sense for you and there is absolutely no reason to spend more money and travel farther distances solely based off perceived prestige. Colorado will get you where you are trying to go in a manner that I think you will ultimately be more grateful for
 

chemtime

2+ Year Member
Aug 3, 2017
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Congrats on some amazing choices! Both are great medical schools, and I think you'll be happy at either place.

Financial aid is an important consideration, but matching considerations should be strongly considered too. If you have a desire to match to top residency programs and/or end up pursuing a highly competitive specialty, having an edge in matching is something that will give you ease of mind throughout your med student journey. You will feel less pressure to "High Honors" everything and less stress if you don't. Duke's curriculum is also geared towards raising all boats (P/F and also no AOA now), rather than stratifying students, which is another factor that improves student quality of life and stress levels. Being able to enjoy the medical student experience is important.

In the end, I think that Duke has a significant edge in that category, but UC has a lot going for it (SO, family, 100k cheaper) in other categories. However you decide, I know you'll do great OP!
 
Mar 8, 2021
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If it weren't for family being in CO, I'd say go to Duke. The price difference warrants the difference in opportunities. I've also heard funky things about Colorado lately

But with the family location constraints, it's a personal decision.
 
Aug 29, 2019
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Normally, I'd say Duke but your SO being in Colorado is kind of a big deal to me. Now, only you know your relationship. If it's strong and you're sure you could survive long distance and the stress of medschool, go for Duke. If you're not sure, and you know this is an important SO, I would stay in Colorado.
 
Mar 28, 2021
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So Duke is a huge name and famous school. Colorado is also well regarded. The specialties you're interested are "medium" competitive. Now, I do think that Duke will open some more doors for you, especially if you want to match into top academic programs within those specialties. How much? That's hard to predict. Colorado's most recent match list had a Hopkins gen surg match, a few at Colorado (a great program btw) - so it matches solidly in there. Duke I don't know as I haven't seen it, but I imagine it's chock full of top academic programs.

You have to weigh that with the increased price. In my personal philosophy 100k is sort of the cutoff threshold for price difference here - it is indeed a lot of money, but on attending's salary you will be fine. Secondly (and perhaps most importantly), if being near family and significant other is important to you, then the choice is clear - Colorado. Keep in mind long distance will really test relationships, so if this serious, you want to take that into account.



TLDR: You can get where you want to get to from either school, but Duke will likely make it a little easier to get those tippy top programs in your desired specialties.
How did you find Colorado’s most recent match list, or any school’s match list for that matter? Thank you!
 
Mar 28, 2021
6
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
So Duke is a huge name and famous school. Colorado is also well regarded. The specialties you're interested are "medium" competitive. Now, I do think that Duke will open some more doors for you, especially if you want to match into top academic programs within those specialties. How much? That's hard to predict. Colorado's most recent match list had a Hopkins gen surg match, a few at Colorado (a great program btw) - so it matches solidly in there. Duke I don't know as I haven't seen it, but I imagine it's chock full of top academic programs.

You have to weigh that with the increased price. In my personal philosophy 100k is sort of the cutoff threshold for price difference here - it is indeed a lot of money, but on attending's salary you will be fine. Secondly (and perhaps most importantly), if being near family and significant other is important to you, then the choice is clear - Colorado. Keep in mind long distance will really test relationships, so if this serious, you want to take that into account.



TLDR: You can get where you want to get to from either school, but Duke will likely make it a little easier to get those tippy top programs in your desired specialties.
How do you find Colorado’s recent match list, or any school’s for that matter? Thanks!
 
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