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Stony Brook vs. Downstate

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nythrowaway

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I've been fortunate enough to be accepted at both Stony Brook and Downstate. I've checked out previous threads, but a lot of them seem outdated, especially given the recent curriculum changes at each of these schools. I was wondering if anybody could help me make a decision.

Stony Brook
Pros
  • For some reason, SBU seems to be have a better reputation. I went to a top-20 college in NY and the consensus among my pre-med classmates (and laypeople) is that SBU is the better school. But nobody seems to be able to tell me why, specifically.
  • My impression is that Stony Brook has a bigger focus on research, which I'm definitely interested in doing.
  • Shiny buildings and newer facilities, which is a (small) perk.
  • Smaller class size of ~130 people.

Cons
  • H/P/F in pre-clinical years. I've heard that this can lead to increased competition and stress.
  • Location is boring. In my mind, I just imagine myself seeing a ton of upper-middle class white patients at SBU during M3/4.
  • I have a car, but I hate driving. And it's a pretty old car of questionable reliability.
Questionable:
  • Step 1 is taken after M3. I think this is a new thing they're trying (correct me if I'm wrong).


Downstate
Pros
  • Location: I was born and raised in NYC, and I intend to stay and work in the area for the rest of my life. Furthermore, my family and friends are all situated in NYC (Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan), and I'd like to be able to spend time with them when I can.
  • Diverse patient population and interesting cases. Downstate isn't the best neighborhood, but everybody I've spoken to sings praises about the clinical education and exposure I'll get there.
  • 1.5 pre-clinical + 2.5 clinical years. Longer clinical education.
  • Tests are pretty much questions taken from Step 1 practice exams.
  • P/F pre-clinical (with internal ranking).

Cons
  • Larger class size of ~190 people, which is then divided into halves (presumably because it would be too crowded otherwise). My understanding is that each half will alternate courses in morning/afternoon, including anatomy lab.
  • Dreary, old facilities.
  • I have heard of M3/4 students being randomly assigned, by lottery, to clinical rotations in New Jersey. Not a fan of this.
Questionable:
  • Step 1 is taken after only 1.5 years. Not sure if this is good or bad, but both schools have the same average Step 1 score (235).
  • I have no idea how to read Match Lists, but it looks like Downstate hasn't matched anybody into integrated plastics in the last ~7 years, which I doubt is due to lack of interest. I'm not really looking to go into an IPS residency, but is this indicative of something else?

Summary: When I was accepted back in November (received my decisions on the same day), I had decided immediately that I was going to Stony Brook over Downstate. But I think my initial impression was based too much on reputation and the shiny buildings. Now that I'm thinking about it, I realize how valuable location is to me. But I'm drawn to both schools and I can't make up my mind!
 
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kb1900

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Hey I'm deciding btw Hofstra downstate NJMS and Rwjms and SBU. I'll type up my thoughts here soon but I am fairly confident I will choose downstate simply because my end goal, like yours, is to practice in the city as well as train here
 
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nythrowaway

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Hey I'm deciding btw Hofstra downstate NJMS and Rwjms and SBU. I'll type up my thoughts here soon but I am fairly confident I will choose downstate simply because my end goal, like yours, is to practice in the city as well as train here
Thanks! I'm actually currently on the waitlist at Hofstra, so I'd appreciate your thoughts about Hofstra as well!
 

Chelsea FC

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I've been fortunate enough to be accepted at both Stony Brook and Downstate. I've checked out previous threads, but a lot of them seem outdated, especially given the recent curriculum changes at each of these schools. I was wondering if anybody could help me make a decision.

Stony Brook
Pros
  • For some reason, SBU seems to be have a better reputation. I went to a top-20 college in NY and the consensus among my pre-med classmates (and laypeople) is that SBU is the better school. But nobody seems to be able to tell me why, specifically.
  • My impression is that Stony Brook has a bigger focus on research, which I'm definitely interested in doing.
  • Shiny buildings and newer facilities, which is a (small) perk.
  • Smaller class size of ~130 people.

Cons
  • H/P/F in pre-clinical years. I've heard that this can lead to increased competition and stress.
  • Location is boring. In my mind, I just imagine myself seeing a ton of upper-middle class white patients at SBU during M3/4.
  • I have a car, but I hate driving. And it's a pretty old car of questionable reliability.
Questionable:
  • Step 1 is taken after M3. I think this is a new thing they're trying (correct me if I'm wrong).


Downstate
Pros
  • Location: I was born and raised in NYC, and I intend to stay and work in the area for the rest of my life. Furthermore, my family and friends are all situated in NYC (Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan), and I'd like to be able to spend time with them when I can.
  • Diverse patient population and interesting cases. Downstate isn't the best neighborhood, but everybody I've spoken to sings praises about the clinical education and exposure I'll get there.
  • 1.5 pre-clinical + 2.5 clinical years. Longer clinical education.
  • Tests are pretty much questions taken from Step 1 practice exams.
  • P/F pre-clinical (with internal ranking).

Cons
  • Larger class size of ~190 people, which is then divided into halves (presumably because it would be too crowded otherwise). My understanding is that each half will alternate courses in morning/afternoon, including anatomy lab.
  • Dreary, old facilities.
  • I have heard of M3/4 students being randomly assigned, by lottery, to clinical rotations in New Jersey. Not a fan of this.
Questionable:
  • Step 1 is taken after only 1.5 years. Not sure if this is good or bad, but both schools have the same average Step 1 score (235).
  • I have no idea how to read Match Lists, but it looks like Downstate hasn't matched anybody into integrated plastics in the last ~7 years, which I doubt is due to lack of interest. I'm not really looking to go into an IPS residency, but is this indicative of something else?

Summary: When I was accepted back in November (received my decisions on the same day), I had decided immediately that I was going to Stony Brook over Downstate. But I think my initial impression was based too much on reputation and the shiny buildings. Now that I'm thinking about it, I realize how valuable location is to me. But I'm drawn to both schools and I can't make up my mind!
Stony brook doesn't have a better reputation than downstate, they are about the same if not downstate has a better reputation in the medical field because it is known that their students gets alot of hands on training and see some **** during their time there. Also downstate has provided the most physicians actually practicing in NYC so I don't think reputation should be much of a issue it's pretty much a wash. Downstate is pass / fail curriculum so that alone made me chose downstate over stony
 
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knicksfan3131

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Besides research opps being better at Stony, it seems that your reasons for Downstate are more substantial (clinical training, NYC, p/f). I think reputation is a wash (Downstate better for clinical, Stony better for basic research), and they match equally well. I thought stony was nicer than downstate when I visited but that the downstate students seemed happier, more enthusiastic about their school, and more mature than the stony kids. Don't think you can make a bad choice but if I were you, I'd go with Downstate.
 

partypantss

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Based on what you've said I think it's clear you should pick Downstate. I personally would pick SB but that's due to much different preferences from yours.

My parent is a prof at Downstate so I know quite a lot about it.
 

peridotthecat

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Based on what you've said I think it's clear you should pick Downstate. I personally would pick SB but that's due to much different preferences from yours.

My parent is a prof at Downstate so I know quite a lot about it.

Not to derail the thread, but would you be open to PMs about Downstate? I'm currently deciding between Downstate and Upstate
 

pillowsnice

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I'm not sure why everyone seems to have chosen downstate over stony. From what I've heard from students is that stony is very collaborative and not at all competitive. They also have nice facilities and more coming. Downstate I've heard has very poor facilities and they are in a generally unsafe area. You may see more clinically at downstate, but I think stony isn't far behind. Long Island has its poor neighborhoods as well so you will not only see upper class white patients.
 

Chelsea FC

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I'm not sure why everyone seems to have chosen downstate over stony. From what I've heard from students is that stony is very collaborative and not at all competitive. They also have nice facilities and more coming. Downstate I've heard has very poor facilities and they are in a generally unsafe area. You may see more clinically at downstate, but I think stony isn't far behind. Long Island has its poor neighborhoods as well so you will not only see upper class white patients.
Because your job as a medical student is to get the best training as possible to set you up for residency. A prettier facility means nothing to the average student. Also downstate has a much more diverse patient population but I do agree their are parts of long Island that are very diverse. Downstate area is bad but if you aren't a idiot you should be fine. Plus being pass and fail is a huge advantage as well in being in a more unique area. If money is equal than its downstate all day everyday
 

flyingeagle

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I got into both of these schools as well, but will most likely not be attending either. But I've thought about these two schools numerous times and though I thought I would choose SBU over Downstate initially, I think I would now choose downstate.

For me, diversity of patients is a big thing and downstate has probably the most diversity of any school in the country (in Brooklyn NY). I've looked at their research opportunities and they have tons, so the two schools seem equal to me in that regard. Also the curriculum of downstate is just so much more modern (1.5 year, Pass/fail, pathways like the clinical neuroscience pathway, etc.). Also if you look at the match list of downstate it is incredible...I was so amazed that they match so many people to top places like NYP, NYU, Einstein, CHOP, etc. Also I simply would prefer to be in a city for medical school. When you combine all of that with the unbeatable clinical experience, it was an easy decision for me, Though i will most likely be picking a private school over Downstate.
 
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