Summer research fellowship: prestige or the value of the experience

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10+ Year Member
Jan 1, 2012
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Hello, SDN --

I've got two fellowship offers under my belt: one at my state school, and one at SUNY Upstate Medical University. My state school fellowship was a backup, so now I have to decide between Upstate and another application I am waiting on. There is at least a good chance I will receive an offer from UNC's Center of Excellence in Eating Disorders. SUNY Upstate wants my decision by the 12th, lest I request an extension, and UNC usually gives their decisions by the 18th.

The problem: SUNY Upstate seems to offer a better experience, but UNC is more prestigious. SUNY Upstate offers the chance to shape my own project, form a presentation about it, help out in basic research and work hand in hand with a PhD biomedical researcher. Upstate offers several neuro labs from me to choose from. UNC offers, from what I've gathered, the chance to act as a shadow in the UNC Center of Excellence, but mostly function as a secretary and/or tech things like designing an iphone app. From descriptions of past fellows at UNC, I notice most of them are humanities-geared student looking to go into counseling.

I am pursuing an MD/PhD with hopes to work on understanding mental disorders through a neurological lens, possibly specifically focused on eating disorders.

Which do you all think is going to help me get into a MD/PhD program more? UNC or Upstate? Which is more valuable overall?

The deepest appreciation for your patience and opinions. :D

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I would definitely say Upstate. Sounds like you will get way more out of it and that will come across in your interviews and writings about the experience.
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Thank you, everyone.

Upstate it is.
Great choice! I was in a similar boat recently. I had an offer from Harvard that was strictly research-based and an offer from UCSD that was preMSTP (both research and clinical experience) and I chose UCSD in a heartbeat.