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Thoughts on U. Penn.?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by washington101, Apr 21, 2007.

  1. washington101

    washington101 Member
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    Hey guys,
    Anyone here go to Penn. and what do they think of it? What would you say the pros and cons are? What is your housing like and do you find it to be a nice area? Thanks.
     
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  3. riceman04

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    I am not currently in med school at Penn but I am at Penn!

    I have alot of friends at the SOM and they all love every aspect of it. They really like the fact that they will start clinicals in Jan of 2nd year.

    In terms of housing...you can find some pretty cheap housing in University City (mostly west of campus). Grad housing sucks but is in close proximity to the med school...kind of nice to be able to roll out of bed :)

    If you and your family have deep pockets then you can even check out this new apt complex being completed at the Northeast end of campus called "DOMUS"
     
  4. Towelie

    Towelie Resident Towel
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    If you go to Penn I would highly recommend that you live across the river in center city. You'll find this MUCH nicer than University City.
     
  5. riceman04

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    much nicer but more expensive (on average)
     
  6. washington101

    washington101 Member
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    Yeah, I heard Center City is much more expensive...is is that much nicer?
     
  7. Towelie

    Towelie Resident Towel
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    Yes. It's worth it. And it's not that pricey.
     
  8. searun

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    Penn is definitely a good med school But alot of people think that Philly sucks as a place to live.
     
  9. NewKidin2block

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    Center city is a lot nicer, I lived in University City for my undergraduate, and move to center city for my 5th year Master, it's a lot safer and prettier. There are more food options and stores for clothing and movies.

    Only draw-backed is the cost, on average, you might have to pay 750-850 for a small one bedroom. I got away paying 550 for a studio, but it's have only one window, and after a month, my room begin to smell.

    Center city much safer then University city (unless you lived before 42 Street). If you are a guy, you can walk around the Center city at nights pretty safe (before 1am and during weekend).

    you can live in center city with bargain, but you have to start search for apartment right now. it took me 3 months to find the "deal"

     
  10. washington101

    washington101 Member
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    My biggest concern is housing at U. Penn. I do not want to live in a dangerous area or in a run down appartment. Are there places to live for around 800-1000 that are nice and close to school? I am talking about studios or 1 BR.
     
  11. Anka

    Anka Senior Member
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    Yes. Plenty. A lot of medical students rent houses together. I live in center city for $600/month in a shared two bedroom house 15 minutes walk from the hospital. If you're willing to pay the upper end of your range, you can live in one of the nice buildings in your own appartment. Housing is overall cheap in Philly. I lived in a very nice West Philly house (shared) again for about $600 per month. I moved to center city mainly because most of the stuff going on in the city is closer to here, and it's a shorter walk to the hospital. If you're looking for more residential living where you know your neighbors, though, some of the West Philly neighborhoods are quite nice (an attending lived a couple of doors down from where I lived). The thing is, you need to get far enough away from campus that you're not in the middle of all the undergrads.

    I like philly as a city. It's cheap compared to most East coast cities, and has a great restaurant and arts scene (which you can actually afford on your student budget).

    You don't need a car, but if you do just check with your landlord about what kind of parking is available. I don't own one, but my roommate rents a parking spot near campus, which she said is reasonable.

    Penn itself is awesome. We're very well supported here as students. I don't like PBL, but our small groups are more like recitation from an engineering or math class than true PBL. The format is usually we'll have 5-6 cases each day, and each one will have 6 questions or so. We break up into small groups to look at slides or whatever, then get back together and go through them as a group. There aren't any "go make a talk on X so we can solve this case" assignments. Your time is pretty free for the most part. You have scheduled lectures most mornings which you can skip as they are videotaped and available on line, and then required small groups (which are required but extremely useful and well put together, with very committed faculty). Tests are reasonable, although you really do have to study for them to do well. A few afternoons a week there are required sections, one of which is Doctoring (which none of us really like all that much, but the course director does put a lot of effort into trying to make it a valuable course). I had enough time to spend meaningful time in the lab. The clinical year is, as others have mentioned, moved up by six months. I'm not really sure how I feel about that. It definately wasn't why I went to Penn, and I think there's something to be said for not rushing through the preclinical sciences. Our microbiology and pharmacology suffer for it. However, we don't take our boards until after our first clinical year, and usually take two months to study, so we perform very well on the boards. It was actually nice to be able to go back over the basic sciences after leaving them for a year. They're a lot more meaningful that way. The clinics are very benign here. You will seldom take overnight call (although if you want to it's easily arranged, and the residents will be impressed, and you will get to do a lot and get a lot more teaching). There are a lot of formal didactics (you'll be free from clinics most fridays). It's generally more hands off than some of the schools with a county hospital, but if you're aggressive and want it to be hands on, they'll let you do far more than any other medical students in the country (you probably don't mean "I got to draw blood several hundred times" when you want it to be hands on, but that's a lot of what people are talking about when they say "hands on"... on the other hand, you will want to do a lot of cutting and sewing, or procedures on IM, and because HUP is so high volume, you'll have a lot of those opportunities if people know you want them.). In residency applications we are again very well supported. Our dean of students will call for you if you don't get an interview at a program you want. He spends a lot of time composing the Dean's letters to cast you in the best possible light given the raw material he has to work with. If you run into any trouble at all (even outside the clinics) Dr. Morris will really go to bat for you in a way I don't hear happening at other places. Anyway, when you apply for residencies, he'll back you 100%. They really want you to succede here.

    Hope that helps, feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions.

    Best,
    Anka
     
  12. QuakerMD

    QuakerMD Junior Member
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    I'm a graduating 4th year med student at Penn. I personally LOVE it here, and have no regrets about my experience. Anka is right on... we're very supported in the preclinical curriculum, and for residency apps.

    As for moving up the time to clinics by 6 months- I think it's the best thing that's ever happened to the curriculum. Once you do a few months in the clinics, you'll see that learning minor details in pharm and micro really is not that important. On the other hand, you get 6 months extra of electives and research time to get yourself ready for residency and residency apps, and to make certain that you are making the correct career choice in picking your specialty.

    I disagree with Anka that Penn is hands off in the clinics. I think it's very person dependent (as are all medical schools). I always showed initiative, and was able to do many procedures (many blood draws, arterial blood gasses, lumbar punctures, thoracentesis, paracentesis, intubations, laceration repairs, etc.). I think Penn does a great job of making the students feel like they are directly responsible for patient care, and this goes a long way.

    A great thing that Penn does is that students take over for an intern on their sub-I rotation. Most schools have two students take the place of an intern, but Penn has you sub directly for an intern for a month. After doing this, I know that I can handle internship, and was able to learn a ton.

    Good luck with your decision. I love it here, but make sure you pick a place that fits your personality.

    Q
     
  13. washington101

    washington101 Member
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    Wonderful responses guys...thank you very much. I will be coming down to Penn. May 1,2 to visit again. I'm looking forward to it. Was it hard to find students to live with and has that worked well for you? Any thoughts on the on campus housing?
     
  14. JonnyG

    JonnyG IN the hospitals....
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    the on campus housing stinks, live in center city like most grad students
     
  15. QuakerMD

    QuakerMD Junior Member
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    It was very easy to find students to live with, especially through the roommate webpage that the administration will set up. Center city is great, but don't rule out west philly/university city yet. You'll pay much less, and have more space and more of a neighborhood feel. Check both out. Most grad students prefer center city, but not all.
     
  16. thewebthsp

    thewebthsp Shoobeedoowap
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    Preclinical is nice because every lecture is on video, which you can review at doublespeed. Most of the lectures are of very decent quality. However, it is possible to study for exams and not retain material -- so be warned and try and go for retainment of knowledge (eg study stuff 2-3 times and do so slowly, not cram; this will help you in the long run).

    The hospitals around Penn itself are rather good, as are their teaching (HUP, VA, Presby). However, during clinics you often get farmed out to away sites (York, and Pennsylvania Hospital) that are not at all the level of HUP... Pennsy in particular was a place I had to go to often (it is in another part of center city and again isn't on the same level teachingwise as HUP). The ED at Pennsy is good however.

    The clinics are not straightforward -- you need to figure out who runs what and know what's expected of you. The best thing to do well in clinics besides show enthusiasm would be to try and strengthen your fund of knowledge as much as you can prior to entering clinics. Pocket Medicine by Sabatine and Kochar's concise textbook are useful for medicine in particular. Plus you need a good system for organizing your knowledge about patients. The clinical year is very hard, probably no matter where you go.

    I live in center city, and pay about $600 for a studio. It's not a bad deal. Philly is not NY but there is a lot of cultural happenings. Plus it's easy to get to NYC, Baltimore, Dc....etc

    As said earlier Dean Morris is a great guy and almost everyone (>97%) matches. If you want Derm, Radonc, Ophto, ENT, etc. you'll likely get in somewhere if you are at Penn. The time you get by getting things done 6 mo early is also a big bonus. Plus they have extensive opportunities for time off/research.
     
  17. Iniqitous

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    do the students at UPenn put on a class talent show, or does the compressed preclinical curriculum preclude it time wise ?
     
  18. Anka

    Anka Senior Member
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    Wow, you guys are really fixated on this talent show thing on this forum... I've seen it come up a couple of times. We have Coffee House, which I've never actually been to. The big thing here is Spoof, which is put on every year. Our preclinical curriculum isn't really that crazy -- you'll have time to do other things that interest you, whether that is working in one of the free clinics, contributing to Spoof, or doing research.

    Anka
     
  19. Guile

    Guile 1K Member
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    I think I'd kill myself if I had to study for step I for two months. I can't imagine leaving the basic sciences for a year and then returning to them to study for two months to take the boards. I know that Penn (and Baylor) students rave about this curriculum, (and I agree it certainly has its merits) but really, two months of solid step I studying? That doesn't sound appealing, especially after you've been on the wards for a year. I wouldn't want to go back to studying basic science material!
     
  20. Anka

    Anka Senior Member
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    Yeah, like I said, I'm not sure whether this (18 months preclinical, early entry into the clinics, then taking your Step I after a period of 4-6 weeks of intensive boards study) is really all that much better than the traditional way of doing things. However, it is hard to argue with Penn's performance on the USMLE Step I. We do really well on the boards every year. As far as the pain involved, it's not as bad as it sounds. You get to go back and learn a lot of stuff that you really haven't seen in a year, but now you have the context of the last year you spent in the clinics. Things that previously didn't seem that important stand out in your mind; things stick a lot better. I valued the opportunity to go back and really get solid on some things. No matter what you do, studying for your boards isn't going to be fun -- but 4-6 weeks isn't torture.

    Best,
    Anka
     
  21. Guile

    Guile 1K Member
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    But keep in mind the calibre of students who go there. Penn could lock them in a room with books and administer step I after 18 months, and they would probably all rock it regardless.
     
  22. Anka

    Anka Senior Member
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    Like I said, I'm not sure it's better than the traditional way of doing things... but it works for us. I wouldn't make it the deciding factor as to whether you go to Penn or not. I would decide based on the incredible environment, supportive administration, accessible faculty, research opportunities (and time to do it), your classmates, etc. which have been described above. The exactitudes of how much time you spend studying for the boards aren't really a big factor in how good a doctor you're going to be or what kind of opportunities you're going to have at the other end.

    Anka
     
  23. thewebthsp

    thewebthsp Shoobeedoowap
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    you have plenty of time for that, and yeah there's two things -- during lookback weekend for the prospectives there's CoffeeHouse and then there's Spoof a bit earlier on in the year
     
  24. Iniqitous

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    can other penn med students weigh in on the challenge of reviewing all pre clinical material in 4-6 weeks after being on the wards ? this seems like quite a challenge!
     
  25. QuakerMD

    QuakerMD Junior Member
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    It's actually not bad at all, if not easier. Since Step 1 is becoming more and more clinical, having that year of clinics before the boards helps a lot. And yes, it is tough to go back and learn some of the nitty gritty, but most of what is important and tested is reinforced and maintained during your year in the clinics. I took less than four weeks, did great, and was not very stressed during the process. At a top school (not just at Penn), boards matter much less because you also have the name of the school behind you during the residency app process.
     

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