Time/money vs match history

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

doc.Junior

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2020
Messages
95
Reaction score
25
Hi all, I'm considering between two schools.

A: has a 3 yr program and matches at good schools.

B: potentially costs more without scholarships/financial aid but maybe has a little more name status and matches at my ideal residency programs. I checked match records back about 4 years.

Is match heavily dependant on who the faculty at a given school know?

Members don't see this ad.
 
The old advice was "step trumps all, go to the cheapest school." That was a short while before I started.

Now that it's your step 2 score, not much has changed; however, you're not going to have a score now until right before you apply to match which makes things weird.

Quite frankly, now that I'm in medical school, I would NOT be excited about doing a three year MD. It's hard enough to squeeze into 4 years. Breaks exist for a reason.

Overall- I'd go to the nicest school you could reasonably afford. Problem is fancy med schools these days are running in the $400,000+ range which is a bit absurd IMO. What are the price points of the two schools? And what about the curriculum? Attendance policy?

Honestly, nobody really knows what the match will look like this year; class of 2024 is the first to have P/F step. I know a bunch of fourth years who are either applying derm with average scores or switching specialties last minute after scoring average on step 2.

Also, what specialties are you considering?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Matching depends on a lot of variables, to the point where I don't think I would base any med school decision on a match list. Not only are some of the top programs in different fields different than what a layperson might expect, but people may intentionally rank "lower" programs higher because of better fit, better location, etc. A school on the east coast might not match many people to the west coast (or vice versa) - is that because they can't, or because many students want to stay in their general areas? Plus, there may just be few people interested in a given specialty in a given class. A "better" school name may help some, but it's by no means the be-all, end-all.

Though I would worry that a 3-year program wouldn't allow for enough time for those interested in a non-FM/IM/gen surg specialty to truly explore and prepare a solid application. But googling suggests some well-known medical schools have 3-year programs, so perhaps that worry is unfounded.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users
Members don't see this ad :)
Hey thanks for the response. I should also have clarified that both schools match at very good programs, it's just that one matches in the state I would like to be (despite both schools being in the same, other, state).

Curriculums are pretty similar. Both nonmandatory attendance and P/F. I'm interested in psychiatry.

I'm a nontraditional student, so saving that year seems like it would feel a lot better. But maybe not if the next 4 yrs could be affected by which residency
 
The old advice was "step trumps all, go to the cheapest school." That was a short while before I started.
Ehhhhh...I am not terribly sure about that. You do get better opportunities and better connections at a top 20 school; paying full freight at Harvard or Stanford and spending an extra fifty grand versus attending say the University of South Dakota for medical school is probably a good deal. Not saying South Dakota is a bad medical school, but it is not Harvard either. I think it really depends on what your career goals are, how badly you want a competitive specialty, and what you're looking for in a medical school.

As a fellow psych applicant: if you're hell bent on psychiatry, as I was when I started medical school, and you're guaranteed a spot in a (decent, non-malignant) psych residency program in the state you'd like to be...go for the 3 year program. If it doesn't work out, there's probably a mechanism for you to switch to the 4 year program.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
I've heard people say the top 20 is worth the price tag and for other schools just minimize your cost because name won't help that much. BUT, I'm aware of the fact that one school has matched top residencies in the state I care about several times in last several years, while the other school has only matched one residency in that state in a not-top program. So my point here is not really focused on prestige, but more like is there writing on the wall/is past match an indicator of future? Again, they are both in the same state, and I'm trying to do residency in a *different* state (a state that's only like 3 hrs away). They both match at high ranking programs, but for some reason, the one school matched top programs in the state I want, and the other matched more local top programs.
 
It is going to be hard for others to provide more thoughts without knowing what these schools are.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Sometimes a school gets into a spiral where people who want to eventually live in State X see that the people have matched there from that school and therefore choose that school over others. It isn't that that the school has anything to do with people matching other than selecting applicants who will eventually choose to match in that state. Make sense?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Sometimes a school gets into a spiral where people who want to eventually live in State X see that the people have matched there from that school and therefore choose that school over others. It isn't that that the school has anything to do with people matching other than selecting applicants who will eventually choose to match in that state. Make sense?
Hmm, yes 🤫
 
Overall- I'd go to the nicest school you could reasonably afford. Problem is fancy med schools these days are running in the $400,000+ range which is a bit absurd IMO. What are the price points of the two schools? And what about the curriculum? Attendance policy?
Some of the very best schools also have excellent aid packages. e.g. Harvard average graduating debt is 108k and waives parental contribution for families making <$100k.
 
  • Wow
Reactions: 1 user
The old advice was "step trumps all, go to the cheapest school." That was a short while before I started.

Now that it's your step 2 score, not much has changed; however, you're not going to have a score now until right before you apply to match which makes things weird.

Quite frankly, now that I'm in medical school, I would NOT be excited about doing a three year MD. It's hard enough to squeeze into 4 years. Breaks exist for a reason.

Overall- I'd go to the nicest school you could reasonably afford. Problem is fancy med schools these days are running in the $400,000+ range which is a bit absurd IMO. What are the price points of the two schools? And what about the curriculum? Attendance policy?

Honestly, nobody really knows what the match will look like this year; class of 2024 is the first to have P/F step. I know a bunch of fourth years who are either applying derm with average scores or switching specialties last minute after scoring average on step 2.

Also, what specialties are you considering?
tbh idk if you can even say "fancy" schools cost $400k plus. A lot of DO schools are more expensive than most T20 MDs.
 
  • Like
  • Sad
Reactions: 2 users
I think that if prestige is in the same ballpark then pick the school that matches people *where you want to go*; if both schools are in (say) New York, but you have strong ties to Pennsylvania and School A matches lots of people to Pennsylvania programs while School B matches only a few, School A seems like the better choice. For what it's worth, I'm not reading this as a prestige argument, but one of fit. I get the sense that you'd be happier at a decent program in the state you want to be than, say, UCSF or the Mayo Clinic...assuming that you don't want to be in Minnesota or California.

If you're talking something like Harvard vs. University of Nebraska, on the other hand...I'd think rather carefully about that, if only because you're higher up the food chain at Harvard. That means that all else equal, you'll have better opportunities and connections and residency prospects. As was stated earlier...we might not need the specific schools, but the rough ranking (top 20, top 50, midtier, something below that) and MD vs. DO matters here.
 
Top