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Tulane vs USC Greenville vs FIU vs FAU

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MidWestGoingEast1990

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I’m waitlisted at a handful of Top 20 schools, any of which I would be thrilled to attend, so I’m crossing fingers for a good outcome at any of those, but otherwise I am just grateful to have gotten in a few Schools already and would be happy to attend any of the Schools below.

I’ve bullet-pointed pros and cons for the Schools below where I’ve gotten in. Please note these are pros and cons for what I perceive as added value, which may or may not be right. Feel free to chime in if you think I’m off about anything!

Before starting this process, I sort of determined pretty clearly for myself that the Med School I would attend, if I was lucky enough to get into several places and pick between several Schools, would be: The most prestigious (1), most affordable (2) school I can get into with Pass/Fail (3) grading and as little required class time possible (4).

So I decided in advance my final four criteria would be ranking/prestige/reputation (1), total cost of attendance and amount of student loans that I’ll need to take out (2), Pass/Fail grading (3), and minimal required class time (4).

For me personally, it’s always freaked me out to think I would have to take out hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans, and neither of my parents will help in any way with paying tuition.

I am lucky that I was offered scholarships at all of the Schools below, so the TOTAL COST indicated is what it would cost me to attend each School over 4 years, all in (tuition, room and board, other fees, etc.) Obviously these are all estimates, but the amounts below are what I will have to take out in student loans in total over 4 years.

Here are my current options:

University of South Carolina - Greenville (USC Greenville)

Pros:

-Second least expensive option
-Brand new, state-of-the-art facilities (both classrooms and simulation center)
-Enjoyed my interview day. Most chill students I have encountered of any interview day.

Cons:

-ABC grading scale
-Small town (I have always lived in big or medium- size cities… Not sure how I would feel in a small town for 4 years)
-Very few opportunities for research (I personally am not big into research, but I gather it’s a requirement for the most competitive specialties)
-Felt the caliber of students was less than the other Schools I interviewed at (Does that even matter?)

TOTAL COST: $130,000

Florida Atlantic University (FAU Schmidt)

Pros:

-Least expensive option by far due to extremely generous scholarships
-Pass/Fail (preclinical years)
-64 students (highly individualized attention and teacher support)
-Idyllic location (Boca Raton is one of the most beautiful cities in Florida, and the School is literally 5 minutes from the beach)
-Tests every 5-6 weeks
-Though a new School, opportunities for research at Scripps and Cleveland Clinic Florida
-Brand new, state-of-the-art facilities (both classrooms and simulation center)
-Loved the vibe of the School on interview day. Liked every single student we met, the Faculty, Deans, everyone. Feel like I felt in love.

Cons:

-Quite a bit of PBL and required class time (6 hours of PBL a week during both MS1 and MS2, on top of labs, simulation center activities, preceptorships, etc.)
-Haven’t gathered definitive information about the quality of third year clinical clerkships.

TOTAL COST: $100,000

Florida International University (FIU Wertheim)

Pros:

-1.5 year preclinical curriculum
-Great match list with competitive residency placements at institutions across the country (best match list of all 4 Schools)
-Very high STEP 1 average (something like a 238)

Cons:

-Tests every week or every other week (many more tests than any other School on this list)
-It is my understanding they have a shortened summer break after MS1
-ABC grading scale
-Living arrangements not as nice as the other Schools (Miami is very expensive and School is not in the best area of town)
-Second most expensive option

TOTAL COST: $215,000

Tulane

Pros:
-More established than the other three (Not sure if that even matters or if so, how much it does?)
-Pass/Fail (preclinical years)
-Possibility of completing an additional degree, MBA or MPH, in 4 years, which I’m fairly certain I want to do, if not now, then at some point in the future (Though that’s also a con since that would add an additional $75,000 in tuition to the total below)

Cons:

-New Orleans (great city for sure, but I think I see myself more at any of the above three locations)
-Large student class (185 students)
-Slow and unresponsive administration (as per many students who currently attend)
-Everything at Tulane felt a bit rundown, old classrooms, etc., though they have a brand-new state-of-the-art hospital.

TOTAL COST: $250,000 (or as high as $325,000 if I pursue a 4-year MD/MPH or MD/MBA)

As far as cost alone is concerned:

FAU < USC Greenville < FIU < Tulane

$100,000 < $130,000 < $215,000 < $250,000 to $325,000

A few notes about me that I think can help guide some of your feedback, which I really value (Long-term lurker and never contributed here before, but SDN is literally an invaluable resource IMHO):

-I’m a highly adaptable person. I’ve lived in a bunch of different States (though never in a small town), and have attended public and private schools for High School, so I feel like I blend in most settings and I generally make the best of any situation and am happy most everywhere.

-I emphasize as pros a Pass/Fail grading scheme and less frequent tests as I’m already very self-motivated, an older student, and very independent.

-I’m not sure yet what specialty I want to pursue, but I don’t want to have any doors closed to me either. I’m a nontrad and very much of the mindset of wanting to eventually practice as a “clinician and…”, but not really interested in academic medicine. More so, I know down the line at some point I would like to pursue a dual degree, and be involved in Healthcare Administration, Public Health Advocacy and/or Public Policy, etc., in addition to working with patients in a clinical setting. Hence why I’m very strongly considering pursuing an MBA (or possibly MPH, but most likely an MBA).

-I’m having a LOT of trouble parsing whether how much students loans I’ll have to take out should be a huge consideration, or even if at all. I have heard SUCH contradictory advice from practicing physicians, some that I know and others I have shadowed. Some said that once I become a physician, whatever amount of student loans I will have had to take out will be a drop in the bucket. Others said to minimize student loans as much as possible, and simply go to the cheapest possible School. I know one Doctor who became a dermatologist, paid off her student loans in the first two years that she practiced, and others who had job offers where their package included their student loans being paid off.

So I just don’t know if finances should guide this decision, and if so, how much so.

I value feedback from anyone, and in particularly any Faculty and Attendings who may come across this thread! @Goro, @gyngyn, @Med Ed

TL;DR: Should I go to the most affordable School or go to a School that is more established?
 

MidWestGoingEast1990

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Get accepted, and then I'll advise.

Sorry my original post wasn't clear! I was accepted to the four schools above. I was just mentioning at the top of the post that I'm also waitlisted at some schools, but so far these are the schools I got into.
 

USvWindsor

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FAU has the best/most pros for you. 2nd choice- Tulane
 
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Spector1

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I'd go for cheapest. in this case fau
 
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Ignatius M.D.

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Tulane is by far the most prestigious of the 4 and NO is a great city, FIU has better clinical training than FAU/U So. Car. (train all over Miami at Baptist, CC-FL, Jackson Health, 3 trauma centers, etc. and is very hands-on) and high step scores-Miami is +/- depending on your personality-, FAU is in a lovely and more quiet part of FL and the P/F grading system is better than % grading at FIU, U So. Car. is also in a nice, quiet city and would probably still get you where you need to go at a much lower cost than the others (except FAU). I know what I would pick, but we likely have different priorities. From your descriptions of the programs it sounds like you felt at home at FAU and it is your cheapest option.
 
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MidWestGoingEast1990

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Thank you all for your comments! This feels right and confirms how I was feeling and looking to approach this. :)
 
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