Mr. Org & Elles

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UPDATE: I was offered a $10k scholarship to GW. That makes GW $20k cheaper per year, $80k in total before interest. I'd love some thoughts on this please!

I was planning on going to UMass but was accepted to GW yesterday. I have to decide by the end of this week. Please help!

University of Massachusetts

Pros
  • In Massachusetts (I'm from New England)
  • I used to work there and know many people in the department of plastic surgery
  • Higher % of class matches in surgery (8% of class vs. 5%) -- I'm somewhat interested in surgery
  • Good clinical rotation options
  • Matches well in New England (MGH, UMass Memorial, etc.)
  • Good research opportunities
  • Grading system is pass, fail
Cons
  • Cost of attendance is higher ($92,488 vs. $82,296)
  • Only about 5-6 weeks for Step 1 prep (I'm not a great test taker, so this is important to me)
  • Worcester (not the most vibrant city in my opinion)

George Washington

Pros
  • In DC (LOVE DC, and have family there)
  • My cousin is going to GT and we could potentially live together (we've wanted to go to the same med school--or same place for school--since we were young)
  • Less expensive ($82,296 vs. $92,488)
  • Good clinical rotation options
  • Matches well in the DC area (DC, Maryland)
  • 8 weeks of Step 1 studying
Cons
  • Grading system is: Honor, Pass, Conditional, Fail
  • Scholarly concentration track is recommended (this isn't a huge deal, but I don't find the tracks super interesting)
  • I have no connections to surgery at the school
  • Slightly lower rank (although this is not a big factor)
  • I know less about GW than I do UMass (Since I was just accepted to GW yesterday, I haven't done as much visiting/research)

Overall -- I honestly can't decide. The academic quality of each school is similar, so I think it's important to look at this situation in terms of both the short run and the long run. In the short run, I think I'd enjoy GW better because I like D.C. much better, and I could live my cousin. Quality of life would probably be better at GW. In the longer run though, if I go to UMass, I think I'll set myself up better to match in a competitive specialty. I'm somewhat interested in plastic surgery, and I know a decent number of plastic attendings/residents at UMass, so that could help with getting integrated early. Also, UMass is slightly better regarded (I think??). However, also in the long run, GW is $10k cheaper ($40k over 4 years), which could mean $50-60k after all is said and done.

I'm literally stuck, and I only have 2 more days to decide. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
 
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watermelon master

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Interesting that you are SO set on plastic surgery. If you really are then go to UMass since you think it will help you get a residency in plastic surgery.

Otherwise I would choose GW since you seem you would be happier there. Plastic surgery seems like such a hyper specific specialty choice and who knows if you would have the step score to match in it.
 
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Mr. Org & Elles

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Interesting that you are SO set on plastic surgery. If you really are then go to UMass since you think it will help you get a residency in plastic surgery.

Otherwise I would choose GW since you seem you would be happier there. Plastic surgery seems like such a hyper specific specialty choice and who knows if you would have the step score to match in it.

Thanks for the response! I guess I was a little misleading... I'm not set on Plastics at all! I just find it interesting, so I wanted to keep the door open. To be honest, I have no idea what I want to go into (or as you said, will have the score/resume to get into). I just thought that if I did end up wanting to go into PS, which school would better. That's all.
 

enchantediris

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One thing to ask yourself is where (as in what city) you want to live in for residency and work in as a physician. Schools have more influence on residency programs in the area, which is why UMass and Tufts students match well in Boston despite a "lower" prestige. Another consideration is the cost of living -- I imagine that rent in DC (even if shared with your cousin) will be more expensive than rent in Worcester. This might bring the cost of attendance at both schools closer together. Also, Worcester isn't too far from Boston, either! Although I will concede that living there is much different than living right in Boston or DC. Finally, I would consider the grading systems. From what I've heard from medical students, having a P/F preclinical system does wonders for stress levels and the cooperativity of the class. Such flexibility could also possibly help you in studying for Step 1, as you would have more time to focus on Step 1 studying rather than worrying about getting Honors in your classes.

Ultimately, the choice is up to you. I think that no matter which program you choose, you will have the opportunity to succeed and match into surgery. The rankings and tuition for both schools are so similar that I don't think one choice is much better than the other. Go with your gut.
 
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Mr. Org & Elles

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One thing to ask yourself is where (as in what city) you want to live in for residency and work in as a physician. Schools have more influence on residency programs in the area, which is why UMass and Tufts students match well in Boston despite a "lower" prestige. Another consideration is the cost of living -- I imagine that rent in DC (even if shared with your cousin) will be more expensive than rent in Worcester. This might bring the cost of attendance at both schools closer together. Also, Worcester isn't too far from Boston, either! Although I will concede that living there is much different than living right in Boston or DC. Finally, I would consider the grading systems. From what I've heard from medical students, having a P/F preclinical system does wonders for stress levels and the cooperativity of the class. Such flexibility could also possibly help you in studying for Step 1, as you would have more time to focus on Step 1 studying rather than worrying about getting Honors in your classes.

Ultimately, the choice is up to you. I think that no matter which program you choose, you will have the opportunity to succeed and match into surgery. The rankings and tuition for both schools are so similar that I don't think one choice is much better than the other. Go with your gut.

Awesome response, thank you. I do agree, the cost of living in D.C. is higher, but they do factor that into the total cost of attendance (~$82,000). However, you're right--the true expenses might bring the cost a bit closer to UMass. I'd also be happy in either Boston or D.C. after school. Obviously, neither school locks you into that city :), but chances of matching there are better with one school or the other. I'm from New England, so Boston would be great, but I also love D.C. and have other family there.

The one major thing is the grading system. I've heard the same thing as you, namely, having a P/F system creates less stress and less competition. I think either school will allow me to match into something competitive IF I perform well at that school. Now the question is: does the quality of life in D.C. outweigh its disfavored grading system?
 
Sep 21, 2016
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The choice is yours both are fantastic schools (waitlisted at GW myself disclaimer) but if you are SERIOUS about plastics do not underestimate the power of having a good relationship with your home institution's plastics department as they will be the ones to advocate on your behalf come residency application time. IMO having an already well established relationship with plastics at UMass could be clutch in the long run more so than a 40k diff in tuition over 4 years (which is the price of a big mac compared to what you will be making in plastics lol)
 
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Mr. Org & Elles

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The choice is yours both are fantastic schools (waitlisted at GW myself disclaimer) but if you are SERIOUS about plastics do not underestimate the power of having a good relationship with your home institution's plastics department as they will be the ones to advocate on your behalf come residency application time. IMO having an already well established relationship with plastics at UMass could be clutch in the long run more so than a 40k diff in tuition over 4 years (which is the price of a big mac compared to what you will be making in plastics lol)

Thanks! Yeah I know what you mean. The problem is that I don't know exactly what I want to do. With connections aside, do you think GW presents the same opportunities to match in a competitive specialty?

The other factor is location of matching. Here are the 2017 results for the states I'd potentially like to live in (in order of relative priority):

UMass v. GW
DC: 0 v 24
Massachusetts: 58 v 6
New York: 22 v 24
California: 4 v 26
North Carolina: 3 v 8
Connecticut: 6 v 3

Other than DC, Massachusetts, and Cali, they're pretty equal. GW does have more students but not by a ton..
 
Sep 21, 2016
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I dont think either would limit you in this regard. From speaking with multiple residents (I work at big academic medical center in CA) doing away rotations in your 4th year helps you match at your desired location. Generally i just think less ppl at umass do aways out of mass so comparing match lists isnt of much help. since matching is person dependent not school dependent. Get a 250 step 1 with AOA at any us md program and ace your away rotation and u can . then essentially match anywhere
 
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Sounds like 50 50. Your analysis is comprehensive so I don't think Anyone can really help you at this point. My advice is picture yourself with a backpack from either school. Which one do you want more. Either way you win anyways


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DokterMom

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They're both excellent choices, so you won't be wrong, whichever you pick.

It sounds like living with your cousin is a big part of the draw of GW. Have you confirmed that this is even an option? And do you two get along well enough that the risk of conflict spreading through the family would be minimal?
 

Mr. Org & Elles

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They're both excellent choices, so you won't be wrong, whichever you pick.

It sounds like living with your cousin is a big part of the draw of GW. Have you confirmed that this is even an option? And do you two get along well enough that the risk of conflict spreading through the family would be minimal?

Thank you! It's actually looking less likely that we would live with each other the first year. Second year is for sure possible. And yes, we've been best friends since we were 2 years old. Probably don't get along with anyone better than him
 
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I would love to hear where you ended up deciding. Like everyone said you really cannot go wrong with either. Congratulations and best of luck to you wherever you go!
 

Mr. Org & Elles

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I would love to hear where you ended up deciding. Like everyone said you really cannot go wrong with either. Congratulations and best of luck to you wherever you go!

Hey, thanks again for everyone's input! I went back and forth like 5 times this week haha, but in the end my gut was telling me UMass, so I went with it!
 
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SecretFormula

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UPDATE: I was offered a $10k scholarship to GW. That makes GW $20k cheaper per year, $80k in total before interest. I'd love some thoughts on this please!

I was planning on going to UMass but was accepted to GW yesterday. I have to decide by the end of this week. Please help!

Super late here... hope you still check this forum lol. but i was doing research about GWU scholarships, when did you hear about your award notification?
 

Mr. Org & Elles

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Super late here... hope you still check this forum lol. but i was doing research about GWU scholarships, when did you hear about your award notification?

Haha I never check it anymore, but decided to randomly. Anyways, my situation was a bit different, but I was accepted on June 14, 2017 and they sent me my award 2 days later.
 
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