Oct 28, 2019
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Hi everyone,

I am trying to decide between two amazing schools. I have spent quite a lot of time thinking about this and talked to a few current students. I would like to hear your insights as well. I am writing down some of the things in my mind, but feel free to let me know if I am missing any comparisons.

UMass
Pros

- In-State Tuition.
- PURCH (Program in Urban and Rural Community Health) Program. I got accepted into this as well. I am very interested in working with underserved populations, so this program really aligns well with my interests and passions
- Learning Communities. I think learning communities are great for bonding with classmates.
- Student Happiness. All the students seemed very happy at UMass.
- LGBTQ Health. This is both pro and con. I am very interested in LGBTQ health. However, there is no LGBTQ-focused health center, where I can volunteer in and learn at Worcester. However, I know the students are trying to establish a once a month clinic day. The LGBTQ student group seems to do a lot of work on advocacy, education and social. There is an LGBTQ clinic in Boston, which is about an hour from UMass. I might be able to utilize it.
- Space. The new medical school building is beautiful. The space provided for learning communities is large.
Cons
-
Location. Even though Worcester is called a city, it is not exactly a big city with lots of exciting happenings.
- Driving. You basically have to drive everywhere. It is not possible to live without a car.
- Moving in the 3rd year. Clinical rotations for PURCH students will take place in Springfield. I will have to move again at the end of the second year.
- Springfield. I am not sure if this is a con or a pro. All the clinical rotations will be in one single place. However, Springfield is even smaller than Worcester. I am unsure if this is the patient population that I am interested in working with in the future.
- Lack of diversity in classmates, faculty, and patients. I know that only 10% of the students were Black and 10% identified as LGBTQ. These are important factors for me as I learn better from a diverse group of people.

George Washington
Pros

- Global Health. I am interested in doing a summer global health study and GW seems to be very well versed in supporting students in Global Health
- Location. I would love to live in DC. I was born and raised in a city very much like New York. I have been living in Boston for the past 8 years, but even Boston feels small.
- Whitman Walker. This is an LGBTQ community health center very close to GW. I talked to one of the research directors there and expressed my interest in volunteering with them. I would love to work with their patients and learn here. They also might soon be affiliated with GW.
- Diversity. Since DC is a big city, I feel like the diversity of the patient population will be great. I also feel like the student body is much more diverse compared to many other schools.

Cons
- Ranks lower than UMass in research according to US News. I don't know how reliable those numbers are.
- Cost of tuition.
- Cost of living.
- Space. It is a school in a large city, so I understand that there are space constraints. The only student lounge that they showed us during interviews was a windowless room.


Thanks a lot for your help.
 
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tessellations

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UMass. I think it makes more sense to save the money and go with IS tuition. I know a lot of people at UMass as a fellow ISer and everyone there has such nice things to say. Students seem genuinely happy. Having rotations in Springfield will allow you to see health disparities, work with underserved populations, and access to the unique rural populations that Baystate serves. I went to school in the area and took an entire class on health inequity with Springfield as the focus (just as an example, children in Springfield have higher rates of asthma than the rest of the state). It's a great population if you are interested in working with the underserved!
 
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Morc

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I vote UMass based on your pros and cons (especially the in-state tuition part, also ranking). Also, it sounds like your support system would be closer. You could experience a large city again later on during residency/career, where you won't be racking up a lot of debt.
 
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mwsapphire

Office of the medical examiner.
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Worcester is also not badly developed at all, and the DC area has an insane COL. UMASS's IS tuition as well as the lower COL in Worcester is just impossible to bear, IMO.
 
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