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UNECOM vs. NOVA HELP!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by Don7281, Jan 1, 2009.

  1. Don7281

    7+ Year Member

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    Hi. I need to decide where to send my deposit by Tuesday and I am torn between these schools. I felt really comfortable at UNECOM and loved the people, but Nova seemed to have better facilities and program. I would like to specialize someday in Anesthesiology or Hema/Onco, can current students give me some advice or share their experiences from both schools so I can make a decision. Does one school have better rotation locations, better residency placements. Thanks for any help.
     
  2. pietachok

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    So, I was trying to get help with the same exact question a few weeks ago. My deposit at NOVA was due 12/28. I went with UNECOM. There is a thread somewhere that asked students to "grade" their DO programs that had useful info about NOVA, and I also PM'ed Shyrem from UNECOM.

    Here is why I made my decision--It makes me sound like I don't like NOVA at all, but it was a tough decision. I think the schools are quite comparable overall. They have similar admission GPAs and MCATs, and COMLEX pass rates:
    1) I thought that UNECOM was more comfy, and it is smaller, which to me meant more individualized attention.

    2) My interviewers at NOVA didn't speak English, which ticked me off b/c I thought it was rude to give me interviewers who couldn't actually interview me...then I found out that one of them is one of the "better" professors at NOVA...well, if he couldn't formulate questions for me because of his English skills, I am nervous about his ability to handle questions during/after lecture. I am sure he can lecture when he prepares ahead of time, but that was really disappointing.

    3) On that thread "grading" the schools, recent NOVA students (M1 and M2) said that they have had a problem with the curriculum as they have been tweaking it. They haven't followed a textbook and they have been promised handouts, but the prof's never actually get them the handouts half the time, so they have nothing to study from. They said the lectures the 1st year seemed disjointed and disorganized, since they pulled physicians in to do the lectures. They do their systems in the 2nd year, which is odd to me...so, I am not sure how these physicians put things into an appropriate context.

    4) NOVA does prosection not full dissection. A lot of people think this is ok or even better b/c they think dissection is a waste of time, but other people think you learn your anatomy way better with the full dissection.

    5) I discovered that the compulsory rural rotation for NOVA is during the 4th year when you are supposed to be "auditioning" for your residencies. You lose 3 months of time when you could be auditioning for a residency depending on which time of year you are assigned your rural rotation.

    6) It was pointed out to me that with a lot of the rotations for UNECOM, students find themself the ONLY student present, so they really get to assist with everything. Compare this to NOVA where you are sharing teaching hospitals with M.D. programs in the area, and I doubt you will get the same priority, and I fear you might face bias.

    7) I actually thought that the OMM lab (and from what I hear, the anatomy lab) was nicer at UNECOM. Bigger doesn't mean better. The tables for the OMM are adjustable in height at UNECOM, whereas NOVA makes you stand on stacked aerobics steps if you are short...if you are tall, your back just hurts by the end of the day (I asked--I'm shortish and noticed this...my tour guide was tall and told me of his pain).

    8) When I interviewed at NOVA they mentioned potential curriculum changes for next year like taking out the histology course, but they weren't sure yet. When you look at other established schools, there is always crankiness in the "guinea pig class" when they change the curriculum (read stuff from NYCOM students a few years ago). I feel like NOVA has been doing it very slowly for the past 2 years already, but I want to know what I'm getting before I enroll. UNECOM made changes a few years ago, too...but their student body seemed unanimous that the changes have been for the better and I got the impression it has been smooth there.

    9) Regarding the match lists...because you have a somewhat higher chance of matching somewhere you did a rotation, more students from UNECOM match in the Northeast, and more from NOVA match in the South (particularly Fla since they have a lot of in-state students). Now, Florida is one of the 5 states that requires D.O.'s to do an extra year of internship before residency (or a pre-approved, combined internship/residency). Because of this, I understand that many of the "matches" are actually internship placements so these graduates can later practice in Florida...I feel like this artificially deflates their match list and makes it difficult to compare to UNECOM, plus I'm less familiar with the institutions on there. Unfortunately, you can't get a list of where they all are one year later, after the internship. B/c UNECOM lets you arrange your 4th year rotations, I felt like I could leave Maine and show myself to someplace competitive. I know NOVA students *can* leave, but there is that issue of the rural rotation that can get in the way. In the end, I looked at the past 3 years of match lists for both schools, and UNECOM's had some really good matches. NOVA's did, too, but it was a lot more concentrated in Florida, which made me nervous that I would be more restricted.

    One of my mentors from Manhattan is chief of GI in one of the med schools in Florida. Right after I let my deposit lapse she told me "NOVA is good" but had nothing else to say, whereas she hadn't heard of UNECOM...but she'd only lived up here for 1.5 years. My biggest issues with turning down NOVA were the diversity of the patient population (but you can see that if you do rotations in RI, NJ), the weather, and simply not knowing whether or not NOVA really did produce better "matches" and physicians...I feel like there aren't really universal reputations outside of the vicinities of these schools. (I've worked at Columbia U. and Mt Sinai Med School and none of the MD's have heard of either of them, pretty much). As someone who gets depressed in the winter, I seriously contemplated whether or not it was worth it to go to NOVA just for the sake of maintaining my sanity during med school.

    I did get advice from one friend at NYCOM that I didn't have time to investigate which was to look into the stability of the schools' relationships with their rotation sites. I know UNECOM hasn't been wonderfully proactive about getting more rotation sites and has basically let VT and Dartmouth steal new ones when they came up, but I don't know that they have lost any. NOVA has so many, I'm sure you'd be fine.

    Good Luck. I have passed along everything I gathered during the torture that was my decision making process. Maybe you'll be luckier than I was and someone will respond to you :)
     
    #2 pietachok, Jan 1, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
  3. pietachok

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    .
     
    #3 pietachok, Jan 1, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
  4. Chocolate Bear

    Chocolate Bear Moderizzle Fo'Shizzle!
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    Wow, Pietachok, that was a ton of good info--thanks for taking the time!

    As for the thread about students grading their DO school, I think this might be the thread to which you were referring.
     
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  5. MossPoh

    MossPoh Textures intrigue me
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    The 4th year rural rotation thing is always a worry. It was a worry with me too. I've been talking to people about it and most of the time it really isn't an issue. Aside from the fact you may have it the second half of the year. The other assigned time is most likely when you're interviewing and not doing audition rotations. The remaining assigned time can be bypassed several ways. Audition rotations don't always have to be in the speciality you are interested in. They NEED to be at the hospital where you are interested in so you can start showing up to the lectures and meeting people at the program. The rural rotation doesn't even have to be in a rural place. It can be in an underserved, which is a huge chunk of urban hospitals. I met a guy that did his EM rotations at Cook's county and took that as the opportunity to meet up with some of the other programs and get his face known.

    I think any given day you'll find students at every medical school in the country that have encountered mishaps or weird little things they didn't like. My friend at Wash U complained about not getting something from his professor and said some of the curriculum seemed fuzzy. Some don't like the uncertainty of curriculum but part of me thinks of it like a sports team. From year to year you have to strive to get better or you get worse. There is no staying the same. The development has been in the works for a while it seems and I think it'll be fine.

    I also haven't heard much bad about NSU rotations. I've never heard students complaining about being dominated and having little face time. It also just depends which place you choose to go to. If you go to a major medical center then you're going to have to face that wherever you are. If you choose a smaller medical center then you won't. NSU has both.

    I'd say the reputation is about equal. Most of the UNECOM people in the world I've met have been OMM, Family Medicine and EM. Most of the nova grads I've me have been radiology, surgery, and derm. This is NOT saying anything about the matchlist. Just how the chips fell. 2 of my dad's partners were nova grads and radiologists.

    It is unfortunate about the whole professor not speaking English thing but there are usually a few foreign profs at every school. I wish I could say that speaking english meant that someone was a good teacher but thinking back the top 3 worst professors of my life have all been native english speakers and 2 of the 3 best were foreign. Sometimes it takes a little bit to adapt to an accent I guess.

    I actually sent my transcripts into UNECOM a few days ago. Mainly because I know someone that chose to go to PA school up there instead of at Nova. I think you'd be perfectly fine at either. I don't think the class size really matters much. You tend to find your group and stick with them wherever you are. The people that go and seek help get help at both places. Your specialities you're interested in are very very very doable at either place.
     
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  6. Orthodoc40

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    You could try PM-ing HemaOncoDoc - he had to make the same choice 2 years ago.
     
  7. singinfifi

    singinfifi Professional Insomniac
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    I know next to nothing about UNECOM, but i'm happy to talk to you about Nova if you'd like. you can IM me on singinfifi if you want.
     
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  8. nevinleiby

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    Good point and discussion MossPoh, but I kinda disagree after shadowing a radiologist last week (Temple MD grad if I remember correctly -> A Force):

    Radiology was not always as desirable to get into, nor the best paid. Actually, radiology was looked down upon and thought to decline significant because of insurance. The thought at the time when he applied was that insurance would not pick up the cost of so many films and docs would not be doing as many rad studies. That has clearly changed COMPLETELY, and rad studies skyrocketed. As a result of the field being less desirable (read: less paid), there weren't many radiologists even though rad studies boomed. For now, there is a huge shortage of radiologists...

    Slightly off topic, but interesting, he said that he didn't think that foreign rad services (eg, Nighthawk) were a huge threat to US radiologists. Attorneys have no one to sue in a foreign country if a mistake in a interpretation is made - and the powers that be (lobbyists) will likely keep it that way.

    But again...thanks MossPoh...I'm in your shoes sorta, but a PA resident...I'm still battling with the NSU vs Bradenton until my next round of interviews (includes AZCOM). Such a hard decision!!!!
     
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