Quantcast

UW-Madison vs MCW (full tuition)

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

water_princess

New Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2014
Messages
8
Reaction score
3

Members don't see this ad.
Hello all,

Hoping for some quick insights. I was all set to attend MCW with a full tuition scholarship, but was just accepted off the wait list at UW-Madison, which was my top choice from the beginning.

I am now conflicted. Mainly I am wondering whether the UW's reputation will give enough of a boost over MCW that it would be worth the added cost. I asked about negotiating scholarships at UW, and they said most likely it wouldn't be an option.

I do want to specialize in some manner, am not sure yet what field.

things that are important to me:
- access to research opportunities
- diverse patient experiences (would apply for triumph at UW)
- opportunity to match to a competitive specialty, in case I decide that is what I want

Any thoughts are appreciated!
 

water_princess

New Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2014
Messages
8
Reaction score
3
Yup, IS in WI. I would also have some family help, so I am trying to make the decision based on which school will afford more opportunity.
 

mcworbust

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2011
Messages
213
Reaction score
380
Hello all,

Hoping for some quick insights. I was all set to attend MCW with a full tuition scholarship, but was just accepted off the wait list at UW-Madison, which was my top choice from the beginning.

I am now conflicted. Mainly I am wondering whether the UW's reputation will give enough of a boost over MCW that it would be worth the added cost. I asked about negotiating scholarships at UW, and they said most likely it wouldn't be an option.

I do want to specialize in some manner, am not sure yet what field.

things that are important to me:
- access to research opportunities
- diverse patient experiences (would apply for triumph at UW)
- opportunity to match to a competitive specialty, in case I decide that is what I want

Any thoughts are appreciated!

Congrats on having 2 great low or no cost options, you've done very well! My username gives away my bias, but I'll try to share what I've learned about both via my and other's experiences at MCW (at various levels of training) and via what I've heard from about a half dozen friends who went to UW Madison.

Before I start, I love UW Madison - went there for undergrad, hold UW Madison in the highest regard, and of course it is ranked higher and more competitive to get in - anything I say please take constructively, not trying to paint a negative picture of either school, but rather elucidate small differences.

Generally:
- If you went to UW for undergrad (as I did), you know Madison is awesome etc etc. However, I really enjoyed moving to MKE as it is more "grown up" and has a ton to offer, and my some (but not all) of my friends who stayed at UW for med school felt like they were still in the undergrad bubble (good and bad).
- I like Froedtert/Childrens/MKE Zablocki VA in general better than all their counterparts at UW that I experienced in various capacities in undergrad (research, shadowing, volunteering, work) for what it is worth.
- Housing nearby both schools: I like housing close to MCW/Froedtert better than the housing close to UW Hospital, but of course theres lots of cool places to live in madison, same with milwaukee.
- Obviously UW has the bigger reputation and more research dollars. I (and many others on SDN) would argue that the first 2 years are largely the same between most med schools, and what sets them apart is their clinical experience. I and many others at MCW have had an EXCELLENT clinical experience, great supportive attendings, residents, and freedom to do stuff I want. I've enjoyed my fellow med students on rotations, not gunner at all. I've heard mixed reviews from my friends at UW about UW clinical experience (mainly not enough freedom), as well as faculty at MCW who interact with away rotators from UW vs. home MCW students. I'm sure UW has great clinical experiences, and maybe MCW ppl do worse at UW, but just wanted to pass that along.
- I gave pre-med advice to a superstar applicant 2 years ago who also got MCW full ride vs. UW (in state) and many other top notch acceptances - he chose MCW (full ride), is crushing it, and is enjoying his experience, on track for highly competitive residency.
- administration is really supportive and responsive to students at MCW, can't comment on UW.
- Finally, I've heard from some (but not all) of my friends from UW med school that they have a small friend group that they stick to, and it can be clique-y and a little competitive. My experience and the experience of my friends in multiple classes (M1 thru M4) at MCW has shown me that MCW really is a collaborative environment, lots of ppl are friends with many groups, and while some cliques exist they seem to be more open than what has been described to me by a few friends who graduated from UW Madison. However, I got this info probably 2-3 years ago so it may have changed at UW, but something to think about...

To specifically address your questions:
- access to research opportunities:
Obviously UW wins in funding overall, but MCW has many many mentors available doing a lot of great stuff, and I would think it would be as easy or easier to find someone to do whatever research you're interested at MCW vs. UW. I've done both clinical and basic science research at both institutions, and at both I had good productive experiences, but MCW seemed like it was more straightforward ("hey I wanna do research with you".."ok cool what do you want to do") and less headaches (and much less/no neurotic premeds running around). You mention competitive residencies, I'll give an example: Ophtho research at UW is awesome (I worked there), but at MCW (I also worked here in ophtho) there is the opportunity to do research in adaptive optics, a new technology (I think MCW has one of the 2 machines in the world that do this, however there may be more now)

- diverse patient experiences (would apply for triumph at UW):
I have no idea if everyone gets accepted to triumph at UW, so I cannot comment. But, in general, Froedtert and milwaukee in general is the best place to go in Wisconsin for diverse patient experiences. The ED gets the most trauma (gsw's come here). The new Center for Advanced Care has a bunch of interesting cases. Childrens Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee is dope. The Zablocki VA is one of the better ones in the country, and has a great spinal cord injury unit among other things. MCW, like UW, has a large Cancer Center (I don't know enough about UW's to comment either way). So in terms of cases and especially in terms of populations and socioeconomic diversity, MCW is where it is at in the state of Wisconsin.

- opportunity to match to a competitive specialty, in case I decide that is what I want:
This is incredibly important. My friends from UW med school have generally matched well in competitive specialties or in less competitive specialties at more competitive programs (like IM). My friends from MCW have also matched well in both competitive specialties and less competitive specialties at competitive programs, and many have stayed at MCW because they like it here. Because the specialty services at MCW are relatively large vs. the number of interested students, if you are interested in a competitive specialty it is not hard to find multiple mentors in those departments to usher you through. I'd say you're not putting yourself at a disadvantage for matching in a competitive specialty from MCW, however UW is a more national name which might bump you up if you wanna leave the midwest for competitive or less competitive specialties. UW med students feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. Basically, both places will get you to your end goal career.

Either way you'll be making a great decision. Again I hold UW Madison in the highest regard, but I also have loved my experience at MCW. Best of luck!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

water_princess

New Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2014
Messages
8
Reaction score
3
Thanks for the insights! Can anyone who voted comment on their reasoning?

Also - I do not want to remain in the Midwest for residency (I am from the east coast originally). Do you think one school would make that easier?
 
Top