VCU/MCV in Richmond versus UKansas + semi-full scholarship

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Hi,
My first acceptance was to Virginia Commonwealth University SOM in Richmond, Virginia and a few weeks later, I got accepted to University of Kansas SOM in Kansas city, Kansas. I was almost sure I would be going to VCU until UKansas offered me a semi-full scholarship [scholarship to cover full OOS tuition, fees and books and renewable for all 4 years with good academic standing]. I'm pretty sure VCU will not offer me anything close-- a friend of mine only got a scholarship amount that will reduce her tuition to that of in-state. I'm not too excited about spending four years of my life in Kansas of all places, but that money is very enticing. I like VCU a lot and think I'd be happier in Richmond, Virginia. What do you guys think I should do? At what point do you let the prospect of graduating with less debt decide which school you attend?. Anyone with knowledge of both schools that can help me decide which is better?. Your thoughts will be very much appreciated. Thanks.
 

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I didn't know KU gave such scholarships. (I'm incredibly jealous) What is it that you like about Richmond and what makes you not gung ho about Kansas? Check out our class thread. I've got some info about the school in there. Feel free to ask me any questions too. I'm a current M1 at KU.
 
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You still have a lot of time to find out what VCU will give you. Wait until you find out their offering. You have until may 15th so might as well take your time. Call the financial aid office and tell them your situation. They may just give you a bunch of money.

I know little about KU but am a 1st year at VCU/MCV. I love it here. That said, if KU is a whole lot cheaper it is prolly a good option.

Remember to take into account living expenses. Instate tuition at MCV is 25K and OOS is about 40K. You can easily live in Richmond on 15K a year bringing your totals to 40 and 55K respectively w/o scholarship.
 

dutchman

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I would suggest you go to the cheapest one, so kansas sounds good. I heard Kansas city is a pretty cool city.
 

ForbiddenComma

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I'm an M2 at KU... obviously I'm biased, but it's a good school with good people. Some of the profs are the most dedicated teachers you can find in any field, especially the head histology, pharm and path guys. It's a very friendly atmosphere -- the students help each other, and there is no cutthroat gunning going on. For clinicals, the hospital is one of the big players for the KC metro area and is a Level 1 trauma center. There are also options for doing rotations at other area hospitals, such as a fantastic children's hospital and a VA hospital notorious for its "warzone" ER. You also have the choice of doing your clinicals in the Wichita area.

It may not have the prestige of East Coast schools but you get the same education and you take the same boards as everyone else. And at the end, if you aren't from a holy trinity school, your school name doesn't matter much anyway to your patients -- so you may as well go for the school that gives you the best deal.

PM me if you have any questions, and good luck with your choice.
 

sirus_virus

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I'm an M2 at KU... obviously I'm biased, but it's a good school with good people. Some of the profs are the most dedicated teachers you can find in any field, especially the head histology, pharm and path guys. It's a very friendly atmosphere -- the students help each other, and there is no cutthroat gunning going on. For clinicals, the hospital is one of the big players for the KC metro area and is a Level 1 trauma center. There are also options for doing rotations at other area hospitals, such as a fantastic children's hospital and a VA hospital notorious for its "warzone" ER. You also have the choice of doing your clinicals in the Wichita area.

It may not have the prestige of East Coast schools but you get the same education and you take the same boards as everyone else. And at the end, if you aren't from a holy trinity school, your school name doesn't matter much anyway to your patients -- so you may as well go for the school that gives you the best deal.

PM me if you have any questions, and good luck with your choice.

Yes I have heard a lot of good things about the learning atmosphere in KU. The only negative I have heard is that KU is notorious for jacking up tuition within space of months, but that is not a problem for OP since OP has a fullride.
 

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It may not have the prestige of East Coast schools but you get the same education and you take the same boards as everyone else. And at the end, if you aren't from a holy trinity school, your school name doesn't matter much anyway to your patients -- so you may as well go for the school that gives you the best deal.

Yep, but I don't think VCU would offer you any real leg up in prestige. It's not like Johns Hopkins vs. KU or anything like that. :)

I think KU's systems curriculum sounds really cool, but from reading lilnoelle's posts, it sounds like a friendly, responsive school. :) Kansas City's in the midwest, sure, but it's a pretty big city and should have all the amenities of a city that you'd expect. Hell, it beats Oklahoma City. ;) Of course, there's no beach nearby, no mountains, no striking outdoorsy things.
 

lilnoelle

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I think KU's systems curriculum sounds really cool, but from reading lilnoelle's posts, it sounds like a friendly, responsive school. :) .

:)

I agree with ForbiddenComma. The Op hasn't gotten back to us about what s/he doesn't like about Kansas. Most likely its the weather and/or the fact that its in the midwest and that just sounds BORING.
The weather might be a real concern if someone is from California or Florida, but I (longterm midwesterner) think the weather is just fine in the midwest. Yes, it gets cold in the winter and gets hot in the summer, but spring and fall are beautiful, and its not like its below freezing all winter long (just recently we have had a warm period - its been 50-60 degrees for a little less than a week.) It may take a bit of an adjustment, but its not that bad.
And if its that you think Kansas is boring.... Kansas City is a city like most other cities. It is what you make of it. There is plenty to do if you look for it.
 

lilnoelle

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Yes I have heard a lot of good things about the learning atmosphere in KU. The only negative I have heard is that KU is notorious for jacking up tuition within space of months, but that is not a problem for OP since OP has a fullride.

Where did you hear this? I certainly hope this isn't true. :scared: :scared:
 
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I think KU's systems curriculum sounds really cool, but from reading lilnoelle's posts, it sounds like a friendly, responsive school. :) Kansas City's in the midwest, sure, but it's a pretty big city and should have all the amenities of a city that you'd expect. Hell, it beats Oklahoma City. ;) Of course, there's no beach nearby, no mountains, no striking outdoorsy things.

Indeed I agree with Bagel. Like JoJo sings, "You know, it's just too little too late..." in my case.

BTW, yes, KU does play with it's tuition a lot. In Big 12 country, every non-Texas school advertises that they are the cheapest so they all feel comfortable jacking it up. As for Texas, maybe the undergrad schools are costly (as rumored outside of Texas), but they offer about the cheapest medical tuition out there. As for KU, in 2002 they told me that they were going up by 20-25% each of the next four years (in effect doubling). Maybe they've stopped that habit by now.

I think that the price is somewhat reasonable overall--still better than most private schools.

Be careful interpreting "good academic standing." At my school, that means perfect grades as far as scholarship renewals go.
 

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Indeed I agree with Bagel. Like JoJo sings, "You know, it's just too little too late..." in my case.

BTW, yes, KU does play with it's tuition a lot. In Big 12 country, every non-Texas school advertises that they are the cheapest so they all feel comfortable jacking it up. As for Texas, maybe the undergrad schools are costly (as rumored outside of Texas), but they offer about the cheapest medical tuition out there. As for KU, in 2002 they told me that they were going up by 20-25% each of the next four years (in effect doubling). Maybe they've stopped that habit by now.

I think that the price is somewhat reasonable overall--still better than most private schools.

Be careful interpreting "good academic standing." At my school, that means perfect grades as far as scholarship renewals go.

So I like to bash Texas a lot, but it's a great state for students. Even their ugrad fees are cheaper. UT's average ugrad tuition and fees are $3800 to $4900 per year. At OU, they give their average figure as being $5900 for ugrad tuition and fees. Their med schools are like $10k/year, right? It looks like their tuition doesn't go up much, either. When I was in law school there, it was about $8500/year for tuition/fees. Now, it's about $10k.

Apparently OUHSC costs about $8k/year a little less than 10 years ago. Now we're pushing $20k for instate.

Yeah, for scholarship renewals, I'd probably want a very clear definition of what "good academic standing" means.
 

Vizsla

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go to Kansas. I think VCU is great but going here wont be worth the money you will save going to U Kansas. Kansas def wouldnt be a top pick of locations for me but frankly Richmond isnt THAT much better. Good Luck :luck:
 

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:)

I agree with ForbiddenComma. The Op hasn't gotten back to us about what s/he doesn't like about Kansas. Most likely its the weather and/or the fact that its in the midwest and that just sounds BORING.
The weather might be a real concern if someone is from California or Florida, but I (longterm midwesterner) think the weather is just fine in the midwest. Yes, it gets cold in the winter and gets hot in the summer, but spring and fall are beautiful, and its not like its below freezing all winter long (just recently we have had a warm period - its been 50-60 degrees for a little less than a week.) It may take a bit of an adjustment, but its not that bad.
And if its that you think Kansas is boring.... Kansas City is a city like most other cities. It is what you make of it. There is plenty to do if you look for it.


Hey guys,
Thanks for your posts and sorry for my delayed response-- after a couple of posts, i assumed the thread was pretty much dead. I'm not a midwesterner-- I grew up in Africa and have been living in Baltimore, Maryland for the past 7 years. When I first got my interview invite, I imagined Kansas to be a far off place like Iowa or Idaho with not much going on there or nearby. When I visited, even though I wasn't blown away or anything, it wasn;t exactly as bad as I'd imagined. However, most of my other interviewees were kansas residents from small towns and just didn't seem very "progressive", so i don't know how well I'll fit in here; kansas city itself wasn't interesting but kansas city, missouri which is like 5 mins away was more lively; the school sounded cool but nothing fantastic stood out in my mind-- they promoted student's use of tablet laptop for notes, lectures etc, but I feel that may even become a pain sometimes. Call me traditional but I like that VCU gives you a syllabus which contains everything you need to know for each class and I can highlight, take notes with a pen on paper and not have to worry about a million different files saved on the computer [btw I can't stand reading on the computer for extended periods of time, my eyes, neck & fingers hurts!]. In all, I didn't leave feeling like I wanted to come here, of course until I got that scholarship award. I've heard that VCU really helps students prepare for usmle I; they have Dr. Costanzo who wrote the physiology board review series as their professor; richmond has milder winters, is close to home, virginia beach and just an hour away from d.c. As someone mentioned, the city of richmond itself is not that great either, but compared to kansas city, it sounds a lot cooler in my mind, at least it's more diverse. This is really tough for me and I hope that I make the right decision by May 15. I'm really really not sure at this point what I'm going to do; I wish my female intuition would work here but it's hard to follow your heart when there's lots of money involved. Anyways, I plan on attending second look weekend in April at both schools to meet potential classmates and check out the school once more. Who knows, that may help--we'll see! Thanks again.
 

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Their obsession with laptops is an admitted drawback, given the eye strain, and it started with this year's M1 class at the same time they went to a systems-based approach. Still, it's nice having all the materials available online, and makes you less dependent on lecture notes.

And you can still highlight and take handwritten notes on the tablet PCs, which is pretty cool.

KU also really focuses on Step I, and one of our guys authored the pharm Rapid Review book. So that's probably a wash.

It's a state school with a lot of people from the sticks, but it can be "diverse" in its own way. For instance, how many rural types would you ever expect to see around VCU? ;) We also get a small number of internationals with every class, including people from Africa like you. I could put you in contact with some of them if you'd like, as they'd have a better idea as to what the transition is like.

Anyway, the most important thing is, which school you feel more comfortable with. Minor details are less important than which is the better fit for you as you're going to be around for 4 years. Good luck with your choice.
 

sirus_virus

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Hey guys,
Thanks for your posts and sorry for my delayed response-- after a couple of posts, i assumed the thread was pretty much dead. I'm not a midwesterner-- I grew up in Africa and have been living in Baltimore, Maryland for the past 7 years. When I first got my interview invite, I imagined Kansas to be a far off place like Iowa or Idaho with not much going on there or nearby. When I visited, even though I wasn't blown away or anything, it wasn;t exactly as bad as I'd imagined. However, most of my other interviewees were kansas residents from small towns and just didn't seem very "progressive", so i don't know how well I'll fit in here; kansas city itself wasn't interesting but kansas city, missouri which is like 5 mins away was more lively; the school sounded cool but nothing fantastic stood out in my mind-- they promoted student's use of tablet laptop for notes, lectures etc, but I feel that may even become a pain sometimes. Call me traditional but I like that VCU gives you a syllabus which contains everything you need to know for each class and I can highlight, take notes with a pen on paper and not have to worry about a million different files saved on the computer [btw I can't stand reading on the computer for extended periods of time, my eyes, neck & fingers hurts!]. In all, I didn't leave feeling like I wanted to come here, of course until I got that scholarship award. I've heard that VCU really helps students prepare for usmle I; they have Dr. Costanzo who wrote the physiology board review series as their professor; richmond has milder winters, is close to home, virginia beach and just an hour away from d.c. As someone mentioned, the city of richmond itself is not that great either, but compared to kansas city, it sounds a lot cooler in my mind, at least it's more diverse. This is really tough for me and I hope that I make the right decision by May 15. I'm really really not sure at this point what I'm going to do; I wish my female intuition would work here but it's hard to follow your heart when there's lots of money involved. Anyways, I plan on attending second look weekend in April at both schools to meet potential classmates and check out the school once more. Who knows, that may help--we'll see! Thanks again.

Good luck. BTW, there are not many people that turn down fullrides, as medical school debt is ranked as the 2nd most bothersome factor in the lives of practicing physicians.
 

Vizsla

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Costanzo is amazing..as is her brs book which is the standard for physio review. This part of Richmond is urban and very diverse, as is the patient population at MCV hospitals. Its a lot of money to turn down from UKansas but if you honestly feel you would be happier here, then you should go for it
 
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