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Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by 21385, Mar 11, 2009.
Can anyone help me compare the two?
Thanks a lot!
In Turkish it would be VCU, Albany'dan daha iyi.
In English, VCU is better. Unless you are an NY resident, in which case Albany might (?) be cheaper, go to VCU...
Can you give me a reason?
I know that albany is CRAZY expensive.
I would probably decide based solely on cost/debt, maybe paying a tad more for the program I felt was the better personal "fit." If you are indifferent on this, then follow the $...
how could weather not be a HUGE factor?
though, that said, go to albany!
If you care about the weather at all, go to VCU. But I am biased.
Why don't you make a list of what you see as the pros and cons of each and see how they match up.
Albany was the ONE school I applied to primary and decided not to fill out the secondary for. I really couldn't see any particularly attractive features about the school - and I LOVE the snow... so, yeah... I'd say VCU.
albany doesn't have a campus, its just a few rooms inside of a medical center
and all the lectures are in the same room for years 1 and 2...
I wasn't very impressed with the city either...
Don't know a whole lot about VCU though, so I can't make the comparison.
They have a huge hospital with incredible student opportunity, personalized step I prep with Dr. Costanzo, and Richmond is pretty cool too.
I didn't even go to my Albany interview after getting into VCU.
I interviewed at both, and VCU is by far the better choice in my opinion:
1) VCU Hospital > Albany Hospital (better facilities and more areas of excellence)
2) Hospitality of VCU Students > Hospitality of Albany Students (disclaimer: my subjective interpretation)
3) City of Richmond > City of Albany (neither is a large city by any regard, but Albany just seemed dead to me)
4) VCU Academic Facilities > Albany Academic Facilities (Classrooms, Libraries, etc. much nicer)
5) VCU Research Opportunities > Albany Research Opportunities (students at albany even confessed that you had to put significant effort on your own to get research positions, and even then so, research topics were limited in scope)
I haven't interviewed at either place, so keep that in mind. But I'd be heavily inclined toward VCU. Reason? It's a med school that's attached to a UNIVERSITY, which almost always means a better school with more resources and opportunities. A university-affiliated med school like VCU generally owns its own hospital, which generally means better-quality education for medical students. And, as someone else already alluded to, state schools like VCU generally have lower tuition than standalone private schools like Albany, which tend to be the most expensive schools. (OOS tuition at VCU may be almost the same as Albany's, however.)
When you think about it, most of the schools that applicants think of as "lower-tier" are standalone private schools: Albany, NYMC, Rosalind Franklin, Rush, Drexel, etc. That's not to say these schools aren't decent, but university-affiliated public or private schools are generally better and cheaper.
One area where I do have personal knowledge is the city of Albany--it's pretty blah, and the weather can get to you in the wintertime (cold, snowy, icy, rainy and generally gray). So I think Richmond would win on that front. But when it comes to safety, I get the impression (from the amount of attention that is devoted to campus security on VCU's website) that downtown Richmond can get a little dicey, especially at night. Albany, on the other hand, seems quite safe.
I agree that university affiliation is associated with more benefits and increased opportunities. BTW, Drexel Medicine is not standalone - it is a part of Drexel University, a large private school in Philadelphia.
You're right--I forgot about that. However, I would say that Drexel med school doesn't seem to have a very strong relationship with the rest of Drexel University--they aren't even located in the same place. In fact, the med school that is now called Drexel was formed from two standalone private schools, Medical College of Pennsylvania and Hahnemann. Both were in financial trouble, merged, and then the school declared bankruptcy. For a while, the med school was owned by Tenet (a for-profit hospital chain), but they arranged for Drexel to take it over about 8 or 9 years ago. So in all major respects (cost, research opportunities, etc.), Drexel is more like a standalone private med school than a university-based one.
But this is also the case for Medical College of Virginia (now VCU), Medical College of Ohio (now University of Toledo), and, I assume, for many other now public, university-affiliated schools.
Albany Medical College is owned by the Albany Medical Center (the hospital).
When it comes to picking schools, how you feel about a school when you visit has merit, but there are a lot more important things than the city, what the classrooms look like, etc. Here are some things I think are more important, and that if I could go back in time and do it all over again I would have thought about more:
-Curriculum: Do you think you'd learn better with a systems-based vs. traditional vs. PBL curriculum?
- Mandatory lectures or not? If lectures are recorded and you'd rather study from home, who cares what the classrooms look like? If you want to attend lecture every day, then you might appreciate a nicer campus.
- # of tests: do you like to have a lot of tests or fewer tests (relates to curriculum style)?
- testing style: in-house exams vs. old step-1 questions
- can you access the library resources (e.g. journals, databases) from home, or do you have to be on campus?
- time for step I prep
- Do 3rd and 4th years feel like they're getting a lot out of their rotations? Do they feel well-prepared when they do away rotations?
- research opportunities (as someone alluded to earlier) if you want to do research.
- $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ The debt is a psychological weight you just won't be able to shake
But Drexel was taken over by a PRIVATE university, which is not supported by the taxpayers. That can make a big difference.
Getting away from Drexel per se (which isn't the main point of the thread anyway), I'd say that a lot of the drawbacks of the freestanding private med schools stem from the fact that their finances aren't the greatest. They have almost no endowments, so their tuition is high and they give little to no financial aid. For the same reason, their facilities and equipment tend to be lower in caliber.
NYMC was mentioned earlier, and on the NYMC thread there is information regarding a pending acquisition/merger of NYMC with Touro University, thus validating the point about free standing med schools having trouble.
albany med is an affiliate of union university. and within a few mile radius, there's albany med, albany law, albany pharmacy, SUNY albany, the college of st rose, sienna (still in the big dance!), union, and RPI. huge undergrad presence. and although albany's 44k a year is expensive, VCU's 38k for OOS students isn't really a bargain.
that's generally true, but there are also a few state schools with the same "lower-tier" reputation, VCU being one of them. and on top of that, the reputation is kind of superficial. your overall education at any US allopathic school is going to be similar across the board, moreso than a lot of people want to admit.
the weather's probably nicer down there. but albany is a short drive to boston, new york, montreal, and the adirondack state park. the surrounding options are just plain better.
obviously, i'm biased because i'm here. but the idea of VCU being some kind of overtly better option is a joke.
p.s. and, looking back on my old mdapplicants profile, i notice i didn't even apply to VCU.