bndf

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Jan 12, 2015
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hello!

I feel incredibly fortunate to have gained acceptances from multiple schools and I was able to narrow the list down to these two - VCU & OUWB. Here are my personal pros & cons and I'd love to hear your opinion on these schools.

I am a CA resident. So I'll be paying OOS tuition for VCU ($46,867) and OUWB's tuition is relatively similar ($46,249). Financial aid stuff isn't available yet for both schools. I don't know what to specialize yet and I'm not sure how I should interpret the match results.

VCU

Pro:
- well established institution
- new medical education building & children's hospital right next to it
- VA's #1 medical center
- research project is a new requirement for graduation. I am interested in doing research and the school is well funded (~90 million).
- P/F grading

Cons:
- They recently changed their curriculum and are still working to improve it. It does leave 2.5-3 months to prepare for STEP 1 though. (I have mixed feelings about this. I am not a huge fan of TBL sessions but I like how their classes are scheduled in blocks 8-12pm).
- No opportunity for electives outside of the US.
- very large first year class - 200. I'm a bit concerned that students might not get enough individualized attention/help when applying for residency. Or does this even matter??

VCU 2015 Match list:
http://www.medschool.vcu.edu/media/medschool/documents/matchlist_2015.pdf

OUWB:

Pro
- It's a new medical school - everyone (faculties and admin) seemed to be heavily invested in their students' success. Students generally seemed happy to be there.
- Affiliation with the Beaumont hospital.
- Opportunities for international electives.
- small class size (~100. VCU is about 200).

Cons

- Beaumont hospital is 15-20 min drive away.
- Like VCU, research is a requirement but the school has limited funding (~2 million).
- mandatory class attendance. (8am-5pm).
- New medical school - less established and only has 1 match list available.

OUWB 2015 match list:
https://www.oakland.edu/upload/docs/SOM/Match-2015/2015 Match by Specialty Listing.pdf


I very much enjoyed my visit to both schools and I see myself succeeding at either place. What are your opinions on these schools? Is there anything else I should be looking into?

Thank you so much!
 
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KungFuPanda123

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I was about to say OUWB, but REQUIRED CLASS FROM 8am-5pm??? That in and of itself was enough to make me want to go to VCU
 
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KungFuPanda123

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Do you mind telling me why you were going to choose OUWB?

I like being pampered/small class sizes. Responsive administration is awesome.

That being said, now that I've done a bit more research into the 2 schools, I would choose VCU. If research is mandatory at both schools, it's definitely better to go to the more well funded one. A lot of the big powerhouses are willing to fund their students without you having to apply for extra grants (obviously, you'd still have the option to apply for said grants); I'm not sure how much VCU is willing to do so, but I'd bet more so than Oakland if that's all the funding that Oakland has for research. Beyond financial reasons, a bigger research powerhouse = more of a chance of finding a lab doing the research that you want to do.

Also, the non-P/F system at Oakland would just add to my stress levels; yes, I know that everyone says that pre-clinical grades don't matter and that there is an internal ranking anyways that makes P/F systems useless. That being said, I'd still rather not have to worry about having to get a Honors as opposed to just doing well enough to be in the top tertile/quartile for the dean's letter.

The required classes until 5pm sounds like a pain in the ass. Are you sure that that's right? It seems a bit excessive.

Does VCU really give you 2.5 months to study for That seems like a lot more study time than most universities, and sounds awesome
 

adagiomolto

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I'm an OUWB student. Just wanted to clarify a few things. No way do we have mandatory classes from 8-5...I don't know where you heard that haha. Of course, we have mandatory classes (anatomy lab, TBL's, etc) but almost every school nowadays have those. I do have to say though, that we are H/P/F, and to qualify for pre-clinical Honors in a class, you have to attend at least 70% of all classes for that block (which includes the mandatory ones so in actuality the number of optional classes you have to go to is even less than that). Sure, I would be more relaxed if it was straight P/F, but honestly if that were the case I would not push myself like I do now. The ones in the top quartile usually are the ones who would honor anyway, regardless if your school has a H/P/F grading system or not. That being said, a majority of my year attends classes. That's just the atmosphere we have here at OUWB. Yes, it takes away from self-Step 1 study time, and yes, you could be way more efficient staying home and watching lectures at 2X speed. But it's also great support to be able to know every single one of your classmates because you see them on a daily basis - I really love school because of the community we have. But, if you do want to stay at home most days, OUWB gives you that option, and we do have students who take advantage of that. Once you hit organ systems our exams are written by the NBME, and our lectures focus especially on topics presented in First Aid which helps in preparing us for Step 1. But it's a balancing act, and you have to decide for yourself how best you want to learn, and that will guide which school you will attend.

Regarding research, a lot of us do our research at the Beaumont Research Institute. Sure, it might not be the 90 mil of funding that VCU gets, but I believe its around 35 mil...honestly though unless you want to do bench research (which my god you have to be superhuman to balance that and classes so props to you), the number of clinical projects and opportunities is overwhelming. I'm involved in a couple urology studies myself. And if you're not into the whole clinical/bench research thing, OUWB does also focus a lot on community based projects which is great since we are close to Pontiac and Detroit.

Short plug: I also got into VCU and OUWB. Both schools are great, but I chose OUWB and am VERY happy with my decision and proud of my school.

Also our class size is ~ 125.
 
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bndf

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Jan 12, 2015
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I'm an OUWB student. Just wanted to clarify a few things. No way do we have mandatory classes from 8-5...I don't know where you heard that haha. Of course, we have mandatory classes (anatomy lab, TBL's, etc) but almost every school nowadays have those. I do have to say though, that we are H/P/F, and to qualify for pre-clinical Honors in a class, you have to attend at least 70% of all classes for that block (which includes the mandatory ones so in actuality the number of optional classes you have to go to is even less than that). Sure, I would be more relaxed if it was straight P/F, but honestly if that were the case I would not push myself like I do now. The ones in the top quartile usually are the ones who would honor anyway, regardless if your school has a H/P/F grading system or not. That being said, a majority of my year attends classes. That's just the atmosphere we have here at OUWB. Yes, it takes away from self-Step 1 study time, and yes, you could be way more efficient staying home and watching lectures at 2X speed. But it's also great support to be able to know every single one of your classmates because you see them on a daily basis - I really love school because of the community we have. But, if you do want to stay at home most days, OUWB gives you that option, and we do have students who take advantage of that. Once you hit organ systems our exams are written by the NBME, and our lectures focus especially on topics presented in First Aid which helps in preparing us for Step 1. But it's a balancing act, and you have to decide for yourself how best you want to learn, and that will guide which school you will attend.

Regarding research, a lot of us do our research at the Beaumont Research Institute. Sure, it might not be the 90 mil of funding that VCU gets, but I believe its around 35 mil...honestly though unless you want to do bench research (which my god you have to be superhuman to balance that and classes so props to you), the number of clinical projects and opportunities is overwhelming. I'm involved in a couple urology studies myself. And if you're not into the whole clinical/bench research thing, OUWB does also focus a lot on community based projects which is great since we are close to Pontiac and Detroit.

Short plug: I also got into VCU and OUWB. Both schools are great, but I chose OUWB and am VERY happy with my decision and proud of my school.

Also our class size is ~ 125.

Thanks for the clarification on mandatory attendance. Yes, I knew attendance was not 100% mandatory but I was still uncomfortable about how 70% of them were mandatory to qualify for Honors.

Earlier today, I was able to speak with a residency director & couple other resident physicians at my university's medical center. They all advised me against going to OUWB as it was a new school and residency directors are always hesitant about selecting students from new institutions - especially with so many schools opening up lately. To them, this was a no brainer and all of the recommended me to go to VCU unless OUWB offers significant amount of scholarship.

Was this ever a concern for you? I am not set on which specialty I'll pursue but I imagine this can be a problem if I end up pursuing a competitive specialty.
 

bndf

5+ Year Member
Jan 12, 2015
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I like being pampered/small class sizes. Responsive administration is awesome.

That being said, now that I've done a bit more research into the 2 schools, I would choose VCU. If research is mandatory at both schools, it's definitely better to go to the more well funded one. A lot of the big powerhouses are willing to fund their students without you having to apply for extra grants (obviously, you'd still have the option to apply for said grants); I'm not sure how much VCU is willing to do so, but I'd bet more so than Oakland if that's all the funding that Oakland has for research. Beyond financial reasons, a bigger research powerhouse = more of a chance of finding a lab doing the research that you want to do.

Also, the non-P/F system at Oakland would just add to my stress levels; yes, I know that everyone says that pre-clinical grades don't matter and that there is an internal ranking anyways that makes P/F systems useless. That being said, I'd still rather not have to worry about having to get a Honors as opposed to just doing well enough to be in the top tertile/quartile for the dean's letter.

The required classes until 5pm sounds like a pain in the ass. Are you sure that that's right? It seems a bit excessive.

Does VCU really give you 2.5 months to study for That seems like a lot more study time than most universities, and sounds awesome

As adagiomolto mentioned above, not 100% of the classes are mandatory but 70% of them are if I want to qualify for Honors. I also agree with you that non-P/F system would make things bit more stressful.
According to VCU's academic calendar (15-16), it shows that students will be taking time off from January - March 30th to prepare for their STEP 1.

Thanks for your input! I appreciate it!
 
Aug 22, 2014
31
10
hello!

I feel incredibly fortunate to have gained acceptances from multiple schools and I was able to narrow the list down to these two - VCU & OUWB. Here are my personal pros & cons and I'd love to hear your opinion on these schools.

I am a CA resident. So I'll be paying OOS tuition for VCU ($46,867) and OUWB's tuition is relatively similar ($46,249). Financial aid stuff isn't available yet for both schools. I don't know what to specialize yet and I'm not sure how I should interpret the match results.

VCU

Pro:
- well established institution
- new medical education building & children's hospital right next to it
- VA's #1 medical center
- research project is a new requirement for graduation. I am interested in doing research and the school is well funded (~90 million).
- P/F grading

Cons:
- They recently changed their curriculum and are still working to improve it. It does leave 2.5-3 months to prepare for STEP 1 though. (I have mixed feelings about this. I am not a huge fan of TBL sessions but I like how their classes are scheduled in blocks 8-12pm).
- No opportunity for electives outside of the US.
- very large first year class - 200. I'm a bit concerned that students might not get enough individualized attention/help when applying for residency. Or does this even matter??

VCU 2015 Match list:
http://www.medschool.vcu.edu/media/medschool/documents/matchlist_2015.pdf

OUWB:

Pro
- It's a new medical school - everyone (faculties and admin) seemed to be heavily invested in their students' success. Students generally seemed happy to be there.
- Affiliation with the Beaumont hospital.
- Opportunities for international electives.
- small class size (~100. VCU is about 200).

Cons

- Beaumont hospital is 15-20 min drive away.
- Like VCU, research is a requirement but the school has limited funding (~2 million).
- mandatory class attendance. (8am-5pm).
- New medical school - less established and only has 1 match list available.

OUWB 2015 match list:
https://www.oakland.edu/upload/docs/SOM/Match-2015/2015 Match by Specialty Listing.pdf


I very much enjoyed my visit to both schools and I see myself succeeding at either place. What are your opinions on these schools? Is there anything else I should be looking into?

Thank you so much!
I just checked the VCU website. You can do 4 away electives in the final year, of which 2 can be international. Where did you get the info that you cannot do international electives? This is an important issue for me since I'm Canadian and would like to go back to Canada for my residency. Difficult unless I can do some electives there. .
 
Jan 15, 2015
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Thanks for the clarification on mandatory attendance. Yes, I knew attendance was not 100% mandatory but I was still uncomfortable about how 70% of them were mandatory to qualify for Honors.

Earlier today, I was able to speak with a residency director & couple other resident physicians at my university's medical center. They all advised me against going to OUWB as it was a new school and residency directors are always hesitant about selecting students from new institutions - especially with so many schools opening up lately. To them, this was a no brainer and all of the recommended me to go to VCU unless OUWB offers significant amount of scholarship.

Was this ever a concern for you? I am not set on which specialty I'll pursue but I imagine this can be a problem if I end up pursuing a competitive specialty.


I think you should probably look at this year's match list for OUWB. Only 10 students from the graduating class matched at beaumont, which shows that OUWB has no problem with matching it's students with residencies outside their associating hospital systems.
 
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