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WashU vs. UPenn

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by horses_mouth, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. horses_mouth

    horses_mouth

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    Hey guys-- based on programs, admins, schools, cities, quality of life etc. where would you go for MD/PhD and why?
     
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  3. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd Administrator Physician PhD Faculty SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    Go to the revisits and decide. Let me know if you have any Penn related questions. I won't try to sway you either way because I was on that waitlist for awhile and I'm glad some people decided to go elsewhere :) It's all about trying to figure out what's right for you.
     
  4. hawkeey

    hawkeey Member 5+ Year Member

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    I agree with Neuronix, what are you looking for? What kind of curriculum? What kind of life are you seeking?
     
  5. horses_mouth

    horses_mouth

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    both schools seem to have very similar programs but WashU's curriculum appears a bit more old fashioned compared to the 1.5yrs coursework + 2 rotations at Penn; I'm not sure it's the curriculum so much as the quality of life in the programs and cities I'm considering...
    - Philly would definitely be more expensive than St. Louis but I don't know how much/significant the difference is (or if it really matters in the long run).
    -program/admin support and flexibility: is it just me or does Penn's program feel more 'rule-y'? WashU's admins seem extremely supportive- what do you think of Penn's?
    -cities: Philly is 2X as bigger and ~4X as populated as St. Louis and definitely more of a college city. I feel like this is important but am not sure how much of an impact it actually has on one's lifestyle. I guess 8 yrs just seems like a long time to spend your 20's in the Midwest-- but the program is really strong...
    hopefully you can decipher this rambling; was anyone here choosing between these schools? why one over the other? any advice about the schools/cities/programs would be much appreciated
     
  6. ThatOne

    ThatOne New Member 2+ Year Member

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    Does it matter whether I am a party person who really desires the big city life? What if I'm paranoid about living in one of the most violent cities* and would prefer someplace I felt safer? Do you care whether or not I want to buy a house and where my finances would support me doing so?

    You need to answer these questions (and more) for yourself. What about lifestyle is most important to you? What does each city offer? Read some guides about the cities, look at crime rates, cost-of-living, entertainment, etc. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think a Google search for such things will give you a better idea than asking in this forum will. Or, why not ask the student contacts you surely must have for each institution what they hate and love about where they live? Tell them you'd like this information to help you make the best decision you can, and I'm sure they'd be happy to oblige -- they'll probably be a lot more responsive than a (largely) anonymous forum.

    *http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-12-04-murders-philadelphia_x.htm
     
  7. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd Administrator Physician PhD Faculty SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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  8. gbwillner

    gbwillner Pastafarian Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    I wouldn't sweat it. This is like deciding between a Ferrari and a Lamborghini.
    Just go with your gut.

    Re: the city, I will only add that a good friend of mine is dropping out of his physician-scientist training program in Medicine at WashU because he can't stand St. Louis. He doesn't like the lack of cutural diversity in the city.
     
  9. MrMunkily

    MrMunkily Rogue One 5+ Year Member

    Come to our revisit, go to their revisit, and then choose. You won't regret time spent enjoying yourself, and it made my decisions so much easier.

    I can confirm that our administration is super-awesome.
     
  10. ThatOne

    ThatOne New Member 2+ Year Member

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  11. durfen

    durfen I see plans within plans 5+ Year Member

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    Met two guys while at Penn (one in genomics other in immuno) who chose Penn over WashU after going to the second-looks for both.
     
  12. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd Administrator Physician PhD Faculty SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    Well I'm not sure about "facts", but I've seen St. Louis as the most dangerous city numerous times over the years in these kinds of articles. It's pretty much always #1 for a city of its size.

    Philadelphia has a high murder rate, but it's almost entirely isolated to certain parts of the city away from Penn and to certain low SES populations. Otherwise, in most crime reporting Philly will come out around the middle of crime statistics. The article that proclaimed St. Louis the most dangerous city didn't even have Philadelphia in the top 25.

    As balance, I did see one girl at second look last year who ended up taking WUSTL over Penn. I'm sure it goes both ways. I mean I know people who turned down UCSF, Hopkins, or Harvard to go to Penn, I imagine there is at least one person in recent years who turned down Penn to go to just about every other MSTP. Some of them are long time posters on this forum.

    Edit: According to Wikipedia even St. Louis's murder rate is higher than Philly's: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_and_social_issues_of_St._Louis,_Missouri
     
  13. Mr. Tee

    Mr. Tee Indentured servant 7+ Year Member

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    All those crime statistics reflect the downtown St. Louis/East St. Louis area. I expressed concern about this, and I was told by WashU profs that the crime doesn't "leak" over to the Central West End, which is a much safer-looking area.
     
  14. Shatterstar17

    Shatterstar17 Member 5+ Year Member

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    To some of the applying students mystified about the (relative) reluctance of current students to really dish...we are obviously at our current programs because we liked them best. However, since it's such a small world we all know people who chose somewhere over somewhere else. Literally everywhere. Go to 2nd look. Leave no stone unturned. Talk to students. Factor in a large gut check. And then, don't look back. What a wonderful problem to have: WashU or Penn! Both top 5 med schools and certainly some of the top MSTPs in any galaxy (perhaps THE 2 top MSTPs in the galaxy (as evaluated by total NIH MSTP grant)).

    Honestly, I don't mean to be snarky, just explanatory and reassuring.

    Go Quakers. :hardy:
     
  15. vector07

    vector07 Junior Member 5+ Year Member

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    From the washU revisit and the original interview, I can say that I felt fine walking around the streets at night between the chase hotel and the school itself. It was about the same feeling as walking from Penn's Hill dormitory to the main undergrad campus. Ya, you wanna be careful, but it feels pretty safe.

    As I recall, St. Louis is like philly in that the crime is isolated to one section of the city that is not really near the central west end where washU is located.

    Another thing to consider maybe is just what you look for in a city.. Philly has NY very close, and I know one applicant from the interview trail that said the close proximity of NY is the main reason she's chosen upenn over washU. But if you really just care about having some bars and breweries, good food.. then there's not much of a difference between these two places, and you should choose based on the revisit & research, and gut feeling.

    Can't really go wrong here, like others have said.. but you can (most likely) join Mr. Tee and I at washU if you decide that's where you want to go. :)
     
  16. horses_mouth

    horses_mouth

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    thanks for your comments guys! i guess the crime aspect isn't that much of an issue; both cities felt relatively safe. what concerns me is how st. louis seemed like a 'decaying' city. vector07 and Mr. Tee- did you guys get this vibe when you visited? either way, it looks like there's a lot of thinking and soul searching to do-- thanks again for your input everyone :)
     
  17. Doctor&Geek

    Doctor&Geek 25 > 5 / 15 < 8 Physician PhD Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    I'd reserve the word "decaying" for Gary, Indiana - not St. Louis.
     
  18. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting.... Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Yeah, I agree with this.

    OP, go to the second looks and see how you feel. Or, stay home and flip a coin. Honestly, I don't think you can really pick wrong; they're both great schools with awesome hospitals, excellent research, and very young classes. You won't have trouble finding likeminded people in either place. Best of :luck: to you. :)
     
  19. vector07

    vector07 Junior Member 5+ Year Member

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    Hmm, no, I didn't get this feeling. What led you to this feeling, can you put your finger on it?

    Walking around parts of detroit, philly, new york, chicago, cincinnati, san francisco, there are places in all these cities where you'll think wow.. this place feels like it's falling apart. But other parts of the city are thriving. So to say a city felt like it was decaying, I guess I just don't know how you get such a feeling about a whole city!

    I mean, as you drive from the airport on the highway to Penn's campus, the surrounding area looks like a sprawling slum to me. It's like a highway built above the slums. Sorry, haven't been there often enough to tell you which highway I'm talking about... Anyway, I'm not taking a potshot at Penn or philly, I'm just saying that just about any city you can think of has its glamor and ugliness.
     
  20. gbwillner

    gbwillner Pastafarian Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    please tell me where the glamour of Detroit is?
     
  21. vector07

    vector07 Junior Member 5+ Year Member

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    The entire metropolitan city, except for the center ;) Literally all surrounding areas not in the immediate center are very very nice.

    **Conveniently, my friend from Detroit is on AIM right now.. Grosse Pointe or Birmingham are the really nice areas of town. for clubbing & bars he says, there's lots of awesome places downtown, like Greek town, and also in Windsor (immediately across the river in Canada--no smoking in the clubs/bars).
     
  22. vector07

    vector07 Junior Member 5+ Year Member

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  23. ThatOne

    ThatOne New Member 2+ Year Member

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    :laugh:

    At one tour, the student guide proudly mentioned how Army surgeons were trained at their hospital to deal with gunshot trauma... and then looked very chagrined and muttered "maybe that's not a selling point" to himself.
     
  24. Shatterstar17

    Shatterstar17 Member 5+ Year Member

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    It feels a little cynical for me to type this, and broadly politically incorrect, but at least for Philly (and I assume for St. Louis as well), there are safe, pleasant, and cosmopolitan areas of the city to live :D . This is horrible, but I'm going to type it anyway: most of the major trauma is "imported" from other areas of the city, definitely not where you're living, and very frequently not even from that near the hospital. I just had a very good friend match at the HUP/CHOP combined ER program, and he said that was one of the main selling points. :eek:
     
  25. CaipirinhaQuinho

    CaipirinhaQuinho Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    you're a racist shatterstar.
     
  26. Shatterstar17

    Shatterstar17 Member 5+ Year Member

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    Oh be quiet. :p
     
  27. Freak

    Freak ASA Member 7+ Year Member

    Wait, which school was that WashU or Penn?

    BTW, I am at WashU and really like it, although I can understand the issues about the Midwest (I am originally from the East Coast).

    If you have lived in a "Midwest" city (Chicago included), St. Louis will not be an issue at all. However, if you are a born/bred NYC kid or lived your whole life in LA, then you may have some trouble adjusting.

    I would personally say to think a little more about the Grad departments then at WashU and Upenn, and figure out where you think you would jive more with your possible mentors (maybe fire off a couple of emails and see what your responses are from them).
     
  28. ThatOne

    ThatOne New Member 2+ Year Member

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    Neither. It was one in NYC, Albert Einstein, I think, if I remember correctly...
     
  29. invt

    invt Junior Member

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    another thing to consider: how well do you get along with the people that you met during the revisit there (i.e. your future classmates for 7+ years)? Having a MSTP community during all those years can make those years go by a lot more pleasantly.

    I've lived both in the St. Louis and Philly area. Personally, I would go to WashU over Penn. I think Penn does have an advantage because it's close to NYC...but the administration at WashU is amazing. And as a student, I've noticed that I'm usually more in need of great administrative support than a great place to club and people watch.

    Oh, and I don't got to school in either institution.
     

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