treetrunk

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Hey all,

A lot of discussions have taken place about some schools vs. others. Let's have a thread to hash out the differences between our dream schools. What are the top five MST Programs, in what order, and why?
 

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treetrunk said:
Hey all,

A lot of discussions have taken place about some schools vs. others. Let's have a thread to hash out the differences between our dream schools. What are the top five MST Programs, in what order, and why?
I think that from what I've read and seen so far, Harvard, Cornell, Penn, WashU, Cleveland, Mayo are fairly well funded and highly ranked. Overall, I think most MSTPs are pretty high notch.
 

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adoggie said:
I think that from what I've read and seen so far, Harvard, Cornell, Penn, WashU, Cleveland, Mayo are fairly well funded and highly ranked. Overall, I think most MSTPs are pretty high notch.


I agree with Harvard, Cornell, Penn, WashU but i am not so sure about the other two. mayo and Cleveland are supposed to be good, but i am not sure they are the top tier research schools.
huseyin
 
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I'll bite.

In no particular order:

Harvard
Penn
Cornell
WashU
Duke - I like the second year on the wards thing
 
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Well, it looks like Harvard, Penn, and Washu are constants. What is the thinking about Hopkins, UCSF, Duke? Why do some people have 'em in their top 5 and others don't?
 

tr

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treetrunk said:
Well, it looks like Harvard, Penn, and Washu are constants. What is the thinking about Hopkins, UCSF, Duke? Why do some people have 'em in their top 5 and others don't?
I think this is silly. There are a lot more than 5 'top' schools, and among them individuals may prefer different ones for different reasons. Each school has its own research strengths. A cancer geneticist's 'top schools' will be different from a bioengineer's.

Penn and WashU are nice because they have relatively large MST programs, so you're in good company and the path before you is well-trodden.

But I have to say that Harvard would not make it onto my list of top five, or even ten or fifteen, MSTPs. Nobody ever gets out of there. I'd like my degree before I retire, thanks.
 

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UIUC's MSP should be somewhere near the top. In terms of size it's prb one of the 3 largest programs (~150 MD/PhD students) with the most diverse student population in terms of research. Granted the med school is not highly ranked, one very nice perk about UIUC's program is after M1, the M2-M4 on this campus are all MD/PhD students allowing the med school curriculum to be more tailored to MD/PhD students. The PhD programs here are top ranked in Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, Microbiology, and Psychology (to name a few).
 
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I think this discussion is very important, especially for those people who are applying this cycle and will need to make decisions in the near future. Nonetheless, I acknowledge your point. So, let's make this discussion more general. If someone has not identified a specific area of research interest, which would be the best institutions for MD/PhD training? One must consider quality of MD, quality of research in many areas, reputation, and a bunch of other factors. Which programs would best prepare its students for a career as a physician-scientist?
 

tr

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treetrunk said:
I think this discussion is very important, especially for those people who are applying this cycle and will need to make decisions in the near future. Nonetheless, I acknowledge your point. So, let's make this discussion more general. If someone has not identified a specific area of research interest, which would be the best institutions for MD/PhD training? One must consider quality of MD, quality of research in many areas, reputation, and a bunch of other factors. Which programs would best prepare its students for a career as a physician-scientist?
Seriously, there are about twenty schools that answer to that description. You probably know which ones those are already. I really don't think that one can say that five of them are 'better' than the others. If you graduate from any one of these, you'll get equivalently high-quality training. It comes down to your own personal preferences: your research interests, your preferred location, your feelings about the 'vibe'.

I'm not saying that there are no differences between schools. I am saying that there are way more than five that are in the top tier of academic excellence (as measured mostly by the amount of high-powered research and the quality of the trainees who attend). Among these, there is essentially no difference either in overall reputation or in quality of training. The differences have to do with specific things that will differ from applicant to applicant.
 

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treetrunk said:
I think this discussion is very important, especially for those people who are applying this cycle and will need to make decisions in the near future. Nonetheless, I acknowledge your point. So, let's make this discussion more general. If someone has not identified a specific area of research interest, which would be the best institutions for MD/PhD training? One must consider quality of MD, quality of research in many areas, reputation, and a bunch of other factors. Which programs would best prepare its students for a career as a physician-scientist?
I'll throw in my top five:

UCSF
Stanford
Harvard
Penn
Hopkins

Deciding Factors: research, medicine, and location.
 

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I agree with tr's comments. What is important for applicants is to find out what makes each program unique and which fits best. It's sort of like trying on clothes. :)
 

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im a little suprised.. from what i gathered from some professors, cornell's tri-institutional program is one-of a kind. harvard of course will always be harvard. mine goes like this..

harvard
cornell (very close #2)
washu/penn tie
ucsf
hopkins
 
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whattodowithmys,

what have your professors told you about cornell's program? I was under the impression that while the combined program and research at Cornell were excellent, the medical education was weak compared to other top MSTPs.
 

huseyin

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whattodowithmys said:
im a little suprised.. from what i gathered from some professors, cornell's tri-institutional program is one-of a kind. harvard of course will always be harvard. mine goes like this..

harvard
cornell (very close #2)
washu/penn tie
ucsf
hopkins
agreed. Cornell tri-institutional program is one of the best for cancer research. I do not know what kind of neuro programs they have though.
 

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fyli260 said:
I'll throw in my top five:

UCSF
Stanford
Harvard
Penn
Hopkins

Deciding Factors: research, medicine, and location.

Baltimore and Philly suck ass in terms of location in my opinion (and wash u too, blah St. Louis--though I must admit I kinda wanted an interview there). I don't think I would go to those schools if they paid me $35/year. But basically my point is, top 5 will be different for everyone. And isn't/wasn't Harvard's program on probation?? They may have the money and the prestige, but they keep their students FOREVER. Screw that. Different strokes for different folks...I think what most matters is a school having what you want for your research interests and also being solid clinically (though in my opinion, top 25 is enough). Or, if you're not sure what you want in terms of research, then consider generalities...but for me, location is soooooo important...I need to be happy in a city in order to be happy with the research, medicine and program in general. Balance, I say...but everyone's different...just go where you'll be happiest.
 

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Of the places I visited, these are my top 5, but the rest were great too :), especially Pitt and Wisconsin:

My order changes daily, kinda depends on the mood I'm in, so I won't rank 'em.


Penn
Well run program, great advising, great people, awesome medical school, very good research match, Philly is liveable.

Harvard
Positives: Great people for the most part, awesome and unique medical school (HST), very good research match and overall opportunities, Boston is really nice.
Negatives: Program is a bit less organized than others; higher graduation time.

WashU
Positives: Well run program, great people, great advising, good medical school, very good research match.
Negatives: St. Louis sucks and they rejected me :(.

Michigan
Positives: Well run program, great people, great advising, good medical school, good research match, near family
Negatives: Been in Ann arbor for too long.

Columbia
Positives: Good medical school, great research match. Students and faculty are great. NYC is nice :).
Negatives: Program is a bit less organized than others.
 

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Here are my top 5 (in no particular order):

UCSF (a mecca of molecular biology, in the greatest city in the country, to boot!)
UTSW (often overlooked by people on the coasts...but UTSW actually has a VERY STRONG physician-scientist tradition)
WashU (a well-greased machine)
UPenn (great program flexibility; like WashU, has some of the largest MD-PhD student cohorts in each class year)
UCSD (often overlooked for other California schools such as UCSF or Stanford--UCSD, though, has student access to laboratories at neighboring institutions such as the Salk, Scripps, and Burnham--really incredible choices here...)
 

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abeanatrice said:
Baltimore and Philly suck ass in terms of location in my opinion (and wash u too, blah St. Louis--though I must admit I kinda wanted an interview there). I don't think I would go to those schools if they paid me $35/year. But basically my point is, top 5 will be different for everyone. And isn't/wasn't Harvard's program on probation?? They may have the money and the prestige, but they keep their students FOREVER. Screw that. Different strokes for different folks...I think what most matters is a school having what you want for your research interests and also being solid clinically (though in my opinion, top 25 is enough). Or, if you're not sure what you want in terms of research, then consider generalities...but for me, location is soooooo important...I need to be happy in a city in order to be happy with the research, medicine and program in general. Balance, I say...but everyone's different...just go where you'll be happiest.
Philly is actually a great city. Parts of west Philly is a bit ghetto, but everywhere else is much better than crowded cities like NY. Moreover, it's quite cheap to live Philly, unlike NY, Boston, etc. Not really sure what Baltimore is like as a city, but it's just nice to be along the coast and close to many great cities.
 

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Only 5 is way too limiting.

Harvard
Tri-I (Cornell)
Stanford
UCSF
UPenn
WashU
Yale
Hopkins
Columbia
Michigan
Duke

But like previous posters have said, your best fit depends a lot on your criteria.
 

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My top five:

Columbia
Stonybrook(CSHL!) :)
Einstein
NYU
Cornell
 

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dave613 said:
My top five:

Columbia
Stonybrook(CSHL!) :)
Einstein
NYU
Cornell
Well, it depends on which department you will get your PHD from..
If you are interested in bioengineering then:
Then, top three will be:
Hopkins
Duke
UPenn
 
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What about MSTP's with research training in cancer immunology? Tri-I, definitely, but what about some others?
 

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dave613 said:
My top five:

Columbia
Stonybrook(CSHL!) :)
Einstein
NYU
Cornell
Think neuroscience ladies and gentlemen... :thumbup:
 

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My top 5:

Johns Hopkins - Love those crab cakes
Yale - New Haven has great pizza
University of Washington - Espresso bars in the gas stations
UCSF - Ice cream sundaes at Fenton's Creamery are insane (well worth the effort to cross the Bay Bridge)
University of Colorado - Drinking Fat Tire in the Rockpile in August; does life get any better than that?
 

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I wonder how many of you that posted actually interviewed at these programs.

If you asked me before interviewing, my ranking would have been seriously out of whack (Stanford's MSTP would have been a top five).

The problem with a top 5 or even a top ten is that it really depends on your criteria and what field of research you're familiar with.

I'm not going to speak for or against any program in particular (except Stanford. They wrote the wrong room numbers on my interview location sheet and one of their student interviewers personally offended me).

Find a general field of science you like: Engineering, Translational, Basic Sciences. Narrow down that field if you want to even more i.e. materials engineering, biochemistry, immunology, cancer.

Secondly, you want a very strong and respected medical school. There is no sense in joining a MSTP that has poor clinical training, unless you plan to go straight post-doc. If you want to get even more discriminating, then narrow it down into a general specialty (pathology, internal medicine, even surgery).

Finally, you want a program that is well funded (private funding is almost a necessity these days), well run, well experienced, and has a history of accomplished graduates (a side note: you need to know whether the MSTP at a particular school is well respected intramurally).

Those are the main points that go into figuring out the best program for you and you alone. It differs between people.

Now if you want to argue what the best program is for, say, cancer biology, then go for it. But as an overall ranking? That's just absurd.
 

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Dj neema said:
If you asked me before interviewing, my ranking would have been seriously out of whack (Stanford's MSTP would have been a top five).

The problem with a top 5 or even a top ten is that it really depends on your criteria and what field of research you're familiar with.

I'm not going to speak for or against any program in particular (except Stanford. They wrote the wrong room numbers on my interview location sheet and one of their student interviewers personally offended me).
I thought I would just chime in on the Stanford issue. I considered the school to be in my top 3 when I started applying, but after interviewing there it quickly fell out of my top 5. I was also personally offended by the most arrogant MSTP student I have ever come across. Then, during an interview a terribly arrogant faculty member went out of his/her way to make me feel like crap and completely undeserving of a spot in their program. My point is that your views on a program can completely changed based on your experience there. So I agree with Dj neema that ranking MSTPs before actually visiting the schools is pretty arbitrary. If you are just looking for a general idea of school rankings, then I think the US News Reserach list for Medical Schools follows the right trend.
 

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Dj neema said:
I wonder how many of you that posted actually interviewed at these programs.

If you asked me before interviewing, my ranking would have been seriously out of whack (Stanford's MSTP would have been a top five).

The problem with a top 5 or even a top ten is that it really depends on your criteria and what field of research you're familiar with.

Find a general field of science you like: Engineering, Translational, Basic Sciences. Narrow down that field if you want to even more i.e. materials engineering, biochemistry, immunology, cancer.

Secondly, you want a very strong and respected medical school. There is no sense in joining a MSTP that has poor clinical training, unless you plan to go straight post-doc. If you want to get even more discriminating, then narrow it down into a general specialty (pathology, internal medicine, even surgery).

Finally, you want a program that is well funded (private funding is almost a necessity these days), well run, well experienced, and has a history of accomplished graduates (a side note: you need to know whether the MSTP at a particular school is well respected intramurally).

Those are the main points that go into figuring out the best program for you and you alone. It differs between people.

Now if you want to argue what the best program is for, say, cancer biology, then go for it. But as an overall ranking? That's just absurd.
Can I please get an "Amen"? Rankings are abitrary and absurd. Also, any MSTP-funded program that tells you that it has been "ranked #1 by the NIH" (and there are at least 3 programs that make this claim) is flat-out lying. The NIH has never ranked MSTPs and never will.
 

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Also, any MSTP-funded program that tells you that it has been "ranked #1 by the NIH" (and there are at least 3 programs that make this claim) is flat-out lying. The NIH has never ranked MSTPs and never will.
this is definately something i would watch out for - i recall duke in particular making this claim during my interview cycle. i'll echo that the nih would absolutely not create a ranking. it may decide that a program will be gaining or losing seats/money, but the reasons for these changes are multifactorial and can be related to issues unrelated to academics (i.e. a program has a strong track record with recruiting and training minority students, therefore it may recieve more money for this express purpose).
 

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Seriously, the ranking idea for MSTP is kind of out of whack. There's no point in spending 7-10 years of misery in a place with a "great reputation." My top 3 choices before and after interviewing last year were completely different. I'm not saying don't apply to prestigious programs, but it might be wise to hold off on judgement til you actually interview there and feel like you could live there and succeed. It's important to be around other kids you can respect and work with.
 

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agp4 said:
Seriously, the ranking idea for MSTP is kind of out of whack. There's no point in spending 7-10 years of misery in a place with a "great reputation." My top 3 choices before and after interviewing last year were completely different. I'm not saying don't apply to prestigious programs, but it might be wise to hold off on judgement til you actually interview there and feel like you could live there and succeed. It's important to be around other kids you can respect and work with.
Amen, brother! Seriously, I think this is good advice.
 

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1) Hopkins - because it's great to read an article in Science and the following week have the professor who authored it give you a lecture.

2) Hopkins - because it's great to be in a school so laid back that you can't tell the med students from the grad students and they ALL work together.

3) Hopkins - because I've NEVER seen so many great places to eat on a campus before in my entire life!

4) Hopkins - because the word collaboration REALLY does exists.

5) Hopkins - because the professors/administration seem to have a genuine interest in seeing you be successful.
 
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1Path said:
1) Hopkins - because it's great to read an article in Science and the following week have the professor who authored it give you a lecture.

2) Hopkins - because it's great to be in a school so laid back that you can't tell the med students from the grad students and they ALL work together.

3) Hopkins - because I've NEVER seen so many great places to eat on a campus before in my entire life!

4) Hopkins - because the word collaboration REALLY does exists.

5) Hopkins - because the professors/administration seem to have a genuine interest in seeing you be successful.

I'm not sure what you mean...do you mean Hopkins?
 

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1Path said:
1) Hopkins - because it's great to read an article in Science and the following week have the professor who authored it give you a lecture.

2) Hopkins - because it's great to be in a school so laid back that you can't tell the med students from the grad students and they ALL work together.

3) Hopkins - because I've NEVER seen so many great places to eat on a campus before in my entire life!

4) Hopkins - because the word collaboration REALLY does exists.

5) Hopkins - because the professors/administration seem to have a genuine interest in seeing you be successful.


Hopkins - because Baltimore REALLY blows and I've NEVER seen an uglier place (though I will admit I haven't been everywhere).

Hopkins - because they are ALMOST as pretentious as people from harvard (take this lightly, just a generalization and I know there are plenty of exceptions)

Hopkins - because the students are lame and no one has fun

Hopkins - because no one on this message board seems AT ALL excited about it (and somehow I doubt it's because they aren't good enough)

Hopkins - because SOMEONE would be ridiculous enough to think that it is the only school worth mentioning out of all the MSTP's out there
 

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I met four people on the interview trail who were Hopkins undergrads and all four said they would never join their MSTP. I was pretty surprised by this...is Baltimore really that bad???
 
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Yeah,

I have a feeling that abeanatrice got the shaft from hopkins and is now bitter. Hopkins is a top notch school and I really don't know why people are not considering it to be in the top 5 MSTPs. It is without a doubt one of the best institutions in terms of medical education AND research opportunities AND quality of colleagues AND track record AND prestige. Very few schools (certainly less than 5) can boast all this.
 

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tedrik said:
I met four people on the interview trail who were Hopkins undergrads and all four said they would never join their MSTP. I was pretty surprised by this...is Baltimore really that bad???
The Hopkins undergrad experience has absolutely NOTHING to do with the med school. They probably don't like Hopkins MSTP because they students aren't competitive and arrogant. In fact, Hopkins undergrads are by far the most ultracompetitive bunch I've seen in my life, and I've seen quite a bit!
 
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1Path,

Are you a current MSTP student at Hopkins? If you are, I think you could offer us some real insight into what Hopkins is like rather than all our speculation.
 

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treetrunk said:
Yeah,I have a feeling that abeanatrice got the shaft from hopkins and is now bitter. Hopkins is a top notch school and I really don't know why people are not considering it to be in the top 5 MSTPs. It is without a doubt one of the best institutions in terms of medical education AND research opportunities AND quality of colleagues AND track record AND prestige. Very few schools (certainly less than 5) can boast all this.
:thumbup:

I get the impression that Hopkins is EXTREMELY selective and that there's no real "formula" for who will get in. Therefore someone with so called good stats that doesn't get acccepted may feel bitter. What I can tell you is that my classmates (PhD and the med students/public health students I've met) have done some amazing things and are truly good people - willing to share notes, exams, ect. I don't get impressed easily, but I'm amazed at the students and facutly of Hopkins!!!

PS - Most of the gunners I've seen are FEMALES and it's impresssive to see the ladies in this position for a change! ;)
 

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treetrunk said:
1Path,

Are you a current MSTP student at Hopkins? If you are, I think you could offer us some real insight into what Hopkins is like rather than all our speculation.
MSTP, I wish!!! We'll see what the future holds in this regard as I'm working the PhD end of this deal for now. But if for some reason I'm NOT accepted it will STILL be the best MSTP by far in the US to me!!! :thumbup:
 

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treetrunk said:
Yeah,

I have a feeling that abeanatrice got the shaft from hopkins and is now bitter. Hopkins is a top notch school and I really don't know why people are not considering it to be in the top 5 MSTPs. It is without a doubt one of the best institutions in terms of medical education AND research opportunities AND quality of colleagues AND track record AND prestige. Very few schools (certainly less than 5) can boast all this.

Sorry, didn't apply. I never said it was a bad school. I just said it definitely wasn't the only one worth mentioning. I also never said the quality of the medical education OR research opportunities OR quality of students/faculty OR track record OR prestige weren't good (I hate run on sentences)...I just gave my reasons for why I wouldn't put it in my personal top 5 (isn't that what everyone's doing here anyway???). And I didn't by any means cut down on the quality of the school or the education, just the attitude and the location.

At every single one of my interviews people have stressed so much about the importance of quality of life during the program. I just know a bunch of people that don't think the quality of life at Hopkins is very good. I'm sure it's a great fit for people that don't want to be in a very nice city (although DC isn't too far if maybe you think that's nice) and either care deeply about prestige, or maybe want to work in a particular lab. As I mentioned in a previous post, this is ridiculously arbitrary. And I think I did an excellent job at proving my point.

In my opinion, if prestige makes you happy, then go for it. But that's not my style. People should stop being presumptuous.
 

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treetrunk said:
Yeah,

I have a feeling that abeanatrice got the shaft from hopkins and is now bitter. Hopkins is a top notch school and I really don't know why people are not considering it to be in the top 5 MSTPs. It is without a doubt one of the best institutions in terms of medical education AND research opportunities AND quality of colleagues AND track record AND prestige. Very few schools (certainly less than 5) can boast all this.
One additional aspect of Hopkins students I eluded to earlier was that the students I've met there are very mature, focused and wordly. Some of the experiences I've heard mentioned include Peace Core participation in Zimbadwe(sp), master's programs at Cambridge, and research in Ethopia. So it's not suprizing that having experiences outside of ones "comfort" zones makes adapting to and living in Baltimore a city rich in culture and diversity a relatively simple thing to do. Futhermore, if coming into contact with adject poverty on a daily makes one uncomfortable (some of the Hopkins patients and the area surrounding the school), then I suppose it really isn't the place for anyone bright enough to be accepted there.

Lastly, I haven't seen any of the "attidude" among students (I have seen it with a few of the faculty in Public Health) that I hear people on SDN speak of. However, because the students I've met are highly confident and extremely talented I can easily see how that confidence could be construed as arrogance and attitude.
 

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what i'm hearing are a lot of the common stereotypes about hopkins... the undergrad is competitive, but this competitiveness is extremely exagerrated. the med school is very different from the undergrad.

as for quality of life in baltimore.... it's not nyc, but there are plenty of nice aspects to it.

as for prestige being the main reason to come to hopkins.... tell that to all the talented doctors and researchers who choose hopkins over other schools in nicer cities (obviously, plenty turned down or left hopkins too). some of them may still only care about prestige, but hopkins is also a decent hospital and nih throws some money its way. for people serious about their work (or education), hopkins can be a great place to be. (remember that someone can be serious about their work and still have a life too).

as for the students being boring and not excited about their program.... it depends on who you talk to. most love the school and are impartial towards the city. you mentioned attitude as a problem with the school, but i have yet to see any attitude from the med students.

anyway, there are plenty of great mstp's. no single program sticks out as #1.
 

noy

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I guess we should hear from one of us at Hopkins... You pretty much have it right, the city is ok - some parts are great, it isn't NYC, but there is plenty to do. The neighborhood around the medical campus has serious issues, but its safe enough for me. Its a little dose of reality every day. The institution more than makes up for it.

The number of lifers here is amazing, between faculty on the clinical, research side, or both. People come here and if they fit in (most do) then there is a magical quality about the purpose of the entire institution as one to cure human disease. No other MSTP program can boast that of their university, and it really permeates the culture.

As for the people, they are smart as hell and rather low key compared to other schools, our MSTP program is one of the best administered hands down (and has the best collegiality, I am in our lounge right now)... There are gunners in the medical class, of course, but some slackers too. We all get by and learn.

When it comes to making a list of the best, we are up there, in general. But there are some weaknesses and some strengths, as in any school. Everyone has their own list and while some schools are correlated with doing well, it depends on your interests and priorites. If you want 70 degree weather every day and suburbs outside your window, this is not the place. If you want hundreds of world famous faculty who teach you in a classroom, teach you in the wards, and love for you to be in their lab, it very well might be. Maybe your family is on the east coast, or you need to get out of the west coast (my advice: stay in the warm weather!)...

As for quality of life, its fine. I'm not sipping wine and buying artwork, but the city does the job, the program takes good care of me, and I am being trained well - what more can I ask?
 

whoa nusse!

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I think we may all need a little clarification about the whole hopkins undergraduate experience. My best friend goes to hopkins undergrad and I think there is a gross misrepresentation of the atmosphere there. He says the undergrad experience, while dissimilar to the med school, is not as cut-throat as people outside the system seem to represent. Actually the hopkins undergrad students will be quick to tell you that the rigor of their program is well respected and does well to prepare them for medical school. While hopkins is certainly a lot more challenging than most, it is not a kill or be killed situation. Im not sure if there is any hopkins undergrad here that could clarify further but this is the conclusion that my friend and his "colleagues" at hopkins gave to me.....
 

jb216mustang

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To reiterate a common theme... Hopkins is fine, if you like it there. I actually have met a lot of JHU undergrads who wanted a change. The top program is the one where you are welcomed and want to spend 8 years. I actually decided against 'better' programs and picked one where I thought the administration was both caring and inspirational.
 

b&ierstiefel

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whoa nusse! said:
I think we may all need a little clarification about the whole hopkins undergraduate experience. My best friend goes to hopkins undergrad and I think there is a gross misrepresentation of the atmosphere there. He says the undergrad experience, while dissimilar to the med school, is not as cut-throat as people outside the system seem to represent. Actually the hopkins undergrad students will be quick to tell you that the rigor of their program is well respected and does well to prepare them for medical school. While hopkins is certainly a lot more challenging than most, it is not a kill or be killed situation. Im not sure if there is any hopkins undergrad here that could clarify further but this is the conclusion that my friend and his "colleagues" at hopkins gave to me.....
Having gone to Hopkins undergrad, I agree with this statement. When you first step into the Homewood campus, almost everyone is premed (ok this is an exaggeration :laugh: ). And you hear about all these cutthroat stories about how people sabotaged others' orgo lab experiments and such. I've never witnessed this stuff happen. As you go through undergrad, you realize that it isn't that bad and that these stories are more myths to laugh at.

Competition? Well I think most students at Hopkins are very hard working. The exams are pretty difficult. I was in Dr. Townsend's orgo class (I don't know if he teaches anymore) and on the first exam, the average was in the low 30's with the score distribution ranging from -7 to 58. So do we compete with other premeds? I would like to look at it as "trying to keep one's head above water." Sure there are some high strung folks there. Sure there are some uber-competitive jackasses. But the important thing is that if you don't like those people and wanna avoid contact with them, you can definitely find some cool, chill people to hang out with whlie you're there. Hopkins undergrad is a rather small population but there is quite a bit of diversity in the student population so you can easily find people who you get along with. I've met some of the coolest friends from my time at Hopkins and we all had a blast there.

The biggest draw of Hopkins for me was the emphasis on undergraduate research. It is easy to find a lab to work in and many undergrads do some pretty kickin' research. When I was an undergrad there, not too many of us applied to MSTP programs. I thought this was tragic because a good # of my classmates and friends were quite talented when it came down to doing research. Finally, the rigors of Hopkins trains you very well. Also, when you become a senior there, you really learn to stop giving a sh!t. Unfortunately for some of us, this carries over to med school :laugh:

And as for the Hopkins MSTP...just like the Hopkins MD program, I don't think they like to take more than a few of its own folks at most. I think that their MSTP program is quite awesome (well back when I applied, there were problems with the administration). Most of my friends and I did apply MSTP there but we did prefer a change of pace. For instance, I wanted to get out of the city altogether...hence I am where I am now.
 
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