What do you value more, P/F grading or lower tuition?

Nov 9, 2019
97
222
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Basically the title! I've been accepted to two schools that I like, one a little more than the other. The one I like more is P/F grading, but tuition is 65k a year in a high COL area. On the other hand, my state school is around ~34k a year in a low-cost city but has a graded curriculum. Both schools are T40. Looking for some insight, thanks!
 

KnightDoc

Probationary Status
2+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2019
4,913
5,113
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Basically the title! I've been accepted to two schools that I like, one a little more than the other. The one I like more is P/F grading, but tuition is 65k a year in a high COL area. On the other hand, my state school is around ~34k a year in a low-cost city but has a graded curriculum. Both schools are T40. Looking for some insight, thanks!
I think it's way too soon to be worrying about this. The cycle is far from over, you have no idea what other As you will receive, or if anyone will offer you money that will totally alter whatever conclusion you reach now. I'd honestly try to put it out of my mind until sometime in March, or even April, when you will have better visibility into what your options are. They are almost certain to change from what you think they are today.
 
  • Dislike
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users
About the Ads

Damson

2+ Year Member
Nov 18, 2017
729
791
On The Move
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
It depends on your finances. Is your parents paying full, partial, or are you handling it on your own?

If parents don't mind the price tag, go P/F. If you're taking loans out to cover tuition, go to the one in low cost city.
 

PatchAdamsWannabe

2+ Year Member
Oct 17, 2017
199
502
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Wow, really tough situation. I think I'd choose P/F to have a somewhat lower stress level, as long as it's truly P/F. Some programs are P/F but you're still ranked. If that is the case, then I'd go for the lower tuition.

I'd also consider reaching out later in the cycle to see about the possibility of pitting them against each other for financial aid.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

KnightDoc

Probationary Status
2+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2019
4,913
5,113
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Wow, really tough situation. I think I'd choose P/F to have a somewhat lower stress level, as long as it's truly P/F. Some programs are P/F but you're still ranked. If that is the case, then I'd go for the lower tuition.

I'd also consider reaching out later in the cycle to see about the possibility of pitting them against each other for financial aid.
Since it's so early, fin aid might come anyway, but, if it doesn't, do private schools really compete with IS public based on price (i.e., need or merit scholarships)?????
 

PatchAdamsWannabe

2+ Year Member
Oct 17, 2017
199
502
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Since it's so early, fin aid might come anyway, but, if it doesn't, do private schools really compete with IS public based on price (i.e., need or merit scholarships)?????
Maybe? Anecdotally, I have a friend who had 2 As and was able to get a scholarship at a private university to bring the cost down to almost what he would have paid at our state school. I'm sure it happens, but I'm not sure if it happens often. Probably case-by-case.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users
D

Deleted member 1077394

Do you have a specialty in mind, @doodlebot ? If it's something that doesn't pay as well like primary care, psychiatry or especially a peds subspecialty, then the lower tuition might be worth it.

This is really hard. Good luck to you. <3
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Nov 9, 2019
97
222
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Thank you for the replies, everyone! To clarify, I'm hoping to stay in a particular area that these two schools are located in, so that's why I'm inquiring before hearing back from others. The more expensive school has also been pretty open about not offering much aid to their students, so I'm not banking on a scholarship.

Regarding payment, my parents have been really amazing and offered to pay full tuition for the instate school, and the equivalent price if I choose to attend the private school. They are really pushing for the state school though.

Regarding specialty, I'm considering something more competitive like ophthalmology, but I know this could change when I'm actually in school!
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

efle

not an elf
7+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2014
13,569
21,245
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
Preclinical grades are low-influence for residency applications anyways. Take the $120,000+ in savings and then just don't let yourself obsess with preclinical grades. Don't be bottom quartile or anything, but no need to overwork yourself for top quartile either.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 7 users

KnightDoc

Probationary Status
2+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2019
4,913
5,113
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Thank you for the replies, everyone! To clarify, I'm hoping to stay in a particular area that these two schools are located in, so that's why I'm inquiring before hearing back from others. The more expensive school has also been pretty open about not offering much aid to their students, so I'm not banking on a scholarship.

Regarding payment, my parents have been really amazing and offered to pay full tuition for the instate school, and the equivalent price if I choose to attend the private school. They are really pushing for the state school since though.

Regarding specialty, I'm considering something more competitive like ophthalmology, but I know this could change when I'm actually in school!
With this additional bit of info (really liking the area and receiving significant financial help from your parents), advice will be easier to give at the price of your decision being less clear -- just do what makes you happier.

Your debt will be significant but manageable at the private school. P/F will take some pressure off, but, as @PatchAdamsWannabe pointed out, try to determine whether the school will be ranking you anyway. If so, P/F will optically make you feel better day to day, but, in the end, you'll be in pretty much the same place for residency matches as if you were graded. And, of course, your parents have a point regarding money since pretty much any US MD can get you wherever you are destined to go.

You haven't mentioned it, so I assume it's not relevant, but, if the private school is T10, T20, etc., that could change the calculus somewhat, especially if you are gunning for ophthalmology.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

readmypostsMD

Membership Revoked
Removed
5+ Year Member
Jan 13, 2015
457
554
Alpha Centauri
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
Basically the title! I've been accepted to two schools that I like, one a little more than the other. The one I like more is P/F grading, but tuition is 65k a year in a high COL area. On the other hand, my state school is around ~34k a year in a low-cost city but has a graded curriculum. Both schools are T40. Looking for some insight, thanks!
Not gunna lie, pass fail is amazing
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
About the Ads

Damson

2+ Year Member
Nov 18, 2017
729
791
On The Move
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
Thank you for the replies, everyone! To clarify, I'm hoping to stay in a particular area that these two schools are located in, so that's why I'm inquiring before hearing back from others. The more expensive school has also been pretty open about not offering much aid to their students, so I'm not banking on a scholarship.

Regarding payment, my parents have been really amazing and offered to pay full tuition for the instate school, and the equivalent price if I choose to attend the private school. They are really pushing for the state school though.

Regarding specialty, I'm considering something more competitive like ophthalmology, but I know this could change when I'm actually in school!

i would have another discussion with parents. check on whether or not the tuition at P/F school would be burdensome for them to fully cover

if so, i would go state school
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

KnightDoc

Probationary Status
2+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2019
4,913
5,113
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
i would have another discussion with parents. check on whether or not the tuition at P/F school would be burdensome for them to fully cover

if so, i would go state school
???? What's "burden" got to do with anything??? OP is very lucky that he's got parents willing and able to contribute anything at all!! Parents are pushing for state school, and they are not even making it their way or the highway, since they are willing to contribute an equivalent amount wherever OP wants to go.

Beyond that, why would it have to be a burden for parents to require OP to put his money where his mouth is if he really wants the more expensive option?? If it were me, I'd never have the nerve to go back to my parents and risk having them think I'm so spoiled and ungrateful for what they've offered that they pull the offer.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

Matthew9Thirtyfive

Do it.
Staff member
Administrator
Volunteer Staff
5+ Year Member
Jan 11, 2016
22,041
39,060
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
Absolutely the tuition. No one cares about preclinical grades as long as you pass. The modest psychological benefit you’d get from p/f can be gotten by looking at PD surveys and talking to mentors to realize that your preclinical grades don’t matter. No amount of rationalizing will get you back 6 figures of tuition.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

Goro

SDN Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Jun 11, 2010
64,969
99,841
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
Basically the title! I've been accepted to two schools that I like, one a little more than the other. The one I like more is P/F grading, but tuition is 65k a year in a high COL area. On the other hand, my state school is around ~34k a year in a low-cost city but has a graded curriculum. Both schools are T40. Looking for some insight, thanks!
If you were my kid, I'd send you to the cheaper school
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

KnightDoc

Probationary Status
2+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2019
4,913
5,113
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
If you were my kid, I'd send you to the cheaper school
Send?? Wow!! Way to treat your kid like a mature adult!!! Sounds like he or she might need a few gap years until you wouldn't be "sending" him or her anywhere!! :laugh::laugh:

Med schools aren't going anywhere, but adcoms like to see a level of maturity as manifested by applicants not being "sent" anywhere by their parents. It's true! I know this because various adcom experts have said as much right here on SDN!!! :cool:
 
  • Okay...
  • Hmm
  • Dislike
Reactions: 3 users

Matthew9Thirtyfive

Do it.
Staff member
Administrator
Volunteer Staff
5+ Year Member
Jan 11, 2016
22,041
39,060
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
Send?? Wow!! Way to treat your kid like a mature adult!!! Sounds like he or she might need a few gap years until you wouldn't be "sending" him or her anywhere!! :laugh::laugh:

Med schools aren't going anywhere, but adcoms like to see a level of maturity as manifested by applicants not being "sent" anywhere by their parents. It's true! I know this because various adcom experts have said as much right here on SDN!!! :cool:

You realize that @Goro is an adcom right?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

EdgeTrimmer

2+ Year Member
May 26, 2018
2,515
1,831
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
If you were my kid, I'd send you to the cheaper school
I am not "sending" my kid anywhere but I will let him decide where he wants to go since I trust his judgement. He made the right call for UG.
 
  • Love
Reactions: 1 user

Hzreio

2+ Year Member
Jan 15, 2019
462
389
???? What's "burden" got to do with anything??? OP is very lucky that he's got parents willing and able to contribute anything at all!! Parents are pushing for state school, and they are not even making it their way or the highway, since they are willing to contribute an equivalent amount wherever OP wants to go.

Beyond that, why would it have to be a burden for parents to require OP to put his money where his mouth is if he really wants the more expensive option?? If it were me, I'd never have the nerve to go back to my parents and risk having them think I'm so spoiled and ungrateful for what they've offered that they pull the offer.

???? What's "burden" got to do with anything??? OP is very lucky that he's got parents willing and able to contribute anything at all!! Parents are pushing for state school, and they are not even making it their way or the highway, since they are willing to contribute an equivalent amount wherever OP wants to go.

Beyond that, why would it have to be a burden for parents to require OP to put his money where his mouth is if he really wants the more expensive option?? If it were me, I'd never have the nerve to go back to my parents and risk having them think I'm so spoiled and ungrateful for what they've offered that they pull the offer.

Lol why did you get so offended by that? You act like discussing with parents the COA is like negotiating a scholarship with a school. There’s nothing wrong with having an honest conversation with your parents about the pros and cons of two medical school...
 

efle

not an elf
7+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2014
13,569
21,245
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
I am not "sending" my kid anywhere but I will let him decide where he wants to go since I trust his judgement. He made the right call for UG.
Dang I hope your kid got a lot more than a Pass/Fail freshman year, if you also paid >$100,000 more to send them there
 
  • Haha
Reactions: 1 user

KnightDoc

Probationary Status
2+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2019
4,913
5,113
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
You realize that @Goro is an adcom right?
Yes, the post was meant in good fun because he is always advising patience and extolling the virtues of maturing through gap years. I was just poking a little fun over the way he let his guard down and expressed his paternal instinct to control what his own kids do while telling us war stories involving overbearing parents helicoptering over THEIR kid's cycles.
 
About the Ads

KnightDoc

Probationary Status
2+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2019
4,913
5,113
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Lol why did you get so offended by that? You act like discussing with parents the COA is like negotiating a scholarship with a school. There’s nothing wrong with having an honest conversation with your parents about the pros and cons of two medical school...
Of course! I don't know OP, but, from living my own life, I'm quite sure that conversation already took place and the result was an offer to cover full IS public school tuition wherever OP decides to go. I was reacting to the advice that OP should go back to parents to reopen the discussion if full tuition anywhere didn't represent a "burden." My dad would probably throw me out of the room if I did that. YMMV.

If P/F is worth the premium, any med school grad would be able to service the debt created by that premium. My parents would think I was being ungrateful and entitled simply by asking them to fund the "pros" of P/F. In fact, my old school dad would be annoyed that I wasn't eager to work for the grade to ensure that his tuition dollars were well spent!! No kidding.
 

EdgeTrimmer

2+ Year Member
May 26, 2018
2,515
1,831
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
Dang I hope your kid got a lot more than a Pass/Fail freshman year, if you also paid >$100,000 more to send them there
My kid is a college senior and current cycle applicant. He chose T20 free tuition over ivy league (for UG) even though I was willing to pay.
 

KnightDoc

Probationary Status
2+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2019
4,913
5,113
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
My kid is a college senior and current cycle applicant. He chose T20 free tuition over ivy league (for UG) even though I was willing to pay.
Yeah, you're a real hero allowing your kid to choose to save you $200K+ in tuition, with absolutely no parental interference!! :laugh:
 
  • Haha
Reactions: 1 user

EdgeTrimmer

2+ Year Member
May 26, 2018
2,515
1,831
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
Yeah, you're a real hero allowing your kid to choose to save you $200K+ in tuition, with absolutely no parental interference!! :laugh:
well, I told him that $200K is his inheritance. I think that helped :)
 
  • Love
Reactions: 1 user

EdgeTrimmer

2+ Year Member
May 26, 2018
2,515
1,831
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
He knows that. Unfortunately, some SDNers lack reading and cultural comprehension skills, on top of being near troll-like insufferable know-it-alls.

Fortunately, that is why we have the Ignore function!
Seems like US education system failed him.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
About the Ads

EdgeTrimmer

2+ Year Member
May 26, 2018
2,515
1,831
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
Okay let’s try to keep the thread on topic.
sure, I find it odd that an adcom will go after a premed like that. As a parent, I do find some of the advice is off the mark but I alo recognize that you get different opinions and ultimately one has to figure out what to take.

Going balk to the topic, what other criteria one should look to pick a school. I know P/F is a big one, but is it too early to think about certain specialties and check the school's reputation in those specialties?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Matthew9Thirtyfive

Do it.
Staff member
Administrator
Volunteer Staff
5+ Year Member
Jan 11, 2016
22,041
39,060
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
Going balk to the topic, what other criteria one should look to pick a school. I know P/F is a big one, but is it too early to think about certain specialties and check the school's reputation in those specialties?

If you are going to an MD school, there is basically no specialty out of reach just from your school. Match lists are really not super useful, but if you want to do something that’s really competitive or something you can see if they historically match people to that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users
Jan 9, 2020
112
96
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Basically the title! I've been accepted to two schools that I like, one a little more than the other. The one I like more is P/F grading, but tuition is 65k a year in a high COL area. On the other hand, my state school is around ~34k a year in a low-cost city but has a graded curriculum. Both schools are T40. Looking for some insight, thanks!

Lower tuition hands down!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

efle

not an elf
7+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2014
13,569
21,245
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
what other criteria one should look to pick a school. I know P/F is a big one, but is it too early to think about certain specialties and check the school's reputation in those specialties?
P/F is overhyped. Med students are a generally perfectionist Type A group that are distressed by being told they are average, but no PD is going to turn away someone with great boards, clerkships, letters and research because of average preclinical marks.

If you know you have an interest in a specific field that is unshakable (like I have classmates with a PhD related to their field before they started school) you could consider how that specific med school tends to do in that specialty match. Some of the big names do have surprisingly weaker departments in that regard.

But for the typical undifferentiated premed who only states an interest in competitive subspecialties because they sound cool, you are better off going by cost and location. Med school isn't just about where you match. It's also half of your 20s, and the Uncle Sam funny money that shows up in your bank account like magic can be a massive debt burden down the road.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 5 users

HopeP

2+ Year Member
Jan 2, 2019
562
549
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
Going balk to the topic, what other criteria one should look to pick a school. I know P/F is a big one, but is it too early to think about certain specialties and check the school's reputation in those specialties?
I would add to that how would it matter differently if one has top 5 vs bottom 20.
 

EdgeTrimmer

2+ Year Member
May 26, 2018
2,515
1,831
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
I would add to that how would it matter differently if one has Top 5 vs bottom 20.
Not everyone values rankings and if you are taking loans then you should be more sensitive to the tuition. If you or your parents can afford I don't have an issue spending for prestige or if you think going to T5 schools help you get into competitive specialties. So there is no one size fits all answer.
 

HopeP

2+ Year Member
Jan 2, 2019
562
549
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
He knows that. Unfortunately, some SDNers lack reading and cultural comprehension skills, on top of being near troll-like insufferable know-it-alls.

Fortunately, that is why we have the Ignore function!
It reminds me of MemeLord from 2 years back..
 
  • Like
  • Dislike
Reactions: 3 users

Damson

2+ Year Member
Nov 18, 2017
729
791
On The Move
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
???? What's "burden" got to do with anything??? OP is very lucky that he's got parents willing and able to contribute anything at all!! Parents are pushing for state school, and they are not even making it their way or the highway, since they are willing to contribute an equivalent amount wherever OP wants to go.

Beyond that, why would it have to be a burden for parents to require OP to put his money where his mouth is if he really wants the more expensive option?? If it were me, I'd never have the nerve to go back to my parents and risk having them think I'm so spoiled and ungrateful for what they've offered that they pull the offer.
Of course! I don't know OP, but, from living my own life, I'm quite sure that conversation already took place and the result was an offer to cover full IS public school tuition wherever OP decides to go. I was reacting to the advice that OP should go back to parents to reopen the discussion if full tuition anywhere didn't represent a "burden." My dad would probably throw me out of the room if I did that. YMMV.

If P/F is worth the premium, any med school grad would be able to service the debt created by that premium. My parents would think I was being ungrateful and entitled simply by asking them to fund the "pros" of P/F. In fact, my old school dad would be annoyed that I wasn't eager to work for the grade to ensure that his tuition dollars were well spent!! No kidding.

What the OP replied "Regarding payment, my parents have been really amazing and offered to pay full tuition for the instate school, and the equivalent price if I choose to attend the private school. They are really pushing for the state school though." tells us that his/her parents have already offered to pay the tuition for either choice. My parents are also offering to pay full fees for my upcoming program. If the purpose is to fund my kid's med school and relieve financial stressors, minus 250k barely itches for some parents.

Your parents may limit you to only the cheapest possible option or offer only a partial amount. Our backgrounds, priorities and value of things (P/F, prestige, location) also differ. But as kids we don't know exactly how they feel about the cost of attendance or if they're hiding how they feel about it (as parents sometimes do). I care about my folks, so I'm going to double check before making my decision. That's why evaluating "burden" matters to me.

I'm sure you mean well but the extra "????" "???" and "!" "!!" is actually virtue signaling. You mentioned that your dad would think you ungrateful and entitled simply by approaching them on this issue and would throw you out of the room. Other kids can operate differently under more open, relaxed (less guilt-tripping) family dynamics. Let's not guilt-trip the OP.
 
Last edited:
  • Love
Reactions: 1 user

Console46

2+ Year Member
Jun 23, 2017
14
9
If you are going to an MD school, there is basically no specialty out of reach just from your school. Match lists are really not super useful, but if you want to do something that’s really competitive or something you can see if they historically match people to that.
Hi! I sent you a PM with a quick question I hope you're able to answer! TIA
 

Nugester

2+ Year Member
Jul 4, 2017
791
781
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
I was in your shoes last cycle. I ultimately chose lower tuition but I'm not going to lie: the Honors/High Pass/Pass/Fail system definitely messed with me this past semester.
 
May 20, 2020
422
277
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
How do you guys feel about a school that does A/B/C/D/F grading scale for clinical? I feel like that can get very subjective
 
About the Ads

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.