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Which school: Colorado or Einstein? Go with my heart or head? (+ save $100,000!)

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by lazza, May 15, 2008.

  1. lazza

    lazza 2+ Year Member

    May 11, 2008
    Hi guys I need some advice (on the age old "which school should I go to" topic).

    I have an acceptance from my state school, which is one of the best state schools in the country - Univerity of Colorado. It has a brand new campus at the Anshultz medical complex in Denver (the newest and one of the biggest medical complexes in the US) and is ranked by US news (for what that is worth) as the 27th best research and 4th best primary care school in the nation. It really is an incredible school by any standard and I would be proud to go there.

    I am also on the high priority waitlist (top 1/3... very good chance of acceptance) at Albert Einstein in NY. Einstein is ranked by US news (again - for what it is worth) 36th in research and 26th in primary care. I loved my interview day at Einstein, I really liked the attitude and vibe of the students and the staff at the school, it is 100% pass fail and unranked (just an indication of the attitude - I still plan to kick a$$!!!). I liked the fact that the student body is so diverse, and I like the opportunities that they seem to offer in getting really involved in international opportunities, research (if you are interested) including grants for research and community and international opportunities, and community outreach. Overall I really loved everything about AECOM.

    On top of this I really love New York City - my wife and I are city people, we really do not take advantage of the outdoors opportunities that Colorado offers. Denver is a great place but not really that exciting of a city (my wife and I have lived here for 5 years so we know. We have no family ties here though, they all live on the east coast). We are much more into going to a small art gallery and then a hole in the wall vietnamese joint or a few beers at some dive bar than going skiing or climbing (though I like all of these things :) Plus my brother is going to be living in London, and many of my best friends live in the UK etc. and are much more likely to make a weekend trip to NYC than to Denver. (I know I will be really busy, but my wife has a life too!)

    My heart says go for Einstein and NYC (it really does), but staying in state will probably save me $100,000 over 4 years!!! That is an absolutely totally ridiculous amount of debt! $100,000!!!!!!!! (especially in these days of declining physician renumeration) Ouch!!!

    What it comes down to is that I believe that I would get a first rate education at either school - Einstein probably offers more exposure to urban populations and a mixed patient population, which is where I see my future practice, and I would have a better chance at matching into a residency in NYC, but CU is an unbelieveably good school and for a relatively bargain price as an in-stater.

    I am terrified that I am going to make a stupid decision either way - either I get in to way too much debt and it constrains my getting a house, matching into a specialty of my choosing (either one with too low of an income or too long a residency) or something else .... On the other hand if I do not move to NY now I might regret THAT for the rest of my life - 4 years is a long time, and then my chance of getting a residency in NYC or the east coast would be much lower at CU - so really it could easily be a 7+ year decision...

    Any advice would be really helpful! I know that only my wife and me can make this decision (and that at least 1/2 of you are going to think I am mentally challenged for even considering the extra debt) but I am just really stuck trying to think this one through....

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  3. sylar86

    sylar86 7+ Year Member

    Jun 20, 2007
    New York City
    Go with colorado. It's higher ranked with more research opportunities. Plus, you may like NYC, but AECOM is in the bronx which is possibly the worst place to live in in the country. I interviewed at Einstein and they kept selling themselves on that fact that they came here for the city. To be honest, I thought that was complete bs b/c they aren't even conveniently close to manhattan but instead are in the middle of a crime infested area. If you want to go to nyc, you need to attend schools ACTUALLY in the city like nyu, etc. Colorado saves you money too. you need to listen to your head more than your heart b/c honestly, i think you're sacrificing a lot to go to einstein.
  4. barto123

    barto123 2+ Year Member

    Jun 17, 2007
    it's so easy to pick on the bronx, but it's not by far the worst place to live in the country. the area surrounding aecom is not crime ridden, it's actually kinda quiet, sorta industrial. actually what turned me off a little bit about einstein is that the immediate area is a little drab. but the city center is a short bus ride away, and the bronx does have some nice spots. i had a similar decision but i withdrew from aecom, but it really came down to the wire.
  5. Renovatio

    Renovatio Class of 2012 2+ Year Member

    Jun 4, 2007
    I had a similar decision, but yours is easy. Not only is your state school cheaper, it is also an excellent school that is more highly ranked in US News. What it really comes down to then, is this: is living in the Bronx worth the extra $100,000? Considering you're already taking on debt to pay for education, I'd say this is one luxury you can go without. Go to the cheaper school, take on less debt. Then, take the $100,000 (plus interest) monthly payment that you would have sunk into living in the Bronx, and use it to pay your mortgage.

    Colorado FTW.
  6. loganhayes

    loganhayes 2+ Year Member

    Apr 25, 2008
    Go with Colorado. It has a much better reputation and is in-state for you. For OOS, I know it's hella expensive (for me, it would be 60K/year tuition alone). And other posters are right, you don't want to live in Bronx. Go visit NYU and you'll see what I mean. There was an incident not too long ago at Columbia; a Columbia student was raped in her apartment near Columbia Morningside campus (which is the better campus than its W. Heights med school campus). Trust me, you do not want to be stressed out for your wife's and your safety during school. Med school is stressful enough.
  7. lazza

    lazza 2+ Year Member

    May 11, 2008
    Thanks for the thoughts guys!

    Yeah - a more central school might have been nice (why no love Mt Sinai?), but I did not get accepted there... plus I really love Einstein.

    Any thoughts on residency placement?

    I do not think that I want to stay in Colorado after med school, but applying to residencies on the other side of the US in very popular areas (I want to live in a large metro area like NY or Chicago) and also aiming for whatever specialty that I decide on seems a big long shot - and residency placement is a HUGE HUGE deal - that is what you do for the rest of your life (potentially)

    If I go to med school in NY then getting a residency in my chosen specialty in NY seems far more likley? AECOM seems to be highly respected in NY, runs a great residency program (one of the biggest in the US) and judging by this years match list, places people into some very competitive programs in NY.

    Of *course* I plan to kick butt in USMLE, but that applies at either school (plus I hear that the test is no cake-walk ;))

    I see that to most (as I thought) this seems like a no brainer!!!
  8. MsJLewis

    MsJLewis Retired Pre-med 7+ Year Member

    Apr 17, 2007
    Well, if you're looking to be in NY for residency, it helps (somewhat) to have go to a NY school. You get to build connections and each program knows each others strengths (and Einstein is a very good school)! Coming from Colorado, residency directors will probably be a little unfamiliar with the program and less likely to give you the benefit of the doubt. You would probably have a stronger shot at Chicago though coming from Colorado. But if you nail the USMLE and honor your rotations, ANY residency program will take a look at you.

    BUT... $100,000 is ALOT of money. Are you assuming that you will not get any aid from Einstein?? If I were you, I would go to Colorado and spend some extra dough on skiing while enjoying all the money you're saving while getting such a great education!
  9. barto123

    barto123 2+ Year Member

    Jun 17, 2007
    it's good that you have an idea of what you want to do careerwise before choosing a med school. if you want to get out of Colorado and do a residency in a bigger metro area, than i would say it would be easier to get out now. if you go to einstein, depending on the specialty, it should be easier to land a spot in nyc than it would be from colorado. i think you want to go to einstein, but money is an issue for you. it's a tough choice. if i were you i wouldn't be so concerned with safety issues like some of the other posters mentioned, if you're vigilant and have any street smarts you can avoid trouble. the einstein area is not a bad place for a family either, the one mile radius of the school is a little boring, but it has a nice little safe residential area with lots of families if you don't want to live in the apartment complexes they provide. i would go with your heart, but of course i don't know all the variables in this equation. best of luck!
  10. lazza

    lazza 2+ Year Member

    May 11, 2008

    Yeah - I am assuming no aid.

    I have not filed (well, I have not even been accepted at AECOM yet), but from what I gather AECOM are really crappy at giving out aid.

    Also I will probably make a reasonable amount of money this year (working full time) so even if I got some help this year, I would probably get nothing the next.....

    Again - thanks for your input all!
  11. 154241

    154241 Guest

    Jun 10, 2007
    i'm choosing einstein over a much cheaper state school (tennessee), but i think you should go with colorado. i'm going to einstein for its global/public health opportunities, emphasis, and networking, something i saw no evidence of whatsoever at ut. i truly think i'd be limited in what i wanted to do if i went to ut instead of einstein, which was the only way i could stomach the debt, and i'm still not convinced i made the right decision. i don't think this is the case for you. like someone mentioned, you'd probably catch the attention of chicago programs going to colorado, and if you do well enough in colorado, it won't matter where you went to med school anyway. you might change your mind about where you want to live in 4 years, and then you'd have that debt for nothing. i get what you're saying about how awesome aecom is, because i feel the same way, but i bet colorado is fine too.
  12. lazza

    lazza 2+ Year Member

    May 11, 2008
    This is definitely the case! If money were not an issue I would go to Einstein in a heartbeat, but it is always an issue - especially when the *amount* of money is so great!

    Does anyone have any real perspective how much of an influence the location of your medical school has on securing a residency?

    I have resorted to the tea-leaf reading that is match list analyzing ;), and I see that AECOM matches a very large number in NY, and at some pretty good programs.... other matches are all over the country for both schools (CU mainly in Colorado, of course)

    So how hard is it to match at a LOCATION of your choice in a SPECIALTY of your choice OUTSIDE the state where you went to school?

    I know that these numbers are somewhat meaningless due to the fact that we have no idea what the geographical preference of the students was, or where they were from originally.... or any other info really! But can these numbers tell me anything?


    CO 62
    CA 18
    UT 7
    MI 6
    WI 6
    MA 5
    NC 4
    AL 3
    ME 3
    MN 3
    OR 3
    WA 3
    AZ 2
    HI 2
    IL 2
    KS 2
    NY 2
    OH 2
    TX 2
    VA 2
    AK 1
    DC 1
    FL 1
    IA 1
    IN 1
    MD 1
    MO 1
    MT 1


    NY 108
    CA 30
    MA 5
    PA 5
    IL 3
    NJ 3
    TX 3
    MD 2
    WA 2
    AZ 1
    CO 1
    CT 1
    DC 1
    FL 1
    LA 1
    ME 1
    NM 1
    OR 1
    RI 1
    WI 1

    * I did these myself by cut and paste, so they are definitely not perfect, but you get the idea...
  13. dbbmd

    dbbmd 2+ Year Member

    May 5, 2007
    O.k., so I'm a student at Einstein and I went through a similar decision process (choosing between a couple state schools and Einstein). Don't get me wrong, Einstein is great (I'm absolutely thrilled to go here). I think my classmates are awesome, it's very low stress (pass/fail), tons of collaboration via emails before tests, the housing is right across the street (we have our own community of hundreds of med students living right across from the school). People do really well on step 1 and in the match.The gym is at the base of our building. We are on the outskirts of the bronx right next to the largest park in the boroughs (Pelham Bay (its not central park, of course)). The neighborhood is safe (regardless of what earlier posts have said). I wouldn't recommend walking alone (if you're female) in the wee hours of the night outside of the campus, but I wouldn't recommend that for a lot places. People go into Manhattan all the time, but living here is very different from living there. I like being able to escape the city easily (go camping in the Catskills, hiking on the applachian trail, whale-watching in Massachussets). For the summer most students get grants from the dean to do research or go abroad (I'm going to China for a month and Einstein gave me 2200 bucks!). So, Einstein is a great place. Colorado sounds like a great school, too. If you want to stay in the Mountain West and not have as much debt, stay in Colorado. I chose Einstein and a mountain of debt (and I still don't know if I made the right decision). I'm from louisiana and with a deal I have worked out with my hometown hospital, I could have gone to med school debt free (30,000 a year in exchange for 4 years after residency) Tuition is cheap there (12,000/year). Louisiana doesn't have the reputation that Colorado has, but I knew I'd probably be limited to Louisiana if I wanted to go into a competitive residency.
    I vote Colorado, although your alternative is also very good.
  14. Gut Shot

    Gut Shot 10+ Year Member

    Sep 7, 2003
    Nothing useful. Will you want to be in New York in four years? Or Colorado? Will you be single? Married? With child? Will you burn to death next Wednesday? As the saying goes, if you want to make God laugh, just formulate a plan.

    Assuming you get into AE, and assuming no significant financial aid comes through, the only thing you have to hang your hat on is $100,000 in savings. And that's before interest. As someone who periodically gets quarterly interest statements for my $141,000 (and counting) in educational loans, I'd be hanging from a shower rod if I passed up 100 grand back in '01. Stay away from a gruesome bathroom suicide; go to Colorado and never look back.
  15. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod Physician 7+ Year Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Kansas City, MO
    hSDN Alumni
    Colorado all the way. How can you pass up a far cheaper education without the necessity to relocate your family?
  16. Doctor J

    Doctor J Libelous. 10+ Year Member

    Aug 27, 2007
    You can do away rotations in your 4th year at east coast residency programs to get face time. If you want an east coast residency bust your hump to get good grades and LOR's and only rank east coast programs. You'll land one of them.

    A hundred grand is a butt-load of money. 1500/month for repayment, and that's on top of anything else you borrow. Keep in mind cost of living, too, and it may actually work out to more debt than you anticipate. Doctor J's rule of multiple acceptances: If you have no family connections to consider then always, always, always choose the cheapest medical school that accepts you.

    Congratulations on the acceptance to Colorado, by the way. It's a great school and highly coveted for many reasons, not the least of which is the price tag of the degree.
  17. silas2642

    silas2642 silas2642 10+ Year Member

    Jul 24, 2005

    Colorado. You're feelings for Einstein are based on a one-day interview that are not worth $100,000 of loans which will add up to be a lot more money once the compounded interest figures in.
  18. custard

    custard 5+ Year Member

    Dec 28, 2006
    I agree with this. Also don't forget the high cost of living in a tiny apartment in NYC.
  19. Ginzo

    Ginzo 2+ Year Member

    May 5, 2006
    Hilarious post, but you're doing it wrong. Ever pull down on a shower rod? They're usually not mounted that well and would almost certainly collapse from all that weight.
  20. Character

    Character 5+ Year Member

    Apr 23, 2008
    well, you know...i think 100,000$ is alot of money but...ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. i cant do this!!!!!!
  21. AlexMorph

    AlexMorph 10+ Year Member

    Aug 11, 2007
    what the great character is trying to say is that you should go for the money

    debt is all too real, my friend

    please do your best to avoid it
  22. Character

    Character 5+ Year Member

    Apr 23, 2008
    thank you so much...i almost lost it
  23. MsJLewis

    MsJLewis Retired Pre-med 7+ Year Member

    Apr 17, 2007
    Best post of the day. Hilarious and true.
  24. FenderHM

    FenderHM Where there's a will... 7+ Year Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    I'm gonna disagree with most people and say go with your heart. I'm from Denver and I currently attend NYMC. admittingly NYMC is even less in NYC than Einsten, buuut NYC is super close and I'm there all the time. and I love it. Colorado is great and all, and it will always be there for winter break ski trips and such. But if you like urban living, NYC is the place to be. I guess since I grew up in CO I take it for granted, but I def got bored living in Denver after college before I started med school, and I really like NYC, the nightlife, the museums, the music scene, the women etc.... I'm moving to manhattan in July for rotations! Coming from CU or AECOM you'll be able to go where you want for rez, but if you want NYC AECOM sure is a great place to start, very well respected by all NYC programs, and half the battle of NYC is just knowing your way around, which you will if you go to AECOM. NYC is in a class of its own, money is money but you've gotta live your life. oh and one more thing, your classmates are more likely to share your propensity for urban living at AECOM.... I know a lot of med students at CU, and a lot of them are doing that rural health scholarship thing where they pay your med school if you agree to practice in rural colorado,
  25. Gut Shot

    Gut Shot 10+ Year Member

    Sep 7, 2003
    I appreciate the thought, but for one, you haven't seen my industrial strength 1950's era shower rod. It was built to withstand a direct atomic blast from the Ruskies. For two, even if I had a contemporary design shower rod (read twig hung precariously with two thumbtacks), it doesn't require full weight suspension to hang oneself. As little as four pounds of pressure on the anterior neck will collapse the jugular veins and eventually lead to death. I could do it with a long belt or even shoe string by simply kneeling the tub. Just ask your friendly local Medical Examiner.

    While I'm handing out advice on suicide, perhaps you'd like to hear about how you can get high from concentrated cat urine?
  26. Ginzo

    Ginzo 2+ Year Member

    May 5, 2006
    I wonder how many asphyxiation fetishists have found that fact out the hard way. And try explaining that one to the police.
  27. MeowMix

    MeowMix Explaining "Post-Call" 10+ Year Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    The USNews rankings should be utterly irrelevant to your decision - to a large extent they are based on factors that will have little effect on the quality of your education.

    Four years from now, the hopeful optimism about CU being amazing and Einstein being so cool will have faded behind the reality that CU is a terribly underfunded state school with minimal ethnic/racial diversity among its students, and Einstein will require you to live in a tiny roach-infested closet at great expense.

    The only thing that will remain is the $100,000 difference in your loans. Loans are harder to get, interest rates are higher than ever, and the economic hardship deferment for residents is going away. I would take the lower-cost option, but be sure to do your homework! Private schools with good financial aid can end up being cheaper than state schools, as many of my classmates at CU found out too late; CU is not an inexpensive state school. Also, bear in mind that tuition will increase, and you have no idea how far. Our tuition + fees went up about 66% over what I expected when I started med school.

    I warn you not to look at the beauty of Anschutz (or any other campus) and think that tells you anything about the quality of the program.

    The pt population in Denver is respectably diverse, esp. since you rotate at Denver Health. The east- and west-coasters seem to think that Denver is a cowboy white-bread town without real inner-city health issues, but that's crap. I will agree that Denver has a very limited range of cultural activities (broncos...avalanche...rockies...nuggets...bleah).

    For residency choice, don't read anything into the match lists. The majority of people in my class wanted to stay in Colorado for family or other geographic reasons. Those who wanted to go somewhere else pretty much got to go there. Yes, you have some advantage matching into your home community, but since you are planning to be an exceptional student, that shouldn't be a problem.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2008

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