UCSF or Yale?

  • UCSF

    Votes: 96 64.4%
  • Yale

    Votes: 53 35.6%

  • Total voters
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White Pillow

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There is one of these threads a year, and I'm sorry for starting a new one but I'm split. Which school? I know the curricula are different, and I like them both a lot, and I think I'd do well in either. I'm in-state Californian...
 

vicinihil

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SF vs. New Haven? No competition!

Plus unless you're super self motivated, Yale might pose a problem. UCSF is a safer decision, and a much MUCH nicer city.
 

IDrinkWine

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I'm trying to make the same decision...I keep going back and forth.

I'm on the East Coast, so Yale is much closer to home for me. It's close to NYC and Boston, where most of my friends live. The curriculum is great, in my opinion - optional tests, not a lot of class time, good mix of lecture/groups, adequate prep time for the boards, etc. Small class size and older average age of students is also a plus for me (I'm 25). Facilities are very nice, and I like the meal plan, since I can't cook. Lecture halls and labs seemed conducive to learning...at least, they didn't look dark and dreary. Lots of opportunities for research, and dual degree options are endless. Close to undergrad and other professional schools.

Hmm, some cons to Yale...I don't think the hospital system is nearly as strong as UCSF's. I work in an academic institution, and I've been told this. Also, New Haven is not the greatest place in the world, although I've heard mixed things. I think I'd rather be in a big city than a small, rather crime-ridden one (please correct me if I'm wrong on this count). Thesis requirements seems to mandate five years in med school, despite what the admissions people tell you.

UCSF is also an incredible school, for some different reasons. It's P/F, which is nice, curriculum seems to be pretty varied and dynamic, lots of afternoons free, breaks before and (sometimes) after exams, start on the wards early, fantastic research opportunities, very large and well-respected hospital system. I haven't spent a huge amount of time in SF, but I'm told it's an amazing city. Good public transit, lots of young professionals. Also, student population is older (many non-traditionals). Students seemed very happy there, and the weather is better than New Haven's (despite all the complaints about the fog...).

Hmm, cons...for me, it's 3,000 miles away. That's a huge one. Parnassus, I've heard, is not a great part of SF, due to weather and lack of nightlife (?). Campus is small, not associated with any undergrads. Larger class size. Expensive city to live in.

Well, those are the things I've come up with, which aren't worth that much, since I've only spent one day at both places. Are you going to the second looks? That could help. If so, I'll see you there. :)
 

somethingpositi

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Go to UCSF. Even if you weren't from California, UCSF would still be an attractive option. The fact that you are from California clinches it.

I'm turning down Hopkins, Yale, and a full ride at Chicago for UCSF. I think it's worth it.
 

somethingpositi

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somethingpositive, how did you decide?
I think I wrote this in another post somewhere, but here is a shortened version again:

First, I wanted to point out that money wasn't a critical factor for me. My parents are decently wealthy and will be helping me out, so I was never in danger of needing to borrow $160,000. That being said, in-state tuition is nice. It will save me a little over the next few years and helps me to turn down Pritzker.

But quite frankly, I picked UCSF because it's awesome. Its the ONLY medical school in San Francisco, which means that I'll get to see patients of all different types. It's affiliated with academic centers, community clinics, and one of the VERY few schools affiliated with private centers like Kaiser. Since I (like most medical students) don't know in which environment I enjoy practicing medicine, I like that UCSF will let me explore each type.

The location is also ideal. For those who have lived in Northern California, you know that the best part is not the weather (although the weather is great), but rather the food. It's also close to everything you would ever want to do: beaches, ski slopes, hiking, rock climbing, vineyards, etc.

Some people don't like UCSF because it doesn't have the "name" of some of the ivy leagues. First, among medical circles that's false. Medical professionals know that UCSF graduates are some of the smartest students in the country. However, it's true that because it lacks an undergraduate program, the average non-medical person doesn't realize that UCSF is awesome. If that's important to you, then go to Yale. But take note of the corollary: That students who go to UCSF had bigger-name choices, and they are the kind of people who are confident enough in their own abilities and the medical reputation of the school to choose UCSF anyway.
Those are the classmates I want to study with over the next four years.

Lastly, we get to resources. A lot of the top schools are very good at lab-based research. If you're into that sort of thing, you will find it everywhere. I've done it before, but I'm not interested in it because I don't want to end up spending most of my career in a lab. UCSF, however, also has some of the top clinical researchers in the country. They also have top researchers in health policy. They also have a huge contingent of physicians who work with the underserved. They also have great programs abroad. These are things I'm more interested in, and UCSF lets me do any/all of them.

I hope that helps you make your decision. I'm certainly looking forward to next year.
 

nomoreplz

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I wish this were my decision, because to me there is none. UCSF > Yale. Better hospital system, better rep as a med school, the city!, etc. Oh gosh. I am a bit jealous. PLUS you're in-state, so the tuition is actually better at UCSF! This seems perfect.
 

pntgrd

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*Disclaimer: I just withdrew from UCSF and will be going to UCLA next year.

Having said that, I'd pick UCSF over Yale, unless being near your family is really important to you. San Francisco is a better area than New Haven. SF is a really respected school with solid curriculum and good clinical training. I was not a fan of Yale's curriculum. I just chose UCLA because I like LA/Westwood better than SF and like UCLA's hospital's better.
 

njcaldwell

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For what it is worth....

I made the same decision last year and chose UCSF. I could not be happier. I have realized after I came here that the decision was stupid to begin with. Talk to residency directors, talk to researchers, talk to attendings with a clue as to national medical reputation. The only decision that should ever be tough is UCSF vs. Harvard. If not between those two, then choose the one of those you did get in to.

FWIW our old dean (Also ex-dean of Yale Medical School) said to me during dinner I would have been near ******ed to choose Yale over UCSF in medical school. Yale has a great undergrad, bud med school... no choice. With UCSF or Harvard, you write your own ticket....
 

yale11

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The people writing on this thread are comically biased, without worrying themselves about considering the facts. I go to Yale, so I am biased, but I also plan to go to UCSF for residency, so I'm actually not particularly biased. Let me clear up a few points:
SF population ~750,000
NH population ~125,000
Obviously SF is a cooler city, but I would be shocked to learn that SF has a "more diverse patient population" and since EVERYTHING comes to YNHH and patients in SF go to any number of hospitals you won't see all the interesting cases (i.e. you can't be in all places at one time, sorry). I would also add that even though SF is better, when you live in that part of SF you are not very close to the "cool stuff" in SF and are potentially as far away from fun things as a Yalie is from NYC. And if you are one of those people who simply loves to think that New Haven is the worst city in the country, then you are just embarrassingly uninformed and need to spend some time in an incredibly culture-filled city.

Affiliation with Kaiser - I love Kaiser and would consider working there one day (my grandpa did for 40 years), but Kaiser is a far cry from typical private, and thinking this is just silly. Yale is affiliated with several *actual* private hospitals as well as countless number of docs in solo or group practice. SF probably has affiliations with actual private docs but I am not certain.

The real point - looking on a website will not tell you what you need to know, and people on SDN are usually biased or uninformed or both. SF and Yale are fairly similar; SF has a better location, Yale is more laid back, friendly and diverse. Global health is pretty similar (very slightly better at SF), research is similar but maybe different strengths in different departments, and you'll have a fantastic time at either school. You will leave either school with a top-notch education and residency spot of your choice.

Some people don't like UCSF because it doesn't have the "name" of some of the ivy leagues. First, among medical circles that's false. Medical professionals know that UCSF graduates are some of the smartest students in the country. However, it's true that because it lacks an undergraduate program, the average non-medical person doesn't realize that UCSF is awesome. If that's important to you, then go to Yale. But take note of the corollary: That students who go to UCSF had bigger-name choices, and they are the kind of people who are confident enough in their own abilities and the medical reputation of the school to choose UCSF anyway.
Wow - they are so confident in their own abilities that they will go to the school with the big name in medical circles.... did you think about this before typing? Anyone who gets into UCSF, Yale, Harvard, Stanford, UPenn etc has multiple choices and it is a toss-up to say which is bigger-name and foolish to think that you can determine their reasons for selecting a school.

Let me also point out that this is one of those areas where Yale truly, definitively, has a major advantage. UCSF is only for health professionals. At Yale you meet people at the world's best law school, not to mention amazing business, forestry, divinity, architecture, theater, music, and other schools. Yale undergrad is famous for its quality. Here you can do any number of joint degree programs (or go to another school, if that's your choice) and take classes for free at any other school within Yale. This is an unparalleled academic environment, and Yale med students are treated as the creme-de-la-creme of Yale. Worth thinking about before making a decision.

The only decision that should ever be tough is UCSF vs. Harvard. If not between those two, then choose the one of those you did get in to. FWIW our old dean (Also ex-dean of Yale Medical School) said to me during dinner I would have been near ******ed to choose Yale over UCSF in medical school. Yale has a great undergrad, bud med school... no choice. With UCSF or Harvard, you write your own ticket....
Gee, I'm sure the dean who was fired from UCSF and left Yale is the best source of info on this point. And I'm sure UCSF and Harvard are the only schools where you write your own ticket - probably why *only* 10% of Yale's class is going to UCSF and 15% to Harvard. Clearly you have not seen our match list from this year or any previous year, because you would quickly realize the mistake in this statement. UCSF or Harvard applicants may go where they want, I don't know - but so do Yale grads. Yale matched 100% last 2 years, and Stanford did as well. Too bad UCSF and Harvard couldn't do that.
 

owenmichael

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Man I can't believe that earlier poster turned down UCSF AND Yale for UCLA!!

UCSF hands down. The institution is INCREDIBLE. And who gives a sh$t whether the average lay person has heard of UCSF... your training there will be incredible..... and yes the population base you will see at UCSF will be much more diverse than New Haven. Like earlier poster said, its the only academic medical institution in SF. And yes SF's population is around 750,000... but the bay area is estimated to have over 7 million people.

On the flip side... there is some form of Ivy east coast network that works in favor of students that go to Harvard/Yale (etc...) for residency. Who you know DOES matter for residency. And Harvards match list seems to always be impressive, even though they don't come close to putting out the highest boards scores averages (224 two years ago?). I guess what I'm saying is that if you KNOW want to go to a big academic east coast institution for residency, go to Yale! But overall, UCSF is the better deal and school!
 
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White Pillow

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UCSF hands down. The institution is INCREDIBLE. And who gives a sh$t whether the average lay person has heard of UCSF... your training there will be incredible.....
What about UCSF is incredible? I know more about Yale than I do about UCSF and would be interested in knowing more about why people think UCSF is fantastic. I do admit that Yale's match list is very impressive, and the people there are great...
 

premedrod

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There is one of these threads a year, and I'm sorry for starting a new one but I'm split. Which school? I know the curricula are different, and I like them both a lot, and I think I'd do well in either. I'm in-state Californian...
you have to be one of the lamest people in the world...its not surprising that your kind made it in.....
hahahahahha
 

flip26

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What about UCSF is incredible? I know more about Yale than I do about UCSF and would be interested in knowing more about why people think UCSF is fantastic. I do admit that Yale's match list is very impressive, and the people there are great...
Do you have this choice of acceptances (Yale vs UCSF) or not? Sounds like you are some pre-med trolling for info, not someone who has this choice and is looking for additional insight, if you actually are instate CA, applied and got accepted to UCSF, and you are asking these kinds of questions...
 

notdeadyet

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Parnassus, I've heard, is not a great part of SF, due to weather and lack of nightlife (?).
You don't want to live in the part of town with the best nightlife. In just about any city, the part of town with the best nightlife looks and smells like a bad urinal by the time daylight hits. The Inner Sunset, where UCSF is, is a nice little neighborhood with a few good bars and restaurants. You're a quick walk from the Haight, which has even more. If you want to go clubbing, you need to get in a cab, but you don't want to live in those neighborhoods as a med student anyway.
 
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White Pillow

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Do you have this choice of acceptances (Yale vs UCSF) or not? Sounds like you are some pre-med trolling for info, not someone who has this choice and is looking for additional insight, if you actually are instate CA, applied and got accepted to UCSF, and you are asking these kinds of questions...
Sorry if I made it sound that way. I know why *I* think UCSF is incredible. I made the thread only to see if there was other information/opinions that I had not considered yet. I've visited Yale on several occasions and have a good feel for the school and have only visited UCSF for two days during my interview. Basically I was just trying to get someone to elaborate on what they're saying; just writing that a school is amazing is not very useful. Didn't think I'd get backlash.
 

notdeadyet

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SF population ~750,000
NH population ~125,000
Obviously SF is a cooler city, but I would be shocked to learn that SF has a "more diverse patient population" and since EVERYTHING comes to YNHH and patients in SF go to any number of hospitals you won't see all the interesting cases (i.e. you can't be in all places at one time, sorry).
That's not actually how it works.

First of all, it doesn't matter if your town has one hospital or ten hospitals. There are plenty of diabetes, hypertension, broken legs and HIV to go around.

What you care about is how many big tertiary care/academic medical centers there are. You'll still get plenty of your bread and butter at these hospitals, but you'll also get all the rare cases. Your "interesting cases" in San Francisco are going to be at UCSF, not St. Mary's.
I would also add that even though SF is better, when you live in that part of SF you are not very close to the "cool stuff" in SF and are potentially as far away from fun things as a Yalie is from NYC.
Huh? UCSF is not way out in the 'burbs. It's in the Sunset. It's a 15 minute walk from Haight/Ashbury, for heaven's sake. And in San Francisco, you're no more than a few miles from "the cool stuff", because the town is only a few miles big. You're not more than a 5-10 minute cab or a few miles from anything. It's a pretty small city. And the last time I drove it, it took me just over an hour and a half (no traffic to speak of) to get from Yale to downtown Manhattan. It's about 75-80 miles. So you're kind of talking nonsense here.
And if you are one of those people who simply loves to think that New Haven is the worst city in the country, then you are just embarrassingly uninformed and need to spend some time in an incredibly culture-filled city.
New Haven gets a bum rap. Folks write it off as a $hithole. I don't think that's fair. There's a lot of interesting businesses, nonprofs, restaurants and bookstores. That said, pull Yale out of New Haven and watch how culture-filled the place is in 5 years. But I think New Haven has a lot going for it. It has a lot more going for it than you'd expect given it's financial affairs and crime issues. Folks write it off too easily. I don't personally consider it some hidden gem of New England, but it deserves a better reputation than it has.
Yale is affiliated with several *actual* private hospitals as well as countless number of docs in solo or group practice. SF probably has affiliations with actual private docs but I am not certain.
Suprisingly, UCSF is not affiliated with any private physicians. It's an embarrassment really. The private docs bang on the ivory tower doors, but the faculty pour down hot oil on them until they scamper away...
 

notdeadyet

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SF and Yale are fairly similar;
UCSF and Yale are similar in the sense that both have great reputations, attract a great student body, and have a great international focus. But the cities could not be more different.
SF has a better location, Yale is more laid back, friendly and diverse.
You're sort of shooting yourself in the foot with your unbiased claim.

First, whether SF or New Haven is better is up to you. I love San Francisco and didn't particularly like New Haven, but that's just me. I'm sure there are folks who wouldn't like SF politics and who would miss the seasons of New Haven.

Secondly, given that you don't know much about San Francisco, I can't imagine you have great insight into what their student body is like. Most of the folks I met from UCSF were pretty chill. It attracts it share of the Conquer the World types, like any top school, but it's a much more mellow vibe than most schools I've seen (helped by the P/F system). Folks are very friendly there and attracts a diverse student body too. I only kinow one Yalie so I wouldn't presume to categorize their student body (take note here) but she seemed to think folks at Yale were pretty cool too.
You will leave either school with a top-notch education and residency spot of your choice.
Agree with the first, but for the second, neither school has a special sauce. Bomb your Step 1 and do ho-hum on the wards and you'll only be getting your top residency spot if you have a passion for pediatrics in Oklahoma. Yale and UCSF get top notch residency spots because they attract top notch medical students.
Let me also point out that this is one of those areas where Yale truly, definitively, has a major advantage. UCSF is only for health professionals. At Yale you meet people at the world's best law school, not to mention amazing business, forestry, divinity, architecture, theater, music, and other schools. Yale undergrad is famous for its quality.
Lots of folks on SDN have a real passion for turning medicine into an extension of their undergrad experience. That sure hasn't been my experience, but to each their own. I go to a school that has a big undergrad and it really has had zero impact, other than the ability to get undergrad volunteers at some of our programs.

If you want to do a joint degree program, Yale probably is a better bet. I actually don't know the joint degree possibilities, but I'll take your word for it that there are great opportunities at Yale.

That said, Yale's forestry, architecture, and music program will probably not be a huge boon to the average medical student. I don't have any stats, but I would guess that at most you have 15-20% of a med school class doing joing degrees (closer to about 10% at my school). Of those, I'd say close to 75% of those students are doing either MD/PhDs or MPHs. UCSF does these, as well as MA/MPH possibilities with Berkeley, which is a pretty good school.
Yale matched 100% last 2 years, and Stanford did as well. Too bad UCSF and Harvard couldn't do that.
Yeah. UCSF and Harvard are really hurting. Caveat emptor.

Yale is a great medical school, but you're actually not doing it any favors by trying to boost its image by trying to tear down UCSFs. It hurts your own cause. Both are great schools.

**** Disclosure: I've worked with Yale a few times and in New Haven. I've also lived in SF for a while and worked a short stint at UCSF. I applied to UCSF and was waitlisted and did not attend. I didn't apply to Yale (not due to anything about the school, only because my wife couldn't do the area).
 
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White Pillow

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Affiliation with Kaiser - I love Kaiser and would consider working there one day (my grandpa did for 40 years), but Kaiser is a far cry from typical private, and thinking this is just silly. Yale is affiliated with several *actual* private hospitals as well as countless number of docs in solo or group practice. SF probably has affiliations with actual private docs but I am not certain.
Suprisingly, UCSF is not affiliated with any private physicians. It's an embarrassment really. The private docs bang on the ivory tower doors, but the faculty pour down hot oil on them until they scamper away...
Will someone elaborate on this private vs. public doctors affiliation strength/weakness?

To my understanding, affiliation with public hospitals (particularly a hospital like the VA) is a strength because patients are far more willing to allow medical students to practice on them, whereas private patients want 'the best/an attending physician/someone with an MD' and are less willing to do so (I heard this from a current resident). Why else would public vs. private doctors/hospitals be a consideration?
 

notdeadyet

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Will someone elaborate on this private vs. public doctors affiliation strength/weakness?
Sorry if my post wasn't clear. It was meant to be dripping in sarcasm.

You're right about the advantage of a school's affiliation with a public hospital. And by "affiliation", I don't mean that they are listed on the web site, I mean a place that is really the stomping ground of a particular school. You get a much more diverse patient body, you have a lot more leeway as to what you can do as a student, and you get a better exposure to pathology. I won't dwell on the public service aspect, as that may not e your thing.

I don't know Yale's affiliations well enough, but I'm sure that they must have some exposure to a county facility or public hospital. If Kaiser is their main gig, I can't imagine that it's their only one.

UCSF Medical center is a great hospital and is wonderful for tertiary care. But UCSF students also have the run of SF General, the only level 1 trauma center in SF and county hospital. You will have exposure to both places, but can structure your time to spend most of it at SFGH if that's your preference. It's a nice balance.

As to the exposure to private medicine, you will have it at just about any medical school. Big HMOs and small practices like having medical students around, so you won't have any shortage of opportunities at most schools, if you find some advantage to the private route. Personally, I don't think there's any clinical advantage to the private route. The only gain is exposure to the private system, which you can get pretty quickly through any medical school. I'd personally rather focus medical school time on clinical skills and leave learning about different companies EMR systems and billing practices for later down the pipe.
 

Willy38

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Both are great options and its splitting hairs at this point. I'm also surprised at how many times this decision has been made among my classmates (just as I'm sure there are a number of SF students who've chosen it over Yale also).

After speaking with a number of the cross-admits in our class, the common thread seems to be interests outside of traditional medicine. If you want to do something tangential to medicine I would venture to say that Yale and its associated strengths (and networks) outside of the traditional medical world are considerable advantages to think about. If you are more interested in pure academia or clinical medicine and want to live in an awesome west coast city then SF is probably more you're flavor.

This is not to say that both institutions don't have the resources of the other (yale with academia and SF with non-traditional medical interests) but I would say their respective strengths are somewhat different.

Best of luck with your decision and good luck separating the wheat from the chaff on here.
 
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Cyberdyne 101

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Both are great options and its splitting hairs at this point. I'm also surprised at how many times this decision has been made among my classmates (just as I'm sure there are a number of SF students who've chosen it over Yale also).

After speaking with a number of the cross-admits in our class, the common thread seems to be interests outside of traditional medicine. If you want to do something tangential to medicine I would venture to say that Yale and its associated strengths (and networks) outside of the traditional medical world are considerable advantages to think about. If you are more interested in pure academia or clinical medicine and want to live in an awesome west coast city then SF is probably more you're flavor.

This is not to say that both institutions don't have the resources of the other (yale with academia and SF with non-traditional medical interests) but I would say their respective strengths are somewhat different.

Best of luck with your decision and good luck separating the wheat from the chaff on here.
This guy graduated from medical school four years ago.
 
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