Thoughts on Schools

Hey everyone.  Hope you guys are all well.

I’ve started down the path to selecting medical schools to apply to and I figured that I had winnowed the list to a thin enough crew to warrant asking for some of your thoughts on schools.  I don’t know a lot of people in the non-blogosphere that go to any of these schools, so I’m hoping you guys can give me some additional insight.

The initial criteria for me is location – if I’m going to live in one location for 7-8 years, it needs to be someplace where I’m not going to go crazy.  I’m not going to live in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment deep in the heart of NYC and I have no plan on living in the deep south.  The Dr. Lady, who has a heavy influence here, has helped me reduce the list of places to apply to the following locations:

Stanford University
University of Colorado
Loyola University
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine
University of Kansas
University of Michigan
University of Minnesota
Mayo Medical School
Creighton University
University of Nebraska
Darthmouth (she is really not a fan of this one)
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Duke University
Oregon Health Sciences
Meharry Medical College
Vanderbilt University
University of Utah
Baylor College of Medicine
University of Vermont
University of Washington
Medical College of Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin

I’m strongly considering a dual MD / PhD degree and I would really like to wind up working in academia after I’m finished with everything. I’d really appreciate your thoughts on these locations. Some of these places I’m familiar with, but others are a complete mystery to me. Dartmouth, Duke University, and Vanderbilt are all places that look to have fine academic programs, but I have no idea what life is like there. What do you guys think?

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12 Responses

  1. I interviewed MD/PhD at a fair number of these schools. If you would like, go ahead and email me and I can give you more information on the interview process and the students. 🙂

  2. I should also add, I was accepted at a good bit of these schools-so I did also second look at them too 🙂

  3. Awesome. I’ll shoot you an email later today. Thanks.

  4. did my undergrad at wisconsin, and lived in madison for several years on top of it. can’t speak to the merits of the medical school — i ended up moving to CA for that — but the city is a really lovely place to live. it’s definitely wisconsin and the midwest, but being a college town and the state capitol you get the liberal bent and lots of cultural influences that aren’t elsewhere in the state. best (producers only!) farmer’s market in the country around the capitol on saturdays. spirited big 10 football (and hockey!) fans — go badgers! good k12 schools. winters winnow the natives from the imports =) but still are wonderful (then again, i’m a native…). everyone i know who has lived in madison has said that it offers the best quality of life of anywhere they’ve ever lived (disregarding employment and family proximity).

  5. Don’t do U of Utah. Lived in Utah most of my life, currently live in the deep south. It you don’t want the deep south you’ll find that Utah’s atmosphere is a lot like the deep south. Also they won’t take you unless you have a connection to Utah, are an URM or are doing MD/Phd. You’ll find there class is overwhelming homogeneous, as is the patient population. Also Meharry, don’t do it.

    • Am planning to apply MD / PhD, but their research opportunities are not as extensive as some of the other schools.

      I have zero interest in the deep south – Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama….those entire states got eliminated immediately.

      Also, Meharry got whacked off of the short list earlier today, but thanks for the advice.

      Currently, the University of Washington, Stanford, the University of Colorado, and potentially Oregon Health Sciences are at the top of the list. But, I’m only a little bit of the way into my list.

  6. Rosalind Franklin has MD-PhD? I didn’t think it was that caliber a school.

    No love for the northeast?

    • Most schools actually have an MD / PhD program now, but not all are part of the MSTP program. I’ve eliminated all the Chicago schools at this point though.

      My girl really hates the idea of living in the northeast part of the country, but Darthmouth and Yale are both still on my list of school to consider.

      Did you apply strictly to MD / PhD programs are did you do a combination of both? I know that many schools will consider you for both, if you aren’t accepted to their program.

      • I applied both MD-PhD and MD-only depending on what the school offered for PhD.

      • If all the schools I’m considering have departments I feel I’d be interested in, is there anything wrong with applying exclusively to MD / PhD programs?

        The reason I ask is that I’m pretty sure that if I wound up going the MD only route, I would wind up doing a post-doc or a research fellowship later anyway. I’d much rather do them together.

  7. Just finished skimming your blog and found it very insightful. I am doing my undergrad at Vanderbilt now and cannot say enough about how much I adore Nashville; I have spoken with numerous VU Med grads who rave about their time there as well. Additionally, I am from Utah and agree with the previous poster, I would move back only if I had no other options after graduation.

  8. My heart bleeds Maroon & Gold – GO GOPHERS!!!

    I know many of the medicinal teaching faculty there, as well as some of the departmental directors (they research, teach, and treat patients – often in that order).

    The U is my first choice and always will be. Mayo would be a close second if I had gotten all “A”s… my great aunt was the nurse for Dr. Mayo so my connections to there are pretty strong.

    Personal connections aside:

    U of MN is a very close community despite that there are over 3.5M people living in the Twin Cities, and the med school is very close as well. Teaching faculty are amazing, helpful, and will push you. They expect that you have volunteered not just to put it on your application but that it is a part of who you are. Minnesota is much like that – volunteerism is largely expected of anyone who lives there – medical or not.

    Mayo is what Mayo is. Formerly #1 school in the country it has slipped. I would not let that dissuade you. However, if you are going to apply there, things that I’ve noticed from both the medical side as well as the physician side:

    On the medical side, it appears that not many physicians have gone onto get their PhD. However, I believe about 95% of the physicians are specialty and to my knowledge, that is expected when you are a student there. You will specialize, you will be trained, and you will be honored to wear the “I graduated from the Mayo Medical School.” Many of the specialists are… well, … arrogant, egotistical jerks who have forgotten why they went to school; or perhaps, were just to smart to do anything but medicine. They are fantastic treating physicians, but their bedside manner and public personalities suck. Mayo is aware of that and working on helping change that perception.

    My dad was flown on life-flight to Mayo from a surrounding city. He’d apparently had a heart attack and upon falling to the floor, ruptured his spleen. I was told immediately and made the short drive to Rochester from Minneapolis. When he came out of surgery I was fascinated by ALL the machines hooked up to him. Beeping, blinking, whirring machines… I asked the ICU doc how he was doing. ICU doc gave me the standard “he’s fine, we’re doing this” in layman’s terms. Then I asked more scientific questions, and the doc asked me how I knew. Premed, I said.

    At that point, it was no longer patient’s daughter, it was prospective medical school student and with that, he took all the time I needed and wanted to understand. He asked me probing questions about how an enzyme might affect this or that, then asked what I knew about markers and when I labeled them and answered correctly, he smiled. I, as a premed, had made a Mayo doc smile because I was right! 🙂

    That’s what I would expect of Mayo. A close knit faculty with their students, pushing them to understand, to treat, to be kind.

    One other thing I expect of Mayo – that their physicians work together to solve a patient’s crisis. Generally, people don’t go to Rochester unless they are very ill (except for those that are born and raised there, then Mayo is like any other city clinic/hospital… except that it is Mayo).

    Last, Mayo is the largest employer in this small Midwestern town. Everyone knows everyone else. Everyone knows everyone else’s business. And Rochester, like much of Minnesota, is ultra conservative in behavior.

    Hope that helps (should have made this my own blog post! lol)

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