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Medical School Debt - Impact On School Choice

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Hi! 

I currently have offers from two schools, UofT and one school in my hometown. I did my undergrad in my hometown living at home and if I choose to attend medical school here would continue to do the same. 

 

I really like UofT's program, the new curriculum seems exciting as well as the hospitals and of course the city. 

 

However, when making my 4 year expense projection I realized the debt I would incur at UofT is substantially higher. It just scared to me to think about that much debt. I basically paid my way through undergrad with scholarships and a job. I understand medical school is expensive and many many students also will have debt. 

 

But my question is does the debt amount matter, should it be a factor to consider for your school choice. I really like UofT's program but I also want to save money. I'm currently at a standstill with my choice, any advice would be appreciated before I make my decision! 

 

:)

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I am probably one of the most frugal people on this forum - that is just the type of person I am. I loath debit with a passion. I despise loans of any kind. I still don't think the debit should be a serious consideration in picking the right school for you. This is one of those few times when you are making a critical investment and you have make sure you get the most out of it. 

 

You have to pick a school that will let you succeed to the point that you will achieve the next step for you, and become the best doctor you can be. In the end that leads to a greater chance of getting your residency position of choice and going from there.

 

That is not to say the debit isn't an annoyance to say the least, just that it is overwhelmed in my mind by more important considerations. 

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Both UWO and UofT will provide excellent education and opportunities.  It is too early to say whether one school or another could give you a better personal path 6 years from now. Hindsight is always easier.

 

You will be paying $1200-$1800 a month in rent costs alone in Toronto if you want to live in a decent place near UoT.  That is $60K-$80K more than living at home rent-free over 4 years.  Your food and other expenses would be higher on your own as well.

 

Getting through Med school with less debt is a good thing.

 

What I thought first of though when I read your query, was whether it may be better for you for personal growth to get out and live on your own.  That of course could also happen in London as well sometime through Med school.  That decision is very individual specific and you and your friends could best make that call.

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It's definitely too early to tell - but if you want to go back to your home community for residency and ultimately to practice, it might be better to stay at your home school regardless of costs. Having family close by (if you have a good relationship with them) will also be really helpful come those really stressful clerkship years.

 

Ultimately you can't go wrong with either schools - and you will be able to pay off the debt. If having that level of additional debt will be a great source of personal stress for you, then it may be better to stay at your home school?

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If you think you want to end up in your home city to practice, you are far better off to remain in your home city. However, if you think you will want to practice in TO, then start off there now as over the years, you will build up contacts and network in TO. As others have said, all medical schools in Canada are fine. I've heard, but do not know as fact, that U/T has a competitive component amongst the classmates, whereas in my school, we all collaborated, helped each other and it was a wonderful experience. 

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Thank you for the advice everyone! Not having that many friends and family in medicine, it's tough to get perspective about this issue - glad this forum exists! 

 

I agree money should not be an issue motivating me to choose either school, both schools are great and I'm glad to have received the chance to consider either one. 

 

I'm not sure where I would like to be in my future, I think I will use medical school to decide that fact. My goals are met with Western, so I will be choosing to stay in London! 

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It would be one thing if your home community was out west or in Atlantic Canada, but for the purposes of networking for future practice opportunities (less of a factor in medical school than residency), it's hard to argue that London vs Toronto is any great separation :)

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Thank you for the advice everyone! Not having that many friends and family in medicine, it's tough to get perspective about this issue - glad this forum exists! 

 

I agree money should not be an issue motivating me to choose either school, both schools are great and I'm glad to have received the chance to consider either one. 

 

I'm not sure where I would like to be in my future, I think I will use medical school to decide that fact. My goals are met with Western, so I will be choosing to stay in London! 

 

Ok sounds good! Congrats, you will have a great education there (although I am biased ha!), and Lactic Folly is quite correct in my mind - you will have excellent networking opportunities at that school.

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I chose Western over U of T for a couple of reasons and finances did play a role (the number one reason was to stay out of the anatomy lab as much as possible though).  In London, I paid about $700/month for my one bedroom.  I now pay nearly 2.5x that for a smaller apartment, and more than a third of my salary goes directly to rent.

 

I love Toronto and I plan to settle down here, and now that I have a salary it's totally worth it.  I desperately wanted to live in Toronto during medical school as well and I absolutely hated London.

 

But going to U of T would have massively increased my debt load (realistically at least another $20k, I feel like) and I just didn't feel comfortable with that.  So I lived in a city that I didn't like (to say the least) and I got a good education at a school I liked with lots of awesome people.  I don't regret it at all.  Western is a great med school with an awesome vibe.

 

And I did end up matching to U of T for residency - did an elective here and felt that I did sufficient networking such that it worked out for me.

 

Wouldn't have stayed in London if you paid me (wholly related to the city though - I loved Western as a med school and I loved the department of psychiatry - I had amazing staff and mentors there that I miss).

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Thank you for the advice everyone! Not having that many friends and family in medicine, it's tough to get perspective about this issue - glad this forum exists! 

 

I agree money should not be an issue motivating me to choose either school, both schools are great and I'm glad to have received the chance to consider either one. 

 

I'm not sure where I would like to be in my future, I think I will use medical school to decide that fact. My goals are met with Western, so I will be choosing to stay in London! 

 

Congrats! You're going to have a great experience at Western.

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