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Canada vs. Ivy League


Guest PLT

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It looks like I'm going to have to make a decision between a school like UAlberta and Yale.

I feel that this is a very personal choice but I'm posting here in order to just have anybody with an opinion share it.

 

Yale is more expensive (understatement), and its much farther from Alberta even than Toronto would be in every sense.

 

However, Yale provides opportunities that are extremely intriguing and unique, and it really does seem to open residency and "future" doors for its students.

 

I suppose my question here is (and please answer if you have any opinion at all) ; Is it worth it? Is it an amazing must-have experience to attend Yale and are the doors that open that tremendously valuable?

 

I have so far no interest at all in any particular specialty/family practice and I have absolutely no idea where I'd like to be living in the future (although I certainly never imagined myself raising kids in the US).

 

Thank you

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Guest ssc427

I would say no, unless you are rich. I’m turning down an acceptance at an Ivy for UBC so I’m somewhat biased. Yale does have a very nice curriculum, and while I did not apply there I felt I most of the things that I liked about other ‘top’ US schools I did visit could be found in Canada. And things which I liked that did not exist in Canada (the cities, research opportunities and patient diversity) were not worth the extra ~200K that a US MD costs. However, If I were filthy rich I might do my MD in the US just for the experience.

 

But if you want to practice in Canada a Yale MD will do absolutely nothing for you. So I’d say it comes down to money. Can you afford it? If yes, then why not? Be a sport and give your Canadian spot to a poor Canadian.

 

Really, the question you are asking is this versus this

 

You decide.

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It's up to you, really. For me, it was well-worth the money to go to the US for the experience. Canadian schools are great and they will get you to where you want to go, but the experience for me to live downtown in Chicago for four years was awesome. I think it's important to open your eyes sometimes to the world. But if you care only about the endpoint, then I suggest you stay in Canada.

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Guest ssc427
but the experience for me to live downtown in Chicago for four years was awesome.

 

I would agree with that, or New York, or Boston, or SF... but New Haven?

 

And moo I assume (possibly incorrectly) you were fairly well off when you went south, but would you honestly advise someone who does not have the existing funds to incur an extra 200 K debt just for the ‘experience’. Why not do it in residency or fellowship when you actually get paid to be there?

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No neither my parents nor I was well-off. My parents are middle class, my dad is a programmer, my mom a bookkeeper. I sucked it up and borrowed money. And back then, the dollar was low (in the 65 cent range) so things were really tough.

 

I wouldn't go to the US for residency because of all the hoops you have to jump through to practice in Canada, if that is what you eventually desire.

 

Ultimately it's up to you. People desire different things. I was really adamant on going to the US for med school (so much so that I only applied to UBC in Canada). I always wanted the experience of living in the US and I would've gone there for college too, only I didn't think an undergraduate education was worth the expense (hard to repay loans when you won't have a guaranteed six figure income like you would after graduating from med school). Now that I've experienced the US health care system and have lived in the US for four years, I now know that I would rather live and work in Canada and the Canadian system. Otherwise, I would always wonder...

 

I know people (Americans) who turned down American schools to go to Australia and Ireland for the experience as well, even if it meant having to jump through hoops to get back to the US. If I were American, I probably wouldn't do that, knowing that it would be difficult to get back (much easier than going back to Canada). But for them it was worth it...

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Guest ssc427
No neither my parents nor I was well-off. My parents are middle class, my dad is a programmer, my mom a bookkeeper. I sucked it up and borrowed money. And back then, the dollar was low (in the 65 cent range) so things were really tough.

 

Wow. And still you are coming back to Canada for residency/practice. I think you deserve extra kudos for that.

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Well I also did work at a union job for three years during undergrad in the health care field, making decent money, in what most people would consider a "good job." Not to mention I lived at home the whole time in college and the fact that I didn't have to pay a single cent for tuition, so it wasn't like I went to med school poor (but I wasn't rich either). My point is, it's possible to go to a US school and survive financially.

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Guest konverse

ssc: you talk a lot about money. and although debt and finances are valid points, this point of view is very black and white. and somewhat negative and dry. understandably, you have done a few degrees and have a family etc etc, so your perspective is different.

 

what do you want to do PLT? what is your situation?

 

i personally like to approach my decisions by evaluating opportunities and other "intangible" type variables against cost. yale is an ivy league university for a reason. true, it is located in new haven, but i'm fairly sure yale's borders don't stop there. i think it would be a good experience learning with and from fellow ivy leaguers, and more importantly, you would get a unique exposure just by being in america. think about the perspective on healthcare and medical practice that you could bring to your class, or later to your colleagues <wherever it may be>. think about the people you would meet on your trail. these are example of intangibles. what do they mean to you? on the financial side, maybe also consider the relative strength of the canadian dollar against the greenback. when in recent history has the cost of obtaining an american ivy league education been so, "cheap"?

 

i'm not taking anything away from canadian schools. they are downright amazing and i have my fingers crossed that i get off a waitlist in fact. this is due however, to my personal reasons but if it does not happen, then i will happily be going to chicago to start med school this fall.

 

good luck to you.

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Guest rads

Definitely goto Yale. This is a once in a lifetime experience.

 

You won't regret it. Admittedly, New Haven isn't the best of cities, but it's got a great undergrad campus, amazing grad schools... and NYC a train ride away.

 

So what if it won't help you when -- if -- you come back to Canada. You'll have opportunities there that you'd never have at U of A.

 

You can't compare a Ferrari to a Yale t-shirt. An Ivy league education is priceless. You also may be too young to realize what pedigree is and the benefits of it.

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Guest Gavanshir
Now that I've experienced the US health care system and have lived in the US for four years, I now know that I would rather live and work in Canada and the Canadian system.

 

Hey moo, do you mind sharing your reasons for this?

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Guest ssc427

I dunno, I have a few friends and have talked to a few docs who have gone to top US schools. When I ask "would you do it again if you could have gone elsewhere for 1/4 the cost?" In general, the people who have had their way paid (sub 60K debt) say it's worth it and you shouldn't worry about the money. The people who are facing the enormous (200+ K) debt say they'd think again.

 

Also, it seems to me that at the end of the road, the practicing docs, have people from all paths with little correlation to where they went to school. So you’ll find generic med school grads working alongside Harvard grads for the same salary, the same patients, the same respect etc... all the time.

 

PLT, I am not trying to talk you out of UofA. I do think you should go to Yale if you can pull it off. I just hope you don’t come out of the experience thinking you are of a better ‘pedigree’ than anyone else.

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Guest rads

ssc427. I agree with you that letting pedigree get to your head is not the right attitude. I was mentioning pedigree for your children. It'll be that much easier for your kids to get into Yale or another Ivy...

 

Yeah, the brand name of the school rarely matters in the real world. It's what you do when you're there that matters.

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I had one attending at Northwestern who went to American University of the Caribbean (he's Canadian to boot).

 

No, it doesn't matter where you go to school. You can get a very good education wherever you go in North America. And in the end, you will save money going to UofA. But I believe, and so do a lot of people, that life is more than about money. Although graduating with a 200k+ debt sounds daunting, over the long run, it isn't. And even as I enter residency and ponder how long it will take me to repay this debt, I have never regretted my decision to train at Northwestern. I made some wonderful friends down there, learned a lot and had a great time. I saw and experienced a different health care system and will bring back to Canada a fresh and new perspective on medicine. Even culturally, the US is different on very many levels and it was cool to experience that (the excitement of college sports; having debates on American politics; listening to Americans bash their own health care system and praise Canada's, etc.)

 

As for why I'm coming back, here are some reasons:

 

The US health care system isn't perfect. A common misconception among Canadians is that the poorest of the poor get shafted in the US. This is wrong. The poor get great care... because they are covered by medicaid. It's the people in the lower-middle class, those who make enough to be not eligible for govt aid, yet don't have insurance from employers or are self-employed. Many of these people are young, out of college grads who rarely (never) see a doctor and hence don't feel the need to get insurance.

 

Also, Americans are litigous. They sue for everything and malpractice was something I didn't want to deal with.

 

Finally, Canada is home. Culturally, I realized that I am pretty Canadian, even though when I open my mouth, I speak with a strong midwest accent now. (People on my Canadian interviews have told me that on more than one occasion.)

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Guest canuck0000

Honestly, it's really up to your own personal choice whether you choose U of A or Yale. As far as medical education, you can't really go wrong with either one. Actually, you can't really go wrong with any school in Canada - the quality of education is roughly the same across the board, though the programs will differ. I'm not sure I'd say the same about all US schools, but since we're talking Yale, the medical program will definitely not be a problem.

 

There's a lot to weigh here obviously. The biggest factor is probably money (unless you've got some rich rich parents). Assuming that you have not qualified for financial aid (if you have, you might save some 5-10 thousand a year or more - something you need to factor into your decision), four years at Yale will probably set you back $250-260 grand when you include tuition and living expenses (this is the figure I got from Washington University in St Louis, which I would gather to be roughly what Yale's figure would be as well). U of A, on the other hand, will be roughly $44 -50 grand in tuition over the same period while living expenses (I don't know if you'd be living with family or not) would probably run another $72 grand (estimating on this one...not too certain about it). So it's about $250-260 grand US versus $116-122 grand CAD.

 

As far as the doors that each school would open for you, that would depend on a lot of factors. One is whether you want to pursue a lot of research in future. Both U of A and Yale have strong research programs, but Yale has more of an emphasis than most schools in North America on research with the requirement of a thesis based on your own research as part of your MD there. The area of research would also be important, as both schools have different areas of strength.

 

Another factor would be, as previous posters have mentioned, whether you wish to practice in the US or in Canada. Certainly the school you graduate from has some impact on your residency match in the States (though perhaps not as overwhelmingly as some might think). However, in Canada, having graduated from Yale probably wouldn't give you much more of a boost (if any) than if you had come from U of A. Also, US residencies do accept Canadian med students, if the US is indeed your goal.

 

I guess the best advice I could give would be the same advice my brother gave me, which was to make a comparison chart between schools that you were accepted at. Write down all the pros and cons, as well as the characteristics of each school: ie. cost, surrounding area, medical program, future opportunities. Sit down and weigh these different options. It's definitely not an easy decision. No matter which school you choose, I'm sure you'll wonder think about the one you don't choose as well (I know I am). On the positive side, whichever you choose will be an awesome school.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest studentz

You should get financial aid from Yale, no? I thought I saw that they do not restrict aid to US citizens and all accepted students are eligible.

 

I would go with Yale if the finances aren't backbreaking. $100 grand down is nothing in the long-run; my mom works at a bank and always comes home amazed at the mortgages people (who earn far less than you will) take out.

 

The curriculum at Yale is one of the most unique in North America, it is much mroe flexible than anything in Canada and you don't have to worry about grades for two years. You can do joint degrees, take time to do research--a whole year for a howard Hughes if you want-- and more elective opportunities. While it may not "help" you if you want to come back here, it won't hurt and it sure as hell will help you in the US.

 

When I helped at the UofT interviews I spoke with someone who had been accepted by Columbia and was trying to make a similar decision (wrt UofT). While Canadian schools are great, we have to be realistic in that this country does not have an equivalent to the top Ivy schools. They have unimaginable resources. Moreover, the legacy thing is real and important; that whole northeastern US sytem is a bit inbred and if you do well you will likely land the residency of your dreams there should you decide to stay. The classmates you will have at Yale will likely be leaders in American medicine during the time you are in practice. It's the only chance you'll have to do something like this so consider the experience you want to have over the next four years. If you get a reasonable aid package, i say take it! Congrats!

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