Pros and Cons of Attending Baylor College of Medicine
Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), the beloved institution responsible for my medical education, has proven to be an amazing place indeed. Many prospective students as well as current interviewees face a point in their application process where they must decide why one school is better than another, and since I’ve now finished 1/3rd of my preclinical studies at BCM, I think some of my readership will find a list of pros and cons to attending Baylor Med pretty useful. 🙂
- Labs are built into the classroom time rather than having them in the afternoon
- Lectures only last from 8 AM – noon
- Only two required courses outside of lab/lecture
- Awesome electives which cater to all sorts of interests
- Integrated, organ-based approach
- Pre-clinicals last 18 months (as oppose to 24) and are on a pass/fail (albeit ranked) system.
- You really can’t appreciate the amount of time you’re not in class until you’re a student.
- My classmates have worked at the NIH, published in journals, worked internationally for non-profit groups, and invented gadgets; however, we tend to also be some of the most laid back students I’ve come across.
- Because of the way you get divided into small groups starting from orientation, there are plenty of student, faculty, and non-faculty mentors you have the opportunity to know.
- Everyone is extremely helpful and there’s a collaborative spirit unlike any other. Upperclassmen are constantly inundating MS-1’s with advice and professors are always open to address questions/concerns about school or life.
- Houston has practically every amenity one could ever need, and the cost of living (especially food) is relatively cheap compared to other large cities around the nation.
- Baylor Med has the lowest average student debt upon graduation compared to any other private medical school in the nation.
- Exam grades
- Since test writers tap into a pool of questions assembled over the years, we don’t get to see our exams unless we schedule a special session to do so.
- Now this really isn’t BCM’s fault, nor does it affect contract parkers like me, but parking in the Texas Medical Center can be pretty tough at times.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- What options do students have for breakfast/lunch?
- Luby’s (gotta love those breakfast tacos/migas) and Starbucks (hey, you’re a med student) are on site. The Texas Medical Center’s commons is less than five minutes away which is essentially a food court with much more variety. If worst comes to worst and you find yourself studying at Baylor around 2 AM, Ben Taub has a McDonald’s that’s open almost 24/7. I may or may not be guilty of exploiting this wonderful fact before exams. 😉
- Does BCM have a gym?
- Yes and no. Although there’s a gym on site (more specifically, on top of garage 6), many students prefer UT Houston’s recreational center due to its vastly superior amenities and relatively close proximity. Plus, since you have to pay for membership at either one, might as well put your money in a better gym. Personally, I only use Baylor’s gym because it has an indoor basketball court while UT Houston’s doesn’t.
- As an out-of-state (OOS) resident, is it possible to ever claim in-state tuition?
- Absolutely! Many OOS students purchase property (ie, a condo), so they can be considered an in-state student beginning in their second year. As if BCM’s tuition wasn’t low enough to begin with. 😉
- Is there a second look weekend for accepted applicants?
- Not at this point. You’ll have to schedule a private tour and meeting with the dean by calling admissions.
- Will Baylor Med’s tuition go up if/when they merge with Rice University?
- No. Baylor Med has an agreement with the state of Texas to educate a certain number of doctors each year at a fixed tuition. Our tuition will remain the lowest in the nation. 🙂
- Do Macs work on Baylor’s network?
- Macs will work with everything on the BCM network (since it’s all Internet based) with the exception of Enounce, a plugin to help you speed up and slow down RealPlayer video streams (helpful when reviewing for exams or trying to catch up on lectures you’ve missed).
- What does parking cost?
- I can only talk about contract parking, which is probably the most expensive parking option, since I currently have it. It’s ~$175 per month. You can read more about it on the Texas Medical Center’s website. There are other options like “park and ride” (parking at a remote lot and taking a shuttle in). There’s also free parking in front of Baylor after 6 PM.
- Where do most people live?
- The overwhelming majority of my classmates live within five miles of Baylor Med at various apartments/condos. Fortunately, transportation throughout the medical center reaches out to most of these complexes through the Metro Light Rail, bus, and/or shuttle, so traveling to and from school is convenient. Some popular places include Lanesborough, Greenbriar, and Valencia.
- As a first year, what is the clinical exposure like? What are you allowed to do? Are there any free, student-run clinics that you can volunteer at?
- The Patient, Physician, and Society (PPS) course you’re required to take matches you with a preceptor, a physician in the community who has elected to take on a medical student to practice his/her skills on real patients, starting in your first month. In addition, the Emergency Medicine Interest Group (EMIG) has a program (for work-study, if you qualify, or just volunteering) with Ben Taub General Hospital for students to work in the emergency center. Many of my classmates have taken advantage of this opportunity to draw blood, start IVs, start EKGs, suture, etc. BCM students also volunteer at the HOMES clinic.
Please leave a comment if you’d like a specific question(s) answered! 🙂