Choosing Between Scholarships and Venues

One of my pre-med friends from Houston is faced with a rather unique dilemma involving two schools. He wants to know whether he should matriculate to the University of Louisville or the University of Texas at Houston for medical school. Here’s an excerpt of the message he sent me containing the pros and cons for each school from his perspective:

University of Louisville

  • Pros
    • Nice curriculum
    • Small-medium class size, so personalized attention from faculty, increased cohesiveness among students.
    • Nice dissection labs
    • Full ride scholarship
    • Adventure (moving to a new city)
    • Girlfriend may join him at Louisville with a full ride (graduate with virtually no debt)
    • Students seem happy.
    • The school has been around for at least a hundred years.
      • Huge alumni network
      • Track record of solid students
  • Cons
    • Weather – don’t like snow/ice
    • Behind on technology
      • No recorded lectures
    • Uprooting myself/property to new city, cost of moving, leaving friends/girlfriend behind, support network is gone.
    • Louisville might not be as fun as Houston

University of Texas at Houston

  • Pros
    • Texas Medical Center (TMC)
    • Social network is right here.
    • I know the city, and I love it.
    • Relatively affordable (actually, cheap)
    • Weather is nice all year round.
    • Moving is not so bad (hassle/cost)
    • Collegial atmosphere among students.
      • Laid back
      • Cooperative
    • Technology is on point.
      • Recorded lectures
      • Histology slides on the web
    • Greater chance of a TMC residency
  • Cons
    • No full ride (it’s incredibly hard to turn my back on free money)
    • Curriculum is suspect.
      • I am not a huge fan of studying for a bunch of exams at once. Why not one at a time?
    • Relatively new program. They’re still building their name even though Houston seems on its way up, attracting great faculty, renovating the school, etc.

His advisor told him that it’s a better idea to spend less money on medical school while simultaneously securing a great residency. I’m inclined to agree, as I’ve learned that the meat of medical training occurs during residency. I think he should take the full ride scholarship at Louisville and really focus on maintaining high standards to ultimately come back home and train in the TMC. Sure, having attended UT Houston for medical school may increase the likelihood of him staying home for his training, but I really think the lack of a financial burden will allow him to greatly excel and still come back to the TMC. Best of both worlds.

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  1. When checking out med school, this looks like an awesome place to begin your academic program! The True Blue Campus at St. Georges University.

  2. My friend ended up choosing UT Houston. This is his brief justification:

    I chose Houston! Final answer. I realized that some day I’d have a stinking pile of money, and a full ride would not replace the precious moments at the TMC, or with my homies.

    This works out great for me, since he’ll be across the street. 😀

  3. I did a summer program at Louisville. I would go to Louisville. Yes, the school is out-dated, the library is pretty small, there’s nothing really great to eat around the school. But, the city is great, I found it to be a smaller version of Houston with a better downtown atmosphere, at least in the summer. There was a lot of things to do there, and if you do get bored drive a few minutes to another state, unlike Texas which takes you days, literally. The professors are top-notch, and they seem to be improving the look of the campus because it does look 100 years old. And how can you turn down going to the future home of the 2009 NCAA Basketball National Champions.

    I wonder why they seem to give a lot of full ride scholarships(I know they are big on getting minorities into their school.)

  4. I agree with the Louisville option. Although I tend to believe sometimes that when schools offer full-ride scholarships, it’s due to their need for money – and the only way they get paid is by having students enrolled obviously. Sure, technology may not be as up-to-date as with Houston, but that’s when I tend to think of the “ol’ schoolers” like my doctor who has been practicing medicine for 45 years; and he is still one of the best diagnosticians in the State of Texas. Sure, technology advances are purely awesome, however none of that technology is going to be useful without the doctor’s brain. Also, I think the plus side of Louisville is just getting away from Houston period – you can tell how my thoughts are on this town…:)~ The only thing that would allow me to tolerate Houston is working in the Medical Center, and living out of the city, say somewhere in Sugar Land or Missouri City where most people are respectful of their communities and each other, and take great care of those communities. If it is indeed that the meat of medical training comes at one’s residency, then U of H is not the only option to medicine. Personally, I would have voted for Texas Tech Med. School, but that one wasn’t on there;)~LOL

    • Great points, Brad! I actually know people who choose to stay in Houston only because of the TMC. They despise the weather, the traffic, etc, but in terms of healthcare professions, you really can’t beat Houston. Thanks for the comment. 🙂


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