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View Full Version : NYC or Chicago on med student budget???



Chi2NYC?
April 29th, 2007, 10:09 AM
Hi folks.

I've been in Chicago for several years now, and it's time for me to think about where I want to be for medical school. My Chicago option is at the University of Chicago, where I can get a room in a 2bd/1ba apartment on the South Side of the city (10+ minutes by car from where the action is in the city) and end up $150,000 in education loan debt (after partial scholarship). The New york option is to attend NYU, live in a dorm (single rooms but shared bathroom/kitchen) in Murray Hill, and end up $240,000 in education loan debt. After rent is paid at either place (housing costs would be the same, btw), I would have about $10,000 per year to spend on food and entertainment.

I like Chicago okay. I love it in the summer, but I feel the winter is too much for me (originally from a southern state). I would like it better if I could live in a part of the city with more nightlife opportunities and better public transit, but that's not where the school is located. So I'd have to drive to get to the fun stuff. From the few times I've visited, I think I would like Midtown Manhattan better, mostly because there's more to do within walking distance. I don't mind living in a dorm rather than an apartment to get this.

Any opinions one way or the other? Is living in Manhattan now worth the extra $90,000 of education debt at about 7% interest (I hope to make around 200k per year as a doctor)? Is Manhattan significantly warmer than Chicago in the winter? With housing/utility costs out of the equation, can I live just as well in Manhattan as I would in Chicago on 10k per year?

Thanks in advance for your help!

lofter1
April 29th, 2007, 10:24 AM
During Med School won't you be so busy that it hardly matters (from a cultural / lifestyle POV) if you're in Chicago or NYC?

Is the value of the degree from NYU worth the additional $100 in costs? I don't have that information so I can't tell you the answer -- but if the training / professional experience is similar between NYU <> U of C then why saddle yourself with all that additional debt?

Chi2NYC?
April 29th, 2007, 10:48 AM
During Med School won't you be so busy that it hardly matters (from a cultural / lifestyle POV) if you're in Chicago or NYC?

Is the value of the degree from NYU worth the additional $100 in costs? I don't have that information so I can't tell you the answer -- but if the training / professional experience is similar between NYU <> U of C then why saddle yourself with all that additional debt?

good point.

i'd say the value of the degree is the same at either school.

the way i see it, the limited time i'll have for fun stuff is a factor in favor of extra debt at nyu. from the south side of chicago, i'll probably spend at least an hour total per week just commuting to parts of the town where i'd want to hang out (and deal with parking, most likely). i imagine that in murray hill in nyc, on the other hand, i can spend most of that same amount of time already at the bar (also, nyu has a free shuttle bus to the main campus in the village, so that could save money). does this make sense?

Scraperfannyc
April 29th, 2007, 01:10 PM
Perhaps you should ask yourself where you want to live and work after you graduate. If you want NYC, NYU would make this easier. If you want Chicago, the Univ. Chicago will make this easier. A big factor that determines where you get jobs these days is who you know.

Scraperfannyc
April 29th, 2007, 01:14 PM
Also, if harsh winters is a big factor, Emory near Atlanta or west coast schools like UCSF are good. Again, ask yourself where you may want to ultimately work and live.

Lance75
April 29th, 2007, 01:21 PM
Isn't the Pritzker School at the University of Chicago considered far and away the better program?

I also think it's ranked higher. Not that I think rankings matter that much (if at all), but seriously, unless you absolutely hate Chicago for some reason, then it's kind of a no-brainer to go with the more prestigious and cheaper option.

Chi2NYC?
April 29th, 2007, 01:54 PM
Isn't the Pritzker School at the University of Chicago considered far and away the better program?

I also think it's ranked higher. Not that I think rankings matter that much (if at all), but seriously, unless you absolutely hate Chicago for some reason, then it's kind of a no-brainer to go with the more prestigious and cheaper option.

u of chicago does carry a more nationally recognized name in medicine (like cornell or columbia), but i'm interested in emergency medicine and em docs i've talked to have told me that either school would serve me equally well for that area of medicine. i also think i'd like to do residency training in nyc, and for that the nyu connections would probably count for as much as the u of chicago name.

Chi2NYC?
April 29th, 2007, 02:01 PM
Isn't the Pritzker School at the University of Chicago considered far and away the better program?

I also think it's ranked higher. Not that I think rankings matter that much (if at all), but seriously, unless you absolutely hate Chicago for some reason, then it's kind of a no-brainer to go with the more prestigious and cheaper option.

and i would add that i am pretty unhappy with the dismal chicago winter and the school's location. so a big question for this thread is whether i would be much happier overall in midtown manhattan, and whether that extra happiness would be worth the extra debt.

media35
April 29th, 2007, 02:19 PM
fyi--my brother went to Johns Hopkins, also wanted ER medicine, found that the real nitty-gritty ER experience was not in Manhattan but in Queens, Bronx--Manhattan is "too safe" for the gunshots and such.

He ended up with a residency at Emory in Atlanta where the hospitals, Grady, had a great ER team, lots of trauma with auto accidents,burns, and gunshots. Good experience. He also changed his mind about ER medicine and went into public health.

His opinion would be don't saddle yourself with debt, the money "ain't that good", and you never get out of the books in medical school.

Schadenfrau
April 29th, 2007, 04:20 PM
Winters in NYC are pretty godawful, I don't think midtown Manhattan is as fun as you seem to think, and the University of Chicago is a much better school. All signs point to staying in Chicago.

lofter1
April 29th, 2007, 07:41 PM
You're talking $100,000 ...

How long will it take you to pay that off?

And how much will it really cost you?

Med school is over in a few years. Debt like that can last a lifetime.

To me the choice is a no-brainer (based on the additional info you've given): CHICAGO

But it seems that you have your sights set on NYC -- and are looking for someone to back you up ...

Chi2NYC?
April 29th, 2007, 08:47 PM
You're talking $100,000 ...

How long will it take you to pay that off?

And how much will it really cost you?

Med school is over in a few years. Debt like that can last a lifetime.

To me the choice is a no-brainer (based on the additional info you've given): CHICAGO

But it seems that you have your sights set on NYC -- and are looking for someone to back you up ...

yeah, i think i am mostly subconsciously searching for affirmation. thanks for calling me out.

so let me just say that i do think i would be happier at nyu for the following reasons:

1) more stuff to do right around the school/wouldn't need to have a car.
2) winter isn't quite as horrible as chicago from what i'm told so far.
3) i think i fit in better at nyu and i liked the students better.
4) new experience (been in chicago for many years, and i'm pretty sure i'd like nyc better based on my visits there).
5) wanted to be in nyc for a while now and i'm only getting older.
6) i think i could live off the 10k for non-housing expenses equally well in nyc as i could in chicago (maybe better, since i wouldn't have a car).

so what i would appreciate (and have appreciated!) feedback on are:

a) are items 1-6 in the above list true/accurate/realistic?
b) will those items in the list be worth paying the extra $100k ($140k after interest, when i'm able to start making $200k to pay off the loans).

i expect/hope to make $200k as a physician. i didn't grow up with much money and i'm a pretty simple person. i think i could pay off my total debt from nyu (about $300k) in six years (i figure if i make $140k after taxes and pay $50k toward loans, i'd have $90k left over to live in nyc or wherever i'm at. sounds okay to me.). but who knows how i'll feel about the debt six years from now (in my thirties)? maybe other people have a better perspective on this level of education debt . . .

lofter1
April 29th, 2007, 10:20 PM
have you considered the costs that you will incur after graduation in order to set up your medical practice (space, equipment, insurance, salaries, etc)?

You might want to investigate how much those costs will run you and then re-do your calculations. I think you'll find that there will be less cash on hand for the first few years post-grad than what you are now contemplating.

Ninjahedge
April 30th, 2007, 09:09 AM
Although I would recommend NYC over Chicago, I would also side with the others here in saying it is not worth the difference in debt.

If you can find another school in the NYC area that would be less costly, I would point you in that direction. There is also Boston, Atlanta, and SF that I would recommend over Chicago for things to do.

But then again, you also have the simple fact that Med School is burn-out city. You stand to do better without distractions. Some place that maybe has a bar or caf&#233; that you would use as your crash space, but not a town where you spend 3 years in it only to regret not being able to do anything since you were so busy.

Just remember that the social scene will not just up and disappear when you get out of med school, and that the women (if you are a guy) at NYU would probably prefer hanging out with a doctor/intern rather than a med student... ;)

Lance75
April 30th, 2007, 07:31 PM
If your grades and board scores were good enough for the U of C, then you must have other options. Are there any other schools you're considering?

Seems like you really dislike cold weather...maybe you'd be happier going to med school on the west coast.

Slightly off topic, but Atlanta's awful. My vote for worst major city in North America.

No charm, no character--about the only thing Atlanta has going for it is the fact that it's dirt cheap.

lbjefferies
April 30th, 2007, 09:33 PM
I say go to school in New York. Trust me, it'll be worth the extra money in the long run. It is true that Med school is hard and you will spend plenty of time in the library, but there will be many hours of free time as well. Free time in New York trumps free time anywhere else. Med school is very stressful and I believe it is is critical that you be in a city where you will be happy. My suggestion is that you go to NYC for med school and residency, then go back down south as an attending where you can make 300-400 grand (up to twice what you can make in the northeast). With the cheap cost of living you can pay that debt off in three years max. Added to everything is the fact that Belleview/NYU may be the best ER residency on the east coast, and for me this would be a no-brainer. I'd be packing my bags right now. Good luck!

Front_Porch
April 30th, 2007, 09:46 PM
I'm no good at helping you decide between Chicago and New York (but, wait, that's not true, I've chosen to live in Manhattan so that's a vote right there) but I can do amortization schedules.

At 7%, $90K on a thirty-year basis will cost you $700 a month. On a fifteen-year basis, it will cost you $810 a month, and on a ten-year basis, $1,050 a month. You probably don't want to pay it off any faster, because it's cheap "good" debt.

So if the schools are comparable, is it worth $15K a year -- and for you to live in a shoebox -- to be here instead of there? Sure it is, for now; c'mon over.

The only long-term consideration I would throw at you is that I am constantly meeting new entrants to the Manhattan housing market, and those people who thought it was fun in their 20s feel quite poor once they turn 30 and are trying to finance a $1.5 million two-bedroom. $200K long-term will put you in the five boroughs, but if you've got your heart set on prime Manhattan, you will feel priced out by the hedge fund guys in a hurry.

ali r.
{downtown broker}

Chi2NYC?
May 1st, 2007, 12:45 AM
wow. thanks for all the great feedback folks.

i didn't realize it's not always best to pay down cheap debt as fast as possible, but i guess it would make sense if i'm trying to buy a home at the same time. i take to heart how ridiculous the manhattan real estate market is and will probably be in the future (with population increasing). nyu is my only chance to live in midtown for $600 per month (subsidized dorm room). maybe if i get that out of my system in four years, i wouldn't mind buying in an outer borough with lots of debt.

for the person who asked, the other two schools i've been accepted to are albert einstein (in the bronx, same cost as nyu) and university of pittsburgh (waiting on financial aid). application cycle is basically over, so there are no other (warm weather) options.

you sound like you're familiar with medicine, lbjefferies. i could see myself maybe getting my fill of manhattan over eight years of training, and then being tempted away by better pay as i get closer to forty. right now i think i'd prefer to stay, but it's encouraging to know i could have better-paying options that make the debt more manageable.

Chi2NYC?
May 9th, 2007, 02:14 PM
bump, in case there's anything else to add.