The Good & Bad of University of Minnesota

by R
(Minneapolis, MN)

So I am just finishing up my second year at the University of Minnesota. I have developed some very strong opinions about this school, both good and bad. I would assume most people reading this would be happy just to get in anywhere (I know I was!) so it may not deter or attract anyone, but just some things to keep in mind.

Good things first. Despite what "US news reports" would have you believe, the University of Minnesota is a great medical school, and a student coming out of here is just as good as any "top" medical program in the country (Harvard, Stanford, etc.) There is a very rich history of medicine at U of M. The worlds first artificial heart valve, cardiopulmonary bypass surgery, modern pacemaker, and bone marrow transplant were all developed here. The relationships between cholesterol and heart disease, numerous disease discoveries, and procedures were developed here. Last year Doris Taylor, PhD reconstructed a beating heart from stem cells and was named one of the top researchers of 2007. The schools ties to Medtronic, St. Jude and Boston scientific make it one of the premier facilities to be involved in cutting edge medical devices. Anyone interested in radiology? Cardiology? neurosurgery? orthopedic surgery? the U of M has an MD/MS program in biomedical engineering that is completely funded by a grant (IE you pay nothing for an entire year). I have been told by several residency directors that this is excactly what they look for in highly competitive positions. The faculty here are world class. We regularly have world renowned experts in various fields lecturing to us. Others, like Dr. Stephen Katz, are among the best teachers I have had since high school. If you are looking for a school with opportunities to make the most out of a medical career, then it does not get much better than U of M. And to top it off, the professors are genuinely nice and care about training the next generation of physicians.

Some bad things. The administration at this school is a pain in the ass. They have been working on this MED2010 "revolution" in the education layout, that we recently were informed was scrapped due to the fact that it was completely infeasible and too expensive. Often they never tell us about important things until the day before they are supposed to happen. Much of our course materials are online, and they seem to believe that posting a notice about an assignment on WebCT is sufficient to notify us. I almost failed a class because I didn't know about an assignment. The "deans" are often unaware of what is going on in their own department. Our class was overbooked by almost 20 students. This has serious implications for scheduling rotations in year 3/4, since there are usually just enough spots for some required classes. The administration has not fixed this as of yet. As of now, there are some students that are not taking the required rotations they need for their desired residencies until AFTER they will apply/interview, and there seems to be no remedy for this as of yet. They have assured us that this will be fixed, but have given no indication as of how or when. Sure it will probably happen, but it is giving a lot of us massive tension headaches. Sometimes I feel like they put all this effort into fixing the medical schools problems 5 years from now instead of focusing on fixing things for us.

I could keep going, but I need to study for my last set of exams :)

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