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Dilemma: Northeastern vs. Drexel

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Hi everyone! I have a great dilemma right now in that I must choose between Northeastern or Drexel for my PA education. I was accepted to Drexel early this year, and had been preparing myself to start there in September. I was really impressed with Drexel when I interviewed and was happy with my decision. Then I received a call from Northeastern yesterday saying I was accepted off the wait list. I was NOT expecting this. I loved Northeastern from what I saw at the interview, and it was my first choice when I was applying. Does anyone have any insight into either (or both) programs. This is a major decision, and any feedback about the positives and negatives of either school would be helpful in making my decision. Thank you all!!!

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I went to Drexel(then hahnemann) and got a great education with lots of quality electives. coming from california I hated philly with a burning passion as a place to live but you can do anything for 2 years. I honestly don't think I could have gotten a better education anywhere else. they have a huge list of rotation sites and allow you to choose a mini-specialization within those required rotations. for example here was my schedule(looking towards a future in em):

required surgery (5 weeks), did trauma surgery in washington, DC at very busy trauma ctr

required peds(5 weeks), did peds em in hartford, CT at busy peds referral hospital

required em(5 weeks), did trauma ctr em in rochester, NY

required ob(5 weeks), did inner city ob at combat zone style hospital

required psych(5 weeks), did inner city lockdown psych

required internal med(5 weeks), did infectious dz at hahnemann

required FP(12 weeks), did inner city south philly FP clinic

optional em or fp(12 weeks), did community EM


so in summary I was able to do 27 of 54 weeks in EM, peds EM, or trauma surg. with the other rotations heavily weighted towards inner city/high acuity populations.

other folks did this for other types of focuses(gyn surg. or peds surg. for surg, etc).


boston is a much more livable city and I know northeastern is a good program but I don't know if you would get the same nitty gritty inner city types of rotations there which are helpful for any type of em, surgical, or primary care specialty. there is just more pathology in crappy cities....

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BostonprePA, I feel your pain! I had a similar dilemma years ago when I was deciding between Northeastern and Yale. I'm from RI and had always wanted to move to Boston. I didn't end up going there for college and when I decided on a PA career it was my hope/plan to go to Northeastern. I ended up choosing Yale, but believe me, it was a very agonizing to have to decline Northeastern. What helped me decide was making a pros and cons list of each school. I don't know much about Drexel (aside from the fact that it's in Philly and has a great reputation), but I know a few PAs who graduated from Northeastern and highly recommended it when I was applying. During my clinical year I was looking for a rotation in Boston and the program director, Rosann Ippolito, helped to put me in contact with someone at one of their clinical rotation sites. I thought it was just wonderful that she and other faculty members were willing to help out a PA student from a different program despite being so busy with their own students!


When you compare the two programs (pros/cons list) are there any big differences? Do any of these differences impact what you want out of your two years of PA school? For example, one of the reasons I chose Yale over NEU was the number of elective clinical rotations offered (4 at Yale vs. 1 at NEU). I wanted to go abroad for an international elective AND do an elective in CT surgery. If I'd gone to Northeastern I would've had to choose, but Yale allowed me to do both. Will you be happy living in Philly or would you rather stay in Boston and be closer to friends/family? I'm equidistant to both Yale and NEU and got "good feelings" at both interviews, so that wasn't a big deciding factor for me, but since Philly isn't THAT close to Boston it may influence your decision. It probably won't impact you since they haven't started interviewing/matriculating anyone yet, but will Tufts new PA program impact Northeastern's at all since they currently have an affiliation with Tufts Medical School? What about the style of teaching of the two schools? What works better for you? Yale School of Medicine follows the "Yale System" (both MD and PA program) which encourages independent learning and that was something I liked about the program. We had one exam a week which worked better for me. It was stressful to rarely have a "week off", but I honestly don't know how some of my friends at different PA programs dealt with 3 exams all in one week (and then none for the next few weeks). I need to focus on one thing at a time so I liked knowing that I'd have only one to concentrate on each week. What about anatomy? I wanted to go to a school where PA students were allowed to dissect their own cadavers, not look at prosected cadavers the medical students already dissected.


I think if you go through details of the programs like this and figure out what really matters to you in a PA program you might have an easier time making your decision. Both NEU and Drexel are great programs so either one is a good option. I'm sure both programs have their flaws, but I think all PA programs do. If a pros/cons list doesn't help at all you can always flip a coin. I know it seems like a stupid way to make a decision, but I do believe that when the coin is in the air you suddenly know what answer you're hoping for.


Congratulations on getting accepted to two amazing programs! Please let us know what you end up deciding :)

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Wow! Thank you all for taking the time to respond! I ended up choosing Northeastern - there are a lot of specifics that make the program a better fit for me. I also know a couple of people in both programs, so I got to get some first-hand feedback from them. Thank you again for taking the time to help me out with this decision! It's always good to have outside perspectives. Hope you all enjoy your summer!

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