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Biostat MS Vanderbilt or Hopkins?

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I am hesitating between the biostatistics master program at JHU and Vanderbilt. Johns Hopkins has always been my dream school, and its biostatistics department is one of the oldest and most prestigious ones, however,  the tuition is just too expensive although 75% of them will be deducted in the second year. Also, I have concerns about the city Baltimore. I heard it is one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. Vanderbilt's biostat program is very new. I have asked lots of my advisors and professors, and they know little about its quality. The good thing about Vanderbilt is that it accepts only 4 master students, 4 PhD students each year, so the class is extremely small (around 8 people) and you can get the professor's full attention. Also, it offers 80% tuition off for both years and $1500 moving fees. I checked the curriculum in both programs, and there weren't much differences between them. They all offer trainings in Probability and Statistical Inference, GLM, Bayesian, and so on. So which program would you recommend in terms of education quality and future development? If they offer about the same things, I would definitely choose the less expensive one :) Thank you so much for your help! 

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I think you have to make that decision for yourself and figure out what's most important to you. I know people who went to Hopkins undergrad and they're still alive. It's true that it's dangerous. There are definitely parts of Baltimore that you want to avoid. My cousin is in JHU undergrad right now. I could ask her about it if you want. Honestly, I would not let crime deter you. Crimes are everywhere. You can't avoid them because perpetrators will continue to perpetrate no matter what kind of prevention measures you take. I also know people in Nashville. You know if you're really unsure you can just ask admissions to connect you to a current student and ask them all these questions. That's what I would do if I couldn't make up my mind. 

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I know how safe one feels in a given area is relative, but Baltimore is far safer than the worst places in the US. Camden or Detroit are far, far, far scarier than Baltimore; I'm not sure if I'd ever go outside after dark in many parts of either of those two.

I've never lived in Baltimore, but I've visited it often because my in-laws live close to there and that's where we usually fly into. I think you'd fine as long as you get advice about the best parts of town to live in and be smart with your actions. :) 

How's their placement records compare? 

Edited by Neist

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22 hours ago, Neist said:

I know how safe one feels in a given area is relative, but Baltimore is far safer than the worst places in the US. Camden or Detroit are far, far, far scarier than Baltimore; I'm not sure if I'd ever go outside after dark in many parts of either of those two.

I've never lived in Baltimore, but I've visited it often because my in-laws live close to there and that's where we usually fly into. I think you'd fine as long as you get advice about the best parts of town to live in and be smart with your actions. :) 

How's their placement records compare? 

I've been to Baltimore for volleyball tournaments. I mean your advice about asking the best parts to live is something people should do no matter what school they end up at. Usually housing and program directors are helpful in finding students housing in a good area. More than safety, I would be concerned about whether I would like to live in Baltimore or Nashville. I think safety is a trivial concern because I don't think anywhere is "safe". I carry pepper spray and try to avoid walking alone at night but it doesn't mean those things are enough to prevent something from happening.

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Hi! I'm a current JHU PhD student. You'll want advice on the neighborhoods in Baltimore if you decide to live here. Each neighborhood is different. I live in Mount Vernon and it's really safe; probably one of the safest in Baltimore. It's the historical district and has lots of music, entertainment, and awesome restaurants. A lot of  young professionals live here. Consequently, it's also one of the more expensive areas. Fell's point is another really nice one. It's got a lot of bars and restaurants and young people living there. I think you can walk to the School of Medicine if you're in Upper Fell's. Charles Village and Hampden are also really nice, but they're closer to the undergrad campus than the School of Medicine. My point is, there are a lot of really nice, affordable places to live in Baltimore. I wouldn't live north, east, or west of the School of Medicine though. Those areas are a little rougher. On campus is fine because they have police officers sitting in booths about every 1/2 block or more. There are Hopkins-sponsored services that will pick you up from wherever you are on the School of Medicine campus and drive you to the front door of your apartment for free, if you're staying late. The police will always be willing to escort you to your car, if you're nervous. 

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