Australia Med School vs Penn


I’m a current first year at Monash University in Australia studying medicine. I was also fortunate enough to recently be admitted to Penn’s class of 2023!! However, I’m now faced with most certainly the hardest decision I’ll have to make in my 18 years.

Studying in the US has been my dream for all four years of high school - it was what drove me to work so hard. I’ve always wanted to live in the US, experience the traditional American college experience, try out all the amazing food, watch NBA games, travel around to so many iconic states, and study whatever I want at uni under the liberal arts education system. The greatest thing of all was that my parents were always supportive of me throughout these four years - driving me to sporting competitions out in the middle of nowhere and even allowing me to live alone in my grandparent’s house (who were overseas) for the entirety of year twelve just so I could focus entirely on myself.

Yet, we disagreed on what my future would look like. I loved maths and wanted to study maths in the US, and wanted to complement my degree with some sort of computer science to boost my employability - that would be my ideal life. My parents, however, wanted me to be a doctor. They immigrated to Australia knowing very little english, and established themselves here through unimaginable dedication and perseverance, and so, all they want for me is to have a secure, well-paying job in the future that can never be replaced - just so I would never have to live my life like they did.

We did come to a compromise though - if I was admitted to an elite school in the US, they would willingly pay for my tuition and let me study whatever I want. If I failed, I would have to listen to them and become a doctor in Australia. Now that I’m in my position, they’re backtracking on their words and are pushing hard for me to stay, and I can understand why. I’m the only child and it’ll be hard on all three of us if I go overseas. There’s too many variables if I study in the states, especially regarding career prospects and job security - becoming a doctor is obviously much safer. Also, even though they can afford funding my studies, it’ll put immense financial strain on my family.

I regret not applying for financial aid so much, and at this point it seems like I’ll have to give up on my dream even though I’ve already made it. I don’t even enjoy medicine that much - I love maths so much more. Do I really want to live out my parents’ dream rather than my own? I don’t want to live my life being their puppet - I have my own dreams, aspirations, and beliefs. Money isn’t the most important thing to me - I don’t want to be super rich, all I want is enough to get by happily. To me, the most important thing is living a happy life, doing what I want and feeling like my life is my own.

I would appreciate it so much if anyone could offer me any bit of advice. Is it worth trading off my guaranteed future as a doctor for an uncertain future in the US?

1 Replies


Hey! What a brilliant problem to have.

I would say the answer is very simple: go to Penn.

UPenn is not really an uncertain future - it has one of the world’s best placement rates into finance, Wall Street and top US firms. It has a globally recognized brand. My students from Crimson who went to UPenn have consistently landed incredible opportunities and there’s a huge community of our alumni there who can support you to thrive on campus.

Artificial intelligence which will automate lots of scientific insights will make aspects of medicine progressively less human-intensive and your interest in science can be better captured as an entrepreneur within medicine later in my opinion. Students who do medicine because if their parents grow increasingly resentful towards them because it’s a very draining job if you don’t have burning passion.

The payback period for a UPenn degree is very fast - most of my students finish with 95k USD salaries or higher and it ramps fast. UPenn is not risky but strictly better if your heart isn’t in Medicine. Convince them, go to UPenn and realize the future you’ve always dreamed about!

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