Georgetown vs Emory vs Tufts for Premed and Global Health

Hey y’all! I was wondering which one among Georgetown, Emory, and Tufts to go to for international/public health and premed. I’ve been admitted to all three, and I’d be pursuing the Georgetown NHS Global Health program (I was admitted EA, if that means anything), Emory Human Health/Anthropology and Biology, and Tufts International Relations with a focus in Global Health. (I was also admitted to UT Austin Plan II and Polymathic Scholars, but my parents are pushing me to go out of state for undergrad and to come back for medical school.)

Cost is approximately the same at all three; Emory is a bit cheaper than Georgetown and Tufts, but by only about 3k per year. My family would incur about 20-30k of debt at all three, approximate interest included.

My interest is in the intersection between international relations and health. I did Model UN in high school and might continue in college, but that’s dependent on time. Having research opportunities and campus EMS opportunities is really important to me, and I think all three schools should be great for that at least. The way I see it, Georgetown is great for exposure to IR stuff (cause y’know… DC) but middling in sciences, while Emory is great for exposure to sciences (CDC, Emory Health, etc.), but not great in IR, and Tufts is the middle of the road option.

I’m leaning towards Georgetown at the moment, because I had a chance to visit during the EA GAAP weekend two weeks ago and had a blast. I did have some concerns about the reputation of Georgetown’s undergraduate sciences, but the professors in the NHS I met were great and the lab spaces seemed well stocked and organized. I made a few friends and enjoyed the social scene, but it did seem a bit preppy and wealthy, something a bit uncomfortable for me. I haven’t and likely won’t have the chance to visit Tufts and Emory due to finances, but from Youtube videos and admissions materials it seems that Tufts especially would be more egalitarian and less preppy. Emory is the one I have the least understanding of overall, but they seem to lean less preppy, and I would have less of an issue adjusting to another Southern culture.

Not that it matters too much, but I would prefer somewhere with regular-ish snow, as living in West Texas for the past 12 years of my life has given me a hankering for cold weather. This obviously hurts Emory more than the others. Additionally, I’m a very liberal Catholic, and Georgetown obviously has some points here, but if anyone has insight as to what campus ministry is like at Tufts or Emory, that would be much appreciated!

If you made it to this point, thanks for reading and sorry for the novel, lol!

Tl;dr- Loves Georgetown but having doubts about the science and the society there over Tufts/Emory.

Campus ministry at Emory. Emory was founded by the Methodist Church and SMU used to be its sister school. It was modeled after Yale explaining many of its symbols, traditions etc. it split from the Methodist Church any years ago but still has a Methodist divinity school on campus. It has a very strong Jewish presence as well. There are certainly practicing Catholics on campus and my friends did attend mass but that would not be the majority of the population nor does Atlanta have a major a Catholic presence. . Southern Baptist would be much stronger in Atlanta. Emory students on the whole tend to be liberal though Newt Gingrich went there. The Carter Center and Presidential Library was originally on campus before it’s permanent home was built. There are still strong connections there. You mentioned the CDC and hospitals but also Yerkes Primate Center is on campus. The Dali Lama has a strong connection to emory as does the Carter family including Jimmy. Bishop Tutu was also connected to emory and has family that are alum. Research is strong and the faculty and student body comes from around the world. For whatever reason there is a strong population from the north. Atlanta weather does include snow and it certainly can happen but a good ice storm is just as likely. January tends to be the coldest there. Not sure what else would be helpful?

Thanks! I forgot about the Carter center, but that’s definitely a big draw as well if Emory students regularly intern there. I’m assuming you’re an Emory alum, based on your profile; how were the human health majors during your time there?

I majored in biology and religion. Emory is one of the schools where you actually go in undeclared so you can choose how you want to major once you are there but truth is most students there double major and the school is strong for most of the sciences you would want. You can also double in policy sciences if some sort which people do. Many go on to pursue masters in public health at emory grad or med school (or elsewhere) or a mix of the two. You certainly wouldn’t be alone in the type of study you are interested in. My son is currently on the Oxford campus and heading to ATL next year. He is majoring in psyche and music but even on the Oxford side the school is strong in the courses you would like. They also have a great nursing program including an undergrad program that people enter junior year so again students are well prepared in the heath and sciences type courses.

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Biology and religion, that’s pretty cool! Bioethics is one of the areas I thought I might take a course in. It’s good to know that Emory has a decent number of students interested in international health/policy. If you don’t mind me asking a bit more, how was/is life in Atlanta for a student?

I wouldn’t be concerned about the quality of the sciences at one school vs another. All 3 are very good and you’ll be getting more science in med school, which is where it will matter the most.

Tufts sounds to me like the closest to what you’re looking for. They have idealistic students who want to change the world - sort of like you. They’re known for their programs in international relations, a real strength of theirs. And they have snow.

One other thing about Tufts is that they’re a strong proponent of interdisciplinary learning to the point that they not only encourage interdisciplinary study across departments but across undergraduate colleges. You’ll find a lot of flexibility and support there for the kind of interdisciplinary study that you want to pursue.

Another feature of Tufts is that they are one of 4 Schools in a local cross registration consortium - Boston University, Brandeis, and Boston College being the other 3. Expanded opportunities. And they are just 2 miles - a bike ride really - from Harvard Square, a hub of collegiate activity in America’s quintessential college town.

While I say all this about Tufts, I’ll add that you really can’t go wrong at any of these 3. They’re all wonderful colleges, each with its own character. Like Tufts, Emory also has its share of idealists to connect with and Georgetown has DC and all that goes along with that.

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Thank you! Yeah, I was really getting those vibes from Tufts, and I actually didn’t know about the cross-registration, that’s really cool! I just wish I could go visit to see if I really liked it over Georgetown before a decision like this. A not-great reason I’m hung up on Georgetown, and to a lesser extent Emory, is the bigger name. I know it’s a pretty stupid reason, especially considering that Tufts has the Fletcher school to its credit and I’d be at the Georgetown NHS, but the social pressure is big here, haha.

Not stupid at all - especially since you had a positive visit at Georgetown so that it’s now a known entity whereas you’re flying blind at the other two. Keep in mind that you’re having trouble deciding because all 3 are great choices and not because you’re confused.

Also remember that your visit to Georgetown was a snippet, a glimpse. You really don’t know what it’s like day to day there, or if roommate(s) issues will be a problem, or any of a number of other challenges that can crop up.

You need to become more educated about all 3 choices. A campus visit is one way to become educated but it’s just one - and it can be misleading. Most colleges have virtual events these days. Schedule one at Tufts and one at Emory. Read What the Fiske Guide and the Princeton Review Best Colleges Guide have to say. Get as much information as you can.

Ultimately this decision is not about the things you learn on a visit because college is not your ultimate destination. It’s a temporary stop along the way to your ultimate goal, which is a happy and productive adult life. So, try to figure out which of these schools will best help you to achieve your ultimate goal of med school and beyond. Don’t be distracted by the rest because you’ll be leaving in 4 years to move on just as you’re now leaving high school after 4 years to move on. What you’ll take with you is the education you get, nothing else, so focus on that.

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I grew up Atlanta but the answer is it’s a young city and has lots of colleges all around. Aside from Emory and Tech you have Oglethorpe and Agnes Scott, the Atlanta Area Campuses (HBCUs), Ga State, and not far away is UGA. They have great sports teams, lots of ways to volunteer, amazing theatre and museums (including the Carlos on campus. If you like movies - you have a great chance of seeing those being made. Lullwater Park is lovely for walking. The science center is nice. I personally liked to hang out at the Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern. Oh there are comedy clubs and nightclubs and dance clubs. I miss living there.

As for bioethics. I thought about it too. Dr, Arri Eisen (who was still on faculty when I looked last year) is from the bio department. His first year was my first year so 1990-1991. I loved learning with him. He would up writing and learning with the Dali Lama and might be an interesting person to chat with.

Rabbi Michael Broyde is another one. He is at the law school but used to also teach religion to undergrads. His own undergrad degree was biology. Then he went to law school and seminary. He also graduated law school before he was 21. Very bright guy. He looks and ethics crossing law, medicine and religion so another interesting person on campus.

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Thank you for the advice! I’ve signed up for the admitted students virtual sessions at both Tufts and Emory, and I’ll be asking some of my trusted teachers about it over the next week.

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That’s really good to know! I have a friend admitted to Georgia Tech so we might explore the city a bit virtually then, and I’ll ask some current students at the admit sessions in a few days. If I do go to Emory, I’ll be sure to look up Dr. Eisen and Rabbi Broyde. Thanks for your help!

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Georgetown’s limitations in the sciences pertain largely to their breadth. For example, it offers little in fields such as geosciences or astronomy. For core premed sciences, such as biology and biochemistry, you should expect Georgetown’s offerings to be excellent.


Of course. You actually can try and contact Dr. Eisen now. He may try and answer you if you have questions for him. You can tell him you as his bio and thought his area of research sounded interesting after hearing from an alum.

Historically (also of note) Ga Tech students can take a class at Emory and vice versa if the class was offered. There was even a shuttle between the two. Not sure how/if Covid or time has changed that but something to look into if that would be interesting at all to you.


You’re welcome. I assume that you’ve already done virtual tours? If not, they can be helpful. In addition to the virtual tours on the colleges’ websites, you can find multiple tours on YouTube that people do randomly. Google YouTube + campus tours for each school and you should find a bunch easily.

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For your interests, I would pick Tufts. Extremely strong IR program and excellent health education. And it has a hospital (not on Medford campus). It is very good with cross disciplinary studies. I think you would find your tribe there.

Name recognition is very much a regional thing. In my neck of the woods, Tufts is perceived as the most “elite” of the 3. I am not saying it is, just that if you are thinking about the impression the school would make on others, it may depend on where those others are!

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That helps a lot with my problems lol, I don’t have a particular desire to learn a lot about geoscience or astronomy.

Yeah, prestige is a pretty fickle thing it seems. I’m starting to think that it might come down to the internships that Tufts can offer, since one of the main draws of the Georgetown program was doing a research semester overseas. I’ll definitely be asking if I can speak to a Tufts student in their IR global health program.

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Good thinking. Sounds like a plan.

Not going to weigh in but definitely following this thread as my D23 is looking at those exact schools for the same field of study. We visited Georgetown on Monday, and she visited Tufts yesterday. Loved them both. She has previously visited Emory.

As you can tell by my username, I have an allegiance. Also, my wife is an Emory grad. Have always been impressed by Tufts. Congratulations on three great options. Look forward to learning what you choose.

P.S. Hoya Saxa! (I know I said I wouldn’t weigh in, but…)


when is admitted students virtual sessions for Emory? where can I get more details on that session?