Let's discuss good and bad things about Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
The location in East Baltimore is in a lower class urban area, and therefore there is an issue of safety.
There are security guards posted on every corner of the Hopkins medical campus, so I've never felt unsafe, but obviously this area is one in which you dont want to wander around in at night.
As long as you stick to the campus proper, you'll be fine. But you really dont want to park your car on one of the surrounding streets because 1) it could get stolen; 2) you dont want to walk back to your car alone at night with no security guards nearby. This is just the reality of the area. I know Hopkins is working to revitalize the area, and there's supposed to be a new biomedical research complex opening up in the neighborhood, so hopefully that will help.
The location is really the only negative aspect of Hopkins in my opinion. The school itself is superb and trains top notch physicians. Last year, over 90% of Hopkins grads matched into their first choice of residency. The MD/PhD program, has a first choice match rate of 100%. Thats pretty impressive considering that this is in reference to the absolute first choice of residency, and not the top 3 choices that are published by other med schools.
The research going on at the medical school is abundant, diverse, and impressive. If you are interested at all in research during med school, I cant think of a better institution to do it at than Hopkins. The med school at Hopkins ranks #1 in NIH funding, and there are plenty of researchers on both the medical and Homewood (undergraduate) campuses that are excited about working with med students. For those interested in public health, the public health school at Hopkins is largely recognized as one of the best in the country.
The curriculum at Hopkins consists of lectures, small group sessions, PBL (problem based learning) sessions, labs, and clinical correlations. Lectures typically go from 8 AM to 10 or 11 AM, after which you usually meet in small groups or PBL sessions. Some classes also have labs that run during this time period. You have most afternoons during the week off, so you can choose to use that time for studying, doing research in a lab, or just having fun or doing community service. A substantial portion of the Hopkins med students are involved in some kind of community service program.
The grading system at Hopkins is honors/high pass/pass/fail. Out of a class of 140 people, generally less than 10% get the honors or high pass grade, so the vast majority of the class gets a simple pass.
The clinical years at Hopkins are phenomenal. The attending physicians at the Johns Hopkins Hospital are generally very interested in teaching med students, in contrast to some other institutions. You are exposed to a diverse population of patients with differing conditions. Its not uncommon to see patients who were flown in from other parts of the country or even from other corners of the globe. You will start seeing patients during the first year and continue all the way to your last clinical clerkship in the 4th year.
The clinical departments at the Hopkins hospital are some of the best in the world, especially internal medicine, pediatrics, and urology. Many Hopkins grads choose to stay for residency due to the strength of their graduate medical education. I think its really the clinical education years that sets Hopkins apart from everyone else. The basic sciences can be learned at any school depending on the work you put into studying, but clinical experiences are vastly different among medical schools. This is where Hopkins excels in my opinion.