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crazy?: choosing ucsd over harvard?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by somekevinguy, Apr 30, 2004.

  1. somekevinguy

    somekevinguy Senior Member
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    I know that mostly premeds read this and Im prob not going to get a ton of advice coming from experience but at the same time, any input is appreciated...

    Would it be a totally ridiculous decision to choose ucsd over harvard? I really like both schools but I think what sways me towards SD is just the fact that its in CA, close to family, gf, friends, and also because the general location/weather is much more to my liking. I also had just a good gut feeling at SD. curriculum isnt as big of a deal to me as Im sure ill learn what i need to learn either way and am used to lectures anyhow.

    I'm also primarily intersted in peds/family medicine and working with the underserved (ie homeless and latino populations) and would like to match in CA for sure (preferably sd Im thinking). At the same time, I wouldnt want to totally close off the door to research/surgery/academic medicine. Given that they are about the same price and these general career goals, what would your advice be?

    May 15th is quickly approaching and Im just agonizing over this decision. thanks in advance for your input.
     
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  2. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    Yup. You would be crazy.
     
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  3. novangel81

    novangel81 cali for life....I HOPE??
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    People would kill for your dilemma..but for me if I were in your situation it would be an easy choice. I love my family, friends, and my lifestyle and if I had to change all that or if there is a circumstance where I would miss them so much I just couldn't choose that one. Basically I am saying that according to what you have written it sounds that deep down you have made the choice alright. Sounds like you are going to UCSD.

    I went there for undergrad. I am not sure if you will find a lot of underrepresented areas to practice in down there...cause in reality unless you go deep down south there isnt much color out there...but maybe by the time I leave and you get out there things could have changed (hey, you can hope for the best). Anyway UCSD is a good medical school and quite challenging..but you seem like you can handle it. So my suggestion would be stay in San Diego, but if you are in it for the name and way more prestige definitely Harvard
     
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  4. Lux Aeterna

    Lux Aeterna the eternal light
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    I really can't opine -- I think Cali residents would have a better idea on your situation but I just wanted to say that :wow: you really cleaned up the app process with all those scholarships!! Congrats :)
     
  5. somekevinguy

    somekevinguy Senior Member
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    plesase keep the opinions coming. thanks!
     
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  6. Adapt

    Adapt 2K Member
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    I don't think you would be crazy. Forget what the naysayers say who may be too obsessed with rankings. Since you want to go into primary care, you would be much better served going to USCD because you will have much exposure to underserved communities then going to some place out of state. Plus you will get to stay by your family, friends, and gf.

    I am in the same situation as you. I want to enter into primary care and would like to help out underserved communities. I will most likely go to COMP, the DO school in CA over Temple or Drexel. People have called me crazy but I know that my rotations will still be great and I will be near family, friends, and gf.

    In the end you have to do what makes you happy and not what everyone else thinks you should do.
     
  7. docmemi

    docmemi 1K Member
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    those are very important reasons to stay in cali!

    honestly, both will be good for academic medicine and competitive residencies, while SD will prolly also give you a good PC training and chance to work with the underserved. but, harvard would clearly open more doors.

    where do you see yourself in 10 years? what do you want to do/what are your plans? i think it comes down to that.

    i would imagine most professors and more academic/intellectual people would say harvard. are you that type of a person?? or do you just want to be a simple doctor?
     
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  8. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    Alright. Here is my actual opinion.

    If you know that you are going into Peds, it doesn't matter where you go and you will be fine at either school. Either school will EASILY get you a peds residency in San Diego.

    If you are interested in a more competative specialty, you definately should go to Harvard. At my school, most of the people who get into the most competative residencies are either from USC or from an Ivy League school. Harvard would open doors across the nation because of it's name.

    Another great thing about Harvard is the fact that there is no AOA there and the grading is pass/fail. Harvard has done everything they can to make the students at their school as happy as possible. UCSD on the other hand, hasn't. (I could go into more detail) Also, having classes 32-36 hours a week at UCSD wouldn't allow you to have as much time to enjoy your family as you might think it would.

    Simple enough. If it was me, it would be a no brainer even with the family and gf in San Diego. You have a lot more opportunities for the rest of your life if you went to Harvard for four years.
     
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  9. :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

    I think you should go to UCSD. Were you at the second look? On second thought you're going to mess up the curve... how about Harvard? JK I think we as a UCSD class should all agree to not give a **** about the curve and just enjoy our lives.

    It seems like there are many opportunities to work with the underserved at UCSD- namely the free clinics, but with the large number of hospitals that we will rotate through, I'm pretty sure you'll get all the experience you need during that time as well.

    I don't know, for most people this would be a no-brainer but since you are getting a scholarship at UCSD and since you have all these other things pulling you in that (our) direction I would go with your gut.
     
  10. SoCalOrBust

    SoCalOrBust Plays well with others
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    Wow what a decision. UCSD is really building a reputation and is in Cali. Then again "harvard is harvard." Obviously you must be a very capable person and would probably do just as fine in each. If you are equally satisfied with the curriculm and learning environment then I think it should be an easy choice to pick UCSD since it seems to work so well with the other aspects of your life. Things like family and gf can be really important later like if you need any type of support through med school.

    Congratulations and good luck!
     
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  11. UCSD also does not have AOA, and if you are interested in Peds you don't have to worry about the honors category, making the system essentially pass/fail for you. I recommend talking to ACTUAL STUDENTS at UCSD about how the classtime works. I know that all of the scheduled hours do not end up being actual lectures or labs, those are just the times when the given professor is able to schedule things.
     
  12. docmemi

    docmemi 1K Member
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    yes, you wold enjoy your life much more with the support.
     
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  13. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    Two of my former students are currently third year students at UCSD. They put the number at about 30 actually happening plus a 3 hour elective. (That info is about a year old) But the 32-36 hours is fromthis thread which is done by a current UCSD student and from the UCSD medical school website.
     
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  14. Cerberus

    Cerberus Heroic Necromancer
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    California Vs Boston.... this is a no brainer
     
  15. well here is the important part of CalBear's thread:

    "Pretty scary...but most of the class only shows up for half of the lactures b/c we get all the lecture notes and we have class note takers. personally, i attend half of the lectures and am doing prefectly fine. I have some friends who don't show up for a single class and only come to take the test. as far as i can tell they are doing really well still.

    The schedule is not always this crazy though. for instance for the mini block during fall, we only had 3 hours of class per day for about a month. "

    Also, somekevinguy seems like a super test taker, so I don't think he would have to worry about showing up to every single lecture.
    :)
     
  16. exmike

    exmike NOR * CAL
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    You shouldnt go into psychiatry. I dont think crazy people are allowed. :laugh:




    seriously though, you really should go to harvard. you might regret it the rest of your professional life if you dont. but then again, you might regret it the rest of your personal life if your gf dumps you b/c you left. :confused:
     
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  17. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    I know. But that leads to two different things:

    1. You still have 30+ hours of lectures notes you need to work through, which is worse than the 20 hours you would have at Harvard (i.e. you still have to work harder)

    2. If people don't go to class, your class won't be as close. If you see someone once a week, that's a ton different than seeing them everyday and having lunch with them, etc, etc. But this could be a good thing. After 2 years of seeing all of my friends, I am getting a little tired of them.
     
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  18. 10minutes

    10minutes M.D.Candidate
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    Personally I'd love to go to Harvard, but it was pretty shocking to see that 4 out of 5 Uva people who got into HMS last year went to other schools. I heard 3 of those went to Uva (not 100% sure) for financial reasons. Just to let you know.
     
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  19. exmike

    exmike NOR * CAL
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    Maybe the the other 1 chose hopkins?
     
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  20. Hi somekevinguy,
    What a wonder dilemma! Congratulations on getting accepted to those schools :clap:
    I also agree with others that being happy is important (family, gf, etc...). I don't know if this will help, but a close friend of mine was accepted to Harvard, Columbia, and Uconn a few years back. She chose Uconn because they offered her a scholarship. She's now doing residency at MassGen ;)
     
  21. Alexander99

    Alexander99 Ghetto Fabulous
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    Jalby--I'm normally in direct concurrence with everything you say but this time I have to disagree with you.

    The 30+ hours of lectures a week shouldn't make a difference. If it were true that it's gonna be more of a pain even if you don't have to attend the lectures because you have to sort out 30+ hours of lecture notes a week, isn't that to imply that we learn a lot more at UCSD than Harvard or other med schools? The fact is, we all learn the same stuff. The schools with minimal lecture hours require you put in the time studying outside of class, on your own. If you choose to do that at UCSD and attend less lectures, it'd be about the same thing.

    I think if you're relatively sure you're going into peds, it won't make a difference one way or another which school you go to. I think if you were going into academic medicine, it's Harvard all the way. Even if you wanted to do a relatively competitive residency like derm, ortho, etc, I'm sure going to UCSD won't hurt your chances (it is a top 20 school afterall.)

    Personally, if I were you, I'd go to UCSD just so you can be in the presence of greatness such as myself and Eraserhead. :laugh:
     
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  22. freaker

    freaker Senior Member
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    Even with UCSD's gunner reputation (I bet the folks at Harvard are pretty competitive, too), I'd go to UCSD. Come on. La Jolla v. Boston? I'd take La Jolla over all but a handful of cities in this country.

    I have a friend who does work at the free clinics at UCSD (most of their med students don't), and she really enjoys it. She doesn't see her class as all that close, but she definitely has a few close friends.

    Anyway, if you're going to FM or peds, do you really think it matters whether you went to Harvard or some bottom of the barrell [inserts tongue in cheek] place like UCSD?

    Obviously family, friends, and the girlfriend are important to you. If you feel like you need to choose a name and prestige over them, go for it. Your call in the end, right?
     
  23. :thumbup: :thumbup:
     
  24. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    It actually is a difference in what you have to learn versus what other schools have to learn. The reason most schools were able to reduce the amount of lecture hours that they teach is because they cut out a lot of material that wasn't relevant to modern medicine that has been taught throughout the existance of medical schools (Harvard was the first to do this)

    For example, there is a lot of useless structures in gross anatomy that you won't be tested on again. Embryology has been cut down a ton. Histology is only the basics. You don't have to memorize the Krebs cycle in biochemistry, etc, etc. A lot of stuff like that has been cut out at other schools that traditional schools keep. The stuff like Path, Pharm and stuff like that, it's exactly the same.

    Here is the rough anaology I use in my head. My school teaches 20 hours a week but only covers about 90% of what you are tested on in the boards. UCSD covers 95% of what is on the boards but does 30 hours a week. (pulling all numbers out of a$$)


    But your point about peds is totally accurate. If you know you want to do that, either school won't make a difference.
     
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  25. 1. I think there is a bit more material at UCSD because the basic science/theory of everything is emphasized as well as the actual rote memorization of the material. I don't think its a big deal for a smart guy like somekevin...

    2. I'm already excited about this aspect of the school. I can't imagine becoming good friends with more than 5-6 people anyway. I hate fluffy social events where everyone pretends to like everyone else.
     
  26. 10minutes

    10minutes M.D.Candidate
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    Good guess, but no, since no one got accepted to Hopkins last year. :D

    EDIT: It was 2002
     
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  27. Alexander99

    Alexander99 Ghetto Fabulous
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    Again your breadth of knoweldge never ceases to amaze me. I guess I never realized that they might teach us crap that we didn't need for the boards. If that's true, yeah, that does suck. At the same time, we get taught 95% of the stuff on boards so our scores will be really high. :D
     
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  28. Alexander99

    Alexander99 Ghetto Fabulous
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    I can't stand those type of events. They remind me of the med school interviews where everyone was so "nice."

    I think I'm selectively antisocial. If I like you (less common), I'll actually have a lot to say and can be an engaging conversationalist. If I don't like you (more common), I'll seem like some totally non-interesting fool.
     
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  29. TheFlash

    TheFlash Playtime Is Over
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    Actually... I know two people THIS year that got into Harvard from UVa. One is probably going to either Harvard HST or Duke, and the other to UCSF.
     
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  30. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    IN theory, but not in practice. I've heard from one source on here that it is 225. I'll see if I can find that link to the thread. It was a guy who thought UCSD had the highest board scores in the nation, but checked and said it was 225. A little help DocKevin??
     
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  31. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    On a side note, if you are just interested in passing at UCSD, here is what you should do: During the courses, only study what is in the review books. You should be able to pass all of the tests, and you should also know that information a lot better than your classmates. Treat the entire two years as a boards prep course. Once it comes time to study for the boards, you should know the material that is most likely to be tested a TON more than your classmates who was memorizing the useless information to get honors and you should be able to score one of the highest scores at UCSD. This would make a difference in applying to the UCSD residency's because they would have all the scores from their school and say "This guy has the third highest score at our school. We should take him over someone with a higher score but the 7th highest in their school"
     
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  32. bearpaw

    bearpaw celebrated member
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    who are we kidding? Everyone here who is telling you not to go to harvard did not get in...get the opinion of someone who actually got in there. I am sure there's a revisit or something.

    I say go to harvard. Its not exactly a no brainer, its going to cost you some money, but it is harvard.

    Are you all kidding me? Everyone on this site is the opposite of people in real life. I honestly doubt any of the people here if they got into harvard would turn it down as readily as they claim. Harvard for duke on a full ride? Yeah, i can see that. But UCSD? No one who is premed and good enough to get into harvard cares enough about weather to turn down a top school based heavily on that. Stanford over harvard? sure, why not.

    seriously, all this rooting for the underdog school is just too fake.

    And the kid getting a DO? do you know what you're doing? i mean, its like you're being a martyr for a worthless cause. Good luck with it. you really don't care about prestige, you're probably going to work for free or near it eh? you're a better man than i in that capacity. do people ever ask you "What DO you DO?" haha. Reminds me of Rushmore ("these are O-R scrubs"..."OH ARE they?!").

    i am like shocked. seriously. if you worked so hard to get in to harvard, don't waste it now. don't flame me either, i am just saying what EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD would be thinking. haha, i know you're going to harvard, you're just throwing a bone out to the rest of the world.

    [munches on bone]
     
  33. camstah

    camstah running thru dandelions
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    go to ucsd. my brother went there, and it's an awesome school. he was chief resident in im at harbor, so yes, you can match pretty well. obviously the school has a great reputation, and it's in a place you'd be emotionally happiest in. which do you prefer, having your loved ones far away but going to harvard, getting the md behind your name then coming back for a great residency? or going to ucsd, being near your loved ones, graduating with md after your name, and landing a great residency here?

    either way, good luck, and congrats on the awesome acceptances.... :)
     
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  34. IlianaSedai

    IlianaSedai Senior Member
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    I don't think you're crazy. :cool:

    One big plus of UCSD is that, if your family and significant other are there and you'd like to stay in California, UCSD would give you a great advantage in being able to get "in" to the local network of whatever field you wish to enter. Being a California student who chose to go to the East Coast but would like to return for residency, I think having gone to a California med school is a big plus for those who want a residency in California.

    Harvard prolly could open doors for you that UCSD wouldn't. However, if you want to stay local, UCSD could open doors for you in California that Harvard wouldn't. The California residency market is tight and generally much more open to students in California med schools than students elsewhere -- take a good look at the match lists from both of your schools and do a quick count of where in the country those students end up. The UCSD match list probably looks a lot more promising for matches in California (although I haven't looked it up, so do it yourself).

    I think you've got your head in the right place and your priorities are well thought out. When you're a pre-med, the buzz is all about "rankings, rankings, rankings." However, as you apply for residency and enter the residency match, the mantra is "location, location, location."
     
  35. willthatsall

    willthatsall Unretired
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    This is kind of an off topic question, but did you apply to UCSF?
     
  36. 10minutes

    10minutes M.D.Candidate
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    I wonder he/she may be someone I know? :confused:

    Where are you going, Flash? Are you from Uva? :)
     
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  37. somekevinguy

    somekevinguy Senior Member
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    hi...you can check my mdapps below in my sig but yeah, i applied to sf...got waitlisted..in fact, i really wanted to end up in the bay area (ie sf/stanford) but neither really worked out...its totally random bc the east coast seemed to like me...blech oh well..anyhow, i appreciate the comments...im not def i want to do peds but it disturbs me that theres no fam med dept here at hms (im actually at the revisit right now)...
     
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  38. 10minutes

    10minutes M.D.Candidate
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    Wow, can't beat 42MCAT, 4.0GPA at UCB :D

    Btw, why not consider other options...like UCLA, Hopkins, Duke, etc?? :eek:
     
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  39. somekevinguy

    somekevinguy Senior Member
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    didnt consider hopkins much after my hms acceptance...i really didnt enjoy baltimore much and i felt more comfortable at hms...so if im gonna come out east...itd be at hms (or duke actually.... which is another story altogether)

    as far as LA...its nice but not really where id want to be...again, the envt is pretty key and i figure with schools so close in terms of reputation, cost, etc, take the little extra cash sd is offering and enjoy a nicer envt...so yep...and while id love to be at sf...that hasnt been reciprocated so its kind of a west coast east coast thing at this point (sd vs hms)
     
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  40. somekevinguy

    somekevinguy Senior Member
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    bearpaw-

    i def appreciate your input- def wouldnt flame you for an honest opinion. but i dunno, when it comes down to it, im not sure hms really matches my career goals and coupled with the fact that it doesnt seem to "fit" as well, it makes me wonder. im not a big fan of rankings/prestige...though i am certainly susceptible to it and so i want to try to dilute that out as much as possible. In the end of all this, i wanna be a doc, healing people who need healing the most, perhaps influencing some policy and i think either place will really train me to do that. all imho
     
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  41. 10minutes

    10minutes M.D.Candidate
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    I praise you for not caring much about a prestige... that's something hard to do. I'm sure you will be successful wherever you go. :thumbup:
     
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  42. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    I'm changing my vote to UCSD.
     
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  43. synapse lapse

    synapse lapse tokyo robotic
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    somekevinguy, congrats on how you sweeped this app cycle ! What I wouldn't do to be in your position. Well you obviously worked extremely hard and deserve to get into any of those schools, especially UCSF (can't believe you got no love). If I were in your position I would chose Harvard, but I have very different career goals than you. Either school will no doubt provide a great education and allow you to go into what you want and match where you like. I personally wouldn't let location with family affect my decision, but that is just me. Go where makes you happy, but in my opinion, yes you're crazy not to go to Harvard :D Good luck and congrats again.
     
  44. somekevinguy

    somekevinguy Senior Member
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    hehe..why the change jalby?
     
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  45. bearpaw

    bearpaw celebrated member
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    i don't get posts like this. then why bother applying to harvard? a backup for ucsd? you cared about prestige when you applied, and you still do. Sounds like if UCSD was named harvard, you'd go there. but its not.

    i see your profile. you spent alot of time and money flying around to do interviews...why would you bother? if harvard doesn't fit, and if thats a big deal to you, then just go to ucsd. what's your deal breaker? fit? weather? your gf?

    honestly, if you worked hard at all to get those numbers of yours, i believe you'd be wasting it at ucsd. Why waste the opportunity? you got a 42 mcat because you value the challenge of testing yourself? please. you've got gunner numbers, let that inner gunner loose! you can find a hotter, smarter gf at harvard, really. do you think Miu Wiu is still going to be as cute in 4 years, when you've got a MD and she's getting wrinkles?

    if you HAD to be in cali, there would be no need for this post or all those interviews.

    go to harvard baby.
     
  46. GBFKicks

    GBFKicks Senior Member
    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Hey, somekevinguy, it's great to see someone with a mindset like yours having great options like that. I think that there aren't too many people out there that can overlook prestige and such for family, etc... Hope you get in off of the waitlist at UCSF... keep us posted.
     
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  47. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    1. I don't think you would have any problem being at the top of UCSD's class
    2. Your biggest interest is Ped's and Fam Practice, which UCSD sends a lot of people to.
    3. You seem to really want to be with your family a ton.

    If it was me, I would still go to Harvard, but it is you. Also, not many people tend to keep their girlfriends in med school unless they become their fiances (informal personal survey)
     
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  48. kalak24

    kalak24 Member
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    somekevinguy,
    i say bravo on your accomplishments and bravo for giving your decision such careful thought. good luck.
     
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  49. Alexander99

    Alexander99 Ghetto Fabulous
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    A little response to your first point. Aren't you forgetting about someone? He'll have at least one guy that won't be easy to top. ;)
     
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  50. babybribs

    babybribs Junior Member
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    I am from San Diego, and think UCSD is an amazing school, but when harvard lets you into their program you just drop everything and go. Forget the prestige, and forget just the name, you will be surrounded with the best and brightest minds of this country (and world). You are obvioulsy very bright, and seeing how much you tore up undergrad, perhaps Harvard will allow you to see if you have that extra gear that you know you are capable of. Yes, the student body at UCSD is also very bright, and your support system is in San Diego, like myself, but you should go to harvard hands down, because you have earned it, and you will be exposed to more research oppurtunities there. Yes, you know you want to go into peds NOW, but who knows how you will feel two years from now, and if you change your mind, you will have many choices easily available to you.

    Congrats, and good luck!
     

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