Jan 29, 2010
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EDIT: The previous title was "LLU vs Western". However, I am now trying to decide between LLU and USC.

Hi everyone, I was already set on attending Loma Linda University (LLU). But I was recently accepted to USC. Before I applied, I set USC as my top choice. But after thinking about it some more, I was really impressed with LLU during the interview. Everyone at LLU was extra friendlier, and I really love the Christian atmosphere. Not only that, LLU is a smaller school, and offers a smaller class size of 75, compared to 200 at USC. I like that individual attention, and the chance to know my classmates more. Where I came from (a UC school), I didn't like the fact of taking a biology class with 400 students in a lecture hall, and it was hard to get to know the students/faculty.

But then there's USC, the bigger name and reputation. I would like to go into hospital pharmacy, and I would think USC would better prepare me for that. Other than the big name and huge networking, that is all I see positive for USC. Now I need to make a quick decision. Almost everyone is pushing me to go to USC. But I'm just really impressed with LLU's friendly atmosphere, small class size, and small campus. I guess I'm more of a person who prefers a small close-knit community, than a large busy city. But then again, I know many of you probably will think I would be CRAZY to turn down USC...

So, which one would you choose, and why?

Any opinions are welcome, whether you're biased or unbiased.
 
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Passion4Sci

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Both commuting, so rent/food off the table


LLU

Further away (40min)
Smaller class size
Christian atmosphere
Has an affiliated medical school

Western

Much closer (14min) - Might allow for more sleep during hard times, etc. More freedom.
Block system
"interprofessional" education (You take classes with other disciplines or what?)


Honestly, it seems like you should take whichever one accepts you, or if cost is a priority, whichever one is cheaper. I'm not religious and don't appreciate the significance of a Christian atmosphere (Do they hit you with rulers if you don't do your homework or what?) but if that IS important to you, perhaps you should value it over freedom(time) for example. A long commute, to me, would be way worse at the end of the day than worrying about what kind of atmosphere it has.

As far as after you graduate, you want to compare CPJE passing rates for LLU and Western. I can't remember off-hand where you find them but I'm sure a Google-ing will turn them up. NAPLEX pass rates are basically all 90%+ so that's no concern... but CPJE is a much different story. You could help choose based on that, for example.

Talk to each school directly and ask them what kind of rotation partnerships they have. Not every hospital interfaces w/ every school and vice versa. See which ones do with LLU and Western, then contac tthose hospitals and see if they offer Infectious Diseases specialties, etc.

It's a lot of leg-work but since you're putting a good deal of thought and time into the process, you might as well go nuts with it. I don't think, from a reputation standpoint, you could go wrong with any of those 3 schools particularly if you're staying in the area. 2000 and 2002 will have offered a few graduating classes for people in the area to see how the pharmacists perform, so maybe you could even ask in your community where someone went to school and get ideas from them.

You could also post this on the pharmacy forum itself, as there might be graduates over there from either institution that could help.
But remember, when looking for opinions, often times no news is good news... if no one's ranting about it, chances are it's a good program.
 

rxlea

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Take P4's great advice. Additionally, I hear good things about Loma Linda's medical center. If you are OK with an SDA campus, why not? Funny side note: I saw a show on animal planet called "I was bitten" and Loma Linda has been featured in many episodes of that show. From what the television series portrays, loma linda is a top notch medical center and going to LLU for pharmacy gives you an edge if you are considering moving into the clinical sector.
 

dangster

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I have only three choices: LLU, USC, and Western. I'm accepted to LLU, but on hold for the other two. My first choice is USC because it has a great reputation in this region, lots of networking, and is ranked #15 according to US News 2008.

I am a little undecided on my second top choice. For LLU and Western, I plan on saving $$ on food/rent and commute to these schools. LLU is 40 min away, while Western is only 14 min away. I know that Western offers a unique things such as the block-system and interprofessional education, while LLU offers a smaller class size (75 compared to 120 at Western) and a Christian atmosphere, something that I prefer (I'm Catholic). Their pharmacy schools are both rather new (Western in 2000, LLU in 2002), so I can't find any rankings on US News for them. Loma Linda does sound like the bigger name, but it's only because of its medical center and medical school. But we're talking about pharmacy here...

For my career, I am looking to go into hospital pharmacy or specialize in infectious diseases, and I want to practice in Southern CA. So can you guys provide your feedback on these two schools (LLU and Western) for me? Which one would you choose, and why?

Any opinions are welcome, whether you're biased or unbiased, pre-pharmacy or current LLU/Western student, or a pharmacist. Thanks!

How much is a deposit for LLU? you can always throw down for a seat hold and see if you get accepted to the others.

I personally would choose Western but I'm slightly biased. I went to a Catholic school all of my life and the time and effort put into religious studies was laughable. However, a Catholic school isn't as stringent about those things as a SDA school from what I hear. I feel that Western and LLU are both very comparable and I would rather devote my time that I spend in chapel studying rather than participating in something that I have no interest in.
I know you want the Christian atmosphere, but it's not just the "atmosphere." You actually have to put in time going to chapel and participate.

BUT, again, that's just my personal opinion.
 

diastole

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I'd go with LLU. It sounds like you think it will be a better fit. You are going to be spending four years of your life there so you should be comfortable. Maybe your friends and family will think you are crazy but prestige isn't everything. Life is too short to be worrying too much about what others think. You can still reach your goals at LLU so if you think you will be happier there then why not go?
 

milgaroo

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I would say USC, but it seems like you chose Loma Linda already. Pharmacy school is a pharmacy school! No matter what the reputation is, if you do well, you will get to your goal. Good luck choosing!
 
Jan 29, 2010
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I would say USC, but it seems like you chose Loma Linda already. Pharmacy school is a pharmacy school! No matter what the reputation is, if you do well, you will get to your goal. Good luck choosing!
Actually, no I'm still undecided..........

I was already set on attending LLU...I really enjoyed how friendly and warm the faculty was. Then it was just two days ago that I was so suddenly accepted to USC. Before I applied, I wrote down that USC would be my top choice, and LLU was actually my 5th choice (out of all the other CA schools). But now, I'm seriously in a dilemma. I really like the small, family-like atmosphere at LLU, and the Christian environment. I also heard that USC students are competitive between each other. But it's the bigger name school...

Aye......my family/friends are telling me USC, but my gut is telling me LLU....I have to decide quick, because I have 2 weeks to send $500 deposit to USC...
 

rxlea

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If cost is of no issue and you don't have a partner or children involved in your decision, Go with your gut. LLU FTW!
 

Espada

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Seriously? Your having issues picking USC over LLU?

You must be confused. There tons of people that would choose USC over LLU.


I dont like that you have to go to church and complete hours. Hope that helps!


CHOOSE USC!!!
 

OldPharm

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You know, while reading your post, I remembered one of the P1 USC volunteers making fun of me just because I was from a small midwestern city... I wasn't too impressed by the fact that USC would accept a narrow minded prick like that, and ask him to represent USC on an interview day.. What I didn't tell him was that I lived in Manhattan before, and was born and raised in one of the largest metropolitan cities in Eastern Asia.

USC is a good school and reputable. That's a fact. And, I'm sure one immature P1 doesn't represent the school. But, If you prefer smaller and friendlier environment, I think LLU is a better choice for you than USC. No matter which pharmacy school you attend, if you work hard, you shouldn't have hard time getting your residency of choice. I'm also accepted at USC, but I'm going to withdraw my acceptance.
 
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Muangz

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Pick USC.

Are you religious? LLU wants you to go to church. No drinking, no partying while you are a student; school conduct or you will be dismissed.
 
Jan 29, 2010
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Pick USC.

Are you religious? LLU wants you to go to church. No drinking, no partying while you are a student; school conduct or you will be dismissed.
Yes, I'm Catholic. I don't mind going to Church, I already do every Sunday.

OldPharm, thanks for your insight. I kinda do think LLU is the better fit, since I do like the smaller, warmer atmosphere. What I been hearing is that students at USC are competitive, and are maybe less likely to help one another, as compared to LLU which has the smaller and family-like class size. I think 9/10 people in my position would choose USC...that's why I'm so reluctant to withdraw.

"Life is too short to be worrying too much about what others think." --You are so right about that diastole....
 

fremontRx

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Choose USC. It doesn't matter if the class size is 200 or 75, you have your own group of friends anyway, and this is the small and warm atmosphere that you're looking for (not the school by itself). If you're good, you'll be fine in any environment, regardless of the class size or teachers' attention. IMHO, go with the school that has better reputation ! It's not easy to be accepted to USC, one of the national top-ranked pharm schools, so don't miss the chance.
 
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radiohead7272

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usc is overrated what makes usc so much better than LLU? I would go with the school u think u would feel more comfortable with, don't listen to your friends and family who only care about reputation.
 

diastole

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Now that I'm reading more of what is important to you, I'd definitely choose LLU. I got a degree from UCLA a long time ago and it was a very competitive environment. People didn't want to help each other because we were graded on the curve and the whole game was to do better than your peers. People weren't terribly nice and I ended up making most of my friends outside of my major. Plus you had to deal with some pretty arrogant people with out-sized egos.

For pharmacy school I chose a non-competitive environment with no grades partly because of my UCLA experience. It is a night and day difference. When we have to learn a bunch of drugs, I get charts that people make in my email without having to ask for them. People just send it on because they think it might be helpful. That never would have happened at UCLA when I was there. I can ask someone to explain something and they don't look at me like I just asked for their bank account number. It is so nice being in a place where your fellow students want to see you succeed and aren't worried that you might do better than them.

Somebody told you to go with your gut and you said your gut is saying two different things. I say go with your heart. You might have more connections at USC and it might be easier to get your first job but it isn't like your career will come to ruins if you choose a school that will make your happier. In a smaller environment where you are happy, it will probably be easier to make a good impression on your profs and preceptors. It sounds like you know where you want to go but you are afraid to make a choice that 9/10 people would not make. But they aren't you and they don't have to live with the decision. You do so you should choose based on what you think is right.
 
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fighton09

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Pick USC.

Are you religious? LLU wants you to go to church. No drinking, no partying while you are a student; school conduct or you will be dismissed.

Yeah, the feeling I get from LLU is that they have a lot of say over your lifestyle not just your life academically, which depending on the person may be good or bad. For instance, correct me if I'm wrong, they not only say you can't drink, smoke, or even study during certain hours because they close down the libraries and campus for religious observance. They get to dictate a lot of your lifestyle, if you're not religious or you practice a different religious (say you're catholic, buddhist, hindu, etc) you still have to take the religious classes they require, pray when they tell you to pray and also probably pray about what they tell you to pray :whistle:. Now, I am not a current student however, that is the impression I got when I spoke to some people who have interviewed there and just by the admissions material.

However, perhaps this environment that LLU has created worked, because you observed a tight knit nice community of happy students, now it's your decision to see if you actually FIT into that community that they have created. Liking how the community is and they people that exist and how they treat you is nice, but realizing whether or not you'll be happy for the reasons that they are happy within that school is another story.

At LLU, it's probably a smaller community and the probability of you finding a subgroup of students you click with is smaller than that of USC, which is larger. This is based purely by numbers. With a class of 200, there's more likelihood you'll find a group of students who are similar to you and likely to share your beliefs and you'll be at a greater likelihood to find people you don't like. USC is a whole lot more diverse, I went there as an undergrad and the stereotype was "University of Spoiled Children". Now if I had believed that and gone to a different school based on believing a few isolated incidents of meeting some bratty rich kids, I think I'd regret it for not taking a chance on a very very diverse school.


So all in all, my point is you don't have to listen to what your friends and family say or even the people on SDN, but you do have to listen to yourself and see where you fit in and WHY. Remember it's 4 years of your life and probably setting up your career. Look into the community that'll make you the best student and will help you get to your ultimate professional goal, which is basically a big reason as to why we're all going to school. Just because a school looks nice or the people were nice or mean to you that one day on interview day, or whatever doesn't mean you'll have that exact same experience when you come. Realize what makes the students the way they are, what did the school do to create the academic community, and where you'll be the best. Regardless of where you go, you won't be fed with a huge golden spoon, you'll have to go after what opportunities are there (or create them if they aren't there).

good luck! :luck:
 
Jan 29, 2010
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Thanks everyone, I appreciate all of you taking the time to provide such helpful advice. This week, I'm planning to drive up to each school and spend a day there, talking to students, sitting in classes, and getting some feedback. Hopefully, I will be confident enough to make a firm decision toward the end of the week. Thanks again everyone.
 

Passion4Sci

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Thanks everyone, I appreciate all of you taking the time to provide such helpful advice. This week, I'm planning to drive up to each school and spend a day there, talking to students, sitting in classes, and getting some feedback. Hopefully, I will be confident enough to make a firm decision toward the end of the week. Thanks again everyone.

Let us know what you ultimately decide :)
 

fremontRx

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Thanks everyone, I appreciate all of you taking the time to provide such helpful advice. This week, I'm planning to drive up to each school and spend a day there, talking to students, sitting in classes, and getting some feedback. Hopefully, I will be confident enough to make a firm decision toward the end of the week. Thanks again everyone.
Hope you find the answer for yourself. Coming to each school to talk to the students is a good idea. Good luck !:)
 
Jan 29, 2010
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I think I'm turning crazy...I posted earlier that I was set on USC. After deeper thinking...LLU is still on my mind...(sigh)...this has been the toughest decision of my life so far...
 
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rxlea

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I really do know what you're feeling. If cost is of no importance, go with your gut man. You're going to be a PharmD either way :) Cheer up.
 

Dave4468

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I think I'm turning crazy...I posted earlier that I was set on USC. After deeper thinking...LLU is still on my mind...(sigh)...this has been the toughest decision of my life so far...
I would prefer USC because it has a great reputation and it might be an advantage in landing you a job in the future with the threat of a surplus and all.

I personally would not desire going to LLU. A religious school teaching science is a little weird for me. But since you are catholic and go to church every week, maybe it is the school for you :]
 
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I would prefer USC because it has a great reputation and it might be an advantage in landing you a job in the future with the threat of a surplus and all.

I personally would not desire going to LLU. A religious school teaching science is a little weird for me. But since you are catholic and go to church every week, maybe it is the school for you :]
Clearly you guys didn't notice that this post was from last year's cycle. Don't think the OP needs the advice anymore...