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*HELP* UCLA or SJSU for pre-med?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by exilio, Apr 11, 2004.

?

UCLA or SJSU

  1. UCLA!!! Cuz it's UCLA!

    17 vote(s)
    26.6%
  2. SJSU. Because you will save money.

    4 vote(s)
    6.3%
  3. UCLA because even though it will be more of a financial burden it will be far better on a MedSchool

    21 vote(s)
    32.8%
  4. SJSU. Because not only will you save money, but it won't make that much of a diff if you do pre-med

    22 vote(s)
    34.4%
  1. exilio

    exilio Jocular Junior
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    Hey all,

    I am sort of at a crossroads.

    I am trying to decide between UCLA or SJSU for xfer to from my JC. Now before you roll your eyes and scream at your monitor, "UCLA of course you dolt!", there are a few factors to consider.

    If I go to UCLA:

    1) Cost of living goes up (because I have very cheap rent right now; a great deal)

    2) Income goes down by 30-40% (My wife is a teacher and makes a decent wage in NorCal as opposed to SoCal)

    3) Would be closer to family

    4) Would be in a more desireable area

    5) It's UCLA :)

    If I go to SJSU

    1) Less expensive than UCLA

    2) Get to keep cheap rent

    3) Income level remains the same which is considerably better at present

    4) SJSU's rep is far below UCLA's

    Bear in mind this is all for pre-med classes. And in case people don't know, SJSU = San Jose State University.
     
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  3. SaltySqueegee

    SaltySqueegee El Rey de Salsa
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    I'm just finishing up at SJSU with my undergraduate degree, and was accepted last week to MCO's MD/PhD program. Just this past application cycle we placed applicants at Stanford, UCSF, UCD, UCI, UCSD, Mayo, Yale, etc. In other words, the school you come from does not matter all that much in the grand scheme of things. If you attend SJSU, the only thing that could possibly hold you back is yourself; as with anything, success is determined by your own actions. Seriously consider our school. In my opinion, my education has been just as good as any other Ivy league school or UC, plus it has been very personalized by the close faculty/student interaction (this is especially prevalent in the chemistry dept.). PM me if you have any specific questions.

    -MDPhDTom :D
     
  4. MrTee

    MrTee Senior Member
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    I've taken classes at both schools. I will have to say that the competition you will experience at UCLA is much stiffer than at SJSU. If you're concerned with your GPA, you should go to SJSU. I'm not sure about the breadth of the classes offered at SJSU though, and the research opportunities are more limited (I have no idea what kind of research you can do at SJSU, whereas at UCLA, there are many possibilities).

    Also, if you're a super student, going to UCLA would be better, since a 4.0 from there is stronger than a 4.0 from SJS.
     
  5. SaltySqueegee

    SaltySqueegee El Rey de Salsa
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    Agreed with the competition statement. Breadth of classes is sufficient to have allowed me to take graduate courses dealing with small animal surgeries in pharmacology. Some of my friends are taking grad courses in polymer kinetics. In other words, there is a sufficient choice of classes to take. Research is somewhat limited in choice. However, as exilio already probably knows, there are plenty of research opportunities in the Bay area, and not just at SJSU. Go Spartans! :clap: Sorry for the Bias. ;)
     
  6. jlee9531

    jlee9531 J,A,S
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    being an advocate of the UC system...i will have to say that your best bet is at ucla.

    you got to la, so i am going to assume that you can handle the load there. enjoy the nice experience there, take advantage of the ucla name that can help you out in many out of state med schools...esp if that out of state has a nice history of consistently taking students from your ugrad.

    might as well experience something different from norcal as well.
     
  7. exilio

    exilio Jocular Junior
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    Hey guys,

    I really appreciate the feedback. You have no idea how much I have been stressing about all this.

    Tom,
    I will be sending you a PM for sure as it is great to know someone going to SJSU.

    I also wanted to comment on the competition differences between UCLA and SJSU. I think it is about being the small fish in a big pond (UCLA) and a small fish in a small pond (SJSU). I am no big fish with regards to sciene and math..not because I lack the aptitude, but more the experience...I am a late to college student (30yo).

    So while the 4.0 would look more impressive from UCLA than SJSU, I think I have a better chance at a better GPA at SJSU because I am sure they have far less gunners than UCLA. I am not looking to get by easily, but I would hate to be blown out of the water because of some elite students.

    And what's more, Tom is very correct. The Bay area is rife with research opportunties. So I am not too concerned about that.

    Tom, maybe I can buy you some lunch sometime and you can fill me in on all things SJSU. ;)
     
  8. sinnah83

    sinnah83 Member
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    I would go to SJSU. I guess I share Tom's bias. I have done my undergrad at SJSU and I am very happy with the experience - small class sizes, awesome faculty. Research at SJSU sucks, however, teaching labs are awesome. I did most of my research during the summers and at other institutions. I have been fairly successful with the application process even coming from SJSU. People from SJSU have gotten into schools as good as Stanford and UCSF (this year). So basically, if you are resourceful and willing to look for research opps outside of SJSU, then SJSU is the best choice. If, however, you like to have stuff all set for you, UCLA would be a better choice.
    As far as SJSU being less competitive, I guess thats true in general. But there are a lot of post bacc pre meds who are hella smart and have a lot a experience under their belts and set the curve in almost every class they take. GO SPARTANS!
     
  9. BerkeleyPremed

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    Glad to see you're considering UCLA to continue your education. I definitely understand your concerns about the competition at UCLA and I REALLY recommend that you go to the institution that you feel will better SERVE YOU as a student. If you think you can earn a higher GPA and be more successful as a student at San Jose State, then I think you should go to San Jose State. Ultimately, no medical school will frown upon the PLACE where you earned your degree...they'll just look at your GPA and that's really what matters here (putting MCATs, extra-currics, and all that other stuff aside for a moment).

    That said, I think UCLA could offer a more academically enriched environment and you probably would get more research opportunities there. I think the faculty quality is better at UCLA but you would probably get more individual attention and a lower student/faculty ratio at SJSU.

    Well, whichever you choose...best of luck in the remainder of your studies! I'm sure you'll do great at whichever institution you attend.
     
  10. pmpndaflip

    pmpndaflip Member
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    It's so much easier at a Cal State. Just go there if you're not worried about the "name". (It is nicer to say you go to UCLA though :smuggrin: ) Students are very competitive at UCLA. Not to mention the exams are pretty hard, at times too hard (but all/most classes are graded on a curve unlike Cal States). From the looks of things, Med Schools doesn't seem to really care THAT MUCH as to which undergrad you go to. As far as students from a particular school being favored, I know that UCLA has tons of students getting into New York Med :clap: . Honestly, only go to UCLA if you want your dreams crushed! :laugh:
     
  11. CalBeE

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    If you goto SJSU, you probably have to be a very stellar applicant to get admission to med school. Med schools do take where you goto school into consideration.
     
  12. jlee9531

    jlee9531 J,A,S
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    yes they do take your undergrad institution under consideration. tho i have heard of lower gpa students from ucla get into medical institutions...i have yet to hear a low gpa student from a cal state getting in. and yes i do know a good deal of cal state kids.
     
  13. kikkoman

    kikkoman Senior Member
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    i know it's said and said again - but the undergraduate school that you go to matters a lot - arguably not for where you get into med school - but definitely as to how you grow as a person, and the types of people you meet.

    i guarantee you that 90% of the people who passed up good financial aid packages at low-caliber schools to go to high-caliber schools will say that it was the best choice that they made in their lives.

    i feel like a broken record, and pretty cheesy - but the people you meet and how they influence you in college will affect who you become to some degree. of course there are talented and interesting people at lower rate schools, but there just arent as many of them.
     
  14. CalBeE

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    I really agree. I spent my last two years of high school at a place where people were not very motivated. There are no AP or honors classes and the regular classes are pretty easy. Almost everyone in my graduating class is just aiming to get into community college or unknown 4-year colleges. In a sense it's a relaxed atmosphere, but I felt that I learned hella more in an environment like UCLA
     
  15. SaltySqueegee

    SaltySqueegee El Rey de Salsa
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    Agreed, there is a very personal side to college that is very necessary to address. However, I feel as though I received that at SJSU. I could go into a ton of detail, but just assume that I have grown as a person at SJSU, and that I have felt I have had more than an adequate amount of opportunities in research (at school, and in the surrounding area), academically, leadership-wise, clinically, friendship-wise, etc. You might want to audit a few courses down in LA sometime, and then audit a few SJSU courses to get a perspective to see which one matches best. Good luck in your choices.
     
  16. hamhamfan

    hamhamfan internet fairy
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    Yeah, totally. I have had a similar experience. Just the competitive attitude of the people around you can be infectious. I used to think that volunteering like 4 hours a week was enough. Now that I see how tough the competition can be, I'm trying to spend 16 hours of EC's, plus research, plus school. Walking around school and seeing people study so much can be unnerving... but it motivates me to actually study more intensely than before. It sounds bad, but it really isn't. It was interesting how much more I could do with the right kind of pressure.
     
  17. exmike

    exmike NOR * CAL
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    I think it boils down to you, and how you perform. If you're going to bust a$$ and get a 4.0 at SJSU, I dont thikn it'll matter much at all. The reputation of the schools will come into play if you have low MCATs and your GPA is just average. Really think about how well you'll do your next to years and use that as your guide.
     
  18. sinnah83

    sinnah83 Member
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    one important bit of info I forgot to add earlier:
    If you choose to go to SJSU, make sure you are a good standardized test taker. No matter how hard you work at SJSU and how good of a GPA you have, the ad coms will scrutinize your MCAT score if you come from a "less prestigious" institution. The ppl that I know from SJSU who had a successful application cycle all did well on the MCAT - 33 and up.
     
  19. kikkoman

    kikkoman Senior Member
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    im a bit troubled by a lot of these arguments. some say that working hard and doing the right things in undergrad to get into a good medical school is all that matters, and if the undergrad lets you do that, you shouldnt really be concerned. and then for med school - its not really so important which med school you go to as long as you go through the right motions and get into the "right" residency.

    is this all a big rat race for the right residency? why are not more people basing what institutions they will attend for the most formative 8 years of their lives based on the personality/rigor/mission/location of the institution, rather merely if it will allow them to make the next step in the process more favorable?

    \
     
  20. jbing

    jbing Senior Member
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    #19 jbing, Apr 11, 2004
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2012
  21. kikkoman

    kikkoman Senior Member
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    but even if you accept that premeds are number driven - do they prioritize med school more than undergrad? or residency more than med school?

    i can buy the whole argument about going to a second-rate school if you are worried about getting in at all and might not be able to cut a decent GPA at UCLA, but sacrificing a place like UCLA for SJSU so you might have a better chance at getting into a slightly more competitive med school?

    it doesnt make sense to me - especially considering how formative undergrad is in general.
     
  22. jbing

    jbing Senior Member
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    #21 jbing, Apr 11, 2004
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2012
  23. exilio

    exilio Jocular Junior
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    Sadly, most of this is true.

    It is a numbers game..was it ever any other way?

    I am entering school later in life, so it could be argued my formative years have already taken place. So what I hope to get out of my undergrad is a solid education that prepares me not only in my major but also for taking the MCAT.

    Do I expect some great journey of enlightenment..not really. But I wouldn't mind if it happened. I reallyt hink that happens working as a doctor much moreso than as a student. Reality > Theory if you will.

    I am deciding between UCLA and SJSU from the standpoint of what will be best for me, my wife and my plans to be a doctor. I am not looking to hide from stiff competition at UCLA. I want a solid education but I am trying to determine if that has an equal chance of happening at SJSU. I know the perception is that UCLA is the more solid education..but is that the reality? I think that might be too subjective to ever truly know. But it is perception that matters, especially in the case of meeting with adcoms.

    So what does all this mean?

    I have no frigging idea...that's why I put a message up on this board...and unfortunately, things still seem as clear as mud.
     
  24. SaltySqueegee

    SaltySqueegee El Rey de Salsa
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    You wanna know what is sad? The fact that some people think a CSU school isn't competitive and can't compare to a UC school in the amount of prep. Now that is sad! Argghhh... +pissed+

    Exilio, go where you wanna go... do what you wanna do... (hmmm... sounds like a melody; anyways)... numbers or not, school reputation or not, it is the person not everything else (of course breadth of course work, gpa and mcat have something to do about it) that will make or break the application! Anyone that refutes that is a B!tch! :smuggrin:

    This thread is becoming dumb... Go whereever... it won't matter... I truly believe that if a person is made for medicine that they will get in from any which direction they pursue. :thumbup:
     
  25. uclacrewdude

    uclacrewdude the uclacrewdude abides
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    you all bring up pretty good points. i guess its like saying which should you go to, ucla or any ivy league college that is a step below harvard? ill tell you this -- on the interview trail it was good to be talking to all these kids from (and i take a random sampling from some of my current classmates) albright college and bucknell university ... uh, yeah, wherever the hell THOSE are; but when i said UCLA that goes ding! right in everyones head. not just for interviewees, but interviewers as well. the risk of a lower GPA is offset by the fact that UCLA is the most competitive public school in the nation (40K applicants for a pool of 6K freshmen; Cal is harder to get into by a hair, but like Harvard, goes through stiffer pre-selection), rigorous classes, and gunners as far as the eye can see. trust me, i had crap for a GPA, and though i had to explain myself somewhat, often saying "well, UCLA is one of the best public schools in the nation..." gets half the battle done for you.

    i say go with UCLA b/c:
    youll have more directions for intellectual growth
    direct involvement in research will be easier
    a lot of the educational programs at UCLA simply are better than at SJSU
    itll make you grow as a person

    in my class...
    UCLA grads (right out of the gate, too) = 2
    Cal grads = 1
    UCSD grads (all did post-bac) = 3
    plus a smattering of private cali schools, like the claremont mckenna system

    note: my brother goes to SJSU, so its not like im talking out of my ass.
     
  26. hamhamfan

    hamhamfan internet fairy
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    Eh... I didn't pay attention to the fact that you have a family. I think it would be better to just stay in the area. It's better not to be away from your family or force them to move with you. Also, I've heard that 30 year olds don't change that much... so UCLA's environment might be helpful at all.
     
  27. beatla19

    beatla19 Member
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    Congratulations on your acceptances. I go to a cal state(cal poly), and have found it more stimulating than mind-numbing. In fact, I recently watched a film clip from Swimming with Sharks in one of my classes. A phrase was uttered frequently throughout the film: "What do you want?" Ultimately, you're just going to have to answer this for yourself and go with your gut instinct. Trust yourself. For me, the choice would be easy. Where would I go? I don't think that really matters.
     
  28. exilio

    exilio Jocular Junior
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    Wow..that statement is almost shocking...on some level I might agree...but it just is interesting to read.

    I am 30yo and would like to think I am very open to change..afterall..I am trying to got Medical School..and that takes a lot of change...I don't think I am ready for the retirement home just yet. :rolleyes:
     
  29. Dentalist

    Dentalist carpe diem
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    I think, in order to be successful at UCLA, you need to be very independent. Your grade depends on your ability to study things on your own. You need to knock the door first, rather than expect someone else to open the door for you. Sometimes, you have to fight administrative staff to get petitions. Although there is a lack of guidance for pre-meds at UCLA, it will make you more independent and teaches you how to survive in the real world. Competition can get fierce, but remember anything easy is not worth doing it.

    I personally have had better experiences with classes taught by Cal-State professors. In general, they were more approachable and teaching-oriented than UCLA professors. Also, for the research opportunities, I do not think it is a big deal because, like someone already mentioned, you can always get involved in research at another institution over the summer.

    You cannot go wrong with either school. If you are dedicated, motivated and hard-working, you will eventually get into med school whichever undergrad you go to. If some med school rejected you solely because you attended SJSU, that school would not be worth going to.

    Good luck with your decision!

    Regards,
    Dentalist
     
  30. exilio

    exilio Jocular Junior
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    Dentalist,

    Thanks for your feedback. I feel as though I am a self-starter...so having to be independent is not an issue for me and I love competition. I guess the point of this thread is just to get an idea on ALL of my options...I did not want to rule SJSU out simply based on my singular perception of the school...

    ..with that in mind, the feedback has been both helpful and confusing. So I have to sift through the comments and make a decision that only I alone can make.
     
  31. exilio

    exilio Jocular Junior
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    So the final count seems to be:

    23 for UCLA and 14(-1 for my vote) for SJSU.

    Hmmm...I am not sure if I should subtract those that chose UCLA just because of it's name recognition.
     
  32. SloppyJoe

    SloppyJoe Senior Member
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    Go to SJSU, because it's not fair for your wife to wait for you to finish college, medical school, and then residency. I am sure you realize you are a little late in the game. You are taking on a long path, and your familiy will pay a consequence accordingly. Do want you can and ease their burder and stay at SJSU. You won't regret it and it's the right thing to do.
     
  33. hamhamfan

    hamhamfan internet fairy
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    I didn't mean to be offensive. If I was, I apologize. However, that's what I've heard. Some older people have told me that like by the mid 20's people start to settle down and then they go to work and have kids... but they aren't (generally) out exploring new things. Of course, this is a broad generalization... but that's what I have heard.
     
  34. scota

    scota Senior Member
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    Hey,

    I am about to graduate from UCLA (non-science major), and I somewhat regret going there. I was not impressed with the the sciences (pre-med reqs); there is stiff competition and the professors are often uninspiring. If I could go back four years, I'd definitely go to SFSU or SJSU. By the way, I'm starting as a post bac at SFSU this fall! I'd choose SJSU over UCLA because you'll probably have a better educational experience. Good luck!
     
  35. celticmists18

    celticmists18 california dreaming
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    I would have to say go to UCLA (and you have no idea how that pains me being a UCSD grad!). The thing is admissions committees know that the UCs are the best public universities in the country. They are HIGHLY respected and for good reason . . .they give you a great education. You might also want to keep in mind that SJSU is having some major budget issues, hence all the talk of cutting the engineering dept! I grew up in the Bay Area so I know SJSU has a pretty good rep in these parts, but if you are serious about med school I would urge you to go to UCLA.
     
  36. sendwich

    sendwich you rock!
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    i'm going to throw out a question that's sort of related to this post. i graduated from ucla with a bs in bio and a poor gpa around the 2.8 area (going through some tough personal times) :( . i'm going back to take more upper division science courses to get more focused and "deem" my way back to being competitive. i was thinking about ucla but i have family near csla and was thinking about going there instead. i took some classes at csun (since that's nearer to where i work, and i was surprised by the instructors there (mUCH more inspirational and approachable than ucla) but the classes ARE easier).

    i want to stay near family (there's a lot of heavy family situations at home so it'd be nicer to stay near). i know csla isn't 1000miles away from ucla but also living costs are higher near ucla no?

    any advice would be appreciated!!!! PM would be nice too.
     
  37. Tezzie

    Tezzie b*witched
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    Although every other poster seems to bring up very valuable points, i have to say that you go with SJSU.

    Granted outside of California lacks recognition (i think). But a good student is a happy student. And a happy student is a good student. If going to UCLA is going to upset your home life (moving, your wife trying to get another job, financial anxiety, etc) then you are going to waste a lot of your emotional power on those issues and you will feel somewhat tired by the time you get to actually start your courses.

    Don't forget that the admissions game at times is strictly numbers. If you think that you will end up with a 2.8 at UCLA and a 3.8 at SJSU then the choice is obvious.

    If you need to move now and then move again later for medical school it will upset your life even more.

    I say stay where you are. Bust your a$$ where you are right now. A 3.5+ and a 30-32+ will get you in regardless of where your GPA was from. Take a look at other SDN threads to see what it takes to get into medschool outside of grades and you should be just fine.

    Remember family, health and sanity come first.
     
  38. RoseLee

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    As a product of the UC system - I have a degree in Sociology (premed so have taken all the "science" courses) from UCSD, and now attending SJSU as a post bac (since it was umm...a couple of years ago that I had my science courses :)!), I would say go to SJSU. There are many older students in their late 20's and 30s and I feel right at home there. The courses are challenging and the professors accessible.

    Since I do have a degree from the UC system already, my opinion may be a little different :).

    Go where you know you can do well and be happy. Period. Don't let "prestige" be your deciding factor.

    Roselee
     
  39. Goober

    Goober Senior Member
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    Well having been a former student member of an adcom, I can say that we certainly weighted gpas according to school. UCB and UCLA had weightings that were just below the premier schools like MIT/Ivy League ect. Cal State schools had very low ratings.

    Having said that, we did interview some CSU students. They tended to be absolutely stellar applicants overall both in numbers(gpa 3.8-4.0, MCAT above 35) and ECs. The ones that didn't have these numbers were mostly URMs.

    Ultimately you have decide where you will be happiest. The main thing is that you do well wherever you are at. It already sounds like your leaning towards SJSU.
     
  40. Love4Radiohead

    5+ Year Member

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    As a former UCLA pre-med I have to tell you the opportunities available to students are amazing for a public school. :thumbup: :thumbup:
    If you have specific questions about the school, feel free to ask me. :)
    I would recommend UCLA to anybody, and by the way you can find cheap rent if you REALLY try (you can live in SM and take the Blue Bus... even though it isn't so glam... it gets you to your classes).
     
  41. uclacrewdude

    uclacrewdude the uclacrewdude abides
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    actually scota, you didnt take most of the pre-med requirements at ucla. you didnt even take a high proportion of science classes period. trust me, ucla's pre-med classes are highly functional for MS1 and MS2.
     
  42. scota

    scota Senior Member
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    Hey Uclacrewdude! I didn't take my classes at LA for a reason. I would enroll in some of the LS and Chem, but would drop them before the drop deadline. UCLA is good for its reputation, not necessarily for the educational experience. Come on, you know that many of the science professors are good researchers, not teachers. UCLA might work for some people, but it's not for all of us.



     
  43. celticmists18

    celticmists18 california dreaming
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    Were the classes that you took lower division? 'cause I know at ucsd they used general chem as a way to weed out "pre-meds". Schools have the reputations they do for a reason, just because you didn't like UCLA doesn't mean it isn't a great school (FYI: I did NOT attend UCLA). Your education is what you make of it.
     
  44. SaltySqueegee

    SaltySqueegee El Rey de Salsa
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    Hmmm... I'm all for SJSU as per my previous replies to the OP, however I did find this web page interesting.

    Click on the appropriate link for your race/ethnicity to find out your chances:

    Undergraduate Institutions Producing the most Medical School Applicants:

    For white applicants it seems like UCLA is your top choice!? :rolleyes:

    Any ways... FYI. :cool:

    I'm protesting Karma! It's just a tool/cog to feed the machine that is just trying to keep the man down!
     

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