Hi, please help! I have 10 days to decide which UC to go to for undergrad.

Discussion in 'hSDN' started by yopperpo, May 19, 2017.

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  1. yopperpo

    yopperpo 2+ Year Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    Hi SDN, I'm currently a community college student who's blessed to be deciding between UCI, UCLA, and UC Berkeley to finish my undergrad during the next 2 years. I've eliminated UCB from my list because my parents would prefer me to stay in Socal where I live.

    Things I should mention:

    - I did my Ochem, Physics, General Biology, Biochemistry/Molecular Biology at my community college. I will definitely take upper division science courses at both universities to compensate for this - the question is how many is enough to demonstrate competency in the sciences?

    -I am primarily interested in which school I would get better grades at. From my research, this is a VERY divided topic. Some say that the rigor between the 2 schools is totally different, some say it's indistinguishable. I have no idea who to believe in this regard except someone who's attended both schools for undergrad, which I imagine would be a rare case.

    -Does the name and reputation of UCLA make this a really clear choice? I've heard adcoms use the name of the school more as a tiebreaker rather than a major factor in considering applicants.

    UC Irvine
    • Offered me a 2.5k scholarship, making the total Cost of Attendance about 11.5k a year
    • 25 minutes away from home, so no need to dorm
    • Admitted to Honors Program, giving me Priority Registration + Priority Consideration for Research Opportunities
    • Will be a Political Science Major (taking upper division bio courses). I would definitely enjoy the Political Science more than the Biology Major.
    • I'd get to do Political Science Research, which seems more interesting to me than working in a Biology lab. Then again, I've had no experience working in a hard science lab.
    • Science courses planned: Cell Biology, Human Physiology, Human Anatomy, 2 other upper division bio classes

    • About 27K/year Cost of Attendance, no financial aid offered. I'm fortunate to have parents who are willing and able to pay the 2 years tuition/housing.
    • Will be a Molecular, Cell, Developmental Biology Major
    • Science courses planned: Cell Biology, Developmental Biology, Biochemistry (have to retake here), Molecular Biology of Cellular Processes, Lab course in Developmental Biology, and 3 more MCDB electives.
    • I'd be doing research in Cell or Developmental biology most likely.
    • The campus is amazing, and the name is great. If I go here, I will get more of the "college experience".
    I really appreciate you reading this and would greatly appreciate your opinions. This choice has been killing me over the past 4 weeks and I honestly wish I was only accepted to one of them to make my choice easier. Thank you so much in advance!
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  3. Skarl

    Skarl 2+ Year Member

    Jul 12, 2015
    Since you live pretty close by I recommend you visit each campus and talk to students and get a feel for each. I think at the end of the day you can succeed at either school and UCI vs UCLA isn't going to hold you back if you excel.
    OchemOficionado likes this.
  4. Helpful Troll

    Helpful Troll

    Feb 22, 2016
    Not having priority registration at UCLA would suck.
    Levo likes this.
  5. PreMedStudent55555


    Jun 24, 2016
    Hey congratulations on the acceptances. I posted about a topic similar to this a few days ago but I would suggest you go to which school you feel best suits you but I just wanted to dispel a potential misconception you may be holding about these schools which is the difficulty of their classes or premedical programs. There is a misconception about the difficulty of premedical program amongst different schools which is that: This school will give me easy As and this school will automatically fail me unless I work my butt off. And that is completely false. Regardless of which school you go to I guarantee you that you will have your work cut out for you. Trust me. I chose my undergrad not only because I liked the campus and such but believed that it would be easy to get As and that wasn't the case. I have many friends at schools varying from ivy leagues to state schools and I can guarantee you that the workload and difficulty for courses are about the same. Sure a top school like UCLA will be a LITTLE more difficult but going to UCI isn't going to be that much easier as all premedical program require you to handle the same coursework.

    Judging from your post: I would suggest going to UCLA. Not because of the name but rather because you will probably have more opportunities there. Anyways, best of luck to you, OP. College is a great experience and I've grown a lot throughout it so I wish you the best as well.
  6. yopperpo

    yopperpo 2+ Year Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    I've visited both schools - The students at UC Irvine definitely seem more laid back and chill. I also feel more home at UCI - but that's probably due to the fact my community college is 15 minutes from there and I've visited UCI like 5 times.

    UCLA seemed more foreign, but extremely beautiful and grand. I didn't like the traffic though, haha.
  7. yopperpo

    yopperpo 2+ Year Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    Thank you for the reply!

    If you don't mind, could you elaborate on what you mean by what opportunities UCLA will offer that UCI doesn't? Thanks!
  8. Fdsa2495


    Nov 27, 2015
    If you ONLY think in a premed's perspective:

    UCI = Big fish in a small pool (relative to UCLA) - its smaller and seems like you'll be at the top with honors etc.

    UCLA = Small fish in a big pool - if you can master the classes and be a top student, go for it!
  9. PreMedStudent55555


    Jun 24, 2016
    I'm just referring to research opportunities. I'm not too familiar with UCLA vs UCI, specifically but typically more renowned institutions have more research going on and hence better opportunities.

    And the comment before me is exactly something what you should avoid. Like I said before UCLA will prob be a bit harder but UCI isn't going to be a breeze. I have a friend who finished UC Berkeley with about a 3.9 GPA and is going to Yale next semester. I also have a friend who went to an "easy" premed school and ended doing very poorly his first year. Both are smart but their mentalities were different. You shouldn't go in with the mentality that this school is super hard or super easy but rather that they are equal and that you need to learn and master the material of your courses, wherever you go.
  10. Speaking as an attending many, many years removed from college:

    UC Irvine.
  11. undetermine


    Dec 3, 2015
    hSDN Member
    Hi! Reading the thread, I think you should attend UCLA. I agree with pretty much everything thatPreMedStudent55555 said. I think you want to go to Irvine because it's familiar and cheaper. UCLA would be different, but allow to try something new. Additionally, since your parents are paying for your tuition, I think you would get the most out of your college experience at UCLA :)

    Good luck with whatever you choose!
  12. yopperpo

    yopperpo 2+ Year Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    Thanks for the reply exi! If I may ask, why UC Irvine?

    Yes, Irvine definitely seems familiar and comfortable to me, but the environment of UCLA was so surreal and new, which makes this such a hard decision. Thank you for your kind words.
  13. In all fairness, either would be fine. There is a significant money difference, but I didn't see that you're not paying for it anyway. Comfort level and the fish analogy are nice, too. Sounds almost as if you'd enjoy it there more than UCLA.
  14. hamstergang

    hamstergang may or may not contain hamsters 5+ Year Member

    May 6, 2012
    Why different majors depending on the school?
  15. Levo


    Dec 16, 2016
    This, three times over. Getting into the classes you need at a UC can be like pulling teeth, and there are definitely people who end up taking longer (and paying more in tuition) because of it. I honestly think people exaggerate the differences between UC schools. When you look at the extremes, yes, Cal Berkeley is a more conventionally desirable place to go for college than UC Merced, but all of the UCs are fundamentally similar and I don't think going to UC Irvine will put you behind as far as "school reputation" compared to UCLA.
  16. yopperpo

    yopperpo 2+ Year Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    UC Irvine is really flexible in changing majors, especially for those in the School of Social Sciences. UCLA lets you petition to change in between different life science majors, but does not let you change into Political Science after admission. If they did, that would be a big plus in me going there.

    Thanks! I agree. Priority registration will give me more flexibility in taking classes I'm interested in and with better professors.
  17. Lardy Boy

    Lardy Boy

    Mar 26, 2016
    Uci if you want to keep your hair

    Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
  18. DetectiveAlonzo

    DetectiveAlonzo 2+ Year Member

    Nov 30, 2014
    Go to a CC and then transfer.

    Take the same classes for less than 10x the cost.

    Smaller class sizes, no curves, and more approachable professors make for easier grades (most of the time).

    Can do research at nearby hospital or through on of your science professors that know somebody.

    An A is an A... no matter where you go.

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