Need help in deciding under grad school - would appreciate weigh in from Med students


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Apr 17, 2023
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I am a high school senior looking for some insight on how to select an undergrad school from folks who are in med school - I have been accepted in UC Riverside and UC Santa Cruz and also private liberal arts schools such as Hamilton, Scripps, Loyola Marymount , Trinity. Private schools are expensive and i will have to incur a loan of up-to $350k to attend, with an overall cost of more than twice the cost of UC’s. The UC’s i have been selected are Tier 3 colleges 1) Is it worth spending that much and take loan for Hamilton / Scripps for pre med 2) What can i do to compensate to prepare for med school if i chooses Riverside or Santa Cruz - how big of a disadvantage it will be for Med school entrance 3) How best to decide between Riverside vs Santa Cruz .

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From what I was told frequently, unless you're going to an Ivy League school such as Harvard or Yale, it really does not matter where you go for undergrad. The choice you should make is the place where you have the least debt, is an accredited 4-year university/college that offers the necessary degree/pre-requisite courses, and where you feel most happiest. In this regard however with your two UC choices, I would go UC Riverside since they have a medical school and networking early-on would benefit you greatly. Just keep in-mind UC Riverside's medical school has a specific mission-fit and you should prepare for that as well.

For reference from my own experiences, I am about to graduate from a T30 school (according to US News, but who cares about ranking) that is a flagship state school and I have little to no debt whatsoever by going to the public state school. I was accepted into a few name-brand private schools, including one Ivy League, but chose not to go because I didn't want to be 300-400K in debt in loans for my undergraduate career.
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Doesn’t matter what you pick between these options. Go to the school that’s cheapest that you’d feel most comfortable at. I went to a worse school than any of the ones on your list, and will be matriculating to a T10 w/ a hefty merit scholarship.

As for your UC options, UCSC has been on a bit of a downslide (in addition to their housing crisis), so I’d lean towards Riverside.
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You can go anywhere and get into medical school. Do well in college, expose yourself to the medical field, volunteer in your community, and try to get some research experience. It is more important that you build yourself up as a well rounded human being than rely on the name of your undergrad to get you in. A 4.0 at Riverside has more options than a 2.4 at Harvard in medical admissions. I personally recommend getting into the least amount of debt possible.
Unless you are offered a full tuition scholarship to a very fancy private school, you would be ill-advised to pass up an education at any UC.

My assessment between UCR and UCSC: One of the most beautiful places on earth vs the inland empire. That said, UCR has a medical school with an imperative to matriculate a lot of students from the undergrad.