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Selecting an undergraduate school ... argh!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by MrDreamWeaver, Nov 21, 2005.

  1. MrDreamWeaver

    MrDreamWeaver Senior Member
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    Hi everyone :)

    I'm currently a community college student in the process of applying to a 4-year University. I had some questions if you don't mind helping me out...

    1. Ideally I would prefer to attend UCSD because it's very close to home. However, the general student body seems completely different than me. I am more of a laid back guy who prefers a very friendly atmosphere. I've heard that UCSD is extremely cut-throat and the learning experience is certainly not friendly. Any opinions?

    2. I am applying to UCLA and UCI just to keep my options open. UCLA seems like a fun school but of course it's very, very competitive. UCI is also competitive but I've heard it's not as rough as UCLA and UCSD. Opinions?

    I'm not trying to say I can't "hang" with a competitive group or that I'm a slacker, I'm just strategically planning my future. If I get a bunch of Bs at UCSD or UCLA that would have been As at another school, I would think my chances of getting into Med School decrease. Since my main goal is to gain acceptance to Med School, doesn't it make sense to attend an easier undergrad college?

    Perhaps some students of these schools can fill me in? For that matter, anyone with suggestions, please help ! :D
     
  2. Elastase

    Elastase StanfUrd bound!!!
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    Why didn't you apply to Cal or Davis? (both are great schools!)

    You should NOT base your decision for your undergrad on what planned grades you might get. Upper Divs will be equally hard at UCB, UCLA, and UCSD. Irvine and Davis are also great schools (and there are also cut-throat pre-meds). They are all difficult upper-divs (especially bio-related). You want to go the better/best school. For me, I would choose the school with the best reputation, not just on the name but on what you have heard from people that are close to you or went/are-going through your same planned major. You want the best education and the best preparation for med school!
     
  3. nimotsu

    nimotsu 荷物
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    It's not a good plan to base your whole life on getting into medical school. You have to at least enjoy what you do, and what if you never get in? Go to the best school that will accept you. It's nuts to get a substandard education for the sole reason of getting into medical school. Competition and innovation is what makes the country the best in the world, so jump into the ring and push yourself. A school is not going to accept you in the first place if it doesn't think you can complete the work.
     
  4. MrDreamWeaver

    MrDreamWeaver Senior Member
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    Interesting advice. Thank you.

    I guess I just feel like the little turtle who is just beginning to poke his head out and observe the world.

    I guess I am just scared i'm going to be overwhelmed once I transfer from community college. I wish there were a few transfer students on SD to reassure me.

    Davis is a bit too far from home and I didn't complete all the necessary courses to apply to Cal, so those two are out of the picture. Sometimes I wish I could just go to a completely different school in a completely different state. Too bad huge financial issues arise :p
     
  5. tank you

    tank you 2K Member
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    as a senior undergrad at uc irvine, let me tell u that if u like going out a lot, theres not much to do in irvine. that doesnt mean that there are no parties, bc there are many, and u can go to newport beach also, but uci is mostly a commuter school.
    as for the academics, i would say there are not many gunner competetive premeds here, most are friendly and help each other out. the upper-div classes are hard, im sure its the same at any UC.
    if u have any questions about uc irvine, u can PM me.
    well, good luck deciding :)
     
  6. madonna

    madonna Senior Member
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    i went to ucsb and its great. there is time and place to party, people generally are nice, not too competitive, professors are very nice, and there are some really great oportunities here, and girls are hot. its pretty easy to get good grades, i had friends in most other UCs and i had the easiest time.
    i think you should apply to as many as possible, visit, and then make your dicision.
    good luck
     
  7. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    I can't believe nobody mentioned my school - UC Santa Cruz!! If you want a laid back, relaxed and BEAUTIFUL campus, it does not get any better. In fact, you don't even have to get grades if you don't want them (you get narrative evals instead). AWESOME school - GO BANANA SLUGS!!
     
  8. DrHuang

    DrHuang SDN Donor
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    It is my opinion that you should attend UCI over UCLA if you want to have the grades. My friend went to UCI for the summer session and got an A and an A+ in 2 of the core bio classes while he got a B and B- at UCLA when he finished the bio series at UCLA. I went to UCR as a high school student and got an A in chemistry 1 while I got a B when I continued my chemistry series at UCLA so yes, there is a difference...students at the 'better UC's' are in a different class from the 'lower UC's' and while I know I'll get flamed for it, its just the way it is...the curve will be much easier at UCI than it is at UCLA. Whats important for you though is to learn the material for yourself so it better prepares you for the MCATs and for medical school and at the same time, its important that you enjoy your college experience. just my 2 cents

    edit: i didnt find the upper divs to be that bad at UCLA (i was a bio major)
     
  9. bootz

    bootz Senior Member
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    I ended up transferring to UCLA over UCSD. If you are worried about cut-throatedness in your science classes, then I think you are looking at it the wrong way. Be brave. You should have the confidence that you are going to get A's at whatever school you go to. I've had some classes that were cut-throat (e.g. O-chem lab) and other classes that were totally laid back. I think that stuff depends on how the professor is grading the class. You'll get a good idea of which classes are cut-throat by reading the syllabus on the first day. I think you should choose where you think you are going to grow the most as a person. Grades are only one part of your AMCAS app. I chose to go to UCLA because there is so much more to explore in L.A. than in S.D. I liked that there are good sports teams at the school which help create a more college-community-like atmosphere by bringing together current and past students. It really gives you a sense of history and makes you feel like you are a part of something. There are also lots of research opportunities for undergrads at the Medical Center too.

    I wouldn't chose a school just because it is easy. This is how you might end up somewhere you don't like and this may cause your grades to suffer more!
     
  10. MrDreamWeaver

    MrDreamWeaver Senior Member
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    Thanks for the sound advice everyone.

    I'm going to apply to all 3 (UCLA, UCSD, UCI) and make my decision later in the year. That way I can actually visit the campus & talk to the current students.

    I would love to go to UCLA because it would be completely new for me. I'm sure it would be an amazing growing experience.

    UCI also seems like a very good choice. It's away from home!

    UCSD is ~7mins from home so things are going to stay the same for the most part. I really want to get out there and explore the world! However, UCSD is a great school!

    Anyway, we'll see. Thanks for the advice everyone. Anymore suggestions?
     
  11. tacrum43

    tacrum43 Behold the mighty echidna
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    There are other CA schools besides the UC's you know.

    When I was applying to undergrads back in high school, I didn't know what I was doing, but I ended up choosing Cal Poly over UCSB. I am happy with my decision, because the professors give you a lot more attention there and the classes are much smaller. Don't forget the CSU's are cheaper than the UC's too. :)
     
  12. coral

    coral Member
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    Hi MrDreamWeaver, I'm a San Diego native, currently attend UCSD and took a number of community college courses (Palomar). Although I chose to stay at home and attend UCSD for family reasons, I'd have to say I'm pretty happy with my choice overall, albeit I'm sure UCLA and some of the other UC's have a better social atmosphere, but I like to think that your college experience is what you make out of it :) Most of the lower-div pre-med classes are pretty competitive since they are designed to weed-out students, but the upper-div's are fairly manageable if you have a good grasp of the material.
    I'd say try to check out whichever schools you are interested in and see what setting you would be most happy in because that is where you are going to do the best. And, don't be so intent on just getting into medical school, see if any other programs or opportunities interest you--I went into UCSD just being a plain old bio major, but really got into the archaeology program they have there.
    If you have any questions, just PM me. We aren't all cut-throat ;)
     
  13. pagemmapants

    pagemmapants Unknown Member
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    Hi there!
    I'm 1/2 way through my senior year at UCLA and I can definitely tell you that anything you've heard about the pre-med cutthroatness at SD occurs here just as much, if not more. Certain majors are nowhere near as bad, but if you DO go here, steer clear of Physiological Science. It's THE Pre-Med major and whatever competition you find in the pre-req classes you can expect it to continue throughout. I'm Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology and in all of my upper divisions I've noticed that the competition is virtually nil - mostly because almost everyone in this particular major is pre-research, not pre-medical. The Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics major is probably even less competitive, but some of the classes are pretty rough - avg GPA in the major is 2.67 (lowest of all majors at UCLA). We have some awesome chemistry profs but some of the lower div. bio profs teach like they hate it. Biochem lab has a great prof who has been teaching it FOREVER, biochem itself has a prof who is somewhat of a hardass and not someone you'd want to get to know as a person, but she REALLY knows her stuff. The UD bio classes are generally fairly easy and are mostly taught by people who really know what they're talking about, and a good percentage of them actually seem to LIKE teaching. Also: ridiculous level of research opportunity. And if you're EMT certified or are looking into it, there's an all-student campus EMS squad. CARE extender program = volunteering in ERs or NICUs or other depts in the med center. erm. . . yeah. There's plenty around here for a pre-med to do but if you do end up coming here, grow a thick anti-gunner skin first because they're everywhere.
     
  14. coco

    coco Senior Member
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    I have to agree completely. I was so close to going to either UCSB or UCSD and I decided to go to a cal state instead. I am so happy where I am and it is true, you do get individualized attention and it is much cheaper. I can't picture myself in huge lecture halls and in the end I guess it's really where you feel like you fit in. Definitely visit all the campuses and get a feel for it. you might completely love one school and hate another, so don't just base it on the grades or competitiveness.
     
  15. someperson

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    Are you transferring as a biology major? At UCI, there are plenty of easy upper division courses for the biology BS. That's true especially now that the 20% A curve is no longer mandated. Just ask around for the easy professors--and that's where you will find the most laid back students. I wouldn't even worry about the harder classes either--getting A's in those classes is still pretty easy.

    If you want social activites, I suggest joining some clubs (preferably not the premed ones!) like the anime club, Circle K, or a religious group. Just because the school has a reputation for being a commuter school doesn't mean there aren't things to do on campus.
     
  16. MrDreamWeaver

    MrDreamWeaver Senior Member
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    Sweet.

    You guys are truly helping me out A LOT!! It's GREAT to hear personal experiences from people who attend or have attended these schools. :):):)

    I'm planning on being a Bio major, yes. (Unfortunately I took the wrong Math and Physics sequence to be a Chem major. I don't want to stay back ANOTHER year completing these classes :( Bio is interesting but not as interesting as Chemistry, in my opinion).

    You guys are a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge help. I'd love to keep reading personal experiences if you have anything else to contribute.

    Gracias!!!
     
  17. -Goose-

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    are you serious?!?!

    thats awesome!! mark one vote for the banana slugs!
     
  18. obgyny

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    I am in the exact same boat you are in. I transferred from a FL community college to a CA community college (still sorting through that mess), and very soon I'm planning to transfer to a UC school (preferably UCLA, UCI, UC Davis). And for the heck of it, I'm considering applying to Stanford.
     
  19. obgyny

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    Are you serious?? A big reason I want to go to UCLA is because it has a Physiological Science major.

    Personally, it would be nice to meet some fellow premeds. I'm like the only premed at my CA community college (and at my FL CC). I'm not a "cut-throat" premed or anything. I'm competitive, but I'm more than happy to help others study (unless they're just trying to get my answers or something).
     
  20. tacrum43

    tacrum43 Behold the mighty echidna
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    :thumbup: Yes, make sure you visit the campus before you make any final decisions! This is critical. For example, I thought about UCD, but I got there and did not like it at all with the large classes and butt-ugly campus (well it is).
     
  21. Shredder

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    go somewhere private, relatively small, and as elite as possible. avoid big publics like the plague. make sure profs and students are smart, and find a way to ascertain this. college will change your life and who you are, forget about med school for a while. if you have brains and drive youll get in.

    IMHO.

    btw major in economics or business. hehe jk its up to you, definitely consider them though. dont graduate as a narrow minded sci or engineering nerd, if you major in those at least take a bunch of electives that will teach you about society, ppl and the world. bc those majors in themselves dont teach you that, i know from experience.
     
  22. pagemmapants

    pagemmapants Unknown Member
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    *sigh* Yeah. I wish I could have. f*ing FAFSA overestimating my parental contribution.

    As far as more on the Phy Sci major at UCLA: I'm not one, so I don't know for SURE, but I hear that the classes themselves are super interesting. I took the lower division Human Anatomy class (Phy Sci 13) over the summer and the cadaver specimens were just fascinating. Don't think much of the professor, but he was just a temp anyway so you wouldn't have to worry about him. :laugh: The Phy Sci majors that I do know are fairly competitive but they all have their own groups in which they do share notes, etc. Academic subterfuge DOES occur, however (i.e. stealing notes, telling people wrong times for review sessions or even exams, etc) but I think it's pretty easy to steer clear of the people that ARE like that. I know some who have dropped the major and swapped to Neuroscience or Psychobio or MCD Bio or MIMG because they didn't like the "atmosphere" of the Phy Sci major. And there's a lot of lab time involved. . . That's kind of the extent of my knowledge on that subject, but if you have any other UCLA-specific questions, PM me.
     
  23. Will Ferrell

    Will Ferrell Senior Member
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    go to UC-I... i heard the premeds at UCLA (and berkeley) are uber-competitive

    as a matter of fact, go to one of the california state U. schools.
     
  24. Shredder

    Shredder User
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    subtle socialism screwing you over, bummer :( well school choice affects happiness but it doesnt change who one intrinsically is
     
  25. tank you

    tank you 2K Member
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    or better yet, move to florida/ny/texas and go to undergrad there, u will have no problem getting into the state med schools
     
  26. SearsTower

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    a lot of UCLA classes and students are jokes (especially the Biochem & P. Chem). Many classes are based on memorizing, not critical thinking and creativity. I took the first Biochem class without ever attending lecture or even cramming for the exams. I used my previous Organic Chem. knowledge to reason through the tests and got a B, which is pathetic but not bad for virtually not knowing anything about the course. Upper div. aren't hard, just stay on top of things.
     

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