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State school (UC) or small east coast liberal arts college?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by ducam, Dec 10, 2001.

  1. ducam

    ducam Pearl Diver

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    This is the question that's plagued man kind for centuries...ok maybe just me, and only for about a year. Anyways, i'm trying to decide about which college would be better. If a big state school lots of "options" or small college with personal profs. and great research opportunities. If any of you have any advice for me, i'm listening.

    Also if you tell me it depends on my personality and what i like the best, believe me when i say i'll like it anywhere (just about).
     
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  3. SMW

    SMW Grand Member

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    Not enough information to make a recommendation. Which UC school and which small liberal arts college? And what are they noted for? And what is it you want to study in college? And how important is location to you? As far as pre-med goes, either one would be fine. Personally, in your situation (UC schools) I'd opt for the small liberal arts college.
     
  4. brandonite

    Moderator Emeritus

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    Yup, gotta agree with SMW. It really depends so much on which UC school, and which eastern school you are talking about.

    In general, though, for undergrad, I would go with the small school. The intereactions with the profs really do help. I went to a really small school, and there is a lot more opportunities to get involved and build up some nice ECs, if that's what you're looking for.

    Provided we're talking about a school with a solid reputation and at least some good research going on, I'd choose the small liberal arts school.

    It really depends, though...
     
  5. ducam

    ducam Pearl Diver

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    OK...all in 1 breath now. For the UC either UCSC or UCSB, neither one hard to get into since i live in CA. Small LA colleges such as Clark University and other EAST coast schools would be the ones i'm looking at. There are other "middle" colleges i'm looking at but i just can't decided between LA or UC. The UC is just plain big, I know Clark is small (my D2 HS is bigger) but there profs give out GREAT letters of Rec. and you have an amzing chance to do research along side your prof and grad students. I want to study Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, which won't be amazing at an LA college, but i also want to study philospohy/ethics. And thats where i'm torn. Location doesn't matter to me, just not the south or mid-mid west. All i want to do is leave my small CA town. Again, thatnks for the advice.
     
  6. jargon124

    jargon124 Senior Member

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    When I was applying for undergrad schools, I was trying to make a similiar sort of decision - state school or far-away, smaller, more-prestigious, more expensive private school...I chose to go to my state school, the University of Arizona, and I am very happy with my decision. I have gotten a great education here and best of all, it hasn't cost me a dime (aside from living expenses). If you are worried about admissions - don't. I have a strong GPA from my school and ded well on my MCAT (took them in Aug) and I have 7 interviews so far. Don't listen to people who will tell you that state school kids can't compete with Hahvud types for interviews/acceptances at top schools.

    But for you, its gotta come down to instinct - go where you think you will be happiest. There are great opportunities almost anywhere you go. Assess your financial situation, regional preference, etc and good luck whatever you decide to do. :)
     
  7. Ranger Bob

    Ranger Bob Senior Member

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    Is cost an important factor in your decision? If so, then one of your state schools is the way to go. Why take on $80,000 or more in debt -- especially when you're likely to take on another $100,000 for medical school? I could see shelling out the big bucks for Harvard, Princeton, or the like -- but I couldn't see spending that kind of money on a school no one's ever heard of. Plus, if you're interested in the liberal arts, you could probably find your niche in a liberal arts honors program within a state university.
     
  8. Trek

    Trek Grand Uranium Member

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    WOW! Now it's high schoolers!?!? Damn! I think me and MD2Be are gonna become vigilantes against youngersters getting too anal too early.

    Look- none of that stuff matters, IMHO. You'll get to college and realize girls, sports, drinking, etc is more fun and won't be a lab rat (i hope). You'll probably find another niche and get into it very deep. Moral is: find a place where you'd feel comfortable. That may be a big city or a more rural area. That maybe close to home or a heck of a long way away (Trek's choice). Either way, looking at the research ops at a school when you're 17 is a little premature. I know i'll get jumped on for this, but just remember: this is MY opinion only. --Trek
     
  9. For me I think it comes down to cost. If accepted at the two schools I have interviews with (highly unlikely), I think I'm headed to my state school so I can save some money and not get too far in debt. Even though the out of state school rocks my world. But we'll see what happens.
     
  10. DesperatelySeekingMD

    DesperatelySeekingMD Senior Member

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    If cost is an issue, then you can't beat a state school. But, I chose Amherst a very small liberal arts school only 1600 in the whole school...and I am so happy with my decision- one of the best that I have ever made. First, I really got to know my profs. They took me to there homes for dinner- I babysat there kids and even though I am two years out of school I still keep in close touch with 4 of them. I think that is Amazing.
    Also, don't underestimate a science curriculum in a liberal arts school. I think that the liberal arts side really taught me an important process of thinking and analyzing. And if you are at a small school there are not any other grad students to compete with. You are the ones doing your profs research and getting published side by side with them. It really was the best of both worlds.
    I have had many interviewers ask why I chose a liberal arts school to do serious science and they really respect that decision and the perspective that you get from that kind of education. I think that it has given me a slight leg up in letters of rec. because every prof that I had in school knew me by name and many knew me very well.
    I think in the end you should not be basing your decision on med school this early in the process....you have a long way to go before that and a lot more time hte in future that you can obsess over it. Go where you think that you would be the happiest. Work hard, do your best, remember that there is much more to life than school and HAVE FUN! good luck.
     
  11. brandonite

    Moderator Emeritus

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    Well, there are only 2000 in my school, so I'm about the same size. The science faculty isn't really well known, but there are a bunch of great researchers on staff.

    I would choose the small school, for basically the same reason as DesparatelySeekingMD. You get to know your profs, which really helps with both the learning and will be a great help in a couple years when you need their letters of reference. And, when I've done my research, because I know the prof I'm working for really well, I actually get involved and do serious research work. I've heard of students who work in some kind of high powered lab with a whole pile of postdocs, grad students, etc, who never get to really do anything other than get coffee.

    But, I would say that it doesn't matter a whole lot at this point in time. Go to whatever campus you like, and worry about med school in three years tims. It doesn't really matter a whole lot.
     
  12. FLY

    FLY Senior Member

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    OK, I have done both...

    A big public university is important if you care about a social life, big athlectic events.. and it is much easier to meet a lot of new people and you don't have to hang around with the same people all the time, and and each day is filled a lot of various and different things to do..

    A small private univerity is good if you need exceptional letters of recommendation to get into research etc during your early undergrad. years since the big classes during the early years brings no real-time faculty contact.. Also classes are closeby which saves a lot of walking and if you drive to school, you don't have to park the car and then take a commute to school like at a pub..
     
  13. bostongirl22

    bostongirl22 Member

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    Ducam,

    I went to a small, east coast LA college. I absolutely loved it and received an excellent education. However, I also spent (actually my parents spent) about $34,000 per year to do this. I definitely would not change my college experience for anything, I definitely loved the community feel of the school, the excellent professors who I got to know really well, and the student body who i got to know (at least by face) most of.
    In high school I thought that going to a prestigous school would help me get into medical school. Although I am interviewing now at medical schools, I have many friends who went to the large state school and do not seem to be at any disadvantage. Plus they saved about $100,000. So....there are definitely advantages and disadvantages.
     
  14. sundevil1

    sundevil1 Senior Member

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    I strongly agree with Trek. I think going with the "lots of options" approach is good. You can still do great research if you discover that is your thing, but if you don't there are so many other things you could still do. Stay away from the high powered labs, they are usually only good for post-docs. I worked in a lab that just had one graduate student and myself. I got a lot of attention from the PI and in turn it resulted in a great rec. letter. You are too young to worry about all this med school stuff so early on. You may decide you don't even want to be a doc, which is perfectly fine and at the same time through the many options you have discovered what you truly have a passion for and can then pursue that. If you plan everything from now on around med school, I can guarantee that at one point or another for some reason you will regret it, because there is so much more to the whole college experience. Go where you will be happiest and I don't think you can go wrong, with either the big or small school.
     
  15. md2be06

    md2be06 Senior Member

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  17. Doctor Wyldstyle

    Doctor Wyldstyle Senior Member

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    I know how you feel and I had to make a comparable decision when choosing colleges. I got accepted to UC Berkely and UC Irvine, but was really leaning toward the small, liberal arts school in Los Angeles where I attended. It was the best decision for me, although I got flack from some relatives for not choosing the more "prestigous" Berkely. Anyways, money was not a problem as I had some significant financial aid to make it comparable to the state schools. The substance in teaching and my life experiences there really made my file stick out, I think in my humble opinion.

    If you wanted to study philosophy or theology, my school would be a great way to go as Jesuit schools seem to thrive well in that area. The close atmosphere cultivated great, well rounded students. Nevertheless, we have had some famous students attend, Gilligan, Alicia Silverstone..etc. Anyways, we had guys go to great med schools over the past 4 years like Hopkins, UCLA, Georgetown, USC, etc. So if you're worried about not attending a well known school, don't be. It all depends on the school's health committee which most small and some large schools have. They formulate great letters of rec, and many times have some connection and well developed rapport w/different med schools.

    Small schools do get their share of attention as applicants for many scholarships and even medicine. For example on a sidetrack, many of the newest Rhode scholars are increasingly from smaller schools. Anyways, just remember to check the desired school's track record for graduates entering med school.

    wyldstyle2000
     
  18. ducam

    ducam Pearl Diver

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    Thanks everyone and thanks wyldestyle, i look into the med school acceptance rates at the schools. As for money, it should be a problem because i'm planning to do NROTC and it pays for everything. I'm leaning towards a LA college now, it seems to be a better choice because i don't want insane competition at my college and an LA would be best to avoid all of that. And Trek yeah i know i'm young, but wouldn't you have been happier if you would've known that the colleges you were chosing from in HS had diffrent chances at med school addmision.
     

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