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Transfer to UCLA, Berkeley, UCSD, or UC Davis?

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EtherOne

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Help, I am a pre-med transfer student. I got accepted to all my schools, MCB for Berkeley, MIMG for UCLA, Microbiology for Davis, and Human Bio for UCSD.

I don't care too much about the weather. I was pretty much set for UC Davis, I love the small town and the environment, but now that I got in everywhere, I'm not sure what to do. I was also told I should try to change my major for UCLA if I do go there to physiological science, psychobiology, or neuro.

My biggest worry is GPA. I am a 4.0 student at my community college, but that is nothing compared to the academic rigor of some of these schools. I worry I won't do too well on my MCATs, since I've never been very good at standardized tests and I need a good GPA to make up for that. (I of course will be studying and taking prep courses for the MCATs to get the best score I can)

I'm worried if I go to Davis it won't look good on applications even if I have a better chance at being a stand out student than at Berkeley or UCLA.

(UCLA also offered me the least amount in Aid, I'd have to take out 15k in loans each year compared to less than 8k from the others)
Please help.
 

Geo16

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Cal. End of discussion. See you there!
 

Geo16

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To back up what I'm saying:
I've heard from people who went to both UC and CCC. But most of them said there was no big difference other than the fact that at CCC, professors are more caring and able to afford more time per student.
If you got A's in Physics, Gchem/Ochem, Bio... then you are amazing. 4.0 at CCC is enough to prepare you to survive at UC (even @ Cal). They told me that if I try to work hard, A isn't impossible.
 

PostDoc1990x

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Just a question, but is academic rigor (ok I mean insanity) keeping you from Cal? Have you visited?
 

EtherOne

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Just a question, but is academic rigor (ok I mean insanity) keeping you from Cal? Have you visited?

Yes, I've been to the campus quite a few times, I've spent a lot of time on campus, or near the school, I have friends in EECS there, so we study in Cory Hall or the life sciences building. The campus is nice but I am a little (a lot) afraid I won't perform well. I am an extremely dedicated, studious person, but the curves are insane. I looked at how the classes are curved for each of the upper divs for Cal, and so many are 2.75, 2.8

Integrated Bio on the other hand looks a bit nicer but it has the reputation of not being a real bio major.
 

PostDoc1990x

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Yes, I've been to the campus quite a few times, I've spent a lot of time on campus, or near the school, I have friends in EECS there, so we study in Cory Hall or the life sciences building. The campus is nice but I am a little (a lot) afraid I won't perform well. I am an extremely dedicated, studious person, but the curves are insane. I looked at how the classes are curved for each of the upper divs for Cal, and so many are 2.75, 2.8

Integrated Bio on the other hand looks a bit nicer but it has the reputation of not being a real bio major.

Is it possible your friends in EECS have projected a greater difficulty to you? Cal is rigorous, but EECS is a totally and truly unique beast.

Yeah that sounds about right for the curves. My boyfriend goes to Davis and tells me it's about 3.4 in their department, which is better , but obviously you'd like a higher GPA.

You're correct in that people here generally look "down" upon IB as a pre med major, but it's not like you can't get similar opportunities as the MCB peeps. I'm a little biased here, cause of how much Cal gets **** on for being hard, but there are doors Cal can open that others can't. It's truly a world class institution across many, many fields. If you came here and did well, the world is in your hands. And it's not like no one from here goes to med school, Cal sends higher than the national average to med schools, and we're talking top tier med schools in some cases (Harvard, UCSF, JH..etc).

With that said however, it sounds like your heart is set on Davis. If that's the case, go there, kick butt, and get your goals. Davis is an amazing school in its own right and if you are so driven for med school, you'll be just fine there.

Good luck!
 
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DrivebyTrucker

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Wow, this is a fantastic "problem" to have. Congratulations. I would say to go where you feel that you fit in best. If you're feeling comfortable, you will likely perform better in school.
 

sliceofbread136

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Ucla is in a really great area with a ton of cool things to do as a college student. Berkeley always just seemed really dirty and gross, I would pick ucla
 
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Geo16

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Ucla is in a really great area with a ton of cool things to do as a college student. Berkeley always just seemed really dirty and gross, I would pick ucla
I can't argue with the fact that there are tons of cool things to do.
 

EtherOne

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Is it possible your friends in EECS have projected a greater difficulty to you? Cal is rigorous, but EECS is a totally and truly unique beast.

Yeah that sounds about right for the curves. My boyfriend goes to Davis and tells me it's about 3.4 in their department, which is better , but obviously you'd like a higher GPA.

You're correct in that people here generally look "down" upon IB as a pre med major, but it's not like you can't get similar opportunities as the MCB peeps. I'm a little biased here, cause of how much Cal gets **** on for being hard, but there are doors Cal can open that others can't. It's truly a world class institution across many, many fields. If you came here and did well, the world is in your hands. And it's not like no one from here goes to med school, Cal sends higher than the national average to med schools, and we're talking top tier med schools in some cases (Harvard, UCSF, JH..etc).

With that said however, it sounds like your heart is set on Davis. If that's the case, go there, kick butt, and get your goals. Davis is an amazing school in its own right and if you are so driven for med school, you'll be just fine there.

Good luck!

Thanks!
Yeah EECS is rough, at least from what I've seen. But it's worrisome that EECS average GPA is like 3.14 or something like that when MCB us 2.9 to 3. What's you're experience been like at Cal? Is it possible (within reason) to get a gpa higher than 3.5 starting as a transfer where I won't have the "easier" lower div classes to help pad my grade?
 

PostDoc1990x

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Thanks!
Yeah EECS is rough, at least from what I've seen. But it's worrisome that EECS average GPA is like 3.14 or something like that when MCB us 2.9 to 3. What's you're experience been like at Cal? Is it possible (within reason) to get a gpa higher than 3.5 starting as a transfer where I won't have the "easier" lower div classes to help pad my grade?

Im not a MCB major, so I can't speak to this 100% accurately, but keep in mind that a GPA average isn't necessarily connected to test averages or workload. You have the math & EECS departments which notoriously have 40-50% test averages, and in some ways, this directly gives a wider spread (larger deviation). In MCB, you might have a professor who has 40-50% test averages, but you also might have one that has 80-85% test averages. I think the lower average GPA is more indicative of how much a professor wants to spread everyone out, i.e. an inherent harsher curve in MCB.

My experience at Cal has been nothing short of incredible. I am in Haas (Berkeley's business school) and minoring in IB. It's extremely challenging, but also very rewarding for obvious reasons. I couldn't picture myself anywhere else, but there are a few people here who perhaps wished they went somewhere else; not going to lie to you and tell you everyone is happy-go-lucky here. I did terrible my first semester and fell into depression (had a GPA of 3.1). With the support of people around me, and realizing I needed to change, I brought myself out of it and rose to the challenge (now going to be graduating with a 3.67).

Yes, it is within complete reason for you to attain a 3.5+ GPA here. You already seem to know its going to be very challenging, so thats a start. Additionally, you were superb at your CC, so I don't doubt that you're up to scratch in terms of ability. Even though Berkeley admits a few people every year they probably shouldn't (they are a public school), you certainly seem to fit the mold of someone who can excel here.

Is difficulty the only thing stopping you from going to Cal?
 

Fremont101

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If you like UC Davis, you shouldn't let the "name" be an issue. I went here for graduate school and have seen multiple undergrads and grads go to Stanford/UCSF/John's Hopkins/UC's. I did my undergrad at UCSD and saw the same thing. College is what you make of it, so don't go to a school you don't like just because it has a better rank. As for UCSD, it has a medical school attached to the campus, so finding research and shadowing opportunities was really easy. It's also where the Scripps hospital system is, so there are about 6+ hospitals and clinics right next to campus. UC Davis's medical school has amazing opportunities as well, but it's in Sacramento, which is 30 minutes away. However, I found the students at UC Davis to be much more helpful and collaborative than at UCSD. Ultimately, just go to the school that you think you'll fit in best at. Everything else kinda falls into place after that. If you can, try to visit these schools to really get a feel of the campus/students/faculty/living situations.
 
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Joemm426

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Hello, I applied to and was accepted to those four schools also. I am now choosing between UCD and UCB. Students from my school tend to do well at both UCB and UCD. UCD would be cheaper. I am leaning toward UCD because I can get a single room on campus for the same price that I would get a triple room at UCB. Although the PRESTIGE of UCB seems great, I think UCD will be a more stable choice for me. Going to UCD will not hinder chances of going to med school. I bet both schools are good for pre-med as long as you do well there!
 

lajessmess

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Hello

I transferred into UCSD. Not initially as a pre-med, but eventually decided that medicine was something I wanted to pursue BECAUSE i was exposed to so many research opportunities that got me interested in science and then eventually clinical research. UCSD was, imo, not too difficult and the perfect place for a pre-med. You have to work maybe 10-15% harder than the rest in your science classes and you're set for a good grade. i love the beach too so that was a bonus :p

My friends transferred to UCB as pre-meds from community college and are having a very difficult time. Granted, they transferred in as social science majors but declared a double in chemical bio- THEN realized maybe UCB was a bad idea.

UCSD was a great place to learn and I didn't ever feel TOO overwhelmed in my classes. Except immunology... that class is killer.
I majored in biochem, TAed a few quarters, did research, joined a social club, overall had a blast the two years I was there. Even squeezed in a study abroad quarter :) Still managed to graduate top of my class so I'm very happy with my choice to go SD!

Good luck
 

EtherOne

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If you like UC Davis, you shouldn't let the "name" be an issue. I went here for graduate school and have seen multiple undergrads and grads go to Stanford/UCSF/John's Hopkins/UC's. I did my undergrad at UCSD and saw the same thing. College is what you make of it, so don't go to a school you don't like just because it has a better rank. As for UCSD, it has a medical school attached to the campus, so finding research and shadowing opportunities was really easy. It's also where the Scripps hospital system is, so there are about 6+ hospitals and clinics right next to campus. UC Davis's medical school has amazing opportunities as well, but it's in Sacramento, which is 30 minutes away. However, I found the students at UC Davis to be much more helpful and collaborative than at UCSD. Ultimately, just go to the school that you think you'll fit in best at. Everything else kinda falls into place after that. If you can, try to visit these schools to really get a feel of the campus/students/faculty/living situations.

As someone who has gone to both schools what do you think of them in terms of research, opportunities, gpa, environment etc? I know grad school and undergrad are different in terms of your experience, but where do you think the most students got into good medical schools? And which school has better pre-med support?
 

Fremont101

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As someone who has gone to both schools what do you think of them in terms of research, opportunities, gpa, environment etc? I know grad school and undergrad are different in terms of your experience, but where do you think the most students got into good medical schools? And which school has better pre-med support?
I think both are pretty similar in terms of research since both are ultimately research institutions. Davis seems to be more on the molecular biology research side while SD has more studies involving people/patients. I got into both schools for undergrad but chose SD mainly because I felt like the teachers were a little better. Davis undergrad professors can sometimes be too involved in their research to spend time making good lectures. I also liked the location of SD, for obvious reasons. The sunny days definitely help you feel less stressed. In terms of getting into medical schools, both schools honestly seem pretty tied. The only thing I will say is that UCSD is horrible at taking its own undergraduates because of the Med Scholars Program. UC Davis takes ALOT of their own students so thats something to consider. Also, volunteering at clinics in Davis is an amazing opportunity that will help your application FOR SURE but the clinics are in sacramento so you should prepare to have a way to get there. The clincs are hard to get into, but they are truly amazing. UCSD has the medical school attached to the campus, so that can help with opportunities, but only if you go and search for them yourself. At the end of the day, UCSD and Davis are pretty much tied when you take their pros and cons into account. Pre-med support is horrible at both schools, and the "premed counselors" will literally just look at your MCAT/GPA and tell you what they think. Both are very well known schools and when I was interviewing in other states, everyone knew the names of the schools.
In terms of students, I think the support at UC Davis is much better. The undergrads seem more relaxed and willing to help each other out. Students at SD are pretty introverted and prefer to just struggle alone. If I had to choose again, I would still go to SD because the scripps hospital system gave me some great experiences to write about and I really liked the professors. Hope this helps! You can totally message me if you have any more questions.
 

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If you want to give yourself thr best chance of getting to a top medical school, go to Cal. Doing good at Cal means you got what it takes. Med schools know and respect this. A little bit more than UCLA and a lot more than UCSD and a lottttt more than UC Davis.

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RangerBob

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I would chose UCD in heartbeat, mostly because I liked it the most of all the UC's. Berkeley has a cool vibe, but is really cutthroat. I don't like LA (much more to do in NorCal) so I'm rather biased against anything south of SLO.

Really though, the main criteria to chose a school is do they have the major you want/need to set you up for your future? If you can't get into medicine, which school sets you up for the future? Al four schools are ranked in the top 10 public schools in the country by US News (I know, we all have issues with them, but the reinforce my point) and all will do great at setting you up for medical school. But it will typically be quite a bit easier to get a better GPA at UCD than Cal/UCLA--that will make much more of a difference than the difference in prestige between the two.

UCD (my own personal ranking):
- Won't limit you (has almost all the same majors as Cal/UCLA--will lack some more esoteric ones. Has better agriculture department though!)
- Better location (closer to the mountains, still close enough to the beach)
- Better undergrad vibe/better quality of life among students
- Much less cutthroat than Cal/UCLA
- Great college town atmosphere
- Better looking co-eds

Overall, I think if UCD is what you feel is the best fit for you, it will do a great job of prepping you for medical school (assumes you put in the work of course!) and will be an enjoyable experience. If you really like the atmosphere of Cal or UCLA or UCSD more, and feel like they have the major you want, then absolutely go for it. But the prestige difference between them really isn't going to matter much--they are all very high-qualify schools, and your MCAT and GPA will matter much more.
 

Joemm426

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Thanks!
Yeah EECS is rough, at least from what I've seen. But it's worrisome that EECS average GPA is like 3.14 or something like that when MCB us 2.9 to 3. What's you're experience been like at Cal? Is it possible (within reason) to get a gpa higher than 3.5 starting as a transfer where I won't have the "easier" lower div classes to help pad my grade?
My peers who transferred from junior college to UCB are doing better at UCB.
 
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