Mar 20, 2017
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Hi guys, I'm sure you've gotten a plethora of these threads. I'm a confused HS senior and I've been accepted to UCSD, UCI, and UCD, waiting on UCSB. (Also CPSLO, but FA at state schools aren't the best and that's an issue for me). Also, I did not receive CHP/Honors/Regents for these schools.

I applied UNDECLARED to all of these (I started my application in the summer leading to senior year. Not a clue that impacted majors existed.) I got accepted to UCD as Undeclared-Life Sciences, UCSD as undeclared in ERC, and UCI as undergrad undeclared, and I'm waiting on UCSB as undeclared College of Letters and Sciences. CPSLO as Biology.

I understand UCSD is known as a very good premed undergraduate school. However, I also know that med schools don't care as much as which school you got your bachelor's, but rather if you excelled or not. I know it's so competitive there; is it worth it to attend and fight for the 4.0? I also know that they have 4(?) close by hospitals for clinical experience. ERC also has difficult GE's.

UCD has an amazing vet program (and some others, I forgot what). How is this one for premed? How difficult are their GE's? I know I could get used to the smell of cow poop, but the scorching summers throw me off...

UCI. Originally I had wanted to go here, but then I just stopped wanting...so I don't know much about it. How's premed here? How are the GE's? Don't like that there's a large concentration of Chinese people there (I'm also Chinese).

UCSB. Originally my LAST choice. I don't even know if I got in. I know nothing other than they don't have hospitals nearby, but GE's are slightly easier than UCSD. How is premed here? I'm kinda in love with the campus....

Name of the school somewhat matters to me. I'm asian, and my older is an utter disappointment in my parents' eyes. I want to make them proud. Heck they'd be happy if I went to SLO, but I want them to be proud and confident when they tell other people where I go to college; they never had that with my sister.


Feel free to just give a biased opinion on any one of the schools, you don't have to comment on all. My parents' English is awful, so I can't sit down and discuss much with them. I don't have many friends to talk to about it either, because they're all going to CC or State schools (NOT BASHING THESE SCHOOLS AT ALL, but my friends just don't have similar aspirations and determination as me...). I'm just a very confused senior. I literally have no idea where I want to go and I have done so much research, but they just have not given me answers....

Thanks in advance guys. I appreciate it so so much.
 

deev04

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Believe this thread is for pre-meds (current undergrads) deciding between med schools. Maybe ask a mod to move this to hSDN (for current HS students). @Lucca @tantacles @wholeheartedly

I know nothing about UCs, but the general advice is undergrad school really doesn't matter except for the tippity top schools. Go where you think YOU can succeed- kill the GPA, choose volunteer/research opps based on what you enjoy, live your life, enjoy college, become an interesting person, etc. Only you know what you like and need to succeed. Decide accordingly. Best of luck!

[Also debt- med school is expensive, so try to minimize that]
 
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libertyyne

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Dont have much to add, You should probably not use identifying information on your profile.
 
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coffeeandcodeine

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Agree that this is the wrong forum for this thread.

But you should be choosing between UCSD, UCI, and UCD. UCSB doesn't have a medical school, and the education isn't particularly great either (although you can't beat the location). It would be much harder for you to get involved in premed ECs without a medical school or accessible hospital system nearby. UCSD is a good school in a fantastic location, so if you think you can succeed there, thats where I'd go. If you think you'd have a tough time, I'd choose UCI -- somewhat less competitive, but still in a nice area.
 

Anxious Affect

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Agree that this is the wrong forum for this thread.

But you should be choosing between UCSD, UCI, and UCD. UCSB doesn't have a medical school, and the education isn't particularly great either (although you can't beat the location). It would be much harder for you to get involved in premed ECs without a medical school or accessible hospital system nearby. UCSD is a good school in a fantastic location, so if you think you can succeed there, thats where I'd go. If you think you'd have a tough time, I'd choose UCI -- somewhat less competitive, but still in a nice area.

What if she changes career aspirations? A LOT of people do.

At UCSB, there are two ERs nearby, a hospital, street medicine clinics, and a lot of private practice offices, so you wouldn't be lacking clinical experience. (I went to a private school in SoCal but my best friend went here). Go where you'll be the happiest and where you will do best, if this combination is possible. At the end of the day, you need to get A's to be considered. Adcoms don't really care where you go as long as you get a GPA over 3.5-3.6 ish (but comparing a UCSD 4.0 with a UCSB 4.0 student, I obviously understand the tendency to pick the UCSD student). I know WAY too many people who started off as pre-med at UCSD and UCLA who are now in nursing school or getting their RD. Not that there's anything wrong at all with other healthcare careers, but they struggled (take this with a grain of salt, this means a GPA of 3.0-3.3) academically in college and were forced to change career paths.

Pre-med stuff aside, pick the school you like best because you don't know for sure if you'll end up staying pre-med. But if prestige of the school determines your happiness (which for some people, it does, there is nothing wrong with that) choose UCSD.

UCSB is definitely the most social, which can be a pro or a con depending on you. UCD is also laid back (in a different way) but people are more to themselves (same with UCI). If summers are your only concern for Davis, don't be, because they really do not last long.

PM me if needed
 
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jayhiller21

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UCD has an amazing internship program through the med center. Every quarter students can just sign up for hundreds of 4 hr/week internships in a WIDE variety of specialties and fields. It is called HRI Internships.
 
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coffeeandcodeine

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I totally agree that the possibility of changing careers should be taken into account. But even accounting for that possibility, I don't think UCSB is a very attractive option. It has a huge party culture, and the students I know who went there didn't feel supported in their career aspirations or their studies. It's also not as if UCSB is more prestigious/respected than UCD or UCI, so it doesn't offer any sort of edge when it comes to competing for jobs outside of medicine.

In terms of hospital systems in the UCSB area, because they are unaffiliated with the school, premed students that I know have had extreme difficulty finding shadowing and mentoring opportunities. Even though there a number of hospitals and private practices in existence there, their doors aren't open to premeds in the way that the doors to school-affiliated hospitals would be. You can find opportunities but you have to work twice or three times as hard to do so. There is very little clinical research in the area as well, and essentially no exposure to academic medicine.

Given all these factors, I think there are more cons than pros for UCSB. But I do agree with you about the GPA being a major concern, which is why OP should consider UCI and UCD.

What if she changes career aspirations? A LOT of people do.

At UCSB, there are two ERs nearby, a hospital, street medicine clinics, and a lot of private practice offices, so you wouldn't be lacking clinical experience. (I went to a private school in SoCal but my best friend went here). Go where you'll be the happiest and where you will do best, if this combination is possible. At the end of the day, you need to get A's to be considered. Adcoms don't really care where you go as long as you get a GPA over 3.5-3.6 ish (but comparing a UCSD 4.0 with a UCSB 4.0 student, I obviously understand the tendency to pick the UCSD student). I know WAY too many people who started off as pre-med at UCSD and UCLA who are now in nursing school or getting their RD. Not that there's anything wrong at all with other healthcare careers, but they struggled (take this with a grain of salt, this means a GPA of 3.0-3.3) academically in college and were forced to change career paths.

Pre-med stuff aside, pick the school you like best because you don't know for sure if you'll end up staying pre-med. But if prestige of the school determines your happiness (which for some people, it does, there is nothing wrong with that) choose UCSD.

UCSB is definitely the most social, which can be a pro or a con depending on you. UCD is also laid back (in a different way) but people are more to themselves (same with UCI). If summers are your only concern for Davis, don't be, because they really do not last long.

PM me if needed
 
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Turkishking

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I'm not going to read the whole post, but I will provide you with some assistance.

GO WHERE YOU CAN GET THE HIGHEST GPA!
 
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doglover919

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Lol.

Went to UCSB, got into med school just fine. There are plenty of pre-med opportunities there for OP. I can't speak on the other schools but go where you will be happiest. And as a research school UCSB has a ton of research opportunities, your research experience doesn't have to necessarily be clinical.
 

AlteredScale

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@Versalia , this is my two cents on it:

It will be harder to achieve a strong/competitive GPA at UCSD but it is doable. The hardest ones to conquer if a bio major are the lower division courses. The higher division courses aren't as bad because they are more honed in and specialized (eg. if you are a Human Bio major your can take things like pharmacology, immunology, and endocrinology).

The only other argument I have for UCSD is that across the board between the UC's you are picking, from UCSD undoubtedly has the strongest medical research funding and output. That right there gives you a wealth of opportunities to work with some great mentors in their School of Medicine and receive great letters and those letters can carry some weight if they are from strong PIs. There's definitely no guarantee that going to UCSD will get you into their medical school however but I can attest to the fact that if you do great research and have strong grades you can get into some of the very best medical schools in the country (my two friends who were in the adjacent lab to mine are in medical school right now, one at UCSF another at UC Irvine).
 

Turkishking

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Thanks guys! I didn't get into UCSB and am like 99% committed already
make the right decision, and start off strong. Start volunteering at a hospital 3-6 hours a week. once you get acclimated to your classes and university, increase that to 9 hours a week. Join clubs. Some medical schools would like to see leadership positions. So taking president role of few clubs may be in your interest.

Summer rolls around: Start going hard with the clinical volunteering, maybe 15 hours a week. Then get involved in non-clinical volunteering.

Sophomore year: Continue with the 6-9 of clinical volunteering.
Ace your classes, get to know your professor.
Maybe add in another a non-clinical activity

Summer rolls around, get involved in a lab. Try to get a publication. My friend did one year research at a cancer institute, and he's got a publication. Don't neglect the clinical volunteering and go hard with it.

I mean this all hypothetical, but you need to have a game plan so you can eliminate, and scare away the competition. Worry about the MCAT because that extremely crucial.
 
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coffeeandcodeine

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I appreciate the sentiment of @Turkishking's post, but honestly I think that's a little intense. I totally agree that it's great to start on your volunteering and ECs early, but no need to set a specific time commitment just yet. A couple hours a week, or even less is fine freshman year. Whatever you feel comfortable with.

Also, in my personal experience, volunteering in a hospital was much less meaningful and fulfilling than volunteering in other clinical settings, like hospice. Therefore I didn't put any hospital volunteering on my application. I'd encourage you to think about the type of clinical volunteering that you would enjoy most, and the types of patients that you are hoping to serve (eg, impoverished, elderly, children), and seek out volunteer positions that fit your interests. If you find yourself interested in any of your school's clubs, you could join those as well and gradually take on more responsibility, possibly working up to a leadership role.

But seriously, try to enjoy freshman year. The beginning of college is an awesome time (although it can be a scary transition at first) and you should make the most of it by doing what you love, not checking premed boxes. As a premed, hopefully some of the things you love involve clinical experience and helping people, so you'll naturally gravitate towards those activities. As far as the MCAT goes -- realize that you'll have to take it by spring of your junior year if you want to go straight from college to med school, or spring of your senior year if you only want to take one gap year. But don't even think about studying yet, it's way too early. The only thing you should really be concerned about right now is making the adjustment to college and getting solid grades.

Have a great time in college! Best of luck! :)
 
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Turkishking

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I appreciate the sentiment of @Turkishking's post, but honestly I think that's a little intense. I totally agree that it's great to start on your volunteering and ECs early, but no need to set a specific time commitment just yet. A couple hours a week, or even less is fine freshman year. Whatever you feel comfortable with.

Also, in my personal experience, volunteering in a hospital was much less meaningful and fulfilling than volunteering in other clinical settings, like hospice. Therefore I didn't put any hospital volunteering on my application. I'd encourage you to think about the type of clinical volunteering that you would enjoy most, and the types of patients that you are hoping to serve (eg, impoverished, elderly, children), and seek out volunteer positions that fit your interests. If you find yourself interested in any of your school's clubs, you could join those as well and gradually take on more responsibility, possibly working up to a leadership role.

But seriously, try to enjoy freshman year. The beginning of college is an awesome time (although it can be a scary transition at first) and you should make the most of it by doing what you love, not checking premed boxes. As a premed, hopefully some of the things you love involve clinical experience and helping people, so you'll naturally gravitate towards those activities. As far as the MCAT goes -- realize that you'll have to take it by spring of your junior year if you want to go straight from college to med school, or spring of your senior year if you only want to take one gap year. But don't even think about studying yet, it's way too early. The only thing you should really be concerned about right now is making the adjustment to college and getting solid grades.

Have a great time in college! Best of luck! :)
It isn't intense to me. I already have 300 hours of clinical volunteering as a sophomore, and go to the soup kitchen and big brothers/sisters. '

I want to make application extremely competitive, so I feel like taking a gap year would be perfect.
 

coffeeandcodeine

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Sure, that's great, but I'm not sure I'd recommend that to everyone. It takes some people a little time to figure out which activities they are passionate about, which often means exploring various ECs at a lower initial time commitment. I just don't want OP to worry that if they don't commit 4-6 hours a week to hospital volunteering and start thinking about the MCAT right off the bat, they won't be competitive. They can still be extremely competitive.

It isn't intense to me. I already have 300 hours of clinical volunteering as a sophomore, and go to the soup kitchen and big brothers/sisters. '

I want to make application extremely competitive, so I feel like taking a gap year would be perfect.
 
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Go to a CC.
Major in something easy like Psych.
Sprinkle in your pre-reqs at the CC (bio, O-chem, physics, etc.).
Do some ECs here and there.
Take 3 months to hammer in MCAT during junior year (totally doable) after you transfer and have done some upper divs like biochem.
Apply early to all MD programs.

Profit.

This is a blueprint for A) taking the same classes your first 2 years for 70% off the regular price you pay by going straight to a 4-year, B) making sure you get to know your professors and getting baller LORs, and C) ensuring you can maintain a 4.0 and high GPA, and D) transferring to whichever UC you want for the last 2 years.

The last 4 kids I literally helped concoct this plan are getting interviews from many MD schools and didn't have to do a DO program.

Don't buy into the "prestige" bull****.

Go where you can get to know your professors, and get a high GPA.
 
Mar 20, 2017
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Thank you guys so much. I've committed to UCSB and couldn't be happier. I'll be sure to make the most of everything!
 
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