UCLA vs. UCSD SOM

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Where should I go?

  • UCLA

    Votes: 47 55.3%
  • UCSD

    Votes: 38 44.7%

  • Total voters
    85

gmoneyindia

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Hi Everyone,

Im facing a dilemma between the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and UCSD SOM.
There are lots of pros and cons to each school and Im having a really tough time deciding between the two.

Some background information: I am finishing my undergraduate degree at UCSD this quarter. I really have grown to love UCSD and the San Diego area.

I haven't been to UCLA too much so I'm not too familiar with the details of the medical school and the area so if people could please give some input, that would be great!

Some of my pros and cons for each school:
UCSD
Pros
-Great Location. I love San Diego, from the weather to the restaurants etc. It's easy to get around with little traffic.
-Awesome teaching facilities and campus. The teaching facility here is brand new and gorgeous. Additionally, it seems like construction is constant to add new medical facilities .
-Know several medical students who can help me adapt to medical school and if I have questions
-Very relaxed learning atmosphere. It seems like people are all really friendly and help each other out, and the faculty is really awesome from what I've heard
-Highly ranked with a growing reputation
-Fairly cheap grad housing (although this is not a huge deal)
-Great daily schedule

Cons
-Going here for med school would mean being in the same place for undergrad and med school. Not necessarily a bad thing though
-Not as great national reputation compared to UCLA
-No business school to do a possible MD/MBA


UCLA
Pros
-Great National Reputation
-MD/MBA with the Anderson School
-Very reputable affiliated hospitals
-Good schedule of classes etc. Students say they have quite a bit of free time for relaxing and enjoying life.
-Somewhere new to experience
-People say living in LA is awesome
-Great match list
-Would finally have a sports team to cheer for (joke but at the same time serious haha)

Cons
-Much older facilities. They are building new teaching facilities but they wont be ready for my class. In the meantime, we will be in pretty old facilities. When visiting, this was a turnoff just because environment is such a key to positive learning.
-Living in Westwood is a hassle- difficult parking, expensive housing
-Traffic!- Getting to rotations at various hospitals around UCLA. I'm not sure how bad this is but it seems like it would be a significant amount of travel time

In the end, UCLA and UCSD are really close for me. I'm leaning towards UCSD because I think I'll be more comfortable there and I'd be possibly happier there for the next four years. However, UCLA's name is a big draw as well as the potential to do an MD/MBA combined degree.

Any input would be great!

Thanks :)

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I'm in a similar situation (albeit with schools of a much different caliber :)). Some advice I read from an old thread was to pick the school that you secretly wish got more votes.
 
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I'm in a similar situation (albeit with schools of a much different caliber :)). Some advice I read from an old thread was to pick the school that you secretly wish got more votes.
The other advice is to flip a coin. Make heads UCLA and tails UCSD. In the moment when the coin is tossed and flipping through the air, you'll know which outcome you truly want. Best of luck - definitely a GREAT problem to have!!
 
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You really can't go wrong with either of these schools!

A few things to consider:

1) Where do you hope to practice after medical school? If you want to practice in southern CA, then UCLA and UCSD will both serve you well. If you want to practice elsewhere or are unsure, UCLA has better name recognition around the nation.

2) What do you want your social life to be like in medical school? If you stay in SD, you'll be able to maintain strong relationships with undergrad friends, but probably won't get as close to fellow MS1s because you'll already have a strong friend base there. If you move to LA, you'll be able to "reinvent yourself" (so to speak) and will probably get very close to your classmates.

3) Do you want to get an MBA? Honestly, if you are seriously considering an MBA, go to UCLA. It's much better to keep that door open than to close it for no great reason.

4) Are there any price differences? I know UCSD has great student housing deals, while UCLA is much more generous with financial assistance. I know that when you are looking at schools with price tags of ~200-300k a year, 20-30,000 dollars seems like nothing. In reality, when you calculate all the interest you'll pay on that extra money, you're talking ~$50,000, which could otherwise buy you a sweet car or be the start of a house downpayment. With two schools so evenly matched in their prestige, location, etc. money should be an IMPORTANT deciding factor. Look at housing prices for the two areas. Scrutinize your financial aid packages (when they arrive). If you really would be happy at either school, choose the cheaper one... even if its only cheaper by 15-20k.
 
You really can't go wrong with either of these schools!

A few things to consider:

1) Where do you hope to practice after medical school? If you want to practice in southern CA, then UCLA and UCSD will both serve you well. If you want to practice elsewhere or are unsure, UCLA has better name recognition around the nation.

2) What do you want your social life to be like in medical school? If you stay in SD, you'll be able to maintain strong relationships with undergrad friends, but probably won't get as close to fellow MS1s because you'll already have a strong friend base there. If you move to LA, you'll be able to "reinvent yourself" (so to speak) and will probably get very close to your classmates.

3) Do you want to get an MBA? Honestly, if you are seriously considering an MBA, go to UCLA. It's much better to keep that door open than to close it for no great reason.

4) Are there any price differences? I know UCSD has great student housing deals, while UCLA is much more generous with financial assistance. I know that when you are looking at schools with price tags of ~200-300k a year, 20-30,000 dollars seems like nothing. In reality, when you calculate all the interest you'll pay on that extra money, you're talking ~$50,000, which could otherwise buy you a sweet car or be the start of a house downpayment. With two schools so evenly matched in their prestige, location, etc. money should be an IMPORTANT deciding factor. Look at housing prices for the two areas. Scrutinize your financial aid packages (when they arrive). If you really would be happy at either school, choose the cheaper one... even if its only cheaper by 15-20k.

Thanks for the response!
1.) Well I'm from Norcal so I wouldnt mind either Nor cal or So Cal for working but I dont want to leave California. Im guessing both schools will give me great opportunities within California.

2.) That makes sense. To be honest Im not really sure what I would prefer at this point which makes it tough.

3.) This is the main reason Im thinking about UCLA. I've always been considering getting an MBA and am really interested in business in general and related to health care. I feel like getting the combined degree would save a lot of time and be better than maybe doing an MBA later. Going to UCSD would def close that door thus pushing UCLA in favor. Even if I may be happier at UCSD for other reasons I may regret not going to UCLA if I decide I really really want to do an MBA as well.

4.) In general, the price differences related to tuition are about the same overall as a california resident. Housing at UCSD is definitely cheaper (for the first two years it would be around 450$ a month!) than UCLA and long term I would save a ton. However, other than that I think even with financial packages at both schools, the money would be even.

Im guessing from the comments and the poll so far, there is no real wrong choice lol
 
You can't really go wrong with either choice. Both schools have 2nd looks at different dates; I'd go to both and see which one gives you the better gut feel. Prestige, cost, location, students seem about the same to me. UCLA might have a slight edge in match list, reputation, etc., but UCSD has the slightly better quality of life, in my opinion. Anyway, hope to see you at 2nd look in LA!
 
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Obviously neither choice would hurt your chances for a great residency match and it would be very ironic if I were in line to take your spot if you withdrew from UCLA but in good conscience (and my absolute hatred of people who post "advice" to try to sway people away from schools that they are waitlisted at), I have to vote for UCLA. I loved everything I saw there and got an amazing feeling from the other current students there which is why it is my number one choice. I didn't interview at UCSD (OOS so it's a miracle already that I interviewed at UCLA) so obviously take what I say with a grain of salt but I looked heavily into each program even before applying and it'd be very difficult for me to turn down an offer from UCLA. Like others have said too, wait to see what kind of financial aid you get from each school. Good luck with your decision!!
 
My advice would be to select the school where you feel you will receive the most support and be happiest. Medical school will be a struggle, even for the most resilient of students, and the support that you receive from family and friends is of critical importance. In addition, the less stress you have to deal with outside of the rigorous demands of school will be great benefit. The next most important factor, in my opinion, should be cost - debt is a heavy burden, even for those who go into the highest-paying specialties. The last thing you should be concerned about is prestige or rankings.

Based on your post, my vote goes to UCSD. It seems like your reservations are rooted in the reputation and lack of an MD/MBA program. As far as reputation goes, UCSD is very well respected and even if you plan on applying for residencies outside of CA, the name of your school (as long as its US accredited) will be among the last things on their list. For the MD/MBA program, while UCSD may not have a formal program, I can't imagine that they would not support your goals and grant you a year off after third year to complete an unaffiliated MBA program as long as you can work out the logistics.

Either way, your success will be dictated by you alone, so pick the school where you feel will give you the atmosphere and support you need to thrive.
 
I voted for UCLA. I have heard nothing but good things about Geffen. Preclinical years are as low-stress as they come. Great clerkships. Many interesting research opportunities.

True story: a UCLA student I knew last year failed to match. While he was scrambling, he received a call from the Dean. The Dean had apparently contacted a number of program directors on the student's behalf and presented him with several options for intern year.

I think that level of faculty support is pretty rare.

You couldn't go wrong either way, but at the end of the day I think UCLA is your best bet.
 
I voted for UCLA. I have heard nothing but good things about Geffen. Preclinical years are as low-stress as they come. Great clerkships. Many interesting research opportunities.

True story: a UCLA student I knew last year failed to match. While he was scrambling, he received a call from the Dean. The Dean had apparently contacted a number of program directors on the student's behalf and presented him with several options for intern year.

I think that level of faculty support is pretty rare.

You couldn't go wrong either way, but at the end of the day I think UCLA is your best bet.

Maybe someone else could correct me but I've heard from other people that this usually happens at most medical schools because obviously the dean doesn't want anyone in the class not to match. Still, I agree with your assessment of UCLA - it's an awesome school
 
Maybe someone else could correct me but I've heard from other people that this usually happens at most medical schools because obviously the dean doesn't want anyone in the class not to match. Still, I agree with your assessment of UCLA - it's an awesome school
It happens at other schools. The Dean of my school did this on my behalf and was one of the reasons I was able to secure a preliminary surgery year in the location of my choice.
 
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