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UCSD vs. UCI

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Eraserhead, Mar 22, 2004.

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Which should I choose?

  1. UC Irvine

    29 vote(s)
    38.2%
  2. UC San Diego

    47 vote(s)
    61.8%
  1. Alright battle it out! I really don't want to go to both second look weekends but I have to choose one soon.

    UCSD is the so-called better school, but I'm not interested in academia/research much anymore... however I do have visions of going into a competitive speciality such as anesthesiology, ophthalmology, or radiology.
     
  2. LoneCoyote

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    Okay, here's my $.02 on this tough decision. I did not apply to UCSD because of all of the rumors about people being unhappy there. That said, I kinda regret that now because it is a nice city, the school has a good rep and I think it is what you make of it. I find it hard to believe that everyone there is a gunner. You'll probably have more competition for the competitive residencies, but you'll also have a more research-oriented place which could be helpful since it seems like some research is helpful for matching into some of these specialties.

    Like you I liked the chill atmosphere at UCI, but I did not really like Irvine and the surrounding area all that much. My main reason for liking UCI was the primary care and community medicine opportunities they offer. It doesn't sound like that is your main interest though. In that case I would probably pick UCSD, find a few cool friends and enjoy living in San Diego, unless I had been totally turned off at the interview day/2nd look. Anyway, not sure if that helps much but good luck with the decision.
     
  3. docmemi

    docmemi 1K Member
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    such a hard choice:

    uci--unique curriculum (early clinical, small groups), close to los angeles, schedule still looked hard but more laid back than ucsd, boring but more calm, opps for community med and working with underserved

    ucsd-- higher ranked and more respected school, beautiful city, less boring, independent student project, more hospitals, more research opportuntities

    im still on the fence. i need more time to decide. where are you originally from/where is your family??

    i noticed you did research and have publications. are you very passionate about it? want to continue?
     
  4. research, yes i work full time in research now and have come to realize its not for me career wise, but for the sake of getting into the residency i want i would certainly take on something at some point in med school. the fact that ucsd prescribes this is actually good, you don't have to seek it out yourself and can make it as hard or as easy as you want. i don't really want to continue with the research i'm doing now, i'd probably try something new.
     
  5. what are the primary care and community medicine opportunities you mentioned? it doesn't seem like OC was in need of much community outreach, but i really don't know the area.
     
  6. BenzML320

    BenzML320 Senior Member
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    Do you have any clue what kind of residency you may be interested in?
     
  7. well these days i'm thinking ophthalmology would be the most fun for me. i've gone to one since i was 2yrs old and i really admire him. i think radiology is cool, i run MRIs now and that's really cool. anesthesiology also seems cool.
     
  8. i guess i should add that what originally inspired me to go into medicine was community work with the underserved, and i'd like that to be part of medical school too.

    ucsd has the free clinics which i hope to learn more about soon.
     
  9. docmemi

    docmemi 1K Member
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    ucsd has many more hospitals from what i gathered.
     
  10. Spitting Camel

    Spitting Camel Anteater for Life!
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    Also, a guy named Jullian something, whose name was mentioned on the flyer that came with the secondary app, said UCSD has monthly trips organized by students to go down to Mexico. I thought that was cool. I would've done my thesis on that...:(
     
  11. brownie2003

    brownie2003 Member
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    i didn't get the impression that UCSD was all that competitive when i visited. a few years ago, yes, but the administration has really been trying to change that with the more recent classes. one of my friend's who is a first year there is having an absolutely great time - her class is very laid-back and cooperative. and i think, like anywhere, the competition often depends on if you get lucky with a class. maybe those who get into UCSD this year will all be great/helpful people who are going to try to make each other the best physician's possible.

    if you think about it, how can a school determine how the student's act? there are so many schools that are h/p/f, and yet they don't have the reputation that ucsd has. i think teh rumors have been perpetuated throughout the years...and maybe it's time that it changes. i know ucsd is trying to move forward with that, and from looking at this year's first year class, i think it's happening. here's hoping to some great classmates next year!
     
  12. LoneCoyote

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    I interviewed for PRIME-LC so I probably heard more about it than the general population did. The demographics of Orange County are changing... we were actually discussing this at a public policy seminar I was at last week. Santa Ana has a very large Latino population, one of the highest concentrations of Spanish speakers in America. There is a large underserved population served by the UCI Medical Center and the clinics in the area. And from what the students said at the interview there are lots of opportunities to get involved in the community.
     
  13. yeah this was my impression when i visited as well, but since then i've been bombarded with the urban legends. most clinicians i have talked to said go to UCI. on my interview day though i even talked with one of my interviewers about the "rumors" when i was there, and he pretty much dispelled them (yeah there are alot of lecture hours, but there's alot of people around to help you get through it, its not meant to be stressful), but did say that the 100% Step 1 pass rate is probably due to the traditional, rigorous curriculum. but its what you make of it i suppose, if you just want to pass its probably not that bad.
     
  14. LoneCoyote

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    I forgot to mention that I had also heard good things about the student run clinics at UCSD, that aside from Davis they were some of the best at UC campuses.
     
  15. brownie2003

    brownie2003 Member
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    DK - don't let the rumors get you down. go to second look and check it out! i wouldn't necessary listen to the clinicians advice...they may be outdated with what they know of ucsd...it really is changing. and they have an amazing tutorial center and other supports for the students. from the last i talked with my friend, they were planning a camping trip to mexico...it might just be me, but i'd say the ucsd med school class does sound fairly close! hope you figure it all out :)
     
  16. ditto, man this is really a toss up in terms of pros and cons.
     
  17. premed

    premed Senior Member
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    Honestly...UCSD blows UCI out of the waters. It seems like you're looking for a top residency. I suggest going to UCSD. BTW UCI is not in Irvine, it's in Santa Ana/Anaheim area...traffic capital of OC...resembles LA more than OC to me. Anyways, I think UCSD has a beautiful campus, relaxed atmosphere and has a far better rep, research AND clinical (check US News) than UCI. Just my $0.02.
     
  18. BenzML320

    BenzML320 Senior Member
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    UCI is in Irvine. The hospital is in Orange. You can still land a top residency from UCI. You will be happy too.

    And of course someone named "premed" uses US News as their reference.

    And we all know premeds are douchebags.
     
  19. CalBeE

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    Kevin,

    I think you brought this up b/c of your concerns with UCSD, the long lecture hours, supposedly unhappy students, etc. Try to ask the admission office to pair you up with some current med students and see what they say (Even everything they say's positive, see how hesistant/genuine they are).

    And of course, Cornell's still a chance and option!
     
  20. Yeah, well my plan is to go to UCSD's second look and if I'm not second guessing anything I'm going to make the final decision. Taking a second flight down for Irvine seems excessive. I wish I lived down there, it would be so much easier to check them out again.
     
  21. TheFlash

    TheFlash Playtime Is Over
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    Cornell. But UCSD in this case.
     
  22. Wow- 2 good things I just learned about UCSD- about the independent study project which people say is "forcing research on students"... well you can choose to do a "focused clinical multidisciplinary" independent study project if you are not interested in basic research or research in general for that matter.

    Second, 15% of the class gets honors in general, not 10% as I've heard. Sometimes up to 20% get honors. Seems better to me.
     
  23. jtn

    jtn Member
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    Before I give you guys my opinion, I just want to let you know that I am a UCSD undergrad and from San Diego. So I may be biased.

    If you are totally into research, love a lecture-based curriculum (very long lectures...I mean LOOOONG ones), don't like a very integrative curriculum, like a conservative faculty, and enjoy a group of extremely competitive and talented classmates, then go to UCSD.

    I wasn't thrilled about the non-integrative research-based & lecture-based curriculum, and the competitiveness of UCSD so I chose UCI over UCSD.

    UCI faculty constantly change their curriculum based on student feedback. It's more integrative and more clinically oriented. That's why the curriculum today only teaches the necessary stuff you need to know for the boards. They even have a prep class before the boards! That's why UCI has the highest board scores for consecutive years.

    As far as the rankings on US News is concern, they really don't mean anything. I doesn't tell you about the quality of a med school. It only tells you which school gets the most research money and has the most research. So if you're not totally into research (like me) it doesn't mean anything.

    I also want to mention about the UCSD student-run clinics. Almost every other med school has a similar program (UCI has several for Hispanic patients, Southeast Asian patients, homeless) and many other outreach programs. UCSD just happens to advertise it much much more often than other schools so it seems like it's something that makes UCSD special.

    Both UCI and UCSD campuses are BORING. But I think UCI offers more stuff to do since Orange County has many cities and cultural centers within it within a 15 mile radius. UCI also has a lot of malls if shopping is your thing. San Diego and UCSD is very laid back.

    I think if you guys are deciding b/w the two, just go to the 2nd look weekend and really observe and pick up on your gut feeling. I think they are both great schools. Choose based on your preferences. Best. jtn.
     
  24. Given that I don't really care about staying in CA, what about Einstein? Would it be dumb to go to Einstein over UCSD? I'm not accepted but pretty confident I'll get in from the waitlist at some point.
     
  25. jtn

    jtn Member
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    Do you want to eventually go back to California and practice? Then yes.

    Is money a concern for you? Then yes.

    Do you like the different lifestyle and culture of the Eastcoast? Then no. But I think nothing beats Southern California.

    Read your gut feeling and go with it man.
     
  26. My guts says NYC is a better place for me, and coming back to CA and money are not concerns especially with the UC tuition increase. I just wish I knew how much it was. And I wish all these schools would stop putting me on waitlists.
     
  27. jtn, if i were in your shoes, i would take NYU without a second thought. einstein was not really in the best part of NYC though.

    OK i'm really confused about everything tonight. I'm going to pass out.
     
  28. jtn

    jtn Member
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    Dr. Kevin,

    Yes, you are right, NYU is a great place. But I want to stay in California and money is a problem for me so it really narrow my choices.

    Dr. Kevin, you seem undecided where to go. If it helps to relieve some pressure, just go into this with the mentality that whatever school you choose, you chose it because it is the correct choice. You should be happy that you get to choose which med school and not the med school choosing you. You will be fine. jtn.
     
  29. Spitting Camel

    Spitting Camel Anteater for Life!
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    Have you ever even BEEN to UCI? It's IN Irvine. Take the time to visit it instead of making stupid, ill-informed remarks. BTW, stop spreading false information... sounds like a typical premed trying to sabotage others.
     
  30. Is he referring to the UCI medical center perhaps?

    I didn't see either school's clinical facilities which is really lame.
     
  31. Spitting Camel

    Spitting Camel Anteater for Life!
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    UCIMC is in Orange, right accros from "The Block" where there are tons of restaurants, a gigantic theatre, coffee shops gallore, and may other non-boring things... premed doesn't know Jack!
     
  32. docmemi

    docmemi 1K Member
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    i also heard that uci faculty are really receptive to students and how they want the classees to be.

    look, whereever you go, they are both wonderful.

    i still havent voted. but poll says ucsd. if i had to choose id say uci bcz its closer to home for me.

    u know why dont u ask some faculty at uci and ucsd what they would choose. although they might push for their own school, i think they will give you their honest opinion. you can also ask some of your profs at school what they think.
     
  33. jlee9531

    jlee9531 J,A,S
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    i know a few kids at ucsd med....i think he had a pretty cool class...i mean the people at ucsd are hella s-m-r-t but that doesnt mean that all of them are gunners.

    the scholarly project that you have to do doesnt have to be lab research if you dont want it be, it can be clinical research or a community project...and more schools are doing that scholarly research requirement anyway so thats not a reason to avoid the place...plus it looks good for residency.

    yeah another friend of mine was a ugrad there and he got to go to mexico with a doctor with some other students there to help out down there...so thats really cool...

    tho sd is a bit conservative for me...its still a nice place to live with a good amount to do.

    but then again if you dont care about practicing here in cali or doing residency in cali or have anything to do with the state...then by all means go somewhere else like einstein. you dont want to 2nd guess your choice for the next 4 years of your life and have it affect your medical education and your focus...

    and even with the fee increases cali will prolly still be a good deal cheaper than ny...i think sd gives out good aid and prolly with your numbers uci might give you some $$ too. but then again if $$ is of no concern...and nyc is in your gut...i think you might have just made your decision...
     
  34. docmemi

    docmemi 1K Member
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    about the scholarly project...drew students also have to do a research project. they do a very large variety of things, all the way from basic research to community studies on educatiional disparities. so a huge range. thats awesome!
     
  35. zephyr_97

    zephyr_97 Member
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    Interesting dialogue thus far. As a first year at UCSD and going through first couple of months of classes and tests, I'll briefly speak of my experience thus far. I remember when I was in your situation last year, albeit a little different, choosing between UC Davis and UCSD. At first, I was leaning towards Davis, because I thought I would fit in better there. However, being away from CA for college and work (in the South) made me appreciate what CA has to offer; plus my family is here in LA.

    Initially I did not like UCSD as much as I expected, mostly because of my own issues. Then I led an interview tour and complained somewhat to those poor applicants. Quel mistake on the admission committee. Some time after, however, I remember clearly right after Winter Break, as I was driving from LA down for the new quarter on I-5. The road curved as pacific ocean was in full view and I thought to myself, why am I unhappy, studying medicine in a resort setting (as my classmate/roommate called it)? I made several adjustments and I am beginning to appreciate the opportunities I have here.

    The rumors that I heard while interviewing here was not helpful. However, I have to say that most pressure that I face, I put it upon myself. Each class has different characteristics and I am fortunate to say that our class is known as the social class. Yes, there is come competition but we help each other along the way. Whenever someone made study sheet for a midterm or final, it is posted right on the student forum for all to see. My classmates are the biggest strength of the school and almost all of them will become compassionate and capable physicians.

    In terms of the long hours of lectures, you can choose not to go, as most of us realized that there is more time to study and to have a time if you skip some lectures. Personally I do learn in lectures so I try to go to useful lectures. Otherwise I'd rather hit the cafe shop in Hillcrest for a few hours and take the rest of the day off. The sun and beaches in SD are just too inviting too sit in classes all day.

    I took the free clinics as electives last quarter and thoroughly enjoyed it. I did not realize the uniqueness when I first came here, but seeing that what we are learning in classes do show up in the real world, that people are taking the beta blockers and ACE inhibitors put the humane side to rigorous class work. Don't worry, no matter where you go, there are always more information to master than you can possibly do (for most people). But for me, having the context to go through the wringer makes it worth it. And I plan to continue with the free clinic next quarter and do my independent project in the free clinic. I know for sure that after doing a thesis in research to graduate with distinction in my major that I would not enjoy the bench work myself. I prefer the clinical part and if I do pursue an MPH, which is a strong possibility, then ISP is not required.

    As I also interviewed at UCI, and my impression is that it is a solid school, with opportunities as well. I just felt that UCSD would give me the training that I need. I have classmates who turned down UCSF and UCLA to come here as well, so it all comes down to what you feel you will be most happy and give you the most in educational opportunities. All in all, I am happy here and took another group of applicants last week to the Baker clinic. Those applicants were very impressed with what we do, as I am too. I invite those who are accepted to come to the revisit weekend and those who are waitlisted good luck; hang in there as I myself was a swimmer in the A-pool last year too. Hit me up with any more questions/thoughts/opinions. It's our Spring Break this week. Take care y'all.

    Z.

    ps. And I will try to get the matchlist for all curious souls out there. peace.
     
  36. zephyr_97

    zephyr_97 Member
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    UCSD match list. Looks like kevin beat me to it.

    Z.
     
  37. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    I personally don't believe that UCI has the highest board scores year after year. I've heard that from sooooooo many schools. I also heard that from UCSD, too. But someone recently posted that UCSD had a 225 avg.

    Oh, and I vote for UCI for you. You are choosing between two very conservative places, so in a way I think you would be happier at a different school than either of those. I know one person who ....dresses real nice.... and a second year at UCI and he never felt comfortable to dress as nice as he wanted to.
     
  38. bell

    bell Member
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    UCSD by a long shot. I didn't apply to UCSD because I've been in San Diego for a while, but it's an incredible city. also, this year's MS1s seem to be way more laid back then the prior groups and the administration has been making many changes so if I had to redo my application decisions, i would apply. ultimately it's where u felt comfortable.
     
  39. celticmists18

    celticmists18 california dreaming
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    jtn: interesting how different opinions can be between to UCSD undergrad alums . . .'cause I would vote UCSD all the way. DoctorKevin, good luck making your decision. Don't base it on rumors, go with YOUR gut instead of someone elses.
     
  40. premed

    premed Senior Member
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    Some people on this forum take things too seriously. :confused:

    I was only referring to US News because I thought the poster did care about rankings.

    Premeds may be "douchebags", but ML320's look like minivans. :laugh:
     
  41. Right, this is where Einstein comes in. Certainly more my cup of tea. The students I met the night before my interview greeted me with beer, pizza, and Family Guy DVDs. There's a spirit of cooperation and activism at Einstein too I think, that was really cool.

    What do you mean dresses real nice? Like in terms of expressing himself? What exactly does that have to do with anything?
     
  42. Spitting Camel

    Spitting Camel Anteater for Life!
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    I think the ...dresses real nice... is code for gay? Maybe Jalby is uncomfortable saying the word gay. gay gay gay...:laugh:
     
  43. Yeah, that's what came to my mind. But I didn't want to put words in his mouth. SD and OC both have alot of gay guys, I don't see how that would be a problem. They are just conservative gay guys in general. That's OK, most of my clothes come from Banana Republic anyway.
     
  44. OK gut said UCSD but that was based on the TWO students I met when I was there... and yes the rest of the students completely ignored me and were studying at lunchtime :( I didn't see any hospitals or much of anything really besides the lecture halls.

    I really think Irvine is more boring than San Diego. At San Diego I could live downtown or in the most exciting part of the city and pretend its NYC or LA and commute to La Jolla.
     
  45. LoneCoyote

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    lol... my impression is you'd be fine in san diego. i've spent some time in hillcrest and you'd have no problems. oc seems okay in the beach communities, esp. laguna. my interviewer suggested i live in long beach if i wanted any sort of lesbian community which seemed like it would make life difficult, but she did suggest that there were lots of gay men around :)

    now that i have read your updates that you are willing to leave california and aren't worried about residency, i am going to change my vote to einstein or, obviously cornell. i think you;d be much happier in the environment there overall. if i didn't care about staying in cali i would much rather be a subway ride away from manhattan in the bronx than in hillcrest or oc.
     
  46. Yeah, I think you are right. Is the difference between UCSD and Einstein negligable if you aren't interested in living in CA for the rest of your life?
     
  47. LoneCoyote

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    My impression is it would be. Than again, I have not looked at the US NEws rankings recently ;)

    I did grow up in the Northeast and I can tell you that Einstein is a very well respected school and their grads seemed to be well respected and successful. So if you decided you wanted to stay in NYC or head to Boston or something it seem like it would take you far.

    I know someone who was debating between Pitt, Einstein, and USC and ended up choosing USC for family reasons but from what she said it sounded like she could have been happy and done very well with a degree from any of the 3 schools.
     
  48. Yeah, I really wish I would have gone to my Pitt interview now. I'm soooo confused about what I want/need.
     
  49. jlee9531

    jlee9531 J,A,S
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    i personally dont think the difference between ucsd and einstein is negligible...ucsd has a big edge in both primary care and research.

    tho the people in their respective regions may say they have the better school...overall most people will prolly say that ucsd is a better program.
     
  50. Right but if I go to UCSD and do reasonably well, do I have a great chance of being able to do my residency in new york city if I want? It seems like most UCSD grads end up in Southern CA for life and that's soooooo not what I want.
     

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