USC vs. UCSD (I am leaning towards USC, does that make me crazy?)

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mikeinsd

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Both these schools have been discussed at great length recently, but not in the same threads... USC has been pretty thoroughly covered in the USC vs. UCI discussion, and UCSD pretty well discussed in the Is UCSD worth it? thread... so here is where I stand so far:

my stance on UCSD: I do not believe it to be as bad as many say, the students i talked to on interview day and the ones i have talked to who I know there (M1's) have said it really isnt that bad, that it is getting better, etc... I fully believe that Dean Kelly is doing whatever he can to make it better, but i also agree no one will really relax till they change the curriculum...

UCSD Curriculum -'s: Lots of lecture, little to no patient interaction (except at the free student run clinics, which are great), No anatomy till second year - this may be a good thing, but I dont like the concept...

anyhow I have a pretty good handle on student life there, etc, and while I do not think it is horrible, i think it seems that way when compared with some other schools that are on the other end of the spectrum entirely... such as USC

USC curriculum +'s: and yes, you may not have to go to the UCSD lectures to do well (brought up in the other thread, but I do not necessarily want to ditch class in med school, i want the classes to be so engaging that i get out of bed wanting to go (which is the feeling i got at USC)

So, the other stuff...
yes USC costs a lot more, and if they cannot help me out at all, I may have to go with UCSD... if they can make it roughly the same cost, or even just a bit more, i am thinking USC, and these are the personal reasons why...

- I just spent 4 yrs in La Jolla, and while it is a nice town, I feel like i want a change
- I dont think the price difference will be to great in the end, I get a lot of need based aid, because i have a lot of need ;)
- My best friend from high school, who i continue to remain very close with (we spent the summer in peru together), is applying and his only interview was at USC, and it is very likely he will get in (at least, I hope so)
- I stayed with someone the night before my interview who lived in Monterey Hills, and I also chekced out South Pasadena - they both would be totally nice places to live and there was little to know traffic to school in the morning or in the other direction after the interview, also, housing prices seemed comparable to La Jolla/UTC area, if not a tiny bit better
- I want to stay in So-cal (or at least Cal) for residency, and while UCSD is ranked higher and might help get a good residency, we all know about USC as the powerhouse when it comes to getting students residency spots (read the USC vs UCI thread for more on this)
- My focus is underserved care, and while SD is a fine place to do this, I need only say one thing: LAC/USC
- I personally know someone who turned down a full ride to UCSD for a spot at USC (dont know how much/if any money she got), and she said she has never regretted it, to this day (she is an M2)

UCSD does win on price and ranking, but I am fairly sure the difference in ranks will not affect my future career as an MD, and as far as price, hopefully it will be close to even... but who knows.

So... after all that, I am picking USC, unless there is some compelling evidence that suggests i should do otherwise, am I nuts?

-mike
(sorry for the rediculous long-ness of this)
 

notdeadyet

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If your focus really is on the medically underserved, it's pretty hard to beat USC.

Both are great schools. You'll do fine at either. But the only thing that would sway me towards UCSD is either the money or a real hatred of the big city life. UCSD is more like socal suburbs than big city.
 

mikeinsd

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UCSD would win on location for me, except that I have already been here for four years, and I am pretty bored with it already... other people might not agree but it is more a personal thing... I am just not too excited about spending another 4+ yrs in the same place (dont get me wrong, it wouldnt be horrible, just not something i am jumping at the chance to do)
 
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ucsd wins for me. stats and ranking, location, tuition, faculty, and reputation among residency directors.

plus, i am willing to bet that ucsd students very well on the boards. i'm sure usc has good board averages.

plenty of clinical experiences (e.g. going to physician office) in the "intro to clinical" doctoring class. got that info from a ms2.
 

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I'm an MS3 at UCSD

UCSD doesn't have "little to no" patient interaction during preclinical years, and even if it did this would have no impact on the quality of your medical education. Similarly when you take Anatomy doesn't make a difference. It's not like you're taking it after Surgery.

If USC makes a good financial offer, I don't think there is anything wrong with taking that. But if you are interested in serving the underserved, I highly recommend going with the most affordable option. UCSD has no full merit scholarship so your friend probably got great need-based packages at both schools.
 

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UCSD would win on location for me, except that I have already been here for four years, and I am pretty bored with it already...

I feel you on that one. When my list was Jeff, BU or Tufts, people were shocked that Tufts was at the end of my list. It was my undergrad though, and I just couldn't handle doing another 4 years of it. Same place, same people, same little things that annoyed you but you dealt with because you were done after 4 years.

I went to La Jolla (pronounced with a 'J' and not an 'H' by us east coasters) for the first time last month and I thought it was an awesome place, but 8 years there would be rough.

I loved USC and LA is a great city. Plus the new hospital and all. I'm the type of person who says I will pick the best school I get into, but location will have a significant impact.

Do USC. It'll be a good change.
 

SeventhSon

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it's completely understandable that you need a change of setting. I kind of felt it would be healthy to do the same thing but the way the cards fell for me, I was happy to stay here. I think you should weigh the money issue very heavily on making your final decision. I have met people for whom that is no factor at all, but don't discount it.

P.S. i don't know what is the basis for the statement of "little to no interaction with patients" but that is complete BS. There is an adequate amount, but more importantly, it's appropriate for the amount of medicine that you know at each step (such is my impression so far). Plus if you really fall in love with seeing patients early, you can work at free clinic THREE DAYS A WEEK!
 

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Are you kidding me?

UCSD vs. USC
-----------------------------
Location: beach ghetto
Debt: 76k 220k

Are you joking?

PICK UCSD all the way bro!!:thumbup:
 

byong_soo

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i say go for USC. follow your instinct. i also went to UCSD, and although I didn't get in here, if I had choices, I would've gone to other place anyway just because fresh start = fresh mind. I feel way too comfortable here and that may not be a good thing when med school starts.
only thing that would hinder me from going to USC would be matchlist. I would compare the matchlist and if there is too much discrepancy between the two, I would go to the significantly better school.

BTW, I also did BISP196 for 2005-2006. I probably met you during the poster session, although I don't know which one you were.
 

mikeinsd

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well, as far as location goes, I do not think everyone should bag quite so much on USC - sure it cannot compare to la jolla, and the beach right there, but it isnt so ghetto... yes the exact campus is, but south pasadena/mty hills is litterally 5 or ten minutes up the road, and there isnt really traffic between the two, and i found those areas completely fine... and, yes this is very sad, despite living so close to the beach all the last 4 years, i didnt go very much... I do a lot of outdoors stuff and play a lot of sports, but having a beach nearbye is not a top priority

as far as debt goes, unless usc can pony up some serious dough, it will be ucsd, i am not so crazy as to tell myself otherwise...

and to address the little clinical experience comment - it is somehting i got the impression of, but have nothing evidence wise to back it up with, so I can concede that point... making my decision a bit tougher :)
 

mikeinsd

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i say go for USC. follow your instinct. i also went to UCSD, and although I didn't get in here, if I had choices, I would've gone to other place anyway just because fresh start = fresh mind. I feel way too comfortable here and that may not be a good thing when med school starts.
only thing that would hinder me from going to USC would be matchlist. I would compare the matchlist and if there is too much discrepancy between the two, I would go to the significantly better school.

BTW, I also did BISP196 for 2005-2006. I probably met you during the poster session, although I don't know which one you were.

thanks for the advice - reading the other forum (UCI vs. USC), someone talks extensively about the match, and USC seems pretty good (apparently 100% of derm and radiology the last two years, these are really competative, neither interest me greatly, but if they can match 100% in those, wow, looks pretty good for me)

and my project was on REST/NRSF, I had the really big poster (printed thanks to the salk) with a lot of pictures of stained cells on one side, i was on the right side walking in during the presentaton (my work was at the salk institute under Dr. Gage)
 

notdeadyet

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well, as far as location goes, I do not think everyone should bag quite so much on USC - sure it cannot compare to la jolla, and the beach right there, but it isnt so ghetto...
Exactly. Also, non-angelenos have a tough time comprehending the fact that most will drive to school. Most folks don't usually live across the street from the hospital.

Also, if you're a city type, La Jolla can start to feel like a cultural wasteland. But if you are a beach buff, it's very very hard to beat.
 
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byong_soo

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perhaps i think more important question is how many are matched because i think people who apply for derm/radiology already know ahead of time that they are qualified to apply for it. To claim that they match 100% of people is a bit misleading becaues it might have been (and most likely) 2-3 people applied to derm and that they got in. and someone from USC probably claimed that 100% ppl who apply get in. if 6-7 people applied to derm in one year, there is no way they will all get in (unless top tier school like harvard). also quality of program is important as well, so i still think you should look at the matchlist and compare them yourself :) oh and also maybe compare the board score as well. But like I said, if there isn't too much difference, go for USC. I personally would love to go to LA. and USC has great football program. UCSD... well no football team

Cool~ I think I recall looking at your beautiful poseter. I also worked (and still am) at Salk.
 

mikeinsd

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i just read on the keck website that they are consistantly in the top schools in terms of federal research dollars in both the departments of pediatrics and ophthalmolgy... guess what i want to be... a pediatric ophthalmologist

if that didnt convince me i dont know what will :)

well that and the finaid i need;)
 

dpmd

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I remember being in a similar situation when I applied to med school. I ended up picking USC because I just got a better vibe from it (plus I got a very generous merit scholarship). You can become a doctor anywhere, but if one place really stuck you as fitting your needs and wants, you might be unhappy if you decide to go elsewhere. I know if I had chosen the state school over USC because of money, any little thing that went wrong would constantly make me regret my decision. Looking at match lists doesn't really give you that good a picture, since you have no idea how many people tried to match but failed, or why they failed (if a school matches 100% of four people going for Derm that were all >250 and AOA does that really mean anything, or if a school matched 0 out of 2 but both were sub 220 does that mean the school sucks). If you find a place that has the style of teaching that you do well with, and you are happy, chances are you will perform better. You just have to figure out if you think you will perform 20K a year better (or whatever the difference is now). If you do decide to go to USC maybe you want to take a look at my nice two bedroom condo in monterey hills (10-20 minutes from bed to classroom, not bad) :)
 

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perhaps i think more important question is how many are matched because i think people who apply for derm/radiology already know ahead of time that they are qualified to apply for it. To claim that they match 100% of people is a bit misleading becaues it might have been (and most likely) 2-3 people applied to derm and that they got in. and someone from USC probably claimed that 100% ppl who apply get in. if 6-7 people applied to derm in one year, there is no way they will all get in (unless top tier school like harvard). also quality of program is important as well, so i still think you should look at the matchlist and compare them yourself :) oh and also maybe compare the board score as well. But like I said, if there isn't too much difference, go for USC. I personally would love to go to LA. and USC has great football program. UCSD... well no football team

Cool~ I think I recall looking at your beautiful poseter. I also worked (and still am) at Salk.
Right because you should make your med school choice based upon the football team...........You are going to make a great doctor......:sleep:
 

microgal

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Right because you should make your med school choice based upon the football team...........You are going to make a great doctor......:sleep:

Dude, your unexplainable hatred of USC in every thread it comes up is now bordering on creepy. I already pointed out yesterday that you are a troll. No need to put someone down for making a decision you don't agree with.
 

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I applaud the OP for basing his decision on factors other than rankings and prestige. Can't say that I would do the same but he seems to have spent a good deal of time weighing this decision. Mikeinsd I would say you're one of the most sane pre-meds I have "encountered" in a while. Good luck with your decision.
 

byong_soo

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I remember being in a similar situation when I applied to med school. I ended up picking USC because I just got a better vibe from it (plus I got a very generous merit scholarship). You can become a doctor anywhere, but if one place really stuck you as fitting your needs and wants, you might be unhappy if you decide to go elsewhere. I know if I had chosen the state school over USC because of money, any little thing that went wrong would constantly make me regret my decision. Looking at match lists doesn't really give you that good a picture, since you have no idea how many people tried to match but failed, or why they failed (if a school matches 100% of four people going for Derm that were all >250 and AOA does that really mean anything, or if a school matched 0 out of 2 but both were sub 220 does that mean the school sucks). If you find a place that has the style of teaching that you do well with, and you are happy, chances are you will perform better. You just have to figure out if you think you will perform 20K a year better (or whatever the difference is now). If you do decide to go to USC maybe you want to take a look at my nice two bedroom condo in monterey hills (10-20 minutes from bed to classroom, not bad) :)

Good point about matchlist. But I have to disagree ur saying that looking at match list doesn't give you a good picture. I think number of matches to competitive program is a good indicator. % can clearly be misleading (we both agree on this). However, if one school matches derm (or any other competitive residency) better than the other, it prolly means that school was able to educate them better (ie better school have students performing better on USMLE1). I can imagine there being a correlation between #derm and USMLE1 avg score (and of course school's reputation).
 

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Right because you should make your med school choice based upon the football team...........You are going to make a great doctor......:sleep:

actually, I would say the opposite.

patients generally don't have a clue about medical schools, but get an MD from a Pac10 powerhouse like USC and your patient will consent to anything! :laugh:

seriously, though. If your patients have never heard of your medical school (and let's face it, UCSD isn't way up there for like 99% of patients) then you have to work extra hard to get your point across.

I'd be willing to bet the only schools patients care about are Harvard, Yale, and anyone who makes it to a Bowl game.
 

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Good point about matchlist. But I have to disagree ur saying that looking at match list doesn't give you a good picture. I think number of matches to competitive program is a good indicator. % can clearly be misleading (we both agree on this). However, if one school matches derm (or any other competitive residency) better than the other, it prolly means that school was able to educate them better (ie better school have students performing better on USMLE1). I can imagine there being a correlation between #derm and USMLE1 avg score (and of course school's reputation).

not to mention landing residency spots relies on recommendations and clout. Clearly if your school is sending kids to top10 hospitals (not top10 schools, usnews hospital rankings) then they "got the clout" so to speak.
 

lord_jeebus

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not to mention landing residency spots relies on recommendations and clout. Clearly if your school is sending kids to top10 hospitals (not top10 schools, usnews hospital rankings) then they "got the clout" so to speak.

Top ten hospital does not nearly correspond with top ten residency program in a given field.

If you know what field you want to go into, make a friend in that field fast and ask them what programs are top tier.

If you don't know what field you want to go into, don't bother with the match list game.
 
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Top ten hospital does not nearly correspond with top ten residency program in a given field.

If you know what field you want to go into, make a friend in that field fast and ask them what programs are top tier.

If you don't know what field you want to go into, don't bother with the match list game.

yeah because I'm sure the residencies at Hopkins, Mass General, Mayo, Cleveland Clinic, UCLA, New York Pres, etc are all really lame :idea: :rolleyes:
 

lord_jeebus

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yeah because I'm sure the residencies at Hopkins, Mass General, Mayo, Cleveland Clinic, UCLA, New York Pres, etc are all really lame :idea: :rolleyes:

No, but you'll overlook the programs that are at the top of their fields despite being part of larger institutions that are not as well-regarded.

For instance, if you were interested in Ophtho you would need to know about the powerhouse Bascom Palmer (U Miami).
 

kyneuromania

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Both schools are great.

Cost is a killer at USC but I heard that the school gives out lots of grants/scholarships. But even with those, you can't beat the price of UC.

But personally, I prefer USC. I just love USC Medical Center. I am biased. :p
 

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No, but you'll overlook the programs that are at the top of their fields despite being part of larger institutions that are not as well-regarded.

For instance, if you were interested in Ophtho you would need to know about the powerhouse Bascom Palmer (U Miami).

oh I agree 100% but that wasn't the point of my comment. I was saying that if you're worried about being able to match into a good residency, check out the school's match list. If you see two derm going to ucla, and two ortho going to new york pres, then it sort of quells any doubt of the school's "impact factor" so to speak with residency directors. If UCLA takes two derm people from USC, UCLA thinks USC students are "good enough" to work at UCLA medical center, the "5th best hospital" in the country. is that more clear? obviously its extremely simplified, but the concept....ah forget it you get the point.
 

Mr_Doc

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If im not mistaken, USC is a top 20 school....
 

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Oh, I forgot one other reason why match lists can be misleading. You have no idea how those people ranked programs. A school might have a couple of people match in derm to what you may not consider a top program, but perhaps that was both of those guys/gals first choice (people consider many things when they rank programs, and I can tell you there are some specialties where UCLA would be low on my list). I know there isn't a lot of things you guys can look at to get objective comparative data, but I guess my point is there is a lot more subjectivity to the choice of where to go.
 

byong_soo

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Oh, I forgot one other reason why match lists can be misleading. You have no idea how those people ranked programs. A school might have a couple of people match in derm to what you may not consider a top program, but perhaps that was both of those guys/gals first choice (people consider many things when they rank programs, and I can tell you there are some specialties where UCLA would be low on my list). I know there isn't a lot of things you guys can look at to get objective comparative data, but I guess my point is there is a lot more subjectivity to the choice of where to go.

that's why you look at the matchlist because not only does it tell u the specialty but what program they are matched to.

according to US news i believe USC is not ranked top 20.
 

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well, as far as location goes, I do not think everyone should bag quite so much on USC - sure it cannot compare to la jolla, and the beach right there, but it isnt so ghetto... yes the exact campus is, but south pasadena/mty hills is litterally 5 or ten minutes up the road, and there isnt really traffic between the two


dude South Pasadena is about 20 minutes away if you take the 10 west and the 110. thats on a good day. you will most likely hit the traffic from the 5 and the 101 branching out from the 110.
 

dpmd

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Yeah, that's why you don't take the freeways. South Pas, Monterey Hills, Monterey Park, and a couple of other places I can't remember are the closest you can be to the USC health science campus without actually living in the barrio.

byong_soo I think you missed my point. You can tell where and what specialty people matched in but you don't know whether that was their first choice, last choice, or something they scrambled into. I just don't think it is that valuable.
 

byong_soo

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Yeah, that's why you don't take the freeways. South Pas, Monterey Hills, Monterey Park, and a couple of other places I can't remember are the closest you can be to the USC health science campus without actually living in the barrio.

byong_soo I think you missed my point. You can tell where and what specialty people matched in but you don't know whether that was their first choice, last choice, or something they scrambled into. I just don't think it is that valuable.

no i understand what you are saying. i just don't think looking at % of matching to your first choice is as important as quality of match program in general. obviously, students from better school will apply to better residency programs and generally get into better residency programs. if you are from a low-tier med school, most of the time, none of your choices will include top tier residency program. if i apply for MGH, JHU, Brigham as my top 3 and I get into Brigham, that's not a bad result. In fact, it's better than matchlist result than most schools in the US. If there a is higher match % at a low-tier school than a top-tier school, it doesn't mean the low-tier is better than top tier school. top tier will definitely have better matchlist results despite the % of matching to your #1 choice.
Matchlist is definitely valuable when judging med school.
 
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mikeinsd

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dude South Pasadena is about 20 minutes away if you take the 10 west and the 110. thats on a good day. you will most likely hit the traffic from the 5 and the 101 branching out from the 110.

ummmmmm........ actually, I drove myself from monterey hills to USC in the morning, I was in the buildings after about ten minutes, tops

and south pasadena - I drove there, its a few minutes past monterey hills on the freeway, trully not that bad

if you go to UCSD and you want to live in a place not full of undergrads with nothing around, you are gonna have to drive AT LEAST that much, trust me, I live here
 

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second the above notion that people who don't live in LA don't know what they're talking about.

You can get to Keck HSC from Pasadena-ish by taking Mission and it's like 10-30 minutes depending on traffic.

You can get to the HSC from west LA/Santa Monica in the morning by taking the 10 (its against traffic at that time) and takes 30minutes to an hour.
 

mikeinsd

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USMLE average for USC a couple years ago (it said class of 08?) was 232, havent found anything more current... anyone know UCSD's? I am willing to bet it is quite high, but I do not know where to find it
 

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USMLE average for USC a couple years ago (it said class of 08?) was 232, havent found anything more current... anyone know UCSD's? I am willing to bet it is quite high, but I do not know where to find it

At the interview, dean kelly said that the ucsd average board score was 10 points higher than the national average. hope that helps.
 

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My situation:

USC: Accepted
USCD: Withdrew post-secondary.

http://www.usc.edu/schools/medicine/school/about/2005KeckAR.pdf


Regarding USMLE 1:

"....the average score nationwide for all who took the exam was 217. Keck students averaged a score of 228...."


Regarding GPA/MCAT of entering class:

"...with the developed curriculum in place, all measures of quality for the incoming classes of medical students, graduate students and MD/PhD students continue to improve. The 2005-2006 admissions process for the Keck School saw an increase in applications. Total applications were up 16 percent over a year earlier, compared to only about 5 percent nationally. The class has a mean 3.69 GPA and a mean 33.6 MCAT, compared to a mean GPA of 3.60 and a mean MCAT of 33.1 for last year's incoming class...."


It looks like Keck is an exciting place to be right now....USC is trying to become the Stanford of Southern California, and those USC people are pretty much fanatical in their devotion and love for their institution.
 

lord_jeebus

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USMLE average for USC a couple years ago (it said class of 08?) was 232, havent found anything more current... anyone know UCSD's? I am willing to bet it is quite high, but I do not know where to find it

228 for the c/o 2007

You would be a fool to base a decision on this. Anyone at either school can score well above 240 with the right motivation and strategy. Both schools have many people in the 250s and 260s.
 

mikeinsd

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228 for the c/o 2007

You would be a fool to base a decision on this. Anyone at either school can score well above 240 with the right motivation and strategy. Both schools have many people in the 250s and 260s.

well, if you think I am basing my decision on this then perhaps i am not the fool... i just threw that out there because someone else mentioned it, certainly a lot more has gone into my thought process... which to date has not been completed (made even tougher because i just got UCLA interview invite yesterday, when i pretty much assumed i was done)
 

weirdo700

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Both schools are definitely great. I am currently a fourth year at USC so I'll offer my spiel. USC has great training hospitals and will offer a diverse patient population (County and University). In addition, they are a private school and are very supportive of their students. I originally came from UCLA and it was like night and day, between the amount of support offered by the administration. USC does a very good job of helping their students secure residency positions, and does have a reputation of having excellent match lists. Though the official match has not been released, from the competitive early matches like optho, neurosurg, and urology USC will have another impressive year, with kids matching into top programs like UCLA, Cleveland Clinic, Cornell, and Univ of Washington. Not necessarily the SoCal bias as propounded in these threads. USC also prepares the students for the boards and the most recent class average was 232 which is in the top ten of all schools nationwide. When applying for residencies you will discover that board scores, grades, and LORs play a big part. Not necessarily institution name. Another great selling point is the city of Los Angeles. It is truly a place where anyone can find something that they want, and you will have time during medical school to have some fun. I personally feel that LA is a better city than San Diego but that is totally personal bias. No doubt, the price tag is high at USC which is one disadvantage. However, there are really no schools out there that will cost less than 100k overall with living expenses. Personally I will be leaving with a debt of 160k including living expenses which is not unreasonable these days. I do, however, know at least 3 kids in my class receiving full rides for tuitions for various reasons. Spanish is very desirable, but not essential and people that say that you are hindered by not speaking are severely mistaken. Basic Science Research at USC is gradually taking off, and it is definitely not to the level of places like UCLA, Harvard, or UCSF, but honestly most students unless they are MD/PhD will not really utilize these facilities. In terms of clinical studies, I think USC has a leg up because of its County Hospital. Thus ends my spiel. Just remember it is a privilege to be in medical school in the United States, and there are thousands of people that want to be at either institution.
 

mikeinsd

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yes great post, and thanks to everyone who has responded... I personally do not desire to do much research... at least not bench research - so that isnt a factor - if it was i would choose ucsd (i went here for undergrad, and if someone out there is choosing between these same two but loves research, i would say UCSD, opportunities here are just about endless)

as far as clinical stuff, i know you can do free clinic at UCSD, and i have heard that is very cool, but I like that the clinical stuff is integrated INTO the curriculum, meaning you dont have to do all the lecture etc at ucsd AND THEN find time to go to clinic (i just thought about this point for hte first time, and it is further convincing me usc)

at this point i am sending in finaid forms and praying usc can throw me a friggin' bone
 

mikeinsd

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...well, thanks for everyone's input - i felt a little sick to my stomch doing so, but i just sent in the withdrawal to UCSD... one more spot for everyone waiting!
 
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