Hello guys. I've been accepted to both the University of Southern California for Biochemistry as well as Pepperdine University for Biology, and I'm having a hell of a time making up my mind on which to attend so I'm looking for a bit of advice. Although I received the largest merit scholarship Pepperdine has to offer, USC gave me an extremely generous grant so in the end the tuition at each school is nearly the same (I think USC comes out to be like 2000 dollars more a year).
I'm trying to weigh the pros and cons of each and I'm hoping that you guys will be able to chime in and help me out.
Pepperdine is a very small school with an undergraduate enrollment of ~3500 students. As such, they don't have the resources of a large school like USC. They do offer undergraduate research programs, but I'm not sure to what extent. On the same note, I'm sure they're also lacking in extracurriculars. Pepperdine is in Malibu, CA, and although it's a gorgeous city, its incredibly small and there's nearly nothing going on there which I feel really limits my options for extracurriculars even further. Finally, I'm worried that their pre-med advisers don't have the same ability as the advisers from a large school in terms of being able to help me find internships/volunteer positions and ultimately help me get into medical school.
With all that said, I really like the idea of the small classes at Pepperdine. I'm honored and humbled that the school chose me for the regents' scholarship and I feel like that's something that I can proudly display on a medical school application. Overall I think it would be easier for me to earn a high GPA at Pepperdine than USC.
USC is a big school and I'm really scared I will get "lost in the shuffle". It has ~18,000 undergaduates which is enormous for a private school. I like to think of myself as a very independent student, but I've gone to small schools all my life, so it remains to be seen how I will actually be able to function in classes of 200+. I definitely don't feel like I will be getting any special attention from the professors there during my freshman and sophomore years, no matter how well I perform in their classes.
Paradoxically, What draws me to USC is also what scares me away. I'm eager to see how well I'll be able to perform in a big school. Moreover, I'm excited to take advantage of all that a big school like that has to offer. They offer extensive undergraduate research programs and a large number of clubs that I've taken an interest in. It's situated in a urban area so that greatly increases my options for volunteering/interning.
Overall, Pepperdine feels like the safer choice, but I think I stand to gain more from going to USC, though it may be a gamble.
I'd really appreciate any and all insight from you guys! Thanks in advance!