Berkeley vs CSU Fresno (Honors) for Premed


I would very much appreciate if you would tell me which school you would pick out of the ones I was accepted at.

I applied to seven schools and was accepted at each school:

  • CSU Stanislaus
  • University of the Pacific
  • UC Merced
  • UC Davis
  • UC Santa Cruz
  • UC Berkeley
  • CSU Fresno Smittcamp Family Honors College

I’m kind of torn between Smittcamp and UC Berkeley. But all of my friends are going to UC Davis.

A little bit about me:
4.7 Weighted GPA/ 4.36 UC/CSU GPA
Top 5% (my school doesn’t have number rankings or rankings higher than top 5%)
I REALLY want to be on the premed track.

At this point, I’m leaning towards Smittcamp at CSU Fresno. If you didn’t know, Smittcamp only accepts 50 people a year, requires you to have a minimum 3.8 GPA or be in the top 10% of your class to even apply, is a full-ride scholarship, and pays for a dorm community double. I’m really excited about it, but I would still love to hear some feedback.

Which school you would pick if you were in my position?


P.S. I am INCREDIBLY grateful for all of my opportunities and please know that I do not take any of this for granted.

Why does it matter what we would pick? You don’t need help - you’ve already made the decision!!

Most would say UCB due to the name.

Pre-med is about GPA and MCAT - and if you have a special program, it likely has other perks on top of the generous financial aspects - such as mentoring, etc.

So run with it, and don’t look back.

Congrats on an outstanding offer and way to save your $$ for med school.


Sorry! I know I care a little too much bout what other people think. I appreciate your input! :smile:

I didn’t mean to come off like that. I’m trying to say - reading your words - that’s where you want to be so there’s no reason to seek outside opinion to justify.

My daughter goes to a “lesser” school than others she got into. She’s in a special program like you and has tons of enrichment - so there’s something to be said for that.

Make sure you follow the guidelines for pre-med - and you’ll be fine.

Go conquer Fresno.

Premed Advising - Premed Advising (


Please do make sure that smittcamp places well into medical school

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I know a guy who was premed and was accepted to Cal. He went to Riverside instead (this was before Merced opened). He was able to stand out, and is a doctor today.

But answering your question may be putting the cart before the horse. You need to ask yourself why you want an M.D? When many HS kids become interested in a career in medicine it becomes “I’m pre-med!” and they embark on a path that will take 11+ years of school/training plus enormous debt. Doctors are far from the only ones in the health field that help people. Physical therapists, radiology techs, nurses, speech pathologists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, to name but just a few. as you can see on

Unless you’ve carefully considered the alternatives and have spent time actually working in a health care setting (which is an unwritten requirement to get into med school) its better to think of yourself as interested in exploring a career as a doctor rather than someone who has already made the decision. So I’d say the best thing to do now (if you haven’t been doing this already) is to get a job or volunteer position this summer and next school year in a medical setting (volunteer in a hospital, etc).

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@WayOutWestMom your thoughts about this poster’s two top choices for pre-med?

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I’d pick a UC. The Cal States don’t have a good track record of getting kids into allopathic med schools, unless the student has a huge hook.

Sorry, but undergrad prestige matters (a bit) for med school. Med school is brutally competitive in CA.

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Will do! :smile:

It seems that many Smittcamp grads have matriculated to UCSF and UC Davis. I heard one grad is going to Stanford? Of course, hard work, GPA, extracurriculars/community service/research/clinical and hospital experience, and MCAT scores also go into these acceptances, not just Smittcamp, but these are still good things to know. Thank you!

I think it’s a tough choice. With neither Fresno or Berkeley being great options for pre med.

The CSUs historically do not do well in placing students into med school. Fresno only produced 56 med school applicants last year out 24,000 undergrads. (see: That really underperforming compared to the UCs and most private colleges.

Berkeley is the 4th largest producer of med school applicants in the country so the competition for top grades in pre-reqs, getting research positions, finding clinical placements is very tough. The sheer number of pre med hopefuls makes it tough to stand out in the crowd.

Truthfully UCD is probably a better choice than either of your top choices. UCD has a bias toward accepting its own undergrads into med school. Plus it’s a less competitive environment than UCB.



You are very right about the “exploring a career as a doctor” mindset. Thanks for your insight! :smiley:

Thank you for this information!!! It will really help me make an informed decision! :smile:

Easy…take the full ride…are you nuts? :slight_smile: Going into medical school debt free is a big advantage. Also, getting top grades in an honors program is something you can put on your resume when you apply. That’s my 2 cents.

Thank you!!! I was thinking this too, but I wanted to make sure that I properly addressed and considered all of my options. I appreciate your input!!!

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