Choosing a pre-med school - BU, UIUC, PSU, UW, etc

so my nephew officially got shut out of the UCs with today’s Berkeley rejection. Looking for best fit for pre-med (Biology major I suppose, not sure). He’s gotten acceptances to BU, UIUC, PSU, UW, and waitlisted for SDSU and UCD. (there might be others that he got accepted to, won’t know until this weekend). Cost is not an issue at all, I don’t think he got any merit from anywhere. His mom would prefer him to be in a big city with an international presence so I guess he’s leaning towards BU or UW, although UIUC might be ok since my nephew went to BS in Illinois.

Any help would be appreciated as to which route to take. I know grades is the number one factor but I couldn’t convince his mom that he should have applied to UC-Riverside.

A good idea is to try to figure which will take a cooperative approach to the early pre-med classes (the usual stem) vs the brutal weeding out so many colleges use. It’s been nearly impossible to find stats on how many kids who start college with med hopes get weeded, but an old, old revelation about JHU suggested something like 80%+. Obviously, some of those were dreaming. But it makes it tough on the good kids who might make good docs.

Anecdotes about weeding include various strategies to limit top grades. You also want the right research and community health opps.

There’s a pre-med forum on CC.

so his list of acceptances, in addition to the listed, also includes CWRU, UW (Wisconsin) and the U (Miami).

oh his waitlist is UCSD (not SDSU), UCD, and NYU.

If “cost is not an issue at all”, does that mean that the parents will pay for medical school as well?

Or will cheaper undergraduate mean more money for medical school?

He was not ELC to get a UCM admission?

He didn’t go to school in California, he was a BS student OOS. But his parents are residents. Don’t think that would count would it?

Pretty sure that money is not an issue for medical school either.

I’d go with CWRU: private, so a bit less weedout + they have a private med school which seems to favor their own applicants to a certain extent. Urban, in a great, lively area. In addition, regardless of what major he’s been admitted to, he’d be allowed to switch at any point during his feet year (say, if he wants to switch from Biology to CS).

Did he get into honors anywhere?

CRWU, BU, UIUC, PSU, UW. I think it would come down to lifestyle: big city versus college town. Boston would be a more exciting city than Cleveland but I’m biased. As for “college towns” Madison would be a more interesting destination than State College, PA or Urbana/Champaign, IL. Academically there is not a bad choice among them.

I’d take out BU, heavy weed out for premed(at least I have heard).
CRWU is a good choice, smaller school, as well as UWis.
UIUC is too big and not worth the OOS tuition. PSU is the same.

Forget about NYU, too expensive (in comparison of the others)

UCD is a good choice, but I’ve a lot of kids(friends and local HS) who cannot finish in 4 years because difficult to get into classes, same is UCSD.

Either way, pre-med is all about weeding and plenty of it in all schools, no matter where you look. I won’t count on going to CRWSOM because you attended CRWU ug, CRWSOM is a second tier med school, very close to first tier, you need HIGH GPA and Mcat to get in. Being selected from UG is not that easy, maybe a little better from outside, but not by much. A private med school normally take 5-10 of their own UG in a class of 100~150.

One more thing about UIUC, if you are interested in engineering, the NEW SOM of UIUC is interested in good engineering students. If you do well, you might have an inside track.

@ProfessorPlum168 I am graduating this spring from UW-Madison and headed to a top 20 med school next fall. I had a really good experience here and just overall love UW. It is a big school and you do kind of have to take things in your hands in some areas (though if your nephew was interested in the UCs I’m guessing he’s okay with giant state schools), but if you make the effort to reach out to faculty, you can definitely find the support you need. Madison itself isn’t a big city, but it’s a lively place as far as college towns go, what with the massive sports culture, and especially since campus is located right next to the downtown area and political center. There is also a sizable international student population (mostly Asian).

If you have any more specific questions about UW, the city, or the premed/biological sciences life there, feel free to PM me. shows the following:

4-year graduation rate for 2011 frosh entrants: looks like 58%
average number of quarters for 2016-17 graduates: 12.3 for frosh entrants

It does look like there may be a significant number of students who take more than 4 years due to gap quarters.

“Difficult to get into classes” seems like an overused excuse by students who do not want to take 8am courses or specific instructors. While it may actually be true in some cases, it is probably true less often than it is claimed.

As a follow up, I’m hearing he’s narrowed it down to BU (current leader), apparently there’s a program in the UK that he’s interested in. Not sure what that is. His mom would prefer UDub-Seattle, to be a bit closer to home and to his relatives. UIUC is in the running since he went to BS outside of Chicago and some of his friends are going there. I don’t think he’s considering the others anymore but not sure.

I thought he was trying for pre-Med but it sounds like he wants to go into Dentistry which I suppose is a similar type of path. I think he got into Biology for all the schools.

He’s still keeping his fingers crossed for UCSD or UCD but I told him not to hold his breath on clearing waitlist. I don’t think he got any merit or honors from anywhere.

If dentistry, he can’t go abroad (unless he’s willing to do 2 years at a us college on top of his UK degree).
Do have him think about CWRU seriously if you can.

Quite a coincidence that we have admission to the same set of colleges as OP with the exception of CWRU. Also planning to the premed track and whittled down the choices to Wisconsin-Madison and BU. OOS for both. If cost is not a criteria and willing to also foot the bill for med school, which of the two has better support for premed focused students (curriculum strength, support for med school apps, undergrad life etc.)?

@silmaril could you please PM when you get a chance (don’t have that option yet). I have a few specific questions regarding UW-Madison.

Appreciate any responses

@med2023: cross out BU and replace with another of your choices - it’s known for grade deflation and is generally a killer for premeds.

Haha my nephew plunked down his deposit for BU. Still waiting on UCSD for the miracle to get off the waitlist.