I am hesitating to rank USC for QuestBridge because I am not sure if it’s good for pre-med stuff like biology. My dad told me USC was “meh” but his information is about 20 years old. How about now?
USC is a solid top 25 university nowadays, but IMHO a large research university isn’t necessarily the best place to go for a generic pre-med (biology) or pre-law (history/political science) degree. You’re better off going to a liberal arts college like Occidental or one of the Claremont Colleges because you won’t have to deal with having 10,000 people in your Bio 101 or Poli Sci 101 class, taught by grad students who don’t know your name. USC is better with that kind of thing than most but I still presumptively wouldn’t recommend a large research university for that kind of undergrad degree.
The best thing to do if you’re interested in pre-med or pre-law or whatever is to look at the top medical schools, law schools, etc. and then see which undergraduate schools feed the most/best students to them. It isn’t necessarily going to be what you think. But for pre-med (one of my brothers is a doctor) you just want a bio degree and hopefully some good internships and research with a professor. That kind of thing. It’s much easier in a good smaller liberal arts college than it is in a large research university, regardless of how good/bad that research university is. And keep in mind that you can probably get a similar experience in the honors college of a large state school, too. A lot of “lesser” (think University of Arizona rather than UC Berkeley) state schools have honors colleges nowadays as a way to keep talented kids in-state rather than continually exporting them to the Northeast and California. But you’re better off looking at where the the top grad schools get their best undergrads rather than focusing on good undergrad programs alone.
@USCAlum05 Hmm. Problem is, I have about a .05% interest in LACs… Do you have a link for the feeder schools to top med schools?
Carleton , Rhodes are both very strong stem LACs .
Howard U sends a very large % of their grads to med schools .
USC is no longer a “meh” school .its now a top UG university .
Your dad’s perception is very out of date.
IF you even get into USC today, you’ll be well positioned to get into any top med school. USC was great 20 years ago for any serious student and nothing has changed fundamentally except it’s a more difficult school to get into and there are more stellar faculty and better resources.
USC is not a good school for premed if it puts u deeply in debt before even starting med school.
My D graduated from USC in May and is now in a top 10 med school (along with a couple other USC students in her class). The val of 2015 is at UCLA med school, and another friend is at Stanford. USC will not hold you back from any med school- it is what YOU do at USC that makes the difference.
As to the whole grad student thing-- grad students do NOT teach courses. They lead discussion sections and labs at USC, though. This is something to consider.
Finances are a big issue and if possible, try and minimize expenses at all costs. D was on merit scholarship and we are very thankful.
@GMTplus7 I am applying through QB, so if I attend it would be on full scholarship.
6 - 100% agree with this. You don't want to be accruing interest on $200k+ while in med school if you're paying full price.
If you’re mentioning that your dad’s information is 20 years old, I think you already know USC is a good school. Nothing more needs to be said on this, your dad isn’t the person reviewing your med school application.
Since you’ll be on a full scholarship, absolutely get your value and target private schools, for the sole reason of having flexibility a.k.a backup plans.
If you do Biology/Chem at Berkeley/UCLA and drop out of the premed track, you’re totally screwed. You’ll graduate with a low GPA in an unemployable life science degree, because there’s nothing to switch into, or the school won’t allow you to, or you’ll graduate 2 years late because you can’t get the classes. Having some safety nets assist in alleviating the pressure, and allow you to stay focused on the goal rather than the possibility of failure. You’ll be less stressed over your four years in college and have marginally fewer gray hairs by the time you finish your residency.
At least at USC or comparable schools, you might be able to switch into Biomedical Eng, pre-health (pharm, dental), or business. I agree with the take on small LACs. And really, if money is removed from the equation, private universities are just a lot more pleasant to spend four years in, in terms of housing, facilities, and various benefits that your tuition would have gone to if you paid (free scantrons).
Regardless, whether the student is an undergraduate at USC or not, he/she will still need a high MCAT score to get admitted to a top tier (10-15) medical school. This is in addition to the high GPA (3.7-3.8+). At some undergraduate schools, it might be easier to attain that high GPA, while at other schools, it might be more difficult to attain that GPA. Some medical schools may give a little slack on the GPA to the med. school applicant if his/her undergraduate school has a reputation to be very harsh in grading. You’ll have to evaluate.
Also, I have known students who were on the edge and they went on to do post graduate work (i.e., a masters degree), reapplied to medical school and got it.
It’s not my job to do your college search for you, but here’s something I found right away. Again, go to the grad schools themselves and see which undergrad colleges they get their most/best students from.
U.S. News best medical school - research - Harvard
Harvard Medical School admissions criteria:
Harvard Medical School “technical” admissions criteria - this is great and more about the realities of being a doctor:
U.S. News best medical school - primary care - University of Washington
University of Washington medical school admissions checklist:
Obviously this is just a start but these are the kinds of places you should be looking. You should also think about how serious you are or aren’t about being a doctor and that’s where a summer job would be a good place to test the waters.