PreMed Help Choose Clemson Honors, OSU Honors or UPitt?

Hi All-
Would greatly appreciate any insight that anyone has regarding my final candidates. I plan to major in biology or Health Sciences with the objective to attend med school and have pared my options down to Clemson Honors, Ohio State Honors or Pitt (did not apply to Honors). With merit scholarships the total cost to attend is relatively the same for all 3 colleges so cost is not a factor in the final decision.

The following elements are most important to help make a final decision:
1). Solid pre-health academic advising from an engaged staff that will help throughout the process.
2). Research and shadowing opportunities
3). Minimize grade deflation (as much as one can in premed) since obtaining a high GPA is critical for med school acceptance
4). Honors college that fosters a sense of community through events, clubs, etc.
5). Prefer an urban environment.
6). High med school matriculation rate

The following is a list of the pros/cons that I have identified for each:

Pros: the faculty appears to be engaged and foster a sense of community, writes committee letters for pre med students that they deem worthy of med school acceptance, excellent research opportunities with nearby hospital, urban environment but not too familiar with Oakland area and its safety?
Cons: no honors college acceptance yet so will need to apply during 1st year, Nordenberg dorm is nice if u get it, otherwise must choose Towers dorm which are old, off campus housing costs, does not offer Health Science degree option, only Biology. Will Pitt offer in-person classes this fall?

Ohio St
Pros: honors college acceptance but it is decentralized meaning that each honors dept operates independently, nearby hospital for research opportunity, can major in Biology or Health Science or Public Health, urban environment.
Cons: very large campus, honors dorms are not very nice. Will OSU offer in-person classes? Crime has been reported as increasing in off campus housing areas?

Pros: honors college is centralized and hosts events, partnership with Greenville hospital for research but 40 min away, can major in Biology or Health Science, honors dorms/amenities are the nicest, shorter walk to classes. Highest probability of in person classes. Safe campus.
Cons: rural/small town, smaller Greek life (sororities), reputation as being conservative although believe this has changed over the years.

In summary, I would greatly appreciate any insight regarding your personal experiences with the academic advising, grade deflation, med school matriculation rates and/or honors community of these 3 universities? All comments welcome. Thanks in advance

A decentralized honors program might not be a bad thing. A centralized program might know about overall school requirements but not specifically pre-med and how to prep you for med school.

Did you get waitlisted for Pitt Honors?

All three will prepare you for med school. Go with the one you like most. If you got Pitt Honors that would jump to first.

Thanks for your reply. Unfortunately I missed the deadline to apply to Pitt Honors so if selecting Pitt the plan would be to apply after 1st year. I believe Pitt is the strongest of the 3 for premed but also likely the most competitive?

i think if cost is not an issue, pitt is the way to go. the connections that they have with upmc are really good and their research is also amazing…pitt is a clear choice imo.

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Your choice should come down to 2 factors:
1: The school that is the cheapest (med school can be expensive, start saving)
2: The school where you think you will get the best grades (med school application is competitive)

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I think accessibility for shadowing options needs to be considered too. If Clemson would require a 40 minute commute…you would need to factor in costs for that in your equation.

Pitt and tOSU both have hospitals within a short distance where you might find better chances of shadowing.

The Pitt campus is far less spread out and more “campus like” than tOSU which is really an urban campus spread out in Columbus.

I need to add…I like both Pittsburgh and Columbus. If you like major league sports…Pittsburgh wins in that area!

Can anyone please share their opinions regarding pre health academic advising @ Clemson, OSU or Pitt? Also interested in the grade deflation aspect of each school and if it exists or not. Thxs

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While OSU is definitely all over Columbus, all of the facilities you would be accessing as an undergrad are concentrated on campus. Most of the OSU buildings not directly on campus are part of the hospital or the airport. While OSU is more urban than Pitt, you would still have a very traditional campus vibe. There is a ton of green space between the Oval, South Oval, and Mirror Lake. Honors at OSU is a great opportunity with priority scheduling, and if you don’t like the housing, I believe you can live in an LLC and still be in honors (may be wrong). Can’t go wrong with any of the schools, and for pre-med you are best to go with the cheapest option and least grade deflation. Btw, OSU is open for in person tours in April.

I asked about Pitt Honors earlier because they offer advising for all the healthcare fields. If you’re not in Honors I’m sure they still offer advising but you would be a number among thousands of other kids. Not sure about grade deflation at Pitt but any healthcare major will be competitive. UPMC is on-campus and the school probably gets around a $1B/year for medical research. That’s draws a lot of talented people. I bet the average SAT for Nursing school is 1400 or close to it.

I would be on the phone with OSU Honors and Clemson Honors to see what they offer. Talk to other Honors kids. I went to public universities. You’re a number when it comes to services. Honors colleges can help a little or a lot. It depends on the Honors program. They’re not all equal.


Thanks for the kind reply. I have attended honors virtual meetings for both OSU & Clemson as well as spoken to them via Q&A sessions. It is very difficult to assess how much support the honors advising service truly provides since they are of course selling themselves during these info webinars. Therefore, I was hopeful to receive first hand feedback from students that have attended these universities.

My intuition is that since OSU is such a large university that one’s experience might be more of “one of many” without much personal engagement. However, perhaps the honors college within a large university like OSU is different?

Whereas with Clemson Honors I am under the impression that their advising office is definitely supportive and engaging. However, this is simply my impression that needs to be qualified.

Are there any parents or students that can share their personal experiences with OSU Honors or Clemson Honors, whether premed or another major?

My advice is that no matter what school you pick, don’t major in biology or health science.

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Keep trying to find other students at Clemson and OSU. I’ve had good luck with Reddit. Son uses Instagram or Facebook.

Maybe post over in the Med school forums on CC.

@Eeyore123 might be on to something. Med schools take all kinds of majors. GPA and MCAT carries most of the weight.

I would suggest joining the Clemson University Parent FB page to ask about experiences with Health Science or pre med, as not many CU parents are on CC; some of the HS kids do internships at Prisma and Anmed as well, which are much closer. I encounter them at physician offices and clinics, running covid testing clinics, etc. Clemson is one of the 21 universities participating in the current NAIAD covid study, so that’s a big research focus right now.

Many faculty and students we know are left of center, so I don’t think that’ll be an issue. @burghdad perhaps could speak to the experience with his graduating senior.

Clemson is comparatively small; the Honors College is highly ranked and makes a big school feel smaller. DD’S honors classes are around 30 students. They get priority registration, specialized housing (if they want to live there, many don’t), specialized honors advising, lots of career and special program opportunities. It gives a state flagship an LAC vibe. You can get involved as little or as much as you’d like. Some only use it for registration; others, like DD, take advantage of the opportunities like Eureka! research, social gatherings, and special honors programming like seminars, lectures, additional career advising, etc. DD likes the honors sections of classes; they’re smaller with more personal attention. The honors seminar classes are fun; the topics are created by honors students. There’s a new one for fall (Medical pseudoscience?); they’re fun Socratic-style classes.

As far as grade deflation; I would personally say the chem department has the toughest reputation on campus. They are known for tough tests and lack of curve. It is possible to get A’s, but it requires a lot of hard work/time. The academic success and writing centers do offer a lot of support if needed.

I can’t say I always understand it, but the alumni aren’t just numerous, they’re very protective/supportive of each other. It’s kind of like a big family. The alumni office is very active; when people we’ve known have lost a job, the alumni have jumped in to help. They have one of the best college career centers in the country, which helps with internships/co-ops.

I’m a PA girl, so I’m familiar with OSU and Pitt. Both are great schools; Clemson is obviously more rural, but in a beautiful setting with access to hiking or water sports at the outdoor center on the lake. All things financially equal, I’d say it depends what vibe you want. Good luck!

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Agree with what the former Pa girl @tigerwife92 posted. And of course being in Pittsburgh and a few of my daughters friends attending I have a good sense of Pitt.

As to the “conservative” nature of Clemson, look the fact is the school is in SC and draws lots of its students from there and other places in the south which is inherently more conservative. However there are 18K undergraduates and many from NJ, NY, California etc. so your student will not feel out of place having more liberal views. My daughter joined the Student Democrat Club and was engaged in that. She also ended up with a room mate from Irvine CA. whose political views were similar to hers. As a BS economics major she has found the professors in her advanced classes to be more libertarian than conservative. In fact the Libertarian candidate for President in 2020 was a female Clemson Professor.

With regards to the honors college I think it is like most things at college it can be what you make of it. My daughter lived in honors college dorms her freshman year and took advantage of some of the programs they put on. However as she has advanced she basically only takes the honors classes she is required to take in order to graduate with honors and really has no other involvement that that. Most of her advising after freshman year was done in the Economics department

As stated by @Tigerwife92 Pitt and Clemson are two very different campuses and settings. Pitt is in the city. If that is something you are looking for Pitt is a great option. Also the medical school and hospitals are basically part of the Pitt campus. So for shadowing, volunteering etc it couldn’t be easier than being at Pitt. Clemson is a classic college campus and small college town. Your student would need to go drive to get to shadowing and volunteer opportunities most likely in Greenville. Similarly be aware that the nearest Target, big box stores are about 25 minute drive away in Anderson or Easley. In her freshman year before my daughter had a car she and her roommate would rent a zipcar on campus to make those trips when they wanted those types of stores.

Lastly as to grade deflation I can’t comment on how the pre-med organic chemistry and the like courses are graded. I will say that my daughter used a bunch of AP credits including Macro and Micro Economics so she took the second level of macro and micro in her freshman year and had no trouble getting A’s. No offense to anyone, and I’m sure it is different for different students and different majors but my daughter has told me that she found Clemson to be easier academically than her large highly ranked high school.

@hrux another idea is to reach out to the Clemson Eureka! counselors; they post on Insta. They’ll probably be able to connect you with other HC Premeds, or reach out to the Eureka/HC director; she’ll be able to connect you with current students.

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Seconding the suggestion of majoring in something else than Biology. :slight_smile:

All 3 will be good, with Pitt likely more competitive and Clemson being rural as the downsides that would most bother me.