Pros and Cons of doing pre-med at UCLA vs. UCB. vs. maybe USC??

<p>What to do you guys think are the pros and cons of doing pre-med at UCLA vs. UCB. vs. maybe USC??</p>

<p>I kinda sense that it maybe a bit less competitive at UCB to get a high GPA, although it is admittedly more of gut feeling, rather than an informed opinion, but also do med school differentiate between a better GPA from a less competitive school vs. lower GPA from a tougher school.</p>

<p>From what I've read on other people's blogs, med schools only care about GPA. It doesn't really matter much of the ranking of the school.</p>

<p>Unfortunately the way life works for med school is messed up. They'll take a 4.0 from UC Santa Cruz or Riverside than a 3.6 from Cal even though the Cal student is arguably more prepared and intelligent. Make your decision very wisely.</p>

<p>UCLA has the highest percentage of students from it's med school come from it's own undergrad (20%), so it that sense, if you wanted to go UCLA medical school it would be the best bet, but it would probably also prepare you for other top-tier medical schools as well.</p>

<p>Can anyone else provide some informed input?</p>

<p>UCLA is next to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, the third best hospital in the United States, which is great for internship opportunities. In contrast, Berkeley doesn't even have a med school.</p>

<p>This is all second-hand knowledge from my wife, who is currently a medical student.</p>

<p>First of all, you have no significant advantage for going to a school's undergrad if you apply to its med school-- especially a large school like UCLA. Going to Cal vs UCLA vs USC will mean pretty close to nothing for getting into attached medical schools (UCLA or USC, that is.)</p>

<p>Nor will it be a disadvantage. So don't worry about that.</p>

<p>You biggest factors for medical school admissions will always be: GPA, MCAT, and extracurriculars. You need all three in equal amounts, pretty much. So, having a 3.8 but a 27 MCAT and great extracurriculars is probably not as competitive as having a 3.75 with a 33 MCAT and great extracurriculars. </p>

<p>One thing that UCLA does have going for it is location: it's right next to UCLA Medical Center. That's a great opportunity because it means that you have a lot of good part time job or internship opportunities nearby. My wife was an assistant for a doc over at Jules Stein, which was helpful for her during interviews.</p>

<p>On the other hand, if you like Cal or USC more, you are going to be at no significant disadvantage other than having to maybe look a little more far away for your extracurricular opportunities. </p>

<p>One thing I must stress to all future med school applicants is the fact that unless you have truly outstanding scores (3.7+ GPA, 34+ MCAT, etc.) you will probably not get into your first choice of medical school. Be prepared to apply nationwide. Be prepared for a long, hard road. I've been with my wife now over a decade as a couple, and it's been a long, difficult process for her and all of my other doctor/med student friends. It's a great career once you get in, but it's a long, long road getting there.</p>

<p>Recent UCLA grad here, currently applying to medical schools. So far, my experience has been from 9 interviews and counting. </p>

<p>I'd reaffirm what Ari is saying, with my opinion that GPA and MCAT scores are the most important ways to get initially invited for an interview. Your academics have to be solid in order to snag that interview. Once you're invited, your extracurriculars will be the important part because schools want well-balanced individuals. You have to show experience with the medical profession, altruistic behavior, and that you have a life outside of studying and medical volunteering. </p>

<p>UCLA's on-campus medical school is a definite benefit. I've been able to view liver transplantation and cardiac bypass surgeries in the hospital, or place epidurals in fresh cadavers at the simulation center here. These are experiences that I've been able to tell interviewers, and they're generally impressed by the exposure that I've had. This is a strong research institution, so there are plenty of basic science and clinical labs where you can volunteer as an undergraduate. That being said, I've seen plenty of Cal students being interviewed; there are medical volunteering (clinics) and research opportunities at UCB too. </p>

<p>To ConcernedDad: school "competitiveness" doesn't carry as much weight as the actual GPA. I've seen people from all kinds of schools, liberal arts to large state universities, at my interviews. The MCAT provides a standard comparison anyways. What I would focus on is which school seems to be the best "fit" for me. Less stressors create happy students, which (hopefully) means easier focus on studying. </p>

<p>What I've been disappointed about is the lack of advising for pre-meds at UCLA. I didn't receive much support from them, though I made up for it with the combined knowledge of the many pre-medical applicants here.</p>

<p>Thank you guys for such well-informed opinions, especially UCLAri and Jinobi. Good advice. My daughter got accepted to UCLA, UCB, UCSD, UCD, UCSB and USC so far, and still waiting for some more decisions this week. She is currently doing medical research internship at UCLA as a high-schooler (which probably was a significant factor in her getting into all those great schools), and was promised to have it for another year, if she ends up going to UCLA. On the other hand, she was awarded Regents scholarship at UCB, which promises her a guaranteed research opportunity (although perhaps not medical, since there is no med school on campus) but also gives her an advantage at choosing classes and housing, and a few extra bucks to boot. As both you guys point out, GPA is more important than school's reputation. Some of the advice she's been getting is to go to USC, as it will offer the easiest path to higher GPA. But she puts a lot of weight into campus feel. She loved Berkley, didn't like USC, and is still a little ambivalent about UCLA.</p>

<p>Jinobi, years ago, when I was in college, I had a couple of friends doing pre-med at UCLA. They told horror stories of cut-throat competition, including blatant sabotage at pre-med classes. A med school prof at UCLA recently told my daughter that it's not all that bad these days, and said that he's hearing lots of rumors that UCSD is that way now. I sorta sense that Berkeley is not as "curve-competitive" in those classes as UCLA, but how were your experiences?</p>

<p>Sorry about the rambling post, and admittedly, it's a good dilemma to have, but I truly appreciate all the inputs and every bit of info helps toward making a decision.</p>

<p>ConcernedDad,</p>

<p>My wife said that she never really had problems with classmates at UCLA being jerks, and actually has had even more positive things to say about her experience than I ever have-- and I'm damned on here for being a "cheerleader."</p>

<p>However, if she loves Cal, then I say she should go to Cal. Not having a hospital, at least according to my wife and med student friends, is not that big of a deal. If it were, then how would Cal students be getting into med schools at similar rates?</p>

<p>Besides, a Regents is a great way to start off her education debt-free, which will be very helpful when she finishes med school with the inevitable pile of doctor debt.</p>

<p>If your D likes Cal she should probably go there. I've heard the argument from a few people that Cal, UCSF, and UC Hastings have a really close relationship that you can do intern at one of them if you go there. (don't know how hard it would be to do so, but since your D got the regents scholarship, i doubt it would be out of her league.)</p>

<p>Ari, I misunderstood your original post on this thread, and thought your wife was at UCLA Med School, but didn't necessarily go to UCLA undergrad. Otherwise, I would have asked you directly for her opinions on pre-med as well. Thank you for responding. I am getting a little more comfortable about UCLA. Getting a few perspectives. My daughter talked to a current student that she knew from her HS, and he said he got relatively easy couple of A's in Chem and Bio this year. Guess it's not as cutthroat as it was a couple of decades ago.</p>

<p>And Beyphy, thanks for the input as well. I knew that UCSF is great Med School (USNews ranks it third or fourth in the nation, I think), and I was guessing that Cal undergrads probably intern there, but on the negative side, compared to UCLA, it's all the way across the bay from campus, and BART, while convenient right out of Cal, does not get all the way to UCSF. She'd have to catch a bus or something. </p>

<p>Still have some time to mull it over, but definitely leaning towards Cal at this point though. Can't go wrong with either thought, from the sound of it.</p>

<p>USC all the way, and I say that as a UCLA alum. Next is UCLA, and dead last is Berkeley. Your daughter's GPA at USC will be at lease 0.2 or 0.3 higher than were she to graduate from UCLA, and 0.3 to 0.4 higher than were she to graduate from UCB. As you may know, med school adcoms don't do much adjusting or normalizing of GPAs between colleges (or between STEM, Social Sciences, and Arts/Humanities), so raw GPA is what matters. On top of that, the pre-med advising (which starts with course selection and finishes with individual letters of recommendation from the advisory committee to the admissions committees at med schools) will be superior at USC. USC simply has more budget to apply to the pre-med advising office.</p>

<p>I had a conversation this morning with a young man who is in a post-college, pre-Med school program. There are undergrads participating as well. He is a recent graduate of UCSD, where he was middle of the pack among the voracious premeds there. He is at the top of this class, competing against mostly USC seniors and post-grads. </p>

<p>His impression is that the competition is so much fiercer at UCs that when UC grads compete openly and fairly against private school "pampered kids", they blow their doors off. The private college kids simply aren't prepared for true competition a la UC style. I have read the exact same comment about UC Berkeley grads who were borderline admits to their med schools due to lower GPA, and typically end up in the top 10% of their Med School classes against kids with higher GPA's coming in from HYPSM and other Top 20 private grade inflated schools.</p>

<p>Since your daughter's objective, presumably, is to get into Med School first try, and since raw GPA is king, I suggest USC affords the best opportunity to graduate with a 3.7+ GPA.oops, misplaced a sentence. The sentence at the end of the second paragraph is meant to be at the end of the last paragraph. If, however the objective were to do medical research, and not med school, than I would suggest the reverse order.</p>

<p>You may have seen this thread on the Berkeley board, but in case not: <a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/university-california-berkeley/911500-warning-all-student-considering-premed-berkeley-please-read-first.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/university-california-berkeley/911500-warning-all-student-considering-premed-berkeley-please-read-first.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Don't dispute the points made, but wow, somebody still sounds a little bitter and resentful after all these years. What's the matter, got rejected by all HYPSM and the like? Just let it go, man. Connected, rich, pampered kids need a little love too:-)</p>

<p>FWIW, I showed my daughter the post and it got her even way more gung-ho for Cal. I guess she didn't get where she is by evading challenges. Totally agree about rigorousness of pre-med education paying off later, at med school. So, thank you.</p>

<p>Dunn, did, I believe attend one of HPYSM, also, I believe. </p>

<p>He's a valuable contributor on this and the main board and gives great insight to the college-selection process. If you choose to ignore his advice, that's one thing, but let's not insult someone for trying to tell it as it is.</p>

<p>I agree, if she wanted to maintain grades, USC would probably be the best choice of the three. USC probably sends a lot to dental and pharmacy school, but not so much to med school. UCLA and Cal are atop or near the top of all colleges in the naiton in feeding med schools, with > 700 applying from each / year. USC has typically > 200 and < 250 applying per year...less competition, more laid back.</p>

<p>There’s greater grade inflation at private schools. This is in large part because private-schools are dependent on tuition for operating costs, so if they became weed-out institutions, there could be large financial concerns for the school. This doesn’t belie the fact that Cal Tech, a private school, is probably the toughest college on the planet. </p>

<p>Anyway, it sounds like your daughter's mind is made up, so good luck to her at Cal. Since she’s confident in her choice, that’s one battle won already.</p>

<p>Drax, I don't disagree with you or Dunn about grade inflation at private schools. And I don't doubt that Dunn is a highly educated and intelligent guy. He did give me a little business about looking for an easier road for my daughter, if you re-read his post. And I did not mean to insult, but rather just give a friendly jab. </p>

<p>Thank you so much for your wishes to my daughter, and it may be moot at this point, but I have an idle curiosity question about your post. First, I was wondering if >700 students apply to med schools from UCLA and Cal each, if you knew how many are accepted, and second, since raw GPA is king, and it's easier to get higher GPA at USC, why do you think there fewer students applying from USC?</p>

<p>jab taken :)</p>

<p>@ConcernedDad101, for pre-med, I have a family friend who works in Berkeley and said that if a student wants to do the pre med track, the best bets are UCSD, UCI, UC Davis as these schools would be a bit more lenient in terms of grading. </p>

<p>All that med schools care about are GPA, MCAT scores, volunteer work, research work, internship and volunteer work. The competition for getting good marks on those points listed above would be a bit less in UCSD, UCI, UC Davis. </p>

<p>Tell your daughter to take a tour of these three campuses that I said. My friend told us that for students who live in nor-cal, do pre med in UC Davis. If the student lives in so cal, do pre med in UCSD or UCI.</p>

<p>
[quote]
from UCLA and Cal each, if you knew how many are accepted...

[/quote]
</p>

<p>That is the $1B question (upped due to inflation). Unless the aamc were to tell us -- here's a link detailing the number of apps [url=<a href="https://www.aamc.org/download/161114/data/table2-6-masian2010-web.pdf.pdf"&gt;https://www.aamc.org/download/161114/data/table2-6-masian2010-web.pdf.pdf&lt;/a&gt;] according to race <a href="Asian%20student%20apps%20seem%20to%20order%20the%20UC%20schools%20best">/url</a>, I don't think we could really say what a particular school's acceptance rate is. And we know some schools restrict applicants to pump up %'s.</p>

<p>It would be so much easier if the aamc provided info on all the filled frosh med students’ spots by undergrad institution. And it wouldn’t seem to be a very hard thing to do, being they accumulated this info for total apps. </p>

<p>UCLA's site, which only has info on 160 or so students who applied (becasue only 160 released info to UCLA)...shows a 53% acceptance of the ~ 160, of say a real, complete total of 500+ grads for 2009 (say ~ 340 who didn’t release info), who applied (discounted, by say, 200+ ~ reapps (typically 1/4) + total 1st time apps who did post-grad before applying). (There’s a mismatch of years for the aamc site, 2010, v UCLA”s detailing of the 160, which is for 2009. In 2009, there were ~ 767 total apps to med school from UCLA.)</p>

<p>The 53% acceptance rate for the ~ 160 UCLA documented could be conservative (low) because most of those detailed were accepted to UC schools (UC schools are toughest to gain entry as a group). (According to UCSD’s site (sorry for the parentheicals), which does a better job of databasing its acceptances, but kind of mixes and matches those the school has info on and the 450+ total apps... shows most of their students were attending med school outside of CA. So we can presume this to be true wrt UCLA. Since Med schools outside of CA are easier to gain entry -> acceptance rate for UCLA undergrads could be, say, > 60%, say if the rest who applied gave info, which I”m sure would be oos med intensive (being UCLA would according to common sense have info on students applying to its med school).</p>

<p>Add the 1) reapps and 2) the first-time apps who did post-grad work befor applying. What would be the acceptance rate for these? Higher or lower? Dunn intimated that it could be higher based on middling UC grads killing grad school. I think this could be true. This could apply to reapps – who seemingly would upon rejection attend grad school to improve their resumes, and first-time apps who did postgrad work to do the same.</p>

<p>These same things also apply to Cal, which also only has limited info on recent grads’ application info to med school.</p>

<p>In short, both schools report ~ 53-55% acceptance rate to med school. With the above, it could seemingly be higher, and maybe seemingly be lower. I’d give a higher probability to the former rather than the latter. But it is still pretty much a guessing game.</p>

<p>
[quote]
...and second, since raw GPA is king, and it's easier to get higher GPA at USC, why do you think there fewer students applying from USC?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>There’s a different orientation to the schools, UCLA/Cal v USC. USC is more undergrad trade oriented; UCLA/Cal, UCLA even more than Cal, are more undergrad pre-professions related (because Cal has a few more undergrad trades than UCLA).</p>

<p>Also one person at each of the three U’s would probably (not definitely) have, say, 3.8, 3.6, 3.5 at USC, UCLA, Cal, resp. But I don’t doubt that the total life science majors at UCLA and Cal have higher means than USC’s. Higher competition at UCLA and Cal drives those with lesser ‘stats’ to higher competition -> higher grades as a whole because everyone is pulled upward. Could that one person be driven to better heights by going to UCLA/Cal over USC? Absolutely, but when we say one person will probably have a higher gpa at USC, we assume he/she’ll be just as studious at all three, which I’m sure is the case with your daughter. ; )</p>

<p>I think another thing to consider here is the "alternative.'</p>

<p>That is, what happens if/when your daughter decides pre-med isn't for her? My wife says that she cautions people from choosing undergrad only for pre-med characteristics because very very few people make it through.</p>

<p>I caution against choosing undergrad for any particular major or program, given that at least a plurality (probably a majority) of undergrads change majors at least once.</p>

<p>Many pre-college students will balk at this-- I did. They'll say that they are completely sure of themselves. I was. Yet, I'm doing nothing close to what I planned on doing. What I had, however, was a great undergrad education that led me to a great graduate education. </p>

<p>That's not to say that any of the three schools will be a problem in that regard, but I sure wouldn't pick UCI over UCB just to keep up a high GPA for med school given the opportunities at UCB overall.</p>