SDSU Nursing vs UC Berkeley pre-med

I am stressed out about which college I should go with.
SDSU nursing seems a lot more safer and risk-free whereas Berkeley does provide lots of opportunities for the premed and prehealth route (but I also heard about grade deflation)

Do you want to go into nursing or something else?

I am thinking about staying in the medicine/health field. I am open to nursing but has a preference to go into PA instead. However because nursing is safe I’m not sure if berkeley would be still worth going.

Nursing school is very, very different from getting a bachelor’s degree in an academic field, while completing your premed prereqs. Academically, it is much less challenging, and there is a lot of practical, hands on, bedside training. You come out with a BSN and can easily get a good paying job.

It is much, much easier to get into and get through nursing school than to get into and through medical school. Nowadays, one can earn a nurse practitioner or “doctor” of nursing practice degree, and practice medicine, often without any MD supervision. It’s quicker, far, far easier, and much cheaper than becoming an MD. Personally, I don’t feel that the nursing path is adequate preparation for practicing medicine, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of NPs doing it.

So if you want to become a nurse, go to SDSU nursing school. If you want to get an academic bachelor’s degree, and challenge yourself to do the premed prereqs and try for medicine, do it. Frankly, if you were accepted by UCB, you’ve probably got the ability to go the premed/med school path, but no matter how high your ability, it’s still a LOT of work, plus it’s a lot of money for med school, even in-state in CA.

If you’re thinking PA, but have the kind, compassionate personality that’s good for nursing, I’d go to nursing school rather than take the premed/pre-PA route. Cheaper, and you have more paths open to you than if you were to plan for PA school.

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Nurses can become nurse practitioners by pursuing this degree in grad school. It provides a similar level of competence to a Physician’s Assistant but with one crucial difference. A PA must work under the supervision of physician in most states. A NP can function indecently, hang out his/her own shingle to practice on their own if so desired. This distinction makes nursing the more attractive field to me. The amount of grad school study is similar fir both.

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Also independently :rofl: Gotta love autocorrect!

But seriously, I agree- if PA appeals,and direct-entry nursing is on the table, go for that - so many options, including the option of well-paying work and gaining experience between undergrad and grad school, in addition to the direct access and ability to prescribe meds in many states once an NP.


Thanks. :hot_face:

Have you talked with people in healthcare? Why do you feel PA versus nursing?

It seems to me that it is too early for you to choose a career path. While some students know while in HS and never waiver from their decision, you do not appear to fit that mold. A direct path now would be less costly (if you want nursing) but you seem a bit hesitant. Can you switch out of nursing if you don’t like it?

If you take the career path out of the equation, which school do you like better (I assume SDSU is not just a nursing school)?

I think part of you wants to try premed, and part of you is very curious/interested in PA. Based on what I am reading, it seems that nursing is not exactly what you want…but you feel it’s “safe” so are willing to go that route.

BSN is only “safe” if you like it. If you do not like it, IMO it is going to be tough (as in you won’t like it). A nursing major will be different than choosing something such as biology, chemistry, history etc while taking prerequisites for PA or MD school. FYI- you can also choose biology (or any major) and eventually do an accelerated nursing program if you decide. You can even take those ABSN prerequisites now (nursing classes are not required). Does one path appeal to you more? Are you more excited about nursing, or are you more excited about a different major?

It appears you need time to research and explore the various paths (MD, PA, BSN, NP).

Medical school will be a longer and more intense path. The application process, getting in etc will also be stressful (everybody’s definition of stress is different). Are you ok with this? Does your personality do well with this? Some can handle the academics, but want more balance with less stress- so they choose a different path. Do you wish to become a physician…which is a higher level position than your other choices?

Does PA or BSN and possible NP appeal to you? NP has more autonomy in many states. Does your personality fit one over the other? Note: PA programs are also competitive these days, as are accelerated NP programs.

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I was considering PA because I was also interested in surgery and going into more specialized fields (in which I also do know that nurses could go into)

I guess the mindset is that if I end up not wanting to do nursing, I could always take extra courses to apply for PA school (or med school if I end up liking that route more) during my time as a nursing major. I would at least have a degree that ensures a job.
I just don’t know if the brand name of the school and the opportunities of Berkeley would be worth the risk in giving up nursing (bc I could always end up coming out unemployed).
However I do like challenges and really believe I can grow a lot at Berkeley but I don’t want to be blindsided the name of Berkeley when I am given the opportunity to go straight into nursing school

My niece will be graduating from SDSU, taking a Gap year and then applying to PA school although a Bio major. SDSU has a great Pre-health advising center and PA school will consider your GPA, patient contact hours etc… over school name when applying.

I would consider pursuing the BSN program and if nursing is not something you end up liking then you switch majors but you may have the pre-req courses completed to get a CNA license which we help get the patient contact hours needed for PA school applications. Just a thought.


I would chose job over name of a school.

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The collective wisdom on CC is usually this — brand name does not matter for med school. What matters is a great GPA, MCAT scores and the ability to do shadowing, other ECs related to healthcare. Many people take time in between graduating from college and applying to med school to work on those things.

The other big issue is cost. Med school is super expensive and it’s best to take on no debt.

I have heard SDSU’s nursing program is fantastic, so congratulations getting in! San Diego is a great place to live.

Beyond a job, which of these schools would make you the happiest to attend? It sounds like you’re still sorting out your major so perhaps cost and happiness should be your deciding factors.


thank you, I’m very firm on the idea of not switching majors or taking another major, but rather taking additional courses or finishing the nursing degree hopefully in 3 years to save time and then taking a gap year.
My reasoning is that I do like Berkeley more in that there’s more freedom of choosing different majors, however I value the employment and risk aspect. So I guess I really don’t want to go to sdsu with a bio major or switch out of nursing when I could just go to Berkeley for bio.

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thank you. I visited both and have realized that I really liked Berkeley more than SDSU in terms of culture/overall vibe that would suite me best. and etc…
But I think I am starting to realize that I would be happy at either one as both have their pros and cons and San Diego state is a good school.

I really do value the “happiness” part of it, but my major has been most important to me, and I am a firm believer of being happy at any institution with the right mindset

I understand the debt part, but I guess money (luckily) hasn’t been a big decider for undergrad mainly because I was given lots of Financial Aid by Berkeley and some by SDSU. But you are right about med school debt especially if I am unsure of even going into med school


thank you so much however, for your input. I think that based on my responses and looking at other people’s responses, I believe I’ve made my decision


After reading all of your pros/cons for each school I still can’t tell what your decision is. My advice is don’t go into nursing if you’re not sure you want to be a nurse. It’s a hard road during school, and it’s a hard job. Although, yes, you are immediately employable and here in the Bay Area, would have a starting salary of $100K+. I think I vote for Berkeley for you though, because you are unsure of nursing. I do know someone who graduated from UCSD last year and is about to enroll at UCD School of Nursing for her master’s though.


What is your final decision? I assume nursing?

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Yes I decided on SDSU nursing. While I really love Berkeley, SDSU is more practical and I would be able to find chances to see what I really want to do within health and medicine during my time for nursing.