UC Davis vs. UC Santa Barbara Pre-Health track

Hello CC community. My S22 is choosing between UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara, on the pre-health track. We will visit both schools next week, but so far, he likes them both. I’ve heard that UCD might be easier to get meaningful internships, clinical hours and research opportunities than UCSB. UCSB is a beautiful campus but I am concern about the housing situation and the social scene. My son is more reserve and with all the parties, I don’t know if it’s the right environment for him. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

Pre-Health meaning which major is he pursuing?

There are more hospitals and clinics around the Davis/Sacramento area which would be a plus for internships/clinical hours vs. UCSB. Santa Barbara has only 1 main Hospital: Cottage Hospital within the immediate vicinity.

All UC’s offer research opportunities and google is your friend. He will have to be proactive and find researchers that offer some area of interest and contact them.

Here is a link for UC Davis: Get Started | Undergraduate Research Center

UC Davis definitely has the more down to earth, laid back vibe vs. UCSB, but there are like minded students at both campuses. Plus you can find parties at both schools so that should not be huge tipping point if he likes UCSB.

Housing is guaranteed for all Freshman at both campuses as long as you submit the housing application by the deadline. Much easier to find off-campus housing for the later years in Davis and usually less expensive than UCSB.

He will get a great education at either place so he should go with his gut and find the best place for him academically/socially and financially.

The two schools have very different social cultures. Hopefully he will find one to be a better fit than the other.

Both have pre-med advising but I feel that Davis’ advising for allied health professions (optometry, nursing, PT, OT, PA, etc) is more comprehensive.

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Thank you gumbymom. His major at UCD is Global Disease Biology and at UCSB it is Biopsychology. Would it be harder to get the classes he needs at Davis since the enrollment is larger than Santa Barbara?

Perhaps @lkg4answers could answer with more recent experience with UC Davis. My son did not have any issues in registering for classes at UCD as long as he was flexible with professors, class times and having a couple of different course options if a class was full. Registration priority is determined based on the # of units completed. I have posted the link for UCD: Office of the University Registrar (OUR) - Registration Pass Times

UCSB’s class registration also uses # of units to determine pass times for class registration.

Freshman orientation will walk the student through the registering process and advisors will help students navigate the ins and outs of the registration system and many times giving good course suggestions.

My advice to anyone trying to schedule classes is to be flexible but I cannot give you any advice in regards to the difficulty of getting classes at UCSB. Lower undergrad enrollment may mean less class choices available.

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UCD has strong pre-health and pre-vet programs. In my opinion, the pre-health advising at UCD is stronger than it is at UCSB. That said, no advising is going to help if a student doesn’t take the initiative and seek it out.

An example of what is offered at Davis is here: Programs and Events | hpa
An example of what is offered at UCSB is here: Current Students | Health Sciences - UC Santa Barbara

I think signing up for classes will be both successful and a struggle at both schools unless you have some sort of priority registration. The schools try to offer enough sections to meet demand. It isn’t always perfect and students sometimes have to wait a quarter to take a class they need/want.

The party scene at UCSB is a concern for parents and students, but be careful about looking for faults at UCSB because of the social scene. Visit both schools and see which one he feels most comfortable at. I would also visit both academic departments because GDB at UCD looks more rigorous than Biopsych at UCSB.

Thank you Ikg4answers!