UCLA vs. USC for Pre-Med

I got accepted to both UCLA and USC and wondering which one is better for Pre-Med. I personally really like the environment at UCLA (academic and surrounding wised) but I afraid that it’ll be hard to get a good GPA for med school at UCLA while USC has a smaller class size and a bit less competitive than UCLA.

Anyone has any advise? Thank you so much in advanced!

Most don’t end up in med school.

If you have a clear favorite school and it sounds like it’s UCLA, that’s where you should go.

After all, you need to be there four years - day after day after day.

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I don’t think USC is any less competitive for premed. Kids taking the gen chem class with Skibo (google her) are not breezing by. OChem is also extremely tough with basically no curve. There is no getting around not taking Skibo and the Ochem professor (Broyer). There are a lot of resources available for help at USC, which may be better than UCLA, but you will definitely need to work hard for the A.

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Is cost significantly different? Medical school is very expensive.

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You are a CA resident and I don’t see that you received significant aid from USC. Go to UCLA, work hard, be open to other professions and majors and enjoy yourself!

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Take pre-med out of the equation–now which school you prefer?

Most freshmen pre-meds (60-75%) never actually apply to med school because they find other interests/passions along the way.

Choose the school the offers the best combination of

Fit–because happier students do better academically/ (And there is empiracle evidence to back that up!) Also because undergrad is 4 years of your life, you should enjoy it.
Opportunity – these include getting involved on campus activities (because adcomms want well rounded individuals who have interests besides science/medicine); getting to know your professors (who will write your LORs for med or grad schools); getting involved in research experiences (expected pre-med EC); finding places to volunteer in both a clinical and a non-clinical capacity (expected pre med ECs); exploring other interests and career options (not only do most pre med not apply to med school, but 60% of those who do apply don’t get accepted)
Cost– med school is hideous expensive so pre med are strongly advised to minimize undergrad debt


Both UCLA and USC are in the same geographic area (LA) but offers different UG college experience. I know two personal contacts, one did pre-med at UCLA other went through USC. Both landed in their medical colleges. UCLA has the highest number of applicants to U.S. MD-Granting Medical Schools, according to AAMC data for the year 2021-2022. This could be due to the intake numbers or some other reasons. IMO, if the goal is to pursue medical school, then if one overloads course selections with double majors and minors then this could leave little time to spend on weed out Organic Chemistry subjects (I & II). There are always outlines who maintain a perfect 4.0 GPA while doing double majors and honors, I am not talking about them. IMO, whichever option you pick between two choices, study Organic Chemistry from Day 1 you take the course, and try to maintain a 3.7+ overall GPA and 515+ MCAT score plus ECs and LORs to increase your chances of acceptance into the medical schools. Good luck.

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You are right that USC would be better for gpa due to smaller class sizes etc. also support systems for students as USC is a smaller school and private so there is more invested in each student resource-wise.>>

I’d like to see documentation that this is actually true. You make it sound like UCLA has no supports. UCLA does have supports.

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