UCSD vs UCI Pre-med

Hi, Thank you for your help in advance!

I got into UCI, UCSD, and UC Berkeley for pre-med, but right now I am choosing in between UCI and UCSD for pre-med (both as biology majors). Which school will give me the best chance of getting into a Medical School in California?

This is my standard comment since getting into Medical school will be up to you and not the school you attend.

You want to attend a school where you have the best chance for a High GPA in the Medical school pre-req courses, access to medically related EC’s and a school with good Pre-Med advising. You also want to keep undergrad costs at a minimum. In general you need a place where you can thrive as student–academically, socially and personally. Medical schools are looking for students who are not just top students academically, but also interesting, well rounded individuals with specific social competencies and leadership skills.

I would also look at the Pre-Health advising centers for more information.

Make sure you have a backup plan since 60% of “pre-med” students never make to the application round and Biology majors are a dime a dozen. Take some CS and Stats classes to enhance your degree in case Medical school does not happen and also look into other Healthcare related fields for your backup plan.

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Agree with @Gumbymom.
There are NO guarantees that going to one of those universities will give you an advantage for the in-house med schools. (Berkeley doesn’t have one). These are two completely different divisions.

My neighbor is on the interview panel for UCSD and she has nothing to do with their undergraduate pre-health students. Most of the accepted candidates are from universities, throughout the U.S., with a combination of graduates from private and public colleges. The last accepted candidate she remembers was an impressive student at Scripps College.

You are the second poster who got accepted to UCSD, UCI and Berkeley and isn’t considering Berkeley. I’m just curious why CAL isn’t being considered.

As a poster upstream suggested, you need to pick a college with strong programs all around…not just for possible medical school acceptances. Pick a place where you will be happy to spend four years, where there are many majors from which to choose (in case you change your mind), and where you will be happy to have an undergrad degree.

Take possible medical school out of picture! There is no such thing as a college that will give you a “better chance at getting accepted to medical school in CA”.

Getting accepted to a CA medical school is a challenge for all applicants. There are simply way too many applicants for the number of medical school seats offered. IIRC, CA folks have a better chance of being accepted NOT at CA medical schools.

@WayOutWestMom what is the info on CA medical school acceptances?

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Thank you so much for the advice! I hear the same thing from some of my relatives and friends already in college or med school. But I’ve also been hearing that UCSD somewhat outperforms UCI in terms of how many students they have advised to get into a California Med school. I tried to look the statistics for both UCI med school and UCSD med school to see from what schools most applicants are coming up but they haven’t released the stats. It would be great if you could send links to any sources you find :blush:

Thank you so much for the help! I heard a lot of non-UC schools such as the CMC colleges and Scripps have amazing advising teams, but the tuition was out of my range if I plan to save up for med school.

Thank you for the advice :blush:! I visited the campus and also checked out the amount of pre-med research opportunities and they didn’t fit in with what I had in mind, but I can see myself attending either UCI and UCSD. I also was encouraged by some recent pre-med graduates and current students and they’ve said the same. I heard UCSD may have better research opportunities and advising teams since the students are split into sub-colleges, but UCI would be more convenient in terms of cost (since I wouldn’t be dorming) and lifestyle (I’m more familiar with the hospitals and work opportunities in Orange County). Just curious if you happen to find any stats on the class data on admitted applicants to the UC med schools such as where the admitted applicants graduated from, I would greatly appreciate it :slight_smile:

California is one of the more difficult states for pre meds.

California produced 6652 applicants last year, but only 17% of them (1147) matriculated at an in-state med school. Another 1559 (24%) matriculated at OOS medical school and all the rest received no acceptances at all.


All of the UCs produce large numbers of med school applicants:

UCLA iS THE single largest supplier of med school applicants in the US with 1152 applicants last year.
UCB is #5 in the country with 728 applicants
UCSD is #6 with 621
UCD is #13 with 461
UCI is #30 with 353
UCR is #54 with 246
UCSB is #63 with 211

UCSC, Cal Poly-SLO, CSU-Northridge, CSU-Long Beach also all made AMCAS list.


So the picture for California grads interested in med school is that it will be highly competitive no matter where you go for undergrad and it will be even more competitive when it comes time to apply for an instate med school seat.

I agree with all the advice you’ve received above–take med school completely out of your consideration. Pick the school that offers you the best fit and lowest costs.

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Google “name of medical school + medicine + class profile”

You will find some information, particularly about stats, but only UCI and UCSD list the undergrad attended.


For both med schools, UCLA is their biggest undergrad feeder.

Except for UCR SOM, none of the CA public med schools offer any strong instate preference in admissions.

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My daughter went to UCD for undergrad and got into the UCSF Medical program for Pharmacy. UCD has a little-known but exceptional premed advising system. Her roommates were premed.
UCD’s collaborative MCAT groups are strong and preps them well for interviews and vitae.

Because Davis is in farm country, the roommates and my daughter had practice and access to multiple low-income clinics (diabetes/ hypertension) for medically indigent farmworkers and lab jobs. They got into med schools across the country.

My daughter took the PCAT (pharmacology) and scored in the 94th percentile and was accepted to UW, UT, Skaggs in Colorado, USC, and UCSD.
Our daughter is graduating from UCSF in May. Two of her UCSF med school roommates, were further along in the program, but were originally Davis undergrads.
UCD isn’t the prestige “name brand” uni, but it got the job done and probably better than the other schools would have done. That’s what you have to figure out.
My choice for your overall undergrad satisfaction would be UCI, then Berkeley, then UCSD.

UCD has strong instate preference. Last cycle one is out of state as per MSAR.

Is that due to policy? Or is it due to the fact that the vast majority of UCD applicants are Californians?

UCD has statistically over-accepted its own undergrads for years. (I was told by a UCD grad it was because of mission fit.)

Not sure if they have written policy. UCSF and UCLA seems to take 50% or so OOS and UCSD takes around 20 or 25%.

UCD didn’t bother to interview DS, he didn’t apply to UCI or UCR.