UMD vs UCSC for premed

My daughter is admitted to UMD- CP as a out of state student and was waitlisted at a couple of UCs. Recently she got off the waitlist at UCSC and considering going there since we are instate. Is UCSC good for premed studies and opportunities? Thanks

Yes. Pre med go cheap. Get good grades. Study mcat.

Congrats. Two fine schools


Pre-med is a set of mostly intro level classes that are offered at nearly every college and most community colleges in the country. Your D will find the coursework she needs at both UMD and UCSC. Neither school will prepare her better to take the MCAT since the MCAT doesn’t test knowledge of class material. Prepping for the MCAT is 100% on the shoulders of the student.

The most important ECs needed to support a med school application are clinical exposure (either through volunteer activities or paid employment), community service with disadvantaged populations and leadership roles in their activities. Your daughter can find these types of opportunities just about anywhere.

So in term of academics and opportunities–I don’t see any particular advantage of one college over the other.

UCSC health profession advisors will be familiar with the expectations and requirements for your in-state med schools. UMD health profession advisors will not.

UCSC at in-state costs will less expensive than UMD OOS costs. This is a plus since medical school is horribly expensive and there is little FA except loans, loansand more loans. Student will be taking on huge debt during med school so are advised to minimize any undergrad debt.

What is your daughter’s Plan B in case med school doesn’t work out?
Is there anything special about UMD that would it make it better choice for her Plan B career? Unless there is–UCSC all the way.


Which is the least expensive?
Did she get into any Honors program at UMD?

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the post from @WayOutWestMom covers all the relevant info for premed.

What I’ll add is a question – why premed? Many HS kids aren’t aware of more than a handful of career fields, and medicine is an attractive one out of the bunch because they think they need to pick something as they enter college. And even within medicine many kids are probably only aware of becoming a doctor or nurse but these are far from the only ones in the health field that help people. Physical therapists, radiology techs, speech pathologists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, to name but just a few as shown on – careers that take less than 11+ years of education and training and the immense debt that comes with a M.D.

Callling oneself “pre-med” is often a snap decision that doesn’t take a lot of effort (such as filling out supplemental apps the way you do in nursing) or have a lot of commitment; sign up for calculus and chem frosh year and you’re on your way. The flip side is the attrition rate is tremendous. Only about 40% of those actually completing all the requirements and taking the MCAT get in, and for every one that goes that far there were probably 2 or 3 others that started frosh year thinking of pre-med at many colleges.

If she doesn’t already have exposure to medicine thru volunteering then I suggest thinking of her as just considering medicine and not basing any decisions on what may be a passing interest. Instead pick the school that gives her the best opportunities no matter what her eventual career.


No honors for first year. She might apply got so phone year May be. UCSC is instate fir us UMD and oos. Either pay out of state for UMD or move for instate tuition

As of now she doesn’t want to have a plan B but might take up bioengineering for postgrad. She’s not sure at this point

If UCSC is instate and you got no special programs or scholarships at UMD, then it’s really a no brainer, UCSC. :grinning::grinning:
Jump on the opportunity!

She needs to have a Plan B.
I don’t think you can go to BioEngineering without engineering or Biophysics or something of the kind.


Thanks!! She is going to take some prerequisite classes to be able to go for bioengineering if she wants to.

Yes I agree with you. Thanks

Read the maryland residency requirements. It’s possible you need to live there for 12 months prior to her starting college. Regardless…she won’t be getting instate tuition this academic year at UMD. As another wise poster says…don’t do anything for college that you weren’t planning on doing anyway. So…if you weren’t planning on moving to Maryland…don’t.

Her instate and much more affordable option is fine!


Moving from bio to engineering is difficult at the both undergrad or grad level. Engineering has very rigid, lockstep curriculum and switching into engineering will mean she has to start over basically as a freshman. (And that’s assuming engineering isn’t an impacted major at her college and even allows upperclass transfers.)

Changing into engineering at the grad level will require taking about 6-8 core undergrad engineering courses plus UL math, engineering physics and computer programming before a grad engineering program will admit a student.

@Ready2learnn If your daughter has any interest at all in being an engineering student, she’s much better off starting out in engineering and switching out than to try to switch in at a later date.

@MYOS1634 A biophysics degree will not get one admitted to engineering grad school without doing some “remediation” by taking several core undergrad engineering classes. BTDT.


^ I know, but it’ll include more math and physics than a regular bio/premed degree and at least decrease the number of classes to take before any kind of switchis possible. Switching to Engineering for grad school, to the best of my knowledge, is only possible for Phyiscs majors, and not all of them – all in all, for a premed Engineering sounds like a not-yet-thought out Plan B.
I hope OP’s child is successful at UCSC and finds a passion for any field that becomes a real Plan B. UcSC is a terrific university with lots of strengths.

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