I was recently admitted into the art and science colleges at USC, UCLA, VCU, UVA, and UMiami and im really conflicted on which school to pick. I’m entering as a biology major on the pre-med track and i’m 100% certain I want to pursue medicine. I also plan on attending medical school and its my absolute dream to live in NYC after college.

Financial: At each school (besides UCLA since im OOS) I only qualify for about 5k for the unsubsidized loan. My parents have about 50k in savings for college and I plan to take out loans if necessary but I am paying for the rest.

UVA: I heard from several alum that UVA doesn’t prepare students well for medical school and it is very difficult to obtain As esp for pre-med. I qualify for instate tuition so I would be paying about $34,080/yr with no scholarships or honors programs. Its also closer to home so I could visit my family more often and I have many friends attending.

VCU: I got in with a full presidential scholarship that covers all costs of attending (about $115k total). I also got into the honors college that offers me a single dorm with a single bath and honors level classes. I heard that VCU is one of the best schools in VA for pre-med as they offer many programs connected to their med school. This school is also close to home but the downside is that its not really in a safe area since its in the center of a city and I just dont think I’d enjoy it as much and it doesn’t really have a great reputation.

UCLA: This has been one of my dream school and I absolutely love the campus and the people there. I think I would enjoy my four years here however it does cost me 66k per year with no financial aid. My mom really loves this school and she wants me to go as well and she offered to help pay but I feel guilty for draining her. The pre med program is very good here as it is a feeder school into some of the top med schools however many current students say it is extremely competitive. Plus its super far from home so I would only be able to fly home twice a year.

UMiami : I got a half scholarship so I would be paying 45k approx. I haven’t heard much about pre-med program there but their biology program is stellar and Im extremely grateful to be accepted into their honors college as well. The only downside is that its still expensive and quite far but I think I would be able to come home on most holidays.

USC: This is the one in Los Angeles, not South Carolina. I was shocked when I was accepted and I was shocked in a not so great way when I saw that I would be paying $79k per year!! I received a 15k scholarship. My dad likes this school a lot since I got into their science honors program and I really like the strong Trojan network but I am weary about the campus location and why is it nearly 80k? where is the money going towards? Also this school is more well known on the west coast and not so much where I live in Virginia.

Thank you so much for any insight and I am so sorry this was long!! Be kind.

I suggest taking the scholarship at VCU, taking advantage of the opportunities that go along with that scholarship and the honors college, work hard on your grades, and head to med school debt free. The other schools are not affordable, especially if med school is in your future. Good luck!

I vote for VCU for two reasons. If you’re spending all your $ for undergrad, how are you going to fund med school? The second reason is the relationship to the med school. Not sure where you want to go to med school, but having connections to professors/facilities at a medical school can be advantageous.

We’re in VA too and we did pay more to send one kid to OOS dream school. But they are going into a field where your employer pays for grad school.

I know how hard it is to give up the dream school. But most doctors care more about where they go to med school than undergrad. You (and your family) can still be very proud by the fact that you were accepted into those prestigious programs.

Good luck!

Go to VCU. If you are set on going to medical school, then it would be unwise not to choose VCU.

I am an attorney. My wife is a pediatrician. ALL of our educational debt came from professional school. It took us eighteen (18) years to pay it. There are few scholarships to medical school. So, if you can save the $50K (and invest it), then you can apply that to medical school. This would offset some (but not all) of those cost. In the end, you will take out debt for medical school, but not as much. However, you will not be dragging at least $150K in undergraduate debt with you. Look at it this way, what is the monthly cost of that debt? What opportunities would you have to forego after you complete your education to simply repay your undergraduate debt? A house? A car? A spouse? A child? A vacation? Savings for retirement? What do any of those mean, if anything, to you? Does the name on a diploma (assuming you graduate) offset that opportunity cost? That is your choice.

Go to VCU. Keep your grades up. Ace the MCAT. Best wishes.

Unless you really hate the school, I’ll add another vote for VCU. I went to grad school at USC (in Los Angeles) and would never advise someone to drain their bank account to go there or to UCLA. The Trojan network won’t mean anything when it comes to medical school.

I went to my dream school after high school, and it turned out to be not so dreamy. I transferred after my freshman year.