UW Seattle vs UC Riverside for Pre-Med

Hi CC Community,

I have heard back from all of the colleges. Here are the main schools I am looking at. There are more, but I have eliminated them:


- University of Washington, Seattle

- UC Riverside

  • Pepperdine


- Case Western Reserve University

  • Oxford College at Emory University

  • UCSD

UW Seattle has the name prestige, a beautiful campus, ranked right next to UC Berkeley and UCLA for STEM, but far from home, cutthroat and the school grade deflates (lower GPA), and the weather is always overcast.

UCR has this weird generalization for being the lowest tier UC but has an amazing premed program called the Thomas Haider Program, where up to 24 UCR undergrads get direct admittance to med school without taking the MCAT. Grades are easier to come across as there is no grade deflation, the environment felt a lot less cutthroat and collaborative, and I would be making meaningful connections within the UC system that could benefit me in the long run when applying to med school and getting LORs. The downside for UCR is the area of Riverside itself, but it is in proximity to LA and San Diego.

We visited both campuses, and I found great people at both schools; at UCR, I liked how the students were all approachable, and they made me feel like I was a part of the community. At UW Seattle, I didn’t get a chance to connect to the current students but messaged premeds and they all told me the professors are amazing, but it will be challenging to get good grades as only 5% of the class of ~600 in the GE weed-out classes get an A.

As for Case Western Reserve, I am waitlisted and have been showing interest, I haven’t done enough research on the school, but again, it is in Cleveland, Ohio; I would be far from home, but it is world-renowned and known to be amazing for premed.

It would be great if I could get your opinion before making a decision. I am leaning towards UCR despite the name of UW Seattle and Case Western, but I want to make sure I make the right decision. If I can get some insight into both schools that would be great.

I am pursuing pre-med at both schools, I have a pre-health science major at UW Seattle, which means junior year I will have to apply for the major I want and there’s a chance I may not get the major I select. At UCR, I have been admitted for Neuroscience. I’m super confused right now and any information would be helpful! Thanks in advance.

Medical schools don’t care one iota about this.

It sounds like CA is your home state, that you want to go to UCR, but prestige FOMO is pulling you to U Dub. Go to Riverside, save a ton of money (I’m assuming) to put towards medical school and don’t look back.

Congrats and good luck.


Completely agree with @eyemgh to consider UCR. UCR in my opinion is a hidden gem. Yes, the location is not the best but the small campus and the friendly students along with a great education make it the logical choice. Saving money for a future Medical school is priceless. Go to UCR and knock it out of the park with top grades. All schools will have “weed out” courses for Pre-professional students no matter where you go.

Best of luck.


I’m old enough that my debt was relatively easy to service. I have patients that are healthcare providers in multiple fields. Quite a few of them confide that they struggle paying off their loans. One veterinarian told me that had he known the impact, he would have been an electrician. An MD just made his final payment at age 62. Another couldn’t save a dime for retirement until after 40.

Posters will often say that finances are none of our business, but it is the number one issue facing students and early career practitioners right now.


Yes, the prestige FOMO is there. Thanks for your input; UCR sounds like the logical choice and is a lot more affordable as I am a California resident. Thank you!


This is a pretty big deal. Most health-related majors are capacity constrained at UW.