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Liberal Arts Colleges vs National University

PitthopefulPitthopeful Registered User Posts: 276 Junior Member
edited February 2012 in University of Pittsburgh
I want to major in Chem and do Pre Med as an undergraduate. What would be better for me going to a liberal arts college or national university??? My main choice is Pitt and my gpa will be a 3.42 uw and a 3.6 w projected by end of Junior Year. If I do not get into Pitt, I'm considering out of state schools in Boston, NY, or Chi Town because I do not want to go to my safety school which is Duquesne University. Instead of out of state you think it is better to go to Liberal Arts College here IN PA instead?? Shed some light on this for me?
Post edited by Pitthopeful on

Replies to: Liberal Arts Colleges vs National University

  • flyingrunnerflyingrunner Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    Medical school is expensive...really expensive.
    So, in my opinion, i think it's best to go to a more affordable school for undergraduate education. While a lot of liberal arts schools are good education-wise, they're very very pricey.
    Pitt is good with merit scholarships and it's a lot cheaper than a lot of liberal arts schools. Plus, it's pre med program is really good.
  • wgmcp101wgmcp101 Registered User Posts: 939 Member
    My answer for this is always the same and consistent...if you want to go into health or biomedical sciences, or are looking pre-professional programs for medicine, etc, it is better to go to a national research university with amply opportunities get experience in the fields of your interests and pad your eventual professional school application.

    For pre-med, primarily, I would recommend looking for a school that makes it easy for you to get hospital volunteering, physician shadowing, and undergrad research experience. Not just a couple of months in the summer, but an involved research experience over several semesters that could result in some sort of publication authorship and at which you can build substantial relationships with professors that will be writing your recommendations. Being at a location that will allow you to take on these extra activities, in a way where you can easily schedule it around your regular undergraduate class and social schedule, is a huge advantage, IMO.

    In that way, Pitt is blessed by have a major medical center right on campus with the bulk of bioscience laboratories also on campus. That means you can run into a lab between or right after classes. It is just so much easier. Pitt isn't the only school like that, but I would look for ones that are similarly situated (Penn in Philly would be another one). In your case, Duquesne is right next to UPMC Mercy so you could find out what kind of volunteering and shadowing opportunities are there. The ability to get lab experience will not be nearly as great though.

    As far as prerequisite classes and MCAT prep, you can do that just as well anywhere really. National universities' names often carry more weight. For instance, if you have a degree from Juniata College, which is a good liberal arts school in the middle of Pennsylvania, perhaps med schools in the geographic vicinity will know about it, but I guarantee no one has heard of it in many other states. Every medical school in the country knows about a school like Pitt, particularly in medicine. Does the name of a school make a difference? Not always. Admission committees to graduate schools are staffed with faculty that bring their own biases. It really depends on the individuals that sit on those committees. Most times, I'd say it doesn't matter, but I actually know of specific instances where it made a difference for two otherwise equally qualified students.

    Now with all of that said, if you just feel like you fit better at small LAC, or will be more successful at that type of school, that is probably where you should go. In the end, you still primarily need a great GPA and great MCAT scores, so the setting where you can maximize those is important.
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