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Pitt or PA State - Apples & Oranges?

NeonzeusNeonzeus 1142 replies92 threads Senior Member
edited December 2006 in University of Pittsburgh
How to decide??? My kid likes the potential to volunteer or get internships in one of the hospitals adjoining Pitt, but PA State offers an incredible Big 10 college experience. Her credentials are good but not spectacular (650, 650, 700 writing; 3.65-3.7 GPA, top 1/3; range of activities include 300+ hours volunteering in a hospital, 3 yrs varsity sport, now holding down a job 20+ hours/wk and getting a 4.0+ as a Senior; 15 college credits including 3 AP classes). Her Dad is terminally ill with a degenerative disease and is in a Pitt research program. Her guidance counselor thinks she has chances of getting admitted to both schools. Pitt and PA State are the ones that I can afford (if we don't eat, but hey who wants to eat anyway). That puts them at the top of my list.

She was hoping for pharmacy -- but her chances of getting into the competitive program at Pitt are poor, and PA State doesn't offer it. Even after college visits, we still have too many schools on the list!! (Duquesne, Toledo and SUNY Buffalo for pharmacy; PA State; Pitt, UCONN or Ohio University for mid-size schools).

Did you pick Pitt over PA State? PA State over Pitt? HELP???
edited December 2006
18 replies
Post edited by Neonzeus on
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Replies to: Pitt or PA State - Apples & Oranges?

  • HeavenWoodHeavenWood 2016 replies46 threads Senior Member
    I haven't picked anything yet (although as of today, I'm part of the acceptance pool to Pitt honors!). I'm guessing your kid's out of state. Even so, she shouldn't have a tough time getting into Pitt and Penn State. She also has a shot at the honors program.

    She should check both schools out and see if she prefers one to the other. Both are great universities.
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  • lkf725lkf725 4596 replies184 threads Senior Member
    Since staying in the Pittsburgh area might be preferable due to the illness, I would definitely give Duquesne Pharmacy a shot. I went to Pitt Pharmacy, but it is very competitive to get in these days, and admission is only after two years of classes. If there is stress from the illness, you student may not show maximum performance.

    Duquesne Pharmacy, otoh, admits students directly from high school. This is a huge advantage these days, as I know students with 3.5 gpa who couldn't get into Pitt Pharmacy. Duquesne may give enough financial aid to even things out their higher tuition. Also, if you are Roman Catholic, scholarships are available through your parish that may be used to attend Catholic colleges like Duquesne.
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  • waterpoloplaya88waterpoloplaya88 26 replies0 threads New Member
    Big Ten College Experience...????? What exactly does that entail? Is it just the big football team of Penn State...Pitt has superb athletics too (the Mens Basketball Team) and schools contining to rank in the top-tier in the nation. Pitt has an excellent medical school/hospital system and also Pitt is ranked 37th in the top global universities. But I do believ both campuses offer something different (PSU has a larger student population).

    I have visited Toledo and was very unhappy with the campus. Too small for me. Overall the quality of education at Duquense is not up to par with that of Pittsburgh.... I am currently cross-registered at Duquense in a lab since I didnt want to be wait-listed for one at Pitt and it seems we are expected to do less in the Duquense Lab than what my friends are doing here at pitt.
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  • chrisdchrisd 474 replies23 threads Member
    Hmm, I don't think OU has pharmacy. . . . and doesn't have "the big 10" atmosphere you mention at Pitt. For that you need to go to the Ohio State University, which does have pharmacy.

    My daughter picked Pitt over OSU. She liked the city atmosophere OSU offered, but was turned off by the size of tOSU. Pitt offered even a bit more urban environment, a smaller size, and maybe a better undergrad education.

    I agree w/ your opinon about U of Toledo. It's in an odd setting, not fully suburban but with some of the negatives of an urban setting.
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  • NeonzeusNeonzeus 1142 replies92 threads Senior Member
    These responses have given us a lot to talk about -- thank you. We've been to both schools, but neither one triggered an "Ah hah" moment...and she has applied to Duquesne's 0-6 program. A worst case scenario would be admissions to Pitt and PA State on one side, and admission to Duquesne's 0-6 program or a guaranteed pharmacy admission at either Toledo or SUNY Buffalo. I think Pitt now has the edge over PA State because of the hospital connections (and it makes sense for her not to go too far due to her Dad's illness), but having the opportunity to go into college with a guarantee of pharmacy may have an edge over Pitt.

    I had no idea this was going to be so difficult.
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  • lkf725lkf725 4596 replies184 threads Senior Member
    It is a tough decision, Pitt with no guarantee or one of out of state colleges that gives the guaranteed pharmacy admission. Maybe Duquesne will come through and it won't be an issue. I'm not sure why she considers PSU since there is no pharmacy program there. Did she consider WVU? It is in Morgantown and is actually pretty close to Pittsburgh, about 75 miles.
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  • NeonzeusNeonzeus 1142 replies92 threads Senior Member
    She did look at WVA, but has gotten the impression that it's a huge party school (she knows kids who go there. hic). It didn't make the final list. PA State is still high on the list since I can afford it (sorta), and it offers so many other majors.

    If she doesn't get into a guaranteed pharmacy program, then she'd have to do 2-years of college work leading to the PCATS. In those 2 years, she could change majors...or if she didn't get into a PharmD program she'd have to find another major anyway. She went to Pharmacy Camp at Toledo this summer and shadowed a hospital pharmacist, which got her very excited. She was intimidated by the other kids who all described themselves as being in the top of their classes, taking AP chem, etc., but by the end of the week she realized that she had gotten all of the sample problems right and most of them had made mistakes! Still, wanting something with all your heart doesn't make it happen, so I'm encouraging her to have a fall back plan.
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  • peachesnkream114peachesnkream114 9 replies2 threads New Member
    i just talked to the pre-pharm graduate school counselor, and she told me that ppl who get into pharm with unconditional acceptance on average have 3.7, and that's like A- on grading scale. but then, she also said if u don't make it in 2 yrs, then u can try it again after a year or two after getting ur GPA up and study PCAT
    oh and 2000 ppl applied last year and only 40 got in. sigh... i do luv pitt, but duquesne might be the better choice considering the conditional acceptance
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  • KhipperKhipper 135 replies58 threads Junior Member
    When I was in high school, back in the Ford Administration, we had a saying "If you can't go to college, go to Pitt."

    I have my master's from Pitt and to be honest I didn't see any thing special about the university. Yeah, some of the faculty are considered to be celebrities, but these stars rarely teach undergraduates.

    Pittsburghers who are a bit older than me consider a degree from Duquesne to be more noteworthy that an degree from Pitt.
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  • chrisdchrisd 474 replies23 threads Member
    Some things have changed since Gerald was our president!

    I think most public universities have become more selective.

    In Ohio, at that time, anyone who had a pulse and a h.s. degree could be admitted to Ohio State. Last fall, my nephew with a 3.2 gpa and 23 ACT was not admitted to the main OSU campus. . if he did a successful year at a branch, he could then come to main campus. H.S. counselors are telling kids that OSU really only wants to admit students who graduate in the top ten per cent of their class.
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  • spinnerspinner 220 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Although my son loves PSU, I would suggest that your daughter pick a school with pharmacy. It would be a shame not to have that option if she continues to be interested.
    Also, she is probably not a candidate for PSU honors; the suggested app. date has already passed, anyway. Pitt Honors is easier to get into, so she might have a shot there.
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  • mercymommercymom 1220 replies29 threads Senior Member
    Actually, Pitt Honors is not that easy to get into. It requires a minimum SAT 1350 or ACT 31 and top 5% of your class. The OP's D has a 1300 and top 1/3. Definitely can get accepted, but probably not UHC. However, if she proves herself with her QPA once at Pitt she could apply to UHC then. I would vote for Pitt prepharmacy and/or Duquesne as D could live at home to save money and be close to her dad.
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  • ophioliteophiolite 1020 replies34 threads Member
    mercymom:

    Remember, you don't have to get into the honors college as a freshman to graduate from it. All you need to go is attend for a semester with a 3.25 QPA to be eligible for the honors college and all it has to offer.
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  • mercymommercymom 1220 replies29 threads Senior Member
    Right. Should have been more specific about "proving yourself with your gpa". If you do well after you're there you are definitely eligible to enter the honors college and reap the benefits, and I did say she could apply to UHC later with the right gpa. It is a very flexible program. But I wouldn't call the standards for first semester freshmen easy (altho' I don't know what PSU requires; maybe Pitt is easier, but I doubt it).
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  • mercymommercymom 1220 replies29 threads Senior Member
    Well, I checked PSU's website and they require a 1350 SAT also, but no minimum class rank, just "excellent" record, etc. However, PSU seems to cap enrollment at 300, whereas Pitt will take anyone with the 1350 and top 5%, no matter how many of them there are. Also, qpa 3.25 after the first semester, and then anyone else on a case by case basis can apply for permission to take a UHC course. Some of the math classes require a placement test. So in that sense it is easier to take Pitt's UHC classes as they do not cap enrollment and are open to everyone who is qualified.
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  • spinnerspinner 220 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Also, PSU requires a separate application with essays.
    Last year's class had average SATs of 1470 or 1480.
    My son reported that Psychology honors requires a 3.8 to stay in the program.
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  • Pat2323Pat2323 612 replies23 threads Member
    Hey there, everyone. I recently graduated from Pitt after spending two years at Penn State. I can say that, for me, Pitt was much more preferable. Academically, both schools were-- for all intents and purposes-- the same. I have had awesome and horrible professors at both schools. And the student organizations are quite similar. The difference truly is the environment. Does you son/daughter want to be in the country or the city? I left Penn State because I could not stand to be in the middle of nowhere any longer. Penn State is most definately *NOT* a city. Everything there is to do is related to the school, except for the bars. Pittsburgh has much more variety. There are clubs, museums, movies, restaurants, shopping a nearby amusement park... anything you normally find in a city. In terms of alumni relations, I recently started a well-paying job in New York that I found through Pitt's alumni network. Maybe Penn State has better name recognition, but one's ability to get a job has more to do with how you take advantage of your opportunities, and I believe Pitt offers many more opportunities. And Pitt's presitge is growing by the day, while Penn State continually tops the "Biggest Party School" lists. Hope that helps. Any other questions, just let me know.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30787 replies59 threads Senior Member
    As Pat2323 shares, it is really a personal decision in terms of preference. Though I would prefer Penn State (great campus, has everything), it is isolated and a good 2 and half hours from Pittsburgh. Pitt is the place if you like city life and are not going to miss a traditional campus.

    In my opinion, with her Dad's situation, Pitt would be the way to go. Duquesne is also in Pittsburgh, but is pricier. If she gets into the guaranteed Pharm program, it may well be worth the price, but my understanding is that those programs are all very selective.
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