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UW vs UTSG vs UCSD vs UIUC in Psychology

awefoihaweawefoihawe Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
edited April 2012 in University of Wisconsin

I'm accepted into UW-Madison, U of Toronto - st george, UCSD, and UIUC majoring Psychology, and still waiting for UMichigan.

I'm more interested in the neuroscience/ cognitive science part of it though. I'm not sure what i want to be in the future but i'm sure i will go into grad school. I'm also a little interested in being a psychiatrist or something involving industrial/organizational psychology. But I'm really not sure.

Which university is better in Psychology?
Do I choose my concentration after the first 2 years of college and dicided on what I want to become, and then go into grad school?
Can I go into med school with a psych degree and become a psychiatrist?
What are some career choices if I concentrate on each of the areas?

Thanks a lot!!!
Post edited by awefoihawe on

Replies to: UW vs UTSG vs UCSD vs UIUC in Psychology

  • bohligtomack74bohligtomack74 Registered User Posts: 48 Junior Member
    Check the cost of attendance first. If you are out-of-state for Illinois or Michigan, eliminate them - they are over-priced because neither offers anything particularly special in Psychology. The other three are in the same ballpark out-of-state, or out-of-country, and all three are prominent in the sciences which will help if you head over to the neuroscience side of things. You are all over the lot in terms of where you might concentrate so its very difficult to make the call based on that alone. I'd say check the research taking place at all three to get an idea of whether you have a good chance to work as an undergrad research assistant, maybe contact the departments ahead of time regarding research opportunities...and make the call from there. I would also steer you away from organizational psychology - it might be interesting but nobody is getting jobs in that field anymore.
  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 13,835 Senior Member
    Agree that finances play a huge role in choosing a college. Don't assume any more debt than you need to- none of the schools is worth that.

    Grad school and Medical school are totally new searches and admissions processes after you are in an undergraduate school in the US. You typically do not plan on attending the one you are at as an undergrad so don't even consider the graduate/medical school experience at this time.

    You can major in anything for medical school. Your chances of getting into any medical school are slim as many change their minds (due to change in interest or grades) and only 1/3 or so of medical school applicants get in. Medical schools generally do not care what your proposed specialty will be. Any of the schools will work well for gaining medical school admission. This assumes you are an American wanting to go to medical school in the US. If you are Canadian your best bet may be to obtain a Canadian medical education and go for a US residency if you wish to at that time. You would need to find out how Canadian medical admissions work. This note is based on your listing a Canadian U. A psychiatrist is a physician first- you would have to go through the entire medical education like all of the primary care, surgical et al would be physicians.

    You want to focus on which school not only has the psychology program you are currently interested in but ones that have the biological and neuroscience opportunities. It doesn't matter which school is best/top rated. It only matters that your chosen school offers the courses to allow you to be competitive for grad programs. This means undergrad research opportunities and course breadth. UW has many opportunities- you can make a chart of what is offered at each school.

    Are you Canadian? If so- do you plan to ultimately live and work in Canada and only use the US for your education? Or do you see yourself living in the US long term? Consider your comfort factor. Many similarities in the two countries but they do have differences.

    Most college students enter undecided or change their major once they discover what college courses have to offer they never knew about in HS. Consider the overall campus feel as you will do your best work if you are happy with your environment. Consider the climate, distance from home and campus atmosphere. Once you know you can get your possible majors you need to consider the nonacademic side of life.

    In the US you will do your undergrad schooling, taking usually 4 years to get a BA or BS (major doesn't matter at UW, the amount of some required courses, such as foreign language, does). As in HS for college admissions you will investigate and apply to medical or graduate schools by/during the fall of your senior year in college. Like in HS you may have had opportunities to take courses at the next level, ie grad level courses at UW. You may also have had opportunities do do research as an undergrad and take Honors courses (UW has an excellent Honors Program- check it out on their website).

    UW admits you to the university as a whole, it doesn't matter what you state your proposed major is. You can change that at any time. You have some college search homework to do this weekend. Ultimately it won't matter which of these schools you choose when it comes time for your future plans. That will depend on how well you do at any of these schools. Do spend time on the nonacademics (after finances) and choose the school you feel you will most enjoy.
  • awefoihaweawefoihawe Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    bohligtomack74: Thanks for the advice! I admit that I'm just interested in I.O and don't expect to work in that field.

    wis75: Thanks a lot your very helpful. I'm from Hong Kong, I dont know where I'll live for long term after all but I definitely wish to study in the US. I'm attending a Canadian HS that's why I applied to UT. Personally I like snow and old style buildings so I'm leaning towards UW and UT. But the scientific focus of UCSD attracts me since it well prepares me for med school... UW actually invited me to apply for their honors program, I'll definitely apply if I choose UW. However, I am wondering if I should go to a good school for undergrad and apply to a good med school or go to a lower ranking school and maybe apply for grad with a better GPA. because I also applied to Carleton University in Canada in their Neuroscience - Mental Health honors program... and I believe they will accept me.. I really like the program but the school is ranked really low compared to my other choices.
  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 13,835 Senior Member
    It doesn't matter that much where you go to college for medical school applications, all of your choices will work. Since you are foreign to both the US and Canada I don't know how that affects your medical school chances. For grad school you are best off with a school known to grad departments in your chosen field. Again, you have known schools. Your best bet is to go to the school that most appeals to you.College rankings count for grad school- you will be best prepared at a more rigorous school and have more opportunities to do things such as work in labs and do research that you can brag about to grad school admissions committtees. You are better off getting good grades from a top U, which you likely can do. The UW Honors program offers a lot in the sciences as well as other fields- math, physics, chemistry and biology plus chances to do research. Don't overthink things and try to game the system. Choose the school that seems to best fit you academically and socially now. Be happy with your decision and enjoy college. There will be plenty of time to consider post college plans once you are used to college life.
  • MrpapageorgioMrpapageorgio Registered User Posts: 108 Junior Member
    I just wanted to reply to the comment that U of Illinois offers nothing particularly special in psychology. I don't know the basis for that comment, but U of Illinois is in most rankings one of the top schools in the country for psych, and is a great research institute.

    Now whether it is overpriced for oos students depends on finances of the individual. It's not as if Oos is cheap. But the psych department at U of I is quite strong, so IMO is is incorrect to say it is nothing special.

    Btw, wisc75's post is nice and accurate, IMO.
  • billywestybillywesty Registered User Posts: 203 Junior Member
    First the caveats: I'm not disagreeing with Madison85 or MrPapa, I'm not bashing Wisc. or any other school mentioned. I am posting an opinion that I read on the Notre Dame thread that has a different opinion than the one expressed here about choice of undergrad university not affecting med school admission. I'm not a Dr. and I don't play one on TV. I've never been to med school. Here's the opinion from the Notre Dame thread posted by loveneweng.
    Speaking as a physician, it DOES matter where you do your undergrad when it comes to medical school admissions. You also need to look at the medical acceptance rate and Notre Dame goes an outstanding job of getting their students into med school.

    In the scheme of things, 80K is easily paid back once you begin practicing.

    As long as you are pretty certain you want to go into medicine, I would go to Notre Dame.
    Please keep in mind, he/she was responding to a similar question on the ND thread about ND vs. Indiana. This was not about Wisc., so please don't slam the poster. He was responding to a completely different question. Another poster wanted to know if the extra $80k was worth it at ND vs. a scholarship at Inidiana.

    I hope this helps. At least you can ask about the med school acceptance rates at each school you are considering.

    Good luck with your decision!
  • MrpapageorgioMrpapageorgio Registered User Posts: 108 Junior Member
    I'm sure undergrad school plays some role. And I am no expert. But I would say grades are #1. My guess is that a 3.8 at Indiana is better odds-wise than a 3.3 at Notre Dame. I would also guess that a Notre Dame grad may get the nod if the GPA's are close.

    I think the short of it is if you are pre-med at a good school, get great grades and kick tail on the MCAT, you will get into med school.
  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 13,835 Senior Member
    Physician here. It does NOT matter that much where you go to college to get into a medical school. Most medical school applicants are happy to get into any US medical school, you are just as much a physician if you attend State U Medical School or Harvard. I would avoid Notre Dame because I personally don't like it, UW-Madison is a better school in many fields as well. Indiana will work just as well for getting into IU's medical school for Indiana residents. This OP is foreign and that changes the ball game for US medical schools as even private ones often get some state funding and need to favor their state's residents. Medical schools do rank colleges and the same gpa at a more elite school will matter. However, great grades at any of the schools this OP is considering will be comparable in weight. Any student is likely to do their best, ie get the best grades, at the school that fits/suits them the most. Also, give the chances of NOT choosing/being chosen by a medical school it is best to not try to game the system and base one's college choice on trying for that medical school spot.

    Short answer- listen to your heart and don't overthink things.
  • MrpapageorgioMrpapageorgio Registered User Posts: 108 Junior Member
    I don't mean to hyjack a thread, but I had a question for Wis75...does in-state undergrad matter? In other words, if a person lives in Illinois and wants to go to med school, will an Ill Med school prefer say a U of I grad to a Wisc grad? Also, does this apply to dental school?
  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 13,835 Senior Member
    I doubt it- not on admissions committees. It will matter to have a more rigorous school within a system- ie UW-Madison versus any of the other UW system campuses with equivalent grades et al. Medical school students do come from the other state schools. I'm sure the same works for other states as well. Most students will end up at their instate medical schools because of costs. I suspect Illinois medical schools will look at UW as favorably as UIUC for their Illinois residents. There could be slight advantages to different schools but it is not worth gaming the system, especially as being a happy student will mean being more enthused about courses and doing well. Many Illinois residents choose UW despite the OOS costs, I suspect most can afford to do so and those who can't go to UIUC even if UW is their first choice. Finances determine college choices for most students.
  • MrpapageorgioMrpapageorgio Registered User Posts: 108 Junior Member
    That is kind of our situation. D wants to go to dental school, was accepted instate to U of I with partial scholarship and with our contrib she would be debt free to start dental school. Her OOS choices like Wisc would result in 50-70 k debt, and my opinion is the debt is not worth it given the comparable academics, the accumulating interest while in dental school, and adding that debt to dental school debt (assuming she continues to want to go to dental school and can get accepted). All things equal, she would prefer Madison, but, unfortunately...unless we get a nice surprise...all things are not equal
  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 13,835 Senior Member
    Agree with you. I wanted to leave town back when- from a suburb of Madison- but couldn't afford to go OOS(no MN reciprocity then, fortunately as UW had better Chemistry dept). Lived on campus and loved UW as a chemistry major then chose medicine. If we were in another state I would have been at that state's flagship. She can tell you you should have found a job and raised her in Wisconsin! Too late now.
  • MrpapageorgioMrpapageorgio Registered User Posts: 108 Junior Member
    Haha...don't give her any ideas!!

    By the way, it is great that people like you and Barrons are here to provide solid info and take so much pride in U Wisc. It is very helpful to others and is appreciated.
  • kxc1961kxc1961 Registered User Posts: 801 Member
    In terms of medical school acceptance, I was told that many schools accept in-state students with a lower standard in comparison to OOS students. For a Wisconsin student, it would be the best to apply for UW system.
  • MrpapageorgioMrpapageorgio Registered User Posts: 108 Junior Member
    For a Wisc STUDENT it would be best to apply for UW system, or for a Wisc RESIDENT it would be best to apply to UW system. Are you saying the UW system favors OOS students who graduate from UW Madison?
This discussion has been closed.