Hi everyone!

Hey there, glad I found this site. I’ve been reading a lot of your posts and have learned a lot from everyone.
About me…I’m 29 and a will be a junior in college this Fall (first Bachelor’s degree). I ended up joining the US Air Force after high school and took classes here and there while I was in the service. I’ve been out of the service for a few years and decided to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a physician. I’ve never been married and have no kids so my entire life is dedicated to attaining my goal. I’m in a community college now and transferring to a University this Fall, but I can’t decide which university to go to. My grades are okay (As & Bs) and transferring to either Univ of CA, Riverside (UCR) or CA State Univ (CSUSB). I have a few concerns and would love to hear your opinions.
1. I feel like I need to go to UCR to prove to the adcoms that I am capable of the course work at a very competitive atmosphere (especially that I’m in a comm. college now). There are a lot of “pre-meds” at UCR and afraid that registering for the classes I really need will be difficult (because of the # of students trying to get the same classes, mainly Organic Chem and Physics). If I don’t get these classes, then I’d have to wait for next year for them (since they’re a series of classes) and this will cause me to not be able to finish my degree in 2 yrs. I also won’t be able to take the MCATs next April and apply to med school next year.
2. There aren’t as much students at CSUSB and getting the classes I need will not be a problem (not as many students). But I feel that the adcoms will not see that I am a competitive applicant since I started at a CC and finishing at a state school. One other good thing about this school…I can afford it and won’t have to take out student loans.
Anyways, I know that the undergrad school doesn’t really matter that much as long as you have good grades/extracurriculars/MCAT scores (which I plan on having regardless of which school I go to). But I feel like I will have an “extra something” if I go to UCR vs CSUSB. What do u guys think?
Thanks in advance,

Hey Jenn,
Welcome!!! I'm pretty ignorant in the matter but aren't both the UC and Cal State programs actually state funded schools? Either way, I don't think that where you go between the two will make a discernible difference in your admissions chances. If you said Stanford or Berkely (sp?) vs ___ I would say there might be some very very very small advantage. If it was me I would go where I felt it was the best fit for me. That way it maximizes the chances that you will do as well as possible. This however is just my opinion.
Talk to you later.

For post-bac classes I'm not sure it makes a huge difference, but for your original college degree, the competitiveness difference between UC and CSU schools might be an issue. It's not trivial; yes, they're both state-funded, dmaes, but the systems are designed for different kinds of students and faculty.
I think the bigger issues are where you're going to be happy; where you're going to get support from faculty; where you're going to find opportunities to do other things outside of the pre-req classes that keep you interested and engaged and fully being you. The advantage of CSUSB might be that you would be more likely to be at the top of the class; on the other hand, the advantage of UCR is that you might push yourself a little harder and learn what you're really capable of academically. The scheduling issue is potentially frustrating but a) I find that these things usually work out for people who are persistent and b) I'm not convinced that doing it as quickly as you say you want to is actually in your academic interest. For one thing, with the pre-reqs combined with the graduation requirements for whatever your major is, your course load is likely to be too heavy. (Unless I'm missing something, you will regularly have to take several upper-division classes along with your pre-reqs, and that is going to be fricking brutal.) I think you should think very carefully about your timeline, keeping courseload issues foremost in mind. This is true for either school.
I can't say often enough that the issue of where you would be happiest should be very high up in your calculations.
Also, what about other schools in both systems?
Is the Air Force picking up any of the tab for this?

I had a similar choice btw CS Fullerton or UCI - and chose UCI. But for me, I had to choose when I first started the lower div prereqs at CC because the bio transfer courses between the two univ were different.
Check with the UCR transfer advisor about how things work there, but here at UCI the enrollment windows open sequentially - by seniority - so that as a Junior you will have a day or so advantage in enrollment choices over sophomores - who would be the usual suspects for Ochem. Physics - probably compete with the other Juniors. I took 3 years after I transferred to UCI - not because of difficulty enrolling - but just because I work FT and limited my courseloads accordingly. I can't remember if I had the seniority my first term as a transfer or not.
You might also want to investigate Ugrad research possibilities at each - UCI has a huge program for UGRAD research that counts as academic credits - and you might like to do a year of that while you are at UCR.
My guess is that they will have something similar there.
will you be pursuing a science degree or a something else and the science part will just be elective?