University of California, Merced

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Archived Q&A and Reviews


UC Merced vs. Fresno State University for pre-med

April 2016

my son got acceptance from UC Merced and Fresno state university. which one is a better choice if he wants to study premed. Also tuition is an issue.

You asked two questions about choosing between U.C. Merced and Fresno State. Fresno State is definitely less expensive than U.C. Merced. (All CSUs are less expensive than the UCs for undergraduates.) However, U.C. Merced is a more academic school, especially for Pre-Med. The UC campuses are intended for the top 12.5% of students; the CSU campuses are intended for the next 33%. Merced has a strong focus on the sciences and recently built an additional science building with sparkling brand-new labs. Fresno State has about 20,000 students; U.C. Merced has about 6,000 students. My son (Biological Sciences major) has had a variety of small classes during his four years at Merced -- the advantage of a smaller school. He is graduating in about a month and had no problem getting the classes he needed every semester. One more issue: UC has plans to open a medical school at U.C. Merced. I'm not sure what the timeframe is for this, but maybe your son will be able to complete a Bachelor's degree at Merced and stay for medical school. So, in my opinion, U.C. Merced is a better choice unless money is the biggest factor, in which case Fresno State would save you money. Good luck to your family with this big decision!

- U.C. Merced parent

I wouldn't agree with the statement that ''UC campuses are intended for the top 12.5% of students; the CSU campuses are intended for the next 33.'' UC Merced has a 65% acceptance rate and Fresno has a 58%. SDSU and Cal Poly have a 32% - 35% acceptance rate with higher GPAs and SAT scores. Before the end of spring session, I would have your son tour both schools and premed departments (don't go during finals). I would ask for the percentage of students that get into medical school. Fresno State and UC Merced have a very different college feel to them and are in very different types of areas. UCM is known for being a more of a commuter school vs Fresno State.

College Parent

UC Riverside or UC Merced?

March 2012

My child was offered acceptance at UC Merced and UC Riverside, any pros or cos for either schools. Major is undecided but interests are computer science / business. College Bound

UC Merced and UC Riverside are very different! Have you read the material on the UC website about the majors and programs offered at each campus? I believe Merced has fewer choices of majors. Has your child visited each campus--that would be essential because the atmosphere at each is quite different. Given that Merced is the youngest UC campus, it may not have as strong a reputation as Riverside. But the key question is--which does your child prefer? The child's preference and the availability of majors or courses should be the key deciding factors. Anonymous

My son LOVES UC Riverside and wouldn't hesitate to tell you so. The quality of instruction, the feeling that everyone belongs to a community, the friendliness all are important to him. k.

Experience with UC Merced?

April 2009

Does anyone have personal experience with UC Merced? My daughter received an acceptance letter from them, although she hadn't applied there. She was rejected by all the other UC's, so is seriously considering it. We're wondering specifically if it feels isolating, and if it will feel very different from the more diverse community she is used to in the Bay Area. anon

Here is response from my son who is going to UC Merced currently: Currently a sophomore at UC Merced. I was also rejected from all the UCs and chose UC Merced over San Francisco State. The size of classes makes it feel like a small private school at a UC price. Most professors are well educated from respectable universities. There is some diversity on campus (majority of students are from Bay Area, Sacramento, and Los Angeles). The campus itself is about 4-5 miles from the city of Merced. There is a shuttle that goes between campus and town. The city of Merced is a very conservative place. It is missing the diversity that we are used to (and love) in the Bay Area. There is also no Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, or anything resembling Berkeley Bowl or Monterey Market. Merced feels like it's stuck in the 90s. I would not highly recommend UC Merced if your daughter is looking for a big city school like UCLA or UC Berkeley. Instead, her best bet would be to attend community college for two years and then transfer to a UC. Hope that helps, and best of luck. Anon

My son (Berkeley High Graduate) is now a 3rd year student and has thrived well. The Campus itself is isolated, it is about 10-15 minutes away from downtown Merced via car, but the student body population is very diverse. Many of my son's friends are from San Jose, San Francisco, Sacramento, Alameda, Berkeley as well as Los Angeles and San Diego. Staff is also a diverse bunch!

He's been an RA for two years now. He just learned that he's been accepted to be a SR RA for the 09/10 school year. I'm sure he'd be happy to answer any of your daughter's questions regarding the school. E-mail me and I can send you his e-mail. js