UC Berkeley vs University of the Pacific 2+3 Accelerated Dental Program (2024)

First off, congratulations for working hard enough to be in the situation you're currently in. Most people in dental school right now were not that accomplished as seniors in high school, myself included.

If I had been in your situation as a 17/18 year old, I would've taken the 2+3 deal and ran with it. Knowing what I know now as a D1 at 22, I really, really think that the best move for you would be to go to UC Berkeley. The decision at the end of the day is a very big and personal one, but I just wanted to advocate a little bit for the Berkeley decision.

When I was your age, and still to a lesser extent now, I was in a rush to get where I wanted to go in life as quickly as possible. I viewed undergrad as a means to an end, just something I needed to power through in order to get to dental school. So I chose to graduate in 3 years, which is btw something you could certainly do at Berkeley if you were so inclined. It wasn't until my last year in undergrad that I realized how much I was really missing out on by cutting the experience short. I had already made lifelong friends and gotten involved in a bunch of stuff outside dentistry, but I wasn't going to spend as much time cultivating my interests and friendships because I was leaving early. However, I am glad I left early because while it was tough cutting the experience short, I took a gap year where I moved to the middle of nowhere, got out of my comfort zone, and learned more about myself/life in general than I had during the previous 21 years of my life. Sometimes I wonder if I would've been better off not taking the gap year, application/resume aside, and I always come to the conclusion that I would've been much worse off had I done so. In the grand scheme of things, what does it matter that I'm graduating at 26 vs 25?

You have the chance to graduate at 23, or at 25/26. Think about the 2-3 year difference in the grand scheme of things. What difference does it make if you retire at 70 vs 72? 73 vs 75? 56 vs 59? These 2-3 years of your life will be absolutely negligible to you later on in life, but think about what they could mean to you if you utilize them at this point in your life.

If you choose the Berkeley route, you have the benefit of a large state school but with a smaller, closeknit community with the CoC. I had a similar experience with the smaller Honors Program within my larger state school undergrad, and it was honestly the perfect example of having the best of both worlds. At Berkeley, you'll have it even better. Living away from home in a college town is the best thing that will ever happen to your social life, and a lot of people who managed to matriculate to professional school will tell you they regret not cultivating their friendships and relationships more in undergrad. Let's go through your list of "cons" about Berkeley.

-dont even know if i like chem that much to study it that intensely

Who is to say you would not be free to switch out of the CoC and pursue something that interests you more? As long as you take the necessary pre-reqs for dental school, you can study absolutely whatever the **** you want, and UC Berkeley is one of the best places in the world to do so

-what if i lose track at cal? most people go into these huge schools thinking they will be a doctor or dentist but the percent of students actually matriculating into these professional grad schools is very low

If you stay in the CoC, you will have personal relationships with professors and access to great LORs if you put effort into them. I went to a school of about 20,000, which is definitely smaller than Berkeley, but plenty of kids from big schools manage to do just fine. Th reason that the percentage of students actually matriculating is low is because a lot of them were pampered wusses their whole lives and never developed the necessary perseverance to bounce back from things not going their way, and just gave up. Or they were undisciplined and let their grades slipped. If you want to matriculate, you will. It really is as simple as that.

-don't really care about the bs as much.. just the dds (not sure if it's worth wasting my time at cal when i can go to uop and finish in 5 years)

While the BS is not that important, it's the experiences you'll have while while getting it that matter. It will NOT be a waste of time.

-very cutthroat.......

A part of life is learning who are good people to surround yourself with. You can easily not interact with people who are insecure tools, and instead surround yourself with interesting, intelligent, and kind people. Also, I can't imagine a state school, even one like UC Berkeley, being less laid back than a program full of kids that are trying to graduate from dental school at 23, but I'm just speculating here and can't speak from experience.

-hard to get classes so might graduate in 5 years (equating to 2+3 uop... id already have my dds) i do not have that many ap credits so it's going to be a long time before i will graduate
-"fluff classes" like language, history etc

"fluff" is in the eye of the beholder, as is the perception of pretty much everything in life. If you go into anything with the mindset that you might get something out of it, you will. If you assume things will be usesless, they will be. Also, you will manage to graduate in 4 years with no problems, especially if you're diligent about staying on top of class registration and making plans for multiple scenarios in case your ideal sequence of classes gets altered through full registration.

-such a big public school; heard students feel like they are just a number

CoC being small and closeknit will alleviate this somewhat. Also, it is good for your personal development to feel like you're just a number: nobody will be holding your hand and you'll have to take the intiative to succeed. I really think that this had a huge positive effect on my motivation when I entered undergrad, knowing that nobody would shed any tears if I didn't get to where I wanted to be and I was the only one responsible for my future.

-don't have pre-dental advisors and a close community of pre-dents like at uop. so no support group or anything

Simply not true that there is not pre-dent community at UC Berkeley: uc-berkeley
Can't really speak about advisors or anything like that, but I would be willing to bet a lot of money that there are pre-health ad visors at a school like that.

I'm not trying to say that the UoP route would be a bad decison. It wouldn't be; either option is great. Just count me as a strong proponent of Cal. If you have any questions about my reasoning or if you need me to explain anything, please don't hesitate to ask. Again, congrats, and please let us all know if you want any more advice! This site can be filled with some wackjobs but it also has a lot of people willing to help.

UC Berkeley vs University of the Pacific 2+3 Accelerated Dental Program (2024)
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