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Pre-requisites at a community college

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by smkz, 03.30.12.

  1. smkz

    smkz

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    Hello everyone,

    I am totally new here. I am 28 and have a bachelor degree in aeronautical engineering (GPA 3.84) and a master degree in education (GPA 3.88). I am in the middle of changing career. I want to give a shot for med school. I need to have all the pre-requisites done first. The community college in my area offers a pre-med program (all 100-200 level classes) which looks decent to me. I just need to take organic chem (200 level classes) after the program and I will meet all the pre-requisite courses. However, I have heard some people say it's not a good idea to go through the entire program at a community college because a lot of med schools frown upon that. Is that really true?
    Last edited: 03.30.12
  2. Only Zool

    Only Zool

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    From what I understand, some schools make a face about CC courses, some don't care. I'm taking my pre-reqs at a CC because I have 2 kids, and $45/hr is a lot better than $200/hr at the local university. I'm in no way trying to be a jerk, but careful utilization of the search function will yield more information. We just discussed this pretty recently. Good luck to you!
  3. Slev

    Slev

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    Last edited: 05.29.12
  4. whatbout2morrow

    whatbout2morrow Is there anything you would not do for your family Bronze Donor

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    Indeed, you will hear a variety of answers.

    I recently asked this question to the chair of an admissions committee, and here's what he had to say about it:

    1. It's a major red flag if you have a high community college pre-req GPA, but do not have an MCAT score consistent with that GPA (eg. if you have a 3.9 CC pre-req GPA but a 25 MCAT).

    2. All other factors the same, if it came down to choosing between two applicants, the guy who took his pre-reqs at the 4 year university and got "x" GPA would probably have a slight advantage over the guy who took his pre-reqs at the community college and got the same GPA.

    Your best bet is to get in touch with the admissions people at the medical schools you plan to apply to in the future, and see what they have to say.
  5. smkz

    smkz

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    Thank you for all the advice. They are all very helpful.

    By the way, my GPA for my bachelor in engineering is 3.84 and 3.88 for my master degree. I already updated it in the original post.
    Last edited: 03.30.12
  6. smkz

    smkz

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    I have done quite a bit of research. Can I just say that the MCAT score is a BIG factor in the admission process? Let's say my science GPA is around 3.7-3.8 and my MCAT score is 35. Would I have a good chance?
  7. TriagePreMed

    TriagePreMed Removed

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    Nobody will care where an engineer with such a high gpa did his classes. Mark my words. Take the classes where they are best for you.

    Sent from my SCH-R910 using Tapatalk
  8. smkz

    smkz

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    That's REALLY, REALLY encouraging!!! Thank you so much!!!
  9. dagnytaggart

    dagnytaggart

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    Yes, I am quite certain that the MCAT is a "big" factor in the med school admissions process.
  10. dagnytaggart

    dagnytaggart

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  11. dagnytaggart

    dagnytaggart

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    GPA and MCAT scores measure two different things like all standardized tests vs GPA do. GPA is your ability to meed deadlines, study for exams, consistently etc. MCAT is your ability to recall lots of info under pressure at once. apples and oranges.
    Last edited: 03.31.12
  12. Zoopeda

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    I wouldn't accept any generalized blanket answer for all schools. You need to figure out what specific schools you would like to attend and call them individually to get a sense for their stance(s) on CC credits. I've spoken to school admins who welcome CC credits and online courses and others who frowned upon even one pre-req at a CC. There's no sense in considering stats for U Alaska if you know you're only applying to Penn (for example). Call the schools, and be sure to speak with someone who knows what they're talking about.
  13. smkz

    smkz

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    I 100% agree. I live in Chicago area so I want to stay around. I have done my homework and found University of Chicago is the only school in IL that frowns upon CC credits. Well it's not surprising because their rankings are even higher than Northwestern.
  14. gonnif

    gonnif Director, OldPreMeds.org Lifetime Donor

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    A study by Kaplan (not the most unbiased of observers), sent a surveys to every allopathic medical school's admissions committee school each year from about 2005 to 2010 (I am not sure if they stopped the project). Of the 120 medical schools or so, about 80 would respond. Of those schools that responded, about 75% reported that GPA was either the first or second factor considered in admissions and about 75% similarly reported MCAT was either the first or second factor considered.


    So yeah, MCAT is a big deal
  15. Prncssbuttercup

    Prncssbuttercup Established Member -- OMSIII

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    I would say I agree with Triage and the other poster who said that a 3.84 in aero engineering will have no problems... Since you've probably taken at least some of the standard pre-reqs already, I wouldn't worry about it. I assume you already have physics and maybe gen chem for your original degree, so it probably isn't a big deal, and you don't need to retake them for many schools...
  16. Jupman

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    I am in the same situation as you (an engineer with his masters taking prereqs at a CC). I contacted a few schools that I am interested in and they told me that they accept people who took the prereqs at CCs all the time. So, I would recommend contacting the schools you are interested in and getting their opinion.
  17. ndrwkwn

    ndrwkwn ex-ingenieur

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    Just wanted to chime in quickly. Same background as you, engineer, grad degree, pre-reqs at a cc, and it worked out for me.
    This did come up during my interview- I was asked why I did my pre-reqs at a cc and I answered that only the cc offered the classes I needed in the evenings as I was working full-time. By the time interview season arrived I had voluntarily left my job and was taking grad and upper-level classes at the local college, so I think this allayed any concerns they may have had. If you have a solid reason (schedule conflict, finances, etc.) I think it's not a huge issue. However, a more rigorous pre-req workload will only serve to strengthen your med school candidacy.
    In your case, as others have said, I think you are in great shape. Good luck.
    Last edited: 04.01.12
  18. smkz

    smkz

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    Thank you for the encouraging words.
  19. confidence1985

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    I organize workshops at community college workshops about applying to medical school for the last two years and it is sponsored by the UC school of medicine. The stat that they always tell me is that 15-20 percent earn an associate degree at a community college before applying to medical school and 70-80 percent of medical students there have taken courses at the community college. I know most schools do not care when it comes to pre-reqs but a few schools do care when it comes to organic chemistry and upper divisions. Besides that I would not worry about it but if you are like other people said just contact the schools. Your stats look amazing though and if you get similar grades you shouldn't worry one bit. Also if you get a letter of recommendation from your community college teacher it will not be look as a lesser letter in any way. Schools don't care what school the letter comes from just what it says about you unless the letter is from someone super famous. good luck.
    Last edited: 04.04.12
  20. EdLongshanks

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    I took all of my pre-reqs at the local CC and I am in medical school, but it did cost me at some schools. If you feel like your stats are lacking in some way, if you lack clinical experience, or volunteer experience, or..... then don't add another weakness to your application (because CC classes are a weakness - more so at some schools than others). If you have taken an example MCAT and scored a 35, then I wouldn't worry. On the other hand, if you haven't taken an example MCAT, its difficulty is going to surprise you. I eat standardized tests for lunch. I used to work at Kaplan and take example LSATs for fun. But I only scored a 33.
  21. Stangerang

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    Hello, I have been lurking this forum for months for research I am have done, and glad that I have registered today.

    Not to Hijack the OP's thread, but I am in a similar situation. I have graduated with a degree in Finance in 2007, and have worked in the Finance world for 4 years. However, I have been unhappy for quite some time, and quit the beginning of this year, and enrolled in CC for premed courses. However, I too was wondering if taking these classes would make a difference from a CC or a 4yr university. Being here in Li, NY, I have looked around several 4yr schools, but it doesnt seem that I can take premed courses as a NON-DEGREE STUDENT (This is what I am enrolled as in my CC). Plus, there is the cost factor (if I was able to take premed courses in a 4yr university). I suppose I can give a call to the admissions to the 4-5 4yr schools here in Li to see if I am able to take just the courses, receive a grade but not a degree. However, if I am unable to do so, should I continue to take these courses at my CC? I've already contact Suny Stony Brook asked if taking the premed courses at a CC was ok, since I already have a Bachelors, however their responses was pretty much negative.

    Thanks!
  22. EdLongshanks

    EdLongshanks

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    The directions of an admissions person at a school to which you apply is definitive. If you continue to take courses at the CC, then you cannot apply at Suny Stony Brook. When you called, they started a file on you and wrote down that they advised you to not go to a CC. If you ignore their advice, then they will know it.
  23. plauto

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    One or 2 classes from the local CC are ok. More than that and you are jeopardizing your future. Sure there is the dude who took all his prereqs from a CC and got a 38 on the MCAT and got in UCSF. These are exceptions. You need to maximize YOUR chances. If that's all you can afford, then go for it. But keep in mind there is a more than a slim chance this might have consequences.
  24. EdLongshanks

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    It is school and even interviewer dependent. Some schools/interviewers don't care, some care a very little, and a few care a lot.

    The reasons for going to a CC can be geographic or cost. The cost reason doesn't make sense to me. Why work hard to save $10k in loans when medical school is going to cost you at least 10 times that. If you have to go to a more expensive school because of you decision, was it a wise cost saving?

    Also, let's face it. Universities typically give you a better education. (Yes, yes, I know that this is a generalization. I plead guilty to schoolism). You'll appreciate that extra hard A&P class when you start medical school.
  25. Stangerang

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    Thanks, guys. I will look into the other 4yr schools near me. If they do offer classes that I can take, without enrolling into a degree program, I will strongly consider it. I already have a steep amount of loans from undergrad, so i'm trying to avoid taking further loans for my prereq's (loans for med school are a given). I don't think Suny Stony Brook allows individuals to take courses without enrollment into some sort of program, but perhaps the other schools will be more lenient.
  26. plauto

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    Most schools won't care if you are enrolled or not, they just need the prereqs. I never enrolled in a formal post-bac, just took the classes I needed.
  27. gbvan

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    That's encouraging for me to hear as well. I'm a Psych major at UC Berkeley with either a 3.8 or 3.9, and I should be graduating with honors. I've been going back and forth about doing my pre-reqs at the CC where I did my pre-reqs for Cal in the first place since it's so much more cost-effective (doing a DIY postbac at a CSU will probably run me at least another $25-30k). Thanks for posting it.
  28. EdLongshanks

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    Mistaking an exception for the rule is a strange thing. You will get into medical school somewhere with your credentials, but where you go is dependent on the total strength of your application. The $30k is a smaller part part of your total educational debt that you will see at the end of your education.

    It's also worth noting that medical schools are different from the rest of the economy in one very major way. In general, the better the medical school, the cheaper the education. Mayo is often even tuition-free. The average debt of students coming from the top schools is much, much lower than those graduating from the least selective. You may be being "penny wise and pound foolish"
  29. Priti Dave

    Priti Dave

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    You have privious education so it will not effect you but if you have no other degree and community school it is very very hard .
  30. LupaCupcake

    LupaCupcake

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    How many times has this been asked on SD? Hmm...

    In general, it is better if you avoid CC. It should never be a top pick, but if you don't have a choice then you do what you gotta do and you better get a 4.0. If you can't muster a 4.0 on science classes from a CC it will be noticed.

    That being said, no one can give you a perfect answer on this. The best route is to avoid CC, but like I said......you do what you gotta do

    I have been doing some research into schools because even though I will be done with my bachelor degree in a couple months, I have to wait until we move back to the U.S to finish all of my prereqs at another school. (we are military) From what I have seen, many schools say that after 15 credits they want you to declare a major of some sort. Does that mean you need to complete that major? Nope. The major benefit I see to formal post-bacc programs is the ones that help with mcat prep, give LOR so on and so forth. You get added perks with formal programs.
  31. JESSFALLING

    JESSFALLING

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    This took the words right out of my mouth. OP, you will have lots of options. The only drawback with CC (for you) is that you won't have access to helpful courses (for MCAT prep) like biochemistry.......so just be aware that you'll have to self-study a bit more for that portion of the MCAT. Perhaps you can invest in a review course with all the money you will save. If an adcom asks you "Why CC?", tell them it's because you needed to save money.
    Last edited: 04.16.12
  32. EdLongshanks

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    You may think that is a good answer, but an interviewer who cares enough to ask the question will probably have a different opinion.
  33. TriagePreMed

    TriagePreMed Removed

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    Well, what would you say?
  34. JESSFALLING

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    Since the OP passed coursework like calc-based physics, general chem, statics, strength of materials, thermodynamics, heat transfer, circuits, fluid mechanics, compressible flow, etc. with a 3.8 GPA, it is HIGHLY LIKELY that he/she is capable of completing a rigorous program! Thus, the conventional concerns about CC coursework do not really apply; especially if OP has a good MCAT score.

    OP, if you want to get into med school, then finish the prereqs, nail the mcat, shadow, and apply. If you're really picky about attending a top 20 med school, then, perhaps, you should re-enroll at a university, but only for the reason that they also are looking for medical-related research experience, which you won't get at CC.
    Last edited: 04.16.12
  35. EdLongshanks

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    You say that these concerns don't apply and that is your opinion. That was my opinion before I got asked the CC question at a school that I really, really wanted to go to. The interviewer didn't agree with you. I have no idea if this was why I was rejected, but I wish that I could have spent my interview time with her more productively.

    I agree with your reasons. What you don't seem to realize is that all the logic in the world is worth less than the interviewer/adcomms opinion, which may or may not be logical to you. When I was a pre-med, I prioritized making my application as strong as possible, not saving a few thousand dollars. I must say that I completely fail to understand why someone would be willing to nickle and dime their application.

    So, although I agree with you that a CC is sufficient for academic purposes, if i am ever an adcomm, I will reject any applicant whose answer to the CC question is "to save money." I will conclude that their priorities are severely mixed up.
  36. pkwraith

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    I would say go ahead and do it at a CC, although I'm not sure you need to do ALL the prereqs. Is this program ALL or NOTHING? Can you pick your classes?

    You've definitely had Physics and retaking that as engineer is a waste of time. I would assume Gen Chem too, so I'd just skip right to Orgo. I found that time was just as valuable as money, and the less time you spend, the sooner you can get your life rebooted.
  37. YeEhAw

    YeEhAw Junior Member

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    Do you read/watch the news at all? That is a rather obtuse opinion to hold when the economy is in its current state and has been for the last several years. I think it shows just how detached you are from the financial realities some are facing these days and just how financially difficult it can be for non-traditional students to go back to school.

    I wouldn't think I would need to say it here, but getting into medical school isn't a sure thing for anyone. Surely, the OP has a good shot (probably better than most) with what has been presented so far, but there is still no guarantee. However, you speak as if there is.

    Let's say you decide to take all your classes at the more expensive option (i.e. a university), but then fail to get into medical school for whatever reason. You are then faced with not only a bunch of useless credits that you can apply to little else, you are faced with thousands of dollars of additional debt/financial losses, among other things.

    Everyone wants to make their application as strong as possible, but just throwing caution to wind, along with your money, seems short-sighted, amongst other things.

    Also, the reality is, if your application is strong otherwise, taking classes at a CC isn't going to keep you from getting into medical school. If there are some schools that don't like it/will reject you for it, well then, I guess it is good that there plenty others that don't care. A doctor is a doctor regardless of where you go to medical school.
  38. EdLongshanks

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    Ok. If going to medical school is one of several options for a pre-med then you are right.
  39. TriagePreMed

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    Dude, you went to a community college, and you want to give someone else that did the kiss of death for doing the same? So what if he wanted to save money? A prerequisite for medical school is to get in debt? That really tells you this person's priorities to become a doctor are severely mixed up? Come on. And please, don't compare yourself to an Aeronautical Engineer. You had like 10 years of community college work and went to an undergrad that couldn't get into US News even if they accepted up to 2 standard deviations after their current lowest school. No wonder you're a republican. Typical "well, now that I got the benefits, lets burn the bridge for anyone else coming by."
  40. flodhi1

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    Some medical schools don't even accept community college pre-req courses what does that tell you about taking all or majority of them at community college?

    OP. I would suggest to be on the safer side to at least take half the pre-reqs at an actual University,
  41. Slev

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    x
    Last edited: 05.29.12
  42. Zoopeda

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    There's no flat answer for every school. You must call the specific schools your interested in. Some schools will reject you flat out. Many will not care. Definitely search on this; it's been posted about extensively.
  43. TriagePreMed

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    It tells me that those medical schools don't want them. That's all. I don't make assumptions of other medical schools. Some require genetics, what does that tell you? You have to take it for all schools? No. Look, I don't argue that it isn't preferable to take them at a 4-year simply to avoid the mess and possible hassle, but plenty of people have been successful with CC units getting into top programs. Again, don't just outright assume the worse, and also, this is about the OP's specific situation, which is much different than someone taking science the first time around. If anyone thinks someone that has done an Aeronautical Engineering degree can't handle 4-year college General Bio 1 for freshmen, is simply an idiot.

    Wait, aren't you that same guy who was arguing with me earlier about the difficulty of Chemistry but you had a 3.05 sGPA as opposed to my 3.69?
  44. flodhi1

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    I took 30 % of my pre-reqs at a community college myself and interviewers from 2 schools asked me why I didn't take all of them at a 4 year university (even though I did better at the university). The fact of the matter is that some schools and some members of the admission committee care to some extent. I have a friend with a 3.8 GPA, higher MCAT score than me not get accepted for 3 cycles! And he was asked numerous times why he took all the pre-reqs at a community college. My advice to OP is to avoid the hassle that's all. Triage you on the other hand can believe whatever you want.
  45. shinbeats

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    Don't take all of them at a CC. If you want to take some of them sure but why cast doubt in anyones mind when you can take some at a 4 year. As a previous poster stated if you score very well on the MCAT then no one will care about the prereqs taken at a CC but if you don't then those CC prereqs will be looked at with great scrutiny. I've mentioned this multiple times before to other applicants and I will again you should be very careful about what premeds say on this network especially if they haven't even been accepted to medical school. The best people to give you advice are the ones that have been through the process, interviewing, meeting school officials and some people giving advice in here are far from done, if even started that process yet :laugh:
  46. Slev

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    x
    Last edited: 05.29.12
  47. TriagePreMed

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    Flodhi1

    Which is my advice too that you should go to a for year if you can, but there are different schools and scenarios for people. Like you getting in with barely passing science classes because you are a veteran. This guy is an aeronautical engineer.

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  48. flodhi1

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    Thanks did you go over my transcript or something?
  49. YeEhAw

    YeEhAw Junior Member

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    SDN 10+ Year Member
    Okay, so you are saying that if you weren't able to gain entrance to medical school, you would have been completely satisfied pursuing some other tangentially related path (e.g. PA, Nursing, Pharm)? Why then did you choose the path that will drive you into six figures in debt (unless you have financing not available to the average med student) and requires what basically amounts to a roughly ten year training period including schooling, etc.? Seems rather perplexing.

    People seem to view interviewers asking about classes taken at a CC as being an inherently bad thing, but in and of itself the question doesn't presume anything bad. They are giving you an opportunity to provide a satisfying answer. Only if you give an unsatisfying answer, will it be held against you.

    So basically do research on the schools you want to attend and figure out how you are going to frame it in a positive or at least understandable light, if you decide to take classes at a CC.
  50. shinbeats

    shinbeats

    Joined:
    04.06.11
    Messages:
    563
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Your comments are outright disgusting, the fact that you would put a veteran down like that for not agreeing with you is uncalled for. You talk a lot of **** for someone with ****ty stats, no MCAT score and no acceptances to even a DO school let alone MD school. At least he took the MCAT, had a GPA way better than yours and now you're mad because he made a valid point so you started with low blows. Worry about yourself right now mate, he's going to be a MD but you can't say the same can you?

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=726346


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