1st Year-Undergraduate Question

Ben25

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I earned a 3.85 last semester in a biology major with a premed concentration. I attend the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. I earned all A's and A-'s in my courses. Is it bad to earn a degree from a branch campus of a large university, eventhough it is four year school with many majors? Also I have been working in a local hospital OR. How much shadowing is enough?
 

OncDoc19

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I earned a 3.85 last semester in a biology major with a premed concentration. I attend the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. I earned all A's and A-'s in my courses. Is it bad to earn a degree from a branch campus of a large university, eventhough it is four year school with many majors? Also I have been working in a local hospital OR. How much shadowing is enough?

I don't know anything about UPitt at Johnstown but I would ask why are you going there. Is it because you couldn't get in to the regular UPitt, cause if that's the reason then I would say maybe its not good to be going to a branch. In my opinion I think there are two parts to a good education, 1st is the place you are getting that education, but the second, and I think most important, is what you put into that education. Are you doing the bare-minimum or are you seeking out extra opportunities that make your education unique. For you I think this would be especially important - there are so many biology/pre-med majors, what makes you different?
If you are feeling insecure about the caliber of your university, the best thing to do, short of transfering, but I doubt the situation is that bad, is to focus on getting As and lot of them. Besides getting your GPA up a little higher, you need to focus on interesting and unique ECs. Everyone volunteers in a hospital. Do something else, but don't do something you aren't interested in. For example, I'm interested in oncology, so I volunteer with Hospice. You also asked about shadowing, no amount is "enough", you should take every opportunity you can. Whatever you do, show consistency, show dedication, and most of all ENJOY WHAT YOU ARE DOING!

And one more point that I may get yelled at for, why are you a biology major? The common myth is that this is the best major to get into med school - NOT TRUE. I hope you like your major, but if you did it just for pre-med, here's a couple of things to thhink about. 1. If you weren't a pre-med what would you do? (aka what's your passion? Do that.) 2. The fact is the majority of people who enter college as a pre-med won't become a doctor, many change their goals and some don't get in when they apply, so have a plan B. I know this may not be what you want to hear, but its just smart to think ahead and know what you would do if this doesn't work out. That being said good luck and enjoy you next 3.5 years!
 

inside_edition

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I don't know anything about UPitt at Johnstown but I would ask why are you going there. Is it because you couldn't get in to the regular UPitt, cause if that's the reason then I would say maybe its not good to be going to a branch. In my opinion I think there are two parts to a good education, 1st is the place you are getting that education, but the second, and I think most important, is what you put into that education. Are you doing the bare-minimum or are you seeking out extra opportunities that make your education unique. For you I think this would be especially important - there are so many biology/pre-med majors, what makes you different?
If you are feeling insecure about the caliber of your university, the best thing to do, short of transfering, but I doubt the situation is that bad, is to focus on getting As and lot of them. Besides getting your GPA up a little higher, you need to focus on interesting and unique ECs. Everyone volunteers in a hospital. Do something else, but don't do something you aren't interested in. For example, I'm interested in oncology, so I volunteer with Hospice. You also asked about shadowing, no amount is "enough", you should take every opportunity you can. Whatever you do, show consistency, show dedication, and most of all ENJOY WHAT YOU ARE DOING!

And one more point that I may get yelled at for, why are you a biology major? The common myth is that this is the best major to get into med school - NOT TRUE. I hope you like your major, but if you did it just for pre-med, here's a couple of things to thhink about. 1. If you weren't a pre-med what would you do? (aka what's your passion? Do that.) 2. The fact is the majority of people who enter college as a pre-med won't become a doctor, many change their goals and some don't get in when they apply, so have a plan B. I know this may not be what you want to hear, but its just smart to think ahead and know what you would do if this doesn't work out. That being said good luck and enjoy you next 3.5 years!

another myth about biology majors is that biology courses will help in medical school. the idea that biology classes will help is only partially true because biology is such a broad subject and includes courses such as ecology and evolutionary biology which does not help in medical school at all.
 
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Vvandenn

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I go to a branch campus and I'm getting a great education. I like it more since it's a LOT smaller and more personal. Plus, I enjoy the location a lot more. If you enjoy your undergrad and are receiving a good education, there is no need to transfer.
 

smq123

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I earned a 3.85 last semester in a biology major with a premed concentration. I attend the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. I earned all A's and A-'s in my courses. Is it bad to earn a degree from a branch campus of a large university, eventhough it is four year school with many majors? Also I have been working in a local hospital OR. How much shadowing is enough?

The thing with branch campuses is that there's the assumption that the classes are less challenging in comparison to the main campus. For instance, my friend considered taking O. Chem at Rutgers-Camden (he went to New Brunswick) because it was supposedly "easier" to get a better grade there. That may be what some admissions committees will think as well. (I'm not saying that this is necessarily true, but that's the stereotype that's out there.) Taking upper level science classes at Pitt, maybe during the summer sessions, might help you out as well, by proving that you can handle advanced science work.

In any case, if you decide to stay at Johnstown, be sure to do really well on the MCAT (I would say 31 or higher) to help your chances. Also, get the highest GPA you possibly can. Good luck.
 

Ben25

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Well at Johnstown, we take the same classes as main. I know this because we take the same finals exams and they compare them to the main campus. I wanted to go to a branch because of the small class size and I never applied to main because of it being so large. I knew I could have been accepted since I was third in my high school graduating class. I know many people that have been accepted from this school. They said they have a 85-90% placement rate into med school.
 

psipsina

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I don't know enough about the school to comment on how it may affect your application, but would like to say that there is no magic # of hours of shadowing that is enough, you've done enough shadowing when without a doubt you know you do or don't want to do medicine and can explain your reasoning with detail. You should be able to talk about all the things you don't like about medicine (and there will be some) and about why you think you will still be happy as a physician despite these things. The purpose of shadowing is to be able to inteligently convince adcomms that you have thought through the decision to become a doctor and that you are making the right choice for yourself.
 

smq123

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Well at Johnstown, we take the same classes as main. I know this because we take the same finals exams and they compare them to the main campus. I wanted to go to a branch because of the small class size and I never applied to main because of it being so large. I knew I could have been accepted since I was third in my high school graduating class. I know many people that have been accepted from this school. They said they have a 85-90% placement rate into med school.

Is this true for all the classes, or just the intro level ones? In the upper level classes (i.e. biochem, some o. chem, physics, calc 3, etc.) the teachers write their own finals, and they were not used for the entire department. At least this is how they did things when I went to Pitt. (Which wasn't that long ago.)

If you know many people that have been accepted from your school, then why did you ask if it was "bad" to get your degree from a branch campus? If they could get in, then surely you can as well.

When they say that they have such a high med school placement rate, make sure to check into if the school institutionalizes their own GPA/MCAT cut-offs. Some schools, from what I've heard, strongly discourage certain students from applying, thereby inflating the percentage of students that are accepted into med school. Pitt didn't do this, but I've heard rumors that some schools do.
 
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