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2 Important Personal Questions..Thanks

VandyDerm

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Jan 20, 2008
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    Hey guys,

    I had one question about my upcoming junior year.

    I really wanted to focus on studying for the MCAT all fall before I take it in the spring. I have been doing research for the past 2 years since freshman year, attend a top 20 school, and maintain a pretty good gpa (3.9+). I guess I really wanted to focus on that final ingredient of studying for the MCAT, which requires a lot of time more than anything. My question now pertains to the "will top 10 med schools view you unfavorable based on the credit hours you have taken"

    As far as the number of credits I have taken, it goes like this: (Freshman Fall/Spr = 18, 16), (Sophomore Fall/Spr = 15, 12). Im on the low end with the 12 because Im in 3 classes now (Orgo II, and 2 humanities) + 2 research credits. I wanted to focus on research also with the possibility of getting published. Well, I realize I'm on the low end of credits, but the gpas great and Ive really been pushing my self to get the As in my first two years. I'm also a premed major at my school, which is sort of a dumbed down bio major without the extra labs.

    With this being said, I anticipate taking 13 credit semesters my junior year + (4 classes + 1 research credit) next junior year so I can study for the MCAT. Of those classes, it will consist of physical chem, biochem, vertebrate physiology, and cell bio. So I definitely have some upper level science classes there. My extracurriculars are pretty solid too. Thus, my main question after giving some info about myself, do credits raise a flag even in my case when it comes to applying to a top 10 med school?

    thanks
     
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    Zyvox

    Full Member
    10+ Year Member
    7+ Year Member
    Mar 28, 2007
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    1. Pre-Pharmacy
      Hey guys,

      I had one question about my upcoming junior year.

      I really wanted to focus on studying for the MCAT all fall before I take it in the spring. I have been doing research for the past 2 years since freshman year, attend a top 20 school, and maintain a pretty good gpa (3.9+). I guess I really wanted to focus on that final ingredient of studying for the MCAT, which requires a lot of time more than anything. My question now pertains to the "will top 10 med schools view you unfavorable based on the credit hours you have taken"

      As far as the number of credits I have taken, it goes like this: (Freshman Fall/Spr = 18, 16), (Sophomore Fall/Spr = 15, 12). Im on the low end with the 12 because Im in 3 classes now (Orgo II, and 2 humanities) + 2 research credits. I wanted to focus on research also with the possibility of getting published. Well, I realize I'm on the low end of credits, but the gpas great and Ive really been pushing my self to get the As in my first two years. I'm also a premed major at my school, which is sort of a dumbed down bio major without the extra labs.

      With this being said, I anticipate taking 13 credit semesters my junior year + (4 classes + 1 research credit) next junior year so I can study for the MCAT. Of those classes, it will consist of physical chem, biochem, vertebrate physiology, and cell bio. So I definitely have some upper level science classes there. My extracurriculars are pretty solid too. Thus, my main question after giving some info about myself, do credits raise a flag even in my case when it comes to applying to a top 10 med school?

      thanks


      Unfortunately they do raise flags. Keep the load up from now on. It's all you can do.

      There's no black and white answer. The admission folks will weigh the rest of your application, and it will help especially when they see the upward-credit-trend in your application. But you're definitely better off with the higher gpa and lower credit hours then someone with average gpa and high credit hours.
       

      fastnfurious

      Full Member
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      5+ Year Member
      Apr 7, 2008
      147
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        i would say that taking physical chem, biochem, vertebrate physiology, and cell bio is more than enough. those classes are really demanding. right now im taking 2 sciences w/ labs and 2 humanities and thats enough for me (14 hours).
         

        Bond8204

        Anatomy Lab Crasher
        10+ Year Member
        5+ Year Member
        Apr 24, 2007
        795
        1
        Chicagoland, IL
        1. Medical Student
          my main question after giving some info about myself, do credits raise a flag even in my case when it comes to applying to a top 10 med school?

          I would normally be inclined to say no, but after reading through your post, I'm not as sure. You've taken very few credits in your time at school! 3 classes in one semester is not enough...even with research credits. The minimum you should be taking is 4...and several semesters of college most people have to take 5.

          But too late, I guess, right? It's not like you can go back and take more courses your sophomore year. I don't see that totally screwing you over...especially if some med schools might look at that research as a class (they probably won't--it will likely be viewed as an EC).

          The other reason I think this was probably stupid planning on your part is that at least in my school, we had to have 120+ credits to graduate. Assuming you need 124 credits to graduate, you'll have 87 at the end of junior year...meaning your senior year will be divided up into 18 and 19 credits--not exactly the easiest/best/most fun way to leave college.

          Frankly, I'd get my *** into gear a little bit--you'll likely be juggling quite a bit more work than 3 undergraduate classes during medical school. If I were you I'd take 5 classes first semester junior year (and begin a Kaplan-type class that October). And then take 4 classes in the spring. That way you're at least taking some of the pressure off of senior year, and showing medical schools that you can handle a decent size courseload.

          Heck, even do the research and make the class you add an easy A...trust me..there are plenty of these courses at all schools (****...just look through the anthropology or sociology department's listings).

          Edit: Please don't freak out, now though. Assuming you have an mcat of 34+ and excellent clinical experience in your EC's, you're looking at a very competitive application (A small aside: make sure you're not killing yourself over getting into a "top 10" medical school...there are only ~125 MD schools in the US and I assure you they're all great).
           

          LizzyM

          the evil queen of numbers
          Verified Expert
          15+ Year Member
          Mar 7, 2005
          25,795
          44,540
          1. Academic Administration
            the adcom will see the total number of credit hours taken each academic year and the gpa for each academic year, as well as BCPM and AO (all other) gpa by academic year. A light load will not make you look as good as someone who achieved the same gpa with a load of >30 credits/yr.

            Also, consider taking some social science and humanities courses to round out your education. I know of one adcom member in particular who is continually criticizing applicants who have nothing but natural science on the transcript.

            Make good use of each summer and don't forget the extra-curriculars (if you've got nothing but classes in junior year you'll look stunted). No one will be impressed by a MCAT unless you've got the whole package.
             
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