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Am I crazy...??

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by profstudent, Dec 18, 2005.

  1. profstudent

    profstudent Junior Member
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    Although I am not a "typical" nontrad (I am currently in my senior year of undergrad and plan on spending a fifth year here to take my premed requirements), I appreciate the advice those of you are giving.

    So, am I crazy for thinking that I can successfully complete all my premed requirements in one year? Those at formal post-bacs (i.e. Goucher, Bryn Mawr) do it all the time. I realize that it will be a struggle, but I am dedicated 100% to this and fortunately will not have to work (aside from volunteering as an EMT). My current schedule is:

    Summer: General Chem I, General Chem II
    Fall: Bio I, Orgo, I, Physics I
    Spring: Bio II, Orgo II, Physics II
    Summer: August MCAT

    Does this sound feasible? Alternatively, I could spread the classes out over two years (like some of you seem to suggest) and then only have to take two requirements a semester, but I'm not too keen on spending another year (in addition to the glide year I'm already expecting).

    My premed friends all tell me I'm in for the shock of my life, even though I have excelled in the social sciences. I'm a good student, but am wondering if I am being overconfident and/or crazy. Any thoughts would be appreciated!!
     
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  3. efex101

    efex101 attending
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    Yes, I do think that this crazy because you "yet" have to see what your capabilities are in taking hard core sciences with labs and getting A's. I would suggest to take it easy at first see how well you do in a class and "then" if you are kicking arse *then* consider adding more. You need to do extremely WELL and get A's for you to be noticed this applies moreso if you are doing damage control (GPA wise) so be extremely careful that you do not bite off more than you can chew.
     
  4. Beau Geste

    Beau Geste yah mo b there
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    Yeah, I would have to agree with efex. If you are *just* out of college and still in your early twenties, what's the hurry? It's better to take your time and do well.
     
  5. blee

    blee Senior Member
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    I'm going to go for the other side here and say that you should at least tentatively plan your schedule the way you've laid it out. Summer gen chem will be a good way to adjust to taking science courses, and it will give you some idea of what you'll be up against in the fall. You could even take the April MCAT, as I did, if you feel comfortable with the fall workload. The way I see it, you're still essentially an undergrad and you probably have few commitments outside of your school work. There's no reason why you can't take on a rigorous schedule; all the better, in fact, for showing med schools that you can live up to their demands as a physician in training. And anyway, three simultaneous classes works out to only 12-13 credits per semester. Despite the fact that you were taking "easy" humanities courses, you had to take more credits than that just to graduate on time. The *best* way to handle all of these pre-reqs if you didn't take them during a four-year undergrad career is to take them all at once. Many non-trads are unable to do this due to commitments outside of school, but like I said, you probably don't have many.

    I would also suggest that you make sure you want to do this before you start. One of my former post-bacc classmates was a liberal arts major like you and attempted the same schedule. He did well over the summer but began to question his motivation and ended up dropping all of his classes early in the fall semester. His was not an issue of ability, but of desire.
     
  6. kimmcauliffe

    kimmcauliffe Surfer Chum
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    I agree with Blee. Start out with the schedule that you've set for yourself, but cut back on it if you feel like you won't be able to pull high grades. Also remember that studying for the MCATs is like another class. Don't rush though your courses- you want to be able to retain as much from them as you can. Best of luck to you!
     
  7. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    It's a rough load. I have two suggestions. First, you might push either bio or physics to the latter summer and then take the MCAT the following April. You will lose an application cycle year (during which you can really pump up your ECs), but stand a better chance of doing well. Alternatively, I suppose you could take a class that latter summer and still take the August MCAT, but then you end up doubling up MCAT studying and an accellerated courseload. It's doable, but you won't have any semblance of a summer. The danger of taking three science classes at once during the academic year is that if you need to spend extra time in one or more, you won't have the time to spend. Social science courses are not a good comparison for whether you will succeed in real sciences, so if this is your first foray into college level science courses, assume it will be a struggle at times.
    If the goal is to get into med school, then it is far more important to get good grades than to finish in a year. This isn't a race. There is no one to keep up with, and you will be a year older no matter what happens during that year. Take things at a reasonable pace, get good grades, pick up some additonal ECs in the extra time, and get into med school.
     
  8. profstudent

    profstudent Junior Member
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    Thanks for all the suggestions everyone! I am thinking that I will take both General Chems this summer and see how it goes. Based on this experience and the first couple weeks of my planned fall schedule, I'll have a better idea of whether I can hack three courses at a time.

    One of the downsides of pushing things back to only two science courses a semester is that I will have to fill my schedule with random courses to keep 12 credits in order to remain a full-time student (I would still be an undergrad). This is annoying even though I know I could pick up some interesting health-related courses. Another downside is that I lose another year, which I know in the end doesn't matter, but I (like a lot of people) want to do this the fastest way possible. But I understand what everyone is saying about rushing and possibly hurting my GPA in the meantime. So, what does everyone think about this modified schedule (if I do indeed find that the three courses a semester isn't working)...

    Summer: General Chem I, General Chem II
    Fall: Bio I, Orgo I
    Spring: Orgo II, Physics I
    Summer: Bio II
    Fall: Physics II, Physiology (and/or Genetics, Biochem) and Graduate
    Spring: (Some sort of job and hardcore study) April MCAT

    Of course there is some flexibility in this schedule, so some things could be adjusted with having no more than two science courses at a time. Any thoughts?
     
  9. odrade1

    odrade1 UASOM alum
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    No, it's not crazy. I did it in 1 year also. If you are smart & have enough time to study, this schedule is no problem.

    However, make sure that your school is offering these courses when you need to take them, and that you can find lab times for each class, given your plan. Our physics dept runs its classes whenever it wants, so the lectures and labs all begin and end at strange times. Usually it is hard to make several science classes from different departments fit if you take a physics here. Hope that isn't the case at your school. Pre-reqs are also a concern: my school wouldn't let you take genchem II without first completing genchem I.
     
  10. Lebesgue

    Lebesgue Senior Member
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    An extra year is worth getting A's vs C's. Don't overextend, protect your GPA, but show you can work hard. I did the same thing you're doing for the most part, not so many classes though. It will be good for you since that will be a nice prep for the MCAT (having all your science classes stacked up like that). If you can afford it, I would say don't work full time and try to study for the MCAT, just take 2 months and cram. Otherwise work half time for the study period and cram.

    Good luck. :)
     
  11. UCLA2000

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    You're better off doing a post bac program. That's what they're designed to do. If you think that you can pull off that workload AND do well in those classes you're insane!
     
  12. profstudent

    profstudent Junior Member
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    What I don't understand is, how exactly is being in a formal program going to make getting good grades in these classes any easier? Are you assuming that these programs offer better suppport/advising services?
     
  13. efex101

    efex101 attending
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    Yes, usually that is the beauty of the post-bacc programs they do offer more advising and support but again it is NOT necessary to do a formal post-bacc IF you are well informed. One mistake that pre-meds do including non-trads is not informing themselves. ALL the information about this process can be found in a plethora of books about how to get into medical school this includes some for non-trads AND the AAMC web page AND the individual schools web pages. There is no reason to NOT know the timelines and deadlines and things required..also depending on SDN is okay but there is nothing as good as informing yourself elsewhere and then fine tuning here. I was blessed during my cycle but I know that it was not "luck" but just my timing was right on and keeping a good record of things to do/send/submitted/etc...there is a lot that needs to go into this process but most of it is just "knowing" the ins and outs. Of course grades/mcat are two HUGE components that can keep you out of the let's interview this person pool....
     
  14. johnjoseph

    johnjoseph Junior Member
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    go for it...I took all of my pre-requisites in one year with a 3.82 GPA. I plan on attending dental school. I actually took bio, gen. chem, and physics together and then took orgo I and II over the summer, then the DAT.

    If you are dedicated and willing to give up your social life it can be done.

    Also, make sure you do your research on the professors that you plan on taking.
     

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