Aug 19, 2015
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Status
Pre-Medical
Hey y'all,

Been frequenting the forum for about a year now trying to soak up as much knowledge as possible. Just had a few questions about my scenario to see if any of you had some input. I appreciate your responses.


A little background...
I graduated with my Bachelor's degree (3.72GPA) in 2012 and completed my Master's degree (3.66GPA) in 2014; both non-science related, business actually. I have been working a comfortable full-time job since completion of my Master's. I'll spare you the details, but in short, I have the itch to pursue my dream of working in medicine.


As for where I stand currently...
While in undergrad I had tried to divert from business and pursue medicine. I did not have the finances to add on another year of debt so I went into the world of business and got a FT job to start paying off debt.

I did however complete a couple (well technically one) of "pre-reqs" as you will. I took Intro to Chem at my CC (Doesn't count as a pre-req) and Biology 1 at a 4-year university. I realize that I still have to take Gen Chem, O Chem, Physics, and Biology 2 before I can even apply to medical school. I wanted to detail out my 2-year plan for y'all and hopefully receive some constructive feedback.

Fall 2015
Gen Chem 1 at a CC

Spring 2016
Gen Chem 2 at CC
Biology 2 at CC

Summer 2016
Physics 1 & 2 at 4-year

Fall 2016
O-Chem 1 at 4-year
BioChem/MicroBio at 4-year

Spring 2017
O-Chem 2 at 4-year
**Study butt off for MCAT

Now keep in mind I will be trying to accomplish this schedule while working full-time.

My concerns are:

1) Taking classes at a CC. As I have read on the forum, it may not be a big deal so long as you get good grades within those classes. I am on a budget and time constraint. Not to mention that the CC offers night classes whereas the nearest 4-year does not.

2) Taking only 1-2 courses per semester due to my current job. Is this a big deal? From my understanding, medical school admissions committees like to see individuals handle a rigorous course-load to mimic the medical school intensity. I feel like I have proven academic rigor through my Bachelors and Masters GPA, granted this were non-science courses.


Thanks for any and all feedback!
Best
 

Eccesignum

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You're got a pretty cGPA, congrats. Defend it at all costs. MD schools will not care about your graduate GPA, though DO schools will.

Invest in the MSAR online. For each school it'll show you whether they accept community college credit for certain classes, especially pre-reqs (some simply do not). You'll have to decide for yourself if you're good with the options. It'll also help you figure out if you have the other pre-reqs that are creeping into the lists like X credits of English, humanities, etc.

Taking Physics 1 AND 2 in a single summer is not something I'd personally advise.

Do you have any clinical experiences? Shadowing? Volunteering? Remember that stats are only part of the picture, and they'll only get you so far without ECs that round you out and show that you know what you're getting yourself into.
 

DrMidlife

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1) Taking classes at a CC. As I have read on the forum, it may not be a big deal so long as you get good grades within those classes. I am on a budget and time constraint. Not to mention that the CC offers night classes whereas the nearest 4-year does not.
You have to get good grades in classes regardless of the school. You can get away with some CC coursework if your academic career is dominated by university work.

The point in med school admissions is to have an academic record that is (a) easy to understand in a pile of 5000 apps and (b) demonstrative of your ability to sustain a mostly-science learning effort with success (iow get good grades over the long haul).
2) Taking only 1-2 courses per semester due to my current job. Is this a big deal? From my understanding, medical school admissions committees like to see individuals handle a rigorous course-load to mimic the medical school intensity. I feel like I have proven academic rigor through my Bachelors and Masters GPA, granted this were non-science courses.
If you can find an opportunity to do a full time science term before you apply, that would be helpful.

I agree that a summer isn't big enough to successfully hold a year of university physics.

Consider whether the money you're making in your current job, vs. other jobs, is worth the loss of opportunities to get ready for med school. Consider finding a campus job, for instance, that can get you closer to your goals in a more straightforward fashion.

Best of luck to you.
 
OP
H
Aug 19, 2015
10
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I understand that my non-science GPA has little to nothing to show for what can be accomplished in my pre-reqs/science. I was simply just stating my GPA in case someone to wrap some context around my background.

I have already spoken to the Medical Schools I intend on applying to and they make no mention of declining CC credits. They just prefer courses taken at a 4-year. In the sake of time and cost I am choosing to take Gen Chem 1, Gen Chem 2, and Biology 2 at a CC. Didn't know if any post-bacc non-trad students had some input on the situation.

I have no clinical experience. Just volunteering and shadowing.


DrMidLife,
To point "a)" of your comment. When you say "Easy to understand" are you implying that pre-reqs at multiple institutions (i.e. more transcripts) can have a negative impact?
 
OP
H
Aug 19, 2015
10
0
Status
Pre-Medical
@DrMidlif

Bumping. Curious what you meant by the above. Or if anyone has some insight into my situation.

I will have knocked out my lower-level pre-reqs (Gen chem and Bio) at two different community colleges. The reason for this is scheduling classes around my job. One college doesn't offer class A and B at differing times so I had to go to another CC to get a split schedule. Do adcoms look down on this? I personally, speaking from no experience, feel like as long as you get the pre-reqs done thats all that matters. Granted it is one more transcript to turn in with my application (with only one class on it).

I will be taking Physics, O Chem, and Biochem at a 4-year, however. To try and prove I can handle the academic rigor.

Thanks.
 

DrMidlife

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"Be easy to understand". Is hard to understand...? Hmm.

This is nontrad, so I assume you've had a job. And you have a college record. So you've filled out applications before. And you're in business, so maybe you've studied or experienced some cases about companies and organizations and how they work.

Using your imagination, pretend you're one of the people who has to review applications at a med school.

Pretend that there are 5000 applications at your school. Every year. It takes months to review them, and months to handle interviews, and then way too soon the process starts all over again. Year after year. Decades.

The dominant demographic, always, is a 21-22 year old science major with a 3.6+ GPA and strong MCAT who did a bunch of clinical work/volunteering, maybe did some research, maybe did AmeriCorps or worked as an EMT or CNA, has faculty letters of recommendation vouching for academic capability and character. (If this list of cookie-cutter qualifications is a mystery to you, HouAggieDoc, you can de-mystify it by reading a few What Are My Chances threads in pre-allo.)

It's very easy to see an applicant's list of classes with grades. Because it's a list. Usually multiple pages long. Before or after the class list is demographics, schools and majors, cumulative GPAs, MCAT(s), essay, ECs. You the reviewer aren't going to jump in and digest the class list. You are going to look above and below it, at the list of schools and majors, GPAs, MCAT(s). And then based on impressions from those data points, you'll look at the list of classes. Let's review: 5000 apps, you know you have to reject at least 80% of them before interview stage. You are processing, not enjoying. Maybe half or a third of the apps include a piece of information that sparks a reaction such as sailing, if you the reviewer also happen to sail. You will look for things you've seen a million times before, because you've been doing app review at your school for years. You look for the science classes, particularly the prereqs, also any hard science such as biochem or other upper div science. You judge rigor. You judge course load. You want to see a reason this student will succeed in the first two years of med school, which will include 2-3 times the volume of any undergrad major, will go very fast, and is hard work for the best students. You know that a student who fails out costs the school maybe $50k in tuition dollars per year, in addition to the huge amount of time spent in student progress committees and possible legal review. And you have to get rid of 80% of the apps. No shortage of apps that are perfectly fine.

It's not hard to figure out that a student who graduated a few years back and has a graduate degree is going to have science coursework on the back of the class list. A reviewer who sees a business, or liberal arts, or piano, or similar degree, is very interested to see how this student performed in science classes. Science classes. Let's go look at those. Grades. Rigor. Course load.

(I'm leaving out the essay and EC descriptions. But it's a similar processing-not-enjoying kind of review. Under no circumstances should an essay or EC description require the reviewer to do any work such as looking something up. That includes looking up something in the student's own app.)

So here you (HouAggieDoc) are, at the beginning of that back page that will have your science classes. What story will they tell?

You haven't taken much science, even though your biz grades are good. If you're smart, you'll plan for your med school prereqs to be really hard. Harder than biz. Harder than grad school. Prereqs are the graveyard of dreams for kids who got straight A's in high school. In the future a reviewer is going to look at your class list. Looking for rigor. Looking for consistency. Looking for red flags so he/she doesn't have to keep looking and can move on to the next app.

Hope that helps.
 
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Ad2b

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I would also look into taking BIOCHEM over orgo 2; check with schools that you're interested in. Many are dropping the orgo 2 in favor of biochem.

Also, you need psych/soc in there (unless in your ugrad).
 
OP
H
Aug 19, 2015
10
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks for the insight DrMidLife.

Ad2b, I minored in Psych so I have the appropriate pre-reqs completed. I plan on taking Biochem the Fall before I take the MCAT and finish off my pre-reqs with Orgo 2