Can I get into a Top 20 MD school with community college credits?

Feb 23, 2020
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I just finished my 3rd semester at community college. I have a 3.7 gpa and haven’t taken and science classes because I wanted to wait to take those classes at the university. I was originally planning on going to a university in the fall but because of my financial situation, I can’t afford that. I will need to work and save for another semester before transferring. I am debating whether I should take a semester off of school and work or should I take some science classes at my community college. I’m worried that taking these science classes (and medical school prereqs) will drastically decrease my chances of getting into a top ranked medical school. Does anyone have thoughts on this?
 

gonnif

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I just finished my 3rd semester at community college. I have a 3.7 gpa and haven’t taken and science classes because I wanted to wait to take those classes at the university. I was originally planning on going to a university in the fall but because of my financial situation, I can’t afford that. I will need to work and save for another semester before transferring. I am debating whether I should take a semester off of school and work or should I take some science classes at my community college. I’m worried that taking these science classes (and medical school prereqs) will drastically decrease my chances of getting into a top ranked medical school. Does anyone have thoughts on this?
If you dont get into a "top ranked school" are you then giving up on becoming doctor? If not, then the issue whether or not CC credits will be acceptable by a top school is wholly irrelevant. As I tell all applicants, you focus on getting into medical school not focus on which one. What you need to do is focus on doing well and in this current environment with debt and college costs burdening students, I would take some prereqs at the CC followed up by the majority at a 4 year school.
 
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If you dont get into a "top ranked school" are you then giving up on becoming doctor? If not, then the issue whether or not CC credits will be acceptable by a top school is wholly irrelevant. As I tell all applicants, you focus on getting into medical school not focus on which one. What you need to do is focus on doing well and in this current environment with debt and college costs burdening students, I would take some prereqs at the CC followed up by the majority at a 4 year school.

No, it’s not top 20 or bust but at the same time medical school prestige is a factor when applying for residencies that are more competitive. It’s not about top 20 or bust it’s about not closing the door on opportunities because of decisions made in undergrad.
 
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gonnif

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No, it’s not top 20 or bust but at the same time medical school prestige is a factor when applying for residencies that are more competitive. It’s not about top 20 or bust it’s about not closing the door on opportunities because of decisions made in undergrad.

SUNY Upstate College of Medicine
Frequently Asked Questions | College of Medicine | SUNY Upstate Medical University
“Applicants should avoid taking more than one or two prerequisite science courses during the summer and avoid taking them at community colleges.”

Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
http://icahn.mssm.edu/education/medical/admissions/regular-track/requirements
Q: Can I take my courses at a community college, or must I take them at a four-year college or university?
A: We have no requirement about where you take courses, though the Committee on Admissions does take that into consideration in evaluating your application.


Johns Hopkins Medical School
Prerequisites, Requirements and Policies | Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine M.D. Program
The School of Medicine accepts prerequisites completed at the community college level. In order to be competitive in the selection process, we encourage prospective applicants with community college prerequisites to supplement these courses by taking advanced courses in related subjects at their four year institution.

University of Florida College of Medicine
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions » FAQ » Medical Admissions » College of Medicine » University of Florida
Q: Can I take the prerequisite courses at my local community/junior college?
A: In order to create the most academically competitive application you should take all prerequisite courses at the most competitive bachelor’s degree granting institution where you can gain entrance. You should try to complete your pre-requisite courses at a four-year institution


Albert Einstein College of Medicine
https://www.einstein.yu.edu/educati...pplication-procedure/course-requirements.aspx
Whereas course work at a four-year college or university is our benchmark, if a student chooses to meet a competency component via an alternate route such as through laboratory experience, through an advanced placement course, a course taken at a community college, a course taken abroad (during a semester abroad for which the undergraduate U.S. degree-granting institution gives credit, or for which AMCAS will verify and report the grade), or an online course, he or she should seek guidance from his or her advisor to ensure that the option meets the above guidelines as well as the rigorous academic standard required by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

George Washington University
MD Program Frequently Asked Questions | The School of Medicine & Health Sciences
Do you accept community college credits?
Yes. The Committee on Admissions does accept coursework taken at a community college; however, it is preferable to have the pre-medical coursework taken at a four-year college or university.


Florida State University College of Medicine
http://med.fsu.edu/?page=mdAdmissions.admissionRequirement
Listed below is the pre-requisite coursework required for all matriculates to the FSU COM. Advanced Placement, CLEP, and dual enrollment credits fulfill the course requirements. However, courses taken in a traditional classroom at a four-year institution are considered to be more academically competitive.

Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University
MD Program Admissions Requirements | Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University
Two pre-requisite science courses can be fulfilled with AP credits, community college courses or through a study abroad program.

Texas A&M Health Sciences Center College of Medicine
Medical School Admissions
Policy on AP Credits, Credits by Exam, and Dual Credit
We generally prefer that applicants take the prerequisite courses at 4-year accredited colleges and universities rather than utilize advanced placement credits, credits by exam, dual-credit, pass/fail course work or community college courses. We do not dismiss these credits; and, if they have been taken, we will accept them toward meeting the prerequisites. In fact, if an applicant has placed out of a required level course, we will also accept another course in that discipline at the same or higher level. Again, our preference is that applicants take graded courses at 4-year institutions, particularly the prerequisites in the biological sciences and the chemistry series.

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine
http://www.medschool.vcu.edu/admissions/md/faq/#q43
Are community college classes accepted as prerequisite course credit?
They may be, but the Admissions Committee generally expects students to complete all prerequisite courses at a four-year undergraduate institution.

Yale
https://medicine.yale.edu/education/admissions/apply/premed.aspx
Pre-medical courses must be completed in a U.S., U.K., or Canadian college or university. U.S. Community College courses are acceptable, provided that the courses include laboratory work and are comparable in content to courses at four-year colleges, universities, or institutes of technology.

Weill Cornell
http://weill.cornell.edu/education/admissions/app_faq.html
Can I take my prerequisite courses at a Community College?
It is not recommended.
 
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No, it’s not top 20 or bust but at the same time medical school prestige is a factor when applying for residencies that are more competitive. It’s not about top 20 or bust it’s about not closing the door on opportunities because of decisions made in undergrad.
In the long run, your attending salary will be the same if you go to ACOM or Yale, John A Burns or Harvard, U WA or U Miami
 
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LizzyM

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I'd be more concerned about the 3.7 holding you back than the CC credits. Keep in mind, too, that some of the concern about CC credits is aimed at students at elite universities who use summer classes at a CC to avoid taking a weed-out course at their home institution.
 
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I just finished my 3rd semester at community college. I have a 3.7 gpa and haven’t taken and science classes because I wanted to wait to take those classes at the university. I was originally planning on going to a university in the fall but because of my financial situation, I can’t afford that. I will need to work and save for another semester before transferring. I am debating whether I should take a semester off of school and work or should I take some science classes at my community college. I’m worried that taking these science classes (and medical school prereqs) will drastically decrease my chances of getting into a top ranked medical school. Does anyone have thoughts on this?

I think as others have said - the CC credits won't hold you back. But with or without those credits, Top 20 acceptances are hard to come by. What does the rest of your app look like?
 
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In the long run, your attending salary will be the same if you go to ACOM or Yale, John A Burns or Harvard, U WA or U Miami
My concern isn’t necessarily about salary. I’m hoping match into a surgical residency and I know it’s a the more prestigious your medical school is the more likely you are to match into a competitive residency
 
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I think as others have said - the CC credits won't hold you back. But with or without those credits, Top 20 acceptances are hard to come by. What does the rest of your app look like?
So I’ve been in school for 3 semesters so right now my grades are about all I have. However I did take a break after my first 2 semesters to spend 2 years in underserved communities in Massachusetts helping immigrants learn English and adjust to life in The US. During this time I also learned a new language that I now speak fluently. So as of right now I have my grades and this extracurricular. As well as my place of employment where I am a floor manager in a large produce packing plant.
 

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My concern isn’t necessarily about salary. I’m hoping match into a surgical residency and I know it’s a the more prestigious your medical school is the more likely you are to match into a competitive residency

Take a look at this viewbook and look at the bios of the leadership of the surgery department of one of the top med schools. You'll see grads from a variety of schools and surgical residencies at a variety of places.

Your "pedigree" might count a little bit but not as much as you might imagine. The cream rises to the top regardless of the bottle it is in.
 
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Schools like Cornell give people false hope. Their website says not recommended but MSAR says they do. If it's not recommended they should at least use the case by case option on MSAR. But people are right, the goal should be trying to be a doctor rather than trying to get in the best school. At the same time i understand the worry of getting into a good residency.
I'm sorry, but MSAR is merely a guide.

It is up to the applicant to investigate these things.

What I find appalling is that you have people who have hundreds, if not even thousands of hours in research, but yet they can't be bothered to go look at the admission websites of Med schools.

EDIT: Even MSAR states: The requirements listed above are provided by the medical school, and may be updated by the medical school at any time. The AAMC does not verify, and is not responsible for ensuring, the currency or accuracy of the requirements listed above by the medical school, or the accuracy of the coursework that you provide, and is not liable for any decision made in reliance upon the results of this tool. Applicants are encouraged to verify the requirements directly with the school. Please note that credit hours may vary depending upon the policies of undergraduate institutions.
 
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My concern isn’t necessarily about salary. I’m hoping match into a surgical residency and I know it’s a the more prestigious your medical school is the more likely you are to match into a competitive residency

Bear in mind that selection bias is very much at work here, which muddies the water considerably.
 
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Although I admire you looking ahead, I think you are skipping a few steps. It sounds like you are a sophomore at a CC who has a 3.7, and you are thinking about matching. Sincerely, like @LizzyM said, you should be much more concerned about the fact that you only have a 3.7 at a CC. You need to focus on where you are right now to get that up because if the CC credits don’t hold you back from a T20, then a 3.7 definitely will. Look online at some of the average GPAs of top 20 schools. You will need at least a 3.8, and preferably a >3.9.
And if you can’t maintain a high GPA at a CC, what makes you think you can at a 4 year university? Because if that GPA drops even further (say to a 3.5-3.6), you probably won’t even get into an MD school in general—let alone a T20.

However, like others have echoed, you can certainly do almost any specialty from almost any school—and the average Step 2 scores for Gen surg are not that outrageous. If you study hard, you can get into a Gen Surg residency from ANY school. Additionally, if you don’t get the best board scores or you are applying from a DO school (or low-tier MD) that historically doesn’t match well into CT surg, neuro, or plastics, then you can complete a gen surg residency first, and subspecialize afterwards. You will have plenty of options once you are into medical school, and you’ll see that medical prestige does not matter nearly as much as it does in other professions like law. Just focus on getting that GPA up for now.
 
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Although I admire you looking ahead, I think you are skipping a few steps. It sounds like you are a sophomore at a CC who has a 3.7, and you are thinking about matching. Sincerely, like @LizzyM said, you should be much more concerned about the fact that you only have a 3.7 at a CC. You need to focus on where you are right now to get that up because if the CC credits don’t hold you back from a T20, then a 3.7 definitely will. Look online at some of the average GPAs of top 20 schools. You will need at least a 3.8, and preferably a >3.9.
And if you can’t maintain a high GPA at a CC, what makes you think you can at a 4 year university? Because if that GPA drops even further (say to a 3.5-3.6), you probably won’t even get into an MD school in general—let alone a T20.

However, like others have echoed, you can certainly do almost any specialty from almost any school—and the average Step 2 scores for Gen surg are not that outrageous. If you study hard, you can get into a Gen Surg residency from ANY school. Additionally, if you don’t get the best board scores or you are applying from a DO school (or low-tier MD) that historically doesn’t match well into CT surg, neuro, or plastics, then you can complete a gen surg residency first, and subspecialize afterwards. You will have plenty of options once you are into medical school, and you’ll see that medical prestige does not matter nearly as much as it does in other professions like law. Just focus on getting that GPA up for now.

As someone who went to law school, I completely agree with the statement that the prestige of the law school you went to being a huge decision on if you get a good job or not. I'm glad to hear that it doesn't seem like too much of a life or death decision for medical school. Obviously I don't know how it works with med schools but in law if you were applying for an internship or post grad position against people who went to Stanford, Berkeley, Harvard etc. yet you were top of your class at a low tier law school and maybe even had more experience, you wouldn't get picked for the job.
 
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As someone who went to law school, I completely agree with the statement that the prestige of the law school you went to being a huge decision on if you get a good job or not. I'm glad to hear that it doesn't seem like too much of a life or death decision for medical school. Obviously I don't know how it works with med schools but in law if you were applying for an internship or post grad position against people who went to Stanford, Berkeley, Harvard etc. yet you were top of your class at a low tier law school and maybe even had more experience, you wouldn't get picked for the job.
Simple supply and demand. There is a huge doctor shortage and a huge glut of lawyers. That's why law school and med school are night and day with respect to prestige and opportunities. Do law schools have an overall acceptance rate of 43%? That's why prestige matters in law!!!
 
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Simple supply and demand. There is a huge doctor shortage and a huge glut of lawyers. That's why law school and med school are night and day with respect to prestige and opportunities. Do law schools have an overall acceptance rate of 43%? That's why prestige matters in law!!!
So I've noticed! In law school we hear about how it's a "small" community and all lawyers know each other so we must be "professional" with each other in law school because we will be seeing each other a lot in the field lol but in reality there are a load of lawyers. Thankfully I went into a more demanding field that I could use my degree because all the people I went to school with either haven't passed the bar exam, aren't practicing in the field they want, aren't getting paid well, or don't have a job. I don't want to deal with all that stress during medical school as far as worrying about "prestige." I'm just trying to get in the door and that door doesn't need to be Harvard.
 
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So I've noticed! In law school we hear about how it's a "small" community and all lawyers know each other so we must be "professional" with each other in law school because we will be seeing each other a lot in the field lol but in reality there are a load of lawyers. Thankfully I went into a more demanding field that I could use my degree because all the people I went to school with either haven't passed the bar exam, aren't practicing in the field they want, aren't getting paid well, or don't have a job. I don't want to deal with all that stress during medical school as far as worrying about "prestige." I'm just trying to get in the door and that door doesn't need to be Harvard.
So, you're an attorney who wants to go to med school?
 
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So, you're an attorney who wants to go to med school?
I was hoping when I said I went into a more demanding field it would imply that I'm not a lawyer haha. No I am not a lawyer, like many people have said there are far too many out there to even get a decent job. Wanting to go to med school has been a long time goal of mine that has not been possible to achieve until now and yeah during that time I just happened to have been pressured to go to law school.
 
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I was hoping when I said I went into a more demanding field it would imply that I'm not a lawyer haha. No I am not a lawyer, like many people have said there are far too many out there to even get a decent job. Wanting to go to med school has been a long time goal of mine that has not been possible to achieve until now and yeah during that time I just happened to have been pressured to go to law school.
Ahh -- so you're a JD who does not have a lawyer job? If so, welcome!!

Yes, unlike law, ALL med schools are impossibly difficult to get into, so once you are in, you are pretty much guaranteed employment in the field. Prestige and pedigree matter for academia and certain very competitive specialties, but, other than them, once you are in, you are good to go. One caveat, as mentioned above, here, the trick is getting in. Around 60% of applicants every year do not.

With law, you can go hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and then learn you can't get a job. Here, the pain and disappointment comes on the front end, when you are only out a few thousand dollars in test prep and application costs!! :)
 
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Ahh -- so you're a JD who does not have a lawyer job? If so, welcome!!

Yes, unlike law, ALL med schools are impossibly difficult to get into, so once you are in, you are pretty much guaranteed employment in the field. Prestige and pedigree matter for academia and certain very competitive specialties, but, other than them, once you are in, you are good to go. One caveat, as mentioned above, here, the trick is getting in. Around 60% of applicants every year do not.

With law, you can go hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and then learn you can't get a job. Here, the pain and disappointment comes on the front end, when you are only out a few thousand dollars in test prep and application fees!! :)
Exactly, you can have a pretty crappy gpa under 3.0 and still get into law school, it will just cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars unless you get a scholarship like i was able to have. You are right though, it takes a lot of work to just get in the door for medical school so I am going to try not making the same mistake I did in law school. I want to be able to focus more on school and grades. I finally get a shot to pursue this goal of mine so I don't wanna mess it up!
 
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In the long run, your attending salary will be the same if you go to ACOM or Yale, John A Burns or Harvard, U WA or U Miami

This. Unless you are trying to do some crazy research it really doesn't matter. Too many premeds get wrapped up in things that ultimately don't matter, and school prestige is usually at the top of that list.

Like others have said, don't try and sneak through Orgo at a CC during a summer, but if you start at a CC to save money, or take the occasional summer class that is not vital to your premed application you should be good!

I started at a CC.

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