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Chemical Engineer needs...more science?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by LostTommyGuns, Jul 22, 2006.

  1. LostTommyGuns

    LostTommyGuns ASA Member

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    A friend of mine is a Chemical Engineer applying to Medical School and he met with a dean who told him that his application is okay but should have more biological sciences. Thoughts? Bear in mind that he has a 30-35 MCAT and a 3.3-3.6 GPA. Since he didn't have much biology he took an Anatomy and a Cell Biology course recently.

    My feeling (as a now-fourth year med student) was that if he can get through Chemical Engineering and work for 2-4 years that if I were an admissions officer I wouldn't worry about science background - he's already taken tougher science courses than many pre-meds, whether they were biological or not is nit-picking. It's not unreasonable to give the advice that more biological sciences would help but the Dean suggested he take an additional year to take some biological sciences instead of applying now. I disagree but would like to hear other's thoughts.
     
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  3. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Does he have the prereqs? If he's just got anatomy and cell biology he doesn't. Schools don't care as much about the quantity of science you've taken (as evidenced by us nonsci types), just that you've taken the required ones. Much like the english requirement. Those folks with numerous writing intensive social science courses and degrees usually still had to take english, because it was a requirement. I've met one or two people who got into med school with waived science prereqs, but is generally pretty rare.
     
  4. bsmcga0

    bsmcga0 Junior Member

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    I am a electrical engineer, dental student, but we take years 1 and 2 with med students, I had no science background, didn't even finish the prereqs, and I did very well in the science classes, he doesn't need the classes
     
  5. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I'm not sure that's the question. None of the prereqs are actually "needed" in med school. The question as I understand it is does he need them to get into med school in the first place.
     
  6. LostTommyGuns

    LostTommyGuns ASA Member

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    Good question - I think he took Anatomy with a lab and Cell Bio with a lab. So technically probably not. ;) But he has two "biological" sciences with a lab which could fulfill most medical school's requirements I believe.

    Interesting you bring up the English requirements, because the Dean said nothing about that, even though he only has a single course under his belt despite the "required" two. Besides, having majored in Chemistry and Cell Biology (not Biochem) I feel qualified to say that, for the most part, if you can prove yourself able to memorize facts, do complicated math and understand complicated concepts that you can excel in any science course if you apply yourself. I think that he has done that.

    Maybe the question would be better posed: In your opinion, does an engineer that did reasonably well in Undergrad have enough science experience to predict that they will do well in medical school (based solely on science experience, as opposed to motivations, interpersonal skills, etc.)
     
  7. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I think it's a given that a Chemical Engineer would do fine in the basic science portion of med school -- I know a few. That really wouldn't be the issue.
    But prereqs are prereqs. Some schools may waive them. Most others probably blindly follow the rules. Most med schools want specific bio courses, not anatomy. Your friend ought to touch base with a school or two he might be interested in and see what they require. But he may not like the answer.
     
  8. LostTommyGuns

    LostTommyGuns ASA Member

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    Yeah, I advised him to get a second opinion as well. My feeling was that it was good to get shot down by someone so that you don't feel invincible, but that taking an additional year off to take 3-5 more biological sciences was over the top. :confused:

    It's probably just another example of people finding a set of rules and sticking to them because "that's the way it's always been done". It's not my style and frankly it irritates me when people think that. Perhaps its a good initiation to the jumping through hoops that goes on in medical school and beyond. :rolleyes:

    Thanks for your input Law2Doc
     
  9. femily

    femily Guest

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    i'm a ChE and starting med school in 2 weeks. the only extra "bio" class i took was biochemistry. i had very average gpa and mcat scores. the other ChE in my class who applied to med school got in also, and he didn't take any extra bio classes. i also only shadowed a doctor for one day, but i did visit a morgue once a week last summer (part of my summer research program) and saw the presentations.

    tell your friend to emphasize his problem solving, time management, and teamwork skills. this person also probably interviews and presents very well. (in my department we had to give powerpoints at least twice a semester our senior year.) the engineering skillset learned in college is VERY different from the ones learned in traditional liberal arts. also, he (or she) has a wonderful "plan b" just in case, and the interviewers like knowing that they have a level-headed person sitting in front of them.

    i wouldn't take any time off to work or whatever. all the ChE's that come back tell me that they handled med/dent school easily since we're all used to being overrun with work.

    my med school told me that they look very favorably on engineers, and i'm sure that is pretty commonplace everywhere else. all the folks in my ChE department who have applied to med school have gotten in. i'd say that's a great track record for ChE's.

    good luck!
     
  10. ):(

    ):( Senior Member

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    Is he applying for an MD/PhD? If so, he might have mentioned something about his research that may need additional biology classes.
     
  11. LostTommyGuns

    LostTommyGuns ASA Member

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    femily - thanks for the response. That's kind of what I was thinking - I'll pass on your experience to him, got to temper the bad news with some good :cool: He's worked for 2-4 years and worked a variety of schedules and difficulty levels, so working hard is not an issue. Ultimately I think I'll advise him to take some more Biology, as well as do some shadowing and volunteering since it won't hurt. Frankly I think it's overkill but, sadly, I don't make the admission decisions. I will someday, but not today. :D

    ):( - that's a negative on the MD/PhD. He's just trying to have a more meaningful career (at least in his mind) lots of research at this time is not in the cards. Good thought though.
     

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