yjkimnada

5+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2013
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As a potential Biology or Neuroscience major, I would like some help in choosing my courses. Here are my classes:

First Semester:
Literature Humanities
Frontiers of Science
Organic Chemistry for first years 3045 (did well on placement test)
Physics (either 1200 or 1400; HELP in choosing)
Calculus III (got 5 on BC)

Second Semester:
Same but switch Frontiers for University Writing
And switch Calculus III for Intensive General Chemistry Lab 1507

I am a pre-med student in Columbia College and I have satisfied my language requirement. So I plan on taking my one year general physics requirement and get it out of the way. I don't need to take 1400 physics since I'm not engineering. But should I? 1200 will probably be brain dead easy. Or should I go for the 1200? Do medical schools really only care about GPA and nothing about course difficulty like 1200 vs 1400. Thanks.

Also, thoughts on freshman orgo?
 

Cotterpin

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They only care about gpa. Nobody will care if you do 1200 or 1400. Don't forget the 1 credit Physics lab that goes with each semester (I think it might be 1291 and 1292.)

You really might not want to overload yourself for your first semester. I'm sure you're very smart and did great in high school and are well prepared for orgo, but this is college and all of your courses will be curved against the other students. Maybe wait a semester just to be sure you know what you're in for before you start packing in all those courses. Lit Hum is probably more time consuming than you realize.
 
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yjkimnada

yjkimnada

5+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2013
54
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They only care about gpa. Nobody will care if you do 1200 or 1400. Don't forget the 1 credit Physics lab that goes with each semester (I think it might be 1291 and 1292.)

You really might not want to overload yourself for your first semester. I'm sure you're very smart and did great in high school and are well prepared for orgo, but this is college and all of your courses will be curved against the other students. Maybe wait a semester just to be sure you know what you're in for before you start packing in all those courses. Lit Hum is probably more time consuming than you realize.
Thank you for the reply. I keep hearing that they really only care about GPA. I find that so bewildering and short-sighted. I guess I'm having trouble figuring out why or how the difficulty of a class is almost completely neglected. By that logic shouldn't I take Calculus I, General Chem, etc.? I feel like there is a point at which class difficulty is considered, or maybe I'm just wrong. Sorry this is the first time I'm thinking about medical school and these things are still foreign concepts to me.

I'm guessing you're recommending 1200 over 1400? 1600 is overboard, correct?
 

MYRIAD909

PhD Student
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Apr 25, 2009
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As a potential Biology or Neuroscience major, I would like some help in choosing my courses. Here are my classes:

First Semester:
Literature Humanities
Frontiers of Science
Organic Chemistry for first years 3045 (did well on placement test)
Physics (either 1200 or 1400; HELP in choosing)
Calculus III (got 5 on BC)

Second Semester:
Same but switch Frontiers for University Writing
And switch Calculus III for Intensive General Chemistry Lab 1507

I am a pre-med student in Columbia College and I have satisfied my language requirement. So I plan on taking my one year general physics requirement and get it out of the way. I don't need to take 1400 physics since I'm not engineering. But should I? 1200 will probably be brain dead easy. Or should I go for the 1200? Do medical schools really only care about GPA and nothing about course difficulty like 1200 vs 1400. Thanks.

Also, thoughts on freshman orgo?
Take Orgo I & II in the summer. Like the MCAT, it requires your undivided attention. Also, why are you taking Calc III as a Bio major?
 
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Physics for engineering majors was very difficult at my school. As a freshman, I am not sure you want to jump into that and ochem right out of the bat.

Also, gen chem is a requirement for medical school, did you pass out of it? Why such a rush, trying to graduate early?

Also, an A in a tough course does look better than an A in an easy course. However, if you get a B or something then you cant blame it on the difficulty. Whatever path you chose, you need to take responsibility for that challenge.
 
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NotYou20

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Take Orgo I & II in the summer. Like the MCAT, it requires your undivided attention. Also, why are you taking Calc III as a Bio major?
Strongly disagree. It doesn't require undivided attention but time and consistent practice. Summer is a bad time for orgo. Don't take classes and get a damn job during the summer anyway
 
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yjkimnada

yjkimnada

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Jul 6, 2013
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@MYRIAD909 @NotYou20 Yeah I was planning on conducting research at the same lab I've been at for the past three years in the summers.

Orgo is currently the only hard subject I have right now because calculus III at Columbia is considered easier than Calculus II (due to curves and because it doesn't include any integration stuff). In terms of physics I am leaning towards 1200 since 1400 is the one that all the engineering kids are required to take and I hear that they can sometimes really mess up the curves.

Columbia will give full General Chem credit when I take Orgo since the department deemed my placement test score high enough to not repeat material. Also I hear that general Chem is nasty curve wise because everyone (including almost all pre meds) take it. Orgo is essentially a necessary evil and it is known that the freshman Orgo class is curved a bit more leniently than the second/third year Orgo course.

All in all though, it really bums me out that I have to think so strategically early on almost like when I applied to colleges :'(


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NotYou20

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@MYRIAD909 @NotYou20 Yeah I was planning on conducting research at the same lab I've been at for the past three years in the summers.

All in all though, it really bums me out that I have to think so strategically early on almost like when I applied to colleges :'(


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Good plan.
Honestly you probably don't actually have to think about this as hard as you are. You could not take any of these classes this semester and be just fine. You'll be ok. Chill. Have a beer or something
 

TheBiologist

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@MYRIAD909 @NotYou20 Yeah I was planning on conducting research at the same lab I've been at for the past three years in the summers.

Orgo is currently the only hard subject I have right now because calculus III at Columbia is considered easier than Calculus II (due to curves and because it doesn't include any integration stuff). In terms of physics I am leaning towards 1200 since 1400 is the one that all the engineering kids are required to take and I hear that they can sometimes really mess up the curves.

Columbia will give full General Chem credit when I take Orgo since the department deemed my placement test score high enough to not repeat material. Also I hear that general Chem is nasty curve wise because everyone (including almost all pre meds) take it. Orgo is essentially a necessary evil and it is known that the freshman Orgo class is curved a bit more leniently than the second/third year Orgo course.

All in all though, it really bums me out that I have to think so strategically early on almost like when I applied to colleges :'(


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Frankly, I thought that the material istself in Calc III was easier than the material in Calc II.

sounds like a hard schedule but sounds like you can handle it
 
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yjkimnada

yjkimnada

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Jul 6, 2013
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Frankly, I thought that the material istself in Calc III was easier than the material in Calc II.

sounds like a hard schedule but sounds like you can handle it
Yeah I hear the same about calculus 3. What about my schedule do you believe is hard? Is it Orgo? Or do you recommend I reconsider one of the other courses?
 

TheBiologist

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Yeah I hear the same about calculus 3. What about my schedule do you believe is hard? Is it Orgo? Or do you recommend I reconsider one of the other courses?
5 classes total, 2 labs sciences and a math - in general I would tell anyone that that is a hard schedule
 

Cotterpin

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Thank you for the reply. I keep hearing that they really only care about GPA. I find that so bewildering and short-sighted. I guess I'm having trouble figuring out why or how the difficulty of a class is almost completely neglected. By that logic shouldn't I take Calculus I, General Chem, etc.? I feel like there is a point at which class difficulty is considered, or maybe I'm just wrong. Sorry this is the first time I'm thinking about medical school and these things are still foreign concepts to me.

I'm guessing you're recommending 1200 over 1400? 1600 is overboard, correct?
The key is that whatever classes you take, you have to do well in them. That's what med schools want to see: competence and good judgment. That's not short-sighted at all. They absolutely do not want to see you attempting a bunch of upper level classes before you're ready and then getting poor grades. Don't start your college career with a subpar gpa and then spend the whole rest of your time at Columbia digging out of a hole. If you don't feel confident that you'll get an A taking physics for engineers (whhhhhyyyyy would you want to do that anyway?!), then don't do it. And since this is your first semester at Columbia and you really don't understand what it's like until you have some experience, I strongly recommend that you take the first semester easy. You'll learn about hubris in Lit Hum.
 
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ed*26

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There's literally no reason to take Physics 1400. It won't help your application. I would also caution against expecting Physics 1200 to be "brain dead easy" if it's curved. It should certainly be easier than Ochem & Calc, but it will take up a not insignificant amount of your time.

Why are you in such a hurry to take all of these upper-level courses at once? Why take upper-level calc at all? Adcoms *might* glance over your transcript, but in general they're going to be looking most closely at your GPA, MCAT, ECs and the like. Your time could be much better spent with starting clinical volunteering, getting a job, or, you know, making friends and picking up a hobby. Your first semester is the time to take it slow and make absolutely sure you're doing it right.
 
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I took 1200 and would side with everyone here. Everyone is smart in the class so the curve really isn't that helpful, at least it wasn't for my class. Hopefully you culpa'd your professors too to know what to expect in terms of course load. I think it's best to take the advice that others have given and not overload your first semester. You can get a great GPA and always load up during other semesters if you feel like you want to. Just leave room for a social life, you're not going to reminisce on late nights in Butler...
 
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Cotterpin

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Culpa is a Columbia student's best friend.
 

peridotthecat

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I recommend starting with 4 classes, especially if one of them is Orgo. I'd drop either calc or physics depending on which you have a stronger background in. I took 1400 physics, but I also took AP physics c and got a 5, so a good portion was review. In a lot of ways, the premed curve might be tougher than the engineering curve (gpa matters more), and you'd be competing against first years instead of upper-class men/post-bacs--just something to keep in mind.
 

meddesire

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Hi everyone! I just wanna ask what is the difference b/w 4 year private college (such as Columbia college) vs. 4 year public university? Would adcoms look differently b/w the two? Are private college and community college the same?
 

Cotterpin

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Hi everyone! I just wanna ask what is the difference b/w 4 year private college (such as Columbia college) vs. 4 year public university? Would adcoms look differently b/w the two? Are private college and community college the same?
Columbia College is an undergraduate school that is part of Columbia University. A university is a group of schools which include college(s) and other post-secondary education programs. Public schools (universities or colleges) are mostly paid for with public funds (i.e. the government) and private schools are not. Adcoms do not look at private and public institutions differently. Community college is not the same thing. Community colleges are 2-year schools that don't offer bachelors degrees, so they do get viewed differently by adcoms since adcoms will expect you to attend a 4-year institution and get a BS or BA.
 

meddesire

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Columbia College is an undergraduate school that is part of Columbia University. A university is a group of schools which include college(s) and other post-secondary education programs. Public schools (universities or colleges) are mostly paid for with public funds (i.e. the government) and private schools are not. Adcoms do not look at private and public institutions differently. Community college is not the same thing. Community colleges are 2-year schools that don't offer bachelors degrees, so they do get viewed differently by adcoms since adcoms will expect you to attend a 4-year institution and get a BS or BA.
Sorry I just get a little confused here. Cuz I see there are a lot of Columbia colleges around the country. So is Columbia College in South Carolina or the one in Missouri or the one in California all a part of Columbia University in New York? Sorry it maybe dumb question but I'm really confused...
 

Cotterpin

Gluconeogenesis Evangelion
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Sorry I just get a little confused here. Cuz I see there are a lot of Columbia colleges around the country. So is Columbia College in South Carolina or the one in Missouri or the one in California all a part of Columbia University in New York? Sorry it maybe dumb question but I'm really confused...
The Columbia College in this instance is one of the three undergraduate colleges at "Columbia University in the City of New York." Those other Columbia Colleges are completely unrelated and just happen to share the same name.
 

meddesire

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The Columbia College in this instance is one of the three undergraduate colleges at "Columbia University in the City of New York." Those other Columbia Colleges are completely unrelated and just happen to share the same name.
Yeah, so that's my question. Will adcoms look differently on the Columbia College (ex: in South Carolina) and Columbia College (a part of Columbia university)? i know one of them is larger but will either of them be different in adcoms' eyes?
 

Cotterpin

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Yeah, so that's my question. Will adcoms look differently on the Columbia College (ex: in South Carolina) and Columbia College (a part of Columbia university)? i know one of them is larger but will either of them be different in adcoms' eyes?
Columbia University is in the Ivy League and very highly ranked, so it probably has more of a reputation with adcoms than a smaller private liberal arts college. People will argue about how important it is to go a highly ranked school, but I think the general consensus is that the most important thing is that you do well at whatever school you go to. A 3.5 at Columbia University probably isn't going to be looked at more favorably than a 4.0 at Columbia College in Missouri.