Community College or a not so good university on medical school app

Mar 19, 2010
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I'm a senior in high school and I am completely determined to go to 5medicine.. and I aim for hopkins or mayo. Because of economical issues i was planning on going my first two years to a cc in california saving some money on tuition and housing since my grandma has a house in sd not used. Then after getting my credit hours and establishing residence, transfer to a UC (again, aiming for berkeley or LA) to major in neuroscience. But right I've been acceptted in several 4 year colleges and univs, my top choice being King's College PA because of a 50% merit scholarship. Now, King's is not a very prestiguous college and I would end up transferring anyways without the California residence (which in the long run would probably surpass my scholarship) and being far far away from home. So.... question, Does it make a big difference for medical schools if I take my first two years at a cc (very likely including some, if not most, prerequisites) and is it worth it in my situation?
 

tennisball80

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It's possible. But, it is often said to take upper division science courses in a four year institution.
 

riverjib

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If you're really determined to go to Hopkins or Mayo or some other ultra-prestigious med school, you should probably choose the best undergrad college that accepted you that is also affordable. Harsh truth? If you haven't been offered scholarships to fairly prestigious colleges, you REALLY need to step up your game next year if you hope to get into top med schools. You need to achieve as close to a 4.0 as possible while doing credible extracurriculars including volunteering and research, or something that shows leadership qualities.

I'm all for setting high standards for yourself, but be reasonable. You should start college with the mentality that classes come first, and you need to be proactive about getting good grades. You also need to balance it with a palate of ECs...not only for med school, but for yourself. It's important to learn to split your time so that you really enjoy your life and get something tangible (other than grades) out of your college (and life) experience. Find things that you're passionate about doing. Aim for Harvard/Hopkins/Mayo, but readjust your expectations if they're too high...not that you shouldn't stay at the top of your game, but don't flog yourself, either. If you strive for balance from the beginning and don't get caught up (too much) in partying, you'll be fine.

As for funding your education, any state school is affordable. Trust me, I'm paying for it while supporting myself. If you do really well, your tuition will be covered by merit-based aid by your sophomore or junior year. Good luck!
 

JJMrK

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Any 4 year institution will get you to medical school. The smartest thing you can do is minimize your debt.
 

morning

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One thing to consider is that California is considered one of the worst states to be a resident of in terms of medical school applications because your in-state schools are highly selective compared to the way other state schools treat their residents.

Upper division courses are not offered at a CC.

What tennisball80 PROBABLY means is that medical schools look more favorably upon pre-reqs taken at a CC if you take upper division classes in that discipline at a 4 year university. You could probably get away with your bio and gen chem at a CC if you take upper division bio (like genetics) and organic chemistry and biochemistry classes at a 4 year university.
 
Mar 19, 2010
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thanks for all the help,really... but i still feel like my question is not fully answered. As riverjib said, i do aim for the super schools (and yeah i do plan on stepping up my game drastically next year, high school is high school but my sats and aps show my potential) but being realistic, I would be way more than happy to end up at whichever UC medical school. So pros of starting at a cc - 1 saving some money for med s 2 would give me time to be accredited and work as an EMT and 3 establishing california residence for later transfer or even med school in a UC....Pros of 4-year college- well, its not a cc
So back to my question.. Does starting out at a community college makes a significant difference to the medical school admissions.
 

schrizto

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There are so many colleges other then the UCs in CA and you could probably get cheaper tuition from them then King College since that school is private. I'm not sure how much the CSUs and lower UCs cost but they sound like a better option.
 

GatorPhD

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OP, I will share with you my experiences as I went from HS to a CC, then to my state university along the way to med school acceptance.

Before the long-winded story, I'll give you my advice. Call a few schools that you think you might apply to (not just Harvard, Hopkins, and Penn), I'm talking about some of the public CA schools and ASK THEM if CC credits in the premed prereqs are OK with them. Now a little background.

Out of HS, I lived at home and attended a CC. I transferred from there to a state school (guess which one) and finished a BS (in math). I then went to work for the USAF for 5 years. During this time, I completed at PhD (also in math) from the same state school. After this, I went to the Bryn Mawr postbac premed program and took the basic sciences. Before I got there, I went back and forth about re-taking physics since I had taken it at the CC 8 years earlier. I didn't think it was necessary due to my graduate work, but my adviser at Bryn Mawr advised me to do what I described above. I did and was surprised at the results. My alma mater even told me that they would NOT CONSIDER MY APPLICATION IF ANY OF THE PREREQS WERE FROM A CC!!! This sealed the deal for me, and I ended up retaking physics. It was kinda silly, but I took the easy A and tutored a lot of my classmates along the way. :)

In my opinion, I think the CC thing (which has been debated a lot on SDN) really matters more to public med schools than private ones. Public school have to justify to the taxpayers and the legislature who they accept, while private schools can do whatever they want. This cycle, I was invited to interviewed at 12 out of 14 schools that I applied to (2 public, 9 private). One public school asked about my attending a CC. Nobody else asked a thing about it. If anything I was complemented for being a 1st gen college student and going from a CC to grad school, yada, yada, yada.

The most important thing is to make good grades, be a good person, and be maximally informed (not just from SDN, but from the horse's mouth too. Call some schools!). Keep in mind that what worked for me, might not be what works for you. I had a very non-traditional path to med school. Either way, I hope this is helpful. Write if you have questions.

Have fun and good luck,
Gator

p.s. I ended up getting accepted at my alma mater and a few others places (including Harvard). Just getting to interview there was a life-changer for me. It confirmed that you really can start out at a little community college in some nowhere town and by working your tail off and being polite, achieve anything you want.
 

Van Chowder

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OP, I will share with you my experiences as I went from HS to a CC, then to my state university along the way to med school acceptance.

Before the long-winded story, I'll give you my advice. Call a few schools that you think you might apply to (not just Harvard, Hopkins, and Penn), I'm talking about some of the public CA schools and ASK THEM if CC credits in the premed prereqs are OK with them. Now a little background.

Out of HS, I lived at home and attended a CC. I transferred from there to a state school (guess which one) and finished a BS (in math). I then went to work for the USAF for 5 years. During this time, I completed at PhD (also in math) from the same state school. After this, I went to the Bryn Mawr postbac premed program and took the basic sciences. Before I got there, I went back and forth about re-taking physics since I had taken it at the CC 8 years earlier. I didn't think it was necessary due to my graduate work, but my adviser at Bryn Mawr advised me to do what I described above. I did and was surprised at the results. My alma mater even told me that they would NOT CONSIDER MY APPLICATION IF ANY OF THE PREREQS WERE FROM A CC!!! This sealed the deal for me, and I ended up retaking physics. It was kinda silly, but I took the easy A and tutored a lot of my classmates along the way. :)

In my opinion, I think the CC thing (which has been debated a lot on SDN) really matters more to public med schools than private ones. Public school have to justify to the taxpayers and the legislature who they accept, while private schools can do whatever they want. This cycle, I was invited to interviewed at 12 out of 14 schools that I applied to (2 public, 9 private). One public school asked about my attending a CC. Nobody else asked a thing about it. If anything I was complemented for being a 1st gen college student and going from a CC to grad school, yada, yada, yada.

The most important thing is to make good grades, be a good person, and be maximally informed (not just from SDN, but from the horse's mouth too. Call some schools!). Keep in mind that what worked for me, might not be what works for you. I had a very non-traditional path to med school. Either way, I hope this is helpful. Write if you have questions.

Have fun and good luck,
Gator

p.s. I ended up getting accepted at my alma mater and a few others places (including Harvard). Just getting to interview there was a life-changer for me. It confirmed that you really can start out at a little community college in some nowhere town and by working your tail off and being polite, achieve anything you want.
:thumbup:
 

CaliGirl14

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I'm from California and I can tell you that the UCs don't give a **** about you attending a CC. Trust me, it's all in our government's plan expecting people to transfer over.