Course Load


Full Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 15, 2012
  1. Pre-Medical
    Hey guys,

    I was wondering how important is course load when it comes to the ADCOM?

    Because last semester I was taking
    Organic 1 (5 credits), Human Anatomy (4 credits), Physics (calc based) (4 credits), and Physiology (graduate level, 3 credits), and 4 research credits (means spending about 16-20 hours in the lab).
    I honestly hated every single day of the semester and couldn't stand school....

    Now when I study, I like to actually understand the material AFTER the test. And last semester was literally cramming 2 days before the test all the time (take that with multiple tests on the same day :scared: ). I just couldn't take it anymore.

    And the problem was that it's not like I don't enjoy school/learning.. it was just that I had 0 desire to study after working in the lab for about 3-5 hours. Ya it's not that much time (or so I expect the SDN community to tell me...) but it really would drain me.

    This semester I am only taking:
    Organic 2 (5 credits), basic biochem (3 credits), and human physiology 2 (graduate level, 3 credits). With this I am doing 4 credits of research (still means 16-20 hours per week in the lab).
    Do you think the ADCOM cares if I take only 3 classes + research? Because I really like only taking 3 classes each semester with research.. it makes my life easier and happier
    I have enjoyed this semester thus far, and am actually LEARNING instead of cramming, and get better grades (this proves course load DOES MATTER).
    And this is college right?! We are supposed to enjoy it... right?

    Next year I plan on taking physics 2 (4 credits), advanced biochem (4 credits), physics lab (1 credit), and some science elective (3/4 credits) coupled with 4 credits of research.

    My schedule is a bit weird too. I am taking this graduate physiology sequence as a sophomore... most students don't take it until their junior year (I have my own reasons for this, irrelevant to anyone I think...)

    Does anyone else also know if Goldwater / Fulbright scholarships and grants pay attention to course load when it comes to making decisions?
    Last edited:


    Full Member
    10+ Year Member
    Mar 19, 2008
    1. MD/PhD Student
      Nope, I really don't think ad coms care at all if you only take 3 classes plus research. If you can be happier and get better grades by not piling on the courses then I can't really see a reason not to reduce your load.


      Full Member
      10+ Year Member
      May 10, 2011
      1. Attending Physician
        To be honest, your undergrad coursework doesn't factor into admissions decisions much at all IME--it is research, GPA, MCAT, and interview (in no particular order).

        When reviewing applications, the most I typically do is scan the titles to just get a quick idea of their program of study, and make sure there aren't multiple courses with a grade below a B. I don't think anyone is going to take the time to analyze your couseload semester-to-semester. Along as you have a decent complement of higher-level sciences and a good GPA, nobody is going to think twice.
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