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Do med schools pay attention to your unit loads?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by burntfries, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. burntfries

    burntfries Senior Member
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    Not that I can do anything about it now, but i'm curious as to how much attention med schools pay to how many units you take every quarter/semester. That is, will they frown upon the fact that i've taken a minimal course load for the past three quarters, despite having more than fulfilled all prereqs? I've heard they do, but just wondering how much it factors in if you have a decent gpa anyway.
     
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  3. Mooby

    Mooby Senior Member
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    I don't really think they factor that for much if at all. I doubt they really even look beyond your BCPM, Overall GPA, and MCAT if your grades are good. The only time they tend to delve further is for students will low GPA's or MCATs.

    If you have the stats, I wouldn't worry. They won't look for heavier course loads and improving over time unless you're outside what they typically look for.
     
  4. masterMood

    masterMood Membership Revoked
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    just be prepared for the significant increase in workload in medical school. The workload that you haven't been exposed to as most pre-meds have been, will in a sense help them be more prepared for the workload of medical school.
     
  5. Captain Fantastic

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    As a non-trad returning to school my pre-med advisor cautioned me on taking too light of a load. She used the phrase "competitive semesters." I have to prove I can still hack it with all you young 'n's.
     
  6. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Most premeds have not been exposed to the kind of workload you see in med school anyhow. It's like comparing a car that accelerates from zero to 60 versus one that accelarates from 1 to 60.
     
  7. Quix

    Quix Herr Professor
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    I hope they do - my worst year academically was my sophomore year, when I was taking 20 credits per semester (Intensive German (5 credits, 5 days a week), Intensive Japanese (6 credits, 5 days a week), Calculus, and all of my unwanted requirements (e.g., theologies). Ick.
     
  8. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    AMCAS shows how many hours you took of BCPM/All other/and total by year (not semster). So, if a year is light (to me this means less than 30 hours), it might raise an eyebrow, particularly if you had very good grades. Basically, it would cause an adcom to discount your gpa by maybe 0.1. So if you have a 3.9 but carried only 24 credits, it would be like having a 3.8. Not a big deal but it can get noticed.
     
  9. dittozip

    dittozip Senior Member
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    if your grades are good and you finish in 4 years, then why would they care. if it takes you longer than 4 years then i am sure they would look. anyone can get an A when they only tkae 1 class.
     
  10. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    You've answered your own question. Some students can get an A when they only take one class but get overwhelmed when they take a full load.
    Students can come in with college credits earned in H.S. or take classes in the summer & still graduate in 4 years but not demonstrate the ability to succeed when taking a full load.

    Schools are looking for students who can handle a full load because part-time med school is not an option.
     
  11. ParvatiP

    ParvatiP Senior Member
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    Yes, they pay attention to unit loads, but it will only hurt you unless you are up against an applicant who has an identical GPA but more course hours. It could come up in interviews, I guess, so you should prepare for that as well.
     
  12. dittozip

    dittozip Senior Member
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    when i said 4 years, i meant traditional 4 years: 2 semesters per year. i also did not mean someone who comes in with 60 AP credits. thanks for the clearification

     
  13. MirrorTodd

    MirrorTodd It's a gas.
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    That's kind of depressing. I don't think a lot of students get good counseling and overall help when they're first starting out. I had no idea that one would need more than or equal to 15 credits a semester to graduate in 4 years. I've only just picked up on this very recently. I would think most first year college students want to take a lighter load. It doesn't help that my university's full-time courseload is only 12 credits. It seems like they want people to take 5 years to graduate.
     
  14. dittozip

    dittozip Senior Member
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    i guesss..... but they tell you that you need 120 to graduate, adn there are 8 semesters.
     
  15. MirrorTodd

    MirrorTodd It's a gas.
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    Ya, but I never thought to actually calculate how many credits/semester it would take to graduate in four years. I just went ahead and guessed that it was set up that way.
     
  16. baylormed

    baylormed On the Search
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    You have a catalog (I assume), and you know the credit number required for graduation. It's common sense to sit down and calculate how many classes you need to take, and when. I don't see why people don't do this.

    I agree people don't get the right counseling sometimes, but I think most of the problem resides with people not worrying enough about asking questions. :love:
     
  17. MD-To Be

    MD-To Be Member
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    I have to go against the consensus here b/c my pre-med advisor always told me that all medical schools consider both the classes you took, how you did in them, and your class load during that period. Taking OChem and three 100 level gen-eds and getting an A in OChem looks much different then getting an A in OChem when you take it with physics and microbiology at the same time. That being said, don't try to take on enormous couse loads and do bad in them b/c that would be even worse then taking a smaller course load and doing well.

    As with all of these such questions, there is no one formula.

     
  18. burntfries

    burntfries Senior Member
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    thanks for the input guys. hopefully the schools will weigh my courseloads along with the fact that i was working part-time, volunteering and running two clubs during those hectic quarters...
     
  19. coralfangs

    coralfangs Senior Member
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    what about canadian schools where we don't have credit hours and amacs automatically assume that the courses are either 3 or 6 hrs?
    last yr according to amacs, i had 27 hrs
    but one of my 6 hr courses was a research course for which i spent at least 25 hrs a week in lab
     
  20. MirrorTodd

    MirrorTodd It's a gas.
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    True, but I was lazy. You know what they say: "Assumption is the mother of all ****-ups."
     
  21. ParvatiP

    ParvatiP Senior Member
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    I don't know how much they really consider what courses you took concurrently, but more so total credits (and how many "hard" semesters, how many "hard" courses...having 1 hard semester means nothing in the grand scheme of things, I look at it on an overall basis). For example, at my school, each course = 1 credit, normal course load is 4 credits. They recently made labs = 0.25 credits, so next semester I'll be taking 4.5 credits. The individual courses are less important than the overall sum, I feel, right? I mean, the adcoms aren't going to be saying "Wow, this person took ochem, micro, and physics in 1 semester" but "wow this person took xx credits/semester compared to a typical credits/semester".....well, I know it all kind of means the same thing so this post is kind of pointless, but I felt like rambling a little there...
     
  22. Ari Gold

    Ari Gold .....
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  23. top

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    From my own personal experience, the adcoms don't care if you have taken some light semesters as long as you have the grades, the MCAT, and all the pre-reqs and graduated on time. That's a lot of IFs, and if your app doesn't meet all of them then I assume other considerations come into play. But, if you have a 3.9 GPA and a 39 on your MCATs, I don't think it would matter if you only took the bare minimum every single semester you were in college. They would still take you.
     
  24. novawildcat

    novawildcat Senior Member
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    it probably depends on the school. i am pretty sure wisconsin explicitly states on their website that they take into account course load and course difficulty when reviewing an applicant.
     
  25. xylem29

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    what about if it took me 5 years to graduate instead of 4? :eek:
     
  26. DoctorPardi

    DoctorPardi In Memory of Riley Jane
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    Lizzy, I've taken around 30 hours each year, but I have used a lot of summer classes to accomplish this. Also I have at times taken 3 science classes and research, or 2 sciences a non-science and research. I've done at least 2-3 hours of research each semester from the summer before junior year until the end of my senior year. Also I have worked anywhere between 30-45 hours every week since I have been in college.

    Will this effect how adcoms view my gpa? I have a 4.0 bcpm up to this point, but I would hate to see it discounted.
     
  27. leahmaria

    leahmaria Senior Member
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    Lizzy, would this be looked into further? I checked my amcas application after reading this and realized that I'm under 30 every year due to required pass/fail courses not being added into the credit total and requirements being met through transfer credits from high school.
     
  28. jackieMD2007

    jackieMD2007 ***MVI***
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    Anyone else find it funny that this thread title has the word "unit" and "load" in it? :laugh: (looks around) okay, no one else. Fine. I'll go back to writing about a Life In Discovery now.
     
  29. Rafa

    Rafa headbutts like zidane
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    It was the first thing I noticed! I didn't want to sound like a horny pre-med, so I kept my mouth away from his unit loads! :laugh:
     
  30. breakitdown753

    breakitdown753 Junior Member
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    Good question, I thought about this question alot too. Most adcom officers I've talked to have mention taking 15-16 hours a semester. But when I talked to my pre-med advisor she told me adcom officers want to see you take 15 hours at least once to see how you handle the load, and since I already did that she said I was alright. I know this might sound obvious but I think you should take as many hours as you can while still being able to get good grades. For example if you are pledging or taking a bunch of labs, then you should get a light load for that semester. I thinks its better to take 12 hours and get a 4.0 than to take 18 hours and get a 3.0.
     
  31. defrunner

    defrunner I'm Greased Up
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    I agree... I never went below 17-18 credits per semester myself (took 20 credits at times, as well). While that's not obviously the only factor behind my bad grades, it definitely didn't help.

    12 is too low though -- unless you have a full-time obligation, and even then I'd steer clear of making a habit out of 12 credit semesters... 15-16 sounds about right.
     
  32. ADeadLois

    ADeadLois Senior Member
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    I thought about it too...especially when it was directly under the "Doable?" thread.
     
  33. burntfries

    burntfries Senior Member
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    :rolleyes:

    i'm on the quarter system, so all this hour per semester talk is a bit hard to get around. my school's minimum courseload per quarter is 12 units, with 1 unit roughly representing 1 hr...so would that amount to 36 hrs/year?
     
  34. spospo

    spospo Going to extremes
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    i could potentially graduate in december but can't because i play basketball. i decided just to take the minimum of 12 credits because there is no need for me to jam them all in. my school is very small so it doesn't offer a whole bunch of upper division bio classes (or else i would take 15credits). i think 12 is fine during your senior year as long as you are set to graduate. plus now i have time to volunteer during the day and such. if you do take a light course load, i would suggest picking up an extra EC to make up for it. just my opinion though
     
  35. TCIrish03

    TCIrish03 Senior Member
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    Hehehehe.....you said "unit loads"

     

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