DO schools and their stance on community college pre-reqs

Dec 9, 2012
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Hey I am a slightly non traditional student doing an informal post bac currently at my local 4 year university. Im currently taking chem 1 and calc a(3 class sequence instead of the traditional 2 class). The problem is that as a non degree student I get last pick for my classes and there is no room in classes I need to take like bio. Also algebra based physics filled up before my registration date and I found out this semester that calculus IS NOT my strength, so I really want to avoid calc based physics as I am certain it will kill my gpa(which is currently between a 3.5-3.6 depending on this semester's grade and if my 1 semester stint in law school is factored in). So that is 2/3 prereqs I was planning on taking next semester that I cant get at my current school.(I was able to register for chem 2). When I saw my registration date I saw this coming, so I registered for chem 2, phy 1 and bio 1 at my local community college to hedge my bets.(So I am currently registered for spring 2014 in chem2 at my 4 year and in chem 2, bio 1 and phy 1 at my CC)
Now the problem is that I heard(especially for MD schools) that CC credits for prereqs are a liability, especially if you start out at a 4 year school and then move to a CC. Is the same true for DO schools? I would take future classes at the 4 year school(Provided there is room which is no guarantee). Im also worried that since I am probably going to get a B in calc a(in hindsight I should have taken pre-calc first, my lack of a solid foundation killed me) that it might look like I am "running away from" the 4 year school.

Do you think taking the credits at a CC will hurt in my situation for DO schools? I have 2 other options but they are bad imo. Option 1: take bio and physics in the summer, which would be offered in the same summer session, so it would be a really heavy courseload. Option 2: Take calc based physics in the spring, so I would only have to take bio in the summer. Again I am not good at calculus and I am certain this would kill my GPA.
 
Sep 26, 2013
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Do you think taking the credits at a CC will hurt in my situation for DO schools?
No! I took most of my science classes at a community college after receiving my bachelor degree. I have been accepted to two DO schools so far. DO schools and the AACOMAS do not care where you took your classes, as long as they are classes normally taken by science majors. You should be just fine. :)
 
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hallowmann

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DO schools don't care if you take pre-reqs at CCs. Many MD schools don't either. People get that its cheaper to take classes at a CC than most anywhere else. The most important thing first and foremost is that you do well in whatever courses you take.

If you are really concerned, take your upper level sciences at your home institution.
 
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Ibn Alnafis MD

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Took most of my pre-reqs at CC. Applied to 12 schools, got 8 interviews, attended 3 and got accepted to 2.

I'm going to say this for the millionth time. A close friend of mine took ALL of his pre-reqs at a CC after graduating undergrad and realizing he wanted to do medicine. He applied to MD schools only. He's about to graduate from one of the top 10 MD schools. That being said, his GPA was 4.0 and his mcat was in the low 30's.

Very few schools don't accept CC courses (example is UCI), however, the vast majority of schools, MD and DO, will not count that against you.
 

guylewis

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Retook O-Chem and G-Chem at a community college many years after i graduated. Applied to 8 schools, received 7 ii's, went to 3 of those interviews, and got accepted to my top 2 choices.

And this crap about CC courses not being as hard as what you get at 4 year colleges...Totally BULL. The courses were just as rigorous as what I took at the UC I attended, and the class wasn't curved so I had to really earn those As. most importantly, I learned more in those CC courses and came out with a much stronger proficiency in the material than the courses i took at my undergrad. some food for thought.
 

stlrams22

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Retook O-Chem and G-Chem at a community college many years after i graduated. Applied to 8 schools, received 7 ii's, went to 3 of those interviews, and got accepted to my top 2 choices.

And this crap about CC courses not being as hard as what you get at 4 year colleges...Totally BULL. The courses were just as rigorous as what I took at the UC I attended, and the class wasn't curved so I had to really earn those As. most importantly, I learned more in those CC courses and came out with a much stronger proficiency in the material than the courses i took at my undergrad. some food for thought.
Couldn't have said it better myself.
 
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edgerock24

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You'll be fine. A lot of CC's nowadays offer really worthwhile science courses too. This is partly because the CC's (at least around me) specialize in producing students who go into other healthcare professions, like dental hygienist, nursing, etc.. Therefore, these students do need a solid science background in your typical Chem/Bio 101 course.
 
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Hey I just wanted to say thanks for the responses and ask another question.

Unfortunately I did rather poorly this semester(by med school standards), Im expecting a B/B+ in calculus, B-/B in chem 1(was at the border of a B+/A- but choked on the final), and a B in chem lab. If I do the rest of my classes at CC, will it look like I am running away from my current school? I almost feel like i have to stay here at least another semester to prove that I can get As here.
 

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Hey I just wanted to say thanks for the responses and ask another question.

Unfortunately I did rather poorly this semester(by med school standards), Im expecting a B/B+ in calculus, B-/B in chem 1(was at the border of a B+/A- but choked on the final), and a B in chem lab. If I do the rest of my classes at CC, will it look like I am running away from my current school? I almost feel like i have to stay here at least another semester to prove that I can get As here.
It won't raise any concerns if you do well on the MCAT.
 
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People get that its cheaper to take classes at a CC than most anywhere else. The most important thing first and foremost is that you do well in whatever courses you take.
 
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DO schools don't care. At least that was my experience. In fact, I'd argue that community colleges, in some respects, do a better job at teaching the core sciences than do big research intense universities. I'm going to go a bit further than others here and expand on why:

A) Community colleges teach the material. Classes tend to be smaller and instructors have no vested interest in research or constantly pumping out papers. Most instructors have their doctorate but simply prefer to teach.

B) Community colleges are the way of the future for the first two years. Higher education is getting expensive and medical schools know this. The reality is that an increasingly larger % of applying students are going to have at least some community college science curriculum in their background.

C) As one other commented remarked, community college science courses often are healthcare oriented because these schools produce a large percentage of this country's allied-healthcare professionals (nurses, paramedics, medical assistants, biotech professionals). CCs get boatloads of federal money to specifically focus in these areas because healthcare = jobs. This is a big plus. Some of my courses at the community college were VERY similar to what I encountered in medical school. Sometimes, the courses taught at larger research universities focus on some concepts that have little utility to medicine. For instance, my microbiology course NEVER discussed microbes that were not clinically relevant. The entire thing was nearly identical to medical school (except that medical school micro is faster, more comprehensive, and....just more).

D) Many community colleges give standardized exams to demonstrate similar proficiency to the bigger universities. Think American Chemical Society (ACS) exams.

E) Some community colleges are starting to flirt with the idea of giving out Bachelor's Degrees. http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/09/27/two-year-colleges-california-mull-bachelors-degrees

Downsides:

Community colleges often don't have access to big ticket devices like nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), so some of this might be done in a more conceptual way, instead of hands on. Otherwise the labs are nearly identical.
 

stlrams22

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DO schools don't care. At least that was my experience. In fact, I'd argue that community colleges, in some respects, do a better job at teaching the core sciences than do big research intense universities. I'm going to go a bit further than others here and expand on why:

A) Community colleges teach the material. Classes tend to be smaller and instructors have no vested interest in research or constantly pumping out papers. Most instructors have their doctorate but simply prefer to teach.

B) Community colleges are the way of the future for the first two years. Higher education is getting expensive and medical schools know this. The reality is that an increasingly larger % of applying students are going to have at least some community college science curriculum in their background.

C) As one other commented remarked, community college science courses often are healthcare oriented because these schools produce a large percentage of this country's allied-healthcare professionals (nurses, paramedics, medical assistants, biotech professionals). CCs get boatloads of federal money to specifically focus in these areas because healthcare = jobs. This is a big plus. Some of my courses at the community college were VERY similar to what I encountered in medical school. Sometimes, the courses taught at larger research universities focus on some concepts that have little utility to medicine. For instance, my microbiology course NEVER discussed microbes that were not clinically relevant. The entire thing was nearly identical to medical school (except that medical school micro is faster, more comprehensive, and....just more).

D) Many community colleges give standardized exams to demonstrate similar proficiency to the bigger universities. Think American Chemical Society (ACS) exams.

E) Some community colleges are starting to flirt with the idea of giving out Bachelor's Degrees. http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/09/27/two-year-colleges-california-mull-bachelors-degrees

Downsides:

Community colleges often don't have access to big ticket devices like nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), so some of this might be done in a more conceptual way, instead of hands on. Otherwise the labs are nearly identical.
Community colleges giving a Bachelor Degree, that is a brilliant idea. As a country, I believe we should shift away from the high priced universities where much of their tuition money comes from student loans towards affordable institutions where most of the student body is able to pay for most or all of the tuition out of pocket.
 

BestDoctorEver

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Retook O-Chem and G-Chem at a community college many years after i graduated. Applied to 8 schools, received 7 ii's, went to 3 of those interviews, and got accepted to my top 2 choices.

And this crap about CC courses not being as hard as what you get at 4 year colleges...Totally BULL. The courses were just as rigorous as what I took at the UC I attended, and the class wasn't curved so I had to really earn those As. most importantly, I learned more in those CC courses and came out with a much stronger proficiency in the material than the courses i took at my undergrad. some food for thought.
Rigor of classes in college in general are 'prof-dependent'. I took my prereqs at both CC and a State University and my bio II class at a CC was impossible (only one person got an A out of 25- 30 students-- many students withdrew after the first exam) and my Orgo I at a University was not that bad at all.
 

BestDoctorEver

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Community colleges giving a Bachelor Degree, that is a brilliant idea. As a country, I believe we should shift away from the high priced universities where much of their tuition money comes from student loans towards affordable institutions where most of the student body is able to pay for most or all of the tuition out of pocket.
The state of FL is starting to do that--converting a lot of the CC to State Colleges.
 
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stlrams22

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The state of FL is starting to do that--converting a lot the CC to State Colleges.
At my CC, all my professors would have been qualified to teach any undergraduate level course since they all had doctorate degrees.
 

BestDoctorEver

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At my CC, all my professors would have been qualified to teach any undergraduate level course since they all had doctorate degrees.
Which state? That would not be the case at the CC I took some of my prerequisites. My guesstimate is about 10 to 20% of these profs have a Ph.D
 

stlrams22

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Which state? That would not be the case at the CC I took some of my prerequisites. My guesstimate is about 10 to 20% of these profs have a Ph.D
I think it depends where your CC is located. In more rural areas it may be more difficult to have only teachers with a Ph.D., but a teacher with a master's degree could teach equally well. I would say the number is probably higher than 20%, and as more and more people continue to get advanced degrees that number will continue to rise.
 

VisualEvolution

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A lot of CC love here. I don't think there is anything wrong with taking a few cc courses but I think it's far cry to say CC courses are looked at equally to University courses. You have those few cases where a CC professor is exceptionally hard but I'm sure university courses are generally harder, especially if the class is graded on a curve. I took 5 dual enrollment classes at a CC while in highschool and I can say from my experience that my hs classes were harder than my CC classes. Just my experience though.
 

stlrams22

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A lot of CC love here. I don't think there is anything wrong with taking a few cc courses but I think it's far cry to say CC courses are looked at equally to University courses. You have those few cases where a CC professor is exceptionally hard but I'm sure university courses are generally harder, especially if the class is graded on a curve. I took 5 dual enrollment classes at a CC while in highschool and I can say from my experience that my hs classes were harder than my CC classes. Just my experience though.
There isn't anything wrong with taking all your classes at CC. CC classes being looked equally and actually being equal are two different things. Perceiving them as inferior is not factually based. University courses are not "generally harder." There is no data to back this up. Harder depends on the professor not the classification of the institution.
 

VisualEvolution

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If a class is based off a curve (top 10% get an A) your competition gets tougher at a university than a CC. I say harder because of the nature of students that attend. You can say the same about comparing and ivy league to a no name university on curve based classes. You don't need to get insecure about your CC classes, I took them too.
 

stlrams22

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If a class is based off a curve (top 10% get an A) your competition gets tougher at a university than a CC. I say harder because of the nature of students that attend. You can say the same about comparing and ivy league to a no name university on curve based classes. You don't need to get insecure about your CC classes, I took them too.
I'm not insecure about my CC classes. At my CC there was no guarantee any student would get an A without earning it. If only one student earns an A, only one student should get an A, regardless of whether it "fits" the curve or not. The curve is foolish and doesn't set any type of educational standard. Final grades should be assigned (A, B, C...) based on a level of understanding. There is a great deal of inconsistency even among the "top" universities in regards to grade inflation. Schools that have a preset curve and a lot of intelligent students would make it difficult to earn an A which does not reflect their level of understanding. I have never attended a school that curves like this, but I thought normally the course syllabus told you how many points were required to earn each letter grade.