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AmyBass2011

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Ok this is what I am thinking....

I plan to go to community college in utah for a few years living with my mother while my husband is fighting in Iraq.... leaving this summer....

How many of my pre-reqs should I do at the Community College if I want to take the MCAT the summer between my sophmore & junior year?

I was planning on 4 credits of biology, 5 credits inorganic chem, 5 credits organic chem & 8 credits physics before the MCAT. The rest I would do at Univeristy level.

Do you recommend that someone get ALL their prereqs done before the MCAT? Thanks in advance for any opinions or advice. Always up for hearing from all you experts ;)
 

Bones2008

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Most med schools dictate that applicants must take all pre-reqs at 4-year accredited institutions (i.e. not community colleges). Even if certain ones don't, all adcoms will question whether the course work was rigorous enough at XYZ community college. So, I guess my recommendation would be to not take any pre-med courses until you attend a 4-year college or university. I would definitely suggest that you get all your pre-reqs done before taking the MCAT. Some people on this board will tell you that it's not necessary, but why put yourself in a potentially compromising situation? There's no rush. Good luck.
 

midlifecrisis

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I'd definitely wait on the MCAT. Why take a test you haven't seen all the material for? Is the community college affiliated wtih a four year institution? I took some classes at an extension campus and my transcript came from the parent U. Check that out...
 
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BassDominator

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It's probably a good idea to have the prereqs under your belt before taking the MCAT. I highly recommend taking it the summer after sophomore year. It's much harder to study during the academic year.

I think you're shooting yourself in the foot going to community college at all. If you're worried about money, how about a state school instead?
 

Optimist

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AmyBass2011 said:
I was planning on 4 credits of biology, 5 credits inorganic chem, 5 credits organic chem & 8 credits physics before the MCAT. The rest I would do at Univeristy level.
Even if the med schools allow it, that is too many very important courses to be taking at a community college. These courses make up the bulk of a pre-med curriculum, and adcoms will be suspicious of any more than a couple of them taken at a non 4-year university.

As far as the MCAT itself is concerned, the community college courses would probably suffice.

Getting all the prereqs before the MCAT probably helps, but lots of people pull it off before completing physics. The calculus/math prereq serves no role whatsoever in helping for the MCAT.
 

(nicedream)

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DO NOT LISTEN TO THESE PEOPLE.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with doing prereq's at comm coll. What they DON'T like is if you go from a 4 yr to a comm coll - then it may look like you're avoiding the classes at the 4 yr. But taking them at the comm coll to begin with is actually great - the classes will be much easier and probably smaller. Listen, all medschools care about are the grades - they do NOT care where they came from, trust me. Numbers are numbers. Having said that, certain schools will not accept prereqs from comm coll, but they are the minority.

My question is why are you thinking of taking the MCAT after your sophomore year?? You're supposed to take it April of junior year, or August before senior year. I would take as many prereqs at your comm coll as you can, and then finish them up during your junior year at a 4yr and take the MCAT then.

I don't understand many of the people on this board who respond to people like this with "oh no, your grades are way too low, wait a year" or "oh no, dont take classes at comm coll". Wtf. You people are making this whole thing way more complicated than it is.
 

midlifecrisis

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Before MCAT all that organic and biochem is nice to have. Genetics ain't bad either. I'm not knocking community college at all. Small class size for basic bio and chem can lead to alot more learning than some huge lecture hall. Classes are not always easier either, and teachers are less likely to be balancing research and teaching.
 

Bones2008

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(nicedream) said:
Listen, all medschools care about are the grades - they do NOT care where they came from, trust me.
I'm curious where you get this notion from. Common sense should tell you that any member of an admissions committee will look more favorably upon high grades from an accredited college with a rigorous curriculum than high grades from a place without any kind of proven rigor whatsoever (e.g. community colleges). This is even more true since every member of an admissions committee most definitely holds a degree from a 4-year college and therefore has every reason to expect that applicants do the bulk of their coursework at a similar type of institution.

To say that pre-med courses at a community college are on the same level as university courses is ridiculous. I know I'm probably gonna get flamed for saying that by the few who believe they are, but let's be serious here. Community colleges cannot offer the same resources that a university can. Also, community colleges take everyone who applies. They are in the business of granting people course credits. If they made their courses super hard, lots of people would fail, and no one would continue to sign up for the courses (thus sending the college to bankruptcy). At accredited colleges/universities, there are more than enough students to go around, and there are plenty the admissions offices turn away every year who wait in the wings to be accepted down the road. As a result, such institutions are able to make the courses much more difficult.

Bottom line: avoid taking pre-reqs at a community college if you want to be a competitive applicant. Less than half of those who apply to med school every year are successful. Ask yourself honestly how many people who took pre-reqs at community colleges are in that select group. My guess is very, very few.
 

midlifecrisis

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Bones2008 said:
"To say that pre-med courses at a community college are on the same level as university courses is ridiculous. I know I'm probably gonna get flamed for saying that by the few who believe they are, but let's be serious here. Community colleges cannot offer the same resources that a university can. Also, community colleges take everyone who applies. They are in the business of granting people course credits. If they made their courses super hard, lots of people would fail, and no one would continue to sign up for the courses (thus sending the college to bankruptcy). At accredited colleges/universities, there are more than enough students to go around, and there are plenty the admissions offices turn away every year who wait in the wings to be accepted down the road. As a result, such institutions are able to make the courses much more difficult."

I'm not gonna flame you for it...and I took classes at a regional extension of a state U so maybe you won't see it as parrallel to a Community College, but it sure felt like a CC to me. Because it was an extension the transcript came from U State, so I have no idea what admissions committees think of CC's.
I had some great classes there, better than some at my U later on. One that was so rigorous that only 6 of 30 survived. That instructor is still there doing the same thing to poor unsuspecting students. The school is still in business. I also had some lame classes. For 100 level classes I honestly don't think you are guaranteed to get a better education in a large auditorium filled with 18 year olds who don't give a darn. At a CC, despite open enrollment, its often people who are genuinely interested in being there and have a clear socio economic interest in doing well.

At the U later on I had some great rigorous classes, and I also had classes that people were just breezed through.

Another strength of a CC is its open enrollment, you work with a much broader spectrum of people than at a U and way broader than a private college and that will make you a better MD down the road. Maybe adcoms see this, maybe they don't.

Grades in Upper level classes at a U following a CC will be a good indicator of quality, and student ability. Again, maybe adcoms see this, maybe they don't. You seem to know more about what adcoms like than I ever will, but I got into 2 of 3 schools I applied to, waitlisted at the other and I started out at an extension school. The bio and chem I learned there served me pretty darn well on MCATs.

So AmyBass..., my advice is to talk to the prospective community college and see if they have students who have taken the path you aim at. If they have, that is probably a good sign. If not, well maybe Bones 2008 is raising an important concern.
 

(nicedream)

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I think it's important to note that states' comm coll systems vary greatly. Florida and California have very strong comm coll systems - perhaps I view them differently than residents of most other states.

As for difficulty of undergrad institution affecting medschool admissions - I guarantee that an applicant with a 3.9 from State College will have a better chance than a 3.0 from Prestige University. I believe same goes for comm coll.
 

Bones2008

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(nicedream) said:
As for difficulty of undergrad institution affecting medschool admissions - I guarantee that an applicant with a 3.9 from State College will have a better chance than a 3.0 from Prestige University. I believe same goes for comm coll.
I think that most would agree with you (I certainly do). However, the question is whether a community college "A" equals a 4-year college/university "A" (per your previous post that only grades, not the institution, matter). I simply have a very hard time believing that any admissions officer would hold the two to be equal, regardless of the quality of a region's community college system.

midlifecrisis said:
Grades in Upper level classes at a U following a CC will be a good indicator of quality, and student ability. Again, maybe adcoms see this, maybe they don't. You seem to know more about what adcoms like than I ever will, but I got into 2 of 3 schools I applied to, waitlisted at the other and I started out at an extension school. The bio and chem I learned there served me pretty darn well on MCATs.
Your point (and your sarcasm ;) ) are well taken. However, I'm not saying that taking courses at a CC will automatically exclude one from medical school. I'm speaking in terms of probability of success and overall perceptions of academic rigor by adcoms. Is this the only thing on an application? No. However, those who take all of their courses at a 4-year college (and do well) have a comparative advantage in this area of the application to those who don't. I don't mean to take anything away from you; congrats on your success.
 

EM Junkie

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I agree with Bones2008. Take Texas for example - an "A" at Rice University (private) is not too different from an "A" at Texas A&M or the University of Texas (public). However, there is a HUGE difference between an "A" at Texas A&M/U.T. and an "A" at a community college.

Don't waste your time and money taking pre-reqs at a community college. Take other classes you have to get out of the way, like History, Government, Physical Education, etc. I'm sure people have gotten into Med. School with community college prereqs, but they are few and far between.

Just my $.02!

Scott, MS-2
UT-Houston Medical School
 

AmyBass2011

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Although I would like to get about half my pre-reqs out of the way at the community college, I still plan to take some upper level biology & chemistry above the pre-req requirement to prove to the admissions committy that I can handle it at a University level.

After community college I plan to finish my bachelors degree at the University of Utah, which also has a medical school so a letter from their premed committie should be good. :)

Unfortunatley the Community college has no premed committie so I can not place all my pre-req eggs in that basket... I just want enough to know enough for the MCAT.
 

midlifecrisis

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Good luck AB, whatever route you take, if you excel some school will notice. Its also important on an alternative route to med school that you stress and do well at the other things you do in life...parenting, work, volunteer work, whatever. Good luck to your husband as well.
Sorry Bones2008 if I was too sarcastic or cocky, I took a pretty different route than 99.9% of med school aps, and I had to ignore a lot of advice along the way. But you and fellow posters are right that one grade may be viewed more favorably than others. An alternative path requires other aspects of your life to be an important part of your ap.
 

beriberi

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I am a MS4 at a very prestigious school (top 5). I came from a private, quality liberal arts college. (And did all of my course work there). My 3.3 Science GPA was less than stellar--and every school I went to interview at commented on it. Some people made the remard that it was somewhat excusable because at Liberal Arts College, they are known for not having grade inflation. However, despite that there was one school that I did not get a secondary from. I am sure I missed the grade cutoff (trust me, it wasn't an MCAT cutoff that held me back).

My point is that my okay grades from Liberal Arts College helped me and hurt me. There were probably situation where great grades from Local CC would have been better. I think that interesting people who are socially presentable and jump through the right hoops (volunteer, shadow, etc.) do well in the medical school process given they have great grades (from anywhere) and decent MCATs. People who are deficient in one of the above areas can make up for it in another (my okay grades were excused by some school because of my stellar MCATs). Great grades from a CC are not going to hold you back. Okay grades from a CC could ruin your chance.
 

southbelle

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Bones2008 said:
Most med schools dictate that applicants must take all pre-reqs at 4-year accredited institutions (i.e. not community colleges).
That's simply an outright lie. name 5 schools that do. Whether or not most schools view them with less regard is an issue open for debate, but don't lie about whether or not they dictate that they 'must' take them. I would bet that out of the 126 schools 7 or 8 at the MOST say that students 'must' take all prereqs at 4 year schools, although I don't know of a single one. It is true that many schools say that they 'prefer' the prereqs taken at a 4 year school, but there is an important distinction between 'prefer' and 'must'.

But to the main question, I'd say some prereqs at CC's are ok. You wouldn't want all of your main classes and upper level science coursework to be at a CC though. But one or two classes would be totally ok.
 

(nicedream)

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beriberi said:
I am a MS4 at a very prestigious school (top 5). I came from a private, quality liberal arts college. (And did all of my course work there). My 3.3 Science GPA was less than stellar--and every school I went to interview at commented on it. Some people made the remard that it was somewhat excusable because at Liberal Arts College, they are known for not having grade inflation. However, despite that there was one school that I did not get a secondary from. I am sure I missed the grade cutoff (trust me, it wasn't an MCAT cutoff that held me back).

My point is that my okay grades from Liberal Arts College helped me and hurt me. There were probably situation where great grades from Local CC would have been better. I think that interesting people who are socially presentable and jump through the right hoops (volunteer, shadow, etc.) do well in the medical school process given they have great grades (from anywhere) and decent MCATs. People who are deficient in one of the above areas can make up for it in another (my okay grades were excused by some school because of my stellar MCATs). Great grades from a CC are not going to hold you back. Okay grades from a CC could ruin your chance.

This is the best post on this thread. End of discussion.
 

(nicedream)

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Whoever gave me bad karma with the comment "undergrad college matters unless you want to end up at DO school or worse" - I was accepted to both MD and DO schools. And have some balls and include your name.
 
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