High school student needing advice/rant

Discussion in 'hSDN' started by Dr. Magnum G.I., Feb 4, 2019.

  1. Dr. Magnum G.I.

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    Hello! I am a junior in high school at a private preparatory academy and I need to both vent and am looking for advice or feedback.

    First of all, I plan on entering college as a pre-med and majoring in neuroscience or biomedical engineering. What are your opinions on these two majors? I am looking at Georgia Institute of Technology and Vanderbilt as my top two schools. I am not sure which major I should chose though or which one would prepare me the best. I really am interested in both. I feel like biomedical engineering at GIT would be best because it's a technical school... but I also like neuroscience. I am not sure.

    I should graduate with 32-36 high school credits and I'm in the top 3% of my high school class I think.

    A run-down of my stats would be:

    4.0/4.5 weighted

    Taking this year: Precalc and Trig, Honors Chemistry, Computer science, Spanish III (last summer), APUSH, AP Lang.

    Taking next year: AP Psych, AP Euro, AP Lit, AP Calc, Honors Physics (possibly something else?)

    Violin, symphony, choir, competitive debate, speech, (22nd in the state), starting fine arts program for inner city youth, History Club president, around 60 hours of volunteering at the hospital, and 20 hours of shadowing physicians so far (but will have a lot more over summer). I am also going to be involved in some leadership positions at my church over the summer. As far as volunteer hours go outside of a medical setting, I'm sitting at around... 15-20 hours so far? Not much I know.

    Test scores: These are absolutely embarrassing. I took the ACT October of my sophomore year (2017) and scored a 25, but I also had no idea what I was doing and didn't even study. I am taking the ACT this Saturday (please send me good luck) and hoping for a 30-32. I am making 31s and 32s on practice tests.

    SAT: 1230

    PSAT/NMSQT: 1170 (?)

    I am a bad test taker, so any advice on learning how to test better.. please share.



    How do I look as a applicant going into pre-med? Or, having any chance at getting into Vandy or GIT. Also, I hesitate to go for Vanderbilt because their grading scale is rough... 93 for an 4.0 whereas GIT is 90=4.0. Currently in my classes in high school, a 93 is a 4.0, so I am used to that (though I work my ass off).

    I just needed to put all that down and hold myself accountable to keep working. I worry that I'm not smart enough to make it through a pre-med program because I test so badly. If I do this badly on high school standardized tests, I don't know if I would ever get through an MCAT. But that is also 5 years away.



    Any advice or encouragement is VERY appreciated!

    Thanks!
     
  2. PapaGuava

    PapaGuava All Things Must Pass
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    First of all, it sounds like you’re doing well in highschool. Not only that, but you’re trying to plan for your future going into college which keeps you ahead of the game. As far as colleges go, attend somehwere you feel you would be the most successful. At the end of the day, your GPA/MCAT will matter the most while your recommendations and volunteer experience are just the cherry on top.

    As for the MCAT, you have plenty of time to worry about that as you progress through college. The biggest thing for now is just doing well in your prerequisite courses like Biochemistry, Biology etc. Then, as you prepare for the MCAT later on, it will give you confidence as you review the content you’ve learned in the past and take practice exams. There is so many resources to help you prepare for the exam. If you naturally get more nervous on standardized exams that is not a huge deal since most people do unless you feel it is crippling, then that is something you can address now.

    I hope you do well on your second ACT, especially since now you have been scoring well on your practice exams.


    P.S. what is your favorite type of history? I had a history minor in college, so its a hobby of mine haha.

    @Dr. Magnum G.I.
     
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  3. AllBleedingStops

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    All of this is fine and will get you into either of those schools. None of what you are doing now specifically matters for med school admissions.

    Apples and oranges.

    Sounds like GIT is the better choice because GPA is the name of the game when it comes to med school admissions. That and MCAT are the 2 biggest factors.

    Don't worry about what will prepare you the best - all that prep is really on you and what specific classes you choose to take.

    If you like neuro, do neuro. By the way, traditionally, engineers get lower GPAs and it makes getting into medical school harder.
     
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  4. PumpBoy

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    You're good papo. You have to increase your SAT if you want to go to those schools though. Don't review SAT practice material, just do tons of practice tests. Doing this got my score up to the high 1400s from 1200 just by simulating tests and seeing my mistakes. Good luck.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Dr. Magnum G.I.

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    Thank you for saying that. I tend to overworry things and I just want to make sure that I set myself up for success. I went to University of Alabama's (I'm in-state) admissions meet and greet last night and was very impressed. I hear they have a good pre-med program.... but I worry about having to create my own major with their "New College" seeing they don't have a neuroscience major. I feel like it's going to be more work on my end. BUT, they have a pre-med committee which I really like. I don't know. I can get a full-ride at U of AL with a stipend at Bama, but I worry I'm going to sacrifice a better education at another school for free tuition. But if I get a full-ride to AL, why would I turn that down to be debt free? I don't know.
    If I get rejected from GIT and Vandy, then I can worry about the other 4ish schools and money offers I assume.
    When I start standardized exams, I begin to fall into the "Oh damn, I can't answer this one.. or this next one... or THE NEXT ONE... I'm failing this!"

    What did you major in? @PapaGuava

    Aha, I actually do not like most history but I'm a MAJOR WW2 nerd.
     
  6. OP
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    Dr. Magnum G.I.

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    Aha yep. Average ACT at Vandy is 34.
     
  7. OP
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    Dr. Magnum G.I.

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    Again, like I responded to @PapaGuava , I worry about having to "pull-together" my own major with U of AL in neuro. Every other school I'm looking at has a pre-made neuro major BUT I wouldn't get a full ride at all. I don't know. U of AL's med school admittance was at 59% where national average was 42% for 2018.

    I may just bump GIT up to my #1 choice and snag a neuro major there. PLUS, they work with Emory a lot.
     
  8. Gilakend

    Gilakend SDN Bronze Donor
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    @Dr. Magnum G.I.

    1. Advice on two majors. Both are solid majors, one thing to consider is what you would do if you switched out of the premed track or didn't get into med school. Bioengineering seems like a much better fall back option (unless you have a specific plan for the neuroscience degree), but bioE would be harder to maintain high GPA.

    2. Go to schools where you can do best and provides you with ample opportunities. I don't know much about either school, but as long as they have good opportunities for research/ECs/shadowing (nearby/affiliated hospital is very helpful)/volunteering, both will be just fine.

    3. No such thing as an "applicant going into premed" from a med admissions standpoint. College is a blank slate (I was probably in the bottom 3% of my HS) and you can fix any issues you felt you had in highschool. However, your existing study habits will help put you in a good position to do well your first semester!
     
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  9. OP
    OP
    Dr. Magnum G.I.

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  10. OP
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    Dr. Magnum G.I.

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    Sorry @Gilakend I think I edited your post on accident.

    Thank you for that. If I don't get into medical school, I would want to shoot for a Masters and hopefully PhD in neuroscience and do research or teach at the graduate level.
    I feel like biomedical engineering would be thoroughly interesting, but... also hard to keep a high GPA. Just gotta think about it. All schools I'm looking at have medical schools or large hospitals near-by.
     
  11. Gilakend

    Gilakend SDN Bronze Donor
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    Both sound like great options! Congrats on all the success.
     
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  12. OP
    OP
    Dr. Magnum G.I.

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    Thank you! I work hard. If I learn nothing else from high school, the one thing I learned was how to study.
    I see that you are an accepted MD student. Do you mind sharing more about yourself and your journey?
     
  13. Gilakend

    Gilakend SDN Bronze Donor
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  14. PapaGuava

    PapaGuava All Things Must Pass
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    @Dr. Magnum G.I.

    I majored in Biology. There wasn’t as many options in my school but I was able to take a lot of courses that were interesting besides just my prerequisite courses.

    You’re doing well, keep up the good work!
     
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  15. OP
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    Dr. Magnum G.I.

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    Thank you! I need to get my perfectionism under control before it ruins me before I even get to college >_>.

    Any cool opportunities you had?
     
  16. OP
    OP
    Dr. Magnum G.I.

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    Oh another question! If I pass all my AP exams I will have enough credits to start as a sophomore. Do you suggest this? My counselor says no because I'll miss out on so many scholarships. @PapaGuava
     
  17. AllBleedingStops

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    You still are a freshmen. You just have more credits. It isn't a bad thing. And usually has no bearing on scholarships since those are determined before you enter school and your credits are added to your transcript after you start school.
     
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  18. longhaul3

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    Vandy and GT are two of the best schools in the South and will be tough to get into without a higher SAT or ACT score. Good luck on your upcoming exam—scoring well would go a long way towards admission at either of these schools.

    Neuroscience is cool and all, but it's pretty irrelevant to most careers unless you get into med school (plus, you'll learn all the neuroscience you want and then some in med school). If you really think you'd be happy with your backup plans, go for it, but in my opinion it's not a great college major for its impracticality. In my experience, though, it is easier to get good grades in neuroscience than most other science majors, which is important for med school. Either way, I don't think going to Bama will prevent you from majoring in what you want.

    Of the three schools you mentioned, Vandy is the premier pre-med school. You would have a lot of pre-med classmates, which could make it competitive, but a school of that caliber works very hard and prides itself in the success of its med school applicants.

    Lastly, if one of the things that interests you in Ga Tech is its proximity to Emory...why not apply to Emory? That's a great school. Ga Tech is a technical institute—the great technical institutes (MIT, Cal Tech, GT) put out a lot of engineers and science PhDs, but not a whole lot of med students or biologists. They are also less likely to accommodate the song and dance of the pre-med existence which requires high grades; they probably have lower average GPAs, which are more acceptable in professional engineering fields because it's understood that the courses are more demanding, but that's not the case in med school admissions.
     
  19. OP
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    Dr. Magnum G.I.

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    Thank you! I feel like the ACT went very we;ll minus the math, but maybe I did better than I thought I did. I know I killed the science section so I am very happy with that.
    I like Vandy, but I feel like it will be extremely difficult to maintain a high GPA which will hurt my med school chances regardless of how prestigious it is.

    About Ga Tech, if I go to Ga tech, I am thinking about majoring in biomed engineering (which would definitely provide a great back up career) but I don'tknow. I'm still in the stage where I'm not sure which direction to go. My HS counselor is not that helpful.

    Vandy's grade deflation is real..... 4.0 is >93
     
  20. Gilakend

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    I looked up Ga Tech's biomed engineering program. Being premed with this may be challenging because they don't take many classes you would need. For example it says they take "chemical principles" and "survey of organic chem" both of which are 1 semester and I'm assuming fulfill your gen chem and ochem needs. However, for med school you'd need 2 semesters of each with the labs. And bio lab and physics lab. Also didn't see biochemistry on the requirements. In addition to this your other courses would probably be very challenging and I'm assuming would take you longer to graduate. I'm sure the counselors at Ga Tech would know 1000x more than me. But just by glancing at it I could see a few issues.

    Source: Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering < Georgia Institute of Technology
     
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  21. OP
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    Dr. Magnum G.I.

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    Hmmmm..... I see what you are saying. I am honestly lost about what to major in. I have added UAB (University of Alabama in Birmingham) back to my list due to their strong pre-med program and the med school (also know two people in the med school and 4 doctors that graduated from there). Reason I'm picking schools off major is because I know what two things I would major in and I need a school that can strongly offer the majors. Neuroscience is great.... but my state school doesn't offer it. I don't know how to pass up on my state school (U of AL) just due to not having a neuro major. That has no job backup. And I'm back to square one. I also love biomed engineering. I feel like GA tech isn't a strong premed school.
     
  22. Gilakend

    Gilakend SDN Bronze Donor
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  23. OP
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    Dr. Magnum G.I.

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    Thanks! Do you have any other suggestions about majors :/ I just feel so lost about this. I have emailed several school counselors.

    Also! I have successfully applied to volunteer at 3 regional hospitals over the summer and waiting to hear back from 2!
     
  24. Gilakend

    Gilakend SDN Bronze Donor
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    That sounds like a great summer plan. My advice for major is just something you enjoy, can do well in, and is employable or you have a reasonable path to employment afterwards (i.e. grad school, pod school, etc.). All the majors you've talked about have that potential.
     
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  25. OP
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    Dr. Magnum G.I.

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    Thanks for all your advice and guidance. Really has helped me a lot. I appreciate it immensely.
     

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