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How damning are Community College Classes

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by babytrey99, May 27, 2000.

  1. babytrey99

    babytrey99 Junior Member
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    How bad does it look on apps that you have attended Community College? I received my AA several years ago from a CC, and now I want to continue my education (little older and wiser). But I'm afraid that a transcript full of CC classes will be thought of as "easy classes". Anyone have any luck getting into DO school with a decent GPA from a Community College?
     
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  3. Qi Whiz

    Qi Whiz Member
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    I'm getting ready to do pre-med sciences, post-bac, and I'll probably do them at CC. I asked my DO the same question, and she said it's an excellent choice. She also said the MCAT is a big factor. I'm sure you'll get multiple opinions both ways, but I'm starting to figure out that it's the WHOLE record that's considered. Good luck.
     
  4. miglo

    miglo Senior Member
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    DO NOT GO TO A CC IF YOU DONT HAVE TO. I'm biased bc I've had friends that have gone there, and everyone one agrees that the class level is simply a joke. Go to a real university if you can.

    mig
     
  5. 12R34Y

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    I personally know of over 10 good friends and acquaintances of mine that went to community colleges and are all either accepted to multiple schools or are currently in med school. Community College classes are great (sometimes). more individualized attention from the prof., smaller class sizes, etc.... I took both semesters of physics at local community college and i really and truly understand physics. I'm doing very well on my prep for the MCAT on the physics section also. Bottom line.........when your application comes across on the AMCAS it says : PHYS 131--A, MATH 115 A, BIOL 110 A etc...... does not designate where you took it. All adcoms want to see is an A. Your science G.P.A. is not broken down into science G.P.A. at community college and science gpa at universities. don't worry about it at all. It's a non-factor.
     
  6. miglo

    miglo Senior Member
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    Dont be disillusion (sp?) that CC grades = University grades. They are not. Med schools will usually weigh the grades based on the school you took it at. An "A" at JoeBlow's College does NOT equal an "A" at Harvard. Go do your research and call around before settling for a CC.

    mig
     
  7. 12R34Y

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    Where are you getting your info MIGLO? I agree that in a GENERALIZATION that CC grades dont' equal major university grades, but once again. Look at the AMCAAS. They see a huge long list of GRADES, not grades and school combined. just grades. same with science g.p.a. how can they weigh them different if all science and math classes are combined to make one science g.p.a.. They don't. A's are better than B's and C's. Just kick butt on the MCAT and you should have absolutely no problem whatsoever!
     
  8. Boomer

    Boomer Supreme Sooner Member
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    Hey, I don't know about you guys, but when I filled out my AMCAS (and AACOMAS) by semester, it asked specifically for the name of the school where the courses were taken. And, yes, the schools did get this information.

    Overall, I agree with mig, if you can go elsewhere, do it. However, I got in with about 65 hours of CC courses (although, most of them were gen. ed. courses--only a couple of med school pre-reqs). It can be done, but it makes life a little more difficult.

    If the only reason you (meaning anyone) want to take CC classes is because it will be easier to make the grade, how will you deal with the difficulty of med school? If other circumstances (family, work, etc.) dictate taking courses at a CC, and your choice is take pre-reqs at the CC now, or wait and take them at Large U. later, I would say take what you can now, and explain your reasoning in your PS (i.e.--"I learned to handle a difficult workload by working 45 hours a week while taking basic pre-reqs at Al's Comm. College......"). The thing to remember is that if you take all science pre-reqs at a CC, you must take upper division science courses at a 4 yr. school to show that you can grasp the complex points of such courses.

     
  9. 12R34Y

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    Yes, I realize that med schools do receive all of your school's transcripts etc..., but my point still stands.........as the previous poster himself/herself proved. You can get into medical school with CC classes. the above poster is proof of this. Not to mention that I know numerous people who attended CC's first and then transferred to a 4 year. Bottom line.....great G.P.A. (regardless of where), strong MCAT's, lots of extras like volunteering, letters of rec, and clincial experience and you will definately be a competitive applicant to most all schools. Don't sweat a few classes at the CC.
     
  10. drusso

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    If you go to a CC, then you pretty much have to ace *ALL* your premed classes and have a strong showing on the MCAT. If you do this, then med schools will have little issue with CC course work. Anything less tends to raise a few eyebrows...

    [This message has been edited by drusso (edited 05-29-2000).]
     
  11. TobyOrNotToby

    TobyOrNotToby Junior Member
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    I've taken part of my o-chem and physics in a C.C. and part at a University of California campus, and I don't notice any difference in the difficulty of the courses or the quality of instruction, I just know I busted my bootay to get A's at both schools.
     
  12. DJWixon

    DJWixon New Member

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    Dont listen to Mig... with a condescending/Holier-than-thou attitude like that, what kind of doctor do you think Mig will be?
    I'm a single parent, 38 years old, going back to school after raising children for the past 18 years. You do what you have to do! Your MCAT scores and your gpa will carry far more weight than what school you attended.
    Listen to someone who has been dealing with the realities of life, since Mig was in diapers.
     
  13. ADRIANSHOE

    ADRIANSHOE Senior Member
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    Thanks for that introduction:

    having taught community college, I would make the following observations:
    1. There is a PERCEPTION that the classwork is easier than "real university classes"
    2. This perception is often false.
    3. Campbells biology is Campbells biology whether its at a university or a community college...the labs, the books, etc... are the same. So as a teacher you have latitude to make the course as tough as a university if you wish to do so...and often you can make it tougher...
    4. Community College teachers DO feel pressure to pass students that do not deserve it, this bias is stronger than at a university. This bias is also related to the idea that since the average community college student must be slightly less qualified than the average university student, we must therefore dumb things down for them....I always told my students "if you aint ready for the last word in community college, you dont belong in my Biology class because its considered a college course."
    5. Perceptions regarding the need to teach to the students level (rather than demanding the student reach for a higher level) has resulted in some teachers "dumbing down" their courses.
    6. Thus is is not the coursework that is easier, but SOMETIMES the teacher lets the students off easier....This is more at the C and D level than at the A level, but it is sometimes a lot easier to get an A. This is not just teacher dependent, as sometimes the pressure comes from above.
    7. Student evaluations DO have an impact at some community colleges...This also can result in subtle pressure to "dumb down" the classwork.
    8. Having said all this, I would recommend avoiding the issue by going to a university setting, however assure you that with proper research, you can find some very good community college courses.
    9. Despite finding good courses, you will still find subtle discrimination from others since you did the CC route. Getting good MCATS will solve a lot of that. Having good upper level science courses at a university setting will also mask your cc experience. good luck.
     
  14. mj

    mj Senior Member
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    Not to be argumentative Shoe...but I find this issue a little perplexing, so maybe you can shed some light for me...

    As this thread is indicative of, the argument is often that adcoms. view CC classes in an unfavorable light. The come back usually is, well as long as you do well on your MCATs?

    Doesn?t everyone who wants to go to med school need to do well on the MCAT? If I went to a major university and got 3.9 and I only showed up with 22 on my MCAT are my chances better than the 3.9 CC student with a 30? Isn?t it all a numbers game to some degree ? all the stats. are shoved into a computer and those who meet the cutoff get a second look. I suppose you could say that if I were looking at a university kid with a lower MCAT vs. a CC kid with a slightly higher MCAT it might make a differnce, but even then I would bet you are going to pick the one you liked in the interview the most.

    I find it hard to believe that adcoms have one pile of applications for CC students and one for those who did their prereqs. at a university. I suppose you could say a marginal kid for a university has more of a chance than a marginal kid from a CC, the lesson being if you are pre med you better be shooting for above marginal no matter where you go. Maybe if you?re talking top 10 schools?but even then that marginal university student probably isn't going to get in either.

    I would also think it has a lot to do with the individuals situation, as well. I have a 3.9 from a solid university. I find it hard to believe that the fact that my physics is from a CC is going to matter that much in the scheme of things. To make a broad generalization that taking classes at a CC is a ?bad thing? seems to be a little misleading.

    But I?m only a lowly premed who's taking physics at a CC, so feel free to correct me if I?m wrong.

    mj
     
  15. dlbruch

    dlbruch Senior Member
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    My two cents:
    If I were on an admissions committee I would be suspicious of the rigors of CC courses. Why? I took a Human Anatomy course at a CC to beef up my app. and it was a joke! I had classes in high school (not kidding) that were more demanding. I do not, and would not, assume that all CC courses are that bad, but you really don't know. My personal experience tells me that at universities the standards in general are higher, the professors are more qualified (ie greater percentage of PhD's), and the students have to do the work to pass. At CC this has not always been the case for me.

    This having been said, the MCAT and upper division courses taken at a university would be convincing of a student's ability. General bio at CC followed by upper division bio completing a major at a state U. would indicate that the student does have the ability.

    Again, I won't argue that CC education is inferior in all, or even most, cases. But our applications need to be as competetive as possible to get into med school, so take the university course if possible. If you don't, you may be hurting your chances.
     
  16. miglo

    miglo Senior Member
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    DJWixon: I'm sorry I was not fortunate enough to have a kid at 20 years old. I do have friends that go to the local CCs here and have transfered to UCLA. From all accounts, the classes were a complete joke. (ie you get extracredit for clearing the board after class, NO JOKE). Attending UCLA was a complete system shock after having attending said CC. On a side note, I have had CS profs joke about CC compsci coarses (sp?). Now I'm not saying ALL CCs are bad, but when you say that a CC education is comparable to a REAL university, you are lieing to yourself. If you kicked ass on the MCATs, more power to you.

    Hey not everyone can go to a university, but not everyone chose the path of having a kid at 20 either. Thats your choice in life. Don't give me this "I am better/more-mature-than-thou" attitude because you had a kid so early and have learned important "life-lessons". Give me a break. I chose to take out TONS and TONS of loans to go to a university and stay focus with my academics.

    If a CC was as good as a university, it WOULD BE a university. Enough said.

    mig
     
  17. miglo

    miglo Senior Member
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    mj: Actually we had a LOT of students/friends at UCI take physics at a local CC/JC because it was less intensive/easier. Hardly anyone fails was the deal. No curve, etc. It probably won't matter in the big scheme of things, but from all accounts, that was their reasoning.

    mig


     
  18. Sheon

    Sheon Senior Member
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    My opinion (based on personal experience), go where you will learn the information. If the community college prepares students well for the MCAT, go there. If not, look elsewhere.
     
  19. DocGibby

    DocGibby Senior Member
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    Don't you have to have a four year bachelor degree before you enter med school? If it's not a requirement yet, I'm sure it's on the horizon in the not so distant future.
     
  20. mj

    mj Senior Member
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    ya know mig, not everyone needs your supposed great expertise offered by a university to grasp such base concepts as general chem and physics 1. Personally, I don?t need a PHD from Harvard to teach me ?things in motion??. Give me the syllabus, tell me when the test are?for many people lower level classes at a good university are just as much a ?joke? as they are at a CC?

    But this isn?t so much about what I learn where as it is about how that is perceived by someone judging my ability to perform in med school. The fact that people are accepted with CC classes on their transcript begs the question as to how much it really plays into that perception.

    Obviously dlbruch is right, that the goal is to have applications that are as competitive as possible. What people who ask this question really want to know is how big of a trade off in the competition game are we making in taking a pre req at a CC. Barring the appearance of adcom members on this thread, we probably will never really know. The fact that people do get in with CC classes indicates to me that the trade off isn?t as big as some people here would indicate and is probably applicant based.

    We tell people if they take classes at CCs they have to do good and get good scores on their MCATs. We tell someone who ask ?how do I get into med school? who is attending a university that they have to do good and get good scores on their MCATs?hhhmmmm?Having taken statistics at a university, I think I detect a trend.
     
  21. DJWixon

    DJWixon New Member

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    Mig, Mig, Mig,

    My post was meant to be words of encouragement to Babytrey99, as opposed to an attack on you.
    Some people have no other choice than to attend a CC. Life is not full of as many choices as you think it is. When a woman you are dating stops taking the pill, without telling you and you suddenly find yourself thrust into the role of a parent... it wakes you up quite quickly (I didnt get much of a choice... did I?).
    Let me give you some advice... as one pre med student to another. I have been on staff with a paramedic program (one of the top 3 in the nation) and sat on many interview boards which are very similar to the ones we will encounter at medical schools. Your qualifications (ie: grades) will qualify you to take the admissions test. Your scores on the admissions test will get you ranked, if youre ranked high enough, you will get an interview. If you get an interview... they WILL ask around about the type of person you are. If you are a pompous, know it all... they will know. If you want to be a good doctor... you need to learn to not be so quick to judge, or look at things in such black and white terms (ie; Universities are all better than all CCs). I have seen more than one paramedic student come into the program with a 4 year degree, from a university... get straight "A's" through the whole program then "bomb" thier internship, because they couldnt put all the information together and make it work for them. In other words... getting good grades at a major university, will not make you a good doctor. Its something you either have inside you, or not. Medical schools are very aware of this fact.
    I commend you for working hard and staying focused. I hope that our postings can be less confrontational in the future.
     
  22. miglo

    miglo Senior Member
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    DJWixon: EEK, im sorry to hear that. Well congrats to you for surviving and going back to school. good luck.

     
  23. ADRIANSHOE

    ADRIANSHOE Senior Member
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    back to the idea of perception:

    The process of sorting out interview spots varies from school to school...some will tell you outright that they rank institution difficulty and factor this into their rankings....HOW they come to their rankings is still mysterious. NOT all schools use a formula...I think a dartboard is somewhere in the picture.

    And yes, even with a 4.0 at Harvard, a 22 isn't going to look as well as a 33.

    Miglo is doing everyone a great service: he is saying: GO WHERE THERE IS NO CHANCE FOR ANYONE TO QUESTION YOUR EDUCATION.

    Back at my old school, Nova, I was first asked during the interview "why did you do most of your undergraduate sciences at community college" When I corrected this silly statement (i did three undergraduate courses at CC), the next question was "well why do you think community college is going to prepare you for medical school"

    My point is: this type of questioning during the interview process happens (and did at several places) NOT ONLY THAT: for every time these questions ARE ASKED, ask yourself how many time these questions are thought but not asked...

    I am not trying to rain on anyone's parade, but perception is the key, you are giving the interviewers a snapshot of you the student: do you want to use ACME or KODAK film. It doesnt matter if your coursework prepares you equally well for the MCAT if the interviewer has a perception that CCs are not good.

    Also remember that you are all competing: so find out everyone's phone number and call them at three in the morning before their finals..just kidding.
     
  24. mj

    mj Senior Member
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    heck Shoe, if I wanted it sugar coated I certainly wouldn't have asked you for advice lol.

    Most pre meds taking classes at a CC already know it's raining...they're more curious as to how big their umbrella needs to be -- are you talking hurricane or spring shower...

    Good food for thought.

    mj

    PS -- "Back at my old school, Nova..." Must feel good to say that. Congratulations on graduation...you did graduate, right...they didn't kick you out for blasphemy? lol

    [This message has been edited by mj (edited 06-04-2000).]
     
  25. babytrey99

    babytrey99 Junior Member
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    Thank you everyone for your input!! As I stated before, I wasn't sure how the CC classes would look. I plan to go to Southern Oregon University in the Fall, but will take two Biology classes (a general and a marine) and a medical terminology class at my local CC this summer. The university offers a lot of History, Accounting and Teaching classes this summer, but not any of the classes I want to take my first semester back as a student (last class was Spring '90). I will take these few classes at the CC to get my feet wet and build my confidence, then go to the local University for everything else. I am just starting the long road to Osteopathic School and I appreciate the help from everyone who has walked before me.
     
  26. ADRIANSHOE

    ADRIANSHOE Senior Member
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    rained so hard the day i left the weather it was dry
    The sun so hot i froze to death....

    In otherwords, its hard to tell if there is a hurricane or a spring shower, you can ask the adcoms but there is no guarantee that the answer you get is anything more than political doubletalk.
    bottom line, ya gotta do what ya gotta do
    bottom line 2: Hey, i got in didnt i.

    Yes, contrary to the rumors: i did graduate, albeit two days late....
    this had nothing to do with Nova, however it was more related to a completely separate issue.
     

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