How do adcom's view taking the organic chem prereq at a different 4-year university?

Nov 5, 2020
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  1. Pre-Medical
Senior-year engineering major here who got on the pre-med train late. I have all pre-reqs done besides 2 semesters of Organic chem and lab, but am having trouble scheduling an organic chemistry at my university for next semester because:
  1. My university is only offering Organic Chemistry II in the spring, I haven't taken Organic Chemistry I yet so can't sign up for this.
  2. All my university's courses will be online next semester (bc of COVID) including this organic chemistry course which I heard is a terrible look for pre-reqs (I've heard because of COVID adcoms might let this slide but I don't want to risk it).
However, I am considering taking Organic chemistry I next semester at the nearest 4-year university about 10 miles away from my current university as a non-degree seeking student:
  • It will be in person so huge plus there
  • It fits into my senior year engineering schedule
A concern of mine is how this might be perceived. For additional context, my university is ranked by US News in the top 10 whereas this other 4-year is within the top 200 so wondering if course rigor might be concerning (idk if this even matters). Would this be a bad look?
 
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jhmmd

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Apr 28, 2020
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Senior-year engineering major here who got on the pre-med train late. I have all pre-reqs done besides 2 semesters of Organic chem and lab, but am having trouble scheduling an organic chemistry at my university for next semester because:
  1. My university is only offering Organic Chemistry II in the spring, I haven't taken Organic Chemistry I yet so can't sign up for this.
  2. All my university's courses will be online next semester (bc of COVID) including this organic chemistry course which I heard is a terrible look for pre-reqs (I've heard because of COVID adcoms might let this slide but I don't want to risk it).
However, I am considering taking Organic chemistry I next semester at the nearest 4-year university about 10 miles away from my current university as a non-degree seeking student:
  • It will be in person so huge plus there
  • It fits into my senior year engineering schedule
A concern of mine is how this might be perceived. For additional context, my university is ranked by US News in the top 10 whereas this other 4-year is within the top 200 so wondering if course rigor might be concerning (idk if this even matters). Would this be a bad look?
If you're not in any rush, I would just take ochem at your regular university. One of the biggest mistakes that pre-meds make is rushing into things. You don't want to take the MCAT before you've finished the pre-reqs any more than you want to have only one course from a different university on your transcripts (and remember that the AAMC partners with all colleges in the country to verify coursework).

A good rule of thumb (for many things) is that if you're worried about it, there's probably a reason for that, e.g. that color that doesn't quite match? Better off without it...Take your time and do this right.

:luck:
 
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Jul 23, 2019
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Senior-year engineering major here who got on the pre-med train late. I have all pre-reqs done besides 2 semesters of Organic chem and lab, but am having trouble scheduling an organic chemistry at my university for next semester because:
  1. My university is only offering Organic Chemistry II in the spring, I haven't taken Organic Chemistry I yet so can't sign up for this.
  2. All my university's courses will be online next semester (bc of COVID) including this organic chemistry course which I heard is a terrible look for pre-reqs (I've heard because of COVID adcoms might let this slide but I don't want to risk it).
However, I am considering taking Organic chemistry I next semester at the nearest 4-year university about 10 miles away from my current university as a non-degree seeking student:
  • It will be in person so huge plus there
  • It fits into my senior year engineering schedule
A concern of mine is how this might be perceived. For additional context, my university is ranked by US News in the top 10 whereas this other 4-year is within the top 200 so wondering if course rigor might be concerning (idk if this even matters). Would this be a bad look?

There will no malus. No other option exists. The vast vast majority of students are forced to have pre-reqs done online right now. This has been going on for nearly 2 semesters, and will likely continue in the spring semester. Luckily, medical schools don't expect students to just delay their entire life by 3 semesters to take the pre-reqs in-person. Additionally, medical schools won't penalize you if the pre-reqs have been forced as pass/fail. But, if you have the option and choose pass/fail, you will be penalized.

With this considered, your main "plus" of taking it elsewhere isn't really a "plus" anymore. I agree with jhmmd. It's much better to wait and do it right, as there is no reason to rush this right now.

Lastly, medical schools don't care much regarding what your university is ranked. If you're applying to Harvard Medical School/(Insert top private medical school here), you'll get a small bonus if your undergrad is Ivy League/Stanford/MIT. Your GPA/MCAT matter far FAR more.
 
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Nov 5, 2020
10
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  1. Pre-Medical
There will no malus. Literally no other option exists. The vast vast majority of students are forced to have pre-reqs done online right now. This has been going on for nearly 2 semesters, and will likely continue in the spring semester. It's not like medical schools expect students to just delay their entire life by 3 semesters to take the pre-reqs in-person. Additionally, medical schools won't penalize you if the pre-reqs have been forced as pass/fail. But, if you have the option and choose pass/fail, you will be penalized.

With this considered, your main "plus" is void. I agree with jhmmd. It's much better to wait and do it right, as there is no reason to rush this right now.

Lastly, medical schools (and most people, for that matter) don't care what your university is ranked, especially if it's just a USNEWS ranking. Are you applying to Harvard Medical School/(Insert top private medical school here)? Cool, you'll get a small bonus if your undergrad is Ivy League/Stanford/MIT. That's it. Your GPA/MCAT matter far FAR more.

I see, I wasn't trying to insinuate that I should get points just for going to a prestigious school but I just genuinely thought it would provide some added context into why I would be worried since it is primarily the optics of the transition that I would be worried about. Sorry if it came off as arrogant
 
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Jul 23, 2019
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I see, I wasn't trying to insinuate that I should get points just for going to a prestigious school but I just genuinely thought it would provide some added context into why I would be worried since it is primarily the optics of the transition that I would be worried about. Sorry if it came off as arrogant

It was not my intention to come off as aggressive. I have edited my post to be less forward. My goal was more-so to be educational.
 
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Goro

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Senior-year engineering major here who got on the pre-med train late. I have all pre-reqs done besides 2 semesters of Organic chem and lab, but am having trouble scheduling an organic chemistry at my university for next semester because:
  1. My university is only offering Organic Chemistry II in the spring, I haven't taken Organic Chemistry I yet so can't sign up for this.
  2. All my university's courses will be online next semester (bc of COVID) including this organic chemistry course which I heard is a terrible look for pre-reqs (I've heard because of COVID adcoms might let this slide but I don't want to risk it).
However, I am considering taking Organic chemistry I next semester at the nearest 4-year university about 10 miles away from my current university as a non-degree seeking student:
  • It will be in person so huge plus there
  • It fits into my senior year engineering schedule
A concern of mine is how this might be perceived. For additional context, my university is ranked by US News in the top 10 whereas this other 4-year is within the top 200 so wondering if course rigor might be concerning (idk if this even matters). Would this be a bad look?
It's a common pre-med delusion that you have to do everything in four years, and only four years at a single school.
 
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Nov 5, 2020
10
2
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
If you're not in any rush, I would just take ochem at your regular university. One of the biggest mistakes that pre-meds make is rushing into things. You don't want to take the MCAT before you've finished the pre-reqs any more than you want to have only one course from a different university on your transcripts (and remember that the AAMC partners with all colleges in the country to verify coursework).

A good rule of thumb (for many things) is that if you're worried about it, there's probably a reason for that, e.g. that color that doesn't quite match? Better off without it...Take your time and do this right.

:luck:

Got it. Thanks ! If it is alright could I ask another question?

My cGPA is currently not where I want it to be (3.10 as of now but with a significant rising trend), so I was thinking about doing a DIY post-bacc in the summer at a different 4-year university (mainly for $ reasons) for about 4-8 or so credits. Would it be alright if I just did the Organic Chem series then during this DIY post-bacc? or should I still stick at my current university for the DIY post-bacc since I still need to do organic-chem?

sorry if it's a long question! :thumbup:
 

jhmmd

supernatural
Apr 28, 2020
1,381
932
on the wall
Got it. Thanks ! If it is alright could I ask another question?

My cGPA is currently not where I want it to be (3.10 as of now but with a significant rising trend), so I was thinking about doing a DIY post-bacc in the summer at a different 4-year university (mainly for $ reasons) for about 4-8 or so credits. Would it be alright if I just did the Organic Chem series then during this DIY post-bacc? or should I still stick at my current university for the DIY post-bacc since I still need to do organic-chem?

sorry if it's a long question! :thumbup:
I'd stick to the same university unless you can't hack it there. There's nothing wrong w/a W, and ochem is a tough course. But give it a try first. Believe in yourself!
 
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