bbos

7+ Year Member
Nov 7, 2010
86
17
Status
Hi all, I'm currently in a very undesirable academic situation, I'm 22 years old, attended University of Hartford for 2 years and left there with a 2.6 GPA.

I'm thinking about transferring my credits from Hartford to Harvard extension school and attempt to obtain my undergrad at Harvard Ext. assuming I do well there, I will apply for post bacc,

so my question is, will the bachelor's degree from Harvard Extension school be adequate to apply for post bacc programs?
 

DrMidlife

has an opinion
10+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2006
7,506
2,601
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I don't get what you're trying to do.

Do you want to go to med school?

Why are you thinking about a postbac before you get your bachelors? If you know you want to go to med school, then get the prereqs done during your bachelors. Change your major if you need to.

If you're picking Harvard extension so you can spray some Harvard on that 2.6, I don't think that's good prioritization. Pick a school where you can get A's and faculty recommendations and not accumulate a big pile of debt.

Best of luck to you.
 
OP
B

bbos

7+ Year Member
Nov 7, 2010
86
17
Status
Hi DrMidLife, thanks for the reply. Please allow me to further delineate my situation:

Yes I aspire to enter Med school

I left University of Hartford with a 2.6GPA

Took a year off and volunteered as a research assistant at Children Hospital in Boston.

Now I need to return to school to get my Bachelor's degree, However, given my abysmally low gpa, it will be difficult to gain admission to any accredited institutions.

My plan is to enter Harvard Ext. school Undergraduate program, provided that I can perform well in their initiation classes. once I graduate, I then apply for post bacc to further enhance my egregious gpa.

but here lies the problem; is it worth it to get my undergrad from Harvard extension school? will this degree be valuable enough for acceptance to post bacc programs??
 

DrMidlife

has an opinion
10+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2006
7,506
2,601
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I think you should spend a year at a community college and get straight A's. Take English and Math and other nontrivial classes.

Use those straight A's to get into a good undergrad school. Keep getting straight A's and put together a great app. Then you have a great comeback narrative.

Meanwhile, enjoy your early 20's. Travel, fall in love, work a crappy job, make friends, pay rent, find out who you are. Get out from under your parents. The *only* saving grace of a GPA comeback is that it slows you down. In your early 20's, this is a very good thing. I guarantee you (guaran-effing-tee you) that you will have lots of late-20's company in med school.

Best of luck to you.
 

robflanker

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 17, 2009
3,031
73
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I suppose you could apply to Harvard Extension, not sure what their acceptance policy is for someone without a bachelors and a poor GPA

As long as its a bachelors degree, it doesnt matter a whole lot where its from but dont count on the harvard name getting you any extra bang for your buck given that its the extension school.

You will need an SMP, not a post-bac once you get your degree.
 
OP
B

bbos

7+ Year Member
Nov 7, 2010
86
17
Status
I think you should spend a year at a community college and get straight A's. Take English and Math and other nontrivial classes.

Use those straight A's to get into a good undergrad school. Keep getting straight A's and put together a great app. Then you have a great comeback narrative.

Meanwhile, enjoy your early 20's. Travel, fall in love, work a crappy job, make friends, pay rent, find out who you are. Get out from under your parents. The *only* saving grace of a GPA comeback is that it slows you down. In your early 20's, this is a very good thing. I guarantee you (guaran-effing-tee you) that you will have lots of late-20's company in med school.

Best of luck to you.
Can I also just take classes at Harvard extension school and attempt to get As there, then transfer to another institution? or simply apply for an undergrad program at Harvard ext school and forgo the community college route?

I suppose you could apply to Harvard Extension, not sure what their acceptance policy is for someone without a bachelors and a poor GPA

As long as its a bachelors degree, it doesnt matter a whole lot where its from but dont count on the harvard name getting you any extra bang for your buck given that its the extension school.

You will need an SMP, not a post-bac once you get your degree.
Harvard extension school's undergrad program will offer acceptance given that one maintains a GPA above 3.0 in the 1st semester of their introductory courses (which is open enrollment), the only quandary for me is that because Harvard ext. is a night school, I think it deprecates the value of Bachelor's degree, or hopefully, I'm wrong.
 

robflanker

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 17, 2009
3,031
73
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Well the obvious question is - given your past, and inability to maintain a 3.0 at a pretty poor undergraduate school; how do you plan on maintaining a 3.0?

I suggest you do what midlife suggested and do some soul searching.

Medicine might not be right for your right now, or ever - and you have many many years of stellar academic work ahead of you to counterset your current GPA
 
OP
B

bbos

7+ Year Member
Nov 7, 2010
86
17
Status
Well the obvious question is - given your past, and inability to maintain a 3.0 at a pretty poor undergraduate school; how do you plan on maintaining a 3.0?

I suggest you do what midlife suggested and do some soul searching.

Medicine might not be right for your right now, or ever - and you have many many years of stellar academic work ahead of you to counterset your current GPA
thank you for the input rob, I understand the suspicion regarding my previous performance, but that was during a time when I was regretfully immature, impulsive and nonchalant. I have amended my faults, this summer I have completed two intensive courses of Chem I & II at Brandeis University with a cumulative GPA of 3.3, both of my parents are biochemists and I have experienced this career field and am determined to pursue it. The only question for now is, is the undergrad at Harvard Extension school worth pursuing??
 

DrMidlife

has an opinion
10+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2006
7,506
2,601
Status
Resident [Any Field]
this summer I have completed two intensive courses of Chem I & II at Brandeis University with a cumulative GPA of 3.3
You need A's. 3.3 is better than 2.6, but neither will get you into med school.
The only question for now is, is the undergrad at Harvard Extension school worth pursuing??
You don't seem interested in being talked out of it. imho if it meets the following requirements, go ahead:
Pick a school where you can get A's and faculty recommendations and not accumulate a big pile of debt.
As for "getting into a postbac", if you mean Bryn Mawr or Goucher, give up on that now. Your GPA will not be much over 3.0 after 2-3 more years of undergrad. Bryn Mawr & Goucher want risk-free students, ie 3.8+.

As robflanker said, you will need to finish your undergrad with A's, and then you're going to need an SMP, if you want to go to an MD school. Without the SMP you might get into a DO school.

But focus on what will get you into med school, not what will get you into a postbac.

Seriously: you can't use regular tried&true advice with a 2.6. You have to be imaginative and opportunistic, and you have to provide a powerful and unexpected counterexample to that 2.6. Assume that your biochemist parents and their physician friends did *not* have experiences that can guide you - they *should* be trying to talk you out of med school (tough love). Are you ready to outperform your classmates, get the top score on a bio exam? You need to do that.

Best of luck to you.
 

DrMidlife

has an opinion
10+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2006
7,506
2,601
Status
Resident [Any Field]
P.S. I don't think you'll meet the HE degree program admissions requirements.

You have to get a 3.0 in the 3 preadmissions courses.

But you have to also have a 3.0 cumulative GPA. Even if you get a 4.0 in the 3 preadmissions courses, your cumulative will still be around 2.9.

How did I get 2.9? It's in your best interest to make Excel your bff and start doing conversions & projections.

http://www.extension.harvard.edu/programs/undergrad/admission/
"Have a 3.0 (B) cumulative grade-point average and a 3.0 GPA during the previous term at Harvard."
 
OP
B

bbos

7+ Year Member
Nov 7, 2010
86
17
Status
You need A's. 3.3 is better than 2.6, but neither will get you into med school.

You don't seem interested in being talked out of it. imho if it meets the following requirements, go ahead:


As for "getting into a postbac", if you mean Bryn Mawr or Goucher, give up on that now. Your GPA will not be much over 3.0 after 2-3 more years of undergrad. Bryn Mawr & Goucher want risk-free students, ie 3.8+.

As robflanker said, you will need to finish your undergrad with A's, and then you're going to need an SMP, if you want to go to an MD school. Without the SMP you might get into a DO school.

But focus on what will get you into med school, not what will get you into a postbac.

Seriously: you can't use regular tried&true advice with a 2.6. You have to be imaginative and opportunistic, and you have to provide a powerful and unexpected counterexample to that 2.6. Assume that your biochemist parents and their physician friends did *not* have experiences that can guide you - they *should* be trying to talk you out of med school (tough love). Are you ready to outperform your classmates, get the top score on a bio exam? You need to do that.

Best of luck to you.
I appreciate the austere advice, but I come onto this board seeking guidance on a goal, not to relinquish from it. If I work for it, I deserve a chance to at least try.

and my question remains unanswered: is an undergraduate degree from Harvard Evening school legitimate for either postbacc/SMP and eventually Med school?

P.S. I don't think you'll meet the HE degree program admissions requirements.

You have to get a 3.0 in the 3 preadmissions courses.

But you have to also have a 3.0 cumulative GPA. Even if you get a 4.0 in the 3 preadmissions courses, your cumulative will still be around 2.9.

How did I get 2.9? It's in your best interest to make Excel your bff and start doing conversions & projections.

http://www.extension.harvard.edu/programs/undergrad/admission/
"Have a 3.0 (B) cumulative grade-point average and a 3.0 GPA during the previous term at Harvard."
in case 3 preadmission courses is not enough, I can take more classes. All I want to know is if a bachelor from Harvard evening school is adequate for my pursuits.
 

DrMidlife

has an opinion
10+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2006
7,506
2,601
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I appreciate the austere advice, but I come onto this board seeking guidance on a goal, not to relinquish from it. If I work for it, I deserve a chance to at least try.
Read again. Nobody told you to quit. You've been given personalized advice from one young GPA comeback veteran and one old GPA comeback veteran. For free. We each gave you an opinion on your best plan of attack. We both gave our opinion on HE for you - if I may paraphrase, "meh".

As I said, from a 2.6 you don't get to follow a cookie recipe for getting into med school. Specifically, nobody is going to tell you "yes, my dear, Harvard Extension is an excellent choice for getting a well-respected bachelors degree, while improving on a poor previous GPA, on your way to medical school. Perfect choice. I had all 250 deans of admission over to lunch last week and I specifically asked them about your case." Nor is anybody going to tell you "no, my dear, Harvard Extension will be viewed poorly by postbac programs and med schools, regardless of how well you do in the program. I had all 250 deans of admission over to lunch last week and I specifically asked them about your case."

This reminds me of the Evo vs. iPhone video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FL7yD-0pqZg
 

Gko

Mar 26, 2010
41
2
Status
You should get it out of your mind now that you "deserve" anything. The sooner you step away from that mentality, the more ready you'll be to deal with setbacks that you don't seem to "deserve" and the more able you'll be to handle the way more than difficult path you have in front of you.

The world's indifferent to your success or failure.

I do hope you get what you're working after, but learn to be flexible with your options and good luck.

P.S. I'm currently @ Harvard Extension now, if you have any specific questions.
 
OP
B

bbos

7+ Year Member
Nov 7, 2010
86
17
Status
Read again. Nobody told you to quit. You've been given personalized advice from one young GPA comeback veteran and one old GPA comeback veteran. For free. We each gave you an opinion on your best plan of attack. We both gave our opinion on HE for you - if I may paraphrase, "meh".

As I said, from a 2.6 you don't get to follow a cookie recipe for getting into med school. Specifically, nobody is going to tell you "yes, my dear, Harvard Extension is an excellent choice for getting a well-respected bachelors degree, while improving on a poor previous GPA, on your way to medical school. Perfect choice. I had all 250 deans of admission over to lunch last week and I specifically asked them about your case." Nor is anybody going to tell you "no, my dear, Harvard Extension will be viewed poorly by postbac programs and med schools, regardless of how well you do in the program. I had all 250 deans of admission over to lunch last week and I specifically asked them about your case."

This reminds me of the Evo vs. iPhone video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FL7yD-0pqZg
lol nice vid, you analogize me to that obdurate guy who is persistent on the iphone. Although consider this, you suggest I take classes at a community college, then transfer to a reputable school to accomplish my undergrad. What is the difference between taking courses at the community college and studying at HES open enrollment? further more, you advise me to make the transfer to other colleges/universities to complete my undergrad, correct me if I'm wrong, this is another way of saying don't attend undergraduate at HES.
 
Nov 3, 2010
6
0
Status
Non-Student
Dear Dr.Midlife.
I am 33 and have been a teacher in HS for the last 3 years with a masters (3.9 GPA), and now want to pursue medical career. However, is it better to go to a community college, cal state to complete the premed req. or Harvard ext. How does it look for medical school as well as the educational difference. Do you think that it will hinder my education, and the level in which i can complete with the other candidates once i go to school. In total, i have been out of school for 7 years.
 
Nov 3, 2010
6
0
Status
Non-Student
Dear bbos
how do you like the program so far. is it totally insane :scared:or doable. I just posted a reply to dr midlife and realized that i did not read the other posts.

Are your chances of going to HMS higher now that you are in this program? I wondered also what the sponsorship means at the HES in terms of post premed req for post grad going into the program.
 
OP
B

bbos

7+ Year Member
Nov 7, 2010
86
17
Status
Dear bbos
how do you like the program so far. is it totally insane :scared:or doable. I just posted a reply to dr midlife and realized that i did not read the other posts.

Are your chances of going to HMS higher now that you are in this program? I wondered also what the sponsorship means at the HES in terms of post premed req for post grad going into the program.
Hi robot, I'm not currently in any program, for the time being, I'm contemplating of my next move, which will either be open enrollment classes at HES or classes at community college.
 
OP
B

bbos

7+ Year Member
Nov 7, 2010
86
17
Status
You should get it out of your mind now that you "deserve" anything. The sooner you step away from that mentality, the more ready you'll be to deal with setbacks that you don't seem to "deserve" and the more able you'll be to handle the way more than difficult path you have in front of you.

The world's indifferent to your success or failure.

I do hope you get what you're working after, but learn to be flexible with your options and good luck.

P.S. I'm currently @ Harvard Extension now, if you have any specific questions.
Hi Gko, I'm not a self important guy, and I apologize if I mistakenly presented my self in such light. All my posts in brevity, is simply, how reputable is the undergrad degree from HES?
 
Nov 3, 2010
6
0
Status
Non-Student
hey bbos!
i think we are both in the same boat...yeesh! kind of suck trying to figure out the next best thing. for me i am changing careers and life in a huge way. so the pressure is on to make the right decisions.
thanks for your response

i think the others are right. you need to first raise your gpa and i think harvard will be a bit difficult unless you didn't apply your self at the other school. I also had to raise my gpa many moons ago. it sucks, this road ahead of you, but if you are in doubt just call a school counselor and try to talk to them and see how to go about doing what you want.
 
Last edited:

robflanker

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 17, 2009
3,031
73
Status
Resident [Any Field]
bbos - go for HES, we've given your our thoughts but you are clearly just looking for someone to tell you to do it. So, do it

robot - have you done your pre-reqs?
 

common man

7+ Year Member
Jun 22, 2009
479
14
Status
Hi robot, I'm not currently in any program, for the time being, I'm contemplating of my next move, which will either be open enrollment classes at HES or classes at community college.
pros for the hes route: (1) relatively cheap at 250 a credit (2) if you pick your classes carefully, you get real harvard professors & TAs. the only benefit here is the excellent lectures, feedback, and overall experience. the idea is not to have the same weight as a harvard college degree or go for bragging rights. (3) while hes does not carry the same weight as the "top" schools - it is definitely an institution to respect. it's more rigorous than community college - that's for sure.

cons: (1) it's hard! difficulty varies from course to course but my general opinion is that you have to work your butt off for the A. most people think in ideal terms and say that's the way it should be. ever hear of those classes with easy grades where the adcoms don't know about them and don't care but they're just happy to see the A? we all wish we had some but i can't think of a single one at hes. you need to seriously consider this if you're trying to raise your gpa. what woul suck is that you work hard, get a respectable 3.5 gpa, but that's still not good enough in terms of numbers. my suggestion is take two classes at harvard that interest you. take them online if you want so you don't have to commit to moving to boston just yet. there are some science courses they offer like neurobiology or biology of aids. then you can see for yourself. besides the two hes classes, take classes somewhere else where you can pad your gpa. i personally suggest a 4 year institution - like a local state college with in-state tuition. a community college is great for padding the gpa (which does come first and foremost) but for a guy worried about a school's weight or reputation may opt for state school as a balance of reptution vs ease. of course, at the end of the day, all that matters is the A. you have to remember this given your 2.6 (that you need to lift with more As). so if you have to go for the community college, do it. schools won't even care about the school etc. until after a certain number is met (3.0 minimum).

lastly, when you begin this journey, you need to put a positive spin on it so you're motivated. i'll tell you about me. I wasn't like every other kid, you know, who dreams about being an astronaut, I was always more interested in what bark was made out of on a tree. Richard Gere's a real hero of mine. Sting. Sting would be another person who's a hero. The music he's created over the years, I don't really listen to it, but the fact that he's making it, I respect that. I care desperately about what I do. Do I know what product I'm selling? No. Do I know what I'm doing today? No. But I'm here, and I'm gonna give it my best shot.

ok, on a serious note - take this as an opportunity to study and learn about things that you will not be able to when you go to medical school. when i did my bs degree, i earned a degree in engineering. when i started a journey like you, i took some enlish and history and advertising courses which i honestly valued and enjoyed (and raised my gpa because i enjoyed them). i took some botany classes to raise my science gpa and learn about the plants around me. i took some conservation biology courses to learn more about the diminishing, beautiful rainforests of the world. i took a course on urban design of american cities. these are not things that i'll get to learn at medical school. i valued what i learned and feel like a wiser man in the world. this kind of mentality helped me to remain motivated through the years. i didn't take it as punishment or exile (otherwise no way could i have committed myself to do well). i am still in my journey - and enjoying it.

good luck. hes is a fine choice but i suggest limiting your classes until you get a feel for it. it's biggest con, imo, is that it is challenging to get an A which you need. and don't just go through the motions - ask yourself why you got the 2.6 and why this time it will be dramatically different. ask yourself if you enjoy your classes. in answering these questions, come up with concrete answers - don't just passively say something to yourself to make it seem all right. if you don't enjoy what you are doing, if you don't understand what you did wrong and be willing to take a draconian measure against it, your journey will be very challenging. don't be indifferent of the outcome but realize that in this journey, as you progress (that's a guarantee), you may not always get the outcome you wanted, but your efforts will pay off in making other, good alternatives viable.
 
Nov 3, 2010
6
0
Status
Non-Student
robflanker- i'm doing an intro to bio, precal and then will take a intro to chem before taking the prerequisites for premed because i have been out of school for 7 years and have never taken hard science classes. although, i do have to say. i find the class totally fun. hard but interesting. i already have a masters in education and have a undergrad in psych. i am wanting to take the premed reqs trhough the harvard premed req for post bachacalauretes. i guess it is a fairly new program through extensions for people changing careers. but i just can't decied where to apply. there seems to be a lot of programs here in california. but i want to go some where where not only is the education stellar, but helpful for the med school apps.
-monkey-
 

DrMidlife

has an opinion
10+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2006
7,506
2,601
Status
Resident [Any Field]
robflanker- i'm doing an intro to bio, precal and then will take a intro to chem before taking the prerequisites for premed because i have been out of school for 7 years and have never taken hard science classes. although, i do have to say. i find the class totally fun. hard but interesting. i already have a masters in education and have a undergrad in psych. i am wanting to take the premed reqs trhough the harvard premed req for post bachacalauretes. i guess it is a fairly new program through extensions for people changing careers. but i just can't decied where to apply. there seems to be a lot of programs here in california. but i want to go some where where not only is the education stellar, but helpful for the med school apps.
-monkey-
Have you considered UC Berkeley Extension?
 
Nov 3, 2010
6
0
Status
Non-Student
why, i haven't looked at it yet, but why do you think it is a better program? Educationally and prep for the mcat?

i will definitely take a look at it. thanks for the advice.
 

DrMidlife

has an opinion
10+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2006
7,506
2,601
Status
Resident [Any Field]
why, i haven't looked at it yet, but why do you think it is a better program? Educationally and prep for the mcat?

i will definitely take a look at it. thanks for the advice.
"Better" should be measured by grades and reasonable student debt on the other side. Moving cross-country to do more undergrad doesn't make a lot of sense, unless you're looking to change your state of residence (in which case, UT Dallas has a sweet program).

I can't help you with whether your grades will be better at one school or another. I know that I should have put more thought into where I did my postbac. I went to the huge, anonymous, soul-crushing school down the street...I would have been more successful at a small program out of town. You need to be in charge of what your ideal academic environment is.

I'm not excited about postbacs that include MCAT prep. There are a lot of ways to do MCAT prep, and at an upper limit of about $1500 for a Kaplan course or similar, this would be a poor decision point for choosing a postbac program. You could think you're saving money and then find that a postbac's MCAT prep doesn't work well for you.

Best of luck to you.
 
OP
B

bbos

7+ Year Member
Nov 7, 2010
86
17
Status
pros for the hes route: (1) relatively cheap at 250 a credit (2) if you pick your classes carefully, you get real harvard professors & TAs. the only benefit here is the excellent lectures, feedback, and overall experience. the idea is not to have the same weight as a harvard college degree or go for bragging rights. (3) while hes does not carry the same weight as the "top" schools - it is definitely an institution to respect. it's more rigorous than community college - that's for sure.

cons: (1) it's hard! difficulty varies from course to course but my general opinion is that you have to work your butt off for the A. most people think in ideal terms and say that's the way it should be. ever hear of those classes with easy grades where the adcoms don't know about them and don't care but they're just happy to see the A? we all wish we had some but i can't think of a single one at hes. you need to seriously consider this if you're trying to raise your gpa. what woul suck is that you work hard, get a respectable 3.5 gpa, but that's still not good enough in terms of numbers. my suggestion is take two classes at harvard that interest you. take them online if you want so you don't have to commit to moving to boston just yet. there are some science courses they offer like neurobiology or biology of aids. then you can see for yourself. besides the two hes classes, take classes somewhere else where you can pad your gpa. i personally suggest a 4 year institution - like a local state college with in-state tuition. a community college is great for padding the gpa (which does come first and foremost) but for a guy worried about a school's weight or reputation may opt for state school as a balance of reptution vs ease. of course, at the end of the day, all that matters is the A. you have to remember this given your 2.6 (that you need to lift with more As). so if you have to go for the community college, do it. schools won't even care about the school etc. until after a certain number is met (3.0 minimum).

lastly, when you begin this journey, you need to put a positive spin on it so you're motivated. i'll tell you about me. I wasn't like every other kid, you know, who dreams about being an astronaut, I was always more interested in what bark was made out of on a tree. Richard Gere's a real hero of mine. Sting. Sting would be another person who's a hero. The music he's created over the years, I don't really listen to it, but the fact that he's making it, I respect that. I care desperately about what I do. Do I know what product I'm selling? No. Do I know what I'm doing today? No. But I'm here, and I'm gonna give it my best shot.

ok, on a serious note - take this as an opportunity to study and learn about things that you will not be able to when you go to medical school. when i did my bs degree, i earned a degree in engineering. when i started a journey like you, i took some enlish and history and advertising courses which i honestly valued and enjoyed (and raised my gpa because i enjoyed them). i took some botany classes to raise my science gpa and learn about the plants around me. i took some conservation biology courses to learn more about the diminishing, beautiful rainforests of the world. i took a course on urban design of american cities. these are not things that i'll get to learn at medical school. i valued what i learned and feel like a wiser man in the world. this kind of mentality helped me to remain motivated through the years. i didn't take it as punishment or exile (otherwise no way could i have committed myself to do well). i am still in my journey - and enjoying it.

good luck. hes is a fine choice but i suggest limiting your classes until you get a feel for it. it's biggest con, imo, is that it is challenging to get an A which you need. and don't just go through the motions - ask yourself why you got the 2.6 and why this time it will be dramatically different. ask yourself if you enjoy your classes. in answering these questions, come up with concrete answers - don't just passively say something to yourself to make it seem all right. if you don't enjoy what you are doing, if you don't understand what you did wrong and be willing to take a draconian measure against it, your journey will be very challenging. don't be indifferent of the outcome but realize that in this journey, as you progress (that's a guarantee), you may not always get the outcome you wanted, but your efforts will pay off in making other, good alternatives viable.
wow, I never realized the importance of the numbers game, if an A without substance is the same as an A with substance, then taking the route with the least resistance would be more beneficial.

Thanks for the sound advice and the encouragement and that extends to DrMidlife,robflanker and robomonkey, all your suggestions will influence my course of action in the coming months.
 

robflanker

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 17, 2009
3,031
73
Status
Resident [Any Field]
wow, I never realized the importance of the numbers game, if an A without substance is the same as an A with substance, then taking the route with the least resistance would be more beneficial.

Thanks for the sound advice and the encouragement and that extends to DrMidlife,robflanker and robomonkey, all your suggestions will influence my course of action in the coming months.
An A that isnt at a community college...
 

common man

7+ Year Member
Jun 22, 2009
479
14
Status
I should clarify my prior post as it may have been misleading on one topic...upper level science courses. Take the courses that interest you, even if they are non-medically related, for the reasons I mentioned above. However, you should also take a healthy dose of upper level science courses like microbiology or neurophysiology. How you allocate your course load is up to your discretion. I'm not sure of an appropriate allocation. I'd definitely err on the side of taking less but getting As than taking more and getting Bs (as respectable as a B is, you're trying to rise from a 2.6). Medical schools want to see the As and the high GPA but they also want to see that success relevant to hard science classes.

Hopefully now that I clarified myself, I'll share with you my experience of the benefits of having a balanced course load. A few months ago I had a really rigorous final exam for a molecular biology class. I studied at the library for 6 hours straight, took a 30 minute break, and then sat through the 3 hour exam. Came back home exhausted at 8' o clock. My schedule is kind of tight so you know what I do next? I start studying for my history exam which is a few days later. Surprisingly, the history was a very pleasant and welcome change from the hard science material which I had done for so many hours during that week. I didn't feel jaded at all but actually more motivated. So this was a big advantage to having a balance of courses with some hard science and some courses with different subjects.

If you do a "do it yourself post bacc", advisor or no advisor, there's a greater burden for you to make sure you know all the rules & rules of thumb regarding academics, amcas, requirements, etc. Only recently I learned that my "Cell Biology" class will not substitute for general biology at some institutions. Luckily I have time to adjust this. So be careful.
 

common man

7+ Year Member
Jun 22, 2009
479
14
Status
wow, I never realized the importance of the numbers game, if an A without substance is the same as an A with substance, then taking the route with the least resistance would be more beneficial.
An A that isnt at a community college...
Yep, combine the above two and that's sound thinking. Go for the path with least resistance, a you put it, that meets some basics (having sufficient upper level science courses, 4 year college).

Just for the sake of argument, in your case starting with a 2.6:

3.8 gpa courses @ 4 year college >>> 4.0 gpa courses @ cc > 3.2 gpa courses @ 4 year college.

The 4.0 cc gpa has its drawback as it is well known that cc is not as challenging as "a 4 year college". Schools that see average grades in your 4 year institution but then As in cc may have some doubts.

In my freshman year, I took "physics" whereas my roommate took "honors physics". His class was really really hard. Mine was reasonable. A few semesters later, I totally forgot that there were two different physics classes and how much tougher the other one was. Now, if I lost awareness of that, what is the likelihood that schools hundreds of miles away would be fully aware of how vastly different the two classes were? Chances are they wouldn't. They would just care who has the A. Take sufficient courses but don't make them harder than they need to be. Some people think that if they take super hard coures (let's say engineering) they'll get extra consideration...that's not the case at all.
 
Last edited:
Oct 5, 2010
324
1
Status
Pre-Rehab Sci [General]
I'll just add my two cents, since I am taking prereqs at the Harvard Extension School, but I haven't read all the previous posts. (I have a bachelors and a masters and am changing careers, taking prereqs for undergraduate credit.)

Yes, HES is legit. It's also cost-effective. It's perfectly legitimate for "getting accepted" into post-bacs. I believe the admissions policy for HES undergrad is similar to that of their masters programs - you take some introductory courses and if you do well, you can be admitted to the degree program. So, your previous coursework should have no bearing on your admission to HES, and then the HES program is a program like any other... accredited... it will not hinder you, though the "Harvard" name in that case would not really help you, either.

But... I suspect it is not easy. If you're seriously motivated, you can do well. If you're not... then you might want to look at some other school where you can easily get As. 2.6 is bad, but there are plenty of third and fourth tier colleges and universities which will accept you even with that GPA.

I still don't quite understand your plan, though... maybe I missed it in the above posts. You say you want to get a bachelors degree, and then further enhance your GPA by doing a post-bac. But do you plan to take the pre-med courses while completing your bachelors? And then what... retake them all in a post-bac? Or just ignore all those classes in undergrad, and take them for the first time in a post-bac? This doesn't seem like the best plan.

But as for HES... yes, it is perfectly well-regarded in admissions to other programs. They have their own message board and I have seen a lot of undergrads posting about admission to grad school. I think it's a fine choice for finishing your bachelors.
 
Last edited:
Aug 5, 2010
809
2
Status
Pre-Medical
I have to disagree a bit about hard courses not mattering. My major and my performance in it is by far the biggest topic of conversation. They may not know about specific classes at your school but they know about physics, math, engineering, etc and how hard those majors are. That will get you some points.

With that said, a 4.0 from women's studies (where 80% of students have above a 3.8 in the major) is better than a 3.5 from math (where the average gpa was 2.9).
 
OP
B

bbos

7+ Year Member
Nov 7, 2010
86
17
Status
An A that isnt at a community college...
I was under the impression that enhancing my GPA should be the top priority while the reputation of the institution is temporarily impertinent.

I should clarify my prior post as it may have been misleading on one topic...upper level science courses. Take the courses that interest you, even if they are non-medically related, for the reasons I mentioned above. However, you should also take a healthy dose of upper level science courses like microbiology or neurophysiology. How you allocate your course load is up to your discretion. I'm not sure of an appropriate allocation. I'd definitely err on the side of taking less but getting As than taking more and getting Bs (as respectable as a B is, you're trying to rise from a 2.6). Medical schools want to see the As and the high GPA but they also want to see that success relevant to hard science classes.

Hopefully now that I clarified myself, I'll share with you my experience of the benefits of having a balanced course load. A few months ago I had a really rigorous final exam for a molecular biology class. I studied at the library for 6 hours straight, took a 30 minute break, and then sat through the 3 hour exam. Came back home exhausted at 8' o clock. My schedule is kind of tight so you know what I do next? I start studying for my history exam which is a few days later. Surprisingly, the history was a very pleasant and welcome change from the hard science material which I had done for so many hours during that week. I didn't feel jaded at all but actually more motivated. So this was a big advantage to having a balance of courses with some hard science and some courses with different subjects.

If you do a "do it yourself post bacc", advisor or no advisor, there's a greater burden for you to make sure you know all the rules & rules of thumb regarding academics, amcas, requirements, etc. Only recently I learned that my "Cell Biology" class will not substitute for general biology at some institutions. Luckily I have time to adjust this. So be careful.
Based on these suggestions, I'm considering taking 1 science course at HES to and 2 miscellaneous classes at the community college to increase my GPA, thank you for the thoughtful input.


I'll just add my two cents, since I am taking prereqs at the Harvard Extension School, but I haven't read all the previous posts. (I have a bachelors and a masters and am changing careers, taking prereqs for undergraduate credit.)

Yes, HES is legit. It's also cost-effective. It's perfectly legitimate for "getting accepted" into post-bacs. I believe the admissions policy for HES undergrad is similar to that of their masters programs - you take some introductory courses and if you do well, you can be admitted to the degree program. So, your previous coursework should have no bearing on your admission to HES, and then the HES program is a program like any other... accredited... it will not hinder you, though the "Harvard" name in that case would not really help you, either.

But... I suspect it is not easy. If you're seriously motivated, you can do well. If you're not... then you might want to look at some other school where you can easily get As. 2.6 is bad, but there are plenty of third and fourth tier colleges and universities which will accept you even with that GPA.

I still don't quite understand your plan, though... maybe I missed it in the above posts. You say you want to get a bachelors degree, and then further enhance your GPA by doing a post-bac. But do you plan to take the pre-med courses while completing your bachelors? And then what... retake them all in a post-bac? Or just ignore all those classes in undergrad, and take them for the first time in a post-bac? This doesn't seem like the best plan.

But as for HES... yes, it is perfectly well-regarded in admissions to other programs. They have their own message board and I have seen a lot of undergrads posting about admission to grad school. I think it's a fine choice for finishing your bachelors.
its good to hear the HES is well regarded, I plan on taking prereq undergrad courses and maybe obtain my bachelor's from there as well, then apply for SMP most likely.

I have to disagree a bit about hard courses not mattering. My major and my performance in it is by far the biggest topic of conversation. They may not know about specific classes at your school but they know about physics, math, engineering, etc and how hard those majors are. That will get you some points.

With that said, a 4.0 from women's studies (where 80% of students have above a 3.8 in the major) is better than a 3.5 from math (where the average gpa was 2.9).
in that case...sign me up for women studies :D
 

robflanker

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 17, 2009
3,031
73
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I was under the impression that enhancing my GPA should be the top priority while the reputation of the institution is temporarily impertinent.
CC aren't an "institution"- anywhere but a CC
 

DrMidlife

has an opinion
10+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2006
7,506
2,601
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I suggested doing a year at a community college for two reasons:
1. As an interim step between the "old" 2.6 work and some future "new" degree attempt. A successful CC year can get you into a decent school to complete your degree.
2. A nicely packaged, successful single year at a community college isn't going to be confusing on a med school app. The story is clear: "this is a regroup year." The subsequent 2 years would be at a recognizable, difficult school, and would show your aptitude for med school.
(Note that GPA repair is not on this list. A's at a CC do not carry the weight of A's at a university.)

If you split this up, so that you're taking a class at HES and you're also taking fluff at a CC, then that story is no longer clear. It is a mistake to use community college coursework to amend for low university grades: community college coursework is not reputably rigorous and doesn't get the job done.

A GPA comeback isn't about speed or convenience. It's about A's, and it's about being able to explain what happened, convincingly.

Best of luck to you.
 

robflanker

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 17, 2009
3,031
73
Status
Resident [Any Field]
As usual, Midlife clarified my thoughts better than I did lol

CC is fine if you want to figure some stuff out, get your life together. It is not ok if you are using to repair your GPA
 
OP
B

bbos

7+ Year Member
Nov 7, 2010
86
17
Status
I suggested doing a year at a community college for two reasons:
1. As an interim step between the "old" 2.6 work and some future "new" degree attempt. A successful CC year can get you into a decent school to complete your degree.
2. A nicely packaged, successful single year at a community college isn't going to be confusing on a med school app. The story is clear: "this is a regroup year." The subsequent 2 years would be at a recognizable, difficult school, and would show your aptitude for med school.
(Note that GPA repair is not on this list. A's at a CC do not carry the weight of A's at a university.)

If you split this up, so that you're taking a class at HES and you're also taking fluff at a CC, then that story is no longer clear. It is a mistake to use community college coursework to amend for low university grades: community college coursework is not reputably rigorous and doesn't get the job done.

A GPA comeback isn't about speed or convenience. It's about A's, and it's about being able to explain what happened, convincingly.

Best of luck to you.
nicely put midlife, this certainly clarifies the benefits of a temporary stay in CC, I'll think it through and will keep you updated.

As usual, Midlife clarified my thoughts better than I did lol

CC is fine if you want to figure some stuff out, get your life together. It is not ok if you are using to repair your GPA
understood. does this means I shouldn't not take any pre-reqs at CC ?
 
Last edited:

robflanker

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 17, 2009
3,031
73
Status
Resident [Any Field]