• Funniest Story on the Job Contest Starts Now!

    Contest starts now and ends September 27th. Winner will receive a special user banner and $10 Amazon Gift card!

    JOIN NOW
  • Site Updates Coming Next Week

    Site updates are coming next week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Click the button below to learn more!

    LEARN MORE

Incoming Pre-Med Freshman

wildcatbluejay24

Full Member
Feb 16, 2020
21
3
1
United States
  1. Pre-Medical
Hi! I am an incoming pre-medicine freshman at Johns Hopkins as part of the class of 2024 and I'm planning on double majoring in chemistry and biology. I've been, of course, heavily researching what to prioritize as a pre-med student and everything that I need to focus on throughout the next three years (research, volunteering, shadowing, etc.), but my main question is what to prioritize as a first-year college student.

I've been in contact with some professors for research that piqued my interest, and I was able to find one who agreed to take me on but, due to CoVid, I would be unable to begin actually working until early- to mid-2021. As a student starting pre-med amidst such different circumstances where hospitals are more stringent on their guidelines and shadowing/volunteering may be more limited alongside research, what should I really focus on to develop my interest in medicine and really broaden my experience within it? I plan on, of course, joining clubs and experiences that allow this but how can I really develop myself if such things are a bit more limited.

In terms of courses I plan on doing 16 credit hours for this fall semester:
Introductory Organic Chemistry I [4]
Chemical Chirality (Org. Chem. Lab) [3]
Introduction to Psychology [3]
The Cost of Care: Writing about Healthcare in America [3]
Introduction to Public Health [3]

And 15 in spring:
Organic Chemistry II [4]
Intermediate Organic Chemistry Lab [3]
Genetics [3]
Developmental Genetics Lab [2]
Expos Writing: Vaccines, Science, and Values [3]

Thank you in advance for your help! I apologize if this is a common post during this time of year, but I am new to SDN; please direct me to any other threads that already cover this information!
 
Last edited:
About the Ads

M&L

Full Member
Volunteer Staff
2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2018
2,987
5,785
246
  1. Medical Student
Hi, sorry about that! I will be transferring AP credits for the following courses:
AP Chemistry - Gen Chem I & II w/ Labs
AP Biology - Gen Bio I & II
AP Calc AB - Calc I
(Transfer) - Calc II & III

Thank you!!
Right . Good job !
Do check admissions requirements- I am not sure , but you might still have to take gen chem . Schools night not accept AP. Like I said, I might be wrong .
You MIGHT have to take them at university level , or take more advanced gen chem classes.
Otherwise you are right on track!!! Very impressive !!!

one thing , if I may give you advice - please try to also do things outside of medicine . Make a plan to explore things outside of science - take a fun elective , learn to paint , whatever. Or you might discover one day that all you have is medicine . And it might throw you into a dark place (I saw it happen). Amazing dedication though !!! Best of luck !
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

Rachapkis

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Apr 5, 2018
724
1,385
146
  1. Non-Student
In your first semester, focus on adapting to university life, making friends, and ensuring that you are doing well in your classes. If the transition is going well, then you can starting focusing on your ECs. Good luck!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

LunaOri

Full Member
May 16, 2020
846
2,164
76
Somewhere in New England
  1. Attending Physician
  2. Academic Administration
What to prioritize? Making friends, having fun, experiencing college life! You are coming in with a ton of AP credit, so you have some flexibility: you can use that flexibility to take an easy course load while you adapt to college, or you can take an easier schedule later to allow you time to do research, or you can dive right into upper level classes now and be taking graduate-level courses by the time you are a senior. Personally, I'd advise starting off slowly!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

Angus Avagadro

SDN Lifetime Donor
2+ Year Member
Aug 3, 2018
2,590
6,377
126
  1. Attending Physician
Bio and Chem major? Having a double major wont get you any bonus points by the Adcoms. Major in what you like and can excel in academically. Having a 3.25 Science gpa will look like a mediocre science gpa regardless of the double major. Having a 3.8 or higher gpa as a double science major will be harder to achieve. You will likely have 2 labs every semester. My advice is to pick one, get a minor in the other if all going well, and do the best academically. Remember, you will need to be able to block out some time to study for the MCAT and do some EC's and shadowing. Just my 2 cents. Good luck and best wishes!
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 6 users

jhmmd

supernatural
Apr 28, 2020
1,928
1,481
76
desert highway
atbh923 said:
I've been, of course, heavily researching what to prioritize as a pre-med student and everything that I need to focus on throughout the next three years (research, volunteering, shadowing, etc.), but my main question is what to prioritize as a first-year college student.
All throughout college, the answer to this question is grades, grades, grades (as a premed). As was said above >2 labs a semester is a drag. Good luck with everything.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

Davidfromcali

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Sep 16, 2014
232
351
216
  1. Medical Student
Protect your GPA and prioritize it over other obligations like research and volunteering if you feel overwhelmed. Repairing a poor GPA is far more challenging than spending an extra year to catch up on some clinical experience, research ect. It would be wise to keep a relatively light schedule for the first semester to get a feel for college life.

And don’t forget to have fun lmao; it’s all about balance
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

wildcatbluejay24

Full Member
Feb 16, 2020
21
3
1
United States
  1. Pre-Medical
Bio and Chem major? Having a double major wont get you any bonus points by the Adcoms. Major in what you like and can excel in academically. Having a 3.25 Science gpa will look like a mediocre science gpa regardless of the double major. Having a 3.8 or higher gpa as a double science major will be harder to achieve. You will likely have 2 labs every semester. My advice is to pick one, get a minor in the other if all going well, and do the best academically. Remember, you will need to be able to block out some time to study for the MCAT and do some EC's and shadowing. Just my 2 cents. Good luck and best wishes!

Hi! Thank you so much for your response. The only reason I had considered a double major in chemistry and biology was because of AP credit and my pre-med courses. There was considerable overlap and the only difference between only doing a chemistry major and doing a double major came down to about three additional upper-level undergraduate courses, which prompted me to consider the possibility. The heaviest semester would be around 18 credits, and I'd planned it such that all my pre-med courses would be completed by the end of sophomore year. That being said, Hopkins doesn't allow Arts & Sciences students to declare an official major until sophomore year, so at the moment it's just a consideration. I will certainly keep your suggestions in mind though! I do not want to overwhelm the next four years, but I did have a genuine interest in the intersection of both fields and the research opportunities.
 

wildcatbluejay24

Full Member
Feb 16, 2020
21
3
1
United States
  1. Pre-Medical
What to prioritize? Making friends, having fun, experiencing college life! You are coming in with a ton of AP credit, so you have some flexibility: you can use that flexibility to take an easy course load while you adapt to college, or you can take an easier schedule later to allow you time to do research, or you can dive right into upper level classes now and be taking graduate-level courses by the time you are a senior. Personally, I'd advise starting off slowly!

Thank you! My goal at the moment was to ease into college and take some harder courses later on, but for now, it was certainly to get a bit ahead for the major (orgo and genetics are sophomore level courses). I would like to get more involved in research as the years continue.
 
About the Ads

Angus Avagadro

SDN Lifetime Donor
2+ Year Member
Aug 3, 2018
2,590
6,377
126
  1. Attending Physician
but I did have a genuine interest in the intersection of both fields and the research opportunities.

Med school will definitely provide this. Dont be in a hurry.
Rule 1. Get in to med school
Rule 2. Any questions? See rule 1.

Success is often a result of positioning yourself in the right place to succeed. One step at a time. Dont overthink things. Take the med school pre reqs, leave time to study for the MCAT, get your ECs and shadowing, get accepted. Your major or double major wont mean much after that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

wildcatbluejay24

Full Member
Feb 16, 2020
21
3
1
United States
  1. Pre-Medical
but I did have a genuine interest in the intersection of both fields and the research opportunities.

Med school will definitely provide this. Dont be in a hurry.
Rule 1. Get in to med school
Rule 2. Any questions? See rule 1.

Success is often a result of positioning yourself in the right place to succeed. One step at a time. Dont overthink things. Take the med school pre reqs, leave time to study for the MCAT, get your ECs and shadowing, get accepted. Your major or double major wont mean much after that.

I completely understand. I'm not wanting to rush through it, but I understand that there isn't really any need to make my plan convoluted if the end goal remains the same regardless. Thank you for your feedback!!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

jhmmd

supernatural
Apr 28, 2020
1,928
1,481
76
desert highway
atbh923 said:
No not at all, I completely understand the suggestion. Unfortunately, Hopkins doesn't offer a biochemistry major, certainly disappointing.
Well, you could major in one subject and minor in the other
It probably would be a heck of a lot easier to do that rather than to double major
/$.02

Edit: Just so you know, double majors have to take literally DOUBLE the number of credits req. for their majors than those w/only 1 major. This doesn't mean double the number of total credits, just double the number of credits req. for each major. Don't take on this responsibility unless you're REALLY interested in both subjects--and be prepared to talk about that at interviews & in secondaries, of course. Good luck! :)
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
May 19, 2020
125
273
66
  1. Non-Student
Edit: Just so you know, double majors have to take literally DOUBLE the number of credits req. for their majors than those w/only 1 major. This doesn't mean double the number of total credits, just double the number of credits req. for each major. Don't take on this responsibility unless you're REALLY interested in both subjects--and be prepared to talk about that at interviews & in secondaries, of course. Good luck! :)

This is not universally true, and depends on specific institution policies. Maybe you're familiar with Hopkins and addressing their specific policies- I just don't want anyone to think that this is the case everywhere.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

M&L

Full Member
Volunteer Staff
2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2018
2,987
5,785
246
  1. Medical Student
Well, you could major in one subject and minor in the other
It probably would be a heck of a lot easier to do that rather than to double major
/$.02

Edit: Just so you know, double majors have to take literally DOUBLE the number of credits req. for their majors than those w/only 1 major. This doesn't mean double the number of total credits, just double the number of credits req. for each major. Don't take on this responsibility unless you're REALLY interested in both subjects--and be prepared to talk about that at interviews & in secondaries, of course. Good luck! :)
Yeah it’s not like this in my school . There is a minimum number of unique credits you have to take within the major to claim it , but they can overlap A LOT . I know that for a fact because I was working on double major in chemistry and biology for a while , but then dropped biology because didn’t want to waste time on diversity and ecology . Instead switched to mathematics and took Bunch of advanced math . So it depends on school.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
May 19, 2020
125
273
66
  1. Non-Student
Yeah it’s not like this in my school . There is a minimum number of unique credits you have to take within the major to claim it , but they can overlap A LOT . I know that for a fact because I was working on double major in chemistry and biology for a while , but then dropped biology because didn’t want to waste time on diversity and ecology . Instead switched to mathematics and took Bunch of advanced math . So it depends on school.

Yeah, this is common and was how my undergrad school did things. On the other hand, the last two schools I've worked at have had no requirement for minimum unique courses- you just have to meet the degree requirements with what you take. I've had some (rare) students triple major without a ton of extra work because they very carefully chose courses and electives that gave them the most overlap in meeting requirements.

I don't usually recommend double majoring, since it's usually some extra work for little extra benefit, but how much extra work it is depends a lot on the specific school policies.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

wildcatbluejay24

Full Member
Feb 16, 2020
21
3
1
United States
  1. Pre-Medical
Yeah it’s not like this in my school . There is a minimum number of unique credits you have to take within the major to claim it , but they can overlap A LOT . I know that for a fact because I was working on double major in chemistry and biology for a while , but then dropped biology because didn’t want to waste time on diversity and ecology . Instead switched to mathematics and took Bunch of advanced math . So it depends on school.

That's correct! For Hopkins, a majority of the biology curriculum overlaps with the chemistry curriculum, and what doesn't overlap is a pre-med requirement I would have to take anyway. For a double major for us, only the separate unique requirements have to be taken, the rest can be overlap. Hence doing a double major in chemistry and biology for me would only necessitate three additional upper-level undergraduate courses which I would not otherwise have to take if I only did chemistry.

Thanks for your response!!
 

wildcatbluejay24

Full Member
Feb 16, 2020
21
3
1
United States
  1. Pre-Medical
Yeah, this is common and was how my undergrad school did things. On the other hand, the last two schools I've worked at have had no requirement for minimum unique courses- you just have to meet the degree requirements with what you take. I've had some (rare) students triple major without a ton of extra work because they very carefully chose courses and electives that gave them the most overlap in meeting requirements.

I don't usually recommend double majoring, since it's usually some extra work for little extra benefit, but how much extra work it is depends a lot on the specific school policies.

I never originally planned on doing a double major, but only genuinely considered the possibility when I realized it only required three additional courses, courses that I wanted to do anyway because I wanted to further my understanding and interest in biology. There is a BS option in molecular and cellular biology which requires a two semester research project, and I elected not to pursue this because I thought at that point that double major would be too hefty, so I stuck with a double major of chemistry and biology (both are BAs).

Thank you!!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
About the Ads
This thread is more than 1 year old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.