habitualnerd

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As title states, I’ve heard from advisors and other places that going under 15 really isn’t that great. I’ve had semesters in the past where I’ve taken 14 +3 research credits for 17 but since COVID there isn’t really research going on.

I’m realizing my classes are insane. I’m doing cell bio, genetics, physics, and lab, and a public health class, so it’s a lot of work. I’m thinking about dropping my class for my classics major (I have four semesters to do two more classes for it so I’m not worried) to better focus on physics and cell. Additionally, I’m studying for the MCAT and dropping will give me more time.

One thing to note: I took 15 creds my first semester, then 14 creds + 3 research every other semester (my college doesn't let you go over 17 without special consideration). I don't know if that has any bearing on anything.

What are your thoughts and experiences? Is GPA more important than # of credits taken? Because I think so and I want some validation on this decision.
 
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Mar 14, 2019
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As title states, I’ve heard from advisors and other places that going under 15 really isn’t that great. I’ve had semesters in the past where I’ve taken 14 +3 research credits for 17 but since COVID there isn’t really research going on.

I’m realizing my classes are insane. I’m doing cell bio, genetics, physics, and lab, and a public health class, so it’s a lot of work. I’m thinking about dropping my class for my classics major (I have four semesters to do two more classes for it so I’m not worried) to better focus on physics and cell. Additionally, I’m studying for the MCAT and dropping will give me more time.

One thing to note: I took 15 creds my first semester, then 14 creds + 3 research every other semester (my college doesn't let you go over 17 without special consideration). I don't know if that has any bearing on anything.

What are your thoughts and experiences? Is GPA more important than # of credits taken? Because I think so and I want some validation on this decision.
I hereby validate!!!

For the record, I never heard the 15 credit rule. Where I come from, 12 is considered full time. Given how so many people take gap years, have multiple majors and minors, don't graduate in 4 years, do post-baccs, etc., I really don't think med schools give a crap how many credits you take, or how it takes you to graduate. At least not until it gets to the point that your prereqs become stale. JMHO as a fellow premed.
 
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What do you think is better? A 3.9 GPA in 13 credits, or spreading yourself too thin and ending up with a 3.4 in 16 credits.

Don’t overthink this. You’re still a full-time student.
 
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Tyrese

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GPA should always be a higher priority than amount of units taken during a particular term. Just be sure to at least take enough to be considered full-time at your particular institution. If 13 units is full time at your school, then you're good.
(Lucky you, my school considers full-time status to start at 15 units :cautious:)
 
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habitualnerd

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GPA should always be a higher priority than amount of units taken during a particular term. Just be sure to at least take enough to be considered full-time at your particular institution. If 13 units is full time at your school, then you're good.
(Lucky you, my school considers full-time status to start at 15 units :cautious:)

Oh shoot no way! My school is 12 credits to be full time. Thanks for your input, it was really helpful!
 
Mar 14, 2019
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GPA should always be a higher priority than amount of units taken during a particular term. Just be sure to at least take enough to be considered full-time at your particular institution. If 13 units is full time at your school, then you're good.
(Lucky you, my school considers full-time status to start at 15 units :cautious:)
Whoa!!! That's CRAZY!!! As OP said, many schools won't allow you to go over 17 or 18 without special permission. Making 15 the baseline is leaving very little margin assuming they also won't allow you to go over 17 or 18!!!
 
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Pagan FutureDoc

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15 hrs/semester is to keep students on track to graduate in 4 years without taking summer classes. As long as you have some semesters where you demonstrate you can take a lot of intensive classes all together (similar to what you will have in medical school) no one will care.
They don’t even care that much if you drop below full time for a semester or two, though this might impact financial aid and housing
 

Rogue42

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I got into medical school taking only 12/13 hours each semester. Your gpa matters significantly more than the hours you take. Medical schools do not care about your credit load for the most part.
 
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habitualnerd

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15 hrs/semester is to keep students on track to graduate in 4 years without taking summer classes. As long as you have some semesters where you demonstrate you can take a lot of intensive classes all together (similar to what you will have in medical school) no one will care.
They don’t even care that much if you drop below full time for a semester or two, though this might impact financial aid and housing


I 100% have the credits I need to graduate. I only need like 20 to graduate and I have three semesters Left so I’m coasting. The only thing I worry about is because I took 14 cred +3 research cred semesters that med schools don’t count the 3 credits as real academic credits.

Edit: 3 research crédits count As 9-10 hours of research per week
 
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I 100% have the credits I need to graduate. I only need like 20 to graduate and I have three semesters Left so I’m coasting. The only thing I worry about is because I took 14 cred +3 research cred semesters that med schools don’t count the 3 credits as real academic credits.

Edit: 3 research crédits count As 9-10 hours of research per week
The credits will count as the schools report them. As everyone else said, schools aren't counting hours per semester and holding you to an arbitrary minimum. You're coasting at the end -- that's fine, as long as you show them you are doing something productive with all your free time. THAT's what they'll care about -- if you spent the last year and a half playing video games because you only had to finish up 20 credits. :)
 
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habitualnerd

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The credits will count as the schools report them. As everyone else said, schools aren't counting hours per semester and holding you to an arbitrary minimum. You're coasting at the end -- that's fine, as long as you show them you are doing something productive with all your free time. THAT's what they'll care about -- if you spent the last year and a half playing video games because you only had to finish up 20 credits. :)

Nah, haha, I probably will actually take a second major with the extra time, since my major program I currently am in requires a capstone and that I stay for all four years.
 
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As everyone else notes, the GPA is a much more important metric. Remember that so many of your classes are both time and effort-intensive. I remember being in chemistry doing 13-14 credits that came out to 17-18 hours per week when you factored in all the labs, and then just the sheer amount of material. In fact, I would intentionally make one of my classes non STEM just to escape the STEM bubble for a few moments. Worth it.

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