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Is engineering worth it?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Jonkst, Mar 26, 2002.

  1. Jonkst

    Jonkst Senior Member
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    I'm an engineering major, but I've realized that my GPA would be a lot higher if I weren't. Being a sophomore, I've already taken the brunt of the grade hits, but its certainly not too late to switch out. Just wondering if any of you who are currently applying know much about this. Some people tell me that I'll be fine with a 3.4 in engineering, but others have said I still need to get much better than that.

    Thanks for the help, and good luck to ya'
     
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  3. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat
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    Forget "is my GPA high enough?"

    Do you like engineering? That is the only question that matters. The rest will take care of itself, because if you love what you do, it will show, and that is more valuable than a higher GPA.
     
  4. spacecadet

    spacecadet Senior Member
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    I have a 3.4 GPA in engineering. I've been out of school for almost 10 years though, so my situation is different. I didn't get in this year (so far), but I only applied to three schools.

    I have a friend who switched from Aero to Interdisciplinary Engineering her sophomore or junior year. Then she only had to take a few more engineering classes (and she took the easiest ones) and she also finished her premed requirements. She got into medical school with no problem, but she probably had a pretty high GPA.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper
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    I agree that you should like your major, but I disagree with bjc when placing value on the GPA. It's VERY important. If you like what you are doing but can't manage a 3.5+, try to find a way to rectifiy the situation (you decide how this can be done). If your ultimate goal is to get into med school, you must worry about the GPA. To get to what you love (medicine) you may have to do some things you don't love (settle for a less exciting major that you can handle academically).

    I never understood why premeds chose engineering. :confused: Seems like torture to me! I suppose there is pressure from parents to find something that will be lucrative if medicine doesn't pan out?
     
  6. Jonkst

    Jonkst Senior Member
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    I love engineering, so I chose it as my undergraduate major, despite the fact that it will be of no benefit to me if I get into medical school. You get to do a lot of cool things in some engineering classes that you wouldn't get to experience elsewhere. It is, however, a lot more difficult, as the average GPA in engineering at my school is significantly lower. You're right, though, throwing the premed requirements on top of that can be torture sometimes.

    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Bubba Swamp:
    <strong>I
    I never understood why premeds chose engineering. :confused: Seems like torture to me! I suppose there is pressure from parents to find something that will be lucrative if medicine doesn't pan out?</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">
     
  7. NE_Cornhusker1

    NE_Cornhusker1 12" Member
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    Switch, I can tell you that the belief that a hard major will buy you GPA "sympathy points" is pretty much a dillusion. I suggest you take a keen interest in whatever the easiest major your school offers that kinda interests you.

    Try economics, fair amount of problem solving, pretty easy, and usually only require around 24-30 credits of course work to complete as compared with 50-60 for a science discipline (bio or chemistry or biochem or physics) or the 100+ credits for engineering.
     
  8. Tobtolip

    Tobtolip Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by NE_Cornhusker1:
    <strong>Switch, I can tell you that the belief that a hard major will buy you GPA "sympathy points" is pretty much a dillusion. I suggest you take a keen interest in whatever the easiest major your school offers that kinda interests you.

    Try economics, fair amount of problem solving, pretty easy, and usually only require around 24-30 credits of course work to complete as compared with 50-60 for a science discipline (bio or chemistry or biochem or physics) or the 100+ credits for engineering.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I have a question, I'm also a sophomore so I'll soon be done with the brute "weed out" classes in my majors. I understand difficult coursework/majors won't buy you sympathy points, but will they give you consideration provided your GPA is high? I am wondering because part of the reason why I am in these majors is because I attend a no-name institution, so I'm hoping to be competitive against the ivy-league, top-25 ugrad applicants by taking very tough coursework.

    BTW, I'm a double major in Computer Science and Mathematics, I may also have enough credits to apply for a minor in Biology as well. I'm curious because if it buys me no extra consideration, or make me more competitive against the ivy people I may consider dropping a major =) I'm doing Great GPA wise, but having absolutely NO social life kinda sux haha!

    -Tob
     
  9. lumanyika

    lumanyika Senior Member
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    hey,
    stick with Engineering if that's the major you like. And you never know...youmight want to go the MD/PhD way during your first year in medschool and your engineering background may boost your resume!
    i'm also in a dilemma similar to yours: Biology/computer science double major (yeah. I know that's a crazy combination).I'm a junior(entering senior year) so it's too late for me to change now. I LOVE biology and I LIKE computer science. I could frankly say that my biology classes are the ones that are keeping my GPA up (currently 3.5).but as the other post says,it's always wise to pick a major that will support you(lucratively) if medical school doesn't work out.
    what field of engineering are you in?

    Cheers,
    <a href="http://64.78.37.43/mlevi/index.cfm?page=profile.cfm&userid=77677" target="_blank"> lumanyika</a>
     
  10. Jonkst

    Jonkst Senior Member
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    I'm biomedical engineering... The right engineering for a pre-med, but not that easy nonetheless. I was computer science, actually, but honestly, I just don't like the people in CS at my school. Anyhow, hopefully our hard majors will get us some props at med schools, or at least help out the ol' resume. I'm gonna stick to it, and apply with a low GPA (although engineering majors around here tend to get stellar MCATS, and I hope I can continue the tradition). I guess we'll see what happens...
     
  11. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper
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    Hard majors don't earn props. I know this from experience. I sure would have liked to get in my first application cycle. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. I got one "prop" this year! Woo Hoo! :rolleyes: Seriously, though, I'm thrilled! Just don't fool yourself into thinking med schools invest the energy required to determine whose major was hard and whose wasn't. It seems like all they care about is the #...the bottom line. If they throw you into a computer to generate an avg with all other accepted students, will they get an impressive result? If yes, they'll like you. If no, they'll pass on you.

    Sorry for being so negative. I don't have much respect for this process. Hopefully we, the next generation of physicians, will change it a little. :)
     
  12. oldman

    oldman Senior Citizen
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    I am all for engineering. I probably choose the most difficult path for pre-meds at my school. It is also rewarding because I think that by challenging yourself you become a better student. If you feel your GPA is lacking, find easier classes to offset those tough engineering classes. I loved my engineering classes because (I was biomedical engineering too) I looked at chaotic biological systems and studied them using mathematics as my tool. This type of learning is also geared for PBL programs cause you learn to work in engineering teams to solve problems :)
     
  13. Penn02

    Penn02 New Member

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    The single most important factor in admissions is your GPA and it is guaranteed that your GPA will take a hit with engineering.

    From personal experience, you will NOT get a sympathy card from most schools by studying engineering. I had a 3.76 science, but only a 3.64 overall when I applied, and was denied interviews at many competitive schools because they tend to 'take students with higher GPA's' At the good schools where I interviewed, I tended to see applicants with extremely high GPA's that majored in subjects considerably easier, such as the humanities.

    If you just want to go to any medical school, really enjoy engineering, and are confident that you can get a 3.4-3.5, then go for it. If you are going for a competitive school, do something easy, and just get that high GPA. Use all the resulting free time to do tons of extracurriculars and to study for the MCAT's.
     
  14. </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Penn02:
    The single most important factor in admissions is your GPA and it is guaranteed that your GPA will take a hit with engineering.

    From personal experience, you will NOT get a sympathy card from most schools by studying engineering. I had a 3.76 science, but only a 3.64 overall when I applied, and was denied interviews at many competitive schools because they tend to 'take students with higher GPA's' At the good schools where I interviewed, I tended to see applicants with extremely high GPA's that majored in subjects considerably easier, such as the humanities.

    If you just want to go to any medical school, really enjoy engineering, and are confident that you can get a 3.4-3.5, then go for it. If you are going for a competitive school, do something easy, and just get that high GPA. Use all the resulting free time to do tons of extracurriculars and to study for the MCAT's.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I'll have to disagree based on my experience...
    Despite having a 3.5, I interviewed at 5 top ten schools. Although I wasn't an engineering major, I think that the top schools do appreciate a strong preparation in physics and math. I think that these same schools can also see right through an easy courseload, no matter what your major is. Engineering (especially BME) is excellent preparation for medical school, particularly if you are interested in an MD-PhD or a career in academic medicine.
     
  15. shimmer118

    shimmer118 Senior Member
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    Hi,

    I was in your exact situation. I was aeronautical engineering, saw my gpa wasn't even close to being high enough for med school, so i switched to bio with the hope that 1. my GPA would rise, and 2. that i would get the pre-med requirements done (needless to say, aero/astro engineering doesn't require many bio and chem classes... <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> ).
    Still, my overall gpa took a major hit from my 2+ years as an engineering major.

    Stay in engineering if you love it. Get out if you don't. Study hard for the MCAT and ace it, and then your gpa won't be such a problem. Get some clinical experience (volunteer!) to show schools that you really want to be a doctor even though you didn't do the "traditional" bio route.

    If med school doesn't work out, and you like engineering, it's hard to get an engineering job with just a plain ol' bio degree. BME opens a lot of doors if you want to do engineering.

    Good luck!
     
  16. trout

    trout Senior Member
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    I was an engineering major, and I actually think it might have bought me some sympathy points...however, I was also an athlete which may have actually bought more...(or at least the combo) many people were impressed that I could handle a 21 credit load plus competing every weekend...however, all this said, I also just finished my phd which I think this got my application through the initial screens so people would actually look at what I had done...I got many excellent interviews and a couple straight rejections so schools that don't use formulas you probably have a better chance...I think in the end the engineering makes you stand out, many times many of the people I was interviewing with were still the cookie cutter pre-meds (as far as academics) and it gives you a chance to be different...(plus 5 math classes really helped my gpa tremendiously)
     
  17. colieg318

    colieg318 Junior Member

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    i am a soph/jun in aerospace engineering with around a 3.5. i am in the middle of a engineering co-op and i have lots of other mechanical/aerospace experience as well. just recently i got the crazy idea that i want to apply to med school... so... i'm trying to cram in all my chem and bio requirements, prepare for the mcat, deal with a pre-med advisor who has the attitude that all enginnering majors think they are know-it-alls (which i most certainly am not), and get in some clinical experience all at the same time so that i graduate in 04. if you really like engineering, i say stick with it, especially since you are preparing early in the game. good luck to you!!
     
  18. lumanyika

    lumanyika Senior Member
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    I choose to argue with some posts above which have asserted that hard science majors aren't always looked upon as an added benefit.
    All over the world (i repeat...WORLD), medical schools recognize the need to make a strong science foundation as one of the criteria for admission.I was in the British system of Education which consists of 6 years of high school(the first 4yrs are called the O-level and the last two as A-level). if one was to apply to medical school, the grades and classes required from the A-level are:physics/chemistry(A),biology(A),and math(B)..the letters in the brackets indicate the letter grade required in that perticular subject.if you were to go to medschool straight from O-level, then the medschool would require A's in at least five different subjects (i.e, math, biology, chemistry, physics,and any foreign language + 3 electives)
    Technically,the same principle is applied here in America with the exception of the Bachelor's degree requirement.So to say that strong science backgrounds aren't always looked upon favourably is an oxymoron.
     
  19. Nubtastic

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    If you like how things work, I would just restore an old car or find another hobby that is technically challenging. Then I would find the humanities major I enjoyed the most and major in that with a Bio minor to get in all the pre med stuff.

    I would say that there are no bonus points for engineers, because most of the people you interview with are old Bio majors who thought their major was hard so they don't believe that engineering could be that much harder.

    I think the biggest leg up that engineering will give someone in med school is the ability to handle a very time consuming work load (even though the learning styles are quite different between the two fields) and the ability to look at integrated systems and there effects on one another.
     
  20. megkudos

    megkudos Senior Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by lumanyika:
    <strong>I choose to argue with some posts above which have asserted that hard science majors aren't always looked upon as an added benefit.
    All over the world (i repeat...WORLD), medical schools recognize the need to make a strong science foundation as one of the criteria for admission.I was in the British system of Education which consists of 6 years of high school(the first 4yrs are called the O-level and the last two as A-level). if one was to apply to medical school, the grades and classes required from the A-level are:physics/chemistry(A),biology(A),and math(B)..the letters in the brackets indicate the letter grade required in that perticular subject.if you were to go to medschool straight from O-level, then the medschool would require A's in at least five different subjects (i.e, math, biology, chemistry, physics,and any foreign language + 3 electives)
    Technically,the same principle is applied here in America with the exception of the Bachelor's degree requirement.So to say that strong science backgrounds aren't always looked upon favourably is an oxymoron.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I beg to differ. Schools look at your bottom line GPA and don't care what you majored in. Of course your required science GPA matters a lot, but that's the extent of it.

    AS far as the OP, it sounds like you really like engineering. I would stick with it then, as long as you can keep your GPA higher than a 3.4. Try to pull it up to at least a 3.5 though. That shouldn't be a problem cuz you still have a lot of credits to take. A 3.4 should get you into med school with a good MCAT. Keep in mind though that you may not be able to get into the "top" schools though. Depends if that's important to you.
     
  21. Papa Smurf

    Papa Smurf Thug 4 Life
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    Imma agree with my boy Bubba Swamp here. Don't sacrifice your GPA to major in something you love. It ain't worth it if your ultimate goal is to go to med school. Trust me, when schools are doing those initial cuts, they ain't gonna care what your major was. I have multiple friends who are engineering majors w/ 3.3's and 3.4's and low to mid 30's on the MCAT, but they got screened out by a lot of the top schools. Personally, I'm a CE major, and I've been able to maintain a pretty high GPA (3.8, before last semester <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> ), but I've had to work my ass off for it. Much moreso than I would have in a lot of other majors. My God, the business majors at my school don't even have to leave their apartments except for exams. All of their classes are videotaped and replayed on TV!!!!! How phat is that?!? Those punks are always laughing at me cause I have to work twice as hard as them!!! So yeah, major in something that won't kill your GPA, kick ass in the basic pre-med classes, and get into med school. Yes, I know this is totally politically incorrect, but I don't wanna hear how hard those 3000 level education classes are. I've taken those too, and I never went to class except for exams.

    Sincerely,
    A wannabe business or education major
     
  22. Hopkins2010

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    I dont know how much bonus points I got for being an electrical/computer engineering major, but I doubt it was much, if any.

    I was reading the publication, authored by Nancy Andrews MD PhD, the director of the Harvard MSTP. Its somewhat dated (spring 96) and I'm not sure if this reflects the specific view of Dr Andrews or if she was just noticing the trend in accepted applicants.

    <a href="http://www.hms.harvard.edu/md_phd/Spring_96_Newsletter.html" target="_blank">Harvard MSTP newsletter</a>

    "Students with degrees in biological and chemical sciences tend to be accepted over those with degrees in social sciences and engineering"

    This doesnt make much sense to me because MIT is pretty much the best technical school on the planet and its affiliated with the Harvard program. But oh well. Somebody can dig up a link, its on this forum somewhere. Just goes to show you that stuff like this is highly subjective, and depends upon individual personalities and perceptions of engineering students and curricula.
     
  23. Jonkst

    Jonkst Senior Member
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    Well, that wasn't exactly the answer I wanted to hear. It was supposed to be more like Don't worry Jonkst, all you need is a 3.2 and you'll get in full scholarship. Thanks for the advice though.

    The thing is that I don't want to go to a top ten school. My first choice right now is Michigan State, so I have a lot of thinking to do about whether I want to risk it.

    Have a good night.
     
  24. Droopy

    Droopy Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Jonkst:
    <strong>Well, that wasn't exactly the answer I wanted to hear. It was supposed to be more like Don't worry Jonkst, all you need is a 3.2 and you'll get in full scholarship. Thanks for the advice though.

    The thing is that I don't want to go to a top ten school. My first choice right now is Michigan State, so I have a lot of thinking to do about whether I want to risk it.

    Have a good night.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Jonkst,
    I was a EE major with a GPA and MCAT score on the lower range but was able to get in to 4 schools this year. I have had military experience so that also helped. I took the pre-med classes at a community college which raised my GPA by only 0.1. Stay with the engineering and kick ass on the MCAT and you should be fine. If anything, work a year or two as an engineer and take some pre-med classes at night (so you won't suffer during undergrad trying to do both engineering and pre-med classes).
    Droopy
     
  25. oldman

    oldman Senior Citizen
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    the big thing is try to reach for at least 3.5

    that's sort of the gpa within the bell curve of people getting into medical school. mmmm bell curve.

    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Jonkst:
    <strong>Well, that wasn't exactly the answer I wanted to hear. It was supposed to be more like Don't worry Jonkst, all you need is a 3.2 and you'll get in full scholarship. Thanks for the advice though.

    The thing is that I don't want to go to a top ten school. My first choice right now is Michigan State, so I have a lot of thinking to do about whether I want to risk it.

    Have a good night.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">
     
  26. lumanyika

    lumanyika Senior Member
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    hey megkudos, you make a good point, but droopy's post indicates an exception to the rule. How frequent are these "exceptions" you ask?. well, I guess a good statistitian would have to do the research. I'm sure I can come up with at least 20 cases similar to droopy's. just plough through SDN and you'll see. And besides, so many factors play in the selection process that it boarders on subjectivity on the part of the ADCOM (as BAYLOR21 says). Good ECs and stellar scores on the MCAT would generally offset the strict vigilance placed on GPA's (say between 3.3 and above).

    Hey Jonkst, just try to keep your GPA above 3.3 and Ace the MCAT (I know this is easier sayed than done considering your major). You see, people who don't love engineering (or their respective majors for that matter) wouldn't know what I'm talking about. If I were to change majors from my Bio/Comp.Sci. double major to something less demanding i.e, some Arts major + a Bio minor, I'd be fu**ed coz I wouldn't be at all interested in the Arts' subject matter and I'm sure this "lack of interest" will somehow affect my GPA.
    Some students treat college only as a proverbial stepping stone and then after getting their "high GPAs" they burn the bridges and set their targets to medical school.Well, that's fine and dandy, but what happens when you don't get acceptances? will you fall back on the "easy major" to support you financialy before trying again for medical school? would you enjoy the work you'll be doing in this major's field? frankly, I'd rather flip petry dishes for $12/hr with a B.S. in Bio than work for H&R block as a manager for more with a B.A. in business. Always hav a good cusion to fall back on if things don't immidiately work out. this cusion doesn't have to be made solely of benjamins, but something I like to call "Job satisfaction"
     
  27. Tobtolip

    Tobtolip Member
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    Hmm, I dont necessarily agree with the above post. Because certain fields, even very marketable ones like computer science, still require things like internships (which can often take a year or two). And lets face it, as pre-meds we just don't have time to do these internships during our undergrad. So if you have your hearts REALLY set on medical school and can't imagine doing anything else, I don't think a unmarketable degree will be at a disadvantaged. Cause in the end, right after graduation we would all probably have to settle for less than stellar jobs temporarily before we get into med school (provided we don't get in the first time).

    ]by the way lumanyika, how can you enjoy CS =P For me, this major is insane with the amount of time I have to put in to it. I'm seriously considering taking the rest of my CS programming intesnive courses my last year (so I don't have to put the grades down on my apps =P )
     
  28. Jonkst

    Jonkst Senior Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Tobtolip:
    <strong>by the way lumanyika, how can you enjoy CS =P For me, this major is insane with the amount of time I have to put in to it. I'm seriously considering taking the rest of my CS programming intesnive courses my last year (so I don't have to put the grades down on my apps =P )</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">That's smart. I'm doing the same thing with BME, and taking a lot of engineering distro's to try to raise the tattered GPA next year.

    As for engineering, I agree with Lumanyika, not because of the lucrative nature of engineering, but the stepping stone thing. I'm in it till the end at this point, so I might as well do something I enjoy.

    Night
     
  29. lumanyika

    lumanyika Senior Member
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    hey Tobtolip, I enjoy CS coz I started fooling around with them when I was young (maybe 7th grade).I got A+ certified when I was
    16 years old and I've been reparing computers since then <img border="0" alt="[Pissy]" title="" src="graemlins/pissy.gif" />
    I'm going into the computational biology graduate program at Rice University.CS classes are extremely taxing so i know what you mean, but I guess that I'm lucky to have astute proffessors, who know their material and have time to guide us in challenging CS classes such as A.I. and its ilk :) .And last but not least, The Internet is one vast area of information and developer/programmer sites have tons of info that can guide you through some tough stuff <img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" />
    I'm looking towards an MD/PhD so i guess i'm already biased towards hardcore science majors.
     
  30. babyface

    babyface Member
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    Being a chemical engineer myself, I know how difficult it is to fit all the pre-med courses, along with the engineering courses, into 4 years of undergrad. However, it is also important to take a variety of humanities courses as well, something like public health, social welfare, ethnic studies, etc., just courses that can connect you with society rather than the sciences. Well-roundedness is what Admission Committees look for, not just someone who has taken 4 years of hardcore science classes. Just something you might want to keep in mind.....
     
  31. Why don't you get a minor in environmental biology? Environmental classes like marine biology are some of the easiest and will jack up your math/science G.P.A. Also, they are pretty interesting in an easy kind a way. Now, I have a question for you. I have already been accepted to med school but am interested in engineering despite having no background in it. Are their any cool classes I could take that would allow me to get some knowledge in engineering over the summer even though I don't have much background in calculus ect. Good luck, you probably won't need it.
     

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