Is there a downside to boosting GPA with community college classes post-BA?

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by Tygress, 05.18.14.

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  1. Tygress

    Tygress 5+ Year Member

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    Here's my story:

    I graduated a 4-year college several years ago with a science BA. I have a ~3.55 GPA but my last 45 and science GPAs are probably a little less than that. I have all my IS prereqs done.

    I now work at a community college and can take classes for free(!) I'd like to take some classes in order to boost my GPA and get some prereqs for OOS schools. I can take classes online and work on them during my breaks, so this shouldn't interfere with getting more vet experience or anything like that.

    Is there a downside to this? Will schools think it's sneaky that I'm taking CC classes to boost my GPA? My undergrad was at a top university and I've heard something on here about CC making your application look less competitive.

    My IS is Illinois, and I'm also looking to apply to Missouri, NCSU, Washington, and Ohio.

    Thanks so much!
     
    psuforever390 likes this.
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  3. Kyoht

    Kyoht Illinois c/o 2018!! 2+ Year Member

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    I took some of my classes from a CC for free because my dad worked there. It did not hurt my chances - especially with Illinois since I was accepted. I can speak for Illinois since I am IS like you.

    Illinois has a three part application process. First its grades/GRE. If you make the cut and they give you an interview, then they no longer look at grades. 75% of decision is experience/eLORs/personal statement and 25% is interview. I was instate with a low GPA and made it past the grade section. After that they no longer looked at my grades and since my strengths were in my experience/research/eLORs I was offered a seat despite my GPA.

    This is just something to think about if you want to stay instate. You probably have a much better chance there than OOS. But, this also depends on your experience quality IMO.

    Here is the info pasted directly from VMCAS website:
    EVALUATION CRITERIA
    A 3-part admission procedure is used. An academic evaluation and an application evaluation of veterinary, animal experience and personal qualities are followed by a personal interview.

    Academic evaluation: GRE test scores; science GPA; cumulative GPA; rigor of academic preparation
    Nonacademic evaluation: veterinary-related experience, animal-related experience, community involvement, leadership, citizenship, and letters of recommendation; interview

    The average statistics for students making it past Admissions Phase I in 2013 were 3.57 cumulative GPA, 3.44 science GPA, and 63% GRE composite percentile.
     
  4. Tygress

    Tygress 5+ Year Member

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    This is super helpful, thanks! My GRE is very good so I'm hoping to make it past that first stage and I still need to work on experience- I have at least a year before I even apply for vet school.
     
  5. twelvetigers

    twelvetigers Hold on, let me ruin everything 7+ Year Member

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    I feel like if you took 'Intro to ______' or similarly basic, freshman level classes, they would see that as a blatant attempt to pad your GPA.

    If you take more advanced and interesting stuff, not so much.

    But your pre-req grades will always matter the most.
     
  6. Tygress

    Tygress 5+ Year Member

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    Thanks for your input! I guess the follow-up question is... how bad is it to look like you're padding?

    I'm starting off with English comp, stats, and microbiology because they're prereqs at OOS schools I'd like to apply to. I unfortunately have a downward trend in my undergrad GPA partially due to health issues, and I'm hoping that taking classes while working full-time and volunteering will help show I'm capable of handling vet school, and yes, maybe help my last 45 hours GPA. Since it is community college, an awful lot of classes are introductory and since they're free, I was hoping to take advantage of the opportunity to take some classes in subjects that didn't fit into my undergrad schedule.
     
  7. twelvetigers

    twelvetigers Hold on, let me ruin everything 7+ Year Member

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    If you are taking them fora reason, then I think you are fine. Micro isn't a blow-off class, and I don't think stats would be either. I'm thinking that you'd be fine if the courses are justifiable.
     
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  8. Gr8teful

    Gr8teful c/o 2018

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    I graduated 5 yrs before I started the app process and some schools had changed pre-reqs. I took post bacc classes at a community college and focused on taking classes that would make it possible for me to meet the pre-Reqs for applying to more schools. (Note: this did mean emailing the schools that had, for example, micro as a pre-req to make sure this specific course would satisfy their schools requirements. A bit of a hassle and requires some logstical analysis, but worth it) Some schools also have a list of recommended courses. So yeah, like what twelve tigers said...avoid the intro classes, and I would suggest to focus on classes on the pre-req lists and recommended courses list.
     
  9. RoRey14

    RoRey14 c/o 2020!!! 2+ Year Member

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    Hi all! Do you think taking Speech at an online community college would look bad? Only some schools I'm applying to require it. I also would like to include this as part of my last 45 GPA, but I'm a little concerned because I'm not sure if it would even count towards it.
     
  10. ameropean_chelsea

    ameropean_chelsea

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    I did this and had no problems. Just make you check the vet school's website to see if they have any comm college/4 year school restrictions. Or call and ask admissions directly. But usually basic non-science classes are acceptable from comm colleges, in my experience.
     
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  11. Roostergirl

    Roostergirl

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    I took a big chunk of my pre-reqs at a community college (including the public speaking requirement) and had very few issues. I spoke to admissions at one school and they told me what really mattered was proving I could succeed in science courses at a four year, and if I did that the community college courses were fine. That could definitely differ from school to school though and is worth checking, but it ended up working out for me.
     
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  12. RoRey14

    RoRey14 c/o 2020!!! 2+ Year Member

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    Thanks for your responses!
    I think I will definitely go ahead and contact the schools to make sure they'll be okay with it and include it in my last 45 GPA.

    To my understanding, these classes should still count as grades not just credits, right?
     
    Last edited: 06.03.15
  13. cheathac

    cheathac

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    I've heard to be careful on taking harder science classes at community colleges... It may look as if you're hiding something. Some of my peers are taking Calc 2 and Physics at a community college because they're easier. I honestly don't think this is fair.. however; the Physics department at my school is on probation for failing too many students.
     
  14. Gwenevre

    Gwenevre 2+ Year Member

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    I'll agree and disagree with this statement, keeping Purdue at the forefront of my reasoning.
    1) Classes like Calc and Physics aren't too applicable to vet school. Yes, they're prereqs, but from what I understand, the knowledge is infrequently used in vet school, or if you need it you're retaught it anyways. So students may be advantaged by taking these classes at a community school. Also, Purdue's math and physics departments are in dire need of a complete overhaul.
    2) As long as the schools you're intending on applying to say that it's okay to take these courses at a comm school, go for it! You're saving money in the long run, and potentially not messing up your GPA in the process. But I wouldn't assume that community classes are always easier than their 4y counterparts.
    3) Again, as long as you're adhering to the school's academic prerequisites, they don't care if you took two or three years at a community college. Some applicants don't have a state school nearby and need community colleges. Or a mix of comm and online classes from state schools. No mixture of how you took your classes matters, as long as they're cleared by your receiving vet school.
     
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  15. ameropean_chelsea

    ameropean_chelsea

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    I took Physics 1 and 2 and Organic Chem 1 and 2 at comm college (plus some non-science classes) following my BA from a 4-year school, so it's definitely okay for some programs, but like @Gwenevre said, you just have to make yourself aware what each school's policy is (seriously though -- you don't want to apply and find out later you didn't meet a requirement.... Make the call!) :)
     
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  16. RoRey14

    RoRey14 c/o 2020!!! 2+ Year Member

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    Just out of curiosity, when you took these classes, did they get included into your overallGPA? Last 45?

    Thanks everyone! I will definitely make the call for each school I'm interested to make sure.
     
  17. Ashgirl

    Ashgirl Pokemon Academy c/o 2018! 2+ Year Member

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    I agree with @Gwenevre . Some take upper classes at CC because it's cheaper, and I don't think there is any fault in that, especially if the school you are applying to doesn't mind. If the OP is worried, contacting the school is always the best method, since some don't mind at all while others want specific classes like Biochem or Microbio at a 4-year university.

    Also, I may very well be in the minority... but to be very honest with you, I had the chance to take physics at a CC during the summer and I regret it so so much. Not only would I have gotten it out of the way, but I might have actually learned something instead of being in a class of 500+ and working my butt off for a sub-par grade. I actually doubt it would have been easier (because I would probably struggle with physics no matter what, plus the few roommates I know that took it at a CC worked just as hard as we did). In the long run it would have been convenient to get it out of the way and it would have been cheaper, which I honestly think (most) vet schools consider.
     
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  18. Gemgrrrl

    Gemgrrrl 2+ Year Member

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    You might want to check with the schools you plan to apply to and see how they calculate last 45 hours GPA. Some only count junior and senior level classes, so anything you take at a CC wouldn't apply.
     
  19. ameropean_chelsea

    ameropean_chelsea

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    Overall, last 45, and science gpas.
     
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  20. kayed12

    kayed12

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    Hello everyone, I am in a similar situation. I have a BS and now going back to finish some pre-reqs. I am enrolled in an official Post-Bacc program however due to the cap of units I can take there I am going to need to do 2 of my classes at a community college. I am looking to retake my ENG 101 at a community college and do it online. What do you think about this? Does online look bad from a community college?
     
  21. PrincessButterCup

    PrincessButterCup 2+ Year Member

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    It's an English class, so I doubt anyone will really care where you take it. If it's required for a school just check with them and make sure they'll accept credit from that cc.
     

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