DrRedhead

7+ Year Member
Aug 29, 2009
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I've been a lurker on the forums for awhile--drinking in your wise and varied advice on several subjects. And I was in the middle of typing an email that could very quickly paint me as a crazy to the pre-health advisor, when I thought, why not seek the advice of the other crazies? (Just kidding.)

So I'm going to vomit out all that is swirling around in my little head, and if you can let the advice spill forth, I'd be grateful.

I am a non-trad student who headed back to school right before the economy took a severe nose-dive. I started back at community college and transferred to our local four-year instiution. I am currently in the middle of my first semester there, as a second semester sophmore. The pre-health (as well as pre-vet/pre-dental/pre-everything) advisor knows that I lost several years to the workforce and is trying to help me get to med school as quickly as possible. That said, I know I'm catching up/cramming in more in order to be able to start applying next summer, especially where EC's and research is concerned.

Because of this, I'm trying to wisely use my time to get the best time spent/application impact as possible, if that makes sense. However, whenever I ask the advisor to sort of guide me in what I should/shouldn't be doing, she's all "Oh! As long as you have a good gpa and MCAT, the rest doesn't matter!" Which, as I've read on here, isn't true. Furthermore, I'm taking o-chem, physics and cell-bio this fall, then o-chem, physics and genetics in the spring--then take the MCAT in June.

All that being said, to give you the background, here are my questions.

1. Should I try to get more classes in than those? Or, just focus on understanding the material since those classes are largely what the MCAT is about--and just spend that extra time doing MCAT study?

2. How much shadowing/volunteering do I need? I've volunteered in the PACU and women's clinic of our local hospital since last summer. I only have 150 hours or so, but have been doing it consistently. I'm starting to take a shift a week at our local free clinic as a CNA/phlebotomist (I took a semester off to take those classes so I could make sure I really enjoyed the down and dirty aspects of patient care).

3. I know my research is going to be skimpy, I just started on a project with one of the professors, and am hoping to get started on another.

All this to say, should I beef up my class schedule? Or take the extra time to prepare for the MCAT's and to beef up the EC's? Or is my advisor right, all this stuff isn't really going to help?

Help. Please. Maybe I'm over thinking this.

Edited to add: I am freaking over scoring well on the MCAT's as I had a really horrible first year of college and am now busting my butt to make up for that year and get my gpa where it needs to be. Hence why I'm thinking extra study for the MCAT's would be good.
 
Last edited:
Mar 11, 2010
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There's a lot of FAQs above that address the general questions you have.

Regarding the science coursework, a few schools have additional science courses they want to see and some others have some non-science they want to see. Should you take the extra courses? Only if you're sure you can get high grades in them; otherwise, you are hurting your cause.

The MCAT covers everything that is covered in premed for gen. chem, O-chem, and physics. Biology is a completely different animal!!! MCAT covers way more than introductory biology, so maybe advanced coursework would be helpful... or you can pick up the material on your own.
 

DrRedhead

7+ Year Member
Aug 29, 2009
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Pre-Medical
Thank you. I didn't see the FAQ's and will read all of them before wasting anyones time.

Thanks so much!
 

DrSmooth

Secret Recipe Soda
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Feb 24, 2008
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Don't waste too much time asking your adviser for advice. Just let them help you get the classes you need. I would say take cell bio and genetics if you must, but if you can sub in something less time intensive w no lab, then put them off until next year or don't take them. They might help a little on the MCAT but the time you would save by taking an easier course and apply that extra time toward MCAT prep would definitely give you more bang for your buck. Those classes are required at a handful of med schools, but you can wait until you are accepted to take them. For advice, I think you are much better using a site like this where you can hear a lot of perspectives of people w first-hand experience rather than one person w/ only second or third hand information.

You don't need to volunteer more than 4 hrs a wk, and whatever research you can get in will help you.

Your main focus at this point should be getting A's and doing as well as you can (hopefully 31+) on the MCAT. Do WHATEVER you need to do to make that happen. Good luck!