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need advice from current applicants

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by VirtuoJ, Jan 19, 2002.

  1. I'm currently a junior, and I'm debating whether to take Biochem my senior year. I am debating whether to take it because some of the medical schools that I'm applying to highly recommend it. My pre-med advisor told me that since my grades for my science classes and MCAT scores are high, I don't need to take Biochem if I don't want to since medical schools will realize that I have sufficient science knowledge to be prepared for the biochem taught in medical school. However, I want to know the perspective of current applications on this issue. Does taking Biochem really help for medical schools that highly recommend biochem if you already have high science course grades and high MCAT scores?

    Also, I'm in the process of deciding which schools to apply to now. I've narrowed it down to 17 schools (5 In-State, 12 Out-of State). Is that too much? Money really isn't an issue, and I'm applying to a lot because I want to get into more than one so I have options to choose from. A lot of those 17 are top 20 ranking schools, so I'm not sure if I can get in or not. I really don't have any "safety" schools since the UC schools are really competitive for CA residents. Is that a good idea or should I add some "safety" schools? I need help choosing those schools that I'm applying to.

    I would really appreciate any advice. Thanks!
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  3. MedPuck

    MedPuck Made 7+ Year Member

    Apr 10, 2001
    I don't think biochem will be necessary because you will take it in medical school. It sounds like your science gpa is high enough, so don't bother unless you are interested. Maybe take a class that interests you more while you have the option. As far as schools go, I think 17 schools sounds like a good number and I hopefully you will not have to deal with the AMCAS fiasco we all have this year. Although there aren't "safety" medical schools, make sure you apply to a good range of schools, even though your scores are high. Stranger things have happened than very qualified applicants overestimating their likelihood of gaining acceptance into top 20 programs and having no place to attend because they put too much stock in the top schools! This way you will increase your chances. Good luck and best wishes! :D
  4. InTheWoods

    InTheWoods Junior Member

    Jul 15, 2001
    Don't worry about Biochem. Most people I know didn't take it - the only reason you'd want to is to get an edge when you get to med school, and that isn't really a good reason.

    I wouldn't worry to much about the safety schools. Most people I know who applied to "safety" schools (myself included) didn't even get interviewed. If your stats are much higher than the school's average, they probably realize you won't be there (unless you really love the school and express that).
  5. LR6SO4

    LR6SO4 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 21, 2001
    As for Biochem, I took it in college and was glad I did. Biochem in med school was fast and furious and I was glad I had the background from undergrad. We had a high percentage of people fail it first year in med school. Some of my friends had never taken it before and did fine though, it's the same as anything else in medschool, if you put the time in you WILL pass. Biochem is not rocket science just pure memorizing.

    As for safety schools, Cali has more applicants than any other state I believe and I know that in-state schools are very competitive for you guys. We have a TON of Cali students in my class-probably about 15-20 and we are in Michigan! So don't count out the 'backup' schools out of state, mine has had lots of CA students for a while now so it might even be an 'edge' out here in the Midwest. Good Luck.
  6. med student

    med student Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 6, 2001
    New York
    I took biochem in college and I am extremely glad I did because I am taking biochem and physio right now in medical school and we are moving at an extremely fast pace. The fact that I have taken biochem before has allowed me to focus more time for physio. So for this reason I would take biochem in college.
  7. Voxel

    Voxel Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Nov 5, 2001
    Here's some advice from a 4th year med student.

    1) If you really want to take biochem, take it in your spring semester of your senior year. That way having already been accepted to medical school, you can study it hard without worrying about grades and with the knowledge that you will be taking it as a 1st year medical student.

    2) Cali schools are incredibly hard to get into. Apply to atleast 5 backup schools that are not in the top 20. You never know what can happen and you say that money does not matter. If that is the case, apply to as many programs as possible and then take your pick for interviews and acceptances.
  8. japhy

    japhy Ski Bum 10+ Year Member

    Nov 8, 1999
    Alta, Ut
    As others have stated taking biochem as an undergrad is not a necessity, but it does give you a huge leg up in med school. Right now I am in the middle of biochem and I am very glad I have seen the material before. At my school biohcem is 8 weeks long. They cram 1 year of material into that 8 wks! 2 lectures every day. You can learn the material, but it is quite difficult simply because of the speed and volume. If you have the time to take biochem I recommend it, but like the 4th year said, take it in the spring when you don't need to worry about grades.
  9. Thanks for all the input. It really helps. I think I'll end up taking Biochem, not because I like it, but because I have space to fit it in my schedule and I don't want to feel behind in med school.

    Also, I was under the impression that grades all of senior year don't really matter. But from reading a couple of the above posts, it seems like grades for the fall semester of senior year does matter. Do med schools want you to update them with your fall grades?
  10. Ibis

    Ibis Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 16, 2001
    Miami, FL

    Here are some safety schools I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND you consider in your list:

    Finch, NYMC, MCP Hahnemann, ST. Louis Univ., George Washington, Jefferson, Temple, Meharry and Med. College of Wisconsin.

    Although your stats may be competitive, cover your bases!! I've seen this happen far too many times; a seemingly competitive applicant without an acceptance, due to a narrow range of schools selected. Good luck!! :)

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