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Need your experience: will it look better to take 21/sem and do exceptionally?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Raptor, Jun 13, 2002.

  1. Raptor

    Raptor Found one
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    Hey,
    I am a rising junior this coming up fall and I am planning on taking 21 hours <img border="0" alt="[Wowie]" title="" src="graemlins/wowie.gif" /> . Its going to be 3 science with labs <img border="0" alt="[Wowie]" title="" src="graemlins/wowie.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="[Wowie]" title="" src="graemlins/wowie.gif" /> , and 2 electives. I want to know if somebody does that and make exceptional grades, compare to somebody that takes 12 credits and make the same grade. Will the ADCOM look at the one that has 21 credits as a stronger student? I am trying to graduate and apply to medical school on time. Also, had any of you taken 21 or more credits and did well. Was you asked about that in your interviews. Please gave me some advice.
     
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  2. Resident Alien

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    Short answer: it depends on your undergraduate institution (i.e. how difficult their coursework is). Whether it impresses adcoms that you take 12,17,19, or 21 credit hours, that I dont know of.
     
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  3. jot

    jot

    i had a really rigorous junior fall semester - and for some reason i think that no one really cares. i'm applying now, so i don't know that for a fact, but it seems like they are hardly sitting there and counting credits vs. grades in a semester judging by the fact that they fly through applications. i think the bottom line is that you do well. but people who have gone through the process will probably have something more substantial to say. goodluck.
    -jot
     
  4. Wahoo07

    Wahoo07 Senior Member
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    I just finished my junior year and did something similar (3 science lectures, 2 science labs, 1 elective). I don't really know what the ad coms think, but I believe that as long as you don't spread yourself too thin and do poorly in everything, then you should be ok. Also keep in mind you will probably want to take a light course load in the spring for the MCAT. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" />
     
  5. ellerose

    ellerose Member
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    Honestly, do you think you will pull the grades you want with that course load? I have always heard that it is better to make the grades with a decent course load (~15) than to kill yourself (and possibly your GPA) with more credits. Also, don't forget to have fun in college/have a social life. 21 credits doesn't sound conducive to hanging out with friends, volunteering, building up those ECs, etc. When are you going to find time for yourself? I don't think there is a magic time when you are supposed to apply to medical school. It took me 4.5 years to finish my degree and take interesting/fun classes on the side. (And I got to take this last semester off of heavy course work to work and relax a little.) I had a good time in college, and I feel absolutely ready to tackle med school in August. I felt really sorry for my friends who graduated in four years after four years of heavy course loads and went straight into med school without a real time to breathe or enjoy life before the hecticness of med school and beyond. You're only young once (or so they say). Don't spend it all with your nose in a book. The number one complaint I have heard from docs and med students is that they wish they took advantage of college life and had more fun and that they wish they would have taken time off before med school. So, bottom line, my advice is to slow down, smell the roses, and don't worry if you don't apply within a specified amount of time. Live a little...medicine and being a doctor will always be there for you to do. Good luck and don't say I didn't tell you so when you are knee-deep in lab reports and tests every week during the semester and you have no time to sleep or breathe because you have to study and write reports every waking moment to stay on top of all of your courses. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
     
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  6. Raptor

    Raptor Found one
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    Thank you all for such great advice. Ellerose, you are definetly right about taking a year off. I am going to take a year off before medical school. I probably won't have any social life during the fall semester with 21 credits but I really need a GPA booster. I know I can do it because I hadn't really study previously and did well. But you are right because I am seeing what studyinng too much can do to you. My friends (pre med) study a whole bunch without have any life. I rather have a 3.5 GPA and real social, then a 4.0 (like her) that have no life. Frankly speaking, because it makes no difference. More then likely the person with a 4.0 GPA is going to be sitting near a person who was social and made a 3.0. Thanks for the comments though.
     
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  7. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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    I had one really heavy (but nowhere near what you're planning!) quarter, and one really light one on my transcript, and no one ever mentioned either one in a dozen interviews. I agree with jot and don't think they really look at your course history all that much. I've known people admitted to schools without all their pre-reqs (not the basic ones) and the school never mentioned it. I also agree with ellerose and don't think it's all that important to apply "on time." Take an extra term and some time off so that you don't jeopardize your sanity and your med school chances with this heavy load. I graduated in 4 years, but did lots of fun stuff like music and study abroad. I didn't take the MCAT until the summer after I graduated, so took a year off. I got in and decided to defer to take more time off. There is more to life than being pre-med, and actually adcoms like to see that you know that. I don't imagine you'll have time for EC's or volunteering with that schedule! So, bottom line, it probably won't earn you any extra points, and could cost you in more ways than one. But if you're sure you can pull it off and it's that important to you to stay "on schedule" then maybe it's worth it.
     
  8. mamadoc

    mamadoc Old Member
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    If, as you say, you need a GPA booster, don't take 21 credits! That is NOT the way to assure yourself of great grades.

    I've seen the AMCAS printouts for applications that come into the admissions office - they're a mess of pages with so much stuff on them - trust me, it would be highly unlikely that an AdCom member would notice that you took 21 vs. 18 vs. 15 credits in a semester. As jot said, they fly through those apps to cross off the required classes and verify the GPA. It will NOT be noticed, so don't do it if that's your motivation. If you really need to do it for some reason - well, that's your call. But it's definitely not going to impress an AdCom and it could only hurt you if you find that you must withdraw from a class, or don't do as well as you'd like.
     
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  9. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg 1K Member
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    just make A's..that will impress the adcom
     
  10. Spiderman [RNA Ladder 2003]

    Spiderman [RNA Ladder 2003] Platinum Member
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    If you are absolutely sure that you can get "A's" for all the subjects you are going to take, I would say go for it. It seems that 21 is quite a lot. Did you have exprience taking so many credits before? Are you sure that you will be able to handle assignments, quizes, exams in all your classes?
     
  11. efex101

    efex101 attending
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    Premeditate I have to echo some of the other comments, *if* you are completely sure that you can ace all your classes then go for it but it will be a lot of work. Why put yourself through this hellish semester if there is no need to? I have never had such a huge load, my biggest load was last fall with physics plus lab (5), organic plus lab (4), world lit (3), exercise physiology (3) and consumer health (3) for a total of 18 semester hours. It was doable but with two kids, ec's, tutoring, etc. it sucked. I did pull all A's but I am sure my kids did not appreciate it..he he. Anyways, 21 is a lot and unless you are desperate to graduate I would not do it. Good luck and let us know what you decide!
     
  12. jlw2004

    jlw2004 Member
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    Several people had good points. Ad Coms aren't going to notice unless you point it out to them, so point it out! I completed my BS in only 3 yrs (no AP credits, only 1 summer of classwork), and used that among other things in my PS as proof I could time-manage well and was self driven.

    What is your reasoning for taking 21 credits? If it's only to impress the admissions committees, it may not be worth the stress, but if you have other reasons, I say go for it!
     
  13. WaitingImpatiently

    WaitingImpatiently Long Member
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    I wanted to take 20 units (a lot of science courses) a while ago, but my major advisor STRONGLY advised against it. I told him that I could handle it, but he kept on telling me not to do it. I listened to him.
     
  14. Raptor

    Raptor Found one
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    Hey all,
    How are you doing efex101 (you are a super woman)? Jlw2004, that is fantastic (3 years dang and got your BS). Thank you all for responding to this post. I know two things you all are thinking right now...is he crazy/or does he have a life? I really do have to take this courseload. Main reason is that I am going to take the MCAT next April (hopefully). To prepare sufficiently, I am planning on taking Organic lec/lab (4, biology section of MCAT), Physics lec/lab (4, physical science section), Genetics lec/lab (4, biology section), Religion (3, major requirement), Sociology (3, major requirement), and Professional Writing (3, help with the VR). Another reason is that I have been working (full-time) for the past 2 years in college and my grades aren't too stellar. In addition, I think I focused too much on EC's, volunteering, leadership, research, family obligations, and summer internships the last two years of college. I do not have a bad bad GPA (~3.1) but needs some improvement (that will pull it up to a 3.4 my first semester junior year). Hopefully, I can pull a 4.0 because I will only be doing school work. I would like to advice anyone that you shouldn't work at all. I am definetly not going to work.
    The only thing that I plan on doing is at least
    volunteer/research at a minimum. It's definetly going to be difficult but doable ( with persitance, focus, and perserverance anyone can do it). I messed up my freshman year because I didn't know how to juggle a full time job and schoolwork. But as the year progressed I was able to make studying an art. I think I get the point of sacrificing to get something better, that I most sacrifice social life and less important things for one semester. I will make sure I keep you guys addressed because if I can do it ANYBODY can (also one of my pre-med friends did it and came up with a 4.0 taking Organic, Physiology, Biochemistry, psychology, ecology, military science- he just studied a lot (everyday and double studying during weekends and vacation) without having a life. Now I know if he can do it ANYBODY CAN). Pray for me, please.
    P.S.-If you all don't hear from me at the end this semester; I am probably going to be in the psych ward blurting out protonolysis of Grignard and Oranolithium Reagents <img border="0" alt="[Pity]" title="" src="graemlins/pity.gif" /> .
     
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  15. Bikini Princess

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    Hi premeditate,

    If you're planning on taking a year off, I'd recommend taking the MCATs the april of your senior year, rather than your junior year.

    This will give you more time to cover the required courses, and even those that aren't required (like biochem, embryo, p-chem, etc) which will likely help on the mcat. It will also give you more time to mentally prepare for the test.

    Your friends who take it your junior year will be able to give you advice on which classes they found useful. Above all, it will allow you to do well on the MCAT without sacrificing your GPA. I strongly advise against the heavy classload, because I've had many friends who were "premed" before taking a big classload and losing their gpa..

    Also taking the MCAT your junior year, you usually have a large courseload, and summer fellowships to apply for. The second semester of your senior year is usually a bit easier, and you will be a more mature at critical thinking.

    I took it my senior year, and for me, taking biochem, embryo, thermo, animal phys, and molecular bio made the test easier - especially for the bio section.

    Best wishes! :)

    oh - i think that most med schools don't consider the courseload difficulty of a particular term, unless specifically stated in the personal statement or experiences.
     
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  16. Bradleyp

    Bradleyp Senior Member
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    Most ad com interviewers volunteer to be put in that position and don't have time to scrutinized your application for hours. I honestly can say, as long as you get your degree on time at a good school, with exceptional grades and exceptional MCAT they could care less how many hours you took in a semester. I took two plus twenty semesters, it was tough, but I should of taken the classes over a summer instead. Every minute detail of your application is important to you and should be perfect, but many parts aren't looked at to closely many interviewers don't even have the time to read your personal statement (which is ridiculous).
     
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  17. KU Brendan

    KU Brendan FM/EM Attending, PC Gamer
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    I agree completely with Bradley--when people on adcoms look at your numbers, they look at your total average and don't focus on any one semester to see how many hours you took.

    Now all these comments about having no life when you take that many hours, please. I never took under 18 hours any semester undergrad; it never hurt my grades and certainly didn't mean that I didn't have time for family and friends, volunteering, ECAs, etc. It's all about time management. It also depends very much on where you go to school. I had no desire to take time off after school since I knew this is what I wanted to do and didn't want to prolong it any more. My point is that everyone has a different personality and different style; just because something worked or didn't work for you personally doesn't mean that that's how it should be for everyone.

    So, if you want to take 21 hours and can handle it, go for it--and don't let anyone discourage you from doing so just because that's not what they would choose to do. 21 hours of undergrad classes is nothing compared to med school--and we still have plenty of time to be involved, volunteer, have families, etc.

    --Brendan--
    &lt;"}}}}}&gt;&lt;
     

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