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Jun 1, 2020
5
2
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  1. Pre-Medical
Hi all,

I am an aspiring, non-traditional pre-medical student in California. I went to a community college (CC) before graduating from a 4-year in 2018 with a Bachelors's degree in Healthcare Administration. I took an Introduction to Biology course (got a B) and Anatomy and Physiology course (got a C) at the CC as pre-requisite requirements for the degree. Aside from these courses, I have not completed any other sciences, which means I need to fulfill the pre-requisite courses needed for medical school. I graduated with a 3.6 GPA.

I worked in Healthcare Administration for a couple of years and eventually was exposed to medicine and patient care, which led me to change careers. I currently work as a Clinical Research Associate and participate in lung cancer research. Given that I want to stay in California, I want to take on a path that is most favorable and will not hinder my chances of getting accepted because of where I completed my pre-requisite courses. Options:
1) Post-baccalaureate program at CSUF: I was accepted to this 2-year program that costs around 10.5k per year and comes with guaranteed classes, advising, having a cohort, etc.
2) CC: DIY that could take 2-3 years depending on course availability and is a cheaper option
3) Open university courses at local CSU campuses: also a DIY option that would take 2-3 years depending on course availability and is a cheaper option

Most of the CA medical schools accept community college courses per MSAR (I think only UCI accepts courses on a case-by-case basis). I want to know if folks on here were accepted to CA medical schools having taken their pre-requisite courses at a CC? Is it "frowned upon" to do classes at a CC? Any resources for me to check out that could aid me in making an informed and educated decision?
 

gunitboy

2+ Year Member
Dec 20, 2018
6
3
CSUF advertises "MD" linkages with Caribbean schools, which I personally think is absolutely hilarious. They also do have DO linkages with LECOM and Western, but I don't know the requirements or rates so its best to talk to the people who run the program. I had a meeting with one of the coordinators who ran the program and had terrible first impressions, but that was circa 2018. I believe the program also throws you in with the undergrads in concurrent classes (?) so it might be harder to get to know your professor or perform if you are not a strong student.

I decided on a formal career changer post-bacc at CSUSM instead. They don't have any linkages, but classes were all in the evening and were exclusive to the cohort. Most of the professors were very high quality and many of them wrote me strong letters for my application. I just finished the program 2 weeks ago with a 4.0 GPA and am in the process of applying this cycle pending my MCAT. Problem with this program is it is somewhat expensive and there are only loan options available for the first year.

As to your question regarding CC classes, I believe it is preferable you take classes at a four year, but it would be "okay" to take them at a community college if money is an issue. Being a career changer, it isn't as a big a deal as if you were a strict Bio major retaking classes at a community college. CA medical schools are super competitive though, so if you want to stay in CA get a high MCAT score and a 4.0 in your program. I'd say pick a program where you will be able to get a 4.0, stand out from your peers to get strong letters, do research (if that's your thing), and complete your courses in a timely manner. Sprinkle in some meaningful volunteerism and you'll be golden.
 
Mar 30, 2020
21
5
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Hi, I considered the postbacc at CSUF as well. I actually spoke to the program director before ultimately deciding that it wasn't for me. I am in a different position because I did complete all the required pre-reqs -- however, I thought that there was a time limit and wanted to retake courses if needed. When I spoke with the program director, I asked her directly how the linkages worked. She informed me that while the amount of students who get in vary each year, it appears that it's usually no more than 4 or 5. It appears as though the average is usually ~2.

I think it's okay to take CC classes for your pre-reqs, but make sure to take upper division courses at a 4 year. I'm currently taking upper divs through UC Extension. There are a lot of choices, and it's actually cheaper to take courses through UC extension than it is to do it through Open University.
 
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Mar 13, 2020
7
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
CSUF advertises "MD" linkages with Caribbean schools, which I personally think is absolutely hilarious. They also do have DO linkages with LECOM and Western, but I don't know the requirements or rates so its best to talk to the people who run the program. I had a meeting with one of the coordinators who ran the program and had terrible first impressions, but that was circa 2018. I believe the program also throws you in with the undergrads in concurrent classes (?) so it might be harder to get to know your professor or perform if you are not a strong student.

I decided on a formal career changer post-bacc at CSUSM instead. They don't have any linkages, but classes were all in the evening and were exclusive to the cohort. Most of the professors were very high quality and many of them wrote me strong letters for my application. I just finished the program 2 weeks ago with a 4.0 GPA and am in the process of applying this cycle pending my MCAT. Problem with this program is it is somewhat expensive and there are only loan options available for the first year.

As to your question regarding CC classes, I believe it is preferable you take classes at a four year, but it would be "okay" to take them at a community college if money is an issue. Being a career changer, it isn't as a big a deal as if you were a strict Bio major retaking classes at a community college. CA medical schools are super competitive though, so if you want to stay in CA get a high MCAT score and a 4.0 in your program. I'd say pick a program where you will be able to get a 4.0, stand out from your peers to get strong letters, do research (if that's your thing), and complete your courses in a timely manner. Sprinkle in some meaningful volunteerism and you'll be golden.
Hello gunitboy. I am an incoming member of the CSUSM 2020 cohort. I chose this program primarily for the same reasons you mentioned, but would be grateful if I could reach out to you for some first-hand insight into the program and advice as to what I can do to best prepare for it. I don't want to hijack this thread, but would it be okay if I sent you a couple of questions via DM?
 

gunitboy

2+ Year Member
Dec 20, 2018
6
3
Hello gunitboy. I am an incoming member of the CSUSM 2020 cohort. I chose this program primarily for the same reasons you mentioned, but would be grateful if I could reach out to you for some first-hand insight into the program and advice as to what I can do to best prepare for it. I don't want to hijack this thread, but would it be okay if I sent you a couple of questions via DM?
Sure feel free to PM me!
 
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DocJanItor

2+ Year Member
Jun 7, 2017
431
570
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
It's great that you have research and prior experience in healthcare. I assume you'll also be getting plenty of volunteering and shadowing.

I would keep in mind that medical school in CA is even more competitive than it is in the rest of the country. While your current GPA is good and they technically accept CC credit, it may be less impressive than someone who did all pre-reqs at a 4 year institution. That being said, you should explore schools outside of CA that you'd be interested in attending. Your current GPA doesn't really count you out of anywhere and if you do well in a post-bacc it will only go up, though minimally. This will also be affected by your future MCAT that is indeterminable at this point.

TLDR: Don't put all your eggs in CA
 
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Reactions: 1 user

esob

Article 14
Staff member
Administrator
5+ Year Member
Sep 28, 2015
2,504
2,753
UFP
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
I wouldn't put all my eggs in the "getting into a CA school" basket. They are notoriously hard to get into for residents. You need to look at the broader picture with how will this decision impact you as an applicant at the national level. In the past, I think it mattered less to take classes at a CC b/c as long as you crushed the MCAT, it didn't matter. However, with the probable shift away from standardized test scores, no one knows for sure how much of a negative impact taking classes at a CC will be, but it will be measurable at least to some degree.
 

mintydaisy13!

2+ Year Member
Jul 17, 2018
80
38
Hello gunitboy. I am an incoming member of the CSUSM 2020 cohort. I chose this program primarily for the same reasons you mentioned, but would be grateful if I could reach out to you for some first-hand insight into the program and advice as to what I can do to best prepare for it. I don't want to hijack this thread, but would it be okay if I sent you a couple of questions via DM?
Hello,

When did you find out that you were accepted to the CSUSM Fall 2020 cohort? I still haven't heard back.
 

mintydaisy13!

2+ Year Member
Jul 17, 2018
80
38
Hi all,

I am an aspiring, non-traditional pre-medical student in California. I went to a community college (CC) before graduating from a 4-year in 2018 with a Bachelors's degree in Healthcare Administration. I took an Introduction to Biology course (got a B) and Anatomy and Physiology course (got a C) at the CC as pre-requisite requirements for the degree. Aside from these courses, I have not completed any other sciences, which means I need to fulfill the pre-requisite courses needed for medical school. I graduated with a 3.6 GPA.

I worked in Healthcare Administration for a couple of years and eventually was exposed to medicine and patient care, which led me to change careers. I currently work as a Clinical Research Associate and participate in lung cancer research. Given that I want to stay in California, I want to take on a path that is most favorable and will not hinder my chances of getting accepted because of where I completed my pre-requisite courses. Options:
1) Post-baccalaureate program at CSUF: I was accepted to this 2-year program that costs around 10.5k per year and comes with guaranteed classes, advising, having a cohort, etc.
2) CC: DIY that could take 2-3 years depending on course availability and is a cheaper option
3) Open university courses at local CSU campuses: also a DIY option that would take 2-3 years depending on course availability and is a cheaper option

Most of the CA medical schools accept community college courses per MSAR (I think only UCI accepts courses on a case-by-case basis). I want to know if folks on here were accepted to CA medical schools having taken their pre-requisite courses at a CC? Is it "frowned upon" to do classes at a CC? Any resources for me to check out that could aid me in making an informed and educated decision?
Congrats on your CSUF acceptance. I'm actually waitlisted for it rn. I would say that you should try to steer clear of community college if you're a career changer. I think your best bet would be CSUF or CSU open university. The program you go to doesn't matter, rather how well you do.
 
Mar 13, 2020
7
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hello,

When did you find out that you were accepted to the CSUSM Fall 2020 cohort? I still haven't heard back.
I heard back a few weeks after I submitted my application. I believe it was in mid-March. You may want to reach out to them directly and see what's going on.
 

mintydaisy13!

2+ Year Member
Jul 17, 2018
80
38
I heard back a few weeks after I submitted my application. I believe it was in mid-March. You may want to reach out to them directly and see what's going on.
Thanks! I applied in April but with Covid 19 happening, I think things got a bit delayed. I will contact them :) I hope to get an acceptance. BTW do you live near CSUSM?
 
Mar 13, 2020
7
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Thanks! I applied in April but with Covid 19 happening, I think things got a bit delayed. I will contact them :) I hope to get an acceptance. BTW do you live near CSUSM?
Good luck! Hope it goes well! And no, but I did my undergrad in San Diego, so I am pretty familiar with SD's North County. I am planning on moving back down there around August.
 

mintydaisy13!

2+ Year Member
Jul 17, 2018
80
38
Good luck! Hope it goes well! And no, but I did my undergrad in San Diego, so I am pretty familiar with SD's North County. I am planning on moving back down there around August.
They just replied that I'm waitlisted. I'm a little sad but it's fine. I wish you the best of luck in your post bacc journey!
 

mintydaisy13!

2+ Year Member
Jul 17, 2018
80
38
Hi! Just wondering where you found out your waitlisted status. I haven't heard back from Brandy even after multiple email attempts..
HI, you're not the only person who has had problems contacting the program. Another person I've spoken to has also had this issue. I myself only found out about my initial waitlist status after emailing a 2 times. Additionally, I was put on a final waitlist (final decisions were already made) after Brandy told me in early June. I am not sure why the program is so delayed-- perhaps the stay at home orders. I would also consider reaching out to Rachel Penuluri since she has also been able to answer questions.
 
Mar 13, 2020
7
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
HI, you're not the only person who has had problems contacting the program. Another person I've spoken to has also had this issue. I myself only found out about my initial waitlist status after emailing a 2 times. Additionally, I was put on a final waitlist (final decisions were already made) after Brandy told me in early June. I am not sure why the program is so delayed-- perhaps the stay at home orders. I would also consider reaching out to Rachel Penuluri since she has also been able to answer questions.
Wait, sorry. I was referring to CSU San Marcos in my original comment; not CSU Fullerton. I didn't hear back from Fullerton until very late either, but at this point I am set on pursuing my post bacc in San Marcos. I hope you get in from the wait list!

Thank you -- I wish you the best of luck as well!
 

mintydaisy13!

2+ Year Member
Jul 17, 2018
80
38
Wait, sorry. I was referring to CSU San Marcos in my original comment; not CSU Fullerton. I didn't hear back from Fullerton until very late either, but at this point I am set on pursuing my post bacc in San Marcos. I hope you get in from the wait list!

Thank you -- I wish you the best of luck as well!
Hello! I actually just got off the waitlist for CSUF and was accepted to CSUSM too. So, it's exciting to be able to make choices! I think I might do CSUF since it has linkages. I wish you the best in CSUSM!
 
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