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Pre-med classes at Harvard Summer School

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decentdude

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All,

I would like to start the Harvard Extension School summer of 2010 kicking it off with Gen Chem 1 and 2. My question for people that have taken 8 credit summer courses at Harvard is, how difficult would this be? I would be new to the culture of Harvard, and new to Cambridge, moving from Cali. I graduated last year in engineering from RIT, where the last summer I took 16 credits over the course of 10 weeks and got I think about a 3.6 that semester. Meaning I've taken summer courses before, with upper level engineering courses at a respected institution, and did fairly well. I just need to get a 3.5 in my first 4 courses at Harvard in order to get into the HCP program, and I don't want to put this in jeopardy by hitting the ground running. Any advice? All input is appreciated.

P.S. I also just completed a Chem intro course with lab and got an A in it, so it's still a little fresh in my mind.
 

stephster416

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If you've taken summer classes recently, you know the drill - it's EXTREMELY fast paced. You also will have lab for all your pre-med classes. If you were able to do well in upper level engineering classes at a summer session pace, and you already have some basic chem knowledge, it sounds like it could be doable for you. I have met quite a few people who attempted to do Chem over the summer and dropped it because they couldn't handle the pace - you'll have to learn a week's worth of material solid in a day or two. Then again, those people hadn't done engineering in college. The chem staff at Harvard is also fantastic and really helpful.

One thing I would recommend is not to go in with the mindset that you only need a 3.5. If you're taking the time to do a post-bacc your goal should really be to try and get A's in all of your classes since med school admissions are so competitive. Regardless of WHAT you majored in, higher GPA wins out in the admissions process - not really fair to people like you who had a difficult major, but that's the way it works. Good luck!
 

decentdude

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If you've taken summer classes recently, you know the drill - it's EXTREMELY fast paced. You also will have lab for all your pre-med classes. If you were able to do well in upper level engineering classes at a summer session pace, and you already have some basic chem knowledge, it sounds like it could be doable for you. I have met quite a few people who attempted to do Chem over the summer and dropped it because they couldn't handle the pace - you'll have to learn a week's worth of material solid in a day or two. Then again, those people hadn't done engineering in college. The chem staff at Harvard is also fantastic and really helpful.

One thing I would recommend is not to go in with the mindset that you only need a 3.5. If you're taking the time to do a post-bacc your goal should really be to try and get A's in all of your classes since med school admissions are so competitive. Regardless of WHAT you majored in, higher GPA wins out in the admissions process - not really fair to people like you who had a difficult major, but that's the way it works. Good luck!

Thanks a lot stephster! I definitely don't have a mindset of getting a 3.5, I'm going to get all A's, or to death do me part. I literally ended up in the hospital several times in my undergrad by pushing myself too hard, and beating all the 4.0 'nerds' in my upper level classes. My only concern is the name 'Harvard' which is a bit intimidating to me, and learning 2 courses (chem 1 and 2) in the span of 7 weeks. I want to do well, I want to do well so badly that I'm giving up a high paying job, health insurance ( I have a chronic illness) and friends and family to pursue my dream, medicine. Thanks for the advice on the courses.

Does anyone else have any opinions who have taken the summer courses at Harvard before? All input is appreciated, thanks!
 

stephster416

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Yeesh! A's are great, but you shouldn't be landing yourself in the hospital getting them! If you haven't taken any of the pre-reqs before, you can be in the "diploma" program at Harvard's health career program and get student health insurance, which I'd highly recommend.
 

sketo43

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My advice is to become friends and study partners with other people who want an A. Don't hang out with the people whose goal is a B. Attitudes are contagious, good or bad, and if you're spending your time with people who are highly motivated, it will rub off on you. Because the class is open enrollment, there will be some really smart people in the class and there will also be people who barely try. Don't be intimidated.

When I took the class, I had time to hang out with friends 2 evenings a week, I went to the gym 4-5 times a week, and I got 6-8 hours of sleep every night. The rest of my time was spent on chemistry. Oh yeah, there's an exam every monday, so your weekends are shot. Dr. Tucci and Dr. Matchacheep are excellent instructors, and you will learn a lot.

The class is very intense, but if you stay on top of it, it's definitely possible to get an A. There's a lot of algebra and some logarithms in the class - with your engineering background, I think you can do well if you put in the effort. Like I mentioned before, all the people I studied with got an A or A-, even if a third of the class dropped out.

My only other advice is to not have a long commute.

Good luck!
 
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