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windham44

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I am currently a Liberal Arts Major at Bergen Community College and have received 4.0's for the last 2 semesters. MY current college doesn't offer a pre-med major but they do offer a biology major. Would it be in my best interest to switch to a biology major or should i take all the liberal arts classes and then switch to a 4 year instituition where i would become pre-med?
 

FlStudent

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There is no "pre-med" major anywhere. You have to pick a real college major, such as Biology, business, sociology, or whatever. You just have to take the pre-requisite courses to be eligible for medical school. Everyone is merely self-designated as a premedical student if they are interested in medical school, like you are.

Various groups of medical applicants:
http://www.aamc.org/data/facts/2006/mcatgpabymaj1.htm

As you can see, there is not a "premed" major.

You are uninformed about the process. Get a "premed survival" book at barnes and nobles to help you out with the basics.

Again, you don't "become" premed at a specific school. As long as they have the medical school pre-requisites and recommended courses available, you will be fine anywhere. Some schools just have a premed advisor or office that may help inform you, but that is all.

Of course, attending a community college may not be the best route to get into medical school. You may want to switch to a 4-yr instituation anyways. But I don't really know a whole lot concerning that specific situation.

Hope this helps.

Others want to chime in?
 
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Tired Pigeon

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A biology major is not a real advantage in the med school application process -- a large proportion of applicants have a bio degree, so you don't stand out as much. Nothing wrong with a bio degree per se, but don't think a med school is going to look at that and think, "Wow, this person knows some biology, and medicine has something to do with biology, so they're going to make an great doctor -- let's admit them!" It doesn't work that way, so find something you really like & major in that.

And as stated above, there is no 'premed' major, just prerequisite courses you must take in order to apply to med school.
 

awk

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Transfer Transfer Transfer to a four year. It doesn't matter what degree you choose but get it from the best school you can gain acceptance.
 

Pettie Baige

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I am actually in similar situation like you, so I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents. :) As other repliers noted, there is no such thing as pre-med major, it's just a group of courses you need to satisfy for pre-req for medical school application process. In order to qualify for a med school, you need to have at least a bachelor's degree, meaning you will have to eventually transfer to a 4 year institution sooner or later. Therefore, it seems like you need to declare a favorable major for yourself (it doesn't have to be science related, just choose whatever that interest you and cofident enough to get good grade) first, and try to complete a bachelor's degree while taking pre-req for med school on the side.
 

windham44

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I have already began to look at 4 year schools, I know you need a bachelors degree to get into med school. The only reason that i go to Commmunity college is because I can afford to pay for it without getting loans. I have a few 4 year schools in mind such as Ramapo, Montclair, NYU & Rutgers. My grades are good so I can get into one of these schools and then start from there.
I am just fufilling 60 college credits before I transfer to a four year school. I have about 30 after this semester.

More comments about my path are greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone for your prompt response.
 

Tired Pigeon

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Don't stay in CC just because you can pay for it without loans. There are some times in life where it's smart to borrow money, and getting your bachelor's degree from a good 4-year school is one of those times (buying your first home is another, but that's a discussion for another time). You're going to be borrowing a ton of $$ for med school anyway -- putting a couple more years of undergrad tuition on your tab isn't going to make that huge of a difference. If you go to med school, no matter what you end up specializing in, you'll make enough to pay off your debts, so don't worry about it.
 

windham44

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I don't see why I need to transfer to a four year school right away. Can't I wait until I have attained 60 college credits at the communtiy college level and then transfer all of them over to the four year school and then get my bachelors degree at a four year school and then apply to medical school from there.
What benefit would I get from transfering to a four year school before I receive my 60 credits at the community college level?

I don't mean to sound annoying. I just want to know why I should transfer right now.
 

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I don't see why I need to transfer to a four year school right away. Can't I wait until I have attained 60 college credits at the communtiy college level and then transfer all of them over to the four year school and then get my bachelors degree at a four year school and then apply to medical school from there.
What benefit would I get from transfering to a four year school before I receive my 60 credits at the community college level?

I don't mean to sound annoying. I just want to know why I should transfer right now.

No, there is nothing wrong with you staying for your first two years at a community college. I've definitely found some advantages of doing so versus going straight to a four year. One major reason is that in a community college, if you take a majors type of biology (usually the 4-yr state school will have the same exact class-they do in FLA), you'll take it in a class of maybe 50-75 students and are taught by an instructor, versus taking it at a 4-yr where you are one of 300 students in the class, and the instructor is usually a teaching assistant (grad student) because the professor is doing some. Or in the case of O. Chem where you are in a class of 300+ students for lecture but there is ONLY 72 seats available for the laboratory portion, and unless you are lucky, you are going to have to probably take this course after you finished the lecture, semesters later.

You need help from your instructor on a concept you don't understand? At the CC level, their doors are usually wide open and they are very willing to help out. The most important thing...you'll come out of science classes feeling much more comfortable.

The other reason is financial...many 4-year schools give scholarships to students that come into their school with their associates and a competitive GPA. You'll spend enough money in medical school, why exhaust all of your resources now.

Krisss17
 

Kateb4

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You can stay at the CC for the 60 hours, just make sure that you get a 4.0 from there if possible. Some adcoms will look at CC's with the attitude that they are easier than a 4-year institution (may or may not be true) so if they see that you were getting C's there or even B's if you're looking at a competetive med school, they may hold that against you. I personally think that CC is a good route to go for the first 2 years! I wish that I had started out that way, would have saved alot of money, and perhaps not wasted so much time in the distractions that I did when I first went away!
 

DrMidlife

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The reason to leave your CC now for a 4 year is that you're lessening the amount of time during which you have access to science classes that count. For a more interesting major than biology, you can expect to have 3 years of work to do beyond what you can do at a CC. If you want to major in biochem or microbio or bioeng or neuro or even physics, you're likely to find that the major requirements can't be done in under 3 years, and the major requirements aren't offered at a CC.

Some med school admissions committees will say they allow community college credits for prerequisites, but there's certainly a preference for taking science prereqs at a 4yr. There are some really amazing community colleges (and some really unamazing 4yrs), but as a whole, CCs don't have a reputation for preparing students for med school. The GPA you earn at a CC isn't going to carry the weight of a 4yr GPA.

I agree with the other poster who said that money is a dumb reason to stay at a CC. In my opinion if you aim for the minimum acceptable background you're asking for rejection.
 

menaniac

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I completely agree with Kriss17. CC is a great way to actually learn the science material in a small class setting where the profs are accessable and are there to help you. I graduated from a large, well known University with a BS in Bio, and years later went to CC to finish pre-req's and audit subjects I hadn't seen in years to prep for the MCAT. Overall, the classes in Physics and O-Chem were some of the best taught, most challenging classes I've taken at any school. The profs were always there to answer questions, and they were able to write me great letters when the time came because they actually knew who I was! I think it sucks that everyone is so down on the community college route. I realize the perception that many med-schools have is that the quality of instruction is lacking, but in many cases, its totally off the mark. My husband taeches at Princeton (and, no, faculty spouses aren't allowed to take classes there), and I know for a fact that the Organic Chem tests I took were harder and expected us to know more than the Organic Chem at this Ivy.

I think its time that the view of community colleges being second rate should be challenged. That is one way that medical school can come within the grasp of many diverse groups of people, and not just the priviledged few that can afford an expensive (read: "Better") education.
 

QofQuimica

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I am currently a Liberal Arts Major at Bergen Community College and have received 4.0's for the last 2 semesters. MY current college doesn't offer a pre-med major but they do offer a biology major. Would it be in my best interest to switch to a biology major or should i take all the liberal arts classes and then switch to a 4 year instituition where i would become pre-med?
Major in whatever you want. As long as you take all of the pre-reqs and maintain a good GPA, you're fine. I went to a liberal arts college and earned a BA myself. :) Now as for this issue of community college versus four year college, I can't really advise you about that based on personal experience. I did take some CC classes (bio and psych) as a HS senior, but I retook them in college. No one ever said a word to me about them at any interview.
 

Pettie Baige

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I completely agree with Kriss17. CC is a great way to actually learn the science material in a small class setting where the profs are accessable and are there to help you. I graduated from a large, well known University with a BS in Bio, and years later went to CC to finish pre-req's and audit subjects I hadn't seen in years to prep for the MCAT. Overall, the classes in Physics and O-Chem were some of the best taught, most challenging classes I've taken at any school. The profs were always there to answer questions, and they were able to write me great letters when the time came because they actually knew who I was! I think it sucks that everyone is so down on the community college route. I realize the perception that many med-schools have is that the quality of instruction is lacking, but in many cases, its totally off the mark. My husband taeches at Princeton (and, no, faculty spouses aren't allowed to take classes there), and I know for a fact that the Organic Chem tests I took were harder and expected us to know more than the Organic Chem at this Ivy.

I think its time that the view of community colleges being second rate should be challenged. That is one way that medical school can come within the grasp of many diverse groups of people, and not just the priviledged few that can afford an expensive (read: "Better") education.


I totally agree with you!
 

NonTradMed

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Generally speaking, CC credits are not looked upon with the same favor as classes at a four year university by adcoms. That's what I was told when I was thinking about going back to school to take some bio courses in preparation for the MCAT (after graduation from college).

However, med schools are really mostly concerned about doing your pre-reqs or other science classes at the CC level. As long as you can show competency of doing science courses at a four year college level, they will probably not care you did all your nonscience stuff at a CC (although some schools have told me they will think a high GPA is inflated).

This means you could take your pre-reqs at a CC, then transfer to a four year college and then do well on your upper level science courses. You could also just take all your prereqs and/or science classes at the four year school and do well. The other option is to kick ass on the MCAT (30+) and take all your sciences at the CC level.

Only a few med schools will absolutely not take prereqs from CC. Most others I've seen will 'recommend' you take your prereqs at the university level. But IMHO, med school admissions is pretty competitive so I'd try to follow most of these schools' recommendations and aim for a four year college for your sciences.

The bottom line is you have to show you can do well in science classes, whether by doing well in the sciences at a four year university or acing the MCAT. Plan your stuff out accordingly with this in mind.

As for saving money at a CC....I never understood how one could NOT save money at a four year college. I went to a private, fairly selective university (avg SAT ~1400) and I was only middle of the road matriculant (GPA and SAT wise) but a lot of these private, well endowed schools will give you steep discount for their tuition automatically. I ended up paying ~$5000 on my tuition and that was all covered by subsidized Stafford loans which charged me no interest rate!

And I got plenty of personal attention. All of our classes were taught by professors, the only large group classes we got were the basic science classes but all our professors were required to hold office hours and most had 'open door' policies regarding coming in for help. I've never felt like just a number, even though lectures were with 200 people. All my liberal arts courses had less than 20 people in it (as required by the school), my engineering courses had at most 50 people (except for CS 101 but that was an exceptional year). I never had problems getting the classes I wanted.

We also had review sessions for every many large classes every week, and free one-on-one tutoring even if you're getting an A.

And we had an excellent premed committee that wrote our composite letter, signed and dated and sent out, free of charge, to all the med schools you apply to, as well as a premed interview session where they simulate the med school interview and give you tips on where your weakness lay and what you can do to improve your app. On top of that, we also have free Kaplan MCAT sessions for premed students on campus. Of course, we were a large premed school so the school could probably afford much of this on the cheap.

But I'd say a four year university with a well known premed program has a lot to offer in terms of resources for attending med school, and would definitely recommend finding a good school that has all these things. They are well worth the money (well, for me it was worth the $5k in tuition :D).
 
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