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Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by bolnoi, Dec 9, 2005.

  1. bolnoi

    bolnoi Membership Revoked
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    I'm a junior. And i dont know whom I will be asking for recommendations once it's time to apply... I took an upper-level course with few students and I did not get along with a prof, so can't ask him. Should i take another upper level course next semester, or what? I figure in the summer I'll get a PI to write me 1 recommendation, but I also need some from profs that taught me in classes. I'm afraid if i take another upper level course this spring, i'll be overwhelmed with course load.
     
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  3. letmein!please?

    letmein!please? Senior Member
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    uh..your a junior and your worried about taking upper level courses? When do you plan on applying? the typical junior would be getting their arse in gear right about now....
     
  4. bolnoi

    bolnoi Membership Revoked
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    i plan to apply this coming summer... Well I am taking mostly 300level biochem courses or whatever, but those are large lecture courses... Whereas by upper level i mean seminar style courses where most students are grads...
     
  5. tank you

    tank you 2K Member
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    u can ask TA's to write lors also, as long as u did well in that lab and they know u pretty good.
     
  6. madonna

    madonna Senior Member
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    sit upfront, ask intelligent qs, go to office hours and get to know your profs. does not mater how large your class is, if you act regularly they will remember you
     
  7. bolnoi

    bolnoi Membership Revoked
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    i dont get this "go to professors' office hours". but this is not a seminar style class. For example in biochemistry of macromolecules we just go through Voet&Voet and memorize a bunch of pathways,etc. What questions could I ask my profs? I feel that I can only really interact with a professor if we just discuss various articles throughout the class... Or if i just work in his lab or otherwise know him outside of class...
     
  8. madonna

    madonna Senior Member
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    can you be curious about a certain molecule? or want more info about a pathway? read up on something and ask?
     
  9. es19

    es19 Member
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    for my two science recs, i had the TA's wrote the letters first, and then the professors edited it, and co-signed the letter. one letter from intro bio, and another from an upper div. i think that worked out just fine for me
    good luck! and ask early
     
  10. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    I don't know why this actually made me laugh out loud. I just pictured some douchebag walking up to a prof with a model of cyclohexane saying "this model fascinates me, tell me more!"
     
  11. madonna

    madonna Senior Member
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    it is lamely funny if you put it like that. but really profs love when you students are interested in their boring subjects. one of my profs said that not a single student came to his office the entire quarter.
     
  12. Dookter

    Dookter Senior Member
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    I'm a pre-health advisor at my school, and I have to help set up our "pre-professional files" that the LORs go into. Rest assured that having a teacher say you were a great student will only make you look like every other applicant. Schools know you're a great student...they have your grades. And let's face it, those kids sitting in the front of a biochem. classes asking a bunch of kiss-a$$ questions are just annoying. Try to get a teacher that knows you a little more. One option [like others have mentioned] it to get a letter written by a TA that really knows you well and get it cosigned by the prof. Also, get a letter from a non-science teacher...that way you can actually go talk to them during their office hours without resorting to "Yeah, that pathway really is the coolest thing I have seen...." Good luck with it!
     
  13. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    You don't have to like it, or get it -- you don't get to make up the rules, you just have to play the game. You go to office hours regularly with a few canned questions, and get the professor to know who you are so you can hit him/her up for questions. It's a part of premed life. Just suck it up and do it.
     
  14. Risa

    Risa like Lisa with an R
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    reading threads like this makes me feel really lucky that i go to a small school.

    i don't actually have anything helpful to say... although i think Flop's comment was right on...
     
  15. almost_there

    almost_there Senior Member
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    I usually have questions when I think about what I'm learning -- something doesn't "make sense". For instance, in biochemistry, why can't mammals generate glucose from fatty acids (only plants do)? Intermediates in beta-oxidation of fatty acids also are intermediates in gluconeogenesis... so why?

    Or in organic chemistry -- in this reaction, the nucleophile attacks this carbonyl carbon, but why doesn't it attack this other carbon like we had in the other reaction?

    Another set of questions is the connection of the class material to everyday life. How does the Atkin's diet work biochemically?

    I've learned a lot from asking these kinds of questions... usually the "why" or "why not" variety. It engages the professor. And usually the professor gets a good impression of you, because it shows that you're thinking and engaging with the material.

    Good luck!

    a_t
     
  16. es19

    es19 Member
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    i'm sure good questions are welcomed by professors. but, at least where i go to school, in every big lecture class, there are ppl who just keep asking questions that u can get answers directly from the textbooks. they are also the same ppl who will offer to carry professors' labtops back to their offices after lectures... that's truely annoying :thumbdown:
     
  17. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Annoying yes, but these folk know how to play the game. I suspect when it's time for them to seek LORs, they will not have the same issues that others do -- the prof knows exactly who they are and will give them glowing recs.
     
  18. Sondra

    Sondra UMC 2010
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    In my 200+ general biology course, I wanted to get to know the prof even though I felt like I completely knew the material.

    I sat in the front, asked intelligent questions, and went to office hours (just like someone else has already stated). In the office hours, I would ask the prof to go over blah blah blad because I was having a difficult time understanding (even though I did understand). I would also ask questions about what I should focus on for the upcoming test. I would ask the prof to tie in something I had learned from another class to what we had learned in class that day, so I would be able to integrate and better understand both classes.

    I actually ended up being friends with the prof and his wife even after they retired. He wrote one of my LORs.
     
  19. bolnoi

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    thanks for the responses. I especially like Law2doc's summary "play the game". But damn i havent been doing this for the last 5 semesters, and somehow i doubt i'll be able to do it this semester.
     
  20. bolnoi

    bolnoi Membership Revoked
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    I think either your professor sucked or you sucked, or most likely as the poster below wrote "i knew these questions but i pretended that i didnt". Though i must admit that in orgchem you do have room to make such questions, because the rxns are more or less general. Though in our course, professor tried to be very precise. Carbonyl atom is obviously more electronegative than an alkane carbon... Or alpha hydrogen to the carbonyl is more acidic than beta. same for your biochemistry, a very uninformed question. you can generate glucose from odd numbered fatty acids(which both mammals and plants have in small quantities, but we didnt go over which species has more of which type), because it would be converted to succinyl coa, blablabla. i dont mean to write this as "i know a lot", but just showing that professors rarely miss stuff when going over a lecture and basically cover everything that you need to know at that level of the course, and your questions really arise not so much from wanting to learn but from "playing the game".
     
  21. DoctorBill

    DoctorBill Junior Member
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    Fortunately, I had the same professor for both Bio 101 Lecture and Lab, ALL of freshman year. In the lab (24 people), he would get to know me personally, and when it came to lecture (40 or so people), I would be one of students he knew best. Also had him for a semester sophomore year. Wrote me one of my LORs.
     

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