Recommended Behavioral Science Courses

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capybaracarbonara

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If behavioral sciences courses are “recommended” on MSAR, are my admissions chances hurt if I don’t take any? About to graduate, and I don’t want to take more classes if I don’t need to. Some of my classmates think that taking these courses will “look good” to schools, but I wanted to hear all of your opinions. Thanks in advance!

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I always read 'recommended' as 'effectively required' since some people will have them. I don't want to be the odd person out.

A psych class or two is plenty.
 
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Would the same apply for CS classes? I see that Stanford, Hopkins, and Einstein recommend it.
 
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Would the same apply for CS classes? I see that Stanford, Hopkins, and Einstein recommend it.
Are your peers taking CS courses for the purpose of getting into these schools?

You can take 200 credit hours if you have the time and money just to "please" medical schools. At some point, you must take classes that you want to take.
 
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Are your peers taking CS courses for the purpose of getting into these schools?

You can take 200 credit hours if you have the time and money just to "please" medical schools. At some point, you must take classes that you want to take.
I haven’t heard of any peers doing so. I don’t understand how taking a course or not taking a course that is “recommended” would give someone an advantage. If my application is strong apart from taking a behavioral sciences or CS course, does that really make a big difference?
 
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If my application is strong apart from taking a behavioral sciences or CS course, does that really make a big difference?
That's going to be school-specific. It will depend on how they interpret 'recommended', how it fits their mission, etc.
 
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There's a point in life where you have to start doing things you love instead of things you "have" to do. As a premed, you "have" to shadow, volunteer, get clinical experience, and kill your grades. If you're shooting for Hopkins, you have to do research.

Taking CS or behavioral health courses is not one of these "have to" things. If you like it, take it. If you think it will further your career, and the sacrifice in your free time is worth it to you, do it. If the idea of taking these classes is gross to you, just chill, you're a senior.

Like Mr. Smile said, just do what you want. You can't possibly min/max your app for each individual medical school.

Edit: you can also approach this as a gunner and say you're going to be the most optimal applicant Hopkins has ever seen, take classes you have no interest in, etc. Maybe that's worth it to you. But just remember, that MD diploma from Hopkins isn't going to visit you on your deathbed or keep you warm at night. There's no right answer here, but just make sure you don't throw away life chasing the "perfect" app.
 
The way I suggest students interpret "recommended" course lists is just that: they're recommendations. Generally, it's likely that some recommended classes will intersect with your interests and/or major.

So a psych major applying to medical school likely has plenty of behavioral science classes, a biology major is likely to have upper level biology courses, etc.

The goal should not be to take all the recommended courses: it should be to take things that further your education in a way that is unique and authentic to you. If the school wanted everyone to take them, they'd be listed as required.
 
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A lot of science majors skip intro psych / soc and just hammer out the 100-300 page and anki decks. They are kind of cheating themselves out of the point of studying those two classes. One cannot develop the sociological perspective from flashcards.

These are classes that more than others the instructor is more guiding one down a mindset rather than dispensing information that could be assimilated via 10 minute videos. It's very different from your typical math/science class, at least beyond the intro courses.
 
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Especially since schools like to focus on content rather than course requirements ("competencies"), I shouldn't be surprised that more people are eschewing formal intro P/S courses. It's like going to Cliffs Notes or Sparknotes rather than reading the assigned book. Maybe that is reflected in the students we see once they are in class having to learn about SDH...
 
I regularly bring back alumni who are in medical school/residency to talk to my current pre-health students, and when I ask what classes they found most useful / would most recommend / most wish they'd taken, it's almost always more social science or global culture classes.

A lot say that they either find the vocabulary and ways of thinking they learned in those classes really useful as a framework to build off of, or that they find themselves lacking that framework relative to their peers. A lot also heavily recommend public health classes, which for us is a subset of social sciences.
 
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