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Science Summer Courses

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by ExistentialistPhilosopher, Jan 11, 2002.

  1. ExistentialistPhilosopher

    10+ Year Member

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    I'm sorry, but I'm going to use this opportunity to clear the thoughts running around in my head. Feel free to ignore most of my thoughts and jump right to the bottom, when I actually ask the questions.

    I've been considering taking summer science classes, because of scheduling conflicts with my major and minor classes. If so, I'd be taking two semesters of chemistry and two semesters of physics over two summers. I would like the classes because they'd be smaller and provide more personal attention. But there are several problems. First, these summer science classes are so time consuming that I would have little time for clinical research and a job. Second, I hear that adcoms take these classes with a grain of salt, for whatever reason. Third, they're incredibly expensive, and I'm not sure I could get financial aid over the summer, even though I receive it during the school year.

    So there are several options:
    1) Drop my drama and dance minor. I REALLY don't want to do this, as theater is something that I like very much. But I know that people pursuing medicine have to make sacrifices, and Tennessee Williams will be of no help to me if I get rejected from medical school. At the same time, I've sacrificed so many other potential interests, as well as personal time, to concentrate on going premed. Should I sacrifice this one, too?

    2) Take five classes per semester. This is a normal courseload, I know, but if two of the classes are science classes, and one is a 15-hr/wk internship, should I do this?

    3) Double up on the sciences, but take some of my major requirements during the summer. (I'm a clinical psych major). The psych classes would be less expensive, since there's no labs, plus they're not as time-intensive.

    Wow...I guess I've come up with my answer. Now, one question. Which of these classes should I double: chemistry, orgo, and physics? Should I leave orgo to senior year? I'm planning on taking a year in between college and med school, so I am applying second semester of senior year. I guess I can do orgo in senior year, since that way, the difficult material will remain fresh in my mind as I take the April MCATs.

    Sorry about all of the junk above. Typing out my thoughts helps clear my head, so that I can make a clear decision.

    Here are some of my legitimate questions: Will volunteering on a sexual assault hotline be considered clinical experience? Or would clinical experience have to be related to hospitals, hospices, etc.? If so, would clinical experience at a psychiatric hospital qualify? I'm just wondering if adcoms are looking for exposure to the hospital environment, or for exposure to ill people of any kind.

    Also, I've heard that some medical schools initially screen out candidates who do not have a certain GPA and/or MCAT. I'm assuming that these numbers vary, depending on the school, but approximately where would these GPA cutoffs lie? Since a 3.5 seems to be average, I would assume the cutoff would lie slightly below this for most med schools. Is this true? And would a good MCAT score compensate for a mediocre GPA if the reputation of the undergraduate school is good? Thanks for any imput. :)
     
  2. spanky

    spanky Member
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    re: summer classes
    I was told by my advisor that adcoms do not have a problem with summer classes as long as they are taken at the same school that you attend during the year (not at a community college, etc.)
    I took organic chemistry over the summer and it was probably the best thing I've ever done. We had class 4 hours a day and I had to study for 8 hours at home. It was very intense, but the fact that I had no other classes allowed me to focus solely on O-chem. O-chem I and O-chem II were 4 weeks each. Doing nothing but o-chem for 8 weeks, 12 hours a day is like self-induced brain washing. I have not forgotten any of it. I also feel sorry for the poor saps that are trying to learn nomenclature while taking 12 hours of other classes. Overall, I think its better to make an A in a summer school class than to make a B in a regular semester class.
     
  3. megkudos

    megkudos Senior Member
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    Summer Classes:
    I was told by the pre-med advisor at my school that summer classes in science are looked at at being easier than classes during the year. Period. It doesn't matter if you take them at the same university as your undergrad. Since you are only taking the minimum bio requirements cuz you are not a bio major this would apply more to you than anyone I would assume.

    I think you should try to take your requirements during the year and take a couple of your psych classes during the summer. I had a similar experience in that I am a double bio and psych major. I took psych clases over the summer and left my bios for the year in order to graduate on time.

    You should think hard about this. In Med school you will have to take a couple hardcore science classes at once and do well in them. Now you will only be taking two classes. It really isn't that bad.

    You wouldn't want to double up on chemistry and orgo. (two much chem at once! plus isnt general chem a requirement for orgo?) So take phsyics probably with gen chem or orgo. You can do it, just do the work and you'll be fine.

    It's cool that you are a dance major. Keep that definately even though it's hard. The adcams will like it too!!

    I think "clinical experience" you'd have to interact directly with people not just on the phone. BUt I might be wrong about this. PHone hotlines seem like a really good thing to do. BUt you should plan probably at some time in the future to work directly with people.

    As far as automatic interiews go. I think that both your MCAT and GPA have to meet their requirements, they don't consider anything at this point. They will later on however, when they screen your application.

    Hmm..I hope some of this helps. Good luck.
     
  4. racergirl

    racergirl Senior Member
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    Hi Hestia!

    I enjoyed your post.

    Summer Classes: I did the exact same thing as Spanky--I took two semesters of Ochem over one summer. They were 4 weeks each, 4 hours a day. It WAS intense, all I did that summer was work and study and go to class. More importantly, I did well in the classes (actually went on to teach the lab class), and took them at my University (not another one or a CC). So far this app cycle I've had three interviews and two acceptances--NO ONE has EVER mentioned the fact that I took these classes in the summer! Not even once! And it's right there on the AMCAS app, so it's not like they don't know. So despite what some advisors say, as long as you do well I don't think taking summer classes is any big deal.

    Your Dance/Drama minor: Don't you DARE drop these! You really enjoy it! You DO NOT have to sacrifice being a human being for medicine. keeping this minor will make you a happier, more well-rounded person, and as an added benefit will REALLY help set you apart when it comes time to apply! It may get difficult from time to time, but I'd add another year to your undergrad before I'd give up the minor. It's just too cool!

    Doubling classes: This can work too. You can double Chem and Physics, and leave Orgo for senior year if you want, asumming you're planning on taking the MCAT the spring of your senior year. However, this plan doesn't allow you much time to study for the MCAT itself, which is important. If it were me, I'd do whatever it takes to make sure my courseload was light the semester before the MCAT.

    Clinical experience: I don't think a hotline would qualify (though it's a cool EC anyway), but work in a psychiatric hospital certainly would quailfy as clinical!

    GPA/MCAT: As you said, most schools do seem to have a numbers cut-off, but it varies from school to school. Often, the cut-off is actually a solution to a mysterious formula, into which both your GPA and MCAT scores have been plugged. Therefore, a great MCAT score CAN compensate for a so-so GPA. (So again, the MCAT's important. Make sure you leave time to prepare for it.) Once you make it over the numbers cut-off, then the rest of your application is looked at.

    I hope some of this helps--GOOD LUCK!!
     
  5. altaskier

    altaskier Altaholics Anonymous 92'
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    I can help you out in regards to your question about volunteering. Actually, I'm a California State Anonymous HIV Counselor. So, don't pass up your opportunity to do the sexual assault hotline. These things are unique and make you stand out. Do the hospital stuff, but this hotline seems really good. Plus I'll be honest with you, I learned more as an HIV counselor than I did at a hospital. And yes, it is considered legitimate volunteering.


    In regards to your theatre major, DONT drop it. Med schools love these different diverse things. Can you graduate in 5 years instead of 4 so you don't cram everything? Just an option to consider.

    Hope this helps!
     

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