Should I drop this upper division science laboratory course?

Drop the course or no?

  • Drop it like it's hot

    Votes: 12 48.0%
  • Stick with it

    Votes: 8 32.0%
  • Forget about med school all together - we're headed towards socialized medicine!

    Votes: 2 8.0%
  • no opinion

    Votes: 3 12.0%

  • Total voters
    25

orthomyxo

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It sounds like a ton of work for minimal to zero payoff. Like you said, the best you can get is an A- and that will end up lowering your sGPA (albeit insignificantly). And 30 page lab reports? No thanks. Drop it.
 

bookfreak89

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I'm taking this 300-level course called "Laboratory in Molecular Biology" and it's a pretty intense class where you do experiments and submit huge (2x 30 page) lab reports that are supposed to look professional and for publication. The class is worth as much as any other science course (4 semester credits worth). The grading is pretty rough, and I think at best I can pull off an A- in the course, which would lower both my science GPA and overall GPA by about 0.01-0.02 (ie: let's say my GPA would be a 3.86, then my GPA will be a 3.84). There is of course the chance that I get lower than a A-, which would then really have an impact on my GPA.

I have already taken intro to mol bio (with lab) and genetics (no lab). So I'm worried that for USC I wouldn't have fulfilled all of the biology prerequisites since they require 2 biology + 1 molecular biology course. USC's not my top choice, but it's in my top 10. There are also other schools that say they require 2 semesters of bio with lab, and I'll only have 1 semester of lab.

What do you think? Drop or no drop?
Dude, are you taking Mol Core Lab? Aren't you an econ major? Get the hell out of that class. I have friends who are econ majors + premed and they did not subject themselves to Core Lab (only biochemistry if that :scared:). Core Lab = overachieving MOL sophomores and MOL juniors (trickle in some chem majors and physics majors too) = premeds (mostly) = screwed curve. Your GPA is freaking stellar for a Pton undergrad, I think you should be fine.
 

bookfreak89

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Hahah it is a ton of work - 6 hours a week of lab. I already wrote one of the lab reports (well, most of it so far), but I don't worry about sunk costs when making decisions such as these. If I drop this course, I can almost guarantee that I'll get a great GPA this semester. This is my fifth class by the way.

I'm still worried about med school prereqs though, and this course does teaches me a little bit about how to write (although it's mostly them just telling us to do it and giving us some written instructions).
Drop this class. BTW, I am a Pton undergrad too. :rolleyes:
 

loveoforganic

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No amount of anything is worth 2x 30 page papers.

Drop it, then spit on the professor's shoe.
 

bookfreak89

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Hahahha yeah, core lab! I'm definitely considering GettingTFO of this class - it's so much work and they give like 6 A's (not sure about A-'s) a year to the 60+ kids a year who take it, so ridiculous!

Whoa, so weird talking to another Princeton pre-med...
Cool another Pton undergrad. Woot. I have taken this class (I am a MOL senior :p). They curve it to a B. If I am not mistaken, you guys are being taught by someone different this year, so she might change the grading curve. MOL classes (especially departmentals) = grade deflated. The amount of work is not worth it. Don't waste your time.
 

Evergrey

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It's funny how a B is considered grade-deflated. Ivy entitlement?
No. Princeton is famous for having grade deflation to counteract the GPA inflation of the other Ivies. Curving to a B is a 3.0 (which is just about the national average of GPAs including public universities, IIRC) whereas the other Ivies have GPA averages around 3.3 to 3.5.
 
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I'm very familiar with the issues regarding grade inflation vs. deflation at various institutions, thank you.

It's just my impression that top-tier institutions like Ivies get their rep from the hard work that doesn't necessarily correlate with great results. That's what distinguishes them from state U, and why med schools add GPA enhancers to equalize the results from various schools.

Deflation = C+ curve or less
Inflation = A- curve or higher

B is above average, neither inflation nor deflation.
 
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I'm taking this 300-level course called "Laboratory in Molecular Biology" and it's a pretty intense class where you do experiments and submit huge (2x 30 page) lab reports that are supposed to look professional and for publication. The class is worth as much as any other science course (4 semester credits worth). The grading is pretty rough, and I think at best I can pull off an A- in the course, which would lower both my science GPA and overall GPA by about 0.01-0.02 (ie: let's say my GPA would be a 3.86, then my GPA will be a 3.84). There is of course the chance that I get lower than a A-, which would then really have an impact on my GPA.

I have already taken intro to mol bio (with lab) and genetics (no lab). So I'm worried that for USC I wouldn't have fulfilled all of the biology prerequisites since they require 2 biology + 1 molecular biology course. USC's not my top choice, but it's in my top 10. There are also other schools that say they require 2 semesters of bio with lab, and I'll only have 1 semester of lab.

What do you think? Drop or no drop?
Do you think the course will be enjoyable and you'll learn something you'd value? If so, go for it. If not, life's too short to take classes you don't like. For what it's worth, I got into USC (the University of Southern California) with a 3.4 from Dartmouth (and an MPH degree to be fair) and I think you said you're from Princeton which has a harder curve, in general. It was my feeling that USC cared more about experiences then straight academic scores, but your mileage may vary.

As for the biology lab requirements, I'd talk to a pre-med adviser. They could definitely set you straight on the specifics more simply than this forum could.
 

bookfreak89

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I'm very familiar with the issues regarding grade inflation vs. deflation at various institutions, thank you.

It's just my impression that top-tier institutions like Ivies get their rep from the hard work that doesn't necessarily correlate with great results. That's what distinguishes them from state U, and why med schools add GPA enhancers to equalize the results from various schools.

Deflation = C+ curve or less
Inflation = A- curve or higher

B is above average, neither inflation or deflation.
Oh, don't worry. That class is just one example (as you can see in my post, I state that MOL classes are deflated). There plenty of classes in the natural sciences and engineering departments that are curved to C+ (or lower for some engineering classes). That and nowhere in my post did I say that I 'deserve/am entitled' to a higher grade. The OP's GPA would be lowered by more than 0.02 if s/he received a B in a class that they shouldn't be taking anyways, which is why I say it isn't worth it.
 
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I am not trying to make hay here, just stating my viewpoints.

For those classes that are curved at C+ or lower, your comments about grade deflation are valid. No argument from me. I would never argue that someone at state U faces similar workload/competition at CalTech, MIT, or an Ivy. In another thread, I shared what was told me by some acquaintances to argue AGAINST the misperception that 85% of the grades at Harvard or Stanford were A's.

Re: this thread, I thought most everything was reasonably-stated until you equated a B with deflation. To work very hard for a B is low yield (I agree), but still. I don't want to press this topic further, nor rile anyone needlessly.
 
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bookfreak89

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I am not trying to make hay here, just stating my viewpoints.

For those classes that are curved at C+ or lower, your comments about grade deflation are valid. No argument from me. I would never argue that someone at state U faces similar workload/competition at CalTech, MIT, or an Ivy. In another thread, I shared what was told me by some acquaintances to argue AGAINST the misperception that 85% of the grades at Harvard or Stanford were A's.

Re: this thread, I thought most everything was reasonably-stated until you equated a B with deflation. To work for hard for a B is low yield (I agree), but still. I don't want to press this topic further, nor rile anyone needlessly.
Don't worry. It's cool. :cool:
 

plsfoldthx

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Drop it. I took a bunch of useless super course heavy Upper Division science classes that just ended up hurting my grades and stressing me out like no other come finals week.

I regret it so much. I didn't even need it for credit or anything... just took it for the hell of it. If there's anything I learned as a pre-med... it's to be practical. Always practical.

It ALL comes down to your GPA. They don't care what kind of classes you took... as long as you took you pre-reqs. My pre-req gpa is a 3.6 ... include my upper division science classes............. yeah, let's not get into that. Let's just say I'm applying to SMP this year.
 

dru2002

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Grade deflation? http://gradeinflation.com/Princeton.html If this is accurate doesn't seem to be the case. I am too lazy to look for more reputable sources. But the data from my school is correct so I will make the leap and guess that Princeton's is as well. http://gradeinflation.com/

And yes I am aware of Princeton's policy to stop grade-inflation, resulting in an deflation to the bloated GPA. So yes, compared to Princeton's recent GPAs it is deflated but not to historical trends.

Now back to the point. You believe you are gonna get an A- and have one more paper to right. Just finish it.
 
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randombetch

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Grade deflation? http://gradeinflation.com/Princeton.html If this is accurate doesn't seem to be the case. I am too lazy to look for more reputable sources. But the data from my school is correct so I will make the leap and guess that Princeton's is as well. http://gradeinflation.com/

And yes I am aware of Princeton's policy to stop grade-inflation, resulting in an deflation to the bloated GPA. So yes, compared to Princeton's recent GPAs it is deflated but not to historical trends.

Now back to the point. You believe you are gonna get an A- and have one more paper to right. Just finish it.
Why finish it? A-'s will bring my GPA down. What do I get from finishing this class?
 

dru2002

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Why finish it? A-'s will bring my GPA down. What do I get from finishing this class?
I've never been one to obsesses over a few GPA points so I'm probably the wrong person to ask. I also assume at this point it would be a withdrawal. So to me I would rather tough it out get the A- and not have to explain a withdrawal. Given your GPA ,dropping one class probably wouldn't raise any eyebrows, but it always could. Just my opinion.
 

bookfreak89

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I've never been one to obsesses over a few GPA points so I'm probably the wrong person to ask. I also assume at this point it would be a withdrawal. So to me I would rather tough it out get the A- and not have to explain a withdrawal. Given your GPA ,dropping one class probably wouldn't raise any eyebrows, but it always could. Just my opinion.
It wouldn't raise any eyebrows. As long as the class is dropped before the deadline, no one will know s/he attempted to take the class. Also, the OP currently has 5 classes. Four is what everyone usually takes, so everything is set up nicely for the OP to DROP this class. ;)
 

cho15

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I don't know if you have decided already, but if this is an extra class you're taking and you plan on dropping it before the deadline (so it won't show up on your record) then I agree with the majority of those who posted. I would suggest you drop the class. If it's taking up so much of your time and you don't feel like you're really getting anything out of the class then don't torture yourself. Also, if you're worried about the possibility of it lowering your GPA well, then that's just another reason for you not to continue. Good luck with your decision.
 

dru2002

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It wouldn't raise any eyebrows. As long as the class is dropped before the deadline, no one will know s/he attempted to take the class. Also, the OP currently has 5 classes. Four is what everyone usually takes, so everything is set up nicely for the OP to DROP this class. ;)
Sorry, I'm calibrated to a semester system so I didn't realize he is still in the drop/add period. Then I agree drop it. Thanks for pointing the quarter system thing out.
 

randombetch

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Lol, it's semester system for us too! Our drop deadline is coming up in 2 weeks.

Hey bookfreak89 - it looks like the second paper is just a highly modified version of the first paper. Is it still a lot of work (as much as the first paper was?)? If not... maybe I should see what I get on my first submission before dropping haha.
 

bookfreak89

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Sorry, I'm calibrated to a semester system so I didn't realize he is still in the drop/add period. Then I agree drop it. Thanks for pointing the quarter system thing out.
We are on a semester system. The semester started in Feb. our drop deadline is in 2 weeks.

Lol, it's semester system for us too! Our drop deadline is coming up in 2 weeks.

Hey bookfreak89 - it looks like the second paper is just a highly modified version of the first paper. Is it still a lot of work (as much as the first paper was?)? If not... maybe I should see what I get on my first submission before dropping haha.
You are going to write a new paper. The only section that you will be able to modify is the introduction (but you still have to add some new information). The second paper focuses mainly on the experiments you do in the second half. New experiments = new materials and methods section = new results section = new discussion + new figures to modify and polish. The only consolation is that you have done it once, so at least you are not completely lost as to what to do or what the graders are looking for. :rolleyes: Of course, your class could do things differently because you have a different instructor. I still suggest dropping though. If your grade comes back before the drop deadline and it is to your standards, remain in the class at your own risk. :laugh: You can PM me if you want to talk about it in more detail.