General Should I take a "W" in Organic Chemistry II and drop below a full-time student for this semester?

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lord999

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My situation is long and complex and I would like to explain it in full detail. I am a sophomore at a state school. I had a 3.4 GPA coming into this semester with the hope of getting a 4.0 enrolled in 15 credit hours (12 is the minimum for full-time at my school). I ended up doing poorly on my first Organic Chemistry II lab class exam and was advised by my advisor to drop the course and take a "W" as one "W" would not be a big deal on my medical school application. I am now enrolled in 13 credit hours and am currently failing Organic Chemistry II lecture which is 3 credit hours. I got a 54% on the first exam and a 69% on the second exam that I just took. This class is very exam heavy and I calculated that if I get a 70% on this exam and a 75% on the final, I will end with a C- in the course and barely pass as the final exam would replace my lowest exam grade. I am basing these numbers for the future tests on the lower end as I wanted to see my worst case scenario. The main issue here is that the next exam date is a week after the last date to drop a course and get a "W". I worry that I may have fallen so behind that maybe I would end up with lower than a C-. I also am unsure what would look worse: a C- and a W, or 2 W's in one semester and ending the semester at 10 credit hours which is under full time. I have had some family and health issues this semester that I have been attending to which may have caused some issues in doing well in OChem II. If there are two W's in the same semester would medical admissions look at them as one since there may have been a reason that the student was struggling in school that semester? If I drop the course I will not be able to take it until my spring semester next year (junior year) as I am going to volunteer abroad this semester and the course is not offered in the fall. Should I drop this course or not?
Sigh, this one's hard. Taking a D or F is almost certainly worse than a W as a first time circumstance. On that alone, I would the W, and for many schools, lecture and lab are tied together and force you to W both if one needs to be withdrawn. I don't think that taking two Ws is going to raise that much due to the two being tied to one another.

The dilemma is that you'll fall under full time, which may have loan implications, but also, your window for the retake practically guarantees a fifth year if you do poorly again considering that you'll be a year and a half out. And the MCAT does require knowledge of the full Organic Chemistry experience to take correctly.

Something has to give here. I honestly would reconsider rescheduling your semester abroad to another time if you want to stay on time and take the W. In your shoes, I would take the W or Audit even if I didn't know my other plans as that would still be surely better than an unproductive fail (and a D is failing for admission).

Is there a closing window for the W? If so, and if the faculty advised you to take the W, I would probably do so as the general course is usually not improvement from early bad scores in the class. It's not impossible, but it's unlikely and it seems you have other issues that need to be dealt with that a part time schedule may help.
 

lord999

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Thank you for taking the time to reply to my post. It's a very hard decision because there are so many factors involved. I think I did not make myself clear on my abroad trip, I will be volunteering abroad this summer for 1 month and I have already bought tickets and accommodations which cannot be rescheduled. The course is not offered in the fall, so I would either have to take it in the spring or possibly take it at a community college in the Fall. I have heard that medical schools do not like applicants taking Organic Chemistry at community colleges. I also plan to take the MCAT next spring. Would I be able to self study and use what I would be learning in class at the time to prepare for the Organic Chemistry II portion of the MCAT. The closing window for the W is April 22nd and my next OChem test is April 29th. My professor did not provide much advice on whether or not I should withdraw the course.

And I will still be able to keep my scholarship if I am under full-time for the semester so that will not be an issue. I was just curious if medical school admissions would look down upon being under full-time the semester I had to take W's in OChem lab and lecture?
For the two schools I am an adcom in (and one very competitive), no, under FT is not considered unusual (and obviously for the circumstances that you mention), but it is somewhat dependent on how competitive your area is. But taking it your junior year Spring can work out unless Biochemistry or Chemistry (and those majors that require Biochemistry for majors) are your major, and in that case, you would almost certainly end up in a fifth year.

You can always self-study, in fact, that should be a lifelong habit to develop. That said, many of the problems with Organic II are really issues with Organic I (you did not learn your mechanisms or really basic SN1/SN2/E1/E2 or electrophile concepts very well) rather than just learning the nuances for each class. It's rare that a student is particularly bad at chromatography but when I end up having to deal with diagnostic exams, it's almost always the fundamentals in first semester that cause the problems in second semester. Retest yourself with first semester concepts before proceeding to self-study the second semester.
 
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