FIREitUP

10+ Year Member
Jul 31, 2007
2,875
515
TBL
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Hey guys, I went to my premed office and the lady told me that just taking the prerequisites may not make me seem as "well-rounded" as I could possibly be.
I am an anthropology major (i was initially a biology major at another school but wanted to try something different, my bio grades were good) and have studied bioarcheology, evolution, etc. along with other different things not pertaining to biology. I have taken all the prerequisites and have also taken Astronomy with lab (part of the physics department).
My grades are ~3.7 BCPM and 3.77 overall (hopefully 3.8 after this semester). I am taking my MCATs in senior year (I will be taking a year off) as I became ill in Fall of my Junior year and needed to makeup all my tests from last semester while taking a new course load, and was therefore unable to study for the MCATs.
I was an volunteer EMT/Firefighter for over 2 years until I hurt my back. I also volunteered over 100 hours at an ER and I do research (no publications). I am also going to work more often at the lab as I will be graduating a semester early.
I just wanted to give you all that context so perhaps you would be able to give me a more informed answer. Basically, the biology teachers at my school (CUNY Queens College) are mainly bitter professors whose lab section will most probably be taught by a graduate student whose english is incomprehensible, so I do not really want to take upper level bio.
Thanks in advance for putting up with all this writing.
 

shaggybill

10+ Year Member
Jul 8, 2004
624
40
37
The Sunny South
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Lots of upper level science courses may look good, but they are in no way, shape, or form required to get into med school. You actually look more well-rounded if you have a lot of classes in areas other than sciences. You'll be getting plenty of science in med school, and adcoms know that. Students who take as much science as they can possibly take in 4 years at the expense of general educations classes and liberal arts look a little too extreme for some med schools. Don't worry about what your pre-med advisor tells you. They are called pre-req's because they are the only requirements to get in.
 

Decicco

10+ Year Member
Jun 4, 2007
1,358
120
MN
Status
Resident [Any Field]
As long as you take the school's required classes, they don't care too much about extra upper level bios.
 

niranjan162

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 7, 2007
829
1
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
your advisor doesnt know wut shes talking about. Taking classes other than bio is what makes you look well-rounded. While taking upper level sciences can show that you can handle the rigors of harder classes it doesnt really matter unless u have something to prove, i.e. you have a low frosh GPA etc.

Take whatever classes ur interested in just make sure u meet the requirements
 

Chemist0157

10+ Year Member
Aug 1, 2007
7,282
344
Status
Attending Physician
You must have 90 hours to go to medical school anyways so it's not like you can only take pre-reqs and then apply. Looks like you're pretty well-rounded!
 
OP
F

FIREitUP

10+ Year Member
Jul 31, 2007
2,875
515
TBL
Status
Resident [Any Field]
that was exactly what I was thinking. I will be engulfed with excessive amounts of science in med school, I might as well show I can write and think analytically by taking anthropology. I knew she had no idea what she was talking about when my friend told me she did not consider comparative literature english!!:laugh: You guys are life-savers!
 

umean2tellme

10+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2007
1,133
28
Status
Attending Physician
I'm an anthro major and bio minor. I got accepted without taking too many upper level science classes. The only non-prereq sci classes I took were genetics and ecology, but that was only b/c i was a bio major then switched. No one made a fuss about lack of upper science classes, and my grades aren't all that hot either. They can't hold not taking something that isn't required against you. If they wanted you to have taken advanced physical chemistry or something it would be required. Good luck.
 

husky10501

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 30, 2007
97
0
Status
Non-Student
the Dean at UC-David told me and my friends to never listen to any "STUPID" advisor because there are a lot that don't know what they're talking about. Keep your BCMP gpa since you did well and work on your anthropology major. good luck.
 

cbrons

Ratatoskr! *Roar*
10+ Year Member
Jul 29, 2007
6,566
3,637
DEFEND MIDDLE LANE!
Status
Non-Student
Hey guys, I went to my premed office and the lady told me that just taking the prerequisites may not make me seem as "well-rounded" as I could possibly be.
I am an anthropology major (i was initially a biology major at another school but wanted to try something different, my bio grades were good) and have studied bioarcheology, evolution, etc. along with other different things not pertaining to biology. I have taken all the prerequisites and have also taken Astronomy with lab (part of the physics department).
My grades are ~3.7 BCPM and 3.77 overall (hopefully 3.8 after this semester). I am taking my MCATs in senior year (I will be taking a year off) as I became ill in Fall of my Junior year and needed to makeup all my tests from last semester while taking a new course load, and was therefore unable to study for the MCATs.
I was an volunteer EMT/Firefighter for over 2 years until I hurt my back. I also volunteered over 100 hours at an ER and I do research (no publications). I am also going to work more often at the lab as I will be graduating a semester early.
I just wanted to give you all that context so perhaps you would be able to give me a more informed answer. Basically, the biology teachers at my school (CUNY Queens College) are mainly bitter professors whose lab section will most probably be taught by a graduate student whose english is incomprehensible, so I do not really want to take upper level bio.
Thanks in advance for putting up with all this writing.
I dont know about your school but I dont trust my premed office for ****. They know nothing, and I feel bad (sort of because they should do their own research) for the students they advise to do stupid things (force them to do bio majors, take all these upper division math courses that are just painful, a lot of biology courses they don't need, etc.) I do a different major and my advisor (who, thankfully, is a very committed individual who has been extremely patient and meticulous planning out my 4 year degree plan incorporating a psychology major with pre-req classes) helps me. I decided I wanted to go the pre-medical route after I was finished with a year of coursework in law enforcement... and with a little summer school, I'm going to be able to be done in 4 years total (and graduate with a minor in law enforcement and justice administration).
 
OP
F

FIREitUP

10+ Year Member
Jul 31, 2007
2,875
515
TBL
Status
Resident [Any Field]
thanks for all your support, guys. I think maybe we should start an anti-prehealth adviser thread!
 

Perrotfish

Has an MD in Horribleness
10+ Year Member
May 26, 2007
8,062
3,975
Status
Attending Physician
thanks for all your support, guys. I think maybe we should start an anti-prehealth adviser thread!
What we have here is a whole anti-prehealth adviser forum. If the prehealth advisers were worth sh!t we wouldn't need to post here.
 

bluesmd

10+ Year Member
Aug 18, 2008
2,206
4
is in countdown mode
Status
Pre-Medical
What we have here is a whole anti-prehealth adviser forum. If the prehealth advisers were worth sh!t we wouldn't need to post here.
i agree. my pre-med advisor told me i would never get into med school in the us. he was like a. consider other career options or b. go overseas i.e. carribean. and now i'm like how about c. got into med school already!
 

Non-TradTulsa

Senior Member - Resident
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 17, 2005
1,465
6
Oklahoma
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I don't think upper-division biology work is necessary to get into medical school at all - but I do think certain classes that are directly related to medical school make you more competitive if you do well. And "more competitive" is a lot harder to define than "required" or "not required." You cannot determine in advance what all interviewers like to see as some sort of uniform rule - many interviewers like to see certain upper-division courses. Just depends on how safe you want to play the game. Personally, I tried to minimize every controlable risk factor that I could.

Genetics, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry are very good things to have on your transcript when you apply to medical school, esp cell bio and biochem. The stories that you hear that many medical schools do not encourage you to take undergrad human anatomy courses are true - mainly because they won't help much - medical school anatomy is not systems-based - it's learn every blessed muscle, bone, nerve, and vessel - by region.

Besides, taking cell bio or biochem can make your life considerably easier in medical school. In my medical school biochem course, which was actually cell bio/genetics/biochemistry combined, we did an entire semester of undergraduate biochem in a little over 4 weeks. I was extremely glad that I had seen the material before.

Just my $.02.
 

RoyBasch

10+ Year Member
Aug 28, 2008
519
216
Status
Medical Student
Well there is the exception where you do poorly in lower level bio classes. They may want to see you prove yourself in higher level Bio classes.
This was my case, but if you did well in the prereqs (BCPM 3.5+) i think you are ok. Furthermore from your description it sounds like you have taken some other interesting science classes.

-Roy
 

droyd78

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 30, 2006
33
0
Status
Medical Student
As a current applicant with only the pre-med science reqs (English degree), I can tell you that I've been asked at every interview why I didn't take any advanced biology classes.

You all are correct in saying they're not required courses, but taking even one extra class could remove a potential weakness in your application.
 

Non-TradTulsa

Senior Member - Resident
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 17, 2005
1,465
6
Oklahoma
Status
Resident [Any Field]
As a current applicant with only the pre-med science reqs (English degree), I can tell you that I've been asked at every interview why I didn't take any advanced biology classes.

You all are correct in saying they're not required courses, but taking even one extra class could remove a potential weakness in your application.
I hope your acceptance comes soon. Actually, I remember seeing some dusty AAMC study that showed that English majors do extraordinarily well in medical school - so much of taking standardized exams is based in your ability to read a question passage quickly and correctly catch all of the relevant details. English majors seem to be extremely good at that!

For some odd reason, I was thinking about this thread after I turned-in last night (probably because I don't want to study for the shelf exam I have coming up in three weeks). Applicants seem to focus-in on questions that always start, "Do medical schools do X." Well, the truth is, there is no Oz behind the curtain at each medical school who makes these decisions. Anyone who tells you that he/she knows exactly what "medical schools want" is just plain wrong. There is general consensus on what makes a good app, but the devil is in the details.

To see what I mean, look at MDApps. Look at the very top candidates who got into the "best" schools - very few were accepted at every school where they interviewed. Why not? Because this process is so bloody random!!! It just depends on who you happen to get as an interviewer and what mood the committee happens to be in the day they review your file. Let's say that 9 out of 10 interviewers at Hogwarts Medical School don't care whether you have upper-division bio. That's great if you have no upper-division bio and all your friends with no upper-division bio had no problems... unless you happen to get old Dr. Jones, interviewer #10, who happens to care a great deal about upper-division bio - he doesn't like this "modern" trend of allowing people in who didn't major in biology. Does Hogwarts tell Dr. Jones exactly what he can and can't consider when he makes a recommendation? Nope - and, even if they did, he'd still allow his subconscious to influence his opinion.

You do the best job you can of having the best application that you possibly can - which, in my opinion, does include at least a couple of courses in upper-division bio. Then you pray that the stars align properly on interview day and that something you have no control over doesn't go wrong. There is no perfect formula that will get you admitted - it's all about doing the best job you can of giving them fewer targets to shoot at.
 

droyd78

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 30, 2006
33
0
Status
Medical Student
I hope your acceptance comes soon. Actually, I remember seeing some dusty AAMC study that showed that English majors do extraordinarily well in medical school - so much of taking standardized exams is based in your ability to read a question passage quickly and correctly catch all of the relevant details. English majors seem to be extremely good at that!
Thanks a lot. I actually have a DO acceptance and am waiting on some MD schools. I feel like I was able to approach this process pretty intelligently (thanks mostly to this site) and looking back on it, the only thing I would have done significantly differently is take that one extra class, just to diffuse that question.
 
OP
F

FIREitUP

10+ Year Member
Jul 31, 2007
2,875
515
TBL
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Thanks a lot. I actually have a DO acceptance and am waiting on some MD schools. I feel like I was able to approach this process pretty intelligently (thanks mostly to this site) and looking back on it, the only thing I would have done significantly differently is take that one extra class, just to diffuse that question.
I think I'll do that. Plus, it will keep me occupied for my next semester. I can't only do MCAT studying. Thanks for sharing your experience.
 

littlealex

little tiny alex
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 5, 2007
2,101
8
Status
Resident [Any Field]
The grammar in the title made no sense to me. Someone explain this to me?

Take solely prerequisite classes = frowned upon?
 
OP
F

FIREitUP

10+ Year Member
Jul 31, 2007
2,875
515
TBL
Status
Resident [Any Field]
The grammar in the title made no sense to me. Someone explain this to me?

Take solely prerequisite classes = frowned upon?
If you take solely prerequisite classes, is it frowned upon?

I wasn't aiming for correct grammar, I was looking to convey my point in fewer words.
 
OP
F

FIREitUP

10+ Year Member
Jul 31, 2007
2,875
515
TBL
Status
Resident [Any Field]
do you think Biology-Animal Behavior would be an okay class (its a 4 credit writing intensive class)? Or should I take a cell bio class instead (the teacher for animal behavior is supposedly better).
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
22,926
31,513
Status
Academic Administration
A writing intensive course is good and instructors who teach those courses often write very informative LORs because they will have gotten to know you well through your writing and class participation (if that is part of the instruction, too). It sounds like something interesting and not an undergrad version of something you are going to get in med school (like cell bio). I'd say, go for it.
 
OP
F

FIREitUP

10+ Year Member
Jul 31, 2007
2,875
515
TBL
Status
Resident [Any Field]
A writing intensive course is good and instructors who teach those courses often write very informative LORs because they will have gotten to know you well through your writing and class participation (if that is part of the instruction, too). It sounds like something interesting and not an undergrad version of something you are going to get in med school (like cell bio). I'd say, go for it.
thank you for your informative and helpful response!