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Things that are concerning me as a rising premed sophomore. Please help!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by premed2013, Sep 3, 2010.

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  1. premed2013

    premed2013 5+ Year Member

    Sep 3, 2010
    1. Major
    I am an open-minded pre-med student. After my freshman year, at a top liberal arts college, I found that I am good at writing and am somewhat interested in history. I also like the sciences but I feel that I won't be able to maintain a high GPA majoring in chemistry rather than history.

    I am thinking about taking two science courses and two history courses this fall because I want to see if history is something I truly want to study for my undergraduate years. I would have to take my language requirement during my junior/senior year if I choose to do this.

    I would major in history for the following reasons if I do find it enjoyable. One, I can maintain a high GPA. Two, if I do get into medical school I would be doing science for the rest of my life so my undergraduate years is the only time I can do something else. Three, medical schools want a diverse student body, which means they don't accept just science majors. However, one big problem I have with being a history major is that it is a horrible back-up plan if I don't get into medical school.

    What should I do if I am in this situation?
    Should I major in history or chemistry?

    2. Science GPA vs Overall GPA
    My freshman year I made A/A- in all my courses except for general chemistry which is the one premed science course I took. (I made B's). I have around a 3.6 overall gpa and a 3.3 science GPA. Am I on the right track?

    3. Easy Course load (A/A-) vs Hard Course load (B's)
    Is it more beneficial for medical school to take easier courses and get that A or take hard courses and end up with B's?

    4. Extracurricular
    I go to a small liberal arts college and there weren't many volunteering positions available at the hospital. I instead volunteered as a tutor at a high school and was a member of a few clubs. I really didn't focus on extracurricular too much my freshman year.

    For the summer, I did chemistry research at my college.

    This semester I am going to continue research and will be a tutor for general chemistry classes. I am going to continue doing some volunteering and have a treasurer position at a pre-med club which I formed with other people. (Forming this pre-med club was originally my idea and I asked a friend of mine if he would like to start one with me. At the end, he worked on the club stuff behind my back with someone else. It made it look like I didn't do any work so I was demoted to treasurer instead of being president. What I want to know is, will it make a big difference for medical school if I were a president of a club rather than a treasurer).

    Summer following sophomore year, will be doing an internship at a hospital and SMDEP. Am I on the right track?

    5. Letters of Recommendations
    Is it a good idea to start getting letters as a sophomore?

    6. Take biology/organic chemistry or physics/organic chemistry?
    I really don't have much background in either biology or physics. Most people say that physics is harder than biology. So, I have decided to take biology and organic chemistry but what is your take? Junior year, I will be focused on application/MCAT/major requirements and physics.
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  3. wolverinepwns

    wolverinepwns Si vis pacem, para bellum 7+ Year Member

    May 9, 2010
    You should always should pursue a major you intersted in, or your grades will suffer! if you don't enjoy sciences, maybe medschool and beinga physician shouldn't be your career choice. Most medschools have a restriction on how old a LOR can be so if you're planning on taking a year off, I would hold off on getting those LORs till your third/fourth year, you should always take classes/units to the extent that you can do well in them. Science GPA is important if you're applying to medschool so keep that in mind too.
  4. premed2013

    premed2013 5+ Year Member

    Sep 3, 2010
    I always wanted to be a doctor. It's just that I am not one of those pre med students that's just science and math. I want a well rounded education and want to explore other fields for my undergrad
  5. Spleenic

    Spleenic Ya Mar 2+ Year Member

    Jun 1, 2010
    It is unnecessary to restrict your focus to science. You can be a successful physician with any undergraduate degree and it is critical to pursue whichever path interests you. Of course, you will need a solid foundation in the four science disciplines to score well on the MCAT, but you do not need a degree in electrical magnetic microscopular immunohistobiochemistry to get into med school. Just use this time to obtain a well-rounded education. I think it would strengthen your application to select a few extra-curricular activities and remain committed throughout your entire undergrad. It will show adcoms that you are confident in your decisions. Good luck and, please, try to have some fun!
  6. Calipers


    Aug 29, 2010
    It's too early for you to tell. Take the history class(es) and see if you really do like them. If you do, then you can make a more informed decision. You can also check your school to see if you can major/minor or double major. Be careful not to overload yourself during your sophomore year -- there is a reason the sophomore slump exists.

    As to extracurriculars, you should have some kind of medically-related experience by the time you apply but you don't necessarily need to be doing it now. See if there is a doctor in a clinic that would let you shadow, or if you can volunteer with emergency response, etc.
  7. premed2013

    premed2013 5+ Year Member

    Sep 3, 2010
    Could someone please give me feedback on being club president vs treasurer and whether to take ochem/physics or ochem/biology?
  8. gravitywave

    gravitywave fourth year 2+ Year Member

    Dec 19, 2009
    s/p ERAS
    Sounds like you should be a history major. high gpa + exploring other parts of your brain = :D med schools like intellectually curious people. and don't be overly concerned about your major not being marketable. unless you are planning on a career in engineering or research, your major at a school like yours is irrelevant to employers .

    you need 3.7+ for both. 3.6 is ok but not great. less than that is the danger zone. yours needs to come up, and the solution, unfortunately, is to work smarter. or harder. or both.

    consensus seems to be to get As. the folks who do engineering at MIT don't get the credit they deserve from adcoms come admissions time.

    you need clinical time, non-clinical volunteer time, leadership experience, and shadowing. one experience can provide a couple of these. people here are big on research but i feel that these other things and your grades have to come first ie don't get overextended. other than that, you also need something that makes you, you. whatever you do in your spare time for fun, they want to see it and they want to see you committed. schools are interested in people with lots of different dimensions to them: this is what is meant by 'diversity' in admissions speak.

    the club drama you mention is pretty unimportant. i don't believe adcoms put much stock in involvement with pre med clubs to begin with. your school must already have had such club(s) before you came along...?

    ummm.... depends. a good letter is written by a professor who knows you well and can speak to your strengths. if you can get one of these your sophomore year, go for it. again, lots of applicants seem to like having lots and lots of letters but i'm not so sure that adcoms like reading lots and lots of letters - so truthfully the minimum number you need to go through committee is enough. just make them count. it's so much better to have three good letters than to have six middling ones.

    physics is harder than biology for nearly everyone i think. bio/orgo will be fine.

  9. Narmerguy

    Narmerguy Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Jul 14, 2007
    Yes it will make a difference of whether you are a president of a club rather than a treasurer. However, that speaks nothing of what you actually do and accomplish and what you commit to your club, which is more important than simply your title. However, I might consider leaving such a group if the rest of the leadership is willing to backstab you.

    Finally, a lot of people find physics to be harder than bio. If you have no experience in either, just do bio. I'll caution you that it is a lot of memorizing at once but if you're OK with that, then go for it.
  10. premed2013

    premed2013 5+ Year Member

    Sep 3, 2010
    I have thought about leaving. The guy who backstabbed me is president of two clubs and is very arrogant. But, he has a low GPA cuz all he takes is science/math courses, very one dimensional.

    I feel that I need to have some sort of leadership and that I should take that treasurer position because it is better than nothing. Also, am I doing too much my sophomore year. I'll be taking orgo/bio/2 history courses, 3 labs including research, gen chem tutoring, volunteering, and club.
  11. moxche

    moxche 2+ Year Member

    Jan 25, 2010
    Listen to this man.

    Only things I'd add:
    Research is pretty important for the top schools, so try continuing your chemistry research if you can. If you can get a publication out of it that would be very helpful.

    Don't worry so much about being president of one club, but rather, doing some activities that you like and that you'll be a part of for a long time. Strictly speaking, I'm only a member of 2 "clubs" and have never had any "leadership" roles in either one. I'm not advising you to do this, but rather just letting you know that it's not the end of the world if you're not the president of every club you're in.

    Don't get letters your sophomore year, that's weird.
  12. Narmerguy

    Narmerguy Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Jul 14, 2007
    You really shouldn't look to this as a measure of how successful or accomplished your research EC was. Of course getting published is awesome, but it's by no means considered bad if you don't have one.
  13. isasmommy

    isasmommy 5+ Year Member

    May 8, 2010
    Madison, WI
    The only thing I would add is if you do decide to pursue a different major make sure that you meet the science requirements for medical school. Many people think you just need the basic 1 year of chem, bio, orgo, physics but more and more schools are requiring Biochemistry or genetics or other classes.... some even require more social sciences or math. I would suggest to periodically look up the requirements for a few schools you are interested and make sure that they are in your plans.

    Many people end up applying to schools only to realize after submitting their primary that they don't fulfill the requirements.

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