To retake or not to retake. That is...almost the question.

Apr 12, 2010
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Appologies to the mods in advance. I'm a first time poster and I have no idea if this fits into re-applicant, non traditional student, what are my chances, or good old hassles with basic med requirements. To everyone else, thanks for taking the time on my first post.

(for the tl;dr, I'm in grad school revisiting my application...and those horrid AP credits from high school. Summer is coming soon, registrar is open, and decisions must be made!)

It's time to plug myself back into the application process again. You see, I was one of those people that got burnt out by the end of their senior year, freaked over the prospect of my ability to make the right decision for my future, and despite having a 34 MCAT and a 3.65 GPA I withdrew everything. In the mean time, I was lucky enough to have left a positive impression on my research advisor and I landed an RA in exercise physiology. I had time to breathe, (well as much time for breathing you can get from Gradschool) and thank God.

So after refinding my mental rock, research adventures of intestinal ischemia, and being reminded why I love health; I'm ready for action again...and lets make that action quick because those MCAT scores were taken in 2008. Now I have plenty of strengths with the volunteering I've done in the past, the research I do now, and my scores. There's some significant weaknesses too though, although I'm not sure how major they are.

I have AP classes that I never retook. Particularly 9 credits of literature classes and basic bio 1 + 2. I have taken 3 credits of cellular biology. Hell, I'm sitting in on a Graduate level cell bio course my advisor is teaching and I'm doing all the work for it, but I can't afford to pay for the extra class. What can I say? It helps me understand other research presentations a little better.

What do I really need to take over? Premed advisor told me today that I need to take 6 credits of literature and I still have another 5 in biology which can be done over the summer. I asked about the current courses I'm taking, citing the exercise metabolism course I'll be taking in fall and she told me it wouldn't count.

Because Physiology is a SOFT science AND clearly doesn't have enough biological focus in graduate level courses to count for such a thing. Even in a cell metabolism course.

Well she signed me up for a course called "Animal PHYSIOLOGY and cell biology" because it's in the magical right department. Sigh. Look I love physiology. I'd probably have fun in that class and I'd bust it up. But I've taken many many courses like this already. When people in our department get an itch to take even more basic physiology courses than they do, we go down the hill to the med school (Sadly, Spring semester only). Or I could jump departments and take other grad courses. It just confused me that I need undergrad courses to fill this. Maybe because of the lab? I feel pressed because this is my last summer to really get things on my transcripts before I send it all out. This is also when I have time to do good work for my thesis and *hopefully* graduate early in the fall when that thesis is done. Sadly, only undergrad courses are offered over summer. Funding baby.

Here's the options I'm considering.

1. Give the premed advisor what she wants. Take the 11 total undergrad credits over the summer. Shell out about 1,500, 75% of my savings. Stay late in the lab until 9 because my 6 hour experiment can't be started until the middle of the day now.
2. Screw the animal physiology course, only take the English. Putting in a graduate bio class along with the rest of my fall course load should be enough.
3. Screw all of the undergrad courses. AP will cut it. Focus on research, karate, and maybe some shadowing for the summer. Still take that biology course as my 3rd class in the fall because there's a lot of good things to choose from. Essentially only take what makes sense with developing a well rounded physiology major, and mentally functioning me.

I've got a week or two to think about it. Until then, I'm just collecting as many opinions from as many sources as I can.

Suggestions?

And yes, Thank you so much for even reading this monster. It's good to be heard.
 

akinetopsia

some dude
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Feb 17, 2008
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Contact (e-mail is probably preferable to a phone call at this time of year) the schools you are interested in applying to - you're a big boy, or girl, take some responsibility over your future. See what the schools say about your AP credits and explain your situation.

I'm not entirely sure I completely understand what you're asking, BTW.

You're asking about retakes, for AP courses, but AFAIK, the required courses across the board are a year of bio, general chem, organic chem and physics, and some schools have other requirements or recommended courses. You have the prereqs done right? I'm assuming so with the 34 MCAT.

If the advisor is telling you to take the 11 hours so you can get a committee letter, then that is kind of crappy, but you may have to bite the bullet and partially drain your savings to do it.
 
Apr 12, 2010
49
3
41
Status
Medical Student
Thanks, these are both good points.

1. I am rambling too much and I should have slept on it. I need to work on my forum skills.

2. I am in the process of contacting other schools, but figured I'd give this a try. You are right; this isn't the place to ask nor is it the place to pull at straws.

This is what I really should have asked. My premed advisor is telling me to take undergrad courses very similar and lower in difficulty than the graduate courses I take now in order to satisfy retaking AP biology classes. They're going to cost quite a bit of money and they'll crunch on my thesis work. I'm confused. I don't know why graduate level courses wouldn't fit the bill when they are very cellular focused, or why not grad classes straight from a biology department. Either way, the grad courses aren't offered over the summer while the undergrad are. I'm applying this summer, to be in the 2015 class. Is it better to wait for fall to take higher level courses, or to get them done over the summer?