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Transferring and Community Colleges

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Virgil, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. Virgil

    Virgil Hi hi!
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    Hi, I've been lurking for a while but I finally have a question worth asking (or at least I think so).

    My family is moving to California, and as a result, it is necessary that I transfer. I am looking at attending the UC's but I've heard that it is extremely difficult for a non-state resident transfer applicant to be accepted, so difficult in fact that they regularly deny admission to transfer students with 4.0 GPAs. I trust my source, as he is a friend who works in the UC Berkeley admissions office. He said that my best chance is to attend a community college that participates in the PAIF program, recieve a GPA higher than 2.8 (that's a given), rack up about 40 credits and I'm basically guaranteed acceptance into a lower-middle tier UC such as Irvine or Merced through this PAIF contract.

    I want to go through this route because, during my 1 year racking up 40 credits, I will establish residency, which will basically cut my tuition for any given UC in half or so. Additionally, it is past the filing period for Fall of 2006 for the UC's in the area that I'll be living in. My question for you guys is this: is spending 1 year taking classes at a community college detrimental to my medical school application? I am confident that I will maintain a high GPA, but will the simple fact that some of the classses that I've taken (~40 semester credits) were taken at a community college? Is it advisable that I complete my general ed courses at the community college as opposed to my basic sciences required by medical schools, and hold off on those until I get accepted to the university? What is the best course of action for me?

    Sorry for this long post, but I really appreciate any feedback.
     
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  3. Virgil

    Virgil Hi hi!
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    After reading my post I think I should clarify a little...

    The reason that they deny 4.0 non-resident transfer students on a regular basis is that they have that contract with many community colleges, and those students have priority, in addition to the entering freshman. The poor non-resident transfer student is considered last, and they only award acceptance if there is space. I'm thinking that if I can't beat them, I should probably join them. I can't join the freshmen, unfortunately (I'd like to get a certain B in General Biology erased), but I guess I can go the CC route. How bad is the effect on medical school acceptance though, and is there a way in which I can minimize this effect? I'm thinking that just taking my general ed at the CC and keeping sciences for the university might help. If I have a high GPA at both the university and the CC and a good MCAT it really shouldn't matter though, right? What about for the top-tier med schools?
     
  4. Virgil

    Virgil Hi hi!
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    Anyone? I desperately await any response.....
     
  5. DropkickMurphy

    DropkickMurphy Membership Revoked
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    Jesus H. Christ, calm down. You posted at an hour most people are sleeping.

    Why are you forced to transfer just because your family is moving?
     
  6. rugtrousers

    rugtrousers Senior Member
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    I'm a UC alum who went in straight from high school but I sincerely doubt that one year of community college will hurt you. The thing you don't want to do is take all your science prereq's at the community college then take non-science courses at the UC, because chemistry, physics and bio are popularly thought to be less rigorous at community colleges and adcoms might think you were taking the easy road. Alternately, you could take the prereqs at community college and take more advanced courses at the UC. Make sure your rock the community college courses so that your GPA is as high as possible.
     
  7. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    1) I don't see a reason why a college student should transfer schools because the family is moving unless you live at home & commute to college. That's going to take some explaining to the adcom, because it sounds as if you will have attended at least 3 colleges by the time you apply.

    2) You can not wipe out a B in biology. It will follow you and haunt you all the days of your life. It will go on your AMCAS and count toward your gpa. It isn't the end of the world but you can't wipe it out.

    3) It is possible to do the first 2 years at a community college & then transfer to a university and still get into med school. Not easy but do-able. You'll need all the same courses but your grades should be nothing less than A-. You'll need to do very, very well on the MCAT to prove that your gpa is not a ceiling effect and you'll need to perform well (no drop in gpa) when you get to the big leagues.

    Good luck.
     
  8. Virgil

    Virgil Hi hi!
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    You're right...I was just very desperate and suffering from insomnia.
     
  9. Virgil

    Virgil Hi hi!
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    Well, I'm only 17 years of age and I am a very family oriented person. My parents deeply object to the thought of me living on my own, especially since I'm still a minor. I wish I could transfer straight to UCI, but in order to keep costs low for my parents and to ensure an acceptance, I'm really thinking about going the CC route.
    I very much understand that I cannot wipe out a B in biology. I inserted that as a joke...
    I'm only looking at taking only two terms at the CC, a spring and a fall, to maybe rack up about 30 or more credits. Rugtrousers is saying that the idea of community college hurting my chances is seriously dubious. From most, I hear that undergraduate institution isn't really a big deal to medical schools and plays a minimal role in admissions, but I wonder if it's different with CCs. I guess I have a good explanation if it comes up at interviews or anything...I'm just wondering if there is anyone out there who's been in my position or has any experience with community colleges. I'd like to apply to some top-tier schools as well (when I get to that point in the admissions process), so how would it affect my chances in this respect?
    Thanks! :)
     
  10. DrBowtie

    DrBowtie Final Countdown
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    Some places only take fall transfers so you might have to do 3 semesters.
     
  11. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    I would look long term. Becoming a resident of California is about the WORST thing you can do if you want to go to medical school. We have the hardest in-state schools to get into, and the most applicants per slot of any state. The in-state schools tuition is expensive compared to many other states, and the cost of living is just silly.

    STRONGLY consider staying wherever you are and finishing undergrad. Being "family oriented" (whatever the heck that means) does not mean you have to sacrifice your education for the convenience of living at home. You are an undergrad student now, and old enough to live on your own.

    Also, think of how the adcoms will view your explanation that you weren't mature enough to live on your own during undergrad so had to move. That certainly won't be an impressive qualification.

    I vote with Lizzy... stay where you are. BTW, if you are a new SDNer, Lizzy actually sits on an adcom, so her advice trumps any of ours.
     
  12. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    Heck, I interviewed an applicant who lived alone as a HS senior rather than move with her family who had to relocate. Part of going to college is living semi-independently in school-sponsored housing and learning some of the skills necessary to becoming independent with time.

    Undergrad institution matters quite a bit, at least at the top tier med schools. We know what we are getting when we see some of the "name brand" schools. If grading is on a curve, one has to do very, very well to get an A at a school that is populated with some of the brightest students anywhere. A school with few, if any, academic superstars will have a different curve on a comparable exam so it will be easier for the same student to get an A from a less selective school.
     

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