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Transferring to UCLA as a Science major

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by SnYpaJY, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. SnYpaJY

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    I am a transfer student from a local community college in the southern California area (Pierce College).

    By the Fall 09 semester, I will be a junior, and I'm curious to know what you guys would do in my situation.

    I have completed one year of bio, general chem, ochem, and calc at my local college. I have also finished all of my general requirements.

    I have one more semester to go (Spring 09) at my college before I transfer and I have the opportunity to take Biochem at my college, but should I? I hear that Medical Schools frown upon taking prereq science classes at the community college level especially biochem. However, because I am transferring as a Life Science major, I have no other option but to take these prereqs to be able to transfer to UCLA. (biochem is part of my major requirements)

    I applied with Neuroscience because I am extremely interested in the CNS, but I am having second thoughts because I heard that it's an extremely hard major, one which could ruin my high GPA. A ton of my peers are signing up for psychobio and I've heard the positives (easiest life science major at UCLA) and the negatives (not truly a science major/isn't nearly as interesting as neuroscience) for such a major. I was looking at MIMG as well, but I don't know much about the subject at hand. I have the opportunity to change my major if I'd like to, as long as I do it before the end Fall 09.

    I have to complete LS 3, LS 4, Physics 6ABC, and possibly biochem when I get to UCLA. Looking at this, I realize that these are gunner premed classes which are considered lower div, and I will probably have an easier time with biochem at my community college (I will most likely get an A). However there is a drawback....my possible biochem teacher at my community college is not going to be so great (looked at the ratings) but it's basically an easy A. I realize that this is bad, because I'm not going to learn as much as I would while taking this class at UCLA and I will eventually need to understand biochem to do well on the MCAT. But couldn't I just relearn the stuff on my own if needed?

    Should I finish as much as possible at my community college and stick with neuroscience?

    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. thegetupkid

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    If I were you, I would take biochem at my community college. This is assuming that I would get an "A" in LS3, LS4, and the physics series, which is no small feat. What ADCOMS will be thinking is "can snypajy succeed in a rigorous environment?" If you get those 5 "A's" at UCLA, then I can't see how it'll hurt to give yourself a break and take biochem at your CC.

    Something to keep in mind:
    1) Many schools don't even require biochemistry.
    2) I just took biochemistry with the new professor at UCLA, fairly painless.

    p.s. psychobiology rocks and has it's benefits (e.g. much more attractive classmates ;p) academically, you'll be fine. there is so much overlap between psychobio/neurosci anyways.
     
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  3. snicket

    snicket ghettochip malfunction
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    So in a nutshell:
    You're going to be doing psychobio because it's easier to gain an A and it won't destroy your 4.0... as opposed to neuroscience, which you are highly interested in, but is also ~hard~ according to hearsay.

    WELP;




    ...But on a more serious note, you don't need biochemistry in order to take the MCAT. As with all upper level classes, it certainly can be beneficial but it's not specifically tested. And yes, you can relearn things. You can even take the MCAT without taking any prereqs; autodidatic learning can be A+++. For most people, however, it'd be a fool's errand. I don't know why I went on this tangent.

    ANYWAY. My real question for you is this: why would you opt for the easy A instead of pushing yourself, challenging yourself? Getting the easy A seems like no big deal now, but it's a wonderful way into setting yourself into some bad habits. Constantly opting for the easy way out is not a great idea when you want to become a physician.
     
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  4. thegetupkid

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    Being a physician doesn't necessarily mean that you need to take "the hard way". By taking biochem at a CC, the OP will not be "setting [himself] into some bad habits". Why are pre-meds so masochistic these days...

    My mayo interviewer told me at the end of my interview, "you won't have to work a day in your life." At first, I was confused. Then he clarified by echoing my sentiments. He worried many people go into medicine and think they need to force themselves to take harder non-medically relevant upper-divs, work in 5 research labs, and finish 6 majors before they graduate in 3 years--the hard way. He went on to say that it's refreshing when he sees someone that has only done what he has wanted to do--nothing more--the easy way.

    i.e. the easy way is not mutually exclusive from being an
    m.d. :thumbup:
     
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  5. snicket

    snicket ghettochip malfunction
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    1) I didn't say he'd set himself into a bad habit! All I said was that it was a wonderful way to set into bad habits.
    2) That's awesomely refreshing of Mayo. I love them. But hey, if a person genuinely likes doing all that work, good for them. If not, whatev, still good for them. It's just that finding the easy way out tends to be synonymous with gilding your potential. (I used to be one of those crazy folk.) I'm assuming this is the case with the OP because that's simply the tendency and pattern. If that's not the case, then my mistake!
    3) Yes yes, it is not mutually exclusive. My point, however, is that it plays a part in defining a great physician from the physician who just wants look at people and then get his moniez at the end of the day. It's a self-selecting field -- those latter folk tend to be few and far between, in my experience. If you're missing that quality, then of course you still have plenty of potential to be a fantastic doctor, but again -- self-selecting field. Back to square one.

    SLEEPTIMES NAO. Sorry if I started making 0 sense there, champ. I'll see if I can fix together something more coherent/not as stupid when I'm not fuzzy.

    PS: I'm not pre-med.
     
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    #5 snicket, Dec 31, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2008
  6. Lukkie

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    werd
     
  7. SnYpaJY

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    My community college experience has been different to say the least. I've been very focused on my academics and have done considerably well, but it also has it's drawbacks.

    I have this mentality that if I focus on what I want to accomplish, be it getting A's at a lowly college or a top tier university, I can succeed. I just don't know if this kind of thinking will get me far at UCLA, where I will be taking LS 3, LS 4, and the Physics 6ABC series (lower div classes) with people who care about their GPA as much as I do and where a curve is placed for only the top 10% to get A's.

    Some of my classes have been purely BS. Student's at my college lack in motivation. Only in the the higher level chemistry classes have I seen "gunner" competition. Even though it's not UCLA, I can see how a competitive nature in such a class can bring the best out of me (in terms of learning the material) as well as the worst (my GPA will ultimately suffer). This is when I contemplate whether gunner competition is really beneficial for my success. I am not willing to jeopardize my GPA for the sake of learning something that I have more interest in. If psychobio is very similar to neurosci, I will definitely look into switching.

    I sometimes think about the north campus majors that I was extremely interested in, such as political science and English. Let's face it, these majors would be a lot easier than the LS majors, and yet, plenty of these students get into med school. I realize that I decided to major in science not because of the significant correlation it has in regards to information learned in medical school, but because I enjoy learning it. Honestly I can see myself taking MIMG, Neuro, or even psychobio and still maintain a strong interest in the subject. But if one of these majors takes less effort to do well, I will take advantage of it. Sure I could be learning bad habits, but hey, if I decided to major in English, I wouldn't even be criticized for taking the easier way out to begin with.

    I will probably take biochem at my college, and as of right now, I am going to stick to the neuro major that I applied with until I can talk face to face with people who took both majors (neuro and psychobio).

    Please let me know if you think this is naive or foolish or if you have better suggestions.
     
  8. Lukkie

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    nah its like top 20% get As and another 10% whine enough after grades are posted to get boosted to an A
     
  9. Long Dong

    Long Dong My middle name is Duc.
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    Agreed I did psychobio too and yes the hottest girls in school were psych majors that you'll sit in those upper division classes with. And I even took biochem just because it was fun. So do psycobio get the easy As while getting all your prereqs knocked out. An attending once told me "never ever workhard, work smart" I always say be like an electron and choose the path of least resisitance.
     
  10. bruinhd

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    I transferred from COC to UCLA. I recommend you take as many of your core classes at UCLA as possible. My roommate was specifically told in an interview: "I wish I had a better picture of your academics, but unfortunately, things like an A in Biochem at community college, how amI supposed to evaluate what that means or compares to people who completed this at the 4 year college level?"

    And my word of advice, don't take LS series in the same quarter as Biochem. Give yourself the time and space to master Biochemistry. It's not only going help your application, but also prepare you for the MCAT.

    personal message me if you have any questions or need further advice.
     
  11. bruinhd

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    Stick with the neuro major. I did all my research and a lot of my volunteer work with the neuro dept and I have to say it is a stellar program at UCLA. Neuro classes are not extremely difficult as people make it seem. The only challenge you will face will be Neuro 102, but if you prepare well you will do fine. My roommate got a 98% in the class but she was diligent with her studying. I didn't have to take it because I was only minoring in Neuro.
     
  12. SnYpaJY

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    I spoke to a counselor, and they gave me some interesting advice. They said that if I majored in science, such as Neuroscience, they could see how well I score in my upper div classes. Biochem is only a lower div course, and I would assume that being able to complete upper level science courses at UCLA would look really good (if I score well). So in this case, taking biochem at a community college is not as big of a deal for me.

    Even though I am taking biochem at a community college, it's still biochem. I mean I will probably learn as much or more than a UCLA student in terms of course content. Considering I have more time with my professors, less students per class and etc. I'm not hating on the UCLA cirriculum, but I'm saying that being able to prove myself as top student in the community college level as well as UCLA would prove that my I can excel in science.

    The only way I think the adcom could question my scores at a community college, is when I score extremely well in sciences at my community college, but do terrible in the upper div science classes at UCLA.
     
  13. SnYpaJY

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    I picked neuroscience for TWO reasons

    1. I love to learn about the brain and CNS
    2. Research! (specifically in neuroscience)

    I have to really step it up when it comes to research. I haven't started yet and wont plan on starting until fall 09. (by the time I am a junior)

    This is bad, BUT I have decided to take the mcats/apply one year later. I want to commit one full year to studying for the MCAT, doing research, and doing activities to boost up my EC's (ie volunteering)

    The neuroscience department at UCLA is supposed to be one of the best in the world. Being able to work with a research professor for three years plus being in his or her classes would be amazing. (great teacher rec possible if I do this)

    Maybe I'm thinking to broadly, maybe I can just major in psychobio and still do neuro research or even psych research.

    I heard psychobio incorporates a lot of brain stuff, so it seems foolish to go the harder route. When you mentioned Neuro 102, I chuckled. That's because someone said the very same thing about neuro 101.

    Is it true that an A+ is a 4.0 while a A- is a 3.75? In this case, wouldn't it be extremely hard for me to keep a very high GPA considering that at a community college, any kind of A is a 4.0.... (this makes psychobio a little more tempting lol)

    I really wish I can see my future schedule...

    As of right now, I need to take LS3, LS4, and the Physics 6ABC at UCLA by the time I transfer. I have heard that doing more than 2 science classes a quarter is pushing my chances of learning the material well and scoring well.

    So I thought that my first quarter would be something like this.

    Summer 09
    Physics 6A (and lab?) does the lab count towards it's own units?
    Possible research

    Fall 09
    Physics 6B (and lab?) LS3
    Research (is this considered a class?)

    Winter 10
    Physics 6C (and lab?)
    LS4
    Research

    Spring 10
    Neuro
    Neuro
    Research

    Fall 10
    Neuro
    Neuro
    Research

    Winter 11
    Neuro
    Neuro
    Research

    Spring 11
    Neuro
    Neuro
    Research


    So am I completely wrong in what I think my schedule will be like? (this is considering that I will have biochem and any other lower div class out of the way besides LS3, LS4, and Physics 6ABC when I enter UCLA in the summer)

    I would really appreciate it if anyone could answer these questions. Thanks.
     
  14. funkydrmonkey

    funkydrmonkey They Call Me Dr. Funkmonk
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    A-=3.7, not 3.75
     
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  15. KiwiBruin

    KiwiBruin People call me KB.
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    A+ = 4.0
    A = 4.0
    A- = 3.7
    B+ = 3.3

    And I am sure you can figure out the rest... good luck making your decision =P
     
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  16. murfettie

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    don't be too close minded about your schedule.
    ucla has a ton of super interesting classes.
    keep on the look out, maybe take a few of those here and there.
    i just found out that my department had "social networking" as a class this last quarter. too bad i graduated already.

     
  17. SnYpaJY

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    So is the lab portion of the class considered part of the class in terms of units? So like if I were to take LS4, which is 5 units, that has it's own lab, but the lab doesn't count as another 2 units right?


    Is doing research also a class, in terms of units?
     
  18. Lukkie

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    ls4 doesnt have a lab
     
  19. SnYpaJY

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    What about LS3?
     
  20. Lukkie

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    the only classes with separate lab units are chemistry. physics and life science lab units are included in the class itself
     
  21. Snake Doctor

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    it's actually an upper division course here. Course 0-99 = lower div. 99-199 = upper div. 200+ = graduate level
     
  22. itsmymango

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    i personally recommend the jazz appreciation upper div courses if you need additional ud's, as i did. i transferred from cc, and graduated with a degree in biochem. while i loved my biochem courses, i was not fond of pchem.

    -ok, slightly off topic reply, but important nonetheless.
    oh, and personally, go to the football games and the basketball and voleyball and baseball, and waterpolo, and gym, ect. the games are so much fun!

    you are a BRUIN for life! Enjoy it. :)
     
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