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Undergrad Course Selection


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5+ Year Member
Jul 7, 2013
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  1. Pre-Medical
    Hi, I'm now a pre-health track student, having switched from engineering. I switched because after a semester of learning about engineering and asking people and considering myself, I realized that the pre-health track is more suited for me. Finals are over for me now and unfortunately, I cannot contact any college advisers now that I'm away from my university for winter break.

    I do have a few questions:

    1) I've taken biology in high school (3 years, at the AP and IB HL level). I know that most med schools require 2 semesters of biology. Should I skip the introductory bio sequence at my school (bio 1 and 2) and jump straight into the 3000 and 4000 level courses? I'm reading some contradictory information. Some claim that bio 1/2 are required; some say that upper level bio courses can be substituted. For the med school I'm interested in, 3000 and 4000 level courses in bio are required in fact. One of the schools I'm interested in is UF's College of Dentistry; if anyone has any specific information - that would be appreciated! Its website seems to imply that AP credit is accepted for the introductory bio1/2 sequence. Even if credit is accepted, is it recommended to jump into an upper level biology/genetics course?

    2) I've already taken Calc I at the college level. I know lots of med schools want to see two semesters of mathematics. Should I take Calc II, or should I apply my AP Statistics credit to the second half of the math requirement? If I take Calc II, it shouldn't be too much of a problem, since I received 5s on both AP Calc AB and BC. Is there any admissions advantage to having taken two semesters of math at the college level?

    3) How important is shadowing for admissions to med and dental schools?

    4) Any other advice for an undergrad preparing for med school?

    Apr 24, 2012
    1. Medical Student
      1.) According to the AMCAS instruction manual, which I suggest you read through carefully while deciding how to proceed with coursework:

      "Unless credit has been granted by a U.S. or Canadian institution or university for an AP prep course or an AP exam, such information should not be listed on the application. If credit has been granted, courses/exams should be listed according to the instructions for AP credit. Do not send high school transcripts or AP test score reports to AMCAS."

      My first question is, did you receive biology college credits through the university for those courses taken in high school, and can those be seen on your college transcript? If so, those classes probably suffice as intro biology courses.... HOWEVER - you also need a minimum amount of intro level biology lab hours for graduation purposes at the university... something you need to discuss with your academic adviser for sure if you haven't already.

      2.) Psh and btw, don't take calc II.. take statistics or something like that instead. It is much more useful for the MCAT and will be applicable to any research you do in the future. Again, with your math AP courses you need to make sure that those courses were assigned college credits and will be on your college transcript, otherwise AMCAS might not accept them for your app.

      3.) Very important to shadow for medical school. If you're interested in being a physician the ADCOMs want to know why you're interested, and what things you've done to see if the job will be a fit for you. Shadowing is one of the important things you should do to show them that you have put in some time into considering if you really want this job for the rest of your life.

      4.) Get all good grades and work hard -> BUT, don't let life pass you by. College is the time of your youth and even though I'm probably not much older than you if at all (23) and I will tell you, once in medical school you start to realize that you cannot treat your arduous journey through medical training as a set of hoops; You need to enjoy the ride anyway possible because you only live once!
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