daivimarga

2+ Year Member
Mar 25, 2016
82
42
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Guys, I just talked to a few docs/md students who advised me that it makes more sense for me to take fewer classes and do more outside stuff (research shadow whatever - maybe get a job? Would be nice to not not make money! And study mcat) than take classes not needed for mcat or school (molecular and cellular bio was what I was signed up for) because grades from extra classes mean less when you're a post bac as you have a prior life with relative experience (clinical social work). We discussed and it was advised -Get strong As and great MCAT and focus on that plus real experience. Grades from school are lowest tier of what they look for beyond requirements.

I shadow a LOT in anesthesia at a great medical school, I can get involved in research there (though no interest in Md PhD) - I'm volunteering there a bit, I'm applying to some other volunteer programs that are prestigious (but competitive) and jobs that would take about 10-15 hrs a week. Hoping to get the latter.

I don't know if I should take molecular and tomorrow's the last day to sign up and /or withdraw without a W. I was in it, but I'm just not sure it's worth it?

So bear with me -
Physics - about 6 hrs a week of class
Chem - 3 hours a week in class (hybrid)
Study at home - 20 hrs a week?

So that's 30 hours. Plus commuting.

Molecular would be
5 hours /wk class
10 hrs studying

So that would bring me to 45 hrs per week academics.

Then God willing a job 15 hrs a week or at least research/volunteering.

So that's 60 hrs a week if I do all three classes or 45 if not.

Looking at classes like nutrition or pathophysiology as alternatives as they're only two hours a week- or possibly micro as is 3 hours a week. But the thought of studying prokaryotes again makes me ill.

I'm hoping to take mcat in summer next year and get all my apps out to try to matriculate 2018. I figure if I don't get in anywhere I can take more classes and reapply later. A lesser load means there is a better chance I could do all this thoroughly and have a better chance this time around - provided the advice I received was true (one MD I talked to has been in admissions on many levels in medicine ).

But idk if I should push harder. This summer I took calc and bio 2 and lab in a 5 week course and had about 8 hrs of class three days a week 3 hrs 1 day. It was a lot and my mental health suffered. I was in the ER one day for panic attack/low electrolytes. Also was shadowing some and volunteering though not very much. Did well- a, a- but it was not a walk in the park. I never had anxiety like this before and I know that self care must be a priority.

At the same time I do not want to jeopardize my chances of getting in when I desire to by taking a lighter course load of just two classes - and I don't know if I should push myself. I also feel like I should prepare myself for med school by having lots of academics. Like I should prove myself. Though I think the momentum and subject matter of med school will be far more palatable.

Mollecular is at 6 tomorrow and I have to decide by midnight what I'm doing. #help

Mad love to you for reading.


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theseeker4

PGY 3
7+ Year Member
Apr 20, 2011
3,502
758
Suburban Detroit, MI
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Guys, I just talked to a few docs/md students who advised me that it makes more sense for me to take fewer classes and do more outside stuff (research shadow whatever - maybe get a job? Would be nice to not not make money! And study mcat) than take classes not needed for mcat or school (molecular and cellular bio was what I was signed up for) because grades from extra classes mean less when you're a post bac as you have a prior life with relative experience (clinical social work). We discussed and it was advised -Get strong As and great MCAT and focus on that plus real experience. Grades from school are lowest tier of what they look for beyond requirements.

I shadow a LOT in anesthesia at a great medical school, I can get involved in research there (though no interest in Md PhD) - I'm volunteering there a bit, I'm applying to some other volunteer programs that are prestigious (but competitive) and jobs that would take about 10-15 hrs a week. Hoping to get the latter.

I don't know if I should take molecular and tomorrow's the last day to sign up and /or withdraw without a W. I was in it, but I'm just not sure it's worth it?

So bear with me -
Physics - about 6 hrs a week of class
Chem - 3 hours a week in class (hybrid)
Study at home - 20 hrs a week?

So that's 30 hours. Plus commuting.

Molecular would be
5 hours /wk class
10 hrs studying

So that would bring me to 45 hrs per week academics.

Then God willing a job 15 hrs a week or at least research/volunteering.

So that's 60 hrs a week if I do all three classes or 45 if not.

Looking at classes like nutrition or pathophysiology as alternatives as they're only two hours a week- or possibly micro as is 3 hours a week. But the thought of studying prokaryotes again makes me ill.

I'm hoping to take mcat in summer next year and get all my apps out to try to matriculate 2018. I figure if I don't get in anywhere I can take more classes and reapply later. A lesser load means there is a better chance I could do all this thoroughly and have a better chance this time around - provided the advice I received was true (one MD I talked to has been in admissions on many levels in medicine ).

But idk if I should push harder. This summer I took calc and bio 2 and lab in a 5 week course and had about 8 hrs of class three days a week 3 hrs 1 day. It was a lot and my mental health suffered. I was in the ER one day for panic attack/low electrolytes. Also was shadowing some and volunteering though not very much. Did well- a, a- but it was not a walk in the park. I never had anxiety like this before and I know that self care must be a priority.

At the same time I do not want to jeopardize my chances of getting in when I desire to by taking a lighter course load of just two classes - and I don't know if I should push myself. I also feel like I should prepare myself for med school by having lots of academics. Like I should prove myself. Though I think the momentum and subject matter of med school will be far more palatable.

Mollecular is at 6 tomorrow and I have to decide by midnight what I'm doing. #help

Mad love to you for reading.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
Better to get all As in fewer classes with good EC's than to get less than As with more classes, or have no ECs. I would avoid the unnecessary classes unless you don't get in the first attempt.
 
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daivimarga

daivimarga

2+ Year Member
Mar 25, 2016
82
42
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Better to get all As in fewer classes with good EC's than to get less than As with more classes, or have no ECs. I would avoid the unnecessary classes unless you don't get in the first attempt.
thank you. So very much!


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popopopop

7+ Year Member
Dec 18, 2011
1,415
869
DFW/Houston
Status
Medical Student
I took extra classes for chances of letter of recommendations, but primarily GPA repair. I wouldn't do it unless you need serious GPA repair. I wish I didn't have to do it because it would have given me time to make more money and cut my timeline down a year or even two.

EDIT: Wait, I just realized the class is molecular bio. I just want to throw it out there that I learned so much in this class that became useful for my MCAT. It's probably just as useful for the MCAT *for me* as biochem was. I didn't regret taking that class one bit and one of my LORs came from the professor who happens to be a MD-PhD, so definitely gained a lot from that class!
 
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daivimarga

daivimarga

2+ Year Member
Mar 25, 2016
82
42
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
@popopop I feel your pain ! Did you finish? I am concerned about LORs from professors because it's really hard to feel like they're going to say anything of worth. This is partially why I signed up for mollecular. But strong LORs from physicians /mentors just feels like it would carry more weight. What's a bio prof going to say? "She had amazing class participation. She wants to go to med school. Sometimes she's an anxious mess." Or my chem professor of 1000 students? "She logged onto blackboard and came to office hours once to make sure I met her." Can my calc professor write one? He and I were buds and I caught up in that class after transferring a week late. He knows how hard I worked. Plus most of them are ESL and letters aren't exactly gonna be sophisticated.


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popopopop

7+ Year Member
Dec 18, 2011
1,415
869
DFW/Houston
Status
Medical Student
I'm semi-finished, but I got a plan B in case things don't go well this cycle. It's going to depend on the institution too. My institution has a committee letter so even if the quality of the LORs you receive from a science professor isn't up to par, the committee interviews and letter process will make an OBJECTIVE determination of your chances to succeed in medschool. That's my understanding of what the committee letter is about.

Unfortunately, I didn't do a committee letter because like you, I thought mentor/physician/employer letter carries more weight. But over the last year or so, my research tells me that med school loves LORs from science profs, because they evaluate your academic potential more accurately than say a physician. Some of the adcoms here have mentioned that physicians LORs are always positive, which diminishes their value. I couldn't apply to many med schools this cycle, because of my lack of a second science LOR letter. Remember, it's just one part of your application, so as long as it's at least neutral in tone, you'll be ok!

My molecular bio teacher knows her class is hard and she is very strict. She has a horrible rep at school for being too strict. I ended up making the highest mark, highest midterm term grades, ended up being a quasi-TA for her after being in her office every day of the week, and for a project worth 20% of our grade, I made a publishable PC game on glucose transporters. Basically, I gave her a lot of ammo to write about, besides getting to know my character personally : ).
 
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daivimarga

daivimarga

2+ Year Member
Mar 25, 2016
82
42
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
That's awesome!! I mean, I don't think my bio professors would write a bad one, I did really well, and I don't think they'd be opposed to writing, what can they say you know.. Idk I just need to focus on grades right now. #cantcantcant


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popopopop

7+ Year Member
Dec 18, 2011
1,415
869
DFW/Houston
Status
Medical Student
Make sure they aren't oppose to writing. It's a tricky process. You're not 100% sure they'll write you one until you have the letter in hand, trust me. There're plenty of LOR horror stories popping up right now. Some have told me they "have a personal policy" about not writing one, they'll only write for TAs, they'll only write if I take this other class with them, or just become silent on requests.

I have one interview invite so far, but my backup plan is securing a 2nd science LOR from a bio prof right now. I contacted him a week before school started and told him my intentions and my situation as a non-degree seeking student. He's going to write a good one for sure. I'll probably apply next cycle more broadly if things don't go well this cycle, considering an SMP too with ties to an in-state school to save me hundreds of thousands in student loans D:
 

Citron

2+ Year Member
Dec 29, 2015
24
23
Status
Pre-Medical
I'm sorry if I overlooked something but you simply are working part time and studying full time? 10-15 hours of work is basically what most students do part time at my undergrad. Taking only 2 courses is a bit of a light load? Nevertheless, EC can be done any year but any GPA damage is permanent, so yeah be careful.
I guess YMMV but most nontrads actually work full time (40-60 hrs/wk), take at least 2 courses/semester, AND take care of their family.
In med school, you'll need to study at home about 8 hrs a day outside of classrooms everyday, and in residency you'll most likely work more than 12 hours a day. Medicine is mentally and physically demanding. Just something to think about.