I am applying to the pre-med certificate program, through the microbiology dept. I was just wondering how the program is, how competitive it is to get accepted, and generally how many people go on to med school?
It is a freakingly hard program. From the mouth of Dr. Heldberg herself, "The certificate programs are quite hard. I believe they can be harder than your first year of medical school. You really have to work hard and have to do well just to make sure you get great grades. You run the risk of not doing well and then the program can actually hurt your chances."
I knew a bunch of people that took the program. A handful of folks did get into med school after taking it. A number of people still didn't get in and a number of them dropped out. You will have to take the "super course" which is the biochemistry and is super hard. You will be taking all the classes in one year and have to finish them all. If I recall that is 28 credits of graduate level courses. The normal fulltime course load for graduate students is only 9, and you will be taking 14.
I took the Microbiology 501 (i think that was the number). I enjoyed the class.
I would think long and hard about taking the formal program. Perhaps you could sign up just to take some of the classes, perhaps micro and biochem and maybe one more. It wouldn't be a formal program but it would give you more flexiablity.
That is my experience with the program. Just make sure it doesn't hurt yoru chances. Are trying to get into MCV? Have you applied there before and were turned down? If so have you met with Dr. Heldberg to make sure why you were turned down? If so, you should. She is more than willing to meet with you and help you to understand why you were turned down and what you could do to improve your chances.
Let me know if you need to know anything else. I would be more than happy to help you out.
I did the certificate here as well and it is hard. Many of my friends say that first year of med school is not as hard as the certificate program. If I had to do it over again I would have done a masters program. because you can take a certificate load and if you need to audit a course then you can take it later in your MS. Keep in mind I wasnt a science major and hadnt taken full time courses in about five years. So I was hit with a huge load right off the bat. However the certificate is a good program. About 30% get in so I am told. And if you dont get in then you can switch to a masters which would increase your chances being exposed to research and such.
I was biochem and switched to MS pharmatox. That 30% is rough due to the fact many drop out in the first year and go MS or phd. Some programs due advise you, Biochem is getting ready to switch graduate program directors. Supposedly Anatomy works the hardest for the student yet PhTX has a nationally recognized name. Just do good your first semester. Yet if I had to do over I would have done MS and taken heavy course load. Bill
If you do well...it will help you get into med school,especially at VCU?MCV because it is their program after all. The question is ... can you do well enough? I don't know about any other programs in other schools so I can't compare them for you. All I know is what I heard going to VCU, what Dr Heldberg told me and what I saw when I was there. I took Micro and while it wasn't "hard" it was time consuming and I was only taking 10 credits in a graduate program.
Don't get me wrong... it is possible to take it and do well. It is just going to be a whole lot of work. Especially with the "super" course (biochem). Good luck to you all.
I just completed the physiology program and will stay for a masters. The faculty is approachable, but keep in mind that you will deal with around 20 instructors in just one semester. Bottom line is that the level of help will vary. I'm not sure what you are looking for in terms of facilities, you may want to clarify this. I can't compare this to other programs; but it is difficult (excessive, probably) and the attrition rate is noticeable over the course of two semesters. Test averages typically run in the mid 70's. You will have some of the same instructors that the med students have and by default a very similar syllabus, so you should be well prepared for what's to come - at least for MCV.