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What's wrong with taking pre-med classes at a C.C.?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Rhys, Oct 6, 2001.

  1. Rhys

    Rhys Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 31, 2001
    Hi everyone! I think this board is spectacular as are the people who post here, but I'm a little bothered by the few comments I've read that have scorned taking science courses at community colleges.

    I want to take my pre-med science courses that I need while I finish up my M.A. in English, and community college offers the least expensive, most schedule-friendly solution. I suppose my question is, why does it matter where you take the classes? No matter where they are taught, the properties of physics and chemistry are not going to change whether you take it at Harvard or your local c.c. It's the same info. with the same textbooks.

    Also,people seem to view c.c. classes derisively as being 'too easy', but as I said before, the info. you have to learn is the same. Besides, with undergrad classes at universities often numbering in the hundreds for students, you get multiple choice and grading curves which would make it 'easier' than a small class at a c.c. without these 'advantages'. (I detest grade curving.)

    Would med. schools really look down upon my taking those classes at a c.c. with an excellent curriculum and instructors while I finish up my Master's degree at my state university? Has anyone here taken any courses at a c.c.? As always, I appreciate your sharing your experience/advice. Thank you!
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  3. Atlas

    Atlas Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 27, 2001
    Columbus, OH
    There is nothing wrong with it. Most schools don't seem to care where you went to school or where you did your pre-reqs as long as you did well. If you do decide to take classes at a C.C., it's not a bad idea to take upper-level science classes at a university just to cover all your bases and prove that you can handle the work. Most of the med student or doctor's I've met told me the C.C. way is perfectly fine. Most of them have gone that route before and had success. It should be noted that if you do ALL of your prereqs there, you may encounter a few bumps in the road. Doing some or even MOST of the requirements will not hurt your chances (at most schools - we're not talking Ivy league). I went to a CC and I'll tell you that it wasn't easy. I had professors (yes..PhD and all) that were out to kinda "get you" because they wanted to see who was serious and who wasn't. The science classes were tough and I only had 1 class that curved...Organic II. Now, I'm finishing up my pre-reqs with Physics at a University. All of the medical schools I've contacted said CC work was fine and that I'd have to prove myself on the MCAT. I hope this helps. I apologize if this is a little unorganized, but I'm tired as all hell.

  4. Rhys

    Rhys Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 31, 2001
    Thanks, Atlas, for sharing your experiences and for your excellent advice. Now go get some sleep. :)
  5. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Chief Administrator Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2000
    hSDN Member
    Rhys - As long as the rest of your application looks great, it *probably* won't matter although as you know some prejudice against courses taken at CCs does exist.

    The reasons given are generally the quality of teaching and the caliber of the student population (which comes into play when grades are curved and you are being compared against someone who couldn't get into a 4 year university. In an effort to quell the tirade about this last statement - this is not to say that most students at CCs fit this category - especially in these days of high educational costs - but there are more students with lower high school gpas and SATs at CCs than at 4 year degree granting institutions). Ad Coms want to know that your high grades are not the result of being compared against substandard peers but rather due to your hard work.

    All in all, an often unfair bias, but it does exist at some schools.

    If you must take your courses at a CC, just make sure you do very well and that the rest of the application is up to par - then there should be very little problem (one of my best friends took almost all of her courses at a CC and graduated from medical school at UCLA. Having a 36 on the MCAT obviously helped! ;) )

    Best of luck to you.
  6. Chadleez1

    Chadleez1 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 24, 2001
    I am currently taking classes at a C.C. I am getting my general bio, chem, and physics out of the way here, but I'm going to transfer to a four year to get my psychology degree. When I transfer I'm going to take my organic chemistry and 2 or 3 other upper level science classes so they know I'm capable of these classes in a four year setting.
  7. rhwave

    rhwave Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 30, 2001
    I think that where you take sciences is less important that how well you learn the material. I imagine it's hard to fake it on the MCAT, and Med schools know this. If you can get everything you need at a CC, it's hard to be the cost and convenience...


    In my experience, the quality of CCs varies greatly (actually, I think that is true of 4-year schools, too :)). I considered taking g-chem at the JC this summer, but when I looked at the syllabus and at the text (it looked to me like a high school text), it wasn't going to be enough. I also looked at Physics, but the school didn't offer Calc-based Physics. It may be schools like this that contribute to the bias towards CCs. It's not really fair, because on the other hand some CCs have great faculty and curricula that more than match what you would get at a 4-year.

    Just my thoughts...take 'em for what they're worth--I'm only a pre-med.
  8. Firebird

    Firebird 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    I suspect that Kimberly is correct. CC profs may decide to focus on the more basic material because the students aren't "academically inclined".

    My organic class has 90 students in it. There was not one single multiple choice question on our test. And concerning grade curving, the curves would likely be lower in large classes because there's a larger liklihood that someone will make 100%. In addition to that, at my school, there's only one organic teacher that even bothers to consider scaling or curving.

    Just out of curiosity, why do you "detest grade curving"?
  9. Atlas

    Atlas Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 27, 2001
    Columbus, OH
    My CC was great! I had nearly all PhDs who taught there because they wanted to TEACH. That was important. Had they gone to a big name University, they'd be stuck doing research with TAs teaching all their classes. I learned alot, but that was just my school. I agree that not all CC's are alike. There are quite a few out there with sub-par reputations, but as long as you work and study hard (and prepare well for the MCAT), no one really cares in the end. I've heard "stories" of students with CC backgrounds getting into top 10 medical schools. I know of one girl, personally, that goes to Wash U SOM. The MCAT is heavily evaluated, even moreso if you come from a CC. But, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. To say that all CC classes are "easy" is ignorant. I'm at a private liberal arts college and the level of instruction is close. In fact, a couple of my teachers at my 4-year school teach at the CC I went to as well. I've contacted 18 schools that I'm interested in applying to and none of them told me that they won't accept my C.C. work. They DID make a point that they look at the whole package and will expect MCATs in the range of 28-32. But, looking at that, those scores are what any pre-med student needs to get in regardless of their college! So, do not fret. Study hard. Study VERY hard.

    Good luck

    BTW: I'm not tired anymore. This is the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning, so I was still halfway asleep earlier. I feel much better now! :)
  10. lilycat

    lilycat Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Aug 12, 2000
    Moving this over to Pre-Allopathic...

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