I’ve been reading a lot of posts lately, and it seems like everyone is very concerned about full time as opposed to part time and all that jazz. My question is simple. Are people generally concerned about that status because of how it might look to adcoms, or because of supposed time constraints (because the only time constraint to get this stuff finished, really, is your time constraints)?

I only ask because I will be forced to go half time to maybe 3/4 time for my entire undergrad career while I work a 40+ hr/wk job, and I know that I can explain that away to the adcoms, if necessary. I guess I’m just interested in where people’s heads are at.

# Are people concerned about going part time instead of full?

You know, I used to worry about that, but the more stuff I get under my belt, the more I don’t really care what they think. My GPA will be good, and my MCAT will be good, hopefully of course since im not arrogant, and that should be good enough for them.

Actually, that came up a couple of times with Deans of schools I applied to. They asked me why I was part time versus full time and if I could handle a full time course load. I gave them my explanation but basically i think what they wanted to hear and for me to demonstrate was I wasn’t part time because I elected to be but rather it was the only way I could complete the work. Basically, if you can go full time, schools would like you to do that but if you are like me and many here who just can’t because of other responsibilities don’t sweat it (but at least take two courses a semester).

Yeah, I was given the advice by a local ad comm member that if you’re going to go part-time while working, you should take at least one semester of 2 difficult classes and do well in them. At the time, I was taking Physics II with lab and Organic Chem I, and she felt that would suffice.

That said, I’ve done my entire post-bacc part-time while working 3 part-time jobs, and I have 3 MD interviews so far. I’ve only been to one so far, but the part-time thing did not come up at all. My C in gen chem from 1992 did, however.

OP, when you say part-time, what kind of credit load do you mean? From reading your blog it sounds like we have a lot in common, although I have ten years on you.

For the others, does it make a difference of the part-time prereqs are at a CC? Do you think there is any real issue if the AS type program is started at one school but ends up transferring early (say due to a OOS move)?

Finally, I struggle in algebra. I have had intro twice in ten years but have never used it in my career so far… but in HS did really well with geometry. This one class is my only fear for succeeding, can you offer any advice?

Thanks!

Nick

I can chime in on the algebra. The key to algebra, as well as math-based courses such as physics and general chemistry, is PRACTICING. Do the homework problems. ALL of them. MULTIPLE TIMES. Be comforted, as it goes faster on subsequent repetitions. If you don’t understand a problem, get help with it, and then walk through it several times yourself, from scratch, with the pencil on the paper, until it makes so much sense that it bores you.

Doing math is a lot like learning to play the piano. The understanding how it works is not sufficient.

Thank you Denise. My last algebra class was a few years ago but most of the others in the class were fresh out of high school. A couple of them made sure to answer every question out loud before us older students could process the question and get the answer on our own. Tutoring from the instructor certainly made a difference for me. Happy Thanksgiving, Nick

- medicnick Said:

For the others, does it make a difference of the part-time prereqs are at a CC? Do you think there is any real issue if the AS type program is started at one school but ends up transferring early (say due to a OOS move)?

Finally, I struggle in algebra. I have had intro twice in ten years but have never used it in my career so far... but in HS did really well with geometry. This one class is my only fear for succeeding, can you offer any advice?

Thanks!

Nick

The best advice I can think of when it comes to math is take a class each semester without any pause inbetween...take basic algebra one semester, intermediate the next, college the one after and then calculus or whatever, something like that...and for the love of god don't take calc a year after taking pre-calc like I did.

Tim you nailed it. I am planning on starting at the intro to college algebra level which may count as a retake. While it may bring up the C that I had in it, the refresher aspects are more important to me.

I can’t even think about calculus right now.

Nick

- medicnick Said:

I can't even think about calculus right now. ;-)

Nick

Right, you just never use that crap in the real world, so it's better to take the classes and refresh your memory than try to test out of it.

I wouldn't worry about calculus. Everyone led me to believe it's the damn devil, it's so hard, blah blah blah...hell it is. Granted I'm taking the life science calc so it's geared towards bio majors, and doesn't have as much trig as regular calc (we don't even touch trig until the second semester), but the concepts in calc are very easy. If you're good at algebra, you'll be good at calculus...they go hand in hand.

A minor point but don’t sell algebra (or math) short. You do use it in the real world (i.e. splitting cash amounts up equally or even unequally among multiple people) and you definitely use it when taking gen chem (i.e. determining the number of electrons when you only know the Z number, A number and overall charge) and in physics (think about any kinematics equation). Understanding calculus will aid you even more when doing physics and understanding some of its concepts.

All that said, I think you are doing the wise thing taking only one math course a semester. You will see math builds upon itself and you wouldn’t really see that if you were taking lets say algebra I and geometry at once.

- obesedude Said:

All that said, I think you are doing the wise thing taking only one math course a semester. You will see math builds upon itself and you wouldn't really see that if you were taking lets say algebra I and geometry at once.

Right, algebra /can/ be applicable to everyday life, but it's easier to view everyday issues in terms of basic arithmetic. Say you have 3 people, and you have 30 bucks and are going to pay each of them 10 bucks for them mowing your lawn...is it easier to think of 3x = 30 and solve for x, or simply taking 30 and dividing by 3?

I certainly would recommend only one math class per semester, however, if someone has to do algebra review, I doubt they'll be able to avoid taking gen chem 2 without a math class, since they'll have to take a year of algebra in addition to a year of calculus along with college algebra or pre-calc inbetween...and since gen chem 2 is a math class, basically you're SOL. And trust me on this one...taking gen chem 2 and a math class such as calculus at the same time sucks. Avoid if at all possible.

- Tim Said:

YMMV. I jumped eagerly into calculus because I had enjoyed algebra, trig, and algebra II in high school.... and promptly got flattened. I often wonder if I'd do better now with a mature brain rather than a college freshman brain but have no desire to find out. I really intensely disliked calculus; for me it was conceptually very different from algebra and a huge disappointment.

Mary

- Mary Renard Said:

- Tim Said:

YMMV. I jumped eagerly into calculus because I had enjoyed algebra, trig, and algebra II in high school.... and promptly got flattened. I often wonder if I'd do better now with a mature brain rather than a college freshman brain but have no desire to find out. I really intensely disliked calculus; for me it was conceptually very different from algebra and a huge disappointment.

Mary

Well Mary, I think there's several legitimate reasons why you had a different experience, although you're right, mileage will vary. Firstly, I do think it depends on what type of calculus you take. If you took the engineering/regular calculus instead of life science calculus, I'm sure that would make a difference...I do not have any interest in taking regular calculus and am not surprised if people hate calc as a result of taking that one.

Second, algebra in high school is not on the same level as algebra in college, especially at the level of college algebra or above. Most of the people I've talked to who hated calc or had a really hard time in it tested out of all the pre-reqs such as trig, college algebra, etc. and went straight into calculus from HS...this I think is not the best way to go about it due to differing levels of difficulty.

Thirdly, your teacher could have just sucked; it happens. Hell, I'll admit that I don't really like my teacher that much, she's ridiculous on how she grades and seems to take pleasure in trying to lowball as many student's test scores as possible, but I can't fault the material for the teacher...calculus is an inanimate object so I'm sure it doesn't feel some sense of satisfaction over me struggling in it at times due to my teacher.

Algebra is an integral part of calculus though, and you simply can't have calc without algebra...polynomial division, exponents, logarithms, functions, composition of functions, etc...all of that is college algebra but you need it for calculus to work.