I’m hoping someone can help me out here. My head is very scrambled from thinking about all this pre-req stuff.
Here’s my predicament:
I need to do my pre-reqs, and can’t figure out what to do. I live in Southern California, and would like to take them at a community college, however, I’ve heard that is highly frowned upon by med school adcoms.
My other alternatives are to do the Scripps or the USC Post-bacc programs (both very expensive), or to go to a 4 year state university (a UC or a Cal State school).
My problem with the expensive official post-bac programs is that I’m already deeply in educational debt from prior schooling, and the last thing I want to do is rack up MORE debt. And for me to apply and get into one of the 4 year programs, I would have to wait to gain admission and wouldn’t be able to enroll until next fall, at the earliest. At the Community College, I could start this Spring and have most of my pre-reqs out of the way by next Spring. But, I’m worried that this will deeply hurt me in the admissions process.
Ugh! Can anyone out there help me?!
Do a search for “Community College” and you will find about 8 pages of discussions about CC’s. I’m currently doing my pre-reqs at a CC. I know it’s not the most desired but when you don’t have any other choices you do what you can.
Welcome to OPM!
geoff is correct.
when you have little alternative, then you do what you do. The MCAT is the great equalizer. Check with some schools and tell them your predicament (work, scheduling, et al) then listen. See what they say.
I interviewed a a few schools in the US and none disliked my CC work. GWU thought I did ok apparently since I got an interview there.
Thanks- I am really at a frustrated place, and it's nice to hear some encouraging words!!!
I’m here to tell ya that CC is ok. But… not everywhere equally. If you are looking at the higher-falutin’ schools it will matter more, and could be a stumbling block. Some med schools want to wow the public and money-givers with the impressive stats of their students. CC work does not qualify as impressive!
If you do this you need to get A’s. Bad things will probably happen if you get more than one B, and a C might be disasterous. People expect students to have maybe a B or even a C in Orgo at a Big Name University, but it is not acceptable at a CC.
You’ll need to hit the MCAT at or above the same point that their other applicants did. Ad coms do consider it together and you need to show you can do the hard work required. I spent time assuring interviewers that I did prove it at a few schools. No interviewer seemed too overly worried once I explained that money and scheduling made the CC the most logical choice, and that I purposely took the hard sciences all at once to prove myself.
I took Gen Chem during the day and my other BA classes in eve. The next year, after I got my BA, I took Bio, Orgo, Physics and did supplemental instruction in Chem. Took the April MCAT even though there were things my class didn’t cover and I didn’t get time to learn them.
After that, I took a semester of Biochem at a “real” university (only one class and it cost more for that one semester than an entire year of CC fulltime tuition! ). Got all A’s. My GPA is 3.8something and MCAT 28 (2 10’s and an 8)
AND, to answer your most pressing question - Got in to at least one medical school!!!
Go for it. Do what it takes to get the job done. Prove you are awesome.
I am preesently in a combined A.S. Respiratory Therapy/B.A. Allied Health program and several of my pre-med prerequisites will be taken at the community college level. I have talked to the admissions reps to the med schools I plan to apply to and, the told me that there should be no problem with the courses taken there. I will finish the rest of them at a 4-year college but, you have to do what you have to do with the resources available to you. In the final analysis, if you do well in the course, that is the only thing that generally matters!!!
The CSU system is pretty frickin cheap–or it was until recently, maybe? I've been out of state for a while… but anyway, I'm a believer in the idea that you should only take CC classes if you have to, just because although it is not always a handicap, it can be a handicap–and you shouldn't shut any options off unless you have to. Also because on average I think the instruction and lab support will probably be better at a CSU. You can go in as a second-bachelor's student and you don't have to get the bachelor's degree. Some CSUs have more post-bacs and better advising than others. I don't know the So Cal scene too well. In No Cal, SFSU is great.
I'm an alum of the SF State post-bac program.
what did you think of the sf state program? i was going to apply to it, but (and this is news for any CA memebers of OldPreMeds considering pursuing ANY post-bacc coursework in the UC system(and most if not all Cal state campuses):
The UC system is currently not accepting any applications from anyone who has obtained a bachelor's degree from anywhere for any coursework at UC. SF State isn't either.
It's an unfortunate side effect of CA's current financial state I believe. Which has driven me currently to consider applying to University of San Francisco(a Jesuit private college) for some if not all of the four main prereqs.
So, perhaps another thing Gov. Schwarzenegger can fix?
I would check directly with SF State to see whether there is a way around that. I know of people who are currently enrolling in their post-bac programs so there must be a way to squeeze in. The SFSU post-bacs actually have their own mailing list at yahoogroups–
see what’s up from them. there are usually ways around these things.
You definitely won’t be able to do a UC unless you don’t have a bachelor’s or unless you do extension courses. This has long been true.
I liked SF State a lot. It was cheap, I only had to take one bus to get there, there are plenty of post-bacs for study partners, and the teachers are generally (although of course not entirely) good and kind. I also liked the opportunity to take a graduate seminar, an independent study, and a lab course that were not part of the standard pre-reqs. And I did fine–as did many of my colleagues–in the med school admissions derby.
The advisors–Cliff Berkman and Barry Rothman–are worth talking to. Both are different and both are good in their own ways.
also if you're in berkeley it might be worth taking a look at CSU hayward–don't know anything about it myself.
thanks!! i didn’t even know cal state had a campus in hayward. anyway, they and sf state have “open university” so you can take prereqs w/o formally applying. perhaps that’s what the people you’re hearing about are doing? well i had my schedule o’prereqs down to only one from a community college, but i want to apply to case western and they require the prereqs be from 4-yr accredited institutions, sooo… have to find another option.