Danger: Premed Requirements at Community College?

I’ve seen quite a bit of controversy regarding the topic of any dangers and disadvantages of taking the premed requirement at a community college. The “dangers” most included that the community college courses were (1) not rigorous enough - medical adcoms being less impressed/giving less weight to grades from CC as opposed to those from a 4-year university/college, AND (2) problems transfering and getting credit for courses taken at a community college. Those with experience (anyone with an in in the med school adcomms or anyone who has taken classes at a community college and applied to medical school), please weigh in and let us know what your research and experience showed. Thanks!

My experience may not be typical, but the courses I took at the community college were more rigorous in many respects, minus all the larger research institution garbage. I got a lot of direct help from the professors. We all did. When I took general chem. the first semester was taught by a Stanford PhD in O-chem. She won the distinguished teaching award for instructors at CCs this year. When she graduated from Stanford she could have gone anywhere, but she chose the CC as she specifically wanted to teach. The second semester was a PhD in P-Chem from Princeton. They kicked our asses so we would be able to hit the ground running when we transfered.The workload made the university courses look like a cake walk. My labs skills (and that includes safety) were better than other students who were at the university since freshman. Same for calculus. I was able to take three semesters of calculus and linear algebra from the same professor. He was terrific. A good instructor and a decent human being, in the best position to write a letter of rec becuase in such a small environment he got a chance to know me. Maybe it is because of the area that I live in. Alot of adjunct faculty were career employees at Lawrence Livermore Lab. One chemistry professor went on to a full professorship at MIT. So much for the snobbism of universities towards CCs. The calibre of education I got at my community college could stand neck in neck with any four year school. I was prepared well. Now how such an education is percieved by medical schools, that is another question.


Now how such an education is percieved by medical schools, that is another question.

And that is what you have to keep in mind when doing anything in the pre-med process!!

I just went on at some length with my thoughts on CCs from the perspective of having served on an AdCom. Then realized too late that it would’ve been better to post it here. So here is that post.

Been there. Done that. Got 3 acceptances.
I took ALL my pre-reqs at CC. Got all A’s. BTW, I spoke to one med school admissions dean before I started the journey and asked about CC courses. He said if you do them you’d better do VERY well.
At the schools I interviewed at (4), some asked me about this choice, and all seemed satisfied with my answer about money and family concerns. Everyone understood my desire not to incur excessive education debt with a young family. One interviewer of 9 (a PhD with a reputation for being tough) showed a little suspicion, and I was rejected at that school - but I cannot verify if that was the reason or if it was something else or a combination of things. It was the school I felt least comfortable with and the feeling may just have been mutual. Don’t know. Don’t much care, as I ended up with my choice of 3 acceptances.
Mary advised that you should augment your app to give assurance that you can handle the hard work. She’s absolutely right. I did this by taking Ochem, Physics and Bio at the same time while tutoring Chem as supplemental instructor over lunch, something I pointed out at interviews. Following this, I took a semester of Biochem at a “real” university and did well in that. My MCAT was competetive, but not stellar.
This was enough assurance for at least the 3 schools that accepted me.
Some of the decision depends on the schools you apply to. Some really don’t like CC credits, some limit the number you can have, and some don’t care where you take classes, just that you do well. Check. Call. Arrange to meet with someone at your target school. If you need to go to a prestigious school with a reputation to uphold, keep in mind that CC’s are not prestigious and won’t fit that mold. But there are plenty of schools out there that just want to know you are capable, competent and caring.