I already understand that taking pre-reqs at a Jr College can be frowned upon(depending on who you ask), but I wouldn’t think finishing out a few pre-reqs, i.e. Inorganic II and Organic Chem I and II, at a Jr College(due to availability and close proximity) and then getting my MS Biology-which includes upper level molecular cell and biochem amongst others-would be all that big a deal. If I do an outstanding job with the MS then it shouldn’t matter where I take the pre-reqs as long as I do well in them. Any ideas/opinions?
I am no expert, but I do agree with your ideas as I am signed up to begin taking Chemistry I and II over the summer at a local Community College that happens to offer the evening courses. I am doing it because of the price and I have not found the 4 yr univ. to be accomodating to non-traditional schedules. They are turning into making their class schedules better for the day student rather than the working student. I just picked up a great book called “Getting into Medical School” by Sanford Brown M.D. He too was a non-trad and took his classes as a comm. college as well. said what mattered most was the grade on the transcript not the institution. let these guys on here beat this to death. so what. we gotta do what we gotta do. work and make good grades to get to where we gotta go. i’d say that will go a long way with the adcoms out there. stretching yourself to the limits to get to where you ultimately want to go. oh by the way. why go for the MS also if you take the pre-reqs already? sure I got an MBA first, but aren’t we going for the M.D. here. not the MS ? haha even though my home state is MS. =)
- Miller J. Said:
I am no expert, but I do agree with your ideas as I am signed up to begin taking Chemistry I and II over the summer at a local Community College that happens to offer the evening courses. I am doing it because of the price and I have not found the 4 yr univ. to be accomodating to non-traditional schedules. They are turning into making their class schedules better for the day student rather than the working student. I just picked up a great book called "Getting into Medical School" by Sanford Brown M.D. He too was a non-trad and took his classes as a comm. college as well. said what mattered most was the grade on the transcript not the institution. let these guys on here beat this to death. so what. we gotta do what we gotta do. work and make good grades to get to where we gotta go. i'd say that will go a long way with the adcoms out there. stretching yourself to the limits to get to where you ultimately want to go. oh by the way. why go for the MS also if you take the pre-reqs already? sure I got an MBA first, but aren't we going for the M.D. here. not the MS ? haha even though my home state is MS. =)
I'm going for my MS in Biology for two reasons. I left a graduate program of another field last year because I was no longer interested in taking that direction. I was only two semesters in. If you start grad school, med schools want you to finish. So I figured finish in something preparing me better for med school. Also, I've not had an opportunity to do a lot of research which is something I want to know and understand more.
I was 1/3rd of my way through the Medical Dietetics master’s program at St Louis University and I decided it would not get me very far in my field. To only make $2 more an hour and not enjoy the program- doesn’t make sense to continue. I don’t care what the adcoms think about that. That was the best decision of my life. So I will take the pre req’s over and do as much as possible to make myself a winning candidate. But if they ask me about the MS I left- I will not hesitate to let them know about it.
Side bar…the MS program reminded me of high school. It was pretty rediculous. Thank God I got outta there!
Yeah, I figure just do really well on the pre-reqs and focus on making yourself the best candidate be it work experience or volunteering. use the extra time to study well for the MCAT and to come up with ideas of what to say on the interview. I have also heard alot that they don’t really look at Grad school gpa’s even. that being said, my 3.85 GPA in my MBA program probably won’t carry much weight to them either. if you have a good reason to not complete grad school, let them know the good reason (if they even ask that is) if they don’t ask, they are probably not even concerned about it. personally when they ask my what drives me to want it so bad. i’ll honestly be able to say without a doubt that I gave up so much to be sitting where I am today that there is no doubt in my mind this is where I’m supposed to be. I walked away from a high paying field because money wasn’t what drove me, I walked away from a Naval Commission because I wanted something more. My short-term goal is to be admitted to your medical school. My long-term goal includes being the best possible physician that I can be to others, putting their needs first and offering them unmatched care.
Well said- Miller J.
- southpawslugger Said:
It really is not an issue of CC pre-reqs = death sentence. Unfortunately, it is more complex than that. Instead of absolute thresholds, view this as AdCom preferences or likes & dislikes. Everything in your application that deviates from the 'norm' - what ever that is - generally will yield additional scrutiny for your app package. That may be positive or negative.
In the case of CC courses, they are more likely to expect a higher overall grade...the more of your pre-reqs done at a CC, the higher the GPA expectation goes. I did Physics 1 & 2 at a CC due scheduling issues, but they were taken after I took the MCAT & I scored like an 11 or 12 in the physical sciences on the MCAT. So I had "purchased" some fudge room through my MCAT score.
Being a non-trad also encourages increased scrutiny of your application. Again, this is not necessarily positive or negative - it just is.
The concept I am pushing is somewhat of a shift in perspective. It is a cumulative effect of additional scrutiny - some of it actually desirable. You want to draw their attention to certain aspects of your applicant, but not so much so to other aspects. For example, you should promote their focus upon your MSBiology.
Another thing that is hard for applicants to grasp is that by and large, if you are a competitive applicant (virtually all of them have blemishes), then you fall into a vast pool of essentially statistically undifferentiable applicants - far more than there are available seats. The AdComs job is therefore to parse through this tightly compacted pool of applications & try to 'select' a sufficient number of "best fits" for their program. Due to the numbers & nature of the system, they must overbook - like the airlines do - there classes to ensure that they end up with a full flight...this is the purpose of the waitlists + those holding actual acceptances.
Overall, what I try to get pre-meds to do is to not simply adopt the herd mentality of the application process being biases toward x, y or z; being random, caprecious or unfair. That is far to simplistic an explanation & is generally held to be more of an excuse than it an explanation. Applicants should try to not just view this process from their own very small perspective, but to try & incorporate the perspective of the AdCom as well. When you can see & appreciate the process from additional perspectives, it serves to improve your understanding of how to construct your application to maximize your own chances of success. This is far far more productive than simply soliciting for a list of do's & dont's, which will become cliche en masse & thrust your application deeper into the herd instead of standing out as you desire it to do.
Clear as mud?
I would add that medical schools (generalizing now to all 142 of them) don’t as a rule want you to necessarily complete every little graduate program you start. What they want you to do is demonstrate commitment and perseverance–the traits that are necessary to survive the grueling endurance test that is medical school and graduate medical training.
If you entered a graduate program that did not meet your needs, and decided wisely to pull out before wasting a lot of your precious time and money, that’s all good, but you do need to be prepared to articulate your reasons–this is a yellow flag on your application that will more likely than not come up during an interview. In general, it’s probably easier to finish a degree program because it’s one less thing to explain. But, we all make mistakes; you just need to reassure the admissions person reading your application that you’re not going into this on a whim of the moment.
I will mention that I dropped out of a masters program, leaving a whole semester of withdrawals on my transcript that clearly indicated my attitude toward them, and a couple of years later I returned to finish the darned thing, just to put a period at the end of the sentence and move on. It never came up in interviews; they were much more interested in what I’m doing now and what I’m planning to do in the future.
This is very interesting. It would be much better for me to take my prereq’s at a Community College due to time, geography and money. I would like to save as much as I can for the 4 years I am not working.
I actually have all the prereq’s except organic chemistry, but they are from the 1980’s when I went through the physical therapy program.
I really feel the need to take my prereq’s again due to needing a refresher for MCAT’s and the fact that I am sure science has made some advances. Hmm, might need to know about some of those.
yes, you’re going to need to retake your prerequisites; medical schools typically require that they be no older than 5-7 years.
I also took my prereqs at a CC because of the proximity, my work schedule, and the fact they offered night classes in the sciences I needed. I was fortunate enough to receive five interview invites and five acceptances this admission cycle and I wasnâ€™t even questioned once about my CC classes in the interview.
I think what is frowned upon is taking the majority of your classes at a university, but the more difficult prereqs from a CC. If I were evaluating this type of application, I would definitely want to know why. However, if you have good reasons for doing what youâ€™re doing I wouldn’t worry about it. Just do as well as you can in these courses and the rest will fall into place!