So grateful to have come across this forum! After a great deal of consideration, I’ve recently made the decision to attend medical school. I have my eye on a specific program (although planning to apply to several) and have been in communication with one of its admissions advisors. He tells me that for this particular program, it should not be an issue to be taking my prerequisites at a CC.
I guess my first question to you guys is… in your experience, what is the best course to start with? I have to take gen chem w/lab, organic chem w/lab, biochem, gen bio w/ lab, 2 upper division bio courses, physics 1 and 2 (with labs)…whew!
I, like most of you, work full-time. Fortunately, I do have a decent amount of flexibility with my schedule and I’m able to lighten my load as needed to accommodate my courses. I’m thinking of taking general bio w/ the lab in the fall. Do you think it would be doable to add another course (like gen chem) while working full-time?
For those working full-time, how many credits are you guys taking per semester? Any feedback would be great!
Thanks in advance for any info and so glad to be a part of this community!
Hello and welcome. You may want to start with one class plus lab the first semester, and then step it up if you do well. With a flexible work schedule, it’s reasonable to take two classes with labs and continue working full time until you complete the basics (gen chem, ochem, bio and physics). A more rigorous schedule will show the admissions committees that you have what it takes to handle a workload comparable to what you can expect in the first year of med school.
Good luck and keep posting on your progress.
I think it depends on what you think you can handle. Having a flexible job is a major plus. Mine was flexible enough to work about 20-25 hrs/week so I dove into classes head first with 12 credit hours (3 science courses + 3 labs) and earned all A’s even though I had been out of school for 8 years. Whatever you decide, don’t overdo it. Make sure you do well. For CC classes, it must be A’s.
Welcome!! You are definitely among friends and support here!
I just started this journey this past spring semester. Managing a full time job and my family, I took 2 classes (Gen Chem I and Bio I) in the evening. I went straight to school from work, and had class and/or lab on Monday-Thursday nights from 6-9pm. I had a commute home, so I frequently found myself sitting down to study around 10pm.
It was crazy–but it flew by, and I earned the top grade in both classes. So it’s doable, for sure. And I’m certainly not the only one around here who survived a schedule like that.
Couple of things to think about–a class with a lab (which is every pre-req class we need) takes up way more time than a non-lab class. Plan for that. Also, if you work during the day and attend class at night, you’ll need to really hone in on a time management system to find time to actually do the work and study. It’s possible–just tricky if you tend to procrastinate.
I’m trying to strike a balance between getting done without wasting time, but not sacrificing any of the grades or my quality of learning. For my schedule, anything beyond 8 hours just wouldn’t have been possible. But just how flexible is your job? You know yourself… so I’m sure you’ll make the best choice for you.
Forward motion is a good thing–regardless of the pace you need to set.
Best of luck, and congratulations on your decision!
Welcome to OPM! This is such a great place, full of encouragement and support, and I am so glad you have found it.
I agree with jmdmd - you might want to start with 1 class and 1 lab to begin with, especially if you have been out of school for a while. Just to get your feet wet, re-acquaint yourself with studying and study habits, etc. Then ramp it up from there.
Best wishes to you on your journey, and keep us posted on your progress!
For pre-reqs, I strongly recommend that you start with gen chem . . . there are some basic concepts in biology that are a lot harder to wrap your mind around if you don’t have some experience thinking of things in terms of molecular interactions.
Second, I recommend physics because (if you study it correctly) it shapes your thought process in a way that makes the rest of your courses much easier. The only reason I don’t recommend it before gen chem is because a lot of people find the math and practice required for good physics understanding to be a bit overwhelming.
Third, I recommend taking biochem directly after organic. Organic doesn’t use a lot of concepts from gen chem, so if you need to put a gap in your chem line, that’s the place to do it – gen chem is more like physics, anyway. However, biochem uses a similar thought process to organic, and being fresh on your carbonyl chemistry helps when you get to metabolism in biochem.
People like to take biology courses first because they see them as “easy”, or soft science classes. That’s only because they haven’t had the hard sciences first – if you REALLY want to get a full understanding of the biological systems you’ll end up needing to know and love in med school, you’ll need to take your bio classes as a capstone instead of a foundation.
Just my 2 cents
Great ideas… thanks for the feedback!
I second what Anemos said. Also, another reason to take gen chem first is that it is a prerequisite for the other chemistries, and if you decide to double up courses later on, you will still be limited on how quickly you can finish due to the need to complete gen chem before moving ahead in chemistry.
Thanks for the feedback. I see your background is in nursing. I am a family nurse practitioner. When/how did you decide to go to medical school?
Well, I’ll reference my diary in the “diaries” sections for more info, but was in a lot of public health/clinic settings and started wanting to do more primary care due to the need I was seeing. And from my experience as a CNM I was already somewhat frustrated by not knowing enough - I wanted to go beyond taking care of the common health problems and be able to practice in a rural area (or in a medical clinic setting overseas) with more resources in my head, if you get my drift.