I am totally new here. I am 28 and have a bachelor degree in aeronautical engineering and a master degree in education. I am in the middle of changing career. I want to give a shot for med school. I need to have all the pre-requisites done first. The community college in my area offers a pre-med program which looks decent to me. I just need to take organic chem after the program and I will meet all the pre-requisite courses. However, I have heard some people say it’s not a good idea to go through the entire program at a community college because a lot of med schools frown upon that. Is that really true?
By the way, all the classes in the program including organic chem are 100-200 level classes.
Welcome to OPM. In re CC, it appears that the state might matter. Which state’s CC system are you talking about? Also, is your undergraduate degree from a foreign institution?
The CC I was referring is in Illinois which is where I am moving to. And yes, I got my bachelor (GPA 3.84) in China which is where I am originally from, but I got my master (GPA 3.88) in Arizona.
Some states are considered to have strong CC systems and it seems to make a difference. I’m in CA and the CC system here is considered strong. I know of one person on this forum who took the majority of pre-reqs at CC (in San Diego, same city as me) and made it to a DO medsch here in CA. There are a couple other members on here who took pre-reqs at CCs in other states such as TX and MA. So it is possible. Perhaps less competitive than if you took classes at a 4-yr, but it is possible. Since you have a foreign undergrad (like me,) it might be that just the basic pre-reqs are not enough. You would do good to have around 60-90 credits total in the US before applying. And your MS can supply some of those. I’m taking my pre-reqs at a CA CC myself but I know that eventually I’ll have to take upper levels such as Biochem, Genetics etc at a 4-yr. I would advise you to plan something similar…
Is the Illinois community college system considered strong though? I have no idea.
I’ve heard it’s very strong, actually. This is an age old argument with lots of variables and opinions… best answer? Call some of the schools you are interested in, and see what they think about your program!
Best of luck!!!
UIC explicitly says they do not discriminate against those that have done their prereqs at community college. We have really excellent profs at CCs here in Chicago due to teachers unions and most of them being guaranteed to make 6 figures.
It will likely narrow the scope of where you can apply but you only need to get into one.
I took gen chem at cc and I actually like how it prepared me for the MCAT because basically all they teach is what will be on the MCAT. What I don’t like about it is its pretty much taught in a “memorize your way through chemistry” fashion which was detrimental when I took O-Chem at a top school afterwards.
As I have heard it explained to me, generally speaking, it would be preferable to have your sciences come from a 4 yr university. If that isn’t possible, or terribly impractical, then CC courses may suffice. But just be prepared to explain your situation during your interview (I doubt they would let you get away without it.)
I’m doing my Bio I and II at a CC because I needed Bio I to get my AA degree so I figured rather than using an elective on some garbage class, I’d take Bio II. In the fall I’ll start at university and take the Chem’s and Physics.
Hope that helps! Good luck.
- CaptainObvious Said:
The above is an excellent and accurate expression of the reality. While CC may make you less competitive than a similar candidate from a 4 years school, nontrads must look at the reality of life (jobs, finances, family) and the totality of what they will have upon application to medical school (GPA, MCAT, background, etc). I see far too many students get obsessed and neurotic over a single item, course, grade, and not look at the whole picture.
The other way I often suggest people which is better: Prereqs at a CC or no prereqs at all, the answer is obvious.
Gonnif is right, its all about the big picture. I look at it this way. If you have to take classes at at CC for whatever reason then don’t give the adcoms any reason to doubt your skill or competence by scoring above average on your MCAT.
There’s something to be said about the person that takes his/her classes at a CC and scores higher than a person that has taken their sciences at a 4yr Uni. To me this not only shows competence and skill but drive and a passion to excel as well.
~play the game and play it well.
It all depends on the applicant pool for a particular year. If an AdComm has two identical applicants (for the sake of argument), and one has CC courses and one has 4-yr. school courses, guess who will get the nod?
As many of you know, I’m not in favor of CC’s for the science pre-reqs.
I believe it also depends if You are planning to attend MD or DO.
Personally I did all my prerequisites in Illinois in community college and from six DO schools that I applied to I got 3 invites, I went for 2 interviews and nobody asked my why I did community college instead of 4 year university. Probably with MD would be more difficult. Whatever school You chose just do your best and prepare for MCAT well.
If you don’t mind sharing:
- Was this last year’s cycle?
- What was your GPA in the CC courses?
- Did you take any courses beyond the pre-reqs, and if so, what and where?
I have been still taking classes in cc. I am currently finishing Eng 102 and second part of physics and to be honest I lost all my motivation since I got admission into the DO school. Of course this was conditional that I will finish these 2 remaining classes. I have been taking on and off some classes since fall of 2008. I started with microbiology and got my only C because I was not used to US system of grading. Later spring I did not take any classes. In the fall of 2009 I started really hard and took bio 1, gen chem 1 , physics 1 and orgo 1. I was lucky that previous dean let me to do this because the current dean is much different. In the spring I did not take any classes. During the summer I took orgo 2 and i had class with the best teacher so far. He has been teaching at Loyola during school year and during summer at my school. His understanding of the subject was incredible. In the fall of 2010 I took gen chem 2, bio 2 and physics 2 , but I dropped the physics because I did not match with the teacher. In the spring of 2011 I did not take anything. I decided to travel little bit. I drove whole route 66 from Chicago to LA. And also my wife was pregnant so I wanted to spend some time with her and go with her for each doctor visit.
In the summer of 2011 I took some psychology class, A&P 1 , English 1, and medical terminology.
In the fall of 2011 I took statistics, A&P 2 and biochemistry and human growth and development.
I took all this because I was thinking about trying to go to PA program. I applied to PA first in the fall last year to about 12 programs and later I decided to try also to DO ( I was discouraged at first because i had problems finding DO to shadow. However, later I was lucky and found 2 of them and both are so inspiring with approach to treating patients).
Oh, i also took Spanish 1 , just to learn some basics ( I have been using Roseta Stone on and off before). In total, I will have about 73 credit hours from community college.My GPA form cc is 3.6 ( mostly because this first C. I was so mad because I had B whole semester and then I messed up lab practical and final and my grade went down ). I had some bad experiences last fall too. I had 625 points in my A&P and to get A I needed 626 - the teacher was so strict. I missed one point This was very bitter lesson - to always have some spare points. I was mad because I was very active during the class and the teacher increased the grade previously in A&P 1 for one of the student. This teacher even wrote me letter of recommendation. Oh well.
I am also finishing bachelor ( have my last 2 weeks of 2 classes).
One may question why I took orgo before gen chem. Well, I had some chemistry back in my old country so most of this was just repetition. However, I was able to learn with bigger understanding this time around.
Ohh, last thing, I took MCAT in January of 2011. But did not prepare too much.
To be honest back few months ago I started preparing for MCAT again and than I got phone call for interview. I knew that I could do it better this time but I do not have to retake it, hurray!
You know I really like tests and during the time that I did not take any classes I took several CLEP exams and Dantes and tested out from few subjects at my 4 year college.
I also had to work on weekends. So this time I will be studying first time without need to work ( I hope ). For the last 5 years I had to work 16 hours on Sunday and 16 hours on Saturday - everyone of them except vacation. It will feel weird at first.
It will depend on which med schools you plan to apply to. If you’re thinking about going to an Ivy League school, they might. I’d advise you to contact those schools individually and find out what they think. From there, you can decide if taking the classes at a community college is the right choice. You could always do distance learning to get these credits. Check out my website, adulteducationclasses.org, to find the right program for you.
- GetADegree85 Said:
This brings up a good point. I see that from the MSAR text for 2011 that very few med schools accept online classes (or they just don't answer at all and the column is left blank.) Is this a smart educational move on our part? If so, sign me up cause I can easily take classes on my ipad on the road while traveling and finish up my pre-reqs to boot. Score!!
MOAB here I come!!!!!
Distance courses are generally NOT a good idea unless there is no way of telling from the transcript that they are distance learning courses.
smkz, did you start your prereqs at an Illinois cc? If so, which one? I’m wondering if some cc programs are stronger than others.