Selection of Additional Science Course(s)

During undergrad I completed all of the pre-med requirements. My Freshman year grades were average, Sophomore year poor, and Junior & Senior years strong. I’m planning to take the MCAT in April 2005, and apply for admission in Fall 2006. I’m preparing for the MCAT now, and I’m considering taking one or more basic science courses during the Winter quarter at UCLA to improve my science GPA and demonstrate my current aptitute for the material.
With this in mind, I have several questions:
1. Which course(s) will strengthen my application the most (assuming I do well)? Physiology makes sense to me, because I never took it during undergrad, and it will help me prepare for the MCAT.
2. How many additional courses should I consider taking?
3. Should I consider retaking any of the prerequisites in which I did poorly during undergrad?
4. If I submit my applications in June, will medical schools honor coursework I’m taking at the time they receive my application? In other words, if I take one or more courses during the Summer session, will they be considered if I won’t have my final grades until August, after my applications have been submitted?
Thanks in advance for your guidance and support.

Brief off the top of my head thoughts; hopefully someone with more time will give a more thoughtful response…
Physio is a good idea.
As to whether to repeat prereqs, it depends on HOW poorly you’re talking about in how many of the courses. Certainly you need to show that you have a good grasp of these basic subjects but your good performance in upper level courses may be adequate demonstration of that.
Any courses pending when you submit your application won’t be factored into your GPA and it’ll be up to you to push schools to look at them.
Hope that helps!

Additional courses…depends upon what you are working to accomplish. If your are trying to overcome deficits due to your “poor” performance on prerequisites, the answer will depend upon how poorly you did. Any course that you received under a ‘C’ in, I would emphatically encourage you to retake & secure an ‘A’. If you are trying to make a ‘B’ or even a ‘C’ look better, then you may consider taking a more advanced course w/i that discipline and, again, doing ‘A’ work. However, I do throw in this caveate, if you made 'C’s in both parts of a sequence (i.e. GenChem 1 & 2 or OChem 1 & 2 or Bio 1 & 2) that places you into a grey zone. If your other pre-requsites were strong, do the advanced course. If the others are not sufficiently strong, do retakes. Remember, as a general rule, it is the overall ‘gestalt’ of your grades more than individual ones that convey an impression. Of course, if there is a glaring smudge, as in a ‘D’ or ‘F’, those must be addressed. In fact, for any course that mandates a retake, time permitting, you would be more well-served by also taking advanced courses & doing well. That way, you are not only demonstrating improved competence at the pre-req level, but also at a more advanced level - serves to underscore your allegation that the poor grade was a ‘fluke’ or subsequent to external causation(s), which is what you wish to convey.
Now, if you REALLY screwed the pooch during those “poor” years - trust me, I am the poster child for old shitty grades - you will have to undertake much more extensive & intensive repairs such as a masters level degree. There are tons of 1 & 2 year masters out there, that do not require a thesis or externship, specifically designed for pre-meds wanting to buff their application. In fact, many med schools have them for this very purpose - a conduit of applicants into their program where they truly know you as a student. Prove yourself in one of these programs & you are likely “golden”. But, they tend to be very competitive & demanding programs w/ folk in them who are equally intent upon landing a slot in the med school.
Regarding submitting your app in June, as Mary RR points out, once that app goes in, the schools are not obligated to consider updated grade info in their selection process. If your grades are truly that poor, it is even possible/probable for you to be rejected prior to them even receiving those grades. Statistically, the probability of gaining acceptance significantly decreases w/ each subsequent repeat application. Your first shot tends to be your best shot. Of course, lots of folks get in after many attempts, but those are the exception & not the rule. In my mind, that means your first shot is your best shot making it unwise to undermine your own chances by submitting an application less strong than you can make it. So, even it takes a couple of extra years, only hit the ‘send’ button when your app is as polished as you can make it.

I would wait and see what your grades are before submitting the application, especially if you really want the med schools to see them immediately. You CAN still apply next year - you don’t have to submit your app until June. It does put you a little behind in the game to not submit your app until August, but it’s not impossible.
I took summer ochem. By the time I submitted my AMCAS (early september), they already had all of my transcripts, including my summer one. Since all the transcripts were already in, it only took them about a week to verify my application.
I also took the August MCAT. So far, with most of my secondaries not being complete until the end of october/first of november, I have had two interview invites and no rejections (yet).
In theory, if you took the April MCAT, you could have your AMCAS and etc. complete by the end of August. Have it all done - list your summer classes as ones that are completed, then as soon as you are done with classes, you can hit submit and send them the transcript. That way your summer classes will be included.
However, if you need more classes than just the summer ones to boost your GPA, you may want to wait until following year.
Good luck!

If you want something to help you with the MCAT, take Genetics! If you need something for after the MCAT take biochem. Those 2 course will help you during the first year.