So Cal College Classes - insanity

It has been a long while since I have been on and am turning to you guys for some direction with schooling. Little background before my question and sorry for the length…

Quick background. Craziness in So Cal -

  1. Can’t attend a State school because I already have a Comp Sci BA degree. Tried every way – even second degree seeking - nope…denied.

  2. Post Bacc degrees are also out (either I am not from a poor enough family or community or they stopped offering it due to budgets or I don’t have enough undergrad for the degree) Trust me, I have searched from the Mexico border to LA to AZ state lines, emailed, called, you name it.

  3. I have 2 kids and supportive husband - I carry our health insurance, bread winner etc… husband is self employed… so night school/classes are my option in order to remain supporting my family. Hence, no private schools, as these schools in my area do not have night classes. (It’s a choice, I know, to quite my day job and focus on school, but I need to support my family.)

  4. I am accepted into San Diego Community Colleges (3 schools)… yipeee!

    I tried to test out of the Intro to Chem course at my jr college, not to be mistaken with Gen Chem 1 or Gen Chem 2. This is the very first course to Chemistry (I guess it is a Calif thing, I never had this in LA). I missed testing out by 3 questions! Now I need 5 semesters of Chemistry along with 2 semesters of Physics before I apply to MD and/or DO school. I tried to enroll in the intro class/lab and my advisor told me I am the last person to enroll bc I already have a degree and am a new student. I knew that, but he further said, I will always be last to enroll due to my having a degree already. I get it… It just totally makes me feel hopeless. So I didn’t give up there…I tried to get into 2 other different community colleges to take the Chem intro course and lab - all booked up. I emailed a teacher who told me to crash the classes (the lab specifically). What does crash mean? Sit in and hope that 1. “the students that booked that class don’t show up or show up late and the teacher boots them 2. the 7 people on the waitlist don’t fill up those spots of original attendees that didn’t show or got booted”, then I may have a chance. Going delirious at this point…

    I did however, get reassurance that in the summer sessions, it’s a free for all on day one of registration. Not a good thing to have to wait for summers to get in to a single class.

    So, I signed up for Physics at the CC. That class was open… hehe. Not sure if this is the best idea just going back to school, but I have to start classes. I will still crash a chem lab for 2 weeks and see how it goes. Someone brought up National University as an idea. I never gave it a thought, but seeing my options are hindered, has anyone been advised to stay clear of “for profit universities/colleges”? What if I took the intro and gen chem there and then moved back to the community colleges for Gen Chem 2, and Organic 1 and 2?

    Any advice from an advisor or someone that knows my So Cal situation would be appreciated on the National University route. It doesn’t sound very appealing but maybe its ok?

Your question is San Diego specific and probably won’t receive many, or even any, responses. I think whatever we discussed a year ago when you first posted is what you’re finding. Yes, it sucks to be a premed in CA. I think a year ago you had contacted UCSD SOM and they had indicated that CC credits were not optimal but OK. So you’re now enrolled at three different CCs, and that’s a good first step.

It’s too bad that you were not able to test out of or skip the Prep for Gen Chem. I was able to do so by petitioning, because I have a graduate degree in engineering. I have since completed Gen Chem I and II. I also petitioned out of the pre-reqs for Physics (algebra etc) but have not taken Physics yet. Kills me that I have to take a course for which I was a TA at UCLA 20 years ago, but the game’s gotta be played.

Regarding enrollment priority at CC, I’m not 100% sure, but I think high school seniors are #1, active duty or vets are #2, those just about to graduate are #3, and everyone else follows. As long as you are a continuing student. I was advised at one point to take at least one class a semester (even if it was the legendary “underwater basket weaving”) because it would maintain my “continuing student” status. I’ve done that mostly by taking Spanish over the past year.

In your case, I would also suggest knocking out the soon-to-be-pre-reqs such as psychology and sociology. These usually don’t have any pre-requirements other than English, so they’re the easiest hoops to jump through. If you’re ESL, I also suggest knocking out English I and II.

I’ve never tried crashing at SDSU or other places because they don’t have night classes. I’ve been confined to CCs because of this constraint and it looks the same for you. However, eventually, I figure I’ll have to take a class or two at SDSU or a private institution, just to get an LOR. Another hoop jump that I have not yet faced. When I get there, I’ll have to quit or switch to part-time employment. There’s just no way around this, in my opinion.

Regarding summer sessions - I’m not sure which CC you’re enrolled in, but at Grossmont/Cuyamaca where I take classes, the summer sessions are useless because they only offer “Intro to this…”, “Intro to that…” type of classes designed to transition high school seniors into the fall semester. Intro to algebra does nothing for me. Grossmont/Cuyamaca does not offer Gen Chem I, II, Bio I, II, etc in summer. If you’re at City College, things might be different. I don’t know.

Regarding National University - I don’t think they are for-profit. They are private non-profit. They do have a BS in Biology offering that covers a lot of the premed pre-reqs and also some advanced courses such as biochem. However, it is about 2-3K per course ($350 per credit.)

However, keep in mind that NU is on a quarter system, so you’ll have to take 3 classes to satisfy a 2-semester sequence. So you’ll be taking 3 Gen Chem classes, for example. Because of this, I would not advise taking Gen Chem I at NU and then going to CC to take Gen Chem II. The quarter/semester units won’t line up properly and you’ll just end up spending more time and taking more classes than needed. That’s just my opinion. If you want to go NU, just finish the sequence at NU, is what I would suggest.

If you’re open to DO, then the CC courses won’t be a problem. There is at least one person here who took the majority of classes at CC and made it to a CA DO school. If you are set on UCSD SOM, that’s much tougher.

Another option that I hesitate to mention is SCUHS, a chiropractic college in Whittier that offers premed classes. They are weekend classes taken one at a time, 8 hours each on Sat and Sun, for 2 months per course or maybe it’s 1 month per course - I forget. Then there’s a final exam on a weekday, if I remember right. You’d have to drive or take the Coaster up to Whittier, and either stay there the weekend, or deal with the commute back to SD late at night on Sat and then back up on Sun morning, if that’s what you want. The institution is accredited, but not well known, and I don’t know the success rate of their students. And it’s private, so not cheap either. Unfortunately, we SoCal folks who already have degrees don’t have too many options. That’s all the advice I have for you. Good luck…

Random curiosity - are you desi?

Since you have a degree already then I think that for your situation, a community college may be the best option if you can get enrolled to the courses. If a for profit college is something you are considering, look and be 100% sure that it is “regionally accredited”. It must be regionally accredited for AAMC and AACOM to accept those credits. There are a lot of for profit schools that are not regionally accredited, many are pass/fail grades also. Did you try the state school as a non-degree seeking?

I’m not sure of the California rules but since you’re post-bacc you should be able to take classes as non-degree seeking somehow. Talk to the admissions office and/or registrar to see if they can work with you and your situation.

Here is a list of California post-bacc premed programs listed on the AAMC website. I hope this helps:

Mills College: Postbaccalaureate Program CA Private Institution

Chapman University: Chapman University Post Baccalaurate Program CA Private Institution

Scripps College: Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program CA Private Institution

San Diego State University: Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Preprofessional Health Preparation CA Public Institution

San Francisco State University: Pre-Health Professions Certificate Program CA Public Institution

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science: Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Pre Medicine CA Private Institution

UC Berkeley Extension: Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions Certificate Program CA Public Institution

California State University - Los Angeles: Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program for Pre-Health Professionals CA Public Institution

California State University Fullerton: Certificate in Pre-Health Professions Studies CA Public Institution

Keck Graduate Institute: Postbaccalaureate Premedical Certificate Program CA Private Institution

Western University of Health Sciences CA Private Institution

California State University, East Bay: Pre-Health Sciences Professional Certificate Program CA Public Institution

University of Southern California: USC Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program CA Private Institution

University of California, Irvine School of Medicine : University of California, Irvine Post-baccalaureate Programs CA

University of California, San Francisco: UCSF Interprofessional Health Post Baccalaureate Program CA Public Institution

Loyola Marymount University: Pre-Medical Post-Baccalaureate Program CA Private Institution

UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA: UCLA Reapplication Program CA Public Institution

UC San Diego: UC San Diego Post Baccalaureate Premedical Program CA Public Institution

UCSF: Masters of Science in Biomedical Imaging (MSBI) Graduate Program CA Public Institution

Drexel University Sacramento : Special Master’s Program (Masters in Medical Science) CA Private Institution

Thank you both so much! Seriously, so much.

Dullhead… not sure if Desi is a person or a thing, but nope… not Desi.:slight_smile: Also, thanks for the tip on the chiropractic school! I am going to look into it for sure. If UCSD and WesternU take NU, I will likely head there. Go figure, their Biology campus is literally next door to where I work! I see it out of my window!

It also sounds like you went through this path of trying to get back into school as much as I did. A friend told me to perhaps try and test out at Grossmont or Southwestern and join their programs for Chemistry. I haven’t thrown that option out either.

I am first, going to reach out again to my contact at UCSD Med School…she was so helpful and am sure she can give me direction again with regards to the NU approach. I am also going to reach out to Western U as well and get their feedback on schools.

Dullhead, I may message you on the side… hope you don’t mind.

nontradpremed – i thought I could take them as non degree seeking as well… but given the fact I can’t get into classes in CC, I no I will not make the list at this large state schools. To many people without degrees need in, way before I would be allowed. I think it’s just the nature of the beast here in So Cal? Kind of new to this area and that is unfortunately the experience so far.

PB2012 - if the term desi is not familiar to you, then you are not one :slight_smile: With regard to SCUHS, not all of their programs are WASC accredited. I think the premed Integrated Science Program is, but best to ask them. Also, as I mentioned earlier, even if they are accredited, they might not be well known. You should ask about their success rate with premeds entering medsch specifically, not PA, radiology tech, or other allied health fields.

NU is definitely accredited, so UCSD and Western should have no problems accepting NU credits. Only hindrance is converting quarter units to semester units. Yeah, I had looked into all my options and given that I needed evening classes, I had no choice but CC. I briefly looked into SCUHS but decided that CC would be just as good (or bad).

Yet another option for some courses is UNECOM’s online offerings. Now these credits won’t be accepted everywhere, but several DO schools accept them. UCSD probably won’t, but you can ask your contact. Testing out of Intro to Gen Chem at Grossmont or Southwestern is likely to be similar to the test you took at City College. I assume you’re at City or Mesa. While on that topic, be careful of courses at Miramar - they might not count (at least they did not count 3 years ago when I checked). In general, if courses are listed on the IGETC transfer list, they are safe to take. If you’re seriously looking at NU, it might be better to just take everything there and have it on one transcript, and avoid the hassle of mixing quarter units and semester units on one pre-req.

PM me if you need, or click on my user ID and browse my other posts - user Aniket asked similar questions not too long ago, and I responded with details on that thread.…

If you don’t get started at NU this quarter, and since the beginning of the semester is coming up in a couple weeks, one way of not “wasting” this semester - take English if you require it, or psychology and sociology. I took both online at the CC, and English I and II as well (imagine that! Not only CC but also online! However, it does not show up as online on the transcript.)

Thanks again Dullhead! I got in touch with UCSD and they gave me a bit of help. I need to go meet this wonderful person there that is giving me the light of day.

I’ll PM you about what she said and read your other topics!

Thanks again! Very, very helpful!!!