The old community college debate

Hey everyone!

Hope finals are treating you well. I am in need of advice, and although I know this topic has been brought up multiple times in the past, I can’t seem to find a straight answer.

So I’m paying for my DIY post-bacc out of pocket. I was able to pay for the majority of this semester at a four-year university. However, I wanted to take General Bio I this semester as well but a) it doesn’t fit into my schedule at the 4-year and b) I really can’t swing paying for another class at the 4-year.

However, the City College offers the same course for super cheap, and it fits into my schedule perfectly (with school and work). I’m apprehensive because I know jr. college courses are frowned upon, but my reasoning is if I do it just this once, and take all upper level Bio courses at the four year, I might be able to get away with it.


Thanks everybody!

I would go for it, especially if you are doing well in your current classes. You won’t have any issue at all.

My opinion (I am taking all my classes at a CC…).

  • redo-it-all Said:
I would go for it, especially if you are doing well in your current classes. You won't have any issue at all.

My opinion (I am taking all my classes at a CC...).

taking a single course, especially basic Bio I, will likely have little, if any, negative impact on your medical school application.

Dont FUD over it (fear uncertainty and doubt)

Definitely go for it. I took the vast majority of my prerequisites at community college here in CA. Generally, our CCs have a good reputation and have the added advantage of being perfectly transferable to the 4-year schools. That being said, because of transfer agreements, the CCs are under a certain level of pressure to maintain quality.

In addition to my prereqs, I took a couple of upper-level bio and biochem classes at the local 4-year, just to prove that I was up to the same standards as other students at the 4-year. My CC prepared me exceedingly well as I was able to ace those courses simply because my foundations in bio and chem were very strong. In addition, this translated (I believe) to a strong performance on the MCAT. All in all, my CC experience was extremely positive in that I really got the personal attention that I needed, and had great teachers. At my CC, nearly ALL of my professors were PhDs who had also taught at local 4-years. They were passionate about teaching and inspiring their students to do well and really grasp the material. At approximately 24 - 30 students per class, they were really able to focus their teaching on ensuring the students understood what was going on.

Finally, I interviewed at 4 schools this season, and got 3 acceptances and a waitlist. I had a total of 8 interviews, and elected not to attend 4 (I already had acceptances to my top choices). My CC prereqs NEVER came up.

CC prereqs will not sink your application in most cases. Do well at the CC, do well at the 4 year, show off your ability on the MCAT, and you will do very well. There is enough stress and expense in this process. No need to feel that over a couple of CC classes.

Good luck!

I’m also taking classes at a CC.

I agree with the other posters – it should be fine, especially if the majority of your courses are at a four-year uni. Best wishes in the coming semester!

Be sure to take some upper div. bio classes (at a 4-year institution).



I think that some medical schools look at community college (CC) classes in a better light than others, but take what classes you took together with all the other courses you have taken, your extracurriculars, your background, etc.

This is not to say that one cannot get into medical school with pre-reqs at a community college. A former co-volunteer (we ran a free clinic together decades ago), took all her pre-reqs at a community college, got a 43 on the MCAT, and then went to UCSF for both medical school and residency; she is now a professor there as well.

On the other hand, I know of several medical students who were advised by premed committees to retake their pre-reqs if done at a community college.

There are probably guidelines for each school as to what they will and will not accept.

Dear somedayDrA,

Congratulations on your many interviews and acceptance. Good for you!

Could you share a little about your background, like your field and degree before applying for medical schools, did you get interview and acceptance from MD or DO? your MCAT score and your age. I am going to be 47 when applying in 2012 with a PhD in engineering field, high hopes for “GPA>3.85 in my prerequisites and high MCAT score”, more than 700 hours of volunteer by the time of application,…

As you are well aware the age is the main concern, and I am trying to evaluate my chances through making up for the age factor with other things.

I would appreciate your response.