Will a D really do damage?

I have tried my ultimate best with this Orgo II class and this prof. has taken pride in making his exams impossible. He has no campus office hrs and neither does my TA…Now he’s telling me that I need to do extremely well on the final b/c he doesn’t curve at all. For once in my life I am doing better in Physics 2 ,which I am taking at the same time with Orgo 2 and looking at a possibility of a B at the end of the course. I am thinking just take the D b/c I can’t afford the tuition anymore . Can I just take biochem at a community college to make up for this grade? So far my post bac career has been mostly b’s ,one A, one C—any advise? I am also taking the aug mcats and applying soon…Thanks

I’m sure you recognize that your GPA at a 3.0 (which is what it sounds like if you’ve got mostly Bs, one A and one C) is low for applying to med school. So yeah, the D is going to hurt, unfortunately.
The question is, what to do about it now? I have heard of schools that won’t accept a D in a prerequisite course - you may be facing repeating O-chem II regardless. Get out your list of schools you’re applying to and start researching this question… if you do end up with the D, you are going to need to check with each school and find out their policy. You don’t want to take anything for granted.
Beyond that, you asked if biochem at a CC will help. Well, it can’t hurt, certainly, as long as you get an A. It WON’T enhance your application if you get anything less, though.
Finally, there is the question of whether you’ve got o-chem concepts down sufficiently for the MCAT. It is hard to know how much you’ve learned when you’re in the difficult situation you’ve faced this semester of a prof who isn’t accessible (you should complain btw and I hope you will complain LOUDLY; no office hours is a disgrace, you are PAYING for this!). But you need to do some serious soul-searching to determine if you’re going to be ready for the MCAT.
Can you take o-chem II at the CC? Quite honestly I would think that is preferable to doing biochem, but I will be interested to hear others’ opinions.
Good luck.


…when you’re in the difficult situation you’ve faced this semester of a prof who isn’t accessible (you should complain btw and I hope you will complain LOUDLY; no office hours is a disgrace, you are PAYING for this!).

No office hours is tremendously unprofessional AND probably against the professor’s teaching contract. Doesn’t matter if he/she is an adjunct faculty member or a full prof with tenure. Office hours are a requirement!! This is something to go to the dept chairperson and on up the food chain to the dean if need be. Good luck and study hardy!

I agree, I think that most schools do require a C or better for the prereqs. Can you look into taking it somewhere else?

Watch biochem at CC, it may not “count”. Biochem is supposed to be an upper level chem class, taken after OChem II. Since a CC can really only offer years 1 and 2, it might not transfer.
Ochem at CC might be OK if you do well with it there. My Ochem instructor at CC (all instructors I had for that matter) had office hours AND an open door policy. He even did special review sessions outside regular school hours.
They were always available.
You might consider talking to admissions department at some med schools you like and ask their advice.



…when you’re in the difficult situation you’ve faced this semester of a prof who isn’t accessible (you should complain btw and I hope you will complain LOUDLY; no office hours is a disgrace, you are PAYING for this!).

No office hours is tremendously unprofessional AND probably against the professor’s teaching contract. Doesn’t matter if he/she is an adjunct faculty member or a full prof with tenure. Office hours are a requirement!! This is something to go to the dept chairperson and on up the food chain to the dean if need be. Good luck and study hardy!

I third that! I feel so litigious today…advising everyone to complain, but yes, complain. In law school (not myself), I was so surprised to see how many grades went up because of complaining. In this case, I really think you have a point. It’s unfair that the professor makes it a point to be unavailable and when a student is having difficulty they have no recourse. No curve,nothing!

Let me be blunt: the answer to your topic question is, yes. A D will really do damage.
If you can drop the class–and it may take complaining in some of the ways above–do it. And also regroup. Right now, your post-bac grades are already not what they probably should be for you to have good chances of getting into medical school. I think you need to step back and look at what you’re doing to get to your goal and how you can change your approach. Taking the D because you can’t afford the tuition is a definite case of losing the forest for the trees, and I think that suggests you may be getting a little overwhelmed and maybe not thinking as strategically as you could. I strongly suggest getting some in-person academic advising from someone who is both honest and kind to help you strategize on next steps.
If there is any way to drop the class–including complaining about the lack of office hours, etc–I would recommend that.
Good luck. We’re rooting for you.

"Watch biochem at CC, it may not “count”. Biochem is supposed to be an upper level chem class, taken after OChem II. Since a CC can really only offer years 1 and 2, it might not transfer."
I just have to respond to this–I feel like I am forever seeing posts where people warn about the non-transferability of CC courses. The fact is, most states have limited budgets to spend on public education. They are quite careful to make sure that the courses offered at the community colleges are not superfluous wastes of everyone’s money, but actually transfer to the same state’s four year universities. The goal of a CC is not to turn out endless AA graduates who can’t DO anything with their degrees.
Most CCs won’t even OFFER biochemistry. It’s a junior level chemistry course, and not appropriate to the mission of a 2 year college. If a CC does offer such a class, it’s probably listed in the course catalog as being tailored for a certain professional program, and won’t be listed as counting toward a chemistry major. No halfway decent school would try to trap students by deceiving them as to the type of coursework they’re offering.
Medical schools have their attitudes about CCs. But that’s a different issue.

Thanks your take, 2ndave. You bring up a good point…there is a lot of mixed information coming up about taking your premed requirements or science classes at a community college. I do see it popping up everything, but there is no thread devoted to it…I think it should be added as a FAQ and I’ve added it. To help other posters and dispel any myths floating around, I think it would be a good idea to address your points there as well. Thanks!

I think a lot of it may be the state/city in which you live and what their mission is for that particular population. In Maryland, some of the CC’s are not overly challenging (I attended two of them- one good, one dud). However, some are rather good. For example, Baltimore City Community College (located in downtown Baltimore, a city ravaged by drugs and crime in some neighborhoods) is tailored for people who are putting their lives back together, such as welfare-to-work moms. On the other hand, Anne Arundel Community College (located in nice suburbia) has great programs, including a strong AA nursing programa.
My point is that every individual will have a different experience depending on his/her school. There are at least thousands of CC’s around the country and it may be difficult for adcom’s to keep track of the good vs. medicore vs. bad ones.
I’m not saying it’s right but that’s the rules of the game we have chosen to play. Someday, when some OPM’s are sitting on adcom’s, we can change that perception.
Just my two cents,

I spoke with the academic advising office of both the local community college and the local univeristy. What I discovered is that most all the professors at the local community college hold a PhD in their respective field. I decided to attend the community college and English Comp II to Gen, Chem I to College Algebra, all my professors in these classes held a PhD. The community college even had a full time premdedical advisor who worked closely with the premedical advisors at the local university. I would suggest that you check out both avenues and then you can determine which will give you the best foundation to further your education.


My point is that every individual will have a different experience depending on his/her school. There are at least thousands of CC’s around the country and it may be difficult for adcom’s to keep track of the good vs. medicore vs. bad ones.

This is an IMPORTANT point. Having sat on an AdCom, I can tell you that it is safe to say they do not know community colleges except perhaps the ones in their immediate geographic area. There are LOTS of unknowns for AdComs, which increases your risk if you are getting CC credit. First is grades: the AdCom has some understanding of what university As and Bs are - and often will know the school and have a sense of where their grades distribute. They will NOT know that for a CC. I think I’m safe in saying that anything less than an A at a CC is a poor showing, and I realize that isn’t necessarily fair but it’s because of the unknown quantity. Now, you can help them put your CC grades in perspective by doing well on the MCAT - in that case, obvioiusly your A at a CC means you learned a lot. But what if your MCAT scores are ordinary or mediocre? Then they start having a lot of doubts.
“Faculty qualifications” has been touched on as a yardstick for you to use in gauging whether a CC’s offerings are up to par, and certainly a Ph.D. in the field is far preferable to a Master’s degree if you are teaching a core science. There is something else to consider about faculty and your application: I have seen CC faculty recommendations for med school and they were NOT as helpful to the applicants as those written by four-year faculty. The committee wrestled with how much stock to put in such letters - when a CC faculty writes “one of the best I’ve ever had,” the context is quite different from a faculty member at a highly competitive university. We just didn’t know if that meant the applicant really was good, or if they just shone in comparison with a really average student body. I would anticipate that a CC with a pre-med advising program is more savvy about this, but don’t assume - the advising may be rather rudimentary, geared toward keeping the CC student on track to go to a four-year program rather than providing the pre-med services that are available at the four-year school.
I strongly advise that you find out, from both the CC and its complementary state four-year schools, about whether a course could be used in applying to transfer to a four-year school. This information may take a little digging to find, but you need to know - is the gen-chem sequence at the CC going to be acceptable to that state’s four-year college as meeting the chemistry major prerequisite? At least in Virginia, the CCs and four-year state schools talk to each other and the four-year schools can say which CC courses are acceptable and which aren’t. You need to know this even if you only need to take the prerequisites and have no intention of transferring to a four-year school; it is a measure of the difficulty level of the course.
Finally, here is another opportunity for me to give my pitch about the admissions process. This is a SALE. Your application to medical school is a sales pitch to an AdCom for why they should accept you. You need to be very knowledgeable about every aspect of your “product.” You don’t want them imagining stuff about your qualifications and background, because with so many applicants, such imagining is NOT going to give you the benefit of any doubts. To the greatest extent possible, you want to make them comfortable with what you’re presenting so that they can readily imagine you sitting in one of their lecture hall seats. Any time you present an application with unknown stuff you are making the sale just a little harder. You may not be able to help that - for example, the ONLY chance you may have to take o-chem and still remain employed is by going to a CC. Just recognize that this is going to make them a little uncomfortable, and so you will have to resolve to really do well on the MCAT to reassure them that you learned something.
Note there ARE some schools that flat-out don’t accept CC credits. I am pretty sure Duke is one; when I was comparing stories as an applicant I am sure I heard of others. It’s not a lot of schools, but you need to know to save $$ when applying.
Hope this helps; I realize now that I have typed all this in that it might’ve been more helpful to put in the FAQ thread that iwant2bmd has started but uhhhhhhh… sorry I didn’t think of it til I was done!

Thanks for the response all…I tried reaching my professor prior to tonight final last week and his email listed to the class was not functioning…I studied studied,did problems over and over—took the exam tonight and I was like whoa! I know I’ll be taking this class over. This man takes pride on making an impossible exam. I was the last one out and I felt like bursting into tears. This has been a very tough semester and now I have Physics II final on Wed. I am out in MD and paying out of state tuition (I paid over $8k for three classes only–had to charge it)…it’s killing me and I am tapped out. My job has been very patient with me with the condition that I return to my regular schedule next week . I had some morning classs that forced me to come in later and I am behind at work…So far checking classes, only a cc schedule will do b/c my state school doesn’t offer evening and cc is affordable right now as wel. I have no idea what to do about my application process now. I have the MCAT is Aug…I must push forward although I feel physically, I can’t do it anymore.Maybe after some sleep in two days I’ll be better. Sorry had to vent-- I just feel so upset. I have tried the pre-med office about my situation, now they are sending me to another section.It’s going to be a long fight I’m afraid…I have allot to sort through right now.Thanks for all the responses.

Armanda, please do not think that you are locked into a schedule which is going to force you to follow one bad experience with another. You aren’t required to take the August MCAT, of course - I know that you are feeling like you have laid out a schedule and you need to stick to it, but if the path you’ve planned is going to actually make it harder to get to your goal, then it’s time to look at alternate routes. (okay, enough with the travel metaphors)
I agree you should get some sleep, consult with some advisors, and think carefully about what to do next. Right now you’re not in a position to think clearly.

I agree with Dr. Mary.
I can’t believe the cost you paid…$8000 for 3 classes. WOW

Well the final grade is a D…Geez…my head is just spinning right now…I have no idea right now…It’s looks like I have to speak to these program directors on Mon about this—I am so angry—in any other school—the least a C-…I am not taking this thing lying down–the way these people treat people—I am not one of these young kids just entering college and all my attorney friends want me to put in this fight---- strong—we’ll see…now Ihave to figure out work/life because there aren’t any evening classes offered for summer courses…things aren’t looking good at all…

I can relate to your circumstances. It is very frustrating when faculty pull this kind of garbage. The arrogance blows me away. I complained because I couldn’t get accommodations for my disability and they squashed me like a bug. It is easy to say sue, but that takes money I don’t have.
A few things you might look into:
1. Look at your schools faculty code of conduct. The other posts about office hours, are correct, he has to have some office hours. And what’s up with no e-mail (or another way to contact him.)I would look at all the campus policies and use them.
2. Is there a faculty review website with a link to your school to get insight on this prof? Most people who do unethical things have a track record. Check to see if there is any dirt.
3. What about the Dept of Education, both fed and state.
4. Campus Ombudsman
5. Lastly one of your lawyer friends.
It has been my experience that if they can run you off (and keep your money) they will. I approached my problem in good faith, addressed the problem while it was still small, and had some really nasty things done to me. There are a lot of scummy people in the ivory tower. Just because they are educated doesn’t mean they are good people.
You have made a significant investment of time and money. If you can walk away and go elsewhere, you may have to consider doing that. If that isn’t possible, then you have to hunker down and deal with the problem. You made a good point in your first post, you are an adult and not eighteen. Make sure they treat you like one.
The best and most important advice I can give you, STAY DISPASSIONATE. Keep your cool and stay on point. This prof may think his #$%& doesn’t stink, but he can’t do whatever he wants. Do some research figure out a way to help yourself. Please don’t give up. My mom calls me the energizer bunny.
Also important do what is right for you. Your primary objective is medical school. Make your stay and fight or leave and finish elswhere choice on what gets you to your primary objective. In ten years when you are an MD this jerk will be a forgotten stain.
I wish you well. I wish I could help you with this class and this problem. I would gladly do it. Take care. Send me a PM if you need to talk.

I am really sorry to haer things turned out badly for you. Even when I was an organic chemistry lab TA I still had to had posted office hours and had to be there during those hours.

I hope you can get things straightened out to your favor. Good luck.

I agree that you need to spend some time figuring out just what your objectives are. Right now you are hurt and angry and would like to take someone down - but that is not likely to move you closer to your goal.
Okay, deep breath. What I’m going to say next is going to sound harsh. Please be assured that I am not kicking you when you’re down. Over my years on OPM, though, I’ve seen lots of folks in your shoes - so determined to reach the final goal that they don’t realize that they’re quite a bit off course and need to stop and do a thorough reaassessment of just what they’re doing to get there. In that light, this o-chem experience actually could end up helping you to make the necessary course corrections. So please bear with me during this reality check, okay?
The discussion about your situation has mostly focused on this professor’s poor performance, and I agree that you have something to complain about due to his lack of availability. However, you can’t complain about your grade or his hard exams unless everyone in the class got a D or worse. While you could argue that you would have earned a better grade had he been available for help, that time is now past. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that a C- would substantially change your situation… while med schools may indicate that a C is the lowest grade they’ll accept in a prerequisite class, the fact is that they’ll mostly be seeing As (some Bs) from their applicants. If the D prevents you from applying now, that may actually be a good thing - it’ll save you money this year (on application fees) and buys you some time to figure out what you need to do differently.
I know this isn’t what you want to hear. I appreciate that you’re in a tough position with course availability in your area. I don’t know enough about you to know if you’ll be able to consider moving so I’m not going to get into that. And I am afraid that I have only these observations to make, and no specific suggestions for what you might consider as your next move. Well, I have one suggestion: take your time, don’t rush into the next course.
You can do this - it just may end up being via a different strategy than you’d originally expected.

As usual, Mary has some very important words to say to you. I think she is a smart lady. She said what I was thinking as well. Ultimately it is up to us as to how well we can do in a class. It is sometimes up to us to conquer the classes we take. When I had Organic I, my prof would give us a 13 page exam and we had 50 minutes to complete it. I had to write soo fast that most of the time I had no idea what I was writing. I had to know the stuff frontwards and backwards just to have a prayer in the world of being able to finish. So many students would only get to the 9 or 10th page and would end up leaving the rest blank. They went to the dean and the dean said, if no one could finish the tests then he would step in, however people were finishing and since they could finish, everyone should be able to finish. I learned to write super fast and would leave the tests with a VERY sore hand and a superly stressed body. My heart would be racing and I literally had to find someone to sit and close my eyes for awhile. I managed a B and considered myself luck.

Some classes will stress you to the brink of the breaking point. Those are the classes that will take your undivided attention just to pass.

I do hope you can take a rest over the summer and collect your thoughts and be ready to tackle classes again in the fall. I wish you well. Chill and relax… it should work out in the end and tomorrow is a new day.