Taking prereqs at community college?

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  • #29871
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Did any of you take any of your prereqs at a community college? I’ve heard some people say it doesn’t matter and others say that med schools really frown on that. Unfortunately, I’m trying to complete mine while working full-time. Due to schedule and budget constraints, the community college classes are just more feasible for me. It’s about $200/semester at the cc vs. more than $500/semester at the university. That’s only for one class and doesn’t include books. I would love any advice you have. Thanks!

    #29872
    Jade 's MomJade’s Mom
    Participant

    I’m taking Pre-reqs at a community college and I love it. The class sizes are smaller and the college offers Bio and Chem I and II and Physics and Calculus I and II. I’m planning on transfering to a University to finish up my B.A. in Biology. But I think I’ll have something like 3 semesters left when I do that. I hadn’t heard that Med schools frown on it, but it definitely freaks me out. I don’t see why they would have a problem with it unless you’re not planning on getting a Bachelor’s Degree. Just make sure your courses will transfer.

    #29873
    shauna ,MS,MomMD2Bshauna,MS,MomMD2B
    Participant

    I took ALL my med school prereqs at a community/junior college; gen chem, O-chem, biology, physics, calculus, and english. I then transferred to the university to complete my BA.

    I heard from a med sch admissions counselor that med schools want to see that your grades CONTINUE to be good, or even get better, once you’re at the Univ, so that they can tell that you can do ‘upper division’ work. They like to see an ‘upward trend’ or at least a stable one. If grades fall off once a person is at the Univ, it may indicate that they can only manage ‘lower division’ work, but can’t really handle the heavy duty stuff (i.e. med school).

    I got accepted into med sch, and questions pertaining to my attendance at the JC in my early years never came up. :no:

    Shauna

    #29874
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Thank you both for your input. That makes me feel better. My situation is a little different, though, because I got 2 BAs (Journalism and Spanish, totally un-science related) about 3 years ago. Now I’m going back solely to take the prereqs. I did pretty well in undergrad (3.84 GPA), but didn’t have any upper-division science classes to show for it. Has anyone been in a similar situation?

    #29875
    MelissaGrayMelissaGray
    Participant

    I took calc (which I ended up not needing) and both semesters of organic at a CC after I had finished by B.S.

    It wasn’t an issue that the school ever mentioned. Just be sure that you do well.

    #29876
    merrimerri
    Participant

    I am in a very similar situation — I got my BA in French in 99 — Yes, decided to change careers 🙂
    Because of work, i too started getting my prereqs at a community college. Ok here goes — I’ve heard from the lips of several deans of admissions (good schools) that for post baccs/nontrads it DOES matter. It’s ok to do the lower division prereqs at a JC; however, I was told that it was very important to take some upper division science courses at a 4 year university to prove that we can “handle” harder science courses. Especially since you (like me) were not a science major… Personally, I am taking the lower division prereqs at a JC, then I am going to take some additional science courses (maybe genetics, etc.) at the local 4 year uni. I had to dig for this info since most info out there is about premed comm college students who still need to transfer and get a degree — totally different situation — for them, they just need to prove themselves once they transfer. We will be scrutinized a little more closely 🙂 If you have time, try to attend a premedical conference — then you can get many of your questions answered.

    Hope this helps 😉

    #29877
    catwomancatwoman
    Participant

    Hi,
    I go to an Ivy League med school now and was a non traditional student as well. Although I did what one of the posters advised (most of my pre-reqs at a CC, then a few heavy hitters at a private school that I saved up for — Orgo and Immunology), I actually think the smartest thing to do is to be a research assistant if you can for a semester or two at some point during your pre-reqs in science. Labs at great universities are hiring all the time. Depending on your knowledge base and skills, you could also end up getting someone to write a letter for you to med school out of this. In addition, courses are free or heavily subsidized for employees of major universities.

    A lot of my classmates did this and I really wish I had known about it. Life was a lot easier to balance as a job in a lab can be flexible hours. You do not need a BA or other degree in the sciences to qualify either for many lab/ science jobs — often you jjust need basic literacy and they teach you the rest.

    Good luck.

    Catwoman

    #29878
    RiversDisguiseRiversDisguise
    Participant

    Catwoman, as always, has great advice. I would also add that if you do well on the MCAT, a lot of otherwise problematic academic factors (e.g., community college pre-reqs, BA from state school in the South) will be overlooked.

    #29879
    Jade 's MomJade’s Mom
    Participant

    I think a big problem is the idea that coursework at community colleges is somehow “easier” than the same classes at a University. If this is true, then why is it set up so that these classes transfer towards a degree at a University? As a student at a CC, I often feel like a have to overcome some sort of prejudice–like people think I’m not a serious college student because I attend a CC. I believe this is because there are so many people attending community colleges that can’t get into universities because of grades, etc. However, there are many of us who take classes at a CC for many different reasons. I’m going to a CC because it is a 20 minute commute as opposed to a 60 minute commute and I’d prefer not to leave my 18mth old in daycare an extra 2 hours each day. I’ve been so effected by this aforementioned “prejudice” and the bitterness I encounter among fellow CC students that I’ve made the decision to make that extra commute in the fall to the University (I’ve already been accepted). I guess the need to be taken seriously is a problem I need to overcome on my own, but when I read about CC classes being called “lower division” I realize that some people really believe this. I know some fellow students taking Physics that I’m sure would disagree that the class is “lower division.” Anyone else out there feel this way?

    #29880
    MarilynMarilyn
    Participant

    I am taking classes at a CC as well and it is NOT easier than the same classes at the University here. In fact, so many of my professors teach at both the university and the CC.

    I will be transfering to the university this fall though because I have taken 60 hrs at the CC and in order to finish up my degree there.

    I *love* my CC and will miss it, we have small classes, we all get to know the teachers very well inside and outside class, lots of adults, cheaper, shorter commute, many more night and weekend and internet classes, free tutoring, etc

    But ya I get tired of the stereotypes as well about CC.

    Marilyn

    #29881
    MelissaGrayMelissaGray
    Participant

    Originally posted by merri:
    Ok here goes — I’ve heard from the lips of several deans of admissions (good schools) that for post baccs/nontrads it DOES matter. It’s ok to do the lower division prereqs at a JC; however, I was told that it was very important to take some upper division science courses at a 4 year university to prove that we can “handle” harder science courses. Especially since you (like me) were not a science major…

    This is very true. You don’t want your only science classes to be from a CC. My point, however, is still that there usually isn’t a problem taking the lower-level classes at a CC. Many non-trads have some upper-division classes to take in addition to the lower-division ones and, obviously, will have to go to a university to complete them.

    #29882
    merrimerri
    Participant

    I agree — there is no problem taking the core science classes at a CC. That’s exactly what I am doing to save money, time, get more interaction, etc. In fact, in my Physics class, about 1/3 of the class already had their BA or BS and were returning students (going into engineering, PT, premed). It was very encouraging.

    No one should feel ashamed that they are going to a community college — We are doing what we can, how we can, to achieve our goals.

    If anyone is interested, send me a message — the community college that I attend has a premedical AMSA group and will be hosting a premedical conference later this year — this conference is geared specifically towards cc students. It was great last year — extremely helpful — we had current med students and deans of admissions from Stanford, UCSF, UCDavis, and TUCOMS. All of the students had gone to cc! So there is hope 🙂 I’m interested in having more women involved to address women in medicine issues (current med students/moms, residents, etc.)

    Merri

    #29883
    merrimerri
    Participant

    I also wanted to add that most general science prereq courses at a big 4 yr uni are usually weed out courses — whereas at the community college, the profs there actually want to teach you 🙂

    Also, you have a better chance at getting to know your professor — if you really shine and show leadership skills, you may even get a very good letter of rec. Just a thought.

    #29884
    merrimerri
    Participant

    I also wanted to add that most general science prereq courses at a big 4 yr uni are usually weed out courses — whereas at the community college, the profs there actually want to teach you 🙂

    Also, you have a better chance at getting to know your professor — if you really shine and show leadership skills, you may even get a very good letter of rec. Just a thought.

    #29885
    PremedRNPremedRN
    Participant

    I am suprised to hear that taking upper-level science courses at a 4yr university will prove you can handle harder classes. I have always gone to a University and it has been my experience and experience of many others that the upper level courses are easier because the professors are soo much more laid back. Genetics and cell bio were WAY harder than Gross anatomy and Med Micro. Some of the professors will tell you, “Well ya made it through the weeding process, so we arent gonna be as hard on you now that you have gotten this far.”

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