Transferring from Community College and Interested in Medical School

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colettealexandra1

Transferring from Community College and Interested in Medical School

Post by colettealexandra1 » Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:30 pm

<March 2, 2017 - cleaned up this thread to remove the non-essential posts>

Hey!

I had a couple of questions regarding some of the specific steps i have to take to get accepted into a med school.

Im actually in a community college working on my general education so that i can transfer into a university. I wanted to know if i need to start working on some premed courses in the community school, or do i wait until i transfer to start on my science classes. right now I am taking the transfer requirments (I.E. math, english, speech)

I just want to be prepared.

if any med students, or any premed students in 4 year universities could help me out, id appreciate it.


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DrDave
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Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by DrDave » Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:32 pm

I would highly recommend you take your pre-med classes at a full college not a junior college or community college. From what I have heard, medical schools would not take too seriously the community college intensity of the coursework for those classes. Additionally, I don't think they would be comprehensive enough to adequately prepare you for the the MCAT or the intensity of work you'd encounter in medical school.

lunabeam82

Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by lunabeam82 » Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:33 pm

Hi,
I'm an Army wife and my husband get stationed some where new about every 18 months. Consequently, I have several transcripts...some from 4-year universities, and some from community colleges. My GPA is 3.8. I was wondering if having more than one transcript is going to affect the outcome my application to medical school. Any help will be much appreciated.

Thanks,

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Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by DrDave » Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:33 pm

Lunabeam82,

I would think that having multiple transcripts would not be that big of a deal, especially as you are able to give a very clear and reasonable explanation. The most important issue in your case would be where you took your pre-med / science courses (not a community college would be greatly preferred) and what your grades were in your pre-med classes. A 3.8 GPA is very solid for almost any college.

So - bottom line is that (my best guess) multiple transcripts probably won't have much of an impact in your case.

Corpsman-Up2

Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by Corpsman-Up2 » Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:35 pm

Once upon a time, I was a transfer student from a community college to a respected state university. I would tend to agree with Dr. Dave's advice NOT to take too many (read: any) of your pre-med requirements at the CC level. I took some of my pre-med stuff during the latter part of my undergrad degree, some as a graduate student, and then finished it as a post-bac pre-med student (I didn't know for certain that I wanted to go to med school when I was in undergrad). With that said, I would not say that I am sorry that I started at a community college! It gave me an excellent springboard to the university level, and it was what I could afford at the time. If you are able to bang out a bunch of your required general education courses there, then once you transfer you can focus your energies on the pre-med classes and the electives for your bachelor's degree. Not a bad deal, in the long run. (Note: Some of your more competitive medical schools could turn up their noses at CC credit, though, so bear in mind what you want down the road, too...)

As far as multiple transcripts go, as long as you have a reason for changing schools so frequently (such as military moves, or whatever-the-heck-else), most medical schools will not likely give a fat rat's patoot about it. As long as the grade performance, MCAT scores, and other elements of a strong application are there, you're probably good to go.

From my own experience, I do have to say that the on-line application process will be more of a pain for you if you have a bunch of college transcripts! Remember that you have to enter EVERY CLASS you have ever taken, and it can take a while if you are an older applicant with several schools attended. No biggie, though, it is what it is.

Good luck!


medbound

Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by medbound » Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:08 am

I have been wondering about this topic as well. I am a postbac student and I am currently enrolled at both a community college, and major university. So far I have taken both Chem I and Chem 2 at the CC. I am planning to take Organic Chemistry, Biology and Physics there as well (all courses with lab portions). The more advanced prereqs I will take at the university for sure. Is that bad? Will it hurt my chances at medschool?

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Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by DrDave » Sun Jul 25, 2010 7:01 pm

medbound,

As I said above:
DrDave wrote:I would highly recommend you take your pre-med classes at a full college not a junior college or community college. From what I have heard, medical schools would not take too seriously the community college intensity of the coursework for those classes. Additionally, I don't think they would be comprehensive enough to adequately prepare you for the the MCAT or the intensity of work you'd encounter in medical school.
It will definitely hurt your chances as most medical schools require the pre-med courses to be taken at a 4 year college. I have heard of ONE story (third hand) of someone getting accepted who took pre med courses at a community college. It's therefore may be possible to get accepted taking the pre-med coursework at a community college, but definitely not recommended.

samri08

Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by samri08 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:37 am

I had a tough few years in college with many things coming up causing me to drop some of my science classes and actually fail A&P at my community college. Is it possible for me to just "start all over" at a university and have medical schools not pay attention to the CC grades and more towards my grades at a university?

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Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by DrDave » Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:01 pm

samri08,

You won't be able to "start over" as there is no way to really erase your academic history. I'm not aware of anyone who failed a science class and managed to get into medical school, but there probably is someone out there who did. If you have a valid explanation for why things were such that you failed your community college science class, and you did exceptionally well once that problem was resolved, and you do very well on your MCAT exams, perhaps you have a chance of finding a school that would be understanding.

cornell1

Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by cornell1 » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:46 pm

I spent ONE year at a Community College but transferred to Cornell University. My premed courses were started at the Community College level but were finished at Cornell. Cornell accepted the credits, so I do not see why med school would look down on this. I have done better than some of the Cornell students in those courses that I took at the Community College and was even a TA for one. As long as your MCAT score shows that you have grasped the knowledge necessary for medical school, there should not be a problem with taking courses at the community college level. How could this possibly be a hindrance?

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Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by DrDave » Sat Oct 30, 2010 10:48 pm

Cornell1,

How far are you currently in your studies? Have you spoken with the pre-med advisor at Cornell? I have heard of people getting into medical school having taken the pre-med science classes at a community college, but I have only heard of that happening ONCE before, and that was a report of someone in an online forum.

In general, the pre-med science classes are FAR more intense at a 4 year university than they are at a community college, and that is how admissions committees may view those courses on your transcript.

I am very interested to hear what medical school's admissions committees think/thought of your application as there are many people who have asked about taking pre-med coursework at a community college.

What does the Cornell pre-med advisor say about your coursework from the community college?

collegestudent2323

Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by collegestudent2323 » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:25 am

I go to PSU and I have 3.6. I am looking at both DO and MD programs. I scored desent on my MCATS with a score of 35. I have a couple of little problems. I went to a community college over the summer to full fill some gen eds. I got C in everything because only the credits transfered. Do I have to show the med schools that i am applying to these poor grades. On my PSU transcipt it shows that I took them at another university.

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Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by DrDave » Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:54 pm

collegestudent2323,

From what I've heard, the medical schools will require transcripts from all colleges you attended. Unfortunately, low grades at a community college will not look good. Most medical schools consider community college courses to be easier compared to a university course.

Collegestudent2323

Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by Collegestudent2323 » Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:17 pm

I actually just talked to my advisor about this. He said this is going to look terrible on my application. Does anybody have any ideas to fix it?

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Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by DrDave » Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:59 pm

With the C's, what does your GPA come to? Perhaps with your grades overall, your cumulative GPA won't be too bad. If the grades are too low to get into med school because of the community college grades, there may be an option of retaking the community college courses. I've heard that some DO schools will replace the grade with the new grade, if the recent course is at least as many credits as the original course. Obviously check with whatever programs you are considering to see if they have this policy. It might be the easiest way to correct those grades.

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Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by flowerpower » Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:52 pm

I'm currently at a CC college and have finished my pre-med courses except for Ochem. I'll soon be transferrring to UCSD, where Ochem is extremely difficult(i've heard). I want to take upper divs(except ochem) at UCSD while cross enrolling at my current CC to finish my OCHEM. However,I know that it doesn't look good to go back to CC after transferring, especially when taking a pre-med science course. My question is, wouldn't it look worse to have,for example, a C in OChem at UCSD as opposed to an A in Ochem at CC? Isn't GPA more important than the difficulty of study(or school) when it comes down to admissions? I'm stuck on what to do.

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Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by DrDave » Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:42 pm

flowerpower,

I've heard some medical schools won't accept the required pre-med science classes from a community college. I would suggest you contact a few medical schools you are considering and see if they will accept pre-med science classes that are taken at a community college. I have heard of very rare cases of someone getting into medical school after having taken the pre-med courses at a community college, but that situation is extremely rare. Until I hear more reports of people being successful going that route, I would strongly encourage you to take the required pre-med courses at a university.

In general, you are correct that GPA is more important than the difficulty of the school; however, that assumes you are comparing 4 year university programs. Even then, you will see some allowances made for specific schools at some medical schools.

If you do contact some medical schools about their willingness to consider pre-med courses from a community college, please let us know what they say.

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Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by 8Pan » Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:00 am

Hi
I just finished my AA at a community college within one year (it's supposed to be a 4 year college already, but most universities do not look at it that way). I already took all my pre-med classes there, with a science GPA of 3.67 (Gen Chem, Gen Bio, Gen phy) and an overall GPA of 3.8. I plan to major in biochem as an undergraduate at University of Florida, so I will take many more higher level science classes there. If I do well in these classes, would Med-schools still accept my pre-med classes at a community college? I know some Med-college do not accept it, but is it just the really really good ones, or most would not accept it. please give me some advice on what I should do now to give me a better chance of entering a reasonably good medical school.

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Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by DrDave » Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:44 pm

8Pan,

See the post before yours. I would make the same suggestion to you that I did to flowerpower:
I would suggest you contact a few medical schools you are considering and see if they will accept pre-med science classes that are taken at a community college.
In very rare cases, they may accept those classes. Taking higher level science classes in each of those fields may make it more likely, but I would encourage you to check with some of the medical schools you would consider.

Please share your results for the rest of the visitors here, as this is one of the most common questions it seems.

Best of luck, and good job on a solid GPA thus far.

Olliver

Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by Olliver » Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:13 am

I've done a little research on the whole community college pre-med deal. First a little background. I'm a full time employee. I have to pay my own way and deal with a nice handful of bills at the moment. I took the CC route because it's cheap and the schedules are more flexible. So far I've taken Two Biology and a full year of Gen Chem (along with gen ed requirements). (I will be taking the rest of my bios, organic chem, and Physics at a four year) They were all challenging and demanding with very few people making it to the final. In fact, my gen chem course had plenty of four year kids who failed out of their university gen chems and thought CC would be an easy A. Needless to say most of them did even worse than they did at their university. Now if you go to a prestigious 4 year school where science is not taken lightly and the class average is something like 50%, and the grades have to be curved just to have a few passing kids then you could argue that the course is more demanding, but that usually has less to do with the core material and more to do with teachers that try to make the class hard. I pulled straight A's when most kids failed the science courses at my school. This was not because the curriculum was easier, this was because I put 20+ hours a week into studying and preparing. It is more important that you LEARN the material. It all comes down to the MCAT score. If you take most of your premeds at CC and get a high MCAT score, then you will show med school admissions that you LEARNED the material as opposed to someone who spent a ridiculous amount of money at a university to take their premeds and got a low or average MCAT score. Basically the MCAT is an equalizer. So don't freak out if you have to take a few pre-meds at a CC. Just study hard and make sure you learn the material you need for the MCAT. If you feel that you have not gotten what you need from a course, then by all means retake it at a university or self teach. :D

lolDrD

Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by lolDrD » Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:28 pm

Who cares? You think a degree in Engineering from MIT is viewed the same as a degree in Engineering from NYU? No, it's definitely not because I am sure it is more difficult at MIT. So if schools know that difficulty varies by school and programs shouldn't there be something to gauge what someone really knows? Oh yeah.. it's called the MCAT. Cheating happens, grade inflation, etc.

I think the no CC thing pertains to people who will use the CC as their sole exposure to science classes. Then again people apply with a 3.9 with a BA in Art and a 28 and some get in... If you're going to transfer and take upper division science then make sure you do well, better than at CC is preferred. Not everyone can afford big expensive university living.. many people in their 20s who are "trad" applicants have to work to provide for poor families. Immigrants who can't afford universities, living in dorms, etc.... go to CC.. The app is built around so much more than where you went to school.

Eagle06

Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by Eagle06 » Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:11 pm

I just spoke to about 3 admissions officers from 3 medical schools in Texas. They do not discourage taking courses at the community college level, even though it is the preferred the method to take courses at a university level. All three pretty much said the same thing. They understand the difficult times today and finances are always going to be a major factor. So long as the courses come from an accredited institution and you get very good grades (pretty much A's) and the rest of your application profile is strong then everything should be fine. They will look at the rigorous nature of the school work but that alone will not prevent one person from being admitted.

jcortez7

Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by jcortez7 » Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:24 pm

I am currently attending a community college and just want to make sure if i take some of my science courses here will affect me in any negative way from going on to medical school. i know many have posted about this issue but i still would like some clarity. if i were to take most of them at my community college level should i then try and take a few upper level science classes at the university? i have talked with my friend and he took gen chem, ochem, bio and physics at a community college got into UCLA and is now attending georgetown for med school. so if anyone can give me some advice on the matter it would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by DrDave » Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:06 pm

jcortez7,

You are lucky to have a friend who has been through a similar process. Talking to your friend will give you a wealth of knowledge about what to expect, and what worked for him. I'm curious if he took higher level science courses at UCLA or if he just let his community college courses stand on their own merit. I would suggest you contact some medical schools are you considering and ask their admissions committee what they require. I think most people agree that it is best to take the pre-med required courses at a university as opposed to a community college; however, I have heard rare reports of people getting accepted taking the pre-med courses at a community college.

Best of luck, and please update us on what you find out from your friend, as well as what your experience is as you apply to medical schools.

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Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by Yvonne17 » Tue Jul 12, 2011 2:53 pm

Hi, i am going to be a high school senior starting to apply to college. I am planning to attend a community college for two years and transfer to a university for my junior and senior year. I have heard that it is a bad idea to take my pre med courses at the community college.If i start taking them my junior year, will i be prepared to take the MCAT my junior year? i want to go to med school right after college.

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Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by DrDave » Sun Jul 17, 2011 10:14 am

Yvonne17,

I don't think it'd be possible to be ready for the MCAT your junior year if you wait until your junior year to take your pre-med courses. I suppose this is one potential downside of going to community college first, in that it would be unlikely that you can go to medical school after 2 years community college and 2 years at a 4 year college. You would want to have taken all of your required pre-med courses before taking the MCAT, and it takes two years to take all of the pre-med courses.

One potential option I would see is if you take a pre-med course at the community college, some medical schools will accept those courses if you take at least two higher level courses in that same field at the 4 year college. I would definitely check with the medical schools you would be considering and find out what their view is towards community college pre-med science classes. If you aren't looking to go to a top tier school (most people aren't) then you have more options. While it isn't recommended to take pre-med courses at the community college, there are exceptions.

You could also just plan on taking an extra year between college and medical school to do something else, such as working, taking other courses of interest, volunteering, etc.

It is good that you are finding out about these things now, so you won't be surprised later.

Dr. Pepper

Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by Dr. Pepper » Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:24 pm

i have a question regarding med school.
i just graduated high shcool, and i begin classes at a community college january?
any suggestions on what actions i may take from the beginning to end, to get into med school?
what university should i take my pre meds at?
should i get a job at a hospital?
any extra curricular activities that would make my application look better than others?
any feed back will help, thanks

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Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by DrDave » Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:32 pm

At the community college you will want to take the courses that will transfer to whatever university and also will meet requirements to graduate. You won't want to take courses you expect to count towards your pre-med requirements. You can take science classes, but plan on taking the pre-med science classes at a four year college.

After community college, you will want to transfer your credits to a four year college. I can't really say which college is the best for you. There are so many factors involved in selecting a college - location, cost, reputation, etc. Find one that seems to be the best fit for your needs. If you do well in your general classes, your pre-med courses and on your MCAT, then you should be in good shape even if the college isn't the best.

As for a job at a hospital, or extracurriculars - they won't hurt you any but it is hard to say how much it will help. Most medical school applicants have some sort of experience beyond purely academics. You can volunteer a few times at a local hospital. If you want to get a job at a hospital (and are able to find one) that could be a worthwhile experience. You will probably get asked during interviews why you want to be a doctor, and volunteer or work experience in the medical field always makes your answers to those types of questions stronger.

It's always best to do those extra activities because you want to - either because they seem interesting or because you want to gain knowledge and experience to better guide your career choices. Don't plan on doing it solely to put on your application.

maisamraza357

Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by maisamraza357 » Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:03 am

Do u think it would affect me in any way if i take general chemistry at the community college and then rest of the courses at a university?

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Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by DrDave » Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:35 pm

Medical schools seem to prefer you take all of your pre-med courses at a four year university and not a community college. It may not affect you, but most likely it will. Check with the schools you are considering and see what they say.

bahm

Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by bahm » Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:04 pm

I finished all of my premed requirements and graduated university but I am bored and I want to take a class just for fun at a community college. I have never taken a community college class before. Do I have to report it?

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Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by DrDave » Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:19 pm

Bahm,

I believe you would have to report all college classes taken when you apply, including community college classes.

If you want to take the class just for fun, can you take it as an "audit" class, or just take it pass/fail?

Jdo2020

Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by Jdo2020 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:59 pm

Hi Dr.Dave

I am a current community college student and I am looking to transfer to a little liberal arts college by next fall. I currently have taken english101, psychology101, spciology101 and Recieved a's and b's. I want to take a few more credits at the community college before transferring. I'm thinking english102, abnormal psychology, anatomy and physiology 1, and college algebra. So that will give me a good foundation to transfer on, and my current gpa is 3.53 ( but will get higher at private college). From there I will start to get into my pre recs for med school and hopefully finish out strong and with a good mcat score. I honestly don't think that would look bad, considering I still have a solid gpa. Any thoughts? Much thanks!

And on another note, I know the mcat is going to change in 2015, will it still be out of 45, since there are going to be new sections?

Again, thank you :)

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Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by DrDave » Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:10 am

Jdo2020,

Your plan seems pretty reasonable. Your GPA is okay, but it will be most improtant for you to maintain that leve of GPA at the four year college.

Here's a website about the changes to the MCAT for 2015. I don't know too much about it, and I'm curious how they will expect people to prepare for the psychology/social sciences section. I wonder if they will expect pre-med applicants to now also take an intro psychology course, if if they expect this material to be covered in first year biology.

I'll have to read about it some more, as I'd like to find otu why they felt a need to change it, and how they are going to analyze whether it gives a better indication of success in medical school and as a physician.

At least as important (but in a different way) is finding out how medical schools will use the new data in determining wihch students to accept.

post bac student

Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by post bac student » Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:54 pm

Hi Dr Dave and others on this site,
I have my BSN, RN degree (2013) and started at a community college where I took a number of science courses. I got into the nursing program I wanted to go to and never got below a B in any course ... until ... I took Organic Chemistry. I took Organic Chem in a 4 week summer term at a big university in the northeast this summer and got a D ... I never expected to get a D in anything, it was a big mistake to take it in the summer and even though I studied my grade doesn't reflect it. I've contacted medical admissions counselors at M.D. schools in FL and CA. Many, if not all, said it was fine to take pre-med science courses at community colleges (once you have a degree) if you can get almost all A's. Now I am no academic adviser so check with the schools you want to apply to, but I have been quite successful with starting at a community college and working my way up. The admissions counselors liked my GPA (3.85 prior to Orgo) as I graduated with honors and didn't have a problem with me finishing courses at a CC this year, but for those of us who unexpectedly got one sour grade I am back to worrying about my academic future. Do you think I could still get into an M.D. program by retaking Organic 1 at a university where I am most comfortable? I am hesitant to (re)take that course at a CC (even though it is $2,000 cheaper). I thankfully couldn't get into a summer Orgo 1 lab so I'll be starting from scratch with that as a 2 credit lab (yes, it is 2 credits, and a lot of money at my school). I do regret taking Orgo 1 in the summer, lesson learned, I just hope I can be successful in my future academic endeavors/healthcare career this fall so admissions' committees realize my dream of becoming a doctor and my true dedication to the profession.
Thank you for any advice!

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Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by DrDave » Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:56 pm

In my experience, the basic science courses at a community college are not going to be as rigorous as the pre-med level courses you would take at a 4 year college that offers majors in biology and chemistry.

That is helpful to know that some medical schools will consider the required science courses from a community college, but I would expect that your grades and experience would have to be exceptional to get accepted. I am not on an admissions committee, so I would try to find out how many people get accepted who did take their pre-med courses at a community college.

As to your problem with a D in organic chemistry - I can't imagine a 4 week organic chemistry course. It must have been pretty brutal. Assuming the community college issue weren't a factor, it seems reasonable to retake organic chemistry and assuming you do well, make sure you explain in your applications that the D was taking the class during a 4 week summer session.

You should also explore DO programs and see if you would have a better chance getting accepted into one.

Best of luck!

HSsenior

Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by HSsenior » Sun Nov 09, 2014 9:50 pm

Hi. I have a question. I'm a senior in HS now, and I want to get into medical school after college. The problem is, my freshman and sophomore year, I didn't take HS very seriously, and it severely impacted my grades. Because of that, there wasn't really any way to get into a decent college with a good pre-med program (even with my 30 on the ACT). So, the only way I can get into a good college now is to take two years at CC and then transfer into a university for my last two years. But, because I know that taking your intensive science classes at a CC is looked down on, I am going to try to just take out all of my required core classes at a CC. Most pre-med students, however, take the MCAT during their junior years, which is when I'm going to be first transferring to a university and starting my science classes. There is no way I will be prepared for that. So, if I do just go on this route, and take all my core classes and the transfer over to a university for the science classes, is it possible for me to take the MCAT after my senior year? I know it is typical that you take it the year before you plan on being in medical school, but the way I see it, it just means that I'll have a year off from school. During that time, I could build up some time volunteering in the medical field and making me look nice. Will taking the MCAT after my senior year affect my chances of getting into a medical school?

I should also add that I plan on going to Pike Peak community college for my core classes, and then transferring to DU for their pre-med courses. According to PPCC, any college in Colorado will accept credits from their school. I then plan on going to DU medical school. Will going to DU for pre-med make me look better on the application when applying to DU medical school? Help is appreciated, thanks!

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Re: Transferring from Community College

Post by DrDave » Sun Nov 09, 2014 10:08 pm

I think you are on the right path. If you get good grades, especially in your required pre-med courses (at a four year college), and you do well on the MCAT, I think you will be fine. You would want to wait until you are done with your pre-med courses before taking the MCAT, as the MCAT tests your knowledge of that material. Taking the year off is unfortunately something you'd have to do, and I don't think the medical schools will look down on that at all.

As to your question about whether going to a particular undergrad gives you any advantage with their medical school - I'm doubtful there is much if any advantage. If you happen to do research or work closely with someone who is influential in medical school admissions, then maybe. Aside from that unlikely circumstance, I don't think the advantage of going to the medical schools undergrad college makes too much difference. Some schools may give more weight than others, but I think the traditional factors are more important. Purely my opinion on this, and if you find information out there that contradicts my opinion - I wouldn't discount the other information.


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