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I need some college advice please from students, grads, or dropouts. - Page 2

post #16 of 54
I would also like to recommend going to a good state school to get your undergrad. Considering the fact that you want to go to medical school I would imagine you could do fairly well on standardized tests (ACT in MO). If you manage to get a 31 you will automatically get $2000 a year for up to five years at any Missouri State/UM school. I would suggest limiting your loan amounts as best you can (it really is annoying to have multiple extra car payments immediately after you graduate).

There are a number of schools in Missouri that are definitely good enough to get you into medical school... UMKC (if you wanna stay local), Mizzou, Truman state, Rolla, UMSL... I'd stay away from Southeast.

I have friends I went to UMSL with that got into Washington University and SLU for med school and law school. I also have a couple of friends who got into SLU Medical coming from SIUE (southern illinois). Decent grades and high test scores are going to get you noticed first... the other things are "tie breakers".

Essays are important for entrance, but not necessarily make or break. I wouldn't worry too much about them... have someone you know and trust proof-read/comment on your papers before you turn them in. Make sure grammer and spelling are correct, but more importantly the paper has something unique in it. They're not looking for the same old boring ideas... a unique paper will help you stand out if you're "on-edge" to get in. A good thing about state schools is that they usually aren't very difficult to get into if you did well in high school and test well on standardized tests.

I would suggest getting into (at least trying to get into) any honors college a school has and possibly academic related clubs/fraternitys. Most of the honors college curriculums will usurp your basic college requirements with far more interesting smaller discussion based classes.

But most of all, have fun. College is the part of your life you should learn certain things about yourself and others.

As far as what to bring... bring everything you know you'll need. Remember you'll be living there for extended periods of time. If you normally use 20 outfits, bring them... if you normally listen to all of your cds, bring them... etc. Don't bring things you haven't touched in 6 months, but don't leave anything you've used this week.

Also be weary of classes people tell you are hard... ask advice from people who have taken any class or had any professor you're considering. Even ask people you don't know
post #17 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by viator122
Well I am a law student and I went to a very prestigious university for my undergraduate. It's true that we have students here from undergraduate schools ranging from the very top to the mediocre. However, from speaking with admissions staff at various law schools, I've learned that while your undergraduate isn't determinative, it is considered. Everything else being equal, a student who went to a top-tier undergrad will get in over the same student coming from XYZ State.
so this is the law school version of post #6
post #18 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teerawit
so this is the law school version of post #6
Well I am sure your reasoning is sound, but I don't think it's the whole story. I wholeheartedly believe that you get a better education at a better school and that grad schools know it.
post #19 of 54
I am disheartened by the lack of ambition in this thread.

Go to the best school you can get into. Work well with, and compete against, the highest caliber of students you can. For me it was about being around some of the smartest people, learning from them, and realizing that I could do better that worked for me.

Best regards,

-Jason
post #20 of 54
dentists also have a much higher suicide rate than doctors.
post #21 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by marvin
Some advice.

No matter how good of an idea it may seem at the time, any degree with Engineering in the title is not a good pre-med major.

Biology is also a poor pre-med major. It's fine if you get in, but crappy if you don't. Biology degreed ex-pre-meds are legion and their pay reflects that.

Your advisor isn't kidding when they say 21 hours/semester is a lot.

Cultivate more profs than strictly needed for rec letters. You never know when they'll keel over or disappear.

Show up to class.

You can know absolutely no organic chemistry and still do pretty decent on the MCATs.

Volunteering/Leadership looks good on applications, and beats the hell out of having blank spaces there.

Dentists get paid much more with better hours than docs.

"avoid any engineering major" ..........uh what? why would you say that? what would you tell him to do? you don't think computer engineering for example would be a good major? i'm not sure where you're going with this. the biology advice is reasonable. you certainly DO NOT have to be a bio major to go to med school; i myself am a bio major, but the reason is that biology is what i'm really interested in, and am looking more into teaching/researching at this point.

so, study what you like. hell, nearly everyone i speak with has a major completely different from their current career. my father has a degree in civic engineering. he's never designed anything in his life, he's now a marketing exec for a data managment company
post #22 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjcha
I am disheartened by the lack of ambition in this thread.

Go to the best school you can get into. Work well with, and compete against, the highest caliber of students you can. For me it was about being around some of the smartest people, learning from them, and realizing that I could do better that worked for me.

Best regards,

-Jason
i generally agree, but i think it depends what your ambition is. I find it disheartening how this country regards a degree as the end all be all of intelligence and worth.
post #23 of 54
So was Caesar ambitious or not?

I'd bring something to hold soap and shampoo bottles with.
post #24 of 54
did you know that china (yes china) has a list of humanitarian crimes the u.s.a. has committed against its it own citizens, and one of the crimes is the huge debt college students have to take on just as they are starting out?

i know, "hello pot, i'm concerned about your complexion, signed kettle", but yeah...
post #25 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by uzziah
"avoid any engineering major" ..........uh what? why would you say that? what would you tell him to do? you don't think computer engineering for example would be a good major? i'm not sure where you're going with this. the biology advice is reasonable. you certainly DO NOT have to be a bio major to go to med school; i myself am a bio major, but the reason is that biology is what i'm really interested in, and am looking more into teaching/researching at this point.

so, study what you like. hell, nearly everyone i speak with has a major completely different from their current career. my father has a degree in civic engineering. he's never designed anything in his life, he's now a marketing exec for a data managment company
Personal experience. Most engineering programs don't have enough free elective hours to throw in the pre-med curriculum without dramatically increasing the number of hours you have to take. In other words, figuring out how to fit 160 credit hours into 4 years of college is a rather amusing task. Keep a reasonable GPA with that schedule is even more so.

Anything else though, you can opt for a BA and have enough hours to squeeze in the pre-reqs without to much trouble. But, if you're looking for a challenging warm up for medical school, I can heartily recommend the engineering/pre-med track.

/Biomedical engineering is explicitly excluded from this. Many programs have medical school candidate tracks which incorporate the pre-med curriculum. If the school you're going to does this, I'd look into it. It's a great way to get the basics of electrical/mechanical engineering while getting the pre-med stuff done too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redshifter
dentists also have a much higher suicide rate than doctors.
Urban legend as far as I know. The only roughly concurrent studies of dentist/doctor suicide rates I know of were done in the 60's/70's. Both commited suicide more often than the average person, but doctors had a 50% higher suicide rate. Female docs have an especially high suicide rate, ~ 7x that of the general female population.
post #26 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by marvin
Personal experience. Most engineering programs don't have enough free elective hours to throw in the pre-med curriculum without dramatically increasing the number of hours you have to take. In other words, figuring out how to fit 160 credit hours into 4 years of college is a rather amusing task. Keep a reasonable GPA with that schedule is even more so.

Anything else though, you can opt for a BA and have enough hours to squeeze in the pre-reqs without to much trouble. But, if you're looking for a challenging warm up for medical school, I can heartily recommend the engineering/pre-med track.

/Biomedical engineering is explicitly excluded from this. Many programs have medical school candidate tracks which incorporate the pre-med curriculum. If the school you're going to does this, I'd look into it. It's a great way to get the basics of electrical/mechanical engineering while getting the pre-med stuff done too.



Urban legend as far as I know. The only roughly concurrent studies of dentist/doctor suicide rates I know of were done in the 60's/70's. Both commited suicide more often than the average person, but doctors had a 50% higher suicide rate. Female docs have an especially high suicide rate, ~ 7x that of the general female population.
whoops, seems you're right. i'll shut up now (like that will happen).

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/010420.html
post #27 of 54
OK, I don't for a minute I think I have all the answers, if for no other reason than because what's the right answer for someone else may not be the right answer for you, but I do have some experiences which may be informative: I've been on undergrad and graduate admissions at a top-20 national research university; I'm the major advisor for an undergraduate major which is about 50% pre-meds; and I've spent pretty much my entire adult life at universities.

First, let me say that I think a lot of people have said a lot of very sensible things in this thread, so sometimes I'll just be elaborating:

* Just because you think you want to go to med school now does not mean that you'll still want to do it four years from now. More than 50% of the students here who come in thinking they'll be pre-med don't finish that way--and we have an unusually high retention rate. Some people drop it because they can't handle it, more drop it because they realize it isn't what they actually want to do.

* GPA is probably the single largest predictor of med school admissions. Major is almost, but not quite, irrelevant. Major in something you actually like, you'll do better and the higher GPA will offset. (Last time I saw statistics, biology had the lowest acceptance rate--the "dime a dozen" phenomenon--and the highest was electrical engineering, probably because so few people can actually carry both.)

* Someone mentioned biomedical engineering as a good path. It can be, but I wouldn't recommend that you put this on an application, at least not now. I read engineering applications two years ago and fully 50% of the applicants checked bioengineering and probably half of those also checked pre-med. You want to know what this says to someone in admissions? It says you probably haven't done your homework. Biomedical engineering is not the same as medicine. (Think of it this way: most doctors don't know enough engineering to design a replacement hip, but you definitely want a doctor and not a bioengineer doing the installation.) The vast majority of bio-engin premeds bail on one or both when they realize this, and university admissions officers know this.

* More pragmatically, because there are only so many slots for bioengin within engineering, you're also competing with the biggest pool when you check "bioengineering." So here's an application tip: since most schools don't take what major you check off on your application as binding, but they do consider it in admissions, stay away from the most common majors. You compete with a larger pool and look less original when you check off a common major. Then if you really want to major in that, just do that when you get there. Yes, this is inane gamesmanship, but if you're competing for limited slots in a selective program, it's probably more important than the essay. (If you're going to big state school, don't worry about it.)

* Speaking of the essay: the undergrad college essay is not, in fact, that important. I don't mean that you shouldn't worry about it at all (an essay with poor grammar does look bad), but it predicts later performance poorly and admissions officers don't take it that seriously. Grades, scores, and activities matter a LOT more. (The essay material is MUCH more important for grad school, but I can't say for medical school. In fact, for grad school, extra-currics are MEANINGLESS, but maybe not for med school.)

* On the issue of going to the best place vs. going to a worse but cheaper place, there are good arguments on both sides. Debt sucks, and I'm pretty suspicious that Harvard is actually worth double the money relative to many other schools. On the other hand, from reading graduate apps, I can tell you that where you go DOES matter. While it matters less than GPA,it still matters because it's predictive. It's not perfectly predictive, but kids trained at Podunk College really do have a tougher time in grad school than kids trained at the top schools. While this may be less true in med school, med school is very competitive, and you'll get better competition, and thus be better prepared to handle it, at a "better" school. (There is indeed a risk that this will hurt your GPA, but wouldn't you rather find out you can't hack it against the competition sooner rather than later?) And you'll probably have better other options should you decide against medicine if you go to a "better" school. However, it's not clear those factors are really worth a bonus $20-30 grand per year--despite the other advice, only you know your financial situation and how comfortable you are with debt. I think the real difference between a "good" state school (like Michigan, one of the UCs, Virginia, UNC, etc.) and an Ivy league school is pretty close to zero, but if you're in-state the money difference is HUGE. (Disclaimer: I'm faculty at an elite private school and I did my undergrad at one of those good state schools. So I'm biased both ways--arrrgh.)

* Yes, we advisors are NOT kidding when we say 21 hours is a lot. Your undergraduate advisor will tell you a lot of things, many of which you can figure out on your own so you'll often find yourself not really listening to your advisor (we know this), but unless your school has a liberal drop policy, this is one where you should, in fact, actually listen to us.

* There are HUGE differences between universities in terms of campus culture and how students are treated. Most people only spend substantial time at one university so they have very little perspective on this. Having spent significant time at several, they really range on all kinds of campus life factors. You should check out the schools you're considering. Some schools treat their undergrads like dirt, some bend over backwards to be nice to them. Some have very active campuses, some are much more focussed on classwork. Visit before you commit. (For example, you can't possibly know whether bringing a bike is a good idea or not until you know something more about the campus. If you want UC Davis, I believe it's mandatory.)

* As for what to bring, this is head-fi; bring GOOD HEADPHONES.
post #28 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjcha
I am disheartened by the lack of ambition in this thread.

Go to the best school you can get into. Work well with, and compete against, the highest caliber of students you can. For me it was about being around some of the smartest people, learning from them, and realizing that I could do better that worked for me.

Best regards,

-Jason
I disagree. Life is not a competition. If you want to buy into the notion that you should work your ass off and slave yourself to the man, fine.

Education is personal gain and self growth, not about brow beating the person in the chair next to you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wnewport
I am not a bookworm by far, nor a jock. I am more laid back- listening to my music or drinking coffee and hanging out with friends is what I basically do all school year.
If that's what you're used to, then you'll be in for a shocker, let alone 21 credit hours/semester (Who came up with that, anyway?)

Academia is about rigour no matter where you go. The philosophy of "If something is worth doing, is worth doing well" is very true, especially if you're not bribing off your professors (ie., cheap state schools tend to be very rigorous).

It's probably worth your while to get a cheap but fair education until you know whether you want what it is you're getting into. At my university, the average student changes majors 3 times. That can add up to a lot of wasted funds and time if you aren't careful.
post #29 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffL
Education is personal gain and self growth, not about brow beating the person in the chair next to you.If that's what you're used to, then you'll be in for a shocker, let alone 21 credit hours/semester (Who came up with that, anyway?)
/Raises hand.

The EE/Pre-Med in 4 years thing makes for some brutal semesters due to the amount of hours required. I figured, might as well do them early on where the classes are easier.

My first semester of college was an 18 hour semester. Gen chem 1, Physics 1, some sophomore level Bio course, Calculus 3, Intro to Circuits, and Intro to Architecture. 18 hours for this one. The advisor looked at me really funny when he saw my schedule, but signed off anyways.

The spring semester of my freshman year had Gen chem 2, Chem lab, Genetics, E&M, Diff Eq, a computer science class, and state gov't. 21 credit hours this time. This time the advisor took one look at the proposed schedule and sent me to talk with the Biology department dean. She signed off on it eventually.

I passed all my classes, and ended up with a ~3.8 GPA for the year. Never did it again though. Highly not recommended if you value free time or sanity.
post #30 of 54
I would attend the best school I can afford w/o ending up with 3 mortgages. I will also add that a friend of mine got a Chemical Engineering degree for his undergrad and then went to Emory University for his medical training.

In his mind he felt that having an engineering degree would allow him a higher earning potential if he had to quit or was not able to complete medical training.

Good luck.
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