Ask Dr. Gray Premed Q&A: Taking Classes At a Lot of Schools


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Ask Dr. Gray Premed Q&A: Taking Classes At a Lot of Schools

Session 66

Does it look bad to take classes at a slow place while working, or to take them at different institutions? What if you are a nontraditional student?

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[00:12] Getting Multiple Transcripts

There are plenty of reasons students go to multiple institutions. They could transfer out of their first college after realizing it wasn’t what they expected it to be. So they move back to a school closer to home. Or they could be taking classes at a community college during the summer because it fits their schedule better. This isn’t a red flag.

'There are multiple reasons to have many different transcripts.'Click To Tweet

[00:35] Taking One Class at a Time

Medical school is hard that’s why admissions committees want to be sure they’re accepting students who have proven they can handle the coursework.

If you have a 4.0 GPA but you’re taking one class per semester, this is going to cause some issues when it comes to an admissions committee looking at your transcript. There are ways to get around this. You could reach out to the school. Or write about it in your secondary essays or in your personal statement.

If you have reasons for only doing one class per semester, then it’s obviously easier. It could be that you’re working or you have other commitments. But if your reason is that you’re scared that you can’t handle the coursework then it’s a different story.

Regardless, the reviewer will question your commitment to doing this. Because if you’re committed to doing this, then why haven’t you stopped working? Why haven’t you limited your time commitments so you can focus on your application full-time?

David is a student who works full-time and took classes at a community college and was grilled about it. It wasn’t just the part about going to community college, but also, about his commitment.

'If you really wanted this, you would go and be closer to healthcare if your job was outside of healthcare.'Click To Tweet

[03:20] Taking Two Classes at a Time

The issue is the same. Most students take 3-5 classes at a time. So it’s still less than normal although it’s better than one class. It could help, assuming you’re getting stellar grades with those two classes versus one.

'Especially if you're a nontrad student, you have different commitments than other students pursuing this path.'Click To Tweet

Admissions committee members actually understand that nontrad students have commitments outside of school. They may not have as many extracurricular hours as traditional students because they have other things to do.

Whatever that situation may be, it just has to come up in your story through your personal statement, your secondary essays, your extracurriculars, etc.

That whole story should be able to paint a picture of you having all of these responsibilities outside of school and limiting your ability to take more classes.

[04:55] Take a Full Course Load

Before you apply, try to consider saving enough money and stop working or whatever you’re doing that’s distracting you from school. Then take a semester of a full course load just to show them that you can still ace your science classes. Show them that you can do it!

'If you haven't taken a full course load before you start medical school, admissions committee members may have a hard time believing your ability to do well in school.'Click To Tweet

If you don’t take a full course load, then compare yourself to other students who have taken their full course loads who are also working and doing other nontraditional things. Why would the admissions committee take a chance on you when it’s such a huge risk?

If you’re doing full-time undergrad classes, the science classes are key. From a science perspective, postbac is not ideal but at least you have that undergrad full-time to show.

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