What Do AdComs Think of Online Classes?

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Session 195

Today’s applicant completed most of his prerequisites online, but he’s worried he made a bad decision. How do AdComs assess online coursework?

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Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

[01:00] OldPreMeds Question of the Week

“I recently discovered the OldPreMeds podcast and have been going through the episodes very quickly (I’ve probably listened to 100 this week). The information is great. 

I graduated from college in 2017 with a major in Exercise Science with no intention of going into medicine. My GPA was low for medical schools as I graduated with a 3.2. 

I took a full-time job analyzing heart monitors at a local hospital and quickly decided that medicine was something I wanted to pursue. 

I started taking prereqs at night at the local community college, but stopped after a couple classes because I heard that it may not be good to take the prereqs there. 

Since then, I have switched to taking classes online through two different 4-year universities that are both accredited. I’m planning on applying in the 2020-2021 cycle and as that date approaches I’m questioning if I made a wrong decision. 

I’ve emailed at least 20 MD schools that have confirmation that they will accept online credits. I’ve emailed a few DO schools that will as well, and I plan on emailing more. I’ve gotten mostly A’s and a couple of A-‘s in every class I have taken during my DIY postbac (about 6 classes taken with 2 more to go). 

Was my method of taking classes a bad decision and should I be worried about my chances of getting accepted?”

[02:22] Should You Be Taking Online Classes?

The ultimate dilemma of applying to medical school is when taking classes online. Don’t risk any chances of going to medical schools that you want to go to only to find out that they don’t take online classes.

'The general rule of thumb is don't take classes online.'Click To Tweet

The student already emailed a bunch of schools saying that they take online classes. However, the real question is – do they prefer them? Is there going to be any form of negative bias towards the GPA because it was done online?

Sadly, no one knows the answer to this unless the medical school’s rubric outlines some number of points for these specific GPAs. Hence, take classes at a community college if you have to. Don’t take classes online if you can afford not to. Take classes at a four-year university if you can. 

'The golden rule of postbacs is taking prereqs for medical school at a four-year university.'Click To Tweet

That being said, you can take online courses and still get into medical schools. There might be schools that will accept it. You can get into a community college for your prereqs. There will be schools that don’t like it. But in the big picture, you will likely be fine.

Do what you have to do but be prepared to suffer the consequences for some schools that may not like it and may potentially reject you for it. Just be prepared for that.

[Related episode: Should I Take Online Courses to Prepare for the MCAT?]

[05:05] Every School is Different

The feedback, guidelines, and guidance you get from every medical school will be different. So just go with what you can do.

At the end of the day, there are only a certain number of things that you can do as a nontrad student. This is based on your work, family, and all those other requirements that traditional students likely don’t have.

'Do what you have to do and make it work.'Click To Tweet

[Related episode: How to Choose a Medical School & Put Together a School List]


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