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Premed at Cornell

lrt328lrt328 Posts: 20Registered User New Member
edited September 2010 in Cornell University
So i have been thinking about applying to Cornell but I have heard that there is a lot of grade deflation and it is very difficult for people with science/ common pre med majors (bio, chem) to maintain a high GPA which is really important for med school. Is this true? Is it easier to get good grades in one science major over another?
Post edited by lrt328 on
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Replies to: Premed at Cornell

  • elbeeenelbeeen Posts: 1,222Registered User Member
    1) Yes, it's true. Cornell's science department is notoriously strenuous.
    2) I'd say no but I guess it depends on which sciences you excel at and which you don't.
  • norcalguynorcalguy Posts: 7,541Registered User Senior Member
    Challenging perhaps but not really what I would call strenuous or unfair. I think once you get into med school, you'll appreciate having gone to a college that made you work a bit (which is not to say that Cornell is anywhere near the difficulty of med school).

    Out of the hard science majors, bio's probably the easiest for most people.
  • roanadainroanadain Posts: 51Registered User Junior Member
    i'm just going to rant here:
    it seems like every other bio major is doing premed.
    like 92%.
    and for some reason, this fact aggravates me to no end; like i'm part of this delusional crowd of freshmen who all imagine that they will end up as doctors, when statistically, it doesn't make sense.
    and i can't help thinking that a significant chunk won't make it, and that i will be part
    of that crowd.
    frankly, i don't even understand why ppl introduce themselves as doing "premed" since it doesn't even exist as major @ cornrell, and all it means, at least from my point of view, is that you will take a five hour test somewhere down the road.
    and kiss up to profs for research opportunities& volunteering in africa.
    before i came to cornell, i literally had no idea how popular "premed" was.
    norcalguy- how many of these "premeds" make it by the end of the four years anyhow?
  • norcalguynorcalguy Posts: 7,541Registered User Senior Member
    it seems like every other bio major is doing premed.
    like 92%.

    I think you're going to have to work on your math a little, although the % of bio majors who are premed is probably somewhere b/w 50-92%.

    and for some reason, this fact aggravates me to no end; like i'm part of this delusional crowd of freshmen who all imagine that they will end up as doctors, when statistically, it doesn't make sense.
    and i can't help thinking that a significant chunk won't make it, and that i will be part
    of that crowd.

    Most won't make it. Which is a good thing for our patients. Simply put, most people, even ones good enough to get into Harvard or Cornell for college, aren't smart enough to become doctors. I don't mean this out of disrespect. The kids at Cornell are bright but not comparable to the quality of med students in intelligence nor initiative.

    Even more importantly, most of these kids don't want to become doctors. They just don't know it yet. They see the high salaries and the glowing admiration. What they don't have a clear idea of is the path it takes to get there. I just had to work 5 straight days of night shift starting last weekend (6 PM to 6 AM) followed by a day of 9 straight 1-hour lectures. Fortunately, I don't have to work this weekend but some of my classmates have to work this weekend at the hospital, including on Labor Day. If these freshmen actually knew they would have to do 4 years of this, they wouldn't want to go to med school and that would save us the trouble of having to weed them out with orgo and physics and intro bio.
    frankly, i don't even understand why ppl introduce themselves as doing "premed" since it doesn't even exist as major @ cornrell, and all it means, at least from my point of view, is that you will take a five hour test somewhere down the road.
    and kiss up to profs for research opportunities& volunteering in africa.
    before i came to cornell, i literally had no idea how popular "premed" was.

    I don't see what's wrong with introducing yourself as a premed? If you're not going to be a biologist, then introducing yourself as a "bio major" is probably more disingenuous than introducing yourself as a "premed." What I have a problem with are premeds who think they're doctors already.

    norcalguy- how many of these "premeds" make it by the end of the four years anyhow?

    Too many if you ask me. I think around 1100 kids from every graduating class start out as premeds (judging by the size of the gen chem courses). 470 will eventually apply to med school (around 230 of those will apply as seniors while the other half will take some time off). So, 45% or so will eventually apply to med school and 70% of those who apply will eventually get into med school. That's not too bad.
  • norcalguynorcalguy Posts: 7,541Registered User Senior Member
    This all goes back to the fact that regardless of what you major in, how many courses you take, what college you attend, you will have to go through medical school in order to become a doctor. And when you attend medical school, the hammer will drop. There's no way to avoid it. When the hammer drops, you'll want to have some armor on. Hence, I don't understand the people who want to have a stress-free college experience. If you don't want stress, don't become a doctor.

    Stress is when, at the end of a surgery, you are asked to close the patient back up. Everyone, the attending surgeon, the resident, the scrub tech techs, the anesthesiologist, is looking at you, tapping their feet in impatience. You become keenly aware of the fact you've never sewn actual human flesh before and the only time you've seen it done is in Silence of the Lambs. You are struggling to make tiny knots with your blood-soaked gloves, all while knowing the OR costs $75/min to book. You become suspicious that you may have done a bad job at suturing and two days down the line, this gal's intestines may fall out.

    If you don't have a college experience that challenges you, that can make you doubt yourself, your abilities, medical school certainly will. And, trust me, you don't want to wait until medical school and it's $70,000/yr price tag to find out you're not cut out to be a physician.
  • roanadainroanadain Posts: 51Registered User Junior Member
    norcalguy-
    did you know since your freshman year that you wanted to be a doctor?
    did you ever have any doubts?

    my uncle is a physician, and has told me stories about becoming&being one, so i know about the strenuous work load.

    i think my qualms about premed mostly lies in my major, not the workload.
    it seems to make sense/be the popular thing for most premeds to major in science,
    whereas i never had much on an interest it; meaning that i've never had much of a passion for those subjects.
    and i'm not sure what this means; that i'm going to be a bad scientist (which, actually, i KNOW i would be) or a bad doctor?
    or both?

    i have the "premed" schedule with chem, bio, math, fws, and wanted to try other things, but it seems like that for premeds, it's all about completing the requirements asap& prepping for the mcats.
  • cyborg939cyborg939 Posts: 244Registered User Junior Member
    How possible is premed with an engineering major?
  • AnbuItachiAnbuItachi Posts: 1,345Registered User Senior Member
    very possible.
  • HONORLIONSHONORLIONS Posts: 1,577Registered User Senior Member
    very possible.

    An engineering course load with a pre med course load? I'd think that's a bit difficult even for the average Cornellian. Unless I'm mistaken about combining both 'majors'.
  • norcalguynorcalguy Posts: 7,541Registered User Senior Member
    There are many engineering majors in med school. It's probably a bit tougher than majoring in bio but the advantage is that you have a better backup career in case you don't make it to med school (and chances are, you won't).
  • HONORLIONSHONORLIONS Posts: 1,577Registered User Senior Member
    There are many engineering majors in med school. It's probably a bit tougher than majoring in bio but the advantage is that you have a better backup career in case you don't make it to med school (and chances are, you won't).

    Interesting, I always believed Pre-med was merely just a set of (really challenging and time consuming) necessary classes required for med school. Something you can do with any other traditional major (i.e., a pre-med history major, pre-med econ. major, etc.).

    But nevertheless, it's always good to have options.
  • AnbuItachiAnbuItachi Posts: 1,345Registered User Senior Member
    basically all engineers need to take math classes = med school math requirement done

    cornell students need to take at least 1 semester of fws = english requirement almost/done

    a lot of engineers need chem 209 and 208 = chem done

    lots of engineers need physics = physics done

    so if you think about it its not that bad. there may be a lot of overlap. the difficult part is keeping your grades up, which you should be doing as a student anyway. and like norc said, you have an awesome backup if you dont make it, vs a crappy backup for bio major.
  • idkididkidkididk Posts: 340Registered User Member
    so.. if you're a "pre-med" but don't make it, what do you do?
  • AnbuItachiAnbuItachi Posts: 1,345Registered User Senior Member
    you do w/e you want.

    if you are an engineer and you dont make it. then continue being an engineer.
    if you are a bio major, you can try for phd or grad school. bio major alone is very useless and prob will land you with a technician job paying 25k a year or something.

    you get the point.
  • StPlayrXtremeStPlayrXtreme Posts: 744Registered User Member
    I was a bioengineering major, and it worked out well for me. When I started I wasn't sure if I wanted to go to med school or stay with engineering, so it was a really nice way to have a lot of options open. I found some the classes to be pretty difficult...and my transcript was not perfect. I had a couple Cs, but I still ended up at a top med school...and I feel like schools recognized that I was taking difficult courses and a large course load. That said, you should major in what you enjoy...it will make it much easier to do well if you like what you're doing.

    In reply to the original post...Cornell isn't easy, but it will give you a good preparation for med school (and the MCAT), has plenty of resources a premedical student, and great med school placement. I would advise against choosing a less competitive school, solely because its less competitive...since you would have to be in the very top of your class, and the resources outside of class may not be as extensive making it more difficult to stand out. I also agree 100% with the post from norcalguy...it is definitely in your best interest to learn as much as you can, and challenging yourself is a really important part of the process.
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