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Withdrawals on a pre-med major

adanac33adanac33 Posts: 7Registered User New Member
edited November 2012 in Pre-Med Topics
Hello, I am majoring in Biomedical engineering (with an emphasis in premed) and I have a question regarding withdrawals. Last summer, I took organic chemistry with an atrocious teacher. 75% of the class got less then a C (a new university low). I withdrew from it before it could affect my gpa and i got a WP in it. This semester I am taking a class called statics, which is a class required for my major. Besides that, I'm also taking orgo again, and I'll probably get an A in it. I am probably going to get a D in statics if i do not withdraw from it. Should i just take the bad grade in statics and retake in the winter, or should i withdraw from it and retake it in the winter?

how many withdraws looks bad to med schools?
Post edited by adanac33 on
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Replies to: Withdrawals on a pre-med major

  • Cens10Cens10 Posts: 732Registered User Member
    From what I've seen from another thread like this, one or two W's don't matter as much. But, I think if you get any more you may start to raise a couple of concerns about how you handle classes. Also, read this - https://www.aamc.org/students/aspiring/basics/284780/application9.html
  • kristin5792kristin5792 Posts: 2,038Registered User Senior Member
    PERSONALLY, I'd take a W over a D any day--a D will probably raise some red flags regardless, and the hit on your science GPA (assuming statics counts as science for AMCAS purposes) would be rough. A second W might raise red flags, but it might not. Plus, if you withdraw from statics you'll have more time and energy to focus on ensuring that A in orgo--and I think turning a summer W into a fall A for orgo would be in your best interest.
  • CharliesmomCharliesmom Posts: 65Registered User Junior Member
    What about getting a C in a bio class that's not part of the premed requirements when the rest of the GPA is a 3.8. That would kill the GPA but how bad does a W look for the top med schools?
  • kristin5792kristin5792 Posts: 2,038Registered User Senior Member
    Well, 1 C would probably hurt that semester's GPA, but it probably wouldn't hurt the overall GPA that much. Is a C the best case scenario, or the current grade? If it's the current grade, my advice would certainly be to get in there, talk with profs and TAs, and figure out how to raise it up by the end of the semester. There's certainly still time to ace a test or do great on some labs, and bringing a C up to even a B- would be awesome. I think C would be my personal cutoff; <C, definitely W, >C, keep the grade. But that's just me.

    Another thing to take into account is science GPA, which is all bio, chem, physics, and math classes. If the current 3.8 includes a few Bs which happen to all be in science classes, that sGPA is something I personally would want to protect and thus would not want to add a C to it--so I would more seriously consider a W instead. On the other hand, if most of the non-A grades are in non-science classes, and this C would be the only thing "pulling it down," then I'd probably be OK with keeping it and striving to do better before the end of the semester.

    You don't have to have a 4.0 to get to med school. A 3.8 is good, and really anything >3.6 shouldn't raise any red flags (but, obviously, the higher the better!).
  • Bartleby007Bartleby007 Posts: 492Registered User Member
    If you're a parent asking about your kid's college grades and how they might affect med school admissions chances, I'm going to suggest that you let your kid work out those issues on his/her own. Try not to get too involved in the process. The student needs to navigate those waters without parental help/interference.

    About course withdrawals...
    I strongly believe that the only time a student should be allowed to withdraw from a course is under extenuating circumstances (severe illness, death in the family, etc.). Getting a low grade on the midterm just "because" really shouldn't qualify. Many years ago, Stanford had a policy by which students could drop a class on the day before the final...and it wouldn't appear on the transcript. Absolutely ridiculous. As far as I know, that policy has ended. When I was reviewing apps, the admissions officers would want a good justification of each "W" appearing on a student's transcript.

    With respect to science grades...
    Work hard and get the best grades you are capable of earning.
    It's difficult to say what sGPA is "good enough" to get into med school.
    Typically, admissions committees correct for grade inflation or quality of the institution by weighting an applicant's GPA somewhat. Effectively, this means that a B in organic chemistry at Princeton would be worth more than a B earned at the local community college.

    On a side note, I don't think many med school admissions committees are sophisticated enough to distinguish between a B+ in quantum mechanics and B+ in physics for poets. As an admissions officer, it's too easy to just look at the sGPA without delving into the transcript. Hope this helps...
  • CharliesmomCharliesmom Posts: 65Registered User Junior Member
    Thanks for the information. She will talk to her Professor and advisor and figure it out. She is at a top college without grade inflation and is doing great considering that.
  • mcat2mcat2 Posts: 3,961Registered User Senior Member
    ... policy by which students could drop a class on the day before the final

    Some private college has a more lenient policy for students in their first semester:

    Somewhat outdated info:

    "Newly matriculated undergraduate students in their first semester at Rice are permitted to drop courses up to the last day of classes."

    www.rice.edu/catalog/2010_2011/PDF/07_UndergradInfo.pdf

    The students who are "lucky" enough to go to some (not all) private colleges tend to be better taken care of there academically. (BTW, those who were born to a certain family have an even better safety net -- Some of them do not care very much about their major or even their grades any more. They really learn for the sake of learning.)

    In a sense, those who attend the large state university need to be mature at an earlier age. For example, there are all kinds of hurdles to prevent those at a state university from changing their major after matriculation. Private colleges often allow the students to choose their major by the end of sophomore year. Often times, a student at a state university has more pressure to work part time to support themselves, while those at private colleges, with the exception of "poor kids at an expensive private college", tend to have more time to participate in club activities.
  • i_wanna_be_Browni_wanna_be_Brown Posts: 5,260Registered User Senior Member
    The policy that Stanford used to have is what Brown has. Transcripts should reflect what you have learned, not what you haven't.

    And mcat2, given the number of students who worked at the libraries, athletic facilities, campus eateries, and tutoring agencies, I dont believe that students at private colleges have less pressure to work jobs.
  • mcat2mcat2 Posts: 3,961Registered User Senior Member
    This is just an anecdotal example: The roommate of the child of my coworker was at a state university. When that roommate arrived the campus -- almost without any belongings, before the class began, he needed to find jobs (not only the jobs offered by the college). Before the schedule of his jobs was finalized, he could not decide what classes to take. This kind of student from a poor family which can not support him and who was often from a lower performing high school, often take 5 or even 6 years to graduate, if graduating at all.

    When we talk about the community college level, I think there are more students who work even longer hours, and there are much fewer club activities. The environment outside of academics is just very different.

    Disclaimer: I am not "sour grape" by saying so. My kid was at a private college while he was an UG.

    Regarding "campus eateries", there is a tradition at DS's college: There is a formal dinner at the end of the year when all students sit don and are served for this dinner. It is kind of awkward because most "severs" are of a certain ethnic group (just because the city the college is in) while a much higher percentage of the students are of another ethnic group. I do not know whether the students who work at campus eateries would serve their schoolmates or they would sit down and be served. (maybe both? Serve at the beginning and be served half-way through the dinner?)
  • i_wanna_be_Browni_wanna_be_Brown Posts: 5,260Registered User Senior Member
    And one of my teammates had a roommate freshman year from Nepal whose family was so poor he literally never saw his family the entire time he was a student because they couldn't afford any plane tickets other than the one that got him to Brown the beginning of freshman year.

    I agree that students with money will have more opportunities but I don't think it's as rooted in private vs. public university as you think.
  • entomomentomom Posts: 23,661Registered User Senior Member
    This discussion is very OT, but here's some interesting data on debt loads, % of Pell grant recipients, etc.:

    Project on Student Debt: State by State Data
  • plumazulplumazul Posts: 1,597Registered User Senior Member
    @iwbB,
    I agree that students with money will have more opportunities but I don't think it's as rooted in private vs. public university as you think.

    Not to pick on Duke, but instead consider Duke a proxy for most all top privates.

    Duke draws ?rich kids of all colors? | The Chronicle
  • i_wanna_be_Browni_wanna_be_Brown Posts: 5,260Registered User Senior Member
    From your article:

    "During the same time period, however, the percentage of students reporting family incomes in the bottom half of the U.S. income distribution has remained relatively constant, hovering between 9 and 16 percent, based on data from Duke’s Office of Institutional Research."

    Not really sure how that article says anything other than the fact that the # of minorities is not a perfect correlation with the average income of the students.

    I did notice a comment about the % of kids with pell grants going down. I couldn't find this online but is there any sort of competition for that grant? In other words, could the percentage have gone down simply because more kids are applying for them and thus they're harder to get?
  • entomomentomom Posts: 23,661Registered User Senior Member
    ^Pell grants are not competitive, they're need based:

    Federal Pell Grant Program

    In the link I gave, differences between top privates and publics, are pretty clear.
  • i_wanna_be_Browni_wanna_be_Brown Posts: 5,260Registered User Senior Member
    entomom,

    You are corredt. Your link http://projectonstudentdebt.org/files/File/Debt_Facts_and_Sources.pdf would suggest, if anything, that private school students have more debt and thus would feel more pressure to have a job than public school students.

    I still stand by my point though. A poor kid at a public school has the same pressures to work as a poor kid at a private school. I don't think the school's receiving tax dollars has anything to do with it.
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