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Chemistry + Biology + Psychology (all with labs) in one semester. Is it doable?

Siena19Siena19 Registered User Posts: 151 Junior Member
Hi, I'm getting ready to start my first semester of college. I'm a neuroscience major and pre-med. My general honors college advisor recommended I take Biology and psychology (+ a couple gen-eds) my first semester, start gen chem my second semester and take gen chem 2 over next summer. However my pre-med advisor thinks I should start gen chem first semester and take Chemistry I, Biology I, and Psychology I (plus labs) all in my first semester. I know how important it is to make A's in these classes (esp bio and chem) and I'm a little nervous that I won't be able to do well in all three at the same time. Any advice from those who have taken a similar schedule would be really great. Thanks

Replies to: Chemistry + Biology + Psychology (all with labs) in one semester. Is it doable?

  • AndorvwAndorvw Registered User Posts: 267 Junior Member
    edited May 13
    It depends on how strong your chem/bio background and what weeder classes in your college (some uses Bio, other use Chem... all use Orgo) are. General rule is no more than 2 pre-med classes with lab per semester. Why psych has lab and why you need to take it for neuro major?
  • damon30damon30 Registered User Posts: 978 Member
    Do you have any summer plans that matter? Your honors college advisor recommendation sounds like a good idea.
  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU Posts: 13,666 Forum Champion
    My DD was a psych major + premed.

    Things to consider:

    1) Do you plan to take a gap year between undergrad and Med school? If so, then you can spread your pre-med classes over 4 years. If not you have to do it over 3 years.

    2) Who would pay for chem 2 over the summer?

    3) How are Bio and Chem scheduled? For example, at my DD's school the spring semester classes of Bio were prioritized for Bio students. The fall version was for all students. So even though you think you could take a Bio class in a spring semester, there wouldn't be slots.

    4) How did you do in HS? Did you take AP Bio or AP chem?

    5) If you take 2 lab sciences at once, will you have time for volunteering/community service?
  • Jugulator20Jugulator20 Registered User Posts: 1,525 Senior Member
    @bopper # 1 is an important consideration. The med school application process takes a year meaning if you’re thinking you want to start med school after you graduate in 4 years, you would have to submit a competitive app in summer after junior year. People do this and are successful in gaining admission to med schools. But a competitive app includes not only competitive GPAs, MCAT, but also evidence of traits med schools believe MDs should possess (eg altruism, compassion, leadership, communication skills, etc) This evidence can be found in one’s ECs, LoRs, PS, secondary essays, then if offered, an interview. A weakness in any area could end your dreams. As most that start as premed change their minds and of those that actually apply, 60% will not start at any med school, it’s best to submit a strong competitive application in all respects one time. Waiting until you graduate, then apply, meaning a gap year could not only help take some first year pressure off, give you more time to strengthen GPAs in case of any grade hiccups, prep/take MCAT, develop softer application aspects showing above traits, but also have a college life. FWIW I’d go with honors college rec and take it slow.

  • Siena19Siena19 Registered User Posts: 151 Junior Member
    Hi all, thanks for all the responses. I talked to my premed advisor over the phone today and he kindly helped me figure out a tentative four year plan just so I could feel better about getting all my premeds in on time.

    It's not really a choice for me to /not/ take psych + lab first semester as it's required for many other courses in the neuroscience sequence.

    I did very well in AP Bio and Chem, didn't take the chem test but I am getting Bio credit. I will start Bio in A&P which I took in high school and did very well in plus have extensive knowledge through 4H. Advisor said it will be hard but he has had several premeds do the same/similar schedule and be fine.

    As for taking a gap year, that is definitely the plan unless things go way better than imagined. He says that 99% of the time he recommends taking a gap year which will help spread out the upper level courses.

    At first I thought I would try Chem 2 over the summer, but unfortunately it costs over $2,000 at the school near where I live and is only a 4 week class which sounds insane to me (tests, info would be crammed into a month instead of several) plus it wouldn't allow me to work, volunteer, or shadow much over the summer since it's a 5 day/week course.

    Some of you mentioned time for volunteering and leadership/clubs over the semester and after doing a lot of scheduling and research I found that I can do 4 hours/week at a local hospital which I think will be plenty for the first year and I plan to join one pre-med club as well as one non-academic club that I'm interested in

    I think it will be hard but hopefully I will do well. Thanks again for all the advice and help : )
  • AndorvwAndorvw Registered User Posts: 267 Junior Member
    edited May 16
    Other pre-meds may do the same schedule, but NOT necessary they got A's out of them. Grades are always important than ECs (volunteer, research, ...). GPA would be really hard to bring up (3.7+) later if falling into a deep hole while ECs can easily be fixed in summers/gap year.
    he has had several premeds do the same/similar schedule
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