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Best Option for Pre-Med?

BlueDevilFanBlueDevilFan Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
I am a junior in high school and I am very interested in going into the medical field after college. I play football and have talked to several schools who are interested in me playing for them.

Right now my main question is what school would be the best for pre-med. I have the option of playing football at an Ivy like Harvard, Dartmouth, and Princeton or playing D3 football for a NESCAC school or similar school like Washington and Lee and Pomona College. What do you all think would be the best option? What schools would be easier to maintain a good GPA while still playing a varsity sport?
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Replies to: Best Option for Pre-Med?

  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 39,635 Senior Member
    edited March 2014
    It depends what your current stats are. If you have 3.75 in the most rigorous program and 2000-2100 on the SAT? then you should do okay at an Ivy. However if for some reason you're at 2000 after much prep and have a 3.75 weighted, then the competition at Ivies + hours of hw + your sport could bar you from med school hopes. You could of course do a lot of things beside premed from an Ivy but it's likely either your sport or your GPA would suffer and a strong D3 college may offer you more benefits.
    In the end, only you know yourself. There's also the issue of financial aid packages, which may be quite different depending on school, so if that matters you should try to get an idea before you commit to anything.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 73,700 Senior Member
    edited March 2014
    If you want to play football while focusing seriously on academics, note that most quarter system schools have the football season overlapping with one third of the academic year, while semester system schools have the football season overlapping with one half of the academic year (however, a few quarter system schools split the winter quarter around the winter break, causing the football season to overlap with one half of the academic year instead of one third).

    This could be significant in that being at a quarter system school means that you can spread your "hard" classes (including pre-med courses with time consuming labs) in two thirds of the academic year (winter and spring quarters), instead of trying to get them all into one half of the academic year (spring semester) or taking more of them during football season.

    List of quarter system schools: http://www.planetbauer.com/colleges.htm
  • MrMom62MrMom62 Registered User Posts: 3,488 Senior Member
    You might want to anonymously check with each college how they structure their practices. I know of several of the NESCAC schools that intentionally don't schedule practices until after all classes are out in the afternoon, and practices are over in time to hit the dining hall with all the non-athletes, leaving the evening free for study. Probably doesn't make for a top-flight football team, but if your emphasis is on academics, a school with such a policy might be worth considering.
  • BlueDevilFanBlueDevilFan Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    MYSOS1364: I have a 4.0 UW GPA with around 6 APs (11 After senior year) and the rest are mostly honors classes and my SAT is 1980 on my first test. But I am still worried about how I would compare to many Ivy students.

    ucbalumnus: I have never thought about the quarter system vs. semester system. That would be a big advantage to be in a quarter system which is something I will definitely consider when touring Dartmouth.

    MrMom62: How should I anonymously check with each of the NESCAC schools?

    Thank you all. All of these replies were really helpful!
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 73,700 Senior Member
    Dartmouth has another aspect that may be relevant to a football player. Students have to make up three D-plans where they choose which 12 of 16 possible quarters they will be on-campus during their four years. The school then assigns the student one of his/her proposed D-plans. The apparent intent is to reduce the load on the fall quarter, shifting some of it to the summer quarter (being on-campus during the summer after sophomore year is required).

    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~ugar/premajor/faculty/handbook/dplan.html
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~upperde/dplan/

    Since the football season is contained within the fall quarter, you may want to ask how the possibility of a D-plan with an off-campus fall quarter would be handled for a football player.

    https://www.dartmouth.edu/~reg/calendar/academic/13-14.html
    http://www.dartmouthsports.com/SportSelect.dbml?SPSID=48874&SPID=4719
  • MrMom62MrMom62 Registered User Posts: 3,488 Senior Member
    I don't know that you need to do it anonymously, but at the same time, there's really no reason to identify yourself. Just simply call each school and ask how they handle practices. Or have a parent do it, I'm sure they handle calls from parents all the time. The practice policy usually isn't secret, often times, even admissions knows, it can be a selling point. I'm pretty sure Haverford is another school that has such a policy.

    Doing a quick Google search on a few of the schools, many of them have policies regarding practices that are published on their web pages.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 39,635 Senior Member
    Carleton is another top school with the quarter system, although its ultimate team is better -known than its football team. :)
    With 11 AP classes and a score likely to be above 2000 on the second SAT, you should be fine even at the Ivy League.
    Ask about support system for athletes, too: do they have dedicated support? what's in place when you're travelling? (I suppose you're used to studying on buses :p)
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,614 Forum Champion
    I would not play football and be premed.

    I have only known one football player who went to med school, and he rarely had play time (so no "recovery time"), and he had to do a Glide Year, since he couldn't interview during senior year.

    I don't think that there is some huge semester vs quarter system advantage. Quarter system classes are "faster" which could mean doing poorly in those semesters. You can't take all easy classes during fall quarters unless your chosen major is a light one.

    What would your major be?

    What are football players expected to do during the "off season"? How much time is required for weightlifting and conditioning? How many hours per day/week does all that take?

    During the year that my son took OChem, he only worked TWO hours a week....and that was on Friday afternoons. He wanted to make sure that he could focus on those classes and get A's, which he did. He graduated from college with a 3.99 GPA (one A- in Spanish) and a 4.0 BCMP GPA. He was a high stats high school student with an excellent foundation.

    My son loves sports and did do intramurals to fill that "love", but obviously, that anywhere close to being demanding like playing a D1, 2, or 3 sport.

    Being a premed student is tough. It is especially tough if you're at a school where your test scores are below most of your premed classmates. Those students will be much stronger than you are and are more likely going to grab the A's.

  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,614 Forum Champion
    "I know of several of the NESCAC schools that intentionally don't schedule practices until after all classes are out in the afternoon, and practices are over in time to hit the dining hall with all the non-athletes, "

    ??

    That seems odd. "all classes are over"??? Doesn't every school have classes all day long with some in the evening? Doesn't every school have labs that run til 3 or 4 pm everyday? (or even later)?

    Maybe these schools have some odd schedule where all classes end at 2pm. lol

    More likely, the athletes have preferred registration and are only given classes that end by 1 or 2 pm. So, that practices begin after THEIR classes have ended.
  • KerkolusKerkolus Registered User Posts: 110 Junior Member
    Just go to Harvard. They give out lots of A's there. Princeton will be difficult due to the 35% capped A's and Dartmouth will be difficult because the quarters will give you basically four finals per year.

    You can definitely do athletics and a rigorous academic program. Look at Jordan Morgan, the center for the Michigan Wolverines basketball team. He's graduated from mechanical engineering and is contemplating a masters in mech. eng. You can do it if you have the drive. In addition, there will be academic support systems waiting for you as an athlete.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,614 Forum Champion
    I don't think H is a given with the present SAT....even for an athlete. When my nephew was being considered for a top school's athletic program, he was told to have an ACT 33 or equivalent. This student's SAT is more like an ACT 29/30.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 39,635 Senior Member
    The Ivy League wants 1900 minimum from its athletes.
    A premed athlete should be better off at a D3 school overall.
    But I agree that OP should choose his major carefully (a "light" major? something OP finds easy?) so that he's sure to get A's if he puts in 3 hours of homework per class period (vs. putting in 4-5 hours per class period and getting a B... very common, too) and be able to balance the lighter classes with the science core required for med school.
  • MrMom62MrMom62 Registered User Posts: 3,488 Senior Member
    From what I've looked up so far, both Haverford and Hamilton do not ever schedule practices from 8 AM to 4 PM, and at Haverford at least, all practices must end by 7 PM. There are no evening or Saturday classes at those schools, and professors are asked not to schedule any classes or activities during "practice time". Considering 30-40% of all students at those schools are on varsity teams at some point, and academics reign supreme (except in admissions, where athletes can get a huge break), it's a policy that makes sense.

    As for test scores and top schools, different schools have different policies, and it depends on how much they want you. If the coaches want to use one of their slots, they can get just about anybody in over a 25 ACT. Naviance doesn't lie, I've seen kids get into Stanford, Harvard, and Bowdoin with 27s. We had a top recruit get into Michigan with a 21 or 22, but that's D1. (Yes, I know Stanford is too, but at least they don't go that low, that I've seen.)

    The reason they might have told your nephew he needed a 33 was that way they didn't need to burn one of their slots.
  • jkeil911jkeil911 Registered User Posts: 6,009 Senior Member
    I'd look closely at Pomona. Excellent in the sciences. Find out how many of their pre-meds go onto medical school and if they winnow the herd. I think the football demands at Pomona might be a bit lighter than they are at the ivies. Similarly at Haverford: I worked there for a couple years and didn't know they had a football team, so that might be another reason to look at Haverford and other LACs. The demands football places on your academics might not be as great as they are at the ivies.
  • MrMom62MrMom62 Registered User Posts: 3,488 Senior Member
    Wait, you are correct, there is no football at Haverford. That is why they are undefeated since 1869.
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