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Should I take Calculus or a Foreign language?

ZFanaticZFanatic Registered User Posts: 1,591 Senior Member
edited July 2009 in Cornell University
Here's my dilemma. I'm a pre med, and so I know I'm taking FWS, Chem, and Bio first semester. that's 12 credits. I'm shooting for 15, so I need one more class. I really thought about taking calculus to get it out of the way for my math req for medical school, because I'm really good at it (AB anyway) and so I figure it wouldn't be too difficult. However, I'm also thinking maybe I want to take a foreign language so that I can go to a country besides Austalia or GB for study abroad. You have to have 2 years of a foreign language to study abroad, and since I'm going to do it fall of junior year, that means I'd have to start this fall. I'm not sure yet what I want to take (either French or Japanese), but I could figure it out if I had to.

Basically, is it advisable to take a language 1st semester (especially since I want to study abroad), or should I take calculus since it is a med school prereq?
Post edited by ZFanatic on
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Replies to: Should I take Calculus or a Foreign language?

  • ResurgamBellResurgamBell . Posts: 2,269 Senior Member
    french121 is only offered in the fall...

    i think calc is offered both semesters...
  • ZFanaticZFanatic Registered User Posts: 1,591 Senior Member
    So you think it would be more beneficial for me to start french now, so that I will be able to study abroad (without having to do a summer term) and just take calculus in the spring (if I can handle the extra course) or next year?
  • AnbuItachiAnbuItachi Registered User Posts: 1,348 Senior Member
    you make it sound like you have to take foreign language. you explaiend that you need 2 yrs of FL to study abroad fall of JR year. so your question is more like do math requirement now or study abroad in fall of jr year. if it's me id choose study abroad cause you can finish math requirement any time but your FL is under time constraints.
  • ResurgamBellResurgamBell . Posts: 2,269 Senior Member
    but do bear in mind that language is very time consuming...i'd do study abroad spring of my JR year :)

    and if you already have AP language credit (i forget your case) you could just continue with that and still go abroad.
  • ZFanaticZFanatic Registered User Posts: 1,591 Senior Member
    I think I'll go with your recommendations guys. I think I'll be able to pick Calculus back up pretty quickly (whenever I decide to take it), but if I don't start FL now, I'd be stuck either going to Spain/Mexico or GB/Australia... Not where I want to go. I don't have AP credit, but I'm pretty sure I can place out of the first year of spanish, but I want to study another language for sure. I really would like to go back to Paris for SA (been there before and loved it, but spent only a few days there) and so I think that the best option would be to start French now. Not to mention it will provide some relief from math/science courses...

    I would study abroad spring of junior year, but since I'm applying to medical school then (hopefully) I want to make sure I'm here to take MCAT's (if I don't do that before I go in the fall) and to start applying in May. Just seems like a little much to bite off all in one semester, especially when I'd need recs and people to look over essays and whatnot.

    French it is! Haha.
  • monkey89monkey89 Registered User Posts: 87 Junior Member
    A little suggestion, take it or leave it - you seem to have picked 15 credits as an arbitrary number (at least as far as I can tell), without any reason for the limit. If you haven't spent a semester here, how could you know how many credits you'll be comfortable with? And what happens if you really don't like French?

    I always felt the best way to approach a new semester was to push a little bit and try something new. In this case, why not enroll for both courses? You'll still have the flexibility to say, "Nope, I don't think I can do this" - except you can say that after you've taken the first test and seen how you're doing in the course. By dismissing the course outright, you won't even have a chance to see what its like.

    I'll admit I may be in a different boat, since I'm planning to graduate early. But the more requirements you get out of the way, the more time you get to spend on fun and interesting courses further down the road. And in retrospect, I think I could have handled another course my first semester.

    Naturally, this is time when you'll still be adjusting to college life. But unlike in high school, you now have the flexibility to drop a course many weeks into it, whereas adding a course late can (naturally) still be pretty difficult. My suggestion is to give both courses a shot and see what sticks. Maybe you'll find that you can handle both fine, or maybe you'll find that french was the right choice after all. But how can you know without giving both a shot?
  • ChaoticOrderChaoticOrder Registered User Posts: 543 Member
    I'm going to start french as well Zfanatic, while placing out of hopefully first and second year spanish. Study abroad at University of Paris.
  • dewdrop87dewdrop87 Registered User Posts: 3,397 Senior Member
    Consider taking a gap year (or years) after graduation. By doing this, you wouldn't stress yourself out with trying to go abroad and completing all your pre-med reqs in time to apply for med school admission at the end of your junior year.

    I was against the gap year for a while...but I'm so glad I took time off. More and more students are taking time off for whatever reason. In the long run, if the time is used wisely, you can present a stronger application and stand a better chance and gaining admission the first time around.
  • suziechapstiksuziechapstik Registered User Posts: 184 Junior Member
    On the topic of Calculus.

    I hadn't planned on taking calculus. In fact, I hope I never have to take it again. However, I noticed someone said something about it being a med school requirement.

    I know I will need to take a math class for my HumEc requirements because I only scored a 2 on my Calc AB AP exam junior year. Senior year i took AP Stat but don't have my score yet.

    Anyway, I guess my question is. If I plan to go to grad school, not med school, will I need Calculus for that, generally speaking of course. My major is going to be nutritional science and if/when I go to grad school it will be somewhat related to my field of dietetics or sports nutrition.

    Hopefully I didn't just confuse the issue.
  • Feral24Feral24 Registered User Posts: 888 Member
    dewdrop, he already got into cornell, why would he take a gap year to strengthen an application that already got him in...?
  • ResurgamBellResurgamBell . Posts: 2,269 Senior Member
    dewdrop, he already got into cornell, why would he take a gap year to strengthen an application that already got him in...?

    dew drop is talking about not applying to med school during junior/senior year of cornell...

    it can get a bit stressful...interviews and mcat studying...and then only to get a "maybe" from med school...although since he is URM and probably a decent student he might have an advantage...

    french is a lot of work...but if you know spanish already it could help and if you're good at memorizing vocab and stuff...

    first year french is all about memorizing vocab (although the class is no longer taught by joanna luks (she's suing cornell for having the wrestling team's weight roll on top of her)) but the tests are standard from the textbook...
  • Feral24Feral24 Registered User Posts: 888 Member
    oh haha i thought he meant after high school graduation sorry
  • ZFanaticZFanatic Registered User Posts: 1,591 Senior Member
    How long do we have to add/drop? I'm assuming it won't show up as a W on the transcript either, correct? I suppose I could take both, I just would rather do better in those classes, than be stretched too thin among too many classes, and get a lower grade because of it. I had absolutely ZERO study habits in high school, and really want to focus on that right off the bat, and I'm thinking that I'll have a better shot at getting well adjusted and forming decent study habits.

    I've always wanted to learn french, and I think my spanish background will help. I'm not fluent by any means, but I do know a pretty good amount.
  • dewdrop87dewdrop87 Registered User Posts: 3,397 Senior Member
    I think you have 3 weeks to add and 7 weeks to drop without getting a W on your transcript.
  • ResurgamBellResurgamBell . Posts: 2,269 Senior Member
    i think your plan is good zfanatic...

    15 is a safe number...and i guess you're only taking that 1 math class? so you wouldnt need it for any prereqs...
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