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Chances for Emory RD?

StarSeraphStarSeraph Registered User Posts: 149 Junior Member
edited December 2013 in Emory University
So, I am really, really considering Emory at the moment, and wanted to know if I have a chance of getting in RD. I might even do ED II, but I also really like Cornell...

I know Chance threads aren't really accurate, but I really just want to get a gist of where I stand at the moment.

Anyway, here's kind of a resume:

SAT I (by section): not sending (but 2050 Composite) [Actually, should I send it?]
SAT IIs: 760 Math 2, 760 Bio M
ACT: 31 (35 E, 34 M, 29 R, 27 S; 31 E&W)
APs: World History (4), Psychology (5), Macroeconomics (4), Spanish Language (4), English Language (3), U.S. History (5), Biology (3-will retake), Spanish Literature (this year), Chemistry (this year), Government (this year), English Literature (this year), and Calculus BC (this year)
GPA (UW, W): UW - 3.9ish; W- 5.5ish/ 6.0
Rank: 9 / 791 students (top 1ish%)

ECs listed on app: Tutoring Webpage (founder & administrator) [3 years], Health Occupations Students of America [3 years], Literary Magazine Club (Assistant Editor) [1 year], Academic Challange - NAQT/ Quiz Bowl (Assistant Coach) [2 years], Asian American Club [2 years], Mu Alpha Theta Tutor [2 years], Computer Science Club [1 year]
Job/Work Experience: Volunteering at Methodist Hospital & St. Luke's Hospital for 1 summer each (about 50 hours each); Volunteered at Aunt's Ob/Gyn Clinic
Teacher Recs: 3 - good
Counselor Rec: Generic (we're not so close)
Applied on (EA?): Nope
Hook (if any): None
Intended Major: Science [Bio or Chem] + I want to do the 3-2 Program with GT [Chemical Engineering] + Pre-Med
State or Country: Houston, Texas
School Type: Public 5A
Ethnicity: Asian
Gender: Male

Thanks in advance!
Post edited by StarSeraph on

Replies to: Chances for Emory RD?

  • aluminum_boataluminum_boat Registered User Posts: 1,539 Senior Member
    I think you'll get in either round. If you put in effort on your app. But it's tough to guarantee anything since so many qualified people get rejected.

    I wouldn't worry about the counselor rec. For the most part, I think a counselor's opinion doesn't really matter. Only a very small number of schools are the type where a student builds a strong relationship with the counselor. Hell, if the counselor says "best student ever" with no specific examples to back that statement and the class size is like 800, I could even see colleges even taking the rest of your recs for less than face value.

    FWIW, I had two below average recs and one above average one. One of them was bad because the teacher, although someone I knew and liked very well, was a terrible writer (didn't even know how to type fwiw). He didn't do a great job explaining my potential in math. But I had to get a rec from him since he was my math teacher. Another was from my counselor and she just put the corresponding percentile from my class rank (so like top 10%) even for things like "friendly and nice".

    What I'm saying is that I'm sure colleges have something in place to account for things like this. I always raise an eyebrow when people say their teacher recs were the best ever (if you look at the other chance me threads on CC, pretty much everyone says that). And that can't possibly be true for everyone, of course.

    Maybe someone else can shine some light on this... But I don't know if ChemE + PreMed is a good idea.
  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,293 Senior Member
    The person is fine admissions wise (and BTW. Maybe only retake the AP Biology if you plan to start in intermediate or advanced biology courses. DO NOT RETAKE FOR ADMISSIONS PURPOSES. As in, don't retake, and then show up to Emory or Cornell saying that "the pre-health office told me to retake biology 1 even though I got a 4/5" and then actually listen to them. That's so dumb beyond believe and you would have wasted money).

    As for chemE/pre-med:

    Not saying you can't do it, but it
    is not really recommended if you go straight into it (as you would at Cornell, whose engineering school may have really high admissions standards BTW). Places like Cornell are engineering intensive and will have very difficult math and physics series that serve as pre/co-reqs to engineering courses. In addition, selective private schools such as Emory and Cornell also probably have more difficult life sciences courses than say, Georgia Tech, Berkeley, and some other top flagships for science. So, if you went to Cornell, you'd have to deal with both being that intensive (it's okay for content to be hard, but neither Cornell or Emory are like Harvard, Yale, Brown, or Stanford, or Duke where the curves are decently generous for the pre-med weeder classes. Cornell and Emory curve or end up with the B- distribution in these courses as opposed to B/B+). I like Cornell too (okay, as an academic institution, maybe the geography, but not location and weather), but strategically, 3/2 may be a way of spreading out the intensity.

    I'll explain: You can get strong/rigorous instructors for math and physics (you will have to take C-based I guess, and you should start with math higher than calc. 2), and they won't be killer intense like at Tech or Cornell, and then you can use this extra wiggle room to juggle the more difficult pre-med courses/recommendations at Emory. You'll get to take the decent biology instructors, and if you get AP credit for chem, take organic as a freshman (for the love of God, please don't take 221-Z if you come to Emory, even though it is the designated freshman organic sections. You are going to Georgia Tech in 3-4 years! People like Liotta or whoever will teach it will not prepare you for that or the rigors of that or the advanced chemistry courses. Take a sophomore section with Soria or Weinschenk if they are teaching it), with maybe a math or physics course. Stronger students who are math, physics, or pre-engineering often do this freshman year. After freshman year, it'll actually lighten up. All you basically have to do to complete the 3/2 requirements (if a chem major) is like: 1 math and 1 chem course each semester, and maybe take a biochemistry, cell, biology, or genetics course in 1 of the 4-6 semesters you have left. And then you can get to Tech and focus fully on your engineering courses (as most chem. courses will transfer over). It won't be like, "math course, engineering course, pre-med course" almost every semester as it would be if you started at Cornell or Tech. The fact is, because of the stringent grading, the pre-med courses may remove time from things like the engineering course (which you really need because it's likely going to give the highest grades because they usually have projects and things that help buffer exam scores. If you can't do them with high quality because you're trying secure a solid pre-med course score, then you could end up doing worse than expected :( . The unfortunate thing about selective schools is that courses in the pre-med core are more about "test-takers" than they are about hard workers because they often only have exams/quizzes. Sometimes the exam content and style is unpredictable, and the ability of your peers in test-taking is unpredictable, so a lot time goes into preparing for the unknown. Engineering classes...from what I can tell, often you know what's coming and it's just a matter of understanding that material, which may be hard).

    So if you want to do this (either 3/2 or Cornell), please plan it out carefully. I would be more supportive to the Cornell possibility if you were not pre-med. I just think Emory's 3/2 is more friendly to strong pre-health students (but again, if you do this, stay away from the pre-health advising office for advice on coursework).
  • StarSeraphStarSeraph Registered User Posts: 149 Junior Member
    Thank you, both of you, for your suggestions. I will consider what you have said. I really am just taking pre med to keep my options open as I am not sure if I want to be a doctor or engineer.. Also, wouldn't I be fulfilling the pre-med requirements through a bio major anyway?

    Thanks again!
  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,293 Senior Member
    If you wanted to be a bio major, sure. But keep in mind that the biology major really only has 4.5 of the pre-med requirements/suggestions (if no AP): Biology 1/2 (depending on AP), biochem 1 (not recommended in the bio dept. No rigor, will not prep for MCAT biochemistry), organic 1, physics 1, chem 1/2, math 1/2.

    Chem has like 5.5 (no AP): chem 1/2, organic 1/2, biochem 1 (stronger than bio's biochem, though still inferior to to biochem 2 which is only offered in the chem. dept. And if you show achievement with a rigorous organic instructor then Dr. Weinert will allow you to take 302 without having taken 301. I know 5-6 students who went through this path in the past year and it really set them apart and strengthened them academically), bio 1, physics 1/2, and several maths (usually diff. eq is recommended/almost required, along with multi and linear algebra). The chem. major may be better aligned with your dual goals.

    Also, chemistry is more flexible for if you choose to AP out and start with organic simply because it has more upper/intermediate level lecture w/lab options (you have analytical, inorganic, physical, instrumental counts as a lab, and by time you would get to Emory, more labs will be coming. Biology has ecology, microbiology, and Comparative Anatomy and it's competitive to get into these. Chemistry advanced labs are less competitive). I would just go w/chem if you wanted to do ChemE later anyway. It's just a more cohesive and better environment than biology (seems like students are really only doing it because of the perceived convenience). I would just take the advanced biology courses that are good on the side, because overall the training you get from the chem dept will do you more justice for transitioning into Tech and doing well on your MCAT (not the Tech part. I basically majored in both chem and biology, so the difference was obvious. At the advanced level, there were maybe only 2-3 instructors that provided good training. The other classes were regurgitation oriented, which isn't good if you are taking an MCAT or a GRE biochem/biology in the future. Chemistry, in conjuction with those 2-3 instructors on the other hand, was invaluable). I say this from experience by the way. You'll meet stronger peers that actually enjoy the subject area whereas over in biology, you'll often feel like you're just "going through motions" and become more or less a stereotypical pre-med. The bio track is too soft for someone of your caliber with those potential goals in mind (chem. dept also allows you to more easily interweave between grad. and undergrad courses when you want. Biology is more "red-tape" because of the size).
  • StarSeraphStarSeraph Registered User Posts: 149 Junior Member
    Then, chemistry it is (i was anyway deciding between the two). Thanks bernie12 for the advice!

    Also, how is Emory on the research scene? I plan to do research as a freshman.

    I did apply ED to Rice, but unfortunately, I was rejected. As you may know, Rice has a very healthy undergraduate research program. How does Emory compare? Is it really good or even equal to Rice?

    Thank you.
  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,293 Senior Member
    Yeah, they'll be about equal. I can see why you would want Rice though (the chemE connection, and maybe you have an interest in material science). Emory has amazing biomolecular, biochemistry, and organic synthesis labs (Chemistry has David Lynn, Huw Davies, Dr. Liotta; the latter two make mediocre level teachers, but are amazing scientists; Lynn has it all. We have the up and coming people like Emily Weinert and Dr. Khalid Salaita, Susanna Weaver, and an extremely intense inorganic chemist, Craig Hill, who was likely nominated for the Nobel several times). Yeah, there are indeed some heavy hitters in our chem dept. In addition, we have a top pharmacology department where some labs are combining those disciplines to create and test drugs in various model systems. Warning, before you get in a lab....know something, seriously! As in, don't be like the many freshmen that go into a lab with poor theoretical training. If you want an organic, chemical biology/biochemistry, or biomolecular lab, get rigorous semester 1 training in organic first (and for the middle two, get good biology instruction as well). If you want to go into physical or Inorganic, take something like chem 260 beforehand (either instructor will be rigorous for that, though Salaita is better if you want biochemistry). You don't wanna start lab with just "mixing chemicals" or "doing random stuff" and then hoping you just pick up on stuff (you'll already have to get past the hurdle of getting techniques down. At least understand what the techniques are elucidating). It is possible to get the necessary background freshman year BTW as long as you get AP chem credit and then opt. out of gen. chem (again, do not listen to pre-health advising and take gen. chem and do not follow peers to Davies', McDonald's, or Liotta's organic class. They'll make you much weaker than the peers you'll be up against in upper level courses who mostly took McGill, Weinschenk, Gallivan, or Soria. It'll be tempting because your peers will clamor about how people like Liotta are "famous" and, best of all, "easy", but if you're serious about scientific research and your future, just....no. Not to mention, their demands are almost so low that no one engages or does the work in their courses. They can hardly do anything beyond memorization and some perform worse than what they would have if they had a more demanding instructor and I know this from Taing). It may seem as if taking the famous but easy instructors provides the best access to their labs, but not necessarily. The more demanding instructors care a bit more and if you work hard and display interest will recommend you to those labs if you need help getting in (in fact, Soria is directly connected to Liotta) so doing that is the best route to getting into a good lab with decent command of theoretical knowledge. And the thing about Lynn is.....his lab is big. He can take on lots of undergrads (he actually does some things on the biomolecular/material science border).

    Wish I could tell you about how Cornell works, but I have no idea (they don't have course websites public or anything, so I couldn't do a comparison if I wanted to).
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