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My kid is super interested in Biology but not in Chemistry.

PenkvsPenkvs 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
My kid wants to pursue Medicine but I want to know what other opportunities as a back up plan. Please advice.
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Replies to: My kid is super interested in Biology but not in Chemistry.

  • makemesmartmakemesmart 1491 replies14 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Could your child just happened to have a bad chemistry teacher?
    But I don’t think there is anything deep in any biology related non-medicine career that does not also involve chemistry
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  • thumper1thumper1 74828 replies3279 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Well...for medicine, your kid will have to take organic chemistry and the prerequisite for that is a year of regular chemistry.

    If your kid doesn’t like chemistry, what makes them think they will like the prerequisite courses needed to get into medical school?
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78279 replies691 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Both biology majors and pre-meds will have to take general chemistry and organic chemistry (pre-meds also typically take upper level biochemistry).
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  • mathmommathmom 32384 replies159 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    You can also be interested in biology and not like being a doctor at all.
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  • PenkvsPenkvs 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thank You for the suggestions. Does the research opportunity that she took in summer count even if the GPA is above average but not excellent. I also would like to know about Niche programs and Honors schools. I am reacting late but please help. I live in PA and she is eligible for in state tution.
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  • SybyllaSybylla 3821 replies48 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 22
    Many kids talk about being premed what no idea of what this even looks like. Sounds like your DD is like many kids, fairly unsure about what to do in college.

    What are her stats and interests? And what does she see doing for a job in the future? Summer programs really don't count for much outside of the obvious selective entry highly competitive programs, many are pay to play, and some kids get research opportunities more due to nepotism than talent. Others are just offered to high school kids who compete for the local U slots.

    Do you have a budget? Is she a junior?
    edited September 22
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  • joecollege44joecollege44 116 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I am a practicing physician. Graduated Med school in 1997. I loved Bio (and majored in it) but I hated math, which made physics tough as well. I tolerated chem and organic chem but they were a struggle as well. For 90+% of doctors, those subjects will have zero to do with their careers or ability to take care of patients. The world probably loses out on a lot of wonderful would-be physicians because of these weed-out prerequisites.
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41893 replies451 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 22
    Chem is essential to get into med school: basic pre-med pre-requisites include 5 weedout chemistry classes (v.2 biology). So, can she take AP chem, do well and not care that she doesn't like it? Because that's what her college years will feel like, except with harder courses. (AP chem is hard - one of the hardest APs - but it's not weedout and it's nothing like the level of difficulty that is organic chemistry.) It takes a lot of fortitude to withstand day after day a really hard subject that you don't like ad returns discouraging grades.

    No matter what, I would advise another major than Biology: there's currently an oversupply of them and the job market can't absorb them. What about bioinformatics, biostatistics, cognitive Science, biological Anthropology...?
    edited September 22
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  • PenkvsPenkvs 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I wish I knew this website early. Thanks for your inputs.It means a lot. She is an eloquent public speaker and active girl but moving from a different country had impact on her GPA. But I got to understand that the applications are filtered by the GPA and ACT/SAT score and then the essay is read. In that case, the student cannot put up her situations.

    Any insight on Honour colleges,how to find them?
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41893 replies451 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    There's a website called Public Honors. They also have a book that discusses most honors colleges in the country.

    What country? What changes? What GPA? Test scores?
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  • SybyllaSybylla 3821 replies48 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 22
    Is she an international applicant? What sort of visa are you all on? Are you clear on finances? What grade is she in?

    "In that case, the student cannot put up her situations."

    I don't understand this? Can you clarify the time line?
    IN the mean time, look at community college to 4 yr pathways if her high school history and test scores are not 4 yr ready.
    edited September 22
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  • MADadMADad 1993 replies81 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    When I see my physician every 6 months, we spend most of the time going over the results of my blood work---it's all chemistry.
    Biology boils down to chemistry, chemistry boils down to physics and physics boils down to math--it's that simple.
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10217 replies204 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 23
    ^^That's exactly what my late husband always said. (He was a physicist and pretty good darned mathematician. My SIL who is really good theoretical mathematician agrees.)

    D1 (physics & math double major) took OChem when she decided to apply to med school and after she had finished undergrad & grad quantum mechanics--she said she didn't even need to study because the reaction mechanisms were all obvious once you understood how quantum mechanics works.
    edited September 23
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10217 replies204 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My kid wants to pursue Medicine but I want to know what other opportunities as a back up plan. Please advice.

    Pre-meds do not need to major in any particular field. Med schools accept students with all sort of academic backgrounds. Med school classmates of my daughters had majors ranging from the expected biology, chemistry and neuroscience to fields as diverse as agriculture/forestry, theology, music theory, Spanish, English literature, history, business, sociology, mathematics, engineering and computer science.

    What your daughter does need to do is take medical school pre-req classes (introductory biology, general chem, organic chem, biochem, calc 1, statistics or biostatistics, physics, 2 semesters of college composition, sociology, psychology). These are the minimum expected from every med school applicant.

    Biology majors have so-so employment prospects upon graduation unless they can actively develop marketable job skills. Doing that may include taking additional coursework during college in statistics and basic computer programming as well as doing some internships in biochemical or chemical industries during college.

    There many lab technician-type jobs for bio majors, but these do not pay especially well, nor they do they offer much opportunity for advancement.

    Pharmaceutical and medical device sales can be quite lucrative, but require a great deal of travel and an outgoing personality.

    There are many other medicine-adjacent careers open to bio majors but they will all require additional training and education.
    Here's website that has a searchable database of health profession careers--https://explorehealthcareers.org

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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 12889 replies244 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    MYOS1634 wrote: »
    (AP chem is hard - one of the hardest APs - but it's not weedout and it's nothing like the level of difficulty that is organic chemistry.

    My kid found AP Chem nothing like the level of difficulty of Gen Chem, at her school, nevermind OChem. The college version was MUCH harder. She stuck with Chem for two years - it was her easiest subject in HS - but ultimately chose a different major. Not necessarily an easier one, but better for her interests and goals. College classes can be very different from HS ones and old interests can die while new ones emerge.

    Science majors who aren't going to med school don't have the greatest job prospects directly ties to their major. Not that science majors aren't a good prep for a career or further education - IMO they are - but they can often have lower gpas and due to labs, more time must be spent dealing with the work.
    @Penkvs My kid wants to pursue Medicine but I want to know what other opportunities as a back up plan. Please advice.

    There are a lot of great careers that are "medical" but not "doctor". Nurse, pharmacist, physical therapist, speech therapist, hearing specialist, radiologists of various non-MD kinds,...then all the ancillary fields like pharmaceutical research and sales, health systems administration, lots of business opportunities for which a good base of science is helpful.
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  • wis75wis75 14075 replies62 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    re post # 12. Physician here, with an honors undergrad chemistry degree because of interest which evolved into medicine instead of chemistry grad school. You need chemistry to understand principles behind so much of medical school basic science, just as you need a firm foundation in other sciences and math. However, as a practicing physician you do not deal with them except as a memory of knowing how/why things are. Going over lab results and prescribing medicines is so different than acquiring the background behind them.

    OP- remember that this is your D's life and her decision. It is not your job to try to plan her future path. She will discover options during her college years and adjust her plans accordingly. All you should do is listen when she wants to talk. She is the (emerging- is she still in HS?) adult now, the one in charge. You can suggest she avail herself of opportunities to explore career options at her school.

    If your D is still in HS (you seem to indicate this but are not clear) you are premature in planning her college major et al. She can go to any college and have any major to go to medical school. Her college record will determine her chances at getting into a medical school and she will figure things out.

    Regarding honors colleges/programs- there have been discussions of these in the past. Your state flagship will have many top/elite students- most do not go to elite private schools- and they will populate the school's honors classes. You do not go looking for honors, you look at schools and then your D figures out if the honors program/college (the type and quality depends on the school- neither is inherently better than the other) at the good fit school suits her.

    So- if your D is a HS student her current job is to get into college. She needs to discuss family finances so she knows afforable options. She needs to discuss college options with her HS guidance counselor- this person will know where she stands academically. Remember- she is who she is and her gpa and test scores will reflect that. There should be HS parents nights that let juniors/seniors know how the college application process works.
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  • PenkvsPenkvs 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thank you all for your valuable inputs. These inputs are taken. Yes she is a senior this year. She is on H visa. She started High school in USA in 10th grade.
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  • SybyllaSybylla 3821 replies48 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 24
    You should know how med school works for internationals if you are never getting PR or citizenship.
    PA allows instate tuition for H dependents? It will be very important that she has good college planning, in case or when your family visa situation changes.
    edited September 24
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10217 replies204 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 24
    @Penkvs

    Sybylla is right.

    Med school for an international student raises a whole new level of difficulty.

    Fewer than 100 international students matriculated to all US MD programs combined last year.
    https://www.aamc.org/system/files/reports/1/factstablea4.pdf

    Approximately 85% of those were Canadians. (More schools will admit Canadians and the Canadian government guarantees loans for Canadian citizens attending med school in the US.)

    Additionally, international students are NOT eligible for federal financial aid for med school (which is how US med students pay for school). International applicants must demonstrate they able to pay 100% of their med school education before they will be allowed to enroll by placing up to 4 years of tuition & fees (and sometime living expenses) into a US escrow account. This is typically in the $150-$450K range. There is little to no merit aid for medical school--especially for international students.

    I would suggest your D drop the idea of med school and start considering other possible careers.
    edited September 24
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