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Would a certificate or a higher GPA be more impressive?

maverick137maverick137 Registered User Posts: 59 Junior Member
edited March 2013 in Pre-Med Topics
So I took a class this semester called Medical Anthropology. It is very interesting but it was a 1000 level anthropology class and I currently have a B+. Although I hope to bring it up to A, there is a very good chance I might be getting my second B in college.

There is one more 1000 level class to take, a history of the development of western medicine, and an intense philosophy class for my University to award me a Certificate in Conceptual Foundations of Medicine. It basically proves you went through these classes and now understand cultural barriers to medicine, the history of medicine, ethics, etc.

However, these classes are very difficult so if I'm going to work hard on it and chance a B or two to my GPA (currently a 3.98), I want it to be worth it.

Will the higher GPA or certificate be more impressive?
Post edited by maverick137 on

Replies to: Would a certificate or a higher GPA be more impressive?

  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 8,919 Senior Member
    The certificate sounds a good deal like the "clusters" that D2 took at her college. (She took clusters in anthropology [medical anthropology] and philosophy[ethics]. One intro level; 3 upper level classes all centering a single concept/topic.)

    Medical schools are not going to care about whether or not you earn an essentially meaningless certificate of completion if it's at the expense of your GPA.
  • kristin5792kristin5792 Registered User Posts: 2,068 Senior Member
    I agree with WOWMom. I don't think med schools would care enough about this certificate to look past a lower GPA. Some things to consider:

    1) Why do you think these classes would lower your GPA?
    2) If the classes sounds interesting to you, and you have limited time (ie only until you graduate) to take interesting classes just to take them, is that worth the potential GPA ding?
    3) Are there other potential benefits to these classes? Intangible things, like getting to work with awesome professors? More tangible things, like exposure to different fields you might want to do research in?
    4) Could you accomplish your goal of learning about the conceptual foundations of medicine by choosing, say, some of those courses, and not actually getting the certificate? Does having the certificate add anything beyond just having it?

    If I had a good reason to believe these classes are just going to be GPA busters, I probably wouldn't take them solely to get the certificate--but I might take them because I'm interested in the material. If I've heard the class is hard but don't have any real reason to believe it'd be impossible to get a good grade (B+ or better), I'd probably take it. If I had reason to believe there were other things to gain--such as taking a class from a great prof or gaining exposure to a new field to do research in--then I'd probably be more willing to sacrifice a little GPA to get there. Obviously a 3.98 is awesome, and luckily for you, there's probably a little wiggle room there (meaning you could "afford" to get a B or 2 if, in exchange, you get some awesome experiences out of it).

    Just my opinion though.

    (Then again, as an undergrad, I sought out the most challenging versions of the classes I wanted to take, and I stumbled upon a kind of random minor in leadership & public service based on a variety of classes I coincidentally took.)
  • i_wanna_be_Browni_wanna_be_Brown Registered User Posts: 7,896 Senior Member
    Agree with Kristin.

    Do not overlook the fact that college is literally the last chance you will ever have to have access to experts in a wide variety of topics and the freedom to learn about anything you want from said experts. This is probably the 2nd biggest thing I miss about college (the first obviously being all the free time).
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 8,919 Senior Member
    Agree with both kristin and IWBB.

    While there is no reason to take these classes SOLELY to earn a certificate, there could be reasons to take the classes anyway.

    For example, D2 took the anthro module because she liked the prof who taught 2 of the 4 classes. (Wonderful, interesting and inspirational teacher.)

    College is a time to explore and discover new interests. It's wonderful opportunity! Don't squander it by being one of "those" pre-meds. (Grades rule everything.) Remember med schools are not looking for academic robots; they want fully actualized human beings who have diverse interests and hobbies outside of medicine.
This discussion has been closed.