Conflicted on college choice (Premed NCF, Kalamazoo, Eckerd...)

Hi everyone!
I recently made a post about deciding between colleges, but with recent updates it makes me wonder even more.

As of now, I am considering NCF, Kalamazoo, Eckerd, Denison (Haven’t heard back yet), Wheaton (MA), Susquehanna, Muhlenberg. (Big preference for the first 3, Kzoo would be the most affordable)

I have done research and used the feedback from my previous post to decide on this final list of good fits.
I would be a philosophy major, tentative premed, with a minor in a STEM subject or concentration in WGS, which is my #1 plan, but as I know, it’s unsure for everyone so my plan B would be to get a graduate degree/Ph.D. focusing on femicides/domestic violence or journalism. I would like to pursue research in college too.

I am worried about the fact that there are no grades at NCF, and how it would affect the medical school application process. Does anyone have information about their medical school placement or how they deal with premeds?

Any feedback on those schools for premeds?

Thank you everyone :smile:

Also, if I succeed with my premed courses, I would like to take a “gap year” after my senior year of college to mainly continue the research I’d have engaged in college, maybe in the hospital environment. Do you know if any of those schools provide guidance/classes/tutoring/labs for those who take a year before applying to medical school?

There’s a lot of interesting stuff in your post-but why do you want to go to medical school? It appears that your interests lie in research in the social sciences.

Regarding schools-have you visited all the ones listed? Which one(s) did you like best? Students usually do best where they feel most comfortable, and since GPA is a huge part of a medical school application, that’s an important factor. And as you noted, cost is very important too, since medical school is extremely expensive.

@oldlaw First off thank you for responding!

I want to go to medical school because of how women medicine is today: often violent, traumatizing, dismissive, etc… (Changing the world of medicine of course probably isn’t an option, but contribute in research and policy changes in per example response to sexual assaults medically would be great) So yeah the biggest reason to be a doctor (outside of personal family reasons which probably all doctors have), would be to make a positive change in how women are treated medically if that makes sense?

I unfortunately can’t visit because of cost limitations, so besides the online tours, videos, and current students contact I don’t know much about feel. But I like both Eckerd and Kalamazoo’s vibe and both campuses (especially Eckerd because it’s on the beach lol) seems to really have good infrastructures and the areas are pretty great (hospitals but also good social scene).

I’d say they all are affordable, but for now, Kalamazoo is definitely the cheapest, I’d have very little debt.

And yes, since GPA is a huge part of applying to med school, I was wondering how it worked at a college like NCF, where there is no GPA…


If you really want effect change in how women in trauma situations are treated by physicians, you’re really not going to make a change from the inside working as a physician. You’d be better served by getting a MPP or PhD in healthcare policy/administration and working at the state and national level for specific mandates. (Especially when it comes to insurance coverage for maternity care and transgender issues. ) Or go to work for hospital boards/ national healthcare companies and change policy there. An individual physician has very little power–even those who sit on national policy committees for their specialties. Committees can make recommendations to their members but unless the hospital administration and more importantly insurance companies are on board with those recommendations, I guarantee those policy recommendations are never going to get implemented.

You should be aware that the entire structure of healthcare delivery is changing. The private practice has almost disappeared. Most physicians are salaried employees of large corporate healthcare management groups–and most of those CMGs are for-profit organizations.

BTW, changes are already happening in medicine. More women than men have enrolled in medical schools nationally for the last 2 years. Women already dominate some specialties–OB/GYN (>90% female) pediatrics ( >75% female), psychiatry (57%), Family & community medicine (58%).

All new interns are required to undergo extensive gender and racial bias training before they even start working.

My standard recommendation to pre-meds is to balance fit, cost and opportunity.

Pre-meds are strongly advised minimize undergrad debt because med school horrendously expensive. 

If there is a significant cost differential between Kalamazoo and the others, ask your parents if they would consider contributing something toward the cost of your medical education if you choose a less expensive college for undergrad. A year of medical school is averaging around $60-75Kyear.  Currently the average debt of med grads from state med schools is around $250K.  

LJ-didn’t answer how the no college GPA would work with medical school applications.
Your interest seems to reside in healthcare policy, but take a look at this from KC to see if it is what you are interested in:

Either way-medical school or MPH/Phd in health policy-will be a long and expensive road, so take your time, see what’s required, and see what’s best for you.

@WayOutWestMom Thank you for your answer! I’m an independent student which limits my options a bit more : Kalamazoo would leave me with no debt, NCF and Eckerd a little more but nothing unmanageable. All are great fits, but I agree that cost-wise Kzoo would be the smartest option.

I really have no interest in working in administration (I hate that world with a burning passion :lol: , and I don’t think as a woman I could even make my way up with these ideas, I’m pretty sure a lot have tried before…). I know that an individual physician has little power over administration, but I do know what it feels like to be treated by a dismissive and misogynistic doctor (even a woman doctor) compared to someone who actually cares and is respectful and aware.
I know I won’t change the world, but if I become a physician I hope to conduct research on the side and try to do something at my level (sounds delusional said like that I know) at least with the patients I’d have. And there aren’t my only reasons to go to medical school, I guess it’s a little personal for CC :smile:

So you’d recommend Kalamazoo?

I can’t find the answer, but their website does indicate that a considerable part of their graduating classes goes on to med/vet schools, so I’m guessing they have understandings with medical schools.

I really would like to be “on the field”, I don’t think I’d fit in an administrative job.

I think I’ll go with the less expensive undergrad degree, it’s the smartest move I think


If Kalamazoo is a good social fit for you and will leave you with zero debt for undergrad–go for it.

Med schools really don’t care where an applicant attends undergrad.

The only thing I would suggest you check before committing to a school is to look at their website to see what kind of health profession advising the school offers and whether the school has recently sent students to med school. (Ignore any brags about how many–that’s a highly manipulated number.) I would have reservations if the answer is only a handful in the last 2-3 years. Med school admission is highly competitive and what med schools expect is constantly changing.

RE; grades

Med schools handle this in one of two ways.

1) many college classes actually assign an  underlying grade that is "masked"  as P/F on a student's transcript.( Ex. Reed College) Colleges will have a student sign a release to "unmask" a student's actual assigned class grade to AMCAS. AMCAS then computes a GPA based on the actual grade received in the class.

2) colleges that use written evaluations in place of grades (like New College Florida) and do not have undying assigned grades, The student will submit their evaluations to AMCAS and AMCAS will assign a grade in consultation with the evaluation policies of the specific college. Even colleges that don't grade do stratify student achievement by levels. 

Can you give the reference for Reed? I can’t find it. Thanks.


Kalamazoo sounds like a great choice.

I just wanted to update with new choices!

I got my decision from Denison, they cover full need and my COA would basically be 0, but I’m not sure about fit & location (isolated, the political and social vibe aren’t the best fit).

I also got my FA packages from Beloit and Goucher.
Net cost at Goucher would be 1455$/year, no loans.
Beloit would be 3455$/year (no loan) with work-study options.

I applied to a CTCL scholarship that would cover remaining tuition, but I have to factor in that I’ll rent an apartment near campus (Baltimore rents are EXPENSIVE).
I think I’d major in Socio/anthropology at both, or philosophy at the others!

Do you have feedback on those schools compared to the ones listed before?

I feel extremely lucky to have all of these opportunities :smile: I hope to receive Eckerd’s FA package this week so… It’s going to be hard to choose. Thank you all for your feedback.

You have some really wonderful options.

Goucher has a well respected career changer post bacc pre-med program if that means anything for you.

But, really you can’t wrong at any of them.

I’m familiar with Goucher and the Goucher area; it’s got a lovely campus in Towson which is outside of Baltimore… Is there any reason you can’t live in a dorm? I ask b/c if not, you’d probably need a car since public transportation isn’t that great. And you might be able to leverage FA to cover at least part of the dorm.
And there’s something about “0” that is very attractive, especially in light of the exorbitant cost of medical school. If you’ve visited Denison and it just doesn’t work for you, that makes sense, but if you haven’t visited, give it a shot. It’s about 40 minutes from Columbus and is very well respected.
Both are superb colleges.

@WayOutWestMom Thank you! I did look into their post-bac program, it’s one of the main reasons it’s on my shortlist. I did read somewhere that those programs are make it or break it, is it better to enroll in one or take a regular glide year?

@oldlaw Thank you for the feedback! Yes, my familial situation is why I can’t live in the dorms, thankfully all the colleges were very accomodating!
I have family in the area, I love it, but Towson rents are a bit more expensive than the other areas. Do you think it’d be worth it?
I haven’t visited Denison unfortunately, so I can’t get the feel of it… I didn’t like the feel I got from accepted student groups, I’m also concerned that it’s a very residential college so being a part of the community would be challenging?
The 0 is very attractive, Kalamazoo would be about the same and a better fit I think, how do you think they compare?

Again thank you for the insight, it’s really helping me make a decision!

Some explanation of terminology–

There are 2 types of pre-med post baccs: one for career changers (which is what Goucher’s is) and one for GPA enhancement

A career changer post bacc is ONLY for those students who have not completed all or most of their med school pre-reqs. If you are planning to fit into your pre-reqs while completing your undergrad degree, you don’t need this type of post-bacc.

A GPA enhancer is for students who have completed most of their pre-reqs, but who not done well academically. You won’t know if you need a GPA enhancer until you’ve finished most of your pre-reqs.

(NOTE: grant-based aid for post baccs is rare even for high achieving/high need students. Also because you have graduated from college and earned a degree, any loans you receive are not subsidized–which mean they will accrue interest from the day they are disbursed until the day they’re paid off.)

Both types of post-baccs are make-or-break. If you don’t do well academically, then your chances for getting a med school admission are poor.

A glide year is simply a year between finishing undergrad and starting med school that you use to do something else.

The med school admission cycle lasts a full year. Students apply in June to begin med school in July or August of the following year. If you want to matriculate directly into medical school after undergrad, you will need to apply to med school in June at the end of your junior year of undergrad. If you apply to med school after college graduation, you will automatically need to take a glide year.

Not much you can do about the rents in the Towson area-but as you “love it” it appears you’ve made your decision. Congratulations!
There’s lots doing on campus and in the area, and with family in the vicinity, it sounds like a good choice for you.

Thank you @oldlaw @WayOutWestMom and everyone for all the information! I’ll be going to Kalamazoo as a philosophy major and CGHL concentration, which was my cheapest but also best option! I’m very excited and I can’t wait to see how the future will turn out! :smiley:

Go to Kalamazoo and kill it, @Laliejour !!