General Chem for Dual Credit or AP Credit or neither

D took general Chem last year, will take AP Chem this year. She has the option to take the class for dual credit. It is exactly the same class, and the HS transcript will just reflect AP Chem. But you can pay discounted college tuition at the local directional, and get 8 credits: 4 for Chem 1, 4 for Chem 2. These are the 2 general chem classes that their pre-meds take.

I know if she takes the AP test and then gets college credit, she will have to mark “repeat” if she takes the intro class in college. I assume there is the same issue if she takes dual credit and then takes the intro gen chem class in college. I assume that for better or worse dual credit grades will count on her med school app in her science GPA as well as regular GPA.

I have a couple questions. Do med schools generally consider dual credit classes as meeting the requirement for 8 gen chem credits? The college transcript will show the same 2 classes that the pre-meds take at the local directional. But I’m wondering if she would still be expected to take 8 more credits of general chem with lab.

If she does take 8 more general chem credits (not at all sure she would unless it was suggested/required) will the HS AP class adequately prepare her? I’m not a chem guy, but will she be adequately prepared for Organic or Biochem? I don’t know how much general chem you need for those classes but I’m sure many of you do.

I hadn’t really considered doing this before, because most schools she is applying to won’t give her credit for dual credit classes. However, if it gets her out of general chem, then maybe it would be worthwhile. She is tentatively planning on being a history major rather than bio, so freeing up the 8 credits would be really nice.

I’m guessing this class will be graded much easier than the typical weed out pre-med chem class, even though it is graded pretty harshly for a HS class. So even if she needed 8 more credits of Chem it might be worth it.

This is a school specific question to a certain extent, and I don’t know where she will end up getting her undergrad. But would the 2 additional semesters of general chem typically be more difficult than the intro general chem, or would they be easier, because at that point they probably aren’t weed out classes?

This is out of my wheelhouse. I would love to get opinions from people who are more familiar with applying to medical school. What are your thoughts? Good idea? Dumb idea? @WayOutWestMom and @ucbalumnus you are the 2 that come to mind in this area, so I’m tagging you hoping you will have an opinion.

Thanks for any input. BTW, I already get unconditional love from my dog, I don’t need it from strangers on the internet. If you think I am being stupid please tell me that.

It depends.

EDIT–just noticed credits would come from a directional state U, not a CC.

Since your D will need to take 8 credits of Ochem and 4 credits of biochem, she will be probably be OK at most med schools.

But there is one complicating factor: Health profession committees.

Different schools’ health profession committees have different policies about how they view transferred credits. Some schools will withhold their highest level recommendation from any pre-med who has not taken all their pre-reqs at the the undergrad. (Pre-med committee typically rank students into one of 4 categories: Highly recommended; recommend; recommend with reservations; do not recommend.) Some may highlight that the committee cannot evaluate her performance in gen chem because she didn’t take it at their undergrad. Some may not mention it all. It all depends on the school’s policies and how the individual members of the committee feel about outside credits.

@WayOutWestMom thanks for the insight. What do you think about taking the credits, and then asking ax advisor or the committee at her eventual college way they think? If they aren’t happy, would taking 2 more semesters of gen chem most likely satisfy them?

I know I am asking you to give opinions on a couple things that are unknown. But your guess is better than mine. I’ll pm you the name of the college giving the credit if that matters.

I’m still not sure what I think. I had always planned on her skipping the AP test and just taking intro chem at her eventual college. It was a big help for her brother when he did that. But even if she had to take more advanced chem in college I wonder if it would be easier because she would avoid 2 weed out classes. My opinion is probably clouded by my undergrad chem experience. I know at least 2 docs who were my classmates who started college with a C in first semester chem.

The more advanced chemistry courses may have more difficult material, or require additional prerequisites. Not an issue if she will be a chemistry, chemical engineering, or other major who will take those courses anyway, but may be an issue if she would not otherwise take them.

Advanced inorganic chemistry may require only general chemistry as a prerequisite, but physical chemistry may also require physics (sometimes calculus-based physics) as a prerequisite and/or math beyond single variable calculus.

So if she does want to use credit from the local college general chemistry (or AP credit) to take advanced placement, she should check the old final exams of her eventual college’s general chemistry courses to be sure that she knows the material well based on that college’s expectations, since she may need it in organic chemistry, advanced inorganic chemistry, etc…

One other issue is that if she does take college or AP credit for general chemistry, but her eventual college does not accept it for advanced placement, then she would have to repeat general chemistry and have to mark “repeat” on the medical school application.

But was medical school admission less competitive back then?

@ucbalumnus thanks for the input. I ended having a more in depth conversation with @WayOutWestMom on PM, and she raised some of the same points. In the end, D and I decided that she should forgo the college credit. That’s why I ask the questions here. I thought I had a good idea, but 2 more experienced posters shot me down. Which is a good thing.

It probably wasn’t worth the risk that she would get stuck in a couple of advanced chem classes (that required real physics and extra semesters of calculus) with a bunch of chem and chem engineering majors. She is decent at chemistry (sitting on an A+ currently in the class after the first 2 prelims), but doesn’t love it and for that reason probably wouldn’t do great by comparison in a class with kids who are all chem majors at a selective college and who already made it through the weed out classes. Plus I do not think that the teacher in her class is all that great (D has had her before), so if everyone else has 2 semesters of real college general chem, they are going to be better prepared for the upper level classes than she would be.

I know that even in the 90’s medical school was competitive, but I never was interested in being a doctor so I have no idea how it compares to current admissions. Both of the eventual docs I took chem with had the same scholarship I did which required a 3.5 GPA, and I know they kept their scholarships. I’m pretty sure with some cushion. I’m guessing their overall GPA and science GPA’s were both pretty high by the end of college. The problem was just that first semester of general chem. We had the misfortune of a prof who made it clear that he thought teaching an intro class was beneath him, and he graded it accordingly, probably so the department head wouldn’t make him teach it again. IIRC over 60% of the class got either a D or an F. We all felt lucky to escape with a C.


Med school admissions is always competitive–though the acceptance rates have varied over time, as have the stats of accepted students.

In general when the economy is strong, there are fewer applicants to medical school than when the economy is experiencing distress.

See graphs here;

But the number of applicants does not necessarily correlate directly with acceptance rates because the number of med school seat has increased over the years. Between 1960 and 1980, the number of seats doubled. Between 2005 and 2020, the number of seats increased by >35%.

The overall acceptance rate in 1961 was >60%. By 1973, the acceptance rate hit its nadir of 35%. Since 1980, the acceptance rate has remained more or less steady somewhere between 42 to 48%.

While it’s just about impossible to compare MCAT scores over the past 3 decades (there have been 3 major revisions of the test with significant changes in format and content), the median GPAs of med school matriculants have steadily increased. From 3.4 in 1987 to 3.58 today.

If I had to wager a guess, I would say 3.4 in 1987 is about equivalent to 3.58 today. An increase of .18 in average GPA’s over the last 23 years feels about right, although I have no way to back that up.

Either way I easily had that GPA, I think that chem grade was the only non-A I took in a science class. But I wasn’t much for being around blood or sick people, which pretty much rules out med school! :smile:

@WayOutWestMom , should there be FAQs in this section and the pre-med section about how medical schools look at AP (and IB etc.) credit, repeating AP (and IB etc.) credit, dual enrollment course work, taking higher level courses after taking advanced placement ahead of beginning BCPM courses, and similar things that are commonly asked about?