Math Minor/Med School/Does it Matter?/Time Sensitive

<p>DS is a molecular biology major at a top LAC and wants to go to medical school. He applied this year and doesn't yet know if he will get in and may need to reapply again next year after he graduates. He has an "in the ballpark" gpa for good medical schools and a very high MCAT score. Because of a high placement in math, he is able to get a math minor with five math classes and has completed four of them; this is his last semester. He signed up for a probability and stats class and a number of other classes knowing he would whittle down (he has dropped one). He is now saying that he wants to drop the math class as it represents a ton of work and is the one class he feels he could end up getting a B in. In order to keep it, he will need to drop one or two 1/2 credit classes he loves (science) or an art class he is passionate about and which is a follow-up to a class from last semester. DS has had a very rigorous courseload all through college and the art has been a source of real pleasure for him this year as he went through the stress of med school applications, etc. It's also a lot of work though.</p>

<p>There are several issues. DH really wants him to get the math minor, has wanted it all along. He thinks it makes him more marketable somehow and that he will always "have it". DS is certain he wants to go to medical school and is interested in medical research. DS knows that GPA matters a lot for medical school. He had straight As last semester and would like to keep that up this semester but knows, based on the other math classes he took, that there is a good chance, no matter how hard he works, that he could get a B and thinks he'll be stressed out all semester working on that class and worrying about the grade. He also loves all the classes he might need to drop in order to take the stats -- both of the 1/2 credit classes and the art class. In addition, he is taking a difficult science course with some math in it and his thesis requirement which is open-ended in terms of the amount of work. He needs to spend at least 20 hours on his thesis, but could easily spend more given the nature of the project. </p>

<p>DS wants to drop the stats class. DH sees it as dropping a minor and says "you don't drop a minor one course away from finishing". At first glance that makes sense, but DS has sought advice from professors who have told him he should drop it and keep the science classes more in line with his interests, etc. They are of the opinion that anyone who cares in the future will look at his classes and see what he took and that having "minor" on the transcript is not that important and that people generally get minors just to be able to say they have them but it's questionable how much real-world value they hold. If he gets into medical school, I can't see how it will ever matter. </p>

<p>DS has petitioned for a science class he's taking that is very math-based to count toward his minor but it's unlikely it will be granted. He will also see if it's possible to take it pass/no pass (although he thinks that doesn't look good to medical schools) to ease the pressure about the grade. I think it's unlikely either will be granted but we'll see. I know if they are not granted, he wants to drop the course. DH is adamant that he keep it. </p>

<p>I thought I'd start this thread to get any useful information on how much this minor is worth especially given what DS wants to do. Thanks. Oh, by the way, he may still need to miss a day or two of school to interview at medical schools and he may need to spend time applying for post-college positions if he doesn't get into medical school.</p>

<p>He wants to drop it.</p>

<p>His professors want him to drop it.</p>

<p>Why is DH even weighing in on this? If DS ever wants/needs that class in the future, he can take it then.</p>

<p>If your son was applying for consulting or finance jobs, the math minor would be helpful. I really don't think it matters for application to medical school.</p>

<p>Your son is a college senior. I think that this is his choice. He has good reasons to drop the course, and I would support his decision.</p>

<p>Good luck with his med school applications.</p>

<p>P/F for one math course won't discredit him for med schools. But it also probably won't count towards his minor either. (At both my kids' school, all coursework for majors and minors need to have a grade to be counted toward fulfilling the major/minor requirement.)</p>

<p>My inclination would to be recommend he hang in with the stats. He'll be taking stats [again] in med school (should he get accepted), and D1 found having a strong math background has made the course a snap. (And one less thing that took up valuable study time since she didn't have to do much work for it. The same could not be said for most of her peers--who struggled with it.)</p>

<p>I also think that having a official math minor might give him a boost employment-wise should he need an alternate career path that is not med school. </p>

<p>Full disclosure: Both my kids had plenty of AP math in high school. Both went to college with the understanding that since they came in with advanced standing (between 1 and 4 semesters each) they would complete their math minors. Which they did--and in fact both added math as a second major. D1 is now a med student; D2 will apply next cycle. </p>

<p>(BTW, it was the math that kept D1 employed while she was waiting to get into med school. She was a math tutor/instructor for the local CC. Decent pay and she got bennies like medical insurance, even though she was only half-time. Much better deal than she got waiting tables.)</p>

<p>Edited to add: Since he's applying this cycle--he'll be accepted or rejected before med schools even see this term's grades. If he needs to reapply next cycle--then what's he's been doing post-graduation will be much more important than that one math grade when it comes to evaluating his app. In the long run, one B in stats will little difference on whether he'll be accepted or rejected to med school. sGPA is only one of many, many things med schools look at.</p>

<p>Minors are worthless.</p>

<p>High-level probability and stats is far, far from worthless, ESPECIALLY if he wants to do medical research. If he wants to do medical research, a high-level stats class is probably worth more than any science class he would take at this point.</p>

<p>Dropping a class because you might get a B in it is below worthless.</p>

<p>Piling stress on yourself in your last semester of college isn't required.</p>

<p>If it were I, or one of my kids, I would say to stay in the stats class, but it's not a clear answer either way. I hardly know anyone, in science, medicine, law, education, wherever, who doesn't wish they knew more statistics, though.</p>

<p>I think you can make an argument either way.</p>

<p>I'm sure you've seen this-
<a href="https://www.aamc.org/download/270906/data/table24-mcatgpagridall0911.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;https://www.aamc.org/download/270906/data/table24-mcatgpagridall0911.pdf&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>If his MCAT is really high, his chances are pretty darn good even with a mediocre GPA. And all As versus one B is not going to matter that much in the scheme of things, IMO. I guess it depends on what his GPA is.</p>

<p>OTOh, so few classes are required for a minor I'm not sure how important that designation is. So many kids these days get degrees in multiple majors. It wasn't likke that back in the day, as I recall at least.</p>

<p>I'm not sure how it is in the humanities, but in the sciences it seems like there is so much overlap picking up a minor doesn't seem to mean all that much. If you take an interdisciplinary type major, for example biophysics, you could likely pick up a few minors just by hanging around an extra semester.</p>

<p>And there is also something to be said for pursuing a passion in something - they might like that. Plus, I understand med schoolis pretty demaning. THis might be one of the last chances to take something you like.</p>

<p>
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Minors are worthless.

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</p>

<p>This was my thought. Anyone can look at his transcript and see all the math he has taken.</p>

<p>
[quote]
High-level probability and stats is far, far from worthless, ESPECIALLY if he wants to do medical research.

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</p>

<p>This is very true. If he does drop it this term, then he should try to pick up the class post-bac sometime along the way.</p>

<p>
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THis might be one of the last chances to take something you like.

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Better clarify. Last chance to take something you like other than math, science or medicine. :)</p>

<p>Does he have any acceptances to any med schools as of today?</p>

<p>Does he have any more interviews lined up as of today?</p>

<p>How many interviews has he to date? And has he had any contact with them after the interview? As in: he has been put on hold, he has been wait-listed or rejections?</p>

<p>How many does he have left to hear from out of where he applied?</p>

<p>The math course will affect his BCPM gpa (more than his overall gpa) but not by hardly anything at this point. The grade will be diluted by him having so many science and math classes as a senior, and this only coming into play if he is to apply again next year.</p>

<p>When he filled out his AMCAS he had to list all his courses so the schools can see all the math. There is a spot to put your major and minor. </p>

<p>How much time before they get back to him about letting the science count for the minor vs. when he needs to drop the class by?</p>

<p>In my opinion, I don't think a B in the math will hurt his med school apps. I think that 1 grade in particular will not keep him out of med school. There is such a big picture they look at I don't really think it will matter.</p>

<p>I think what is important is what will matter to him. Will he regret later not having the minor? How important is it to him? How imortant is the art class? Does it keep him sane and brings joy?</p>

<p>He is the only one to really evaluate the balance he needs to maintain. Once he starts med school he can't go back a get that minor or take that art class.</p>

<p>Son is first year med student who graduated from his ivy and started at another uni to complete 2 more degrees and another minor (his gap year between undergrad and med school). First school did not offer the 2 majors or minor he wanted, hence the 2 schools. It was a lot of work but it gave him the breathing room to finish his senior year and thesis which was more intense than his second uni. </p>

<p>Not necessarily what I would have done BUT it was what he wanted for himself and for his future goals (MD/MBA/MPH). Of course now it all makes sense but I couldn't see that then. But again it made sense to him so he was right and I was soooooooooooo wrong!</p>

<p>Good luck, and I hope he has good news on all fronts very soon! (hope they let that science class count to the minor AND he gets in soon!)</p>

<p>Kat
I agree with wayoutwestmom stats will help with med school, son took it and it has lightened his load, so has the micro, anatomy, physiology, biochem......def eq not so much!</p>

<p>I really appreciate the responses. To answer some questions asked, no he does not have any acceptances as of today. He applied late in the cycle due to an August MCAT date. He was originally planning to wait until next year to apply but decided to give it a shot this year even if it was later in the cycle. He interviewed at a top school about ten days ago. They have not released any acceptances yet and will release a small batch soon with the majority being released later in the spring. He's on hold for an interview at another school meaning they are sorting through the applicants they are considering interviewing and figuring out how many interviews they want to do. He has a total of ten schools at this point where he is still under consideration.</p>

<p>On the AMCAS I believe he put down an intent to minor. His school does not allow students to say they are minoring until it's complete. Hopefully, they will get back to him soon about the course but I think it's a department decision. He has a lot of time to drop courses but it's time-sensitive because he doesn't want to keep doing a ton of work for a course -- whether it's this one or one of the 1/2 credit courses. He feels he needs to put his energies into the classes he is going to complete. </p>

<p>Will he regret not having the minor? Maybe. I don't think he thinks he will. I think my husband thinks he will. My guess is he would only regret it if he went in a direction where somehow it would give him an edge. Someone mentioned he could take the course later. It's unlikely he would, but even if he did, he can't make it a minor later. He loves the art class and it is important to him and gives him joy. DH really wants him to stay in the art course if at all possible. He discovered his talent for this last semester. It is something he could take classes in outside of college though and that I hope he will pursue throughout his life for enjoyment.</p>

<p>
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Minors are worthless.</p>

<p>High-level probability and stats is far, far from worthless,

[/quote]

I disagree with the first point and agree with the second. Stats will pay back. Anecdotal evidence on minors - my wife received more than one job interview based on her major (finance) with the job offer based on the interview and her minor (math). If he does get into med school the minor won't help.</p>

<p>Med/law professional schools do not care about minors. Heck, they don't even care about majors. They do care about gpa, however. So a B that will lower the math-science gpa for med school should be avoided. No need to add more stress senior year, particularly when completing an (honors?) thesis.</p>

<p>If he likes the art class take the art class. I have trouble seeing how a math minor is any "more marketable" in today's world (outside of finance and actuarial science). But since he's a bio major, the minor itself is of no value. Advanced Stats might be of value, however, when seeking a job in the really crowded bio research field.</p>

<p>btw: I too would be surprised if a P/F class would count for a major/minor.</p>

<p>
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I disagree with the first point and agree with the second. Stats will pay back. Anecdotal evidence on minors - my wife received more than one job interview based on her major (finance) with the job offer based on the interview and her minor (math).

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</p>

<p>A good finance degree will require quite a few high level math class. I bet your wife would have gotten the job if she listed the math courses she took, without the minor.</p>

<p>As a physician, I counsel students often for med school admissions. The rule is to major in what you love and do really well. I was a special ed teacher for 8 years when I went to med school -- I was told they accepted me because they never had a special education teacher before. Didn't hurt that I had a 4.0 in both undergrad and grad classes. My med school class had a high school band director, a French major, a few language majors and some engineers. All did well and graduated. So, do what you love and do well. You'll do fine in med school.</p>

<p>He did major in what he really loves and has done really well. Along the way he picked up some math classes that he enjoyed and felt it was doable to get the minor. It was his stated intent to complete the minor all along. Now he's a little freaked out by the amount of work the class will require and feels something has to give. It's the class he loves the least, but it does represent more than a class, it does represent a minor which may or may not be useful, difficult to know now. Also, there is the point that people have made on probability which is that it may be helpful later. </p>

<p>If he were to drop the class, is he under any obligation to notify schools he applied to? He didn't say he was minoring, he said he intended to minor.</p>

<p>I want to say thanks to all of you who posted. DS is feeling a lot better about things and feels pretty sure he will stay in the class. He gets that it has long-term value and found the workload doable last night. It was really helpful to find out that stats now will ease things in medical school and to read the comments.</p>

<p>
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A good finance degree will require quite a few high level math class. I bet your wife would have gotten the job if she listed the math courses she took, without the minor.

[/quote]

Just to clarify, she would not. She transitioned to a QA engineer job in a manufacturing environment.</p>

<p>A stats class can be extremely helpful in research. If he is seriously thinking about any sort of research career, he may be very happy he kept that class.</p>

<p>As to the rest, what every one has said is true- a minor is a waste of time in many situations, but now & again it could make a difference. A B amongst many As will make very little change in his GPA, subconsciously, could a senior B affect how an adcom sees it, yes. So much of this has to be gut instinct as it is not a definite yes/no.</p>

<p>Honestly, a stats class is not going to help with med school and a "B" may hurt your chances. Get an "A" if you're going to take it.</p>

<p>Stats can be helpful in medical research, though most biological researchers use a very limited part of the stats:
1) they know what statistical significance is and that it a result is "statistical significant" when p-value < 0.05.
Also, they can calculate it (though there is a macro for it on excel.) Someone could pick this up without doing the class. BTW, statistical significance is the probability that the difference between two groups is due to chance: it depends on the standard deviation within each group and the number (n) of experiments. If an experiment shows that treatment of cells increases some protein by ten times, you may not draw any conclusion unless it is statistically significant. I suppose part of the use of stats is for people to appreciate this fact.</p>

<p>2) For clinical research and animal models, they can do power series to determine how many animals/human subjects they will need for an experiment. This is important to do beforehand.</p>

<p>I have used more than this in my own research, but only because I did very well in the class. There are more subtle things that are useful, like, for instance, when it is appropriate to use an independent vs. a paired t-test. However, someone who gets a "B" won't be using anymore than the above.</p>

<p>
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If he is seriously thinking about any sort of research career, he may be very happy he kept that class.

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</p>

<p>It's definitely important in the social sciences and maybe bio. I don't think it's useful for chemistry, at least synthetic chemistry.</p>