My Junior Year

Hello! I am currently in my junior year. This year I am taking the following courses

  • AP US History
  • AP Calculus AB
  • AP English Language and Composition
  • Holocaust History Honors
  • AP Chemistry
  • 2D Studio Art
  • Health Science 2

I am a member of the HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America), and MAO (Mu Alpha Theta or Math Honor Society) clubs at my school, and I am hoping to join NSHS (National Science Honor Society) and NHS (National Honor Society). I have the possibility of becoming an officer for MAO as well. I also have the possibility of joining the astronomy club at my school as an officer. My highest PSAT score is 1280 and my previous AP scores are
AP Human Geography- 5
AP World History: Modern- 3
AP Psychology- 4

My Weighted GPA is 4.7 and my unweighted is 3.8

My question is what can I do to further make myself an appealing candidate for colleges this year.

Also I don’t know if this matters but this is my plan for senior year

AP Calculus BC
AP Biology
AP Government
AP English Literature and Composition
Health Science 3 Honors (Double Blocked)
Health Science 3 Honors (Double Blocked)
AP Microeconomics / AP 2D Studio Art / AP European History (Undecided…)
Study Hall (Required but I want to see if I can wave out of it)

And hopefully… by senior year I will be President or at least VP of HOSA, president or at least VP of MAO, president of astronomy club. (Maybe also an officer of NHS or NSHS if i have room in my schedule)

You seem to be a very strong student that is involved in their school community. That is enough to secure a spot in a good college. I hope you are enjoying all your classes and activities and that you take some time to explore new ideas and interests away from the spotlight of college admissions. And rather than asking “will colleges like me?” ask “I wonder what colleges I can find that will fit my personal and educational goals that are within my family’s financial constraints”. I think you’re doing great and I wish you all the best!


Thank you so much! I’m going to speak to my BRACE advisor and start looking into more colleges. :slight_smile:

What do you plan on majoring in? Your schedule looks a lot like my 20 year old’s when she was in high school. If you are planning on going into a medical field, have you done any shadowing? My daughter is a college senior and applying to DPT programs, and started shadowing junior year in high school.

Also, it would help if you kept up with Spanish (or another language other than English commonly spoken in the US).

What state are you in?

Your course selection seems great, and so is your achievement. Make sure that you’re choosing classes that have good teachers, in addition to being subjects that you’d enjoy. If it’s a choice between the AP in a subject you’d never consider doing, but it has an amazing teacher, vs yet another science or math AP, with a mediocre teacher, then go for the one that will expand your horizons. I wish my kids had taken more advantage of this in their high school.

It’s time to start thinking about standardized tests. A 1280 PSAT correlates to about a 1370 on the SAT, or about 90th %, which is fine for less-selective flagship state U’s, but not for top schools, unless you have a big “hook”, meaning you’re the child of a person making a stupendous donation to the school, or a recruited athlete, or an under-represented minority, or possibly a legacy (this is becoming less of an advantage). Take a practice ACT off their website under standard timed conditions and see how you do. Some students do better on the ACT than on the SAT. It’s fairly easy to improve one’s score, especially on the science section, which is really data interpretation, simply by doing a few practice tests. You have time to do this. If you want more info about how to self-prep for the ACT, search that in CC threads - there’s tons of info available.

If there is any possibility of your achieving an academic award on the state or national level, in science or math or art, go for it! From what you’ve reported, I think your best bet for an award might be art. Speak with your art teacher about entering your work in local and state competitions.

Think less about becoming a club leader of these school clubs, and more about doing something outside of school that shows initiative and leadership. For example, rather than becoming an officer in any of these health or science/math related clubs, do something outside of school that shows drive, initiative, and leadership. Is there anything that you love doing, that could be done outside of school in a service-related manner, and for which you could recruit classmates to help you? Maybe a free after-school weekly art class at your local boys and girls club in a poor area? A free math tutoring class at the same? Something where you can demonstrate that you saw a need, matched it to your skills and abilities, recruited your classmates to help you, and delivered a service that improved lives for others. You start it up now, then you expand it to other nearby areas, recruiting other students at other high schools to do the same in their areas. I’m not saying that you have to do this - your record will most definitely get you into your flagship state U, unless it’s one of the top 5 state U’s in the country. But if you’re shooting for tippy-top, or even T20, unless you have a “hook” as described above, you need something that makes you stand out from all the other excellent applicants, and that is most definitely NOT going to be becoming an officer in a school club.


I’m in Florida! Also, I am currently taking Spanish 4 Honors online!

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I was thinking of organizing a canned food drive at my temple, also the health club in my school organizes a school blood drive. So being a club officer for that could help, right?

Also, thank you so much for the information! Seeing as how this is my junior year I am going to study a lot and hopefully get a 1400+ to qualify for national merit. I know my last PSAT score isn’t the highest but I feel like it is most definitely possible to raise my score as well.

I plan on getting a Health Science major! Also, with the health science program at my school, in senior year we shadow health professionals and start going to the local hospital!

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Excellent wrt Spanish.
Organizing a food drive at your temple would be bigger than being an officer in a club that organizes a blood drive. Better yet, some long-term commitment doing community service in a community that needs help.
Do you plan on going into Physical Therapy? What’s your goal with a Health Science major?

I’m unsure at the moment, but so far I think either surgery or a general physician!

Then you shouldn’t major in Health Science.
What you want to do will require DO or MD school after college. Both will expect
1° a set of core classes where you’ll rank in the top 10-20% (in each course): English composition, another English or communication course, psychology, sociology, General Biology with lab, General Chemistry with lab, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, General Physics, Calculus 1, Biostatistics (plus, if possible, neuroscience or cognitive science, a diversity-focused class, fluency in a language other than English, ethics or bioethics.)
2° a solid, “traditional” major. Preferably NOT biology. Chemistry is fine, biochemistry also, but it doesn’t have to be a science, you can major in anything. If you major in a Humanities or Social Science, make sure to take further advanced science classes of interest.
3° a high GPA
4° a solid MCAT score
5° a broad variety of EC’s showing your dedication to medicine (shadowing, community service, EMT or CNA or other types of clinical work…) in ddition to whatever your hobbies may be (anime, ultimate, iceclimbing, knitting, board games, activism…) Research is nice to have if you can handle it but shadowing and clinical hours are more important.

The most important thing you can do in HS is prepare academically since most premed pre-req classes are weedout. (Some smaller colleges aren’t as weedout but larger colleges control how many students can join upper level classes through various means, including minimum GPAs and/or deliberately weedout classes). In short, not only do you have to “survive” the weedout course, not only do you have to do well, but you also need to do better than 80% of your peers.
All of you will be hard working, so if you don’t want to be part of that 80% group, your academic background is going to be really important (either prepare yourself through online materials or through HS classes).
Most would-be doctors never make it through the premed pre-reqs and 60% of those who do make it through don’t actually get into any med school.

There is still a lot I need to learn relative to colleges so, sorry in advance for all the questions!

  1. In consideration of the core classes, if I get a qualifying AP score, wouldn’t that exempt me from English composition, English Literature, Psychology, Basic Biology, Basic Chemistry, also Calculus 1 and 2, + more? Other then that, I think being in the top 20% of my class is doable, I know that sounds a bit cocky but I know that when I put in the required effort I can get the desired results.
  2. For a major, is there a specific reason why I shouldn’t major in biology, (I only ask this because my BRACE advisor recommended I do major in Biology). I would also be fine majoring in Chemistry or Biochemistry, I was just curious. I would preferably like to major in science thought because that is my main field of interest.
  3. Right now my GPA is 4.7 weighted and 3.8 unweighted and I believe in college I could keep up the same and most likely even higher.
  4. For shadowing, in my schools HOSA program, in senior year you go to the hospital near us and shadow and help out. By the time you graduate you are a certified PCT and you are EKG certified. You are also allowed to start working at the local hospital as a PCT as soon as you graduate so I think that would look good aside from EC’s. For community service I was also hoping to volunteer at a hospital as well. Are there any other kinds you could think of?
  5. How could I further prepare academically for pre med programs. This year I am taking AP Chemistry and Health Science 2. Next Year I will take AP Biology and Health Science 3 (Where we actually get to go to the hospital and become a certified PCT). I am also in the HOSA club like I said and hoping to be an officer of it. I also am going to join National Science Honor Society. What else could I do in addition to that to help prepare myself.
  6. My BRACE advisor I believe recommended me to not go into the pre-med track and to just get a Biology major, I believe because she said the weedout classes are often very difficult (e.g. organic chemistry [I believe she used that as an example? I’m unsure though]) Would you advise against her advice?

Those are all my questions for now. Thank you so much!

Oh, another quick question. Are you allowed to retake the MCAT several times like you can with the SAT and ACT?

Yes, you would be exempt from these specific classes, but you would need to take other classes (typically, more advanced) to compensate. AP classes don’t count for med school.
AP bio and AP Chem only cover 1 semester of college bio and college chem so you’d get Gen Bio and Gen Chem/1st semester waived, but you’d have to take General Bio and General Chem/2nd semester instead. It’s usually not recommended to take both when you arrive as a freshman, but taking just one in the Fall, then one in the Spring, in order to ensure the best grade, is advisable.
Being top 20% in every class is possible, but remember your competition is going to be all the kids who took AP Bio or AP Chem and did well enough they could see themselves becoming doctors, not your HS class overall.

Because Biology is very competitive to get into AND has very bad professional prospects or outcomes – remember, 60% premeds don’t get into med school, so all the Bio majors flood the market AND there are very few well-paid jobs for bio majors specifically (most bio-related jobs require a graduate degree). In a recent survey of major/professional outcomes, biology was either at the same level as or below art history.
And in terms of sheer originality, art history would certainly make you interesting to the med school committee compared to the umpteenth bio major, if your application were strong enough to get to the interview stage for med school. Majoring in Physics probably has the best prospects. A substitute for biology is neuroscience but I don’t know what the prospects would be (I imagine neuroscience+CS would be quite lucrative).

There is no such thing as weighted or unweighted GPA in college.
Each semester is like taking 5 AP classes at two or three times the speed of a regular AP class.
A 3.8 is uncommon at most colleges. Definitely possible, but uncommon. That’s often considered a “med school worthy” GPA, meaning 90+% students don’t manage it.

  1. Your certifications will mean you’ll be able to start working in hospitals, that’s very good. However, clinical experience wouldn’t “look good”, it’s just “a basic expectation”. It’s as basic to the med school committee as being able to read. If you don’t have it, the AI cuts your application before it gets to human eyes.

  2. Taking AP Bio and AP Chem is very good. Aim for mastery, not just basic understanding. Aim for a 5 on the test. Absorb the contents of the textbook even if it goes further than the AP course content.
    Keeping up with Spanish is also going to be very important (in college, you may be able to take Spanish for Medical Professions, and in case will have to continue with Spanish).

She probably told you not to major in “premed”. Med schools want you to have a traditional, solid major in which you do very well AND take the premed pre-reqs (and do well there, too). Majoring in premed means you can’t handle both, which makes you less likely to be admitted to med school.
Weedout doesn’t just mean it’s difficult. It means they’re designed to weed out a certain percentage of students - for instance, the class median may be B-, with 50% below, 50% above, but most at the B-, B, B+ level, not at A- or A. Too many courses with B’s and you’re out of the running before you can even apply to med school. What constitutes a B- may well vary so that not too many students get that and, remember, half the class may get a C+, C, D, or F. no extra credit, no make ups. In addition, some colleges also design tests that will purposely fail a certain percentage of the students. That’s weedout by design; there’s also weedout due to course content, ie., it’s very difficult and a lot of students can’t hack it but there’s no specific % who will get an A, a B, a C, a D, or an F in each class regardless of how prepared the students are. Those students aren’t weeded out so much as they weed themselves out. Both situations lead to the same result: a lot of would-be premeds switch. For that reason, some large universities won’t even provide a premed adviser to 1st year students.
Majoring in Biology, Chemistry, etc, means you’ll be in these classes. The difference is that a premed has to compete with biology majors in biology, with chemistry majors in chemistry… AND do better than most of them, whereas the Bio or Chem majors only have to “survive” the weedout class.
Organic Chemistry is a requirement for sophomores or juniors who want to go to med schools - as in, you cannot apply without it.

Would majoring in Chemistry or Biochemistry be okay too? (If so which would be better) While I do find physics interesting, I am definitely a lot more interested in Biology, Chemistry, or Biochemistry.

Would work at my local hospital as a PCT count as clinical experience? Or, are they looking for volunteering at a clinic, or something else?

I will make sure to do this, both classes interest me greatly so I don’t forsee that as a problem or obstacle.

I also like language learning, so this shouldn’t be too much of an issue as long as I continue to practice my Spanish.

In regards to this, would doing Chemistry or Biochemistry with something Math related, perhaps a minor in mathematics (Because math is something that greatly interests me) Make me an interesting candidate?

Also, what else could I do this year to further academically prepare myself for college-level weedout courses?

Chemistry or biochemistry = pretty good .
Math, applied math, statistics would be great as a minor.

They’re looking for many sorts of experience. PCT is a way to get paid work in hospitals, but volunteering and shadowing are also expected.
Being premed is so difficult because you have to juggle so many things and be excellent at them all.

The best way to prepare is to become very efficient at studying and learning; going for mastery not just basic understanding; improving your time management skills; asking your teachers for help, extra work, etc. (because in college office hours can be the difference between a B+ and an A-.)

Just a few notes:
–AP Chem does cover a whole year of Chemistry, and many colleges allow starting Freshman year in Organic chemistry(for the students with a 5 and/or a placement test). There is no need to repeat it, even for premeds, unless the student does not feel prepared.
–I know many fellow physicians who majored in Biology, and many Biology majors who were premed but changed their minds and are very successful: it is a perfectly acceptable major for many different careers , and it prepares one very well for medical school (for those that like it): I do not understand the recommendation against it.

@spaceterrors : I think you should focus on high school for now and not get carried away with premedical requirements just yet. Take the hardest courses you can manage, as you seem to be doing, and go to an undergrad with a good track record for medical school acceptance: there are 100s of colleges which can help you on your path to be a physician, if you choose to stay on that path.