Vanderbilt Pre-Med

<p>Is it really hard to obtain a 3.7+ gpa at Vanderbilt as a bio/chem major? I know I've heard that schools like UC Berkeley and UChicago are really rigorous and therefore, students tend to get lower gpas. Is Vanderbilt like that?</p>

<p>No offense, and sorry to intrude, but of course Vandy is going to be hard. All top 20s will have rigorous pre-med programs that will make it tough to get a 3.7(and especially tough to keep a high science GPA). You will have to work hard to get it, period. And sciences at such schools don't really have the inflation that other depts. will. Also, I've looked at some work at Berkeley. You should too. Go on their website, and type in the course (say Bio 1a or Chem 2a or something, I forget the numbers) and look at it and do the same for Vandy equivalents. I think Vandy's gen. chem, and bio are perhaps a tad harder (actually that bio is pretty tough). Organic seemed as rigorous at both (you don't want to see orgo. at us, NU, Stanford, or the top 3 Ivies. Apparently we all have at least 1-2 crazy profs. for it that people try to avoid despite them being great lecturers. Essentially and already hard course for pre-meds gets way harder at these schools for some reason). I think that Vandy would come out about the same or perhaps tougher than Berkeley b/c classes are smaller and teachers can assign more work and test at a higher level (Of course a prof. doesn't want to grade a very difficult/involved/subjective test format of 200+ people). I've also found that even the work here is tougher for a pre-med than Berkeley. The bio, gen. chem, and orgo. sequences are way harder here, but the classes are small and the teachers care more, so much more people will be successful. Vandy should be similar, so that's why I'd recommend them. You can be taught at a high level by a teacher who cares. You'll still have to work your a** off (b/c average in intro. courses at most top schools will be generally be C+/B- whether w/without an upcurve), but the teacher meets you half way to ensure success. </p>

<p>The discussion gets a bit murky if we bring in engineering. That's where Berkeley gets crazy. With that said, no engineering program is easy.</p>

<p>Overall point: You will not escape rigor by going to Vandy. Vandy has one of the lower (though still high) graduating gpas of top privates anyway. They're not playing around up in there. If you want to avoid rigor, go to a much lower ranked state school, you'll hardly get it at schools like these.</p>

<p>First, not sure what Bernie is talking about in reference to "small" classes. Your basic pre-med courses will all be large lectures. Some have smaller recitations during the week and most offer review sessions. The classes are difficult. However, as I have stated in many posts before, they are not impossible. You will definitely have to work your tail off to get good grades. I can't recall taking any test that was particularly unfair, but they are challenging. My classes were generally curved to an 80 (C+/B-), but were never curved down. There are a TON of pre-med students freshman year, and you will see the number drop dramatically after the first semester of chem / bio. However, if you are committed and willing to put in the work, you can succeed. I received a fantastic education at Vandy and was well-prepared for med school.</p>

<p>P.S. Search the forum, as there are previous threads on this topic with other opinions as well.</p>

<p>thx guys. bernie, i dont mind working hard and i intend to. I guess I just wanted to know whether the grades are inflated, deflated, or neither.</p>

<p>KwC: It really depends on how badly you want it. If you got in, you are capable of doing well in your pre-med classes. My daughter is a junior pre-med and she is very dedicated to her studies, but she still finds time to participate in many extracurriculars and still make A's with a B+ or two during her time there. She is excellent at managing her time and I think that is probably the biggest key to success at Vandy. I am sure you will be fine.</p>

<p>When I mean small, I mean smaller than Berkeley/other large state schools. For example, Our gen. bio and chem. classes range from 85-125 (125 is a bad year for gen. chem., when freshmen enrollment exceeds expectations and orgo. is from 45-90 and biochem 120<). That's probably much smaller than Berkeley's. 85-105 is a huge difference from 150-200. You'll be surprised at the difference it makes in teaching style, accessibility, options for participation, and even potential rigor (been through classes of many sizes, and many of the best/most dedicated profs. here teach between the 60-100 range). </p>

<p>KwCw2015: I believe that you can do it. I'm just saying, don't go into Vandy thinking you are dodging some bullets lol. It's still hard and as said, they probably don't have much inflation in the sciences. If anything, grades are curved up b/c averages are often low. This sounds like inflation, but also provides profs. with reasons to cap the amount of A/A-s per section b/c technically, not many earn it on the regular scale, so they reserve the right to section grades off into percentiles, perhaps not awarding many A grades at all if they feel people have already received generous boosts vs. normal scale and thus don't deserve an A/A-. You will be challenged if you go to Vandy, but if it's anything like here, it may be an environment more conducive to success despite the rigor. The teachers will do more than their share often, and you just need to do yours and you'll come out fine, and you'll learn a lot. I can see people at places like Berkeley and various public engineering schools struggling b/c of the size moreso than the rigor/toughness (which is also high. But even if its courses are less tough than say Vandy content wise, it gets a lot harder for them with the much larger class sizes) of the content in pre-med courses. Chicago is a different story. I think it's truly tough, but what does one expect from a school that has essentially held on to the liberal arts model of teaching (LACs being known for high intellectual rigor).</p>

<p>IDK if this is the right thread for this but I was just wondering about highschool statistics just as ACT, SAT, GPA, Class Rank for anyone who is successfully making it through the vandy pre-med program. There is a lot of threads about grade deflation and weeding out and am curious if I would be competitive at this school and could make it through the pre-med track if I stayed focused and worked hard. I also am curious about the validity of grade deflation or if you put in the work you can earn an A.</p>

<p>Yes, if you work hard you can still do it. I just want people to know it’s a reality. My daughter never made even an A- till Vanderbilt. The classes are no joke. English, pscyh, etc easy to make A’s in for her. But the math and science Pre-med…yikes. I’ve never seen her study like this (she took a full load of AP courses) and did great, but this is a whole different ball game. She’s sticking with premed and praying to get a “c” in chem 2 at this point : )</p>

<p>My D’s first year as a Vandy premed. In high school she was a big fish in a small pond and didn’t work too hard. Average class rank and test scores (NMS) for Vandy. Her first week a little homesick and noted all her classmates were brilliant. Week 2 reports she is the dumbest kid in all her classes…her study habits start to change . First chem test, ouch!, tears, not sure she is smart enough for Vandy…study habits change…test score improve. By Mid term she is working her bottom off, making great friends and has a chem study group she enjoys and says Nashville is the best city. As first semester ends she is getting her work done and has time for the fun stuff. She loves Vandy. At end of first term Dean’s list with a B in chem and sad she has to come home for Christmas break.</p>

<p>Vandy is hard <em>period</em> I can tell you that as a freshman about to finish my first year after going through pre-med classes (bio/chem). You really have to step it up a notch to get the grades you want. </p>

<p>Since you asked about scores and what - not from high school, here’s mine:</p>

<p>34 ACT, 2270 SAT, (boatload of AP/IB classes), and a 4.5 GPA (with only IB/AP weighted), 235 PSAT (NMS) and valedictorian of a class of 580. </p>

<p>My first semester, I received a 4.0, and was admitted to the college scholars program. The cost of this? I never once attended a party, I rarely go outside my dorm save for volunteering as a nurse at a free clinic, teaching science across metro nashville, and shadowing doctors (oh, and research). </p>

<p>It kinda gets to you whenever a friend asks if you want to do something, and you have to decline because you have to stay in your dorm and study. </p>

<p>I don’t want to scare you off (vandy is a great school!), but if you want to do well, you have to be prepared to give up the “fun” stuff a lot of the times. It’s sheer determination at that point.</p>

<p>^ I second that. I also got a 4.0 first semester w/ bio + chem, CT surgery research/shadowing, and VSVS. I definitely party a lot more though, so it’s certainly possible to do both.</p>

<p>^Haha, yeah, sorry guys, don’t mean to scare you too much. As Theregulator says, you do definitely get some time to have fun if that’s your thing. I guess partying really isn’t my thing :)</p>

<p>I was cooped up in an 8 hours EMR class every sunday of my first semester (with a test every sunday!) so that I could start actively volunteering as a nurse in clinics around the city, and that really took up a lot of my time (where I could have been doing other things).</p>