What should I do if I got a C- in a premed pre-req?

My freshman year I got a C- in my gen chem lab while doing okay in the actual lecture class. My pre-med advisor is not being helpful at all with information. I know that most medical schools don’t accept C-'s for the most part so I’m trying to determine the best course of action since my school won’t let me retake the class since I technically passed.

The most obvious choice seems to be to retake it at another 4-year college. But, I was wondering if I would be able to just take an extra different gen chem class with lab at my school in order to fulfill the pre-req requirement since it should substitute for the C- lab class that won’t count for med school? Or would I really have to retake the exact same class in order to fulfill the requirement? Most colleges specify that you need a 1 year of gen chem and lab but does it matter what classes and series fulfill that? Also are there any other options besides retaking it another university?

Why not call a lower tier medical school or two and talk to their admissions counselor?

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@WayOutWestMom any suggestions or ideas?

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You need to take Gen Chem for science majors. You could take a similar class with lab - look at schools with quarters or terms rather than semesters.
Med schools won’t erase the c- so all you can do is mitigate it with As in further classes.

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You can’t just randomly substitute another lab class for your Gen Chem lab. Med schools won’t accept that. And the gen chem lab has to be from the gen chem series that’s for bio and chem majors. Schools are clear about that. Science classes for non-science majors and for allied health majors are not acceptable for fulfilling admission requirements.

Since your home college won’t allow you to repeat the class, you’ll need to take it elsewhere. Taking the class at another 4- year college would be ideal, but you could also take it at a community college. I’d call some nearby CCs and see if they will allow to enroll in the lab without also enrolling in the lecture.

I’d be leery of trying to take a quarter class to replace a a semester class–quarter classes only count for 2/3 of the credit of a semester class. One quarter class is not equivalent to one semester class. It would truly suck to get an med school acceptance then have the admission office do a final audit of your credits and decide that you’re 1/3 of credit short of meeting admission requirements. (That opens a very squirmy can of worms–you’d need special permission from the Dean of Admission and Dean of the school to enroll. And that permission isn’t guaranteed. In fact, depending on the exact rules at the school, the deans may not have the power to waive admission requirements because there have been abuses of that power in the past and the LCME scrutinizes all such waivers very, very closely.)


I’m sorry I was unclear - I meant taking the full quarter sequence with lab or at least 2 quarters to cover at least the one semester C- (to transfer to the original college), not just one quarter of it. Only 1/3 of the sequence would indeed be problematic!!

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Thank you for your response! I actually attend a quarter school. The class I was looking at is actually a similar gen chem lab class for science majors so maybe that will work?

Thank you for your thorough response! I always see you on forums so I was counting on your response!

The class I’m thinking of taking is actually a gen chem lab class for bio and chem majors called “quantitative analysis”. It’s an optional gen chem class for bio majors(me) but required by chemistry majors and its’ prerequisites are the gen chem class I got a C- in, so it is like an extension of the year of gen chem series I completed. With all this in mind, do you think it would count towards pre-med requisites?

Also I attend a quarter school so going to another 4-year would probably get me an extra 1/3 instead of missing 1/3 credits.

Sounds like a good class to take BUT if Gen Chem is a pre req, make sure you review everything from that course before you take the upper level one as a second non-A would have the opposite effect to the one you seek!

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I’m familiar with quantitive analysis since my older D attended a quarter system college where QA was the “third quarter” class in the gen chem sequence.

Were you planning on taking QA lecture & lab anyway?

I think QA might work for fulfilling the lab requirement, but I don’t think you’ll be able to pass the lab in isolation. IOW, you’ll also need to be concurrently enrolled in the lecture portion of the class in order to be able to complete the lab assignments/reports.

You’'ll need to take the lecture & lab for a grade. You can’t P/F either part of the class.

The safest course would be to take gen chem lab over again elsewhere, but the QA lab may be an acceptable substitute. However, before embarking on this plan, I’d email the admission office of your in-state public med schools to ask if they would accept this substitution.

If you’re CA resident, I’d also recommend querying 2-3 OOS schools as well since CA med applicants have a high probability of ending up OOS for med school.

You can email the admission offices anonymously if you want.

Also I attend a quarter school so going to another 4-year would probably get me an extra 1/3 instead of missing 1/3 credits

Extra credits are never a problem. Not enough credits are always a problem.