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Need some helps from current Vanderbilt premed students

TimeUpJuniorTimeUpJunior 165 replies27 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
1. How large are the "weed-out" freshmen biology and chemistry classes?

2. Can a student from college of arts & science double major in computer science?

Thank you!
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Replies to: Need some helps from current Vanderbilt premed students

  • fdgjfgfdgjfg 440 replies35 threadsRegistered User Member
    1. There are usually 2 or 3 bio classes (usually 3 first semester 2 second semester), each are about 150-200 person lectures. Each professor gives different tests. For gen chem, there are 2 to 3 classes (usually 3 first semester 2 second semester) with about 150-200 people but everyone takes the same tests. There is also a 1 hour (real time not credit hour) recitation section for gen chem which will be supervised by a TA and have 15-30 people. Each one also has a 1 credit hour lab with maybe 30-50 or so people and a TA.

    2. I don't personally know anyone who went that route but I'm pretty sure you could. If you like it a lot you could just major in computer science and take the pre-med requirements; you don't have to major in biological sciences to go to med school.
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  • TimeUpJuniorTimeUpJunior 165 replies27 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thanks @fdgjfg Surprising those classes are that large even at a private school like Vandy.

    Are the professors competent and engaging? Do you have any favorite profs?
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  • fdgjfgfdgjfg 440 replies35 threadsRegistered User Member
    Yeah for these classes that everyone takes (especially since 50% of freshmen come in saying they're premed) the sizes get pretty big. You might find smaller gen chem/bio classes at liberal arts colleges, but the big classes will mostly be the case even at elite private universities without large student bodies.

    Weedouts are weedouts, they're generic and not fun. It's basically the same stuff that would be in the highschool AP versions of the class, just tested to a lot stricter of a standard, with a thinner margin for error. The professors are competent and try to be helpful, but there is basically no way they can make the class enjoyable.

    Upper levels are a lot more interesting and engaging because they can go really deep into a specific thing, and they're less standardized so the professor can put their own spin on it. I definitely have favorite professors from upper levels; in neuroscience/psych Terry Page, Geoff Woodman, David Calkins, and Frank Tong are all amazing. Also really liked Lauren Jackson in biochem.
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  • TimeUpJuniorTimeUpJunior 165 replies27 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    WOW, great info especially the favorite prof part, that can only come from inside, thank you @fdgjfg on behalf of everybody who stumble upon reading this.
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  • bernie12bernie12 5431 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited March 2017
    @TimeUpJunior : A) I don't know why a CS major for a pre-health would be that uncommon. I bet it is more common than one's peer group would suggests and schools like Vanderbilt are not like a CMU, Georgia Tech, Berkeley, Stanford where CS requirements are more stringent and plentiful. Should be very doable and complementary to say, a neuroscience or biology major as quantitative/computational neuro and bio are becoming very hot fields.

    It has nothing to do with it being private so much as the size and ambition of the student bodies plus efficiency issues. Elite private schools will naturally have tons that initially only aim for the big bucks pre-professional tracks (most elite non-STEM privates have disproportionate amounts of pre-meds) so you will get very large demand for those intro. courses. One option for private schools is to struggle to have smaller (like less than 120 or 100) sections of weeders or to save resources and space and do 150-300 per section. This allows them to have a few people teaching the weeders and allow others to teach upper division core courses and electives in each STEM department.

    @fdgjfg : eww, you liked anyone's biochem 1 class? lol You must like or still be great at memorizing. I know I rarely hear chemistry majors at any school who are the biggest fan of biochemistry 1 (usually some can teach very well and make conceptual connections but then you are asked to memorize a lot of minutia on exams instead of doing math, thinking about the chemistry, etc. I hate just hated it). More power to ya!
    edited March 2017
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  • TimeUpJuniorTimeUpJunior 165 replies27 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Read lots of your posts at Emory/Oxford board, learned a lot, thanks @bernie12 !
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