Premed Summer Course: Yea or Nay?
Should you take a premed summer course? Let’s face it. Science is hard. Getting A’s in university science classes is hard. Unfortunately, this doesn’t change the fact that your science GPA is one of the most important parts of your medical school application.
As summer approaches, a lot of students have asked us about taking summer pre-med science courses. Does it look bad on my application if I take physics or organic chemistry during the summer? Does it matter if I take my pre-med requirements at a community college? How much time will these summer pre-med science courses take?
Cracking Med School Admissions team members Rachel and James both fulfilled their pre-med requirements by taking pre-med science courses during the summer.
Advantages of take a premed summer course
There are a lot of pro’s for taking summer pre-med science courses:
- You get to focus on one subject throughout your summer. This generally allows people to do better since they are not spending their time juggling other hard classes and difficult concepts.
- You can free up your schedule during the year. Some students want to explore other academic interests or double major, so they need more room in their schedules.
- You can spend time in the comfort of your own home or explore a new city. Rachel took Organic Chemistry in Boston, and she was able to shadow doctors at the various Boston hospitals.
- There’s an opportunity to meet students and professors at a different university.
Disadvantages of a premed summer course
There are, of course, downsides to taking a summer pre-med science class. First, you could be pursuing other activities during the summer. Summers are a great time to travel abroad, do an internship, and gain clinical experience. Second, you don’t want to seem like you’re taking summer pre-med science courses to “take the easy way out.” If your grades at your full-time university are not generally high, and then you take multiple pre-med requirements at community colleges and earn A’s, that may reflect badly on your academics. A couple approaches will keep you relatively safe from scrutiny:
- Take a course at a local university: Generally, you can’t be faulted or called out for taking a class at a local university close to home over the summer. There are plenty of reasons you may have to be home during the summer. The opposite approach (which would seem suspicious) would be going out of your way to attend class at a random community college in a location you have no previous connection to.
- Take a course at a reputable university: Many private universities – or even your full-time school – offers comprehensive and rigorous science courses over the summer. These programs are often expensive, but they can be great supplements to your full-time course load and provide you with a rich experience beyond requirements-filling.
Regardless of where you decide to go for summer school, classes go by quickly. So stay on top of the material, and bank on spending a lot of time studying.
Summer courses are a great option for some people, but they’re not for everyone. Take time to consider your situation carefully before committing to a summer course at another university or community college.
Here at Cracking Med School Admissions, we’ve answered hundreds of questions related to summer courses for students with myriad profiles and stories. We can help you too, so direct any questions about summer courses to firstname.lastname@example.org