Hi! I’m an incoming first year student at Michigan who is interested in pursuing medicine. I’ve been reading your articles about the pre med experience at Michigan and they’ve been really helpful, but I have a question about scheduling and spreading myself out too thin. I’m in the Michigan Community Scholars Program and the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, and UROP says that if you want to research in the STEM fields, you can only take a max of 14 credits. As of right now, here is what I am planning on taking:
Fall term :
ALA 102 1 credit
ENGLISH 125 4 credits
BIOLOGY 171 4 credits
CHEM 210/211 5 credits
SOC 225 4 credits
BIO 172 and 173 6 credits
MATH 115 4 credits
Do you think this is a manageable course load for a first year student? I’m worried about taking organic chemistry and intro to bio the same term with volunteering and research because I’ve heard that those two classes are some of the more difficult courses for students. Also, I plan on doing a club or two during first year like the pre med club, but do you think that’s too much? And for Chem 210/211 I do have the AP credit, but I’m worried that if I directly start in organic chemistry I’ll be lost the entire class since I don’t have a lot of experience with organic chemistry, do you think it’d be better if I stuck with chem 125/126/130 instead? Do you have any other recommendations for classes that I should take? Lastly, is there anything I can do over the summer to better set myself up for when I actually take some of these challenging courses like chem 210 and bio 171/172?
Thank you so much for the help and sorry for all the questions!
My primary advice for you would be to ease into your semester. With that being said, if you do find yourself overwhelmed, there’s nothing wrong with dropping a class before the drop/add deadline, or even after this date. The most important thing about freshman year is learning how to learn in college, and medical schools know this. So don’t worry yourself too much! I think your concerns are pretty common! Figure out what kind of commitments are required for CSP and UROP, and choose clubs that you’re passionate about, and ones that you feel you wouldn’t mind putting time aside for.
Personally, I think your Fall semester looks pretty balanced. English 125 will be writing heavy, and the difficulty of Bio 171 will really depend on how good you are at biology/when the last time you took it/your interest in the subject. Biology courses tend to be very memorization heavy, and its good that you’re not really taking any other class that is along the same lines. In terms of your AP credit, I personally didn’t think that Gen Chem was necessary in order to succeed in Orgo. Therefore, I think it’s in your best interest to take advantage of the credit you’ve received and continue on with Chem 210/211. For both of these science heavy courses, I would recommend looking into SLC’s! They’re basically study groups that give you lots of extra resources and practice which is really helpful (and they help alleviate some of the stress of having to figure out how to study on your own).
Your Winter Semester also looks pretty good! One thing that you might want to consider is potentially taking Math 115 at a Community College over the summer, and transferring the credit over? Math 115 is known to be a pretty challenging course, and I personally don’t think it’s necessary to endure it unless your major absolutely requires you to take the class at Umich. Otherwise, your list of classes looks pretty manageable!
In terms of other classes to take, I would urge you to take a look at the sample schedules (1 and 2) that we have posted on our site! There, you can get an idea of what other classes you should think about taking. I also think it would be great for you to look at a recent blog post where our members talked about their best and worst semesters and what combinations of courses that we generally think aren’t great to take at the same time.
Lastly, enjoy your summer! Generally, I don’t think there’s a need to study Orgo before you begin taking the class. There’ll be more than enough time for that when the semester starts 🙂
If you have any more question, please don’t hesitate to ask!
I would like to add something about UROP. First, Congratulations on your admission to this great program. UROP is a great opportunity since it will help you to get an insight about the area of your interest and boost your resume and professional networking skills. When you are deciding about choosing classes, remember there are some requirements for UROP. You will have mandatory research seminars held on Tuesday evenings 4:00pm-5:30pm. Also, this is a full academic year commitment. You can earn between 2 to 4 credits each semester for conducting research ( 2 credits = 6-8 hours of work per week, 3 credits = 8-10 hours of work per week, 4 credits = 10-12 hours of work per week). The amount of time that you put into research depends on your willingness and the project you will choose.
Hope this helps to have a clearer picture about UROP but if you still have any question, please feel free to ask! 🙂