Pre-Med Q&ACategory: Scheduling and ClassesIs my first year schedule efficiently planned out?
AvatarAmira asked 4 years ago

Hi, I am a freshman starting this fall 2019. For context, I skipped out of gen-chem and bio 172/173, and have 6 humanities credits from IB lit. I was wondering how my schedule looked… I initially thought I would need two semesters of english for med school, so I wanted to take English 140 this semester and 125 for FYWR next semester to fulfill this. However, I realized that the ULWR might fulfill one semester of the english requirement. Therefore would English 140 be a waste to take? (Also because I already have humanities credits and this class is 3 HU credits… I only need 4 more, and could kill two birds with one stone by taking a class that is 4 HU credits AND an RE class).
Should I try and substitute Psych 111 or Soc 100 which would be more useful for the MCAT? My goal is to be DONE WITH ALL MCAT necessary courses by the end of my sophomore year!
First semester: CHEM 210/211, STATS 250, FRENCH 232, ENGLISH 140.
(my plan for 2nd semester would be CHEM 215/16, MATH 115, ENGLISH 125, BIOLOGY 173

4 Answers
AvatarMichael Nunu answered 4 years ago

Hi Amira, 
In regards to finishing classes pertaining to the MCAT you are making great progress. Your schedule looks really good. You have taken a lot of things into consideration. You will have finished the 4 semester requirement of foreign language, gen chem and organic chemistry sequence, and the biology sequence, all important in your pre-med track progress.
In your sophomore year, Physics 1 and 2, Biochemistry and P-Chemistry will be necessary in order to meet your goal of finishing the classes by your sophomore year.
In regards to English 140, you have a couple of options. English 140 is a first year seminar so you will have to take the class your freshman year if you decide to do so. You could replace English 140 with Psych 111 or Soc 100, which would pertain to the MCAT and fulfill 4 social science credits. However, if you are passionate about English 140 and the topic being discussed, take it. Taking the first year seminar could spark some unique curiosity or interest that can lead you to a minor or potential major. Taking English 140 will not hurt your progress in completing the courses useful for the MCAT. Psych 111 or Soc 100 could fit into your sophomore schedule, and could even be a great course to take in the Spring or Summer terms, depending on how quickly you would like to finish the courses. 
Taking English 140 would not be a waste as long as you are passionate about the topic the course is presenting. If the topic is of no interest to you, then you could easily find another 4 credit humanity course for the first semester of your freshman year or later on in your academic career or replace English 140 with Psych 111 or Soc 100. 
Also, many ULWR do not count towards to humanities credit. It’s a possibility that further on in your academic career you find a ULWR you are interested in taking, but won\’t also count to humanities credit. Keeping this in mind, the ULWR you chose may not also fulfill the leftover humanities credit and therefore English 140 could fulfill part of the leftover humanities credits. 
Lastly, taking Orgo 1, Stats, and French in one semester can be a hefty course load. One possibility is replacing Stats 250 with Psych 111 or Soc 100 to lighten the course load in your first semester, if you still plan on taking English 140. Stats could then be taken sophomore or even junior year. Stats is not a course necessary for the MCAT, but may be necessary for your potential major. Depending on your major, this may or may not be an option.
Hopefully this helped!! If you need any more assistance in planning your schedule, please don’t hesitate to contact us!!
Michael, Advisor        

AvatarAmira answered 4 years ago

Hi Michael, 
Thank you for your quick response! I appreciate your insight. I actually happen to be very passionate about literature, so I wanted to either take this seminar or some intro Creative Writing class, but I still can’t help but be a bit nervous about not being able to fit all the pre reqs on time. Here is what my potential sophomore schedule would look like (in parentheses are the credits, and I added the distribution credit at the end if applicable just to organize myself). I also added my freshman year schedule again just for reference: 
– orgo 1 + lab (5)
– stats (4)
– french (4)
– english (3) HU 3 or CE
total: 16
– orgo 2 + lab (5)
– calc (4)
– eng 125 FYWR (4)
– bio 173 (2)
total: 15
– physics (4) (1 lab)
– biochem (4) (3 lab)
– psych 111 (4) SS 4
total: 14
– physics (4 ) (1 lab)
– psych 112 (4) NS credit doesn’t count if i took psych 111!!! 🙁 🙁
– soc 101 (4) SS 4 
– mideast 200 (4) HU 4; RE
        total: 13
How does that look? As you can see, it would all theoretically fit, it’s just I’m worried it won’t work out perfectly like I planned or expect it to. I am as of now, not planning to take a gap year. I am not totally opposed to it, I just want to be prepared in the case that I still don’t take it. Having said this, do most non-gap-year students take the MCAT in the summer after sophomore year, or January of junior year? Oh and I intend on majoring in neuroscience! 
Lastly, What was your experience in filling the LSA distribution requirements… did you find yourself pressured at all near the end trying to fit it all in along side high level major-required  classes?
Thanks again, 

AvatarPre-Med Hub Staff answered 4 years ago

Hi Amira,

I think we would be able to help you better with your specific questions at our drop-in advising this Fall. Please keep an eye out on the Advising Hours tab for rooms numbers and times. We plan to have rooms reserved in the Shapiro Library four days a week from 6-10 PM in the evenings, so we hope to see you there.

In the meanwhile, I will try to briefly answer what I can here:

It’s awesome that you already know you are passionate about literature! Keep up with your passions. They’ll take time away from other “requirements” and “Pre-Med hoops,” but your stress levels will probably be mediated by your passions and you’ll be able to speak at medical school interviews on how your passion for literature taught you important life lessons.

In terms of your schedule, have you considered taking French later? Pre-medical students often find that it’s easier to finish their language requirement Junior and Senior year so that there is more room in their schedule for taking classes Freshman and Sophomore year that prepare them for the MCAT. Having a break from French will probably mean you’ll need to do some brushing up when the time comes to take French again, but I could be worth the extra room you’ll have Freshman year.

Since you’re planning on majoring in neuroscience (a science major), you will probably be totally fine in term of NS credit even without getting NS credit from PSYCH 112. We’d be happy to help you make a 4 year plan with you at drop-in advising based on Neuroscience requirements if it’ll ease your mind.

Please check out our MCAT blog:

In general, many non-gap year students study during the winter of their Junior year and take the MCAT before the beginning of May so that their score comes back before the beginning of June and they can decide whether they want to to use that score to apply. However, there are other MCAT study schedule people also like. Not as many people take their MCAT during the summer after their Sophomore year since many students haven’t taken Biochem and Gen chem 2 by then (although co-president Pooja P) did.

Lastly, I wouldn’t worry about not being able to finish distribution requirements comfortably. I only had 4 NS credits come in with me that went towards my distribution credits and I’ll be finishing my senior year at UMICH this year by taking a few upper level Biohphys and humanities classes at load of Fall: 14 credits, Winter: 11 credits.

Hope this was helpful!

Lindsay (Co-President)
P.S. We hope to see you at our drop-in advising hours!

AvatarMichael Nunu answered 4 years ago

Hi Amira,
I just wanted to repeat the same sentiment that Lindsay stated. Coming to the drop-in advising hours this Fall will hopefully help to answer all your questions and let us get the chance to understand your situation better. At the advising hours, we can make a plan and develop a 4 year schedule to make this track less stressful than it needs to be. Hope to see you there.
Also, it is tricky in the moment especially since you want to have things figure so I want to encourage and challenge you to to focus on what you want this semester and year to look like (what extra- curriculars are you thinking of joining? Interested in first year research?). From my experience, planning early can be good and it’s important to not get too attached to the plan because, more times than not, things will change! Your dedication though is great and I want to encourage you to keep that up, and don’t be afraid that more of your schedule will make sense once you take those first semester classes!

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