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Pre med at USC and others? Hard or easy?

orangeishorangeish Posts: 8 Harvard Champion
I'm a junior in high school and would like to be in the pre med track in college. USC is towards the top of my list, but I've heard some not so great things about its pre med program. I heard there is a big grade deflation and it is super tough to get an A. It seems as if grade inflation/deflation seems to be one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a school. Any thoughts?

Could someone post whether the following schools have grade inflation or deflation and how good their pre med programs are?
U Miami
UNC Chapel Hill
Carnegie Mellon
Any others?

Thank you for reading! Any input is greatly appreciated.
Post edited by orangeish on

Replies to: Pre med at USC and others? Hard or easy?

  • orangeishorangeish Posts: 8 Harvard Champion
    edited May 2013
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 216
    edited May 2013
    Premed prereqs are difficult at every college. It's hard to get A's everywhere because those are the weeder classes for both premed students and STEM students. STEM and premed students take many of the same classes: Bio I and II, Gen Chem I and II, Orgo I and II, Physics I and II (or Physics with Cal I and II), and Calculus.

    you're best chances are at schools where your stats are very high for the school and you're strong in the sciences. If your stats are somewhat average for the schools, then too many of the other premed and STEM students in those classes will be more likely going to get the limited number of A's.
  • A227227A227227 Posts: 2 College Search & Selection Champion
    edited May 2013
    I know this isn't exactly the answer you are looking for but UMiami has a 7 year med program that you should look into.
  • orangeishorangeish Posts: 8 Harvard Champion
    edited May 2013
    @mom2collegekids I am considering Tulane and U Miami as my stats are above average for both schools, but I am concerned with Tulanes pre med program in general. I know the program isn't as popular as it is in other schools. Also, Tulane MD school is unranked by USNWR, which makes it look unattractive (do MD schools care?).

    @A227227 Yes, I looked into that.. If i get in the program, that means I don't need to take the MCAT, right?
  • whenhenwhenhen Posts: 91
    edited May 2013
    Emory has pretty extreme grade inflation. I'm not sure if it's an anomaly, but the average graduating GPA in 2009 for the College of Arts and Sciences was about a 3.35. It's almost certainly gone up since then.

    But Emory will provide you with a wealth of opportunities for premed study. It's up to you to take advantage of them.
  • NYU2013NYU2013 Posts: 42
    edited May 2013
    Emory's average GPA in 2008 was 3.38

    For comparison:
    NYU's average GPA in 2002 was 3.41; I would assume it's gone up since then
    Harvard was at 3.45 in 2005
    Duke 3.44 in 2007
    Lehigh at 3.15 in 2007
    Berkeley at 3.27 in 2006

    I wouldn't consider a 3.38 'extreme' grade inflation, it's actually pretty average and near the lower end.
  • whenhenwhenhen Posts: 91
    edited May 2013
    A difference of .03 isn't a big deal but in 2009, the graduating gpa was a 3.35 Profile of Emory University Graduates | Emory University | Atlanta, GA

    But wow, that's surprising. I assumed that a 3.35 average was considered high. Perhaps I've hung out with engineers for too long
  • orangeishorangeish Posts: 8 Harvard Champion
    edited May 2013
    Has the average gpa at Emory gone up a lot since 2009? Emory is actually tied with USC for me and would love to go there, I just don't know about its pre med track and how grading over there works.

    @NYU2013 I assume you're at NYU. If so, hows the pre med program? Do students get individual attention from profs?? I have a cousin who goes there and she's pretty much on her own.
  • whenhenwhenhen Posts: 91
    edited May 2013
    I believe it has, although I can't say for certain. If you head over to the Emory subforum, you'll see some of Bernie12's posts. He graduated in 2012 as a bio major and I believe is currently pursuing a phD in the field. Much of what he writes about applies to premed.

    I went to Oxford College of Emory which is the liberal arts college branch of Emory. My experiences with the sciences (very positive) are almost certainly different than what a student at the Atlanta campus should expect.

    Also note that the sciences will be difficult at any decent school. The reality is, over half of all Emory students start out as premed and a good majority never make it to med school. Is that the fault of the school? Absolutely not. Emory provides every resource for a premed to succeed, but because it requires such a laser like focus on GPA as well as a willingness to work very hard (much harder than you probably had to in high school). Many students eventually realize that even if they could be a doctor, they just have no interest in it, and go down another path.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 216
    edited May 2013
    Ugh, [email protected][email protected]! you're best chances... Should be "your best chances..."

    Anyway, the point isn't just to be above average at a school. The point is to be a top student at a school, which usually means well-within the top 25%.

    You keep mentioning "pre-med track" as if the classes are somehow unique. They're just regular classes that STEM majors take. Schools use the same textbooks and teach the same concepts.

    The classes tend to be largish (50-100+ students), even at smaller schools. The labs tend to be smaller.

    What are your stats?
  • whenhenwhenhen Posts: 91
    edited May 2013
    I'm not sure if they teach the same concepts. In comparing Emory's second semester chem with that of UC Irvine and University of Oklahoma's second semester chemistry, it appears that Emory requires a greater deal of independent thinking as well as a stronger mastery of the material. Students in Chem 142 (Emory's second semester chemistry course) are required to design their own experiments to figure something out. I don't believe this is the case at either of the two schools I just listed.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 216
    edited May 2013
    I'm talking about the concepts that would be needed for taking the MCAT. Certainly at various univs, profs will do some of their "own thing". Even at the same school, one prof may do something that another prof won't. (who knows if every Emory Chem prof does what you described. And, who knows if UCI or UO profs don't do something similar.
  • orangeishorangeish Posts: 8 Harvard Champion
    edited May 2013
    My stats:
    I am waiting for the May SAT results...definitely will be above a 2100, and hopefully 2200, but I can't be too sure. I am taking the ACT in June.
    GPA: (not including junior year) 95%/100 W. my school doesn't do unweighted
    I am in clubs that interest me, including Film club, french club, mural club and multicultural club. I have leadership positions in two of them.
    I will graduate with 9 AP's.
    Many volunteer hours at hospital, library, and soup kitchen.

    Sorry for the vague stats, but I don't really know what to post since I don't have scores to any standardized test yet.
  • SnowdogSnowdog Posts: 16
    edited May 2013
    USC does have a specific premed track and advisement. If you struggled at all for excellent grades in high school chemistry or biology, it will be tough.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 216
    edited May 2013
    USC does have a specific premed track and advisement.

    Virtually all schools list a premed track. The point is that the classes aren't unique. The track lists regular classes that other students take as well.

    Also, many/most schools have a premed advising office. One thing to look for is whether the school write Committee Letters and whether there is competition to get such a letter.
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