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Would it be wise to finish my pre-reqs at a CC?


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I'm new to this forum but basically, I have hopes to go to PA school. So far in my university, I've taken 1 quarter of biology and chemistry, and since I'm a psych major, I've taken psych classes including psych statistics (and a quarter of sociology). Anyway, I've read that many PA schools don't really care about university credits vs. CC credits. Would it be wise at this point to finish the rest of my pre-reqs at a CC knowing that I may be able to get better grades there? Granted my grades weren't horrible taking it at a university, but I could focus graduating on time and taking all my major's classes required. I do indeed plan on taking a year off after undergrad to do EMT, shadowing, etc work, so I could use this time to finish some PA pre-reqs as well. Anyone with similar experience or any thoughts? Thank you so much and I apologize if there's bad formatting. 

Edit: I'm a second year and honestly I felt pretty lost when I came into uni and now I'm a bit behind in terms of my major and pre-reqs for PA hence the fact that I've only taken a quarter of bio and chem.

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To me it depends on what your university is like. Is it big or small, is it prestigious or unknown, how good is the Bio department, etc? The same goes for the CC.

For what it's worth: I got a BS in biology from a small liberal arts university with a very good bio dept. I knew all the professors' names and they knew me, class sizes were usually in the teens with the occasional 30-50 for the "high demand" classes. I also took a handful of summer classes and prereqs at a local community college. There was zero comparison in terms of quality of the course, quality of the professors, and what I was able to take away from my experience. My university was MUCH better. That said, if you are at a big State uni with classes of 200 students and the professor wouldn't recognize you, then ok maybe a CC is a ok alternative, although still isn't likely to be as rigorous (and though that might sound nice, means you won't learn as much either). 

The second thing to consider is how competitive do you need to be for PA programs. If you are going to apply to 20+ programs and don't really care which one you are accepted to, then where you got your credits probably isn't as important. If you have a "short list" of highly regarded PA programs or just a couple that you want to apply to then it would be wise to do everything you can to be as competitive as possible. While where you got your credits might not be a make or break as a whole, it won't be ignored by a competitive admissions committee if all of your hard classes are at a CC when you could have taken them at your university. It is a well known tactic that some students will take hard classes at a CC to protect their GPA, and raises some questions as to why you didn't take them at uni and your academic performance as a whole. Especially if you are at a prestigious university and take all of the hard classes at a CC.

As an example of the difference between my university and my CC experience. At uni I was a very good student (3.9 GPA) and was usually in the top 15% of my classes, but seldom if ever #1, certainly not in my non-major classes (i.e. Organic Chem). However at my CC, the classes required much less effort on my part and I'm pretty sure I was #1 in most, if not all of them. On my A&P final, I got a 99%, the class average was 55%. So keep that in mind, classes aren't just checking a box on a prereq list, they are giving you the knowledge and work ethic you will take with you into PA school as well as into your practice once you're licensed. 

As for the rough start, I feel ya. It happens to a lot of folks, I'm a big fan of the "gap year," or 4 or 5 gap years. But knock it out your Junior and Senior years and admissions will notice and look favorably on you. And if you want to finish with a Psych major and just take the bio prereqs, that's fine, no need to switch to bio. I even know a PA student with a BA in English Literature. 

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29 minutes ago, Anachronist said:

To me it depends on what your university is like. Is it big or small, is it prestigious or unknown, how good is the Bio department, etc? The same goes for the CC.

For what it's worth: I got a BS in biology from a small liberal arts university with a very good bio dept. I knew all the professors' names and they knew me, class sizes were usually in the teens with the occasional 30-50 for the "high demand" classes. I also took a handful of summer classes and prereqs at a local community college. There was zero comparison in terms of quality of the course, quality of the professors, and what I was able to take away from me experience. My university was MUCH better. That said, if you are at a big State uni with classes of 200 students and the professor wouldn't recognize you, then ok maybe a CC is a ok alternative, although still isn't likely to be as rigorous (and though that might sound nice, means you won't learn as much either). 

The second thing to consider is how competitive do you need to be for PA programs. If you are going to apply to 20+ programs and don't really care which one you are accepted to, then where you got your credits probably isn't as important. If you have a "short list" of highly regarded PA programs or just a couple that you want to apply to then it would be wise to do everything you can to be as competitive as possible. While where you got your credits might not be a make or break as a whole, it won't be ignored by a competitive admissions committee if all of your hard classes are at a CC when you could have taken them at your university. It is a well known tactic that some students will take hard classes at a CC to protect their GPA, and raises some questions as to why you didn't take them at uni and your academic performance as a whole. Especially if you are at a prestigious university and take all of the hard classes at a CC.

As an example of the difference between my university and my CC experience. At uni I was a very good student (3.9 gpa) and was usually in the top 15% of my classes, but seldom if ever #1, certainly not in my non-major classes (i.e. Organic Chem). However at my CC, the classes required much less effort on my part and I'm pretty sure I was #1 in most if not all of them. On my A&P final, I got a 99%, the class average was 55%. So keep that in mind, classes aren't just checking a box on a prereq list, they are giving you the knowledge and work ethic you will take with you into PA school as well as into your practice once you're licensed. 

As for the rough start, I feel ya. It happens to a lot of folks, I'm a big fan of the "gap year," or 4 or 5 gap years. But knock it out your Junior and Senior years and admissions will notice and look favorably on you. 

 

As far as my uni goes, there's always 300-500 people. How many pre-req classes did you complete at your CC, if you dont mind me asking? Thanks for the in depth answer btw!

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Just now, WannaBePA1 said:

As far as my uni goes, there's always 300-500 people. How many pre-req classes did you complete at your CC, if you dont mind me asking? Thanks for the in depth answer btw!

Ahh yeah, that is a very different experience then. I would still lean toward getting as many credits as possible at your university though; because if it does happen to matter at all down the road, that is the better option. 

I took general chem 1&2 during the summer at a CC (because I was out of sequence at uni and I didn't want to wait another year to get them done) and I also took A&P1 after I graduated at the same CC because one PA program I applied to wouldn't accept my A&P from EMT school. (I had already taken A&P2 at my university because I needed more credits for the prereq and thought I had A&P1 covered already, whoops).

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