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Upper Level vs Lower level Genetics


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I'm a rising undergraduate junior and I'm wondering if PA schools really scrutinize and look at whether you take upper level or the lower level classes. For instance, my school offers two classes of Genetics, one upper level and one lower level. I know taking the upper level is better, but I heard the professor is very bad, while the lower level teacher is stellar. I don't want my GPA to take a hit from a class thats not like A&P or Chem (in which I WOULD talk the upper level).

What do you guys think?

 

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I would be surprised if anyone noticed. The factors that go into what makes something "upper" level versus "lower" level largely depends on how an institutions registrar has chosen to allocate course numbers and credits. A 100 level genetics course might be equivalent to another school's only 200 level genetics course or something. 

I would just be more concerned that the class fulfills the necessary number of credit hours. 

Edited by Zach
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My school required at least 5 "upper level" science classes, so 300/400 level in addition to the other science pre-reqs (like micro, chem, bio).  I was able to easily meet that with my Bachelor's degree though.  It'd be good to check the requirements of schools that interest you.  However, upper vs lower won't affect your GPA - CASPA will calculate your science and overall GPA.

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Also keep in mind that if the school offers two versions, it's possible the lower level genetics course is not meant for biology majors; this could be a sticking point for schools that require prerequisites be those meant for science majors. Personally, I would advise you to take the upper level course since it is guaranteed to be accepted by all schools, but I do understand the desire to protect your GPA as well. 

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Should be fine. The area I'm in has 5 local community colleges closeby so I took a variety of prereqs at multiple schools. The school I took Genetics at it was a lower level, but the instructor was STELLAR, and I thoroughly enjoyed the course. I heard from a friend that the upper-level Genetics offered at another CC was miserable and she hated the instructor (and ended up withdrawing). I actually think that it helped that I took the lower level course, because the course number followed directly after the General Bio course series, so on my transcrips, it appears that I took all those biologies in sequence, which I'm sure the schools I applied to liked. Of all the schools I applied to, Genetics was strongly recommended everywhere, but only required at one school, so I think it's fine to take whichever level you want. ONE EXCEPTION: It shouldn't have "Intro" or "Survey of" in the course title, PA schools tend to not want those courses. 

Edited by KaBax
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  • 3 weeks later...
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How would the PA schools to which you applied even know that your undergrad institution offered an upper-division genetics course and you had a choice of which to take? If genetics is not a prerequisite, either course is far better than no course, and upper division is only a tad better than lower among the two.

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Guest HanSolo

I'd take the lower level genetics course. You probably need to take that to get into the advanced one, anyway. Genetics is interesting, but when you get too deep you can start to loose the big picture of it all. We had a month long genetics class in didactic year, and my previous advanced genetics class didn't really give me a leg up since you still have to learn all of the clinical stuff. 

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