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Potential Science Major without AP Bio?


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Posted (edited)

Have any of your kids had success in the college admissions/scholarship process without AP bio?

My dd is applying next year as a potential biochem/premed major and has done physical science, bio, and chem, and is planning on physics next year. Trying to get a feel for whether or not it is possible to do well with admissions/scholarships without AP science.

Edited by JazzyMom
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Posted (edited)

Depending on the caliber of the school, I might be more concerned about having physical science on the transcript than I would not having AP Biology.

Edited by EKS
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Yes, I know it is behind the common honors sequence. She took the sequence that was offered by her co-op, and it was very strict about grade level. Are you suggesting she should leave that credit off?

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2 minutes ago, JazzyMom said:

Yes, I know it is behind the common honors sequence. She took the sequence that was offered by her co-op, and it was very strict about grade level. Are you suggesting she should leave that credit off?

Could she take an extra science class this summer? It could be high school level Anatomy and Physiology. Or she could take Physics over the summer and then take AP Bio next year.

IMHO, the problem won't be getting in to most schools, but she'll be behind for her freshman Bio class with a whole bunch of other pre-meds who did take AP Bio. If she can't do AP Bio during next year, could she self study the content on her own either during the year or over the summer before university?

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I’m going to talk to her about it.  If she doesn’t want to switch her schedule around, I’m going to have her do some self-study this year or some kind of prep course the summer before college.

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Does she at least have any science electives? What about her math? Are there test scores? Does she have EC's that show her interest in the medical field?

I agree with the above about how physical science will make her look like a weak STEM student straight off the bat. If your co-op is a primary source of classes for a lot of families, I'd let them know this - that they're putting their students at a disadvantage by forcing this to be their 9th grade science. AP's are not the be all end all, but they can help. The bigger thing you want is more advanced coursework - both to show an interest and to build on knowledge.

But the sort of school matters a lot as well. That slate of basic science is not getting a kid into a tippy top competitive school for a STEM major. Period. But most schools aren't tippy top competitive schools. Most schools take the majority of applicants. So it really depends on what the schools she's aiming for are.

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Adding that you can help contextualize this in your school profile. If this co-op was the source for the core classes or the core classes in a certain area, then you can put that in the school profile and put that this is the sequence they offer and that she took it and then went beyond it if she does some summer or additional coursework. So then what you're saying to colleges is "this kid took the most rigorous coursework available." That can help a little. Just like it helps kids who attend schools that don't offer AP sciences in the first place.

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Even if you don’t take AP exams, taking AP bio and chem would help a student survive those courses in college. In my college, freshman bio and chem was used to weed out premed kids. A fried got a B in chem and she was told to say good buy to her med school aspirations. I don’t know how common this experience is nowadays (my story is 25+ years ago), but good background in high school in sciences can’t hurt. 

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Posted (edited)

She does have science EC’s, but nothing prestigious:

-2 programs (bio/health professions) at a local med school

-summer camp assistant at science museum

A friend is helping work on leads for shadowing/research and thinks she can find something.  Everything was closed down with Covid.

She’s not applying to any top 50 schools.  Most are not even top 100.  The main concern is competitiveness for big scholarships.

Math SAT is 740.  She’ll have DE calc 1 & 2.

The plan was to have her take bio & chem SAT 2s, but those are no longer offered.

Edit: Maybe half the schools she’s looking at are top 100.  She’s still working on her list.

 

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Okay, so the math is super solid, plus outside verified, and she has some EC's that are good in her area of interest as well. That's really good. Honestly, the math is more key for admissions than the science sequence.

Can she add a summer course or a second science course for senior year? Even just a science elective like Anatomy and Physiology would be good. Oak Meadow's A&P course is easy to do at home - you could do that with another elective at home. But if she wants to take AP bio, it's not to late to sign up to take it somewhere or submit a syllabus to do it at home or if you're already doing dual enrollment, it's not too late in most places to get into an intro bio course at your CC. 

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I would suggest she look at the science sequences at the schools she is considering.  DD isn't pre-med, but we've looked at the sequence and it does require Chem 1&2, Bio 1&2, Physics 1&2, BioChem 1&2- plus lots of other science classes- so I think its good to see physics on her transcript if the Pre-med track includes it.  If she has access to any if those AP or DE, I would pick that.  Seems most kids are coming in with a few of these done.   Due to Covid, we skipped DE science and I really wish we hadn't!  It was the best choice for the circumstances,  but not what I would choose.

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I can't speak to the need for APs for admission or scholarships. As far as whether she'd be behind without them...it depends.  Obviously the better prepared you are, the easier it will be.  But, the class that I teach isn't an AP class.  It's considered challenging (at least one local umbrella school started giving honors credit to everybody who takes it once they looked at students' portfolios) but not impossibly difficult.  Every year I hear from students who are taking biology at college and are boggled at how much everybody is struggling.  One students is at a flagship school that offers a 'biology boot camp' prior to freshman year.  She didn't attend and still comfortably earned an A.  Another wrote about how they spent online study sessions wondering how students could be confused by 'high school level work'.   I think a bigger deal is whether the class covered the sorts of concepts that she'll see in college.  Some homeschool programs are big on organisms and maybe anatomy-type content.  Students who did that will likely be blown away by college bio, which will be largely molecular biology.  But, if a student took a reasonably challenging course covering that material and actually learned it well - metabolism, transcription and translation, etc - then they'll probably be OK.  

There will be other students with physical science on their transcript in 9th grade.  At my high school, it was the only option, and I'm sure it is for other students, too.  But, she can always make her transcript more competitive by taking more classes.  I took Bio 2 and also Physics my senior year so that I graduated with 5 science credits.  Many public school kids have the chance to take 7-8 classes a year.  Some take study hall or graduate early, but others graduate with 32 credits - they have to be taking extras of something to fill those hours.  She can take extra science based on interest and gap-filling that will make her more competitive and also make college easier - anatomy, molecular biology (if needed), an AP or DE bio or chem - whatever will be helpful.  

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3 hours ago, JazzyMom said:

Have any of your kids had success in the college admissions/scholarship process without AP bio?

My dd is applying next year as a potential biochem/premed major and has done physical science, bio, and chem, and is planning on physics next year. Trying to get a feel for whether or not it is possible to do well with admissions/scholarships without AP science.

Science was probably the weakest part of my oldest's transcript. He had physical science in 9th grade at a co-op, too, and then he did chemistry at the same place, two semesters of college physics DE (one algebra based and one calc based), and bio we just did at home his senior year after running into problems with every plan to do it elsewhere. It was very much not AP biology. He did well with admissions and got into some very selective schools, so it doesn't seem to have been a problem. He's a math major, but I don't think he applied anywhere where you had to apply as a particular major, so I don't know if that mattered much. So I don't think it hurt him with admissions (he had several other AP scores and lots of DE), but we also weren't worried about it putting him behind in college classes, since he had no interest at all in taking more biology or anything that would require biology in college. 

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Clover Valley Chemistry has an Introduction to Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry course that she may be interested in?

https://clovervalleychemistry.com/introduction-to-organic-chemistry-biochemistry/

My older ds was competitive in science fields without taking AP Bio, but he did take AP Chem and both of the AP Physics C exams. If she doesn't want to try to convert next year's physics class to an AP class, maybe taking the Clover Valley class in addition to her regular science could show more directed interest in her potential majors? It would also give her some good exposure to organic chemistry before college. Many a premed student has given up on medicine when they hit organic chemistry as a freshman or sophomore in college, so it would be a great idea to get her some exposure early.

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47 minutes ago, UmmIbrahim said:

Clover Valley Chemistry has an Introduction to Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry course that she may be interested in?

https://clovervalleychemistry.com/introduction-to-organic-chemistry-biochemistry/

My older ds was competitive in science fields without taking AP Bio, but he did take AP Chem and both of the AP Physics C exams. If she doesn't want to try to convert next year's physics class to an AP class, maybe taking the Clover Valley class in addition to her regular science could show more directed interest in her potential majors? It would also give her some good exposure to organic chemistry before college. Many a premed student has given up on medicine when they hit organic chemistry as a freshman or sophomore in college, so it would be a great idea to get her some exposure early.

OP, I can’t really answer your question about admissions/scholarships without AP science, but I thought I’d mention my rising senior has similar interests. She has taken algebra-based physics, regular chem, honors bio, and will take AP Bio and Connie’s Intro to Orgo class next year. She won’t have quite as much math as your daughter as she’s taking AP Calc AB next year. 

Our state flagship is intensely competitive, though, and she also plans to apply to some other selective schools. I hope it will be enough, but time will tell...

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Thank you all for the ideas!

If she were to add a non AP science as an elective, would it be listed on the transcripts under science or electives.  I have her courses grouped by subject.

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2 minutes ago, JazzyMom said:

Thank you all for the ideas!

If she were to add a non AP science as an elective, would it be listed on the transcripts under science or electives.  I have her courses grouped by subject.

Science

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I haven’t read the thread and I don’t have a stem kid but I was wondering if you have a community college class she can take over the summer (so you have a grade for the application season), for some sort of bio. I think our CCs must be extremely low level with this bc my DS took a bio with lab class and got an A 🤷‍♀️
my general approach, in areas of interest, is that I need it documented by someone that’s not me. So my DS doesn’t have AP French but has college classes/a French gvt exam on it. And so on with the rest of his areas of interest. 

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1 hour ago, JazzyMom said:

Thank you all for the ideas!

If she were to add a non AP science as an elective, would it be listed on the transcripts under science or electives.  I have her courses grouped by subject.

I'd put it under science.  I didn't have anything on the transcript called an elective.

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6 minutes ago, regentrude said:

And scholarships are often based on test scores, not rigor of the highschool curriculum.

Unfortunately, test scores are becoming a thing of the past.

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8 hours ago, JazzyMom said:

Have any of your kids had success in the college admissions/scholarship process without AP bio?

My dd is applying next year as a potential biochem/premed major and has done physical science, bio, and chem, and is planning on physics next year. Trying to get a feel for whether or not it is possible to do well with admissions/scholarships without AP science.

I thought chemistry was more challenging than biology, and at my alma mater, it was chemistry that weeded out all the premeds, not biology.  I would ensure she is solid on her college level chemistry so she can hit the ground running her freshman year.  

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Yeah, for better or worse (better for some, worse for others), rigor of curriculum is increasingly more important at many colleges than test scores, including for scholarships. Depends on the school and scholarship.

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23 minutes ago, Farrar said:

Yeah, for better or worse (better for some, worse for others), rigor of curriculum is increasingly more important at many colleges than test scores, including for scholarships. Depends on the school and scholarship.

Does that mean there is no way to avoid APs, or does the publisher/curriculum matter? 

I don't plan for us to do AP sciences, but I have no idea what my kids will study. Our current plan is Miller-Levine Biology, DO for Physics next year, possibly Zumdahl for Chemistry Junior year, and possibly a homemade Field Biology and Ecology using a college text Senior year.

 

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48 minutes ago, cintinative said:

Does that mean there is no way to avoid APs, or does the publisher/curriculum matter? 

I don't plan for us to do AP sciences, but I have no idea what my kids will study. Our current plan is Miller-Levine Biology, DO for Physics next year, possibly Zumdahl for Chemistry Junior year, and possibly a homemade Field Biology and Ecology using a college text Senior year.

 

AP's are one way, but definitely not the only one. Remember all those private schools that aren't even offering AP's anymore because they're not rigorous enough. I really think a lot of the methods of showing rigor are... imperfect. But if you can show off that you used strong textbooks and did interesting, high level coursework in your course descriptions through the resources, topics covered, goals, assignments, etc. plus through the number of credits, then just use it to your advantage.

ETA: Adding that this is something that some colleges are placing more emphasis on. Others are strongly returning to tests. It's just a more diverse landscape now. You're going to have more cases like what I saw this year where you had kids get into a 15% acceptance rate school as a big reach who then didn't get into their match level 50% acceptance rate school... because those schools just diverged more than they used to in what they were looking for. And that's not a way of saying it has to go in that direction - lots of kids who thought they were shoo ins at top schools didn't get in. It's just gotten harder to predict because the test scores are gone some places and returning in force at others.

Edited by Farrar
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I dont think for admissions or scholarships it will matter, but for her success in college as a premed student, it might.

I would look at Thinkwell's AP bio course or their regular 2 semester sequence. She can do the course independently and solidify her knowledge. Definitely put it as science, not elective. (It is short-sighted to think they can only have 4 courses per subject category. My kids have had over 11 in a single subject area (3 different foreign languages studied simultaneously, for example)

As a heads up, I would encourage her to major in something different than bio or premed. Med school admissions does not need those majors. Required prerequisite courses can be taken via a wide variety of majors (math, physics, even English, etc.)

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What if I purchase the Campbell AP Biology book (seems to be the most popular one), let her work through it independently at home, and give her an “Advanced Biology” credit?  
 

This would let her begin this summer and go through it at her own pace.  She’d get the foundation for college courses, and the reviews for this book say many college students like having it on hand. 
 

The only problem I can think of is how to figure out how to get access to the chapter tests or otherwise give her an assessment.

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3 hours ago, JazzyMom said:

What if I purchase the Campbell AP Biology book (seems to be the most popular one), let her work through it independently at home, and give her an “Advanced Biology” credit?  
 

This would let her begin this summer and go through it at her own pace.  She’d get the foundation for college courses, and the reviews for this book say many college students like having it on hand. 
 

The only problem I can think of is how to figure out how to get access to the chapter tests or otherwise give her an assessment.

You could go one tiny (I promise it’s tiny) step further and get your course approved for AP bio. Then you can put AP bio on your transcript AND, more importantly, you get access to their question bank, which we made heavy, heavy use of. The AP audit website for teachers requires a tiny bit messing around with (every year I have to remind myself where i have to click for what), but it works out and it’s a great tool. Just find one of their pre-made syllabi that uses the text you want to use, If you don’t want to make your own syllabus. 

Edited by madteaparty
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11 hours ago, JazzyMom said:

What if I purchase the Campbell AP Biology book (seems to be the most popular one), let her work through it independently at home, and give her an “Advanced Biology” credit?  
 

This would let her begin this summer and go through it at her own pace.  She’d get the foundation for college courses, and the reviews for this book say many college students like having it on hand. 
 

The only problem I can think of is how to figure out how to get access to the chapter tests or otherwise give her an assessment.

I think it would be a slog to get through the Campbell book alone. It is a tome of a book. Thinkwell's lectures are good. It is no longer aligned with the AP exam since it hasn't been revised and updated. But that shouldn't be a problem bc bio is a course she should take regardless bc it is one of the core courses that med schools dont like to see AP credit replace. The goal should be to he prepared, not skip.

Edited by 8filltheheart
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Just FYI, I don't think PAH AP Bio has received strong reviews on this board.  Look in the archives.  We did not take this class. 

The reason I do recommend AP bio is because that's pretty much the standard for advanced students who are studying biological sciences.  Few students will go beyond that level in high school.  So if your student covers those topics, she can be assured that when she arrives at college, she will be at least as prepared as the majority of her competition colleagues.  

But she doesn't necessarily need to take a formal AP class or even take the exam as long as she has mastered the material.  I like the advice of @madteaparty to go through the auditing process at the College Board.  They should also provide you with some sample syllabi, and if you are keen to use Campbell's there should be a syllabus that follows that text, to help guide your student in self-study.  

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If you’re interested in an online AP Bio class, another/a new option is Blue Tent. DD will take it in the fall, so no btdt experience yet, but we’ve been happy with all other classes taken there. We considered the PAH class, but reviews were pretty mixed.

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12 hours ago, daijobu said:

Just FYI, I don't think PAH AP Bio has received strong reviews on this board.  Look in the archives.  We did not take this class. 

The reason I do recommend AP bio is because that's pretty much the standard for advanced students who are studying biological sciences.  Few students will go beyond that level in high school.  So if your student covers those topics, she can be assured that when she arrives at college, she will be at least as prepared as the majority of her competition colleagues.  

But she doesn't necessarily need to take a formal AP class or even take the exam as long as she has mastered the material.  I like the advice of @madteaparty to go through the auditing process at the College Board.  They should also provide you with some sample syllabi, and if you are keen to use Campbell's there should be a syllabus that follows that text, to help guide your student in self-study.  

+1 for this. The (admittedly small sample of) biology professors/ department heads I've talked to in our university consortium don't actually accept AP Biology for credit. They just like to see it as a form of rigor. Biology is such a huge field with much less of an accepted "canon" of topics than say, physics, that I think a lot of schools like to see that level of work but want students to take their own intro biology course.

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The Blue Tent AP Bio course is much more liked than the PAH course.

I think you have to think about this in a number of different ways. More science courses in general will help show colleges that she has a deep interest in science. Kids coming from good public schools who are interested in STEM tend to have more than 4 science courses, including at least one sequence that builds and has a prerequisite. That's her competition. She doesn't have that. If she can add a science, that will help her be competitive in admissions. It doesn't have to be AP Bio. She could take A&P, Marine Bio, AP Chem or Physics, Connie's biochemistry course, a home based self-designed science... it should just be something that has a prerequisite - that builds on a first level high school science course.

Then there's the issue of whether anything more is even necessary. I don't know her transcript or her college list. Some schools will care, others will not. If she's looking at mostly schools that take 70%+ applicants... given her high level of math, her EC's in her area of interest, and I assume some good grades... it probably won't matter, especially if she has a decent test score that's in their mid-50.

Then there's the second issue of making her prepared for college level science. For that, I'd look at doing AP Bio or AP Chem. But again, it might or might not be necessary.

 

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4 hours ago, Farrar said:

The Blue Tent AP Bio course is much more liked than the PAH course.

I think you have to think about this in a number of different ways. More science courses in general will help show colleges that she has a deep interest in science. Kids coming from good public schools who are interested in STEM tend to have more than 4 science courses, including at least one sequence that builds and has a prerequisite. That's her competition. She doesn't have that. If she can add a science, that will help her be competitive in admissions. It doesn't have to be AP Bio. She could take A&P, Marine Bio, AP Chem or Physics, Connie's biochemistry course, a home based self-designed science... it should just be something that has a prerequisite - that builds on a first level high school science course.

Then there's the issue of whether anything more is even necessary. I don't know her transcript or her college list. Some schools will care, others will not. If she's looking at mostly schools that take 70%+ applicants... given her high level of math, her EC's in her area of interest, and I assume some good grades... it probably won't matter, especially if she has a decent test score that's in their mid-50.

Then there's the second issue of making her prepared for college level science. For that, I'd look at doing AP Bio or AP Chem. But again, it might or might not be necessary.

 

I think the 2nd paragraph is true only for competitive colleges.  THe avg U is just not going to care as along as she meets/surpasses their admissions requirements.  I think the last paragraph is far more important for someone wanting to attend med school.  Typically students pursuing med school and who are eventually admitted are going to be the top 1% at any college.  They are going to be driven and have taken the most advanced courses their schools offer.  Physical science is going to have been a middle school science course and most will have taken AP bio/chem which meand that the into level bio courses (being taken by those students bc they are NOT going to be skipping the class with their AP scores) are going to be taught at a higher level bc that is where the students will be functioning.  

What the OP does not need is an outsourced class in order to double up in science.  The class can be AP equivalent done at home.   Mastering the content of AP bio (and AP chem) would be my focus for a med school wanna be.

Edited by 8filltheheart
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Mine-planning to major in bio with a focus on organismal. High school includes Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry, Microbiology, Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, Animal Behavior, Geology,  and a lot of special projects. Not only got into multiple schools and honors colleges but some really great scholarship offers as well. (Before high school, science included college level general bio and chem, animal A&P, invertebrate biology/entomology, limnology, and, of course, a lot of herpetology).  Science actually has the LEAST outside coursework with grades of any subject area, although some really, really awesome letter of recommendation. 

 

 

 

 

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On 5/24/2021 at 3:51 AM, JazzyMom said:

What if I purchase the Campbell AP Biology book (seems to be the most popular one), let her work through it independently at home, and give her an “Advanced Biology” credit?  
 

This would let her begin this summer and go through it at her own pace.  She’d get the foundation for college courses, and the reviews for this book say many college students like having it on hand. 
 

The only problem I can think of is how to figure out how to get access to the chapter tests or otherwise give her an assessment.

There are much better and more readable college biology texts than Campbell.  David Hillis's textbook book is one that was highly recommended by my biologist teen's mentors.  You can probably go back an edition or two and find it cheaper. https://smile.amazon.com/Life-Science-David-M-Hillis/dp/1319017649/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=Life+biology+textbook&qid=1621981753&sr=8-4

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1 hour ago, Dmmetler said:

Mine-planning to major in bio with a focus on organismal. High school includes Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry, Microbiology, Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, Animal Behavior, Geology,  and a lot of special projects. Not only got into multiple schools and honors colleges but some really great scholarship offers as well. (Before high school, science included college level general bio and chem, animal A&P, invertebrate biology/entomology, limnology, and, of course, a lot of herpetology).  Science actually has the LEAST outside coursework with grades of any subject area, although some really, really awesome letter of recommendation. 

 

 

 

 

Said very gently and with deep respect for the hard work you and your profoundly gifted student have done over the years, I just want to point out for the OP and others who might read this and gasp, feeling inadequate, this is not at all typical, expected, or standard. I would venture to guess this high school science progression is accomplished by .01? .001? of students? 

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If her goal is to be attractive to med schools, have her maybe look at biomedical engineering for undergraduate. She has the math background to be successful and the high school science will matter somewhat less. Many medical schools admit engineering major applicants at a higher rate than biology major applicants. (I know I saw a statistic for this, but yeah, I'll look later if someone wants to see it).

That said, most of the students who switch out of biomedical at my uni .... fail intro biology. I think the plan to do some AP level bio (but not necessarily the exam) is a good one.

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45 minutes ago, MamaSprout said:

If her goal is to be attractive to med schools, have her maybe look at biomedical engineering for undergraduate. She has the math background to be successful and the high school science will matter somewhat less. Many medical schools admit engineering major applicants at a higher rate than biology major applicants. (I know I saw a statistic for this, but yeah, I'll look later if someone wants to see it).

That said, most of the students who switch out of biomedical at my uni .... fail intro biology. I think the plan to do some AP level bio (but not necessarily the exam) is a good one.

So many students change their mind about medical school (my son and two nieces are three recent examples for me, all with the grades, test scores, and ECs to be admitted and at the very top of their college graduating classes). My husband also never attended despite being admitted two different times. I think the most common advice is to have a strong back up plan if either you aren’t admitted or change your mind. I’m not sure I would choose a major because it looks good for medical school or because a higher percentage of students with that major are admitted to medical school, but rather based on what major a student really wants to pursue and gives them good back up options. The one recent grad I know who is in medical school and was accepted everywhere he applied was a Biology major.

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54 minutes ago, MamaSprout said:

If her goal is to be attractive to med schools, have her maybe look at biomedical engineering for undergraduate. She has the math background to be successful and the high school science will matter somewhat less. Many medical schools admit engineering major applicants at a higher rate than biology major applicants. (I know I saw a statistic for this, but yeah, I'll look later if someone wants to see it).

That said, most of the students who switch out of biomedical at my uni .... fail intro biology. I think the plan to do some AP level bio (but not necessarily the exam) is a good one.

I thought it was all about MCAT and a GPA for required courses. I didn’t realize the major mattered that much. I know music majors who did all their electives in science and got into med schools. I feel ancient now. 😞

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On 5/22/2021 at 8:46 AM, EKS said:

Depending on the caliber of the school, I might be more concerned about having physical science on the transcript than I would not having AP Biology.

 

3 hours ago, 8filltheheart said:

I think the 2nd paragraph is true only for competitive colleges.  THe avg U is just not going to care as along as she meets/surpasses their admissions requirements.  I think the last paragraph is far more important for someone wanting to attend med school.  Typically students pursuing med school and who are eventually admitted are going to be the top 1% at any college.  They are going to be driven and have taken the most advanced courses their schools offer.  Physical science is going to have been a middle school science course and most will have taken AP bio/chem which meand that the into level bio courses (being taken by those students bc they are NOT going to be skipping the class with their AP scores) are going to be taught at a higher level bc that is where the students will be functioning.  

What the OP does not need is an outsourced class in order to double up in science.  The class can be AP equivalent done at home.   Mastering the content of AP bio (and AP chem) would be my focus for a med school wanna be.

I do not understand why so many on this board think physical science is always a middle school science course.  

My son's college-prep STEM-focused high school not only considers physical science a high school level course, it requires that all students take it.   Students who take Algebra I prior to 9th grade may take physical science in 8th grade for high school credit.  The default 8th grade course is 8th grade science. 8th grade students who take physical science are in the same class as high school students with all students being held to the same standard.  The school requires that students complete physical science, biology, and chemistry before taking any AP science courses.  Students fit in multiple AP sciences by selecting science courses as electives thus allowing them to earn more than one science credit per year.  

I do not have advice on which sciences a pre-med major should take.  I just wanted to let the OP know that based on the colleges that have accepted students from my son's school, having physical science on a high school transcript will in no way stigmatize a potential student. 

 

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5 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

I thought it was all about MCAT and a GPA for required courses. I didn’t realize the major mattered that much. I know music majors who did all their electives in science and got into med schools. I feel ancient now. 😞

It's more about MCAT's and GPA than major. My understanding is that major does matter some, as does work experience, internships, etc. That's why a lot of med school applicants take a year or two off between college and med school - to study for the MCAT's, but also to get some relevant experience. It's not like applying to college undergrad now though where test scores might or might not matter though. They matter.

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1 hour ago, fourisenough said:

Said very gently and with deep respect for the hard work you and your profoundly gifted student have done over the years, I just want to point out for the OP and others who might read this and gasp, feeling inadequate, this is not at all typical, expected, or standard. I would venture to guess this high school science progression is accomplished by .01? .001? of students? 

But the thing is this-this is NOT AP bio, nor is it DE college lower division courses. If that works for your kid, great. But if not, and especially if this is an area of interest, it might be a good idea to look at paths less taken. M, who has similar animal science related goals, but is much less mathy and academically oriented, is kind of taking a similar path, where high school science is being built around veterinary medicine. So, she's learning a LOT of lab techniques, chemistry, biology and anatomy, splitting her time between a small animal vet clinic and study modules designed for vet tech students. She probably won't have AP, either. 

4 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

I thought it was all about MCAT and a GPA for required courses. I didn’t realize the major mattered that much. I know music majors who did all their electives in science and got into med schools. I feel ancient now. 😞

Back when I was in college, the urban legend, at least, was that music majors actually had a higher rate of admission to med school than bio majors. I suspect that has a lot to do with the fact that almost no music majors go to med school, and those that do have likely essentially double majored, but took advantage of the chance to do a music degree while they could.  Having said that, when I was doing my teaching internship, there was a girl doing her undergrad student teaching who signed up for the LSAT because her boyfriend was doing and she was helping him study anyway. She ended up knocking the test out of the park and going to law school, since she decided that she DIDN'T like teaching elementary enough to make it worth doing. 

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@DmmetlerI remember that legend! I also remember wondering how anybody who is practicing for 4+ hours a day and has all of those ensemble commitments could deal with the science load. Our music building didn’t close until 1 AM, and most of us were there until we were kicked out of there by security. Every single night. 🙂 

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8 minutes ago, Sherry in OH said:

 

I do not understand why so many on this board think physical science is always a middle school science course.  

My son's college-prep STEM-focused high school not only considers physical science a high school level course, it requires that all students take it.   Students who take Algebra I prior to 9th grade may take physical science in 8th grade for high school credit.  The default 8th grade course is 8th grade science. 8th grade students who take physical science are in the same class as high school students with all students being held to the same standard.  The school requires that students complete physical science, biology, and chemistry before taking any AP science courses.  Students fit in multiple AP sciences by selecting science courses as electives thus allowing them to earn more than one science credit per year.  

I do not have advice on which sciences a pre-med major should take.  I just wanted to let the OP know that based on the colleges that have accepted students from my son's school, having physical science on a high school transcript will in no way stigmatize a potential student. 

 

Obviously it's not going to be universal, but the vast majority of states have physical science-bio-chem as the standard basic sequence (no fourth year at all necessarily) and bio-chem-physics-advanced science as the standard college bound sequence. Of course there are exceptions. Some states have earth science instead of physical science. Some have a sort of bio/environmental science combo course for 9th grade. It has gotten more diverse. But what you're describing isn't common. And the school can contextualize it by saying that it's the required sequence for all students. And then, as you're pointing out, students go beyond that sequence and take second level science courses.

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Just now, Roadrunner said:

@DmmetlerI remember that legend! I also remember wondering how anybody who is practicing for 4+ hours a day and has all of those ensemble commitments could deal with the science load. Our music building didn’t close until 1 AM, and most of us were there until we were kicked out of there by security. Every single night. 🙂 

I'm good friends with a doctor who was telling me that she hears all sorts of stories from her colleagues about how they got into medicine. She told me that she asked one woman new to her department what made her become a doctor and the woman told her, "Oh, I was going to be a concert pianist (or something, I can't remember) and when that didn't work out, I had to do something." Lol. But the idea was that it had been so intensive in preparation that she was ready for the level of study and commitment of med school.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/22/2021 at 8:32 AM, Roadrunner said:

Even if you don’t take AP exams, taking AP bio and chem would help a student survive those courses in college. In my college, freshman bio and chem was used to weed out premed kids. A fried got a B in chem and she was told to say good buy to her med school aspirations. I don’t know how common this experience is nowadays (my story is 25+ years ago), but good background in high school in sciences can’t hurt. 

This absolutely...not being behind from the start. It's not necessary to sit for the exam, but getting the same coverage and depth. Those were huge weed out courses at my school as well with brutal grading curves. Like you got a B if your grade was less than 97%.

 

Edited by calbear
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