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  • Writer's pictureVik M

Save the GPA or Take Difficult Classes?

Congratulations! You either have recently gotten into college or currently in one. As you progress through your college career, you may be wondering how you should go about choosing classes. While there are courses that you will have to take such as your pre-med and institutional course requirements, you will have a wiggle room in terms of which specific classes you will be able to take. A common question I hear from pre-meds is do I choose the easier class for the GPA boost or take the harder difficult class to show medical schools I can handle a tough course load. If you also have this question, no worries I will answer it within this article.


The main considerations in order of priority you should make while choosing classes is as follows:

  1. GPA

  2. Schedule/Workload

  3. Difficulty


GPA

Unfortunately, medical schools admissions to some extent is a numbers game. Medical schools use your MCAT and GPA to screen applicants. This means with a low GPA or MCAT, there is a chance the medical school won’t even look at your application. In addition, medical schools have to worry about their outward appearance in terms of rank and competitiveness. And finally, with the field increasing in competitiveness every year, stellar grades and GPA are now becoming the norm rather than the exception. All of this goes to say that your GPA is extremely important. When choosing classes, I highly recommend keeping your GPA in mind by choosing easier classes and professors.


Schedule/Workload

There are only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. But, it seems like pre-meds need about twice that. With the pre-med workload being so intense, you want to be proactive with taking courses that fit your scheduling needs. I recommend considering how your course schedule will affect your ability to do other extracurriculars such as research. However, this consideration should not dominate how you choose classes.


Furthermore, another consideration to make is how many classes will you take. While this article is about guarding your GPA, you want to be careful because the number of courses is something medical schools will look at. This is because the number of courses you take are easily viewed on your medical school application. They may wonder if you are up for the rigor of medical school. I recommend taking a balance where you aren’t taking the minimum but you aren’t going overboard. This middle ground shouldn’t draw any attention which is exactly what you want in regards to your courses.


Difficulty

A common line of thinking I hear from pre-meds is that they want to take all the hard courses so that way they can prove to medical schools they are ready for the rigors of medical school. However, aside from the monumental risk to GPA and competitiveness, they are overlooking something. In the way the medical school application is set up, there is no way medical schools know which courses are the hard ones. The only real information they have is the course name. No one knows if a course titled “Neurobiology of Behavior” is the hardest course at your college or the easiest. That is exactly the point. I recommend taking electives that are easier in difficulty but keeping in mind what the title of the course is. A medical school isn’t going to think “Intro to Art” was a particularly hard course.

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