I have 3 options for completing my pre-reqs for med school, and I feel really confused about what would be best for me. I'd really like to hear input from outside sources with more wisdom and experience than I have! I need to decide asap, as classes start next week.
Background: Studied foreign language in undergrad, average state school, 4.0 GPA, no hard sciences. Graduated 4 years ago. Looking to take 2 years to complete all pre-reqs. Will be limited where I can apply for med school bc of my husband's job. Husband in law school, 2 years left. We have a 1 year old.
Option 1: Local community college. Approximately $6k total for the 2 years. Decent commute (30 min each way). Maybe won't reflect well on an application? Maybe not intense enough to prepare me for the MCAT?
Option 2: Great university, official Post-Bacc Pre-Med program. Approximately $25k total. Long commute (1 hr each way).
Option 3: Elite university, student-at-large. Approximately $37k total. No commute. Maybe I won't be able to maintain as high of a GPA at such an elite school?
The med schools I am interested in say they don't look negatively on comm. college classes, but I wonder if that is just their official position. And I wonder if I could be prepared for the MCAT that way. Thoughts on this, anyone?
I am also considering if it's worth paying 5-6x more to take classes at a unversity vs. comm college.
Finally, although the last option is most expensive, it is appealing to me to have NO commute.. more time with my family.. etc.
I took a lot of community college courses. Many of them were easily on par with university classes I later took. Some were not.
When I went back to school my husband wasn't ready to move, so I was balancing community college courses with online university courses until we could relocate. My advisor at the university told me that it was fine to take community college courses, but not to take upper-level science courses from the community college. I took general chemistry from community college, but organic from the university, for example.
Some people will warn against taking community college courses at all, but they worked well for me. It was a little hit and miss, though. My chemistry instructor was amazing, but the math instructor was terrible. The biology instructor was knowledgeable, but expected very self-motivated students, which was good for some and not others. A university will be hit and miss as well, but perhaps there is more control over the content. I'm not really sure why there is a difference there. I found the small class sizes at community college fantastic, and with the exception of the terrible math instructor, they prepared me very well for both MCAT material and for upper-level courses I took later.
If I were to caution someone against doing community college, it would be if they had a low GPA at a university, then got good grades from a community college. That could make it appear that there was a real difference in the education they received, or that they couldn't cut it at a higher level. Since your GPA is awesome, you'd probably be okay.
Final thought: the amount of time and energy you would devote to commuting could be stressful enough to offset any other benefit involved in that option. I hate commuting.