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Tips to Choosing Courses

Below are common questions that many students ask as they begin their pre-health journey and choose their courses. Should you have more, please consult a Pre-Health Advisor to build a course selection plan that will work with you and your timeline.

What classes should I take if I need more science preparation?

It's important to consider your pre-existing strengths when selecting coursework. Those with a strong background in science might take more advanced courses right away. For those who are newer to the sciences, it can be prudent to start more slowly by choosing foundation building courses (BIO 2, BIO 11, MATH 1-2), one at a time. Our pre-health advisors can help you determine a plan that's right for you.

How many lab courses should I take per term?

In general, it's ideal to avoid taking two lab courses at the same time in the first year of college unless your science background and skills are superb. As you become more comfortable with the rigor and fast-paced Dartmouth terms, you may begin to consider taking two science lab courses in one term. Look at your past grades in science courses as an indicator of whether you can balance two lab classes. Most times, the lab is a "class" of its own--including pre-lab and post-lab work.

Do I get AP transcript credit?

If you arrive with AP credit or a strong background, you may qualify to be exempted from some courses (such as Calculus, Chem 5, Physics 3), and for most medical schools that will still count. If you have been exempted from all of general chemistry or physics, you must still take a college level chemistry or physics course. Contact departments directly to see how you can find out if you qualify for an exemption.

Can I NRO a prerequisite course?

We recommend not electing the Non-Recording Option (NRO) for a prerequisite course. All medical school prerequisite courses should be taken for a grade, not an NRO (pass/fail).

Should I take more biology classes to increase my chances of getting into medical school?

Upper-level biology courses can be very beneficial. While taking the minimum required biology courses is adequate and students have still been accepted to medical schools, taking more is valued and can be very useful for MCAT preparation.

Last Updated: 7/13/16