Frequently Asked Questions
It depends, as schools vary in their AP policies. Some schools will accept them, some will only accept them for certain classes (statistics, calculus), and some won’t accept them at all. A good rule of thumb is that if Brandeis gave you credit for a specific course (like calculus), then schools will honor that. If you are using AP credit for a core science prerequisite (like Chemistry or Biology), you should plan on taking more intermediate/advanced coursework with lab in the same discipline. (For example, if you place out of chemistry, you should plan on taking an additional inorganic chemistry class beyond what’s already required.)
Yes, summer courses are fine. When you apply, you will need to get a transcript from everywhere you’ve taken courses, and these courses will factor into a total undergraduate GPA. You can take courses at another institution with the following caveats:
- Don’t split sequences. For example, don’t take first semester organic chemistry back home and second semester at Brandeis. There will inevitably be gaps or overlaps in the material.
- Schools strongly prefer you to take coursework at a 4-year institution.
No! Many students have their worst semester during their first year. If you show consistent improvement going forward, it will assuage concerns about your ability to handle coursework in the professional program.
Calculus is required for physics at Brandeis. The majority of medical and dental schools do not require calculus, but some require 2 semesters of math. Calculus is required for pharmacy and optometry.
I want to gain “hands on” experience, so I’m thinking of going on a short term medical missions trip with an on campus or off campus group. Is this a good option?
Admissions committees are very wary of these sorts of trips, because many times students do things they aren’t legally or ethically able to do in the U.S. Committees have told us that this can actually hurt rather than help your application. If you want to gain clinical experience, they would rather have you gain that experience in the U.S., since you’ll be primarily practicing here. If your goal is just to spend time abroad, meet with Study Abroad to discuss your options. It’s definitely possible to fit it in!
Yes. Non-US citizens/Non-US permanent residents face significant challenges. Not all medical schools accept international students and those that do generally do not admit very many. In the 2019-2020 cycle, 18% of international students were admitted compared to 44% of US citizens/permanent residents nationally.) Other health professions are more accessible, such as pharmacy and dentistry.
No. 80-90% of Brandeis applicants take at least one year off before starting their programs. This coincides with the national trend as well. The average age of a first year medical student is 24. You’re always more competitive if you take a glide year, because you have more time to gain experience.
Examples of what our alumni have done:
- Medical Scribe
- Clinical Research Coordinator
- Fulbright Fellowship
- Sexual Health Counselor
- Medical Assistant
- Health Educator
Most health profession programs require at least two English or writing classes through the following options at Brandeis:
- University Writing Seminar (UWS)
- Any course in the English department
- Any course with the title “X & Literature”
- Any course designed as writing intensive in the English language outside of the sciences
Although only some medical schools require sociology as a prerequisite, the material for intro sociology is tested on the “Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior Section” on the MCAT. Soc 1A is a class at Brandeis that would cover the MCAT tested topics and is a recommended course for science majors.
If you are planning to major or minor in HSSP, or take multiple sociology courses, then this coursework may cover the tested material. You may review the sociology content of What’s on the MCAT to compare to your coursework.
Physiology is not required, but is recommended for medical schools. Some students have reported taking physiology is helpful for taking the MCAT, however it has not been shown to improve MCAT scores. Physiology is a good option for elective credit for science majors.
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