• Confessions of a Community College Dean

    In which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.



Looking for tips.

November 19, 2019

This one is aimed particularly at people who work at community colleges.

What do you do for students who identify as premed?

There’s not really a premed major, per se. Biology is the default premed major, though it’s certainly not the only option. But unlike prelaw, which can be just about anything, premed does have certain prerequisites.

Many four-year schools -- including the one The Boy attends -- have designated premed advisers. Their job is to help students pick the right courses to hit all of the prereqs in the right order, whatever their major. But I haven’t seen that as often at two-year schools.

Part of that, I’m sure, is because students don’t go directly from an associate degree to medical school. But they still need to cover certain prereqs in the first two years if they want to finish the bachelor’s on time. That means needing to know what they are.

The community colleges at which I’ve worked have had criminal justice as the most conspicuous law-ish degree, and nursing as the most med-ish. (Poli sci is the de facto prelaw degree at many four-year colleges, but not so much at this level. I’m not sure why.) But they’re both more geared to other vocations -- police and nursing, respectively -- than to law school or med school.

The premed question is even stickier for students who can’t be full-time and/or who come from nontraditional backgrounds. As community college folks know, that describes the majority of our students.

So, wise and worldly colleagues, have you seen a community college do a particularly good job of helping students who see themselves as premed? If so, what did it do?


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