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Course Load Confusion


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As long as your course load is somewhat within the normal range (variety of 14 to 18), adcoms don't care. But if you drop that far below the average, finish school in like 6 years, then you risk raising a red flag as they suspect you simply cannot handle rigorous course loads


If you're taking 12 credits a semester, then yes, it'll look bad because it is far below the standard for a full course load. Take that extra class, 12 is not so different from 15 credits a semester. Take up research to fill that last 3 credits.



I get confused when I hear things like that. I'm unsure if those apply to my situation as well.

I go to SFU, which is in a quarter system. At my school, 9-15 is considered full time, and a majority of people take 9-12 credit hours. Below 9 credit hours entitles you as a part-time student.


Since there are three semesters in a year, I end up taking ~30 hours even if I take 9-12 credits per semester. This is equivalent to instances where people in semester system take 15 credit hours per semester, totalling 30 credit hours per year (because there are two semesters in a semester system).


Does your course load not matter as long as it's considered full-time at your school? Will adcoms at semester schools understand this, as well as qualify you for omitting certain grades?



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Does your course load not matter as long as it's considered full-time at your school?



Yes, it depends on your school.


If your school requires you to take 30-36 credits for the year, you are required to do that, BUT you don't have to follow the rules of 5 classes in 1 semester and the other.


As long as you get the number of CREDITS that is consider "full-time" for the year, no matter how you balance out the courses, it's fine with the medical schools.


Peace out. :cool:

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Thanks for your post, zmedo007.


But something is weird... :confused:


I was playing around with the AMCAS GPA Calculator program, and I found that the number of credit hours for each course is reduced if you apply the fact that you're in the Quarter system. For example, the AMCAS calculator treats a course with 3 credit hours in the Quarter system as 2 hours, and 4 hours as 2.7 instead; however, no change is applied to the number of credit hours of courses in the Semester system. In other words, 3 credit hours of courses taken in the Semester system are treated as 3 credit hours, 4 as 4, and 2 as 2; no modification is applied. Consequently, my total number of credit hours taken is drastically reduced. For example, if we assume that I took 30 credits in a year, then after applying that I took all those courses in the Quarter system, the total number of credits becomes 20.


I'm afraid this will make me look like I was a part-time student for all my undergrad career and therefore treated accordingly, when in fact I have always been a full-time student in my school's standard.


1. What is the AMCAS's and Canadian admission committees' approach to this in the actual admission process?


2. In Canada will I be elligible for the weighing formulas of some schools? What is the exact criteria for this?


3. Exactly what Canadian med schools apply such formulas? No med schools in the US have such things, but only some Canadian schools have them, right?

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You're right about that ysk1, however, I'd consult with your counselor at SFU.


It must be that you have to take 45 credits, to "look" like a full-time student from the quarter system. But again, its best to play safe and ask.


On the grading issue, each school has its own formula and you'd have to look at every website or call the admissions officer(s) at those schools. On the front page of the forum, there is the "University of Toronto Medical School," click on that link and you will find your information for this school as well as some others such as FAQs, etc.


I know if you just make one phone call, you'll have all the information you want. I don't know much about the quarter system, but I hope you get your answers from, well, professionals. ;)


Best Regards,

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