Question of the Week: PDF'ing Writing Sem

April 2, 2021

Question: I know it’s generally advised against taking prerequisite courses PDF, but if I plan on taking two other English classes that aren’t PDF, would PDFing Writing Sem be ok?
Answer: In general, it is advised to take all prerequisites for a grade, including the 2 semesters of English/writing. An ideal outcome is that you take Writing Seminar for a grade and earn a grade that reflects your effort and growth in the course. If you feel strongly about taking writing seminar p/d/f, you can do so and fulfill the 2 semesters of English/writing with 2 other writing-intensive courses that focus on literary analysis (see here for what to look for in an English/writing prerequisite). However, you'll want to be able to justify this decision to an admissions committee if you’re asked about it. In other words, could you explain the decision in a way that would make a stranger believe it was the right decision for you and allowed you to best prepare for medical school and a career as a doctor? For example, does taking the course p/d/f allow you to focus on another academic pursuit (e.g. another course or a research project) that is more important to you? Or are you driven solely by trying to maintain a high GPA? 

Health professions schools value growth, improvement, and stretching beyond your comfort zone more than they do the difference of a couple of hundredths in your GPA at the time of application. In short, be able to justify your decision with something other than "taking writing seminar p/d/f would maximize my GPA."

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