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class List help for college Senior (Behav/cog neuro)


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So I know I want to go into Behaviroal Nerusocience when I go into grad school or maybe a straight neuro program (i'm sticking with Behave for now) and here is thing i'm not sure which classes would be 'better' to take.


one adviser (my bio adviser) says to take Orgo 1 and orgo 2 because not many people have that and if you want to go into research with the brain it can only help to know these things.


My psych adviser says take an upper level psych course to expand my psychological knowledge and a upper level bio course (animal behavior) in order to round out my bio education.


I have a good amount of psych classes (experimental 1 and 2, sensory, aging, physiological, neuroanatomy, neuropharm...) and I also have the basic bio and chem courses (inorganic 1 and 2, organisms, cell, genetics and ecology)...plus lab research for 2 years in a neurodegenerative disease lab, which is what I love, but I'm not sure what to take from the top options above.


A third option I have is to take a neuro class, a harder upper level bio neuro class, at a sister school about 20 minutes away, an take 1 orgo class.


suggetions? Or any other possibile suggestions? I'm fine with any of these paths I just want to know which one will look more competitive.

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So what are you saying? Are you saying neither option is good and i should try and take orgo 1 another 400 level psych course and neuro euro? You think not having all three would be a deal breaker? Do i need both orgos or just oro 1 you think?

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I think what (s)he's saying is this: if you already have a good foundation in your area of interest, one more class on your transcript won't make or break you.  In other words, if you are asking which one will make your overall transcript most competitive, the answer is: it probably doesn't really matter.  Here's what I would consider in making this decision:


  1. Is there a weakness in your course history or experience so far that you can fill with one of these classes?  From your first post, it sounds like there isn't, but be sure that your advisers aren't really saying that they think there is a weakness you need to fill.  As I said, you seem to have a solid foundation in both of your areas of interest.  If you wanted to expand into say, individual differences or personality, I would suggest that you take a course on that, because you don't seem to have any yet.  But you seem to have covered your interests pretty well.
  2. Will one of these courses allow you to develop your research interests -- or better yet, your completed research?  This is a hard question to answer in advance, but think about how the course is structured (large lecture, small seminar?) and what it covers.  I would think that a more advanced class could be better for this than a more intro class, but an exception to that would be an intro class in something that you are interested in expanding your research towards but don't have much experience in.  Also consider the professor -- is the professor for one course doing work that interests you particularly?  They may steer the class towards things that are more interesting as well.  And even if they don't, see #3.
  3. Will one of these courses allow you to make a new or better connection with a professor in your field?  You will need good letters of recommendation, obviously, but you will also benefit from knowing more faculty in your field and having them know you.  They can give you advice, and they can reach out informally on your behalf.  Again, a smaller and more advanced class could be better for this, but a bigger course with a professor that does research you are interested in could also be very good, as long as you take the time and effort to form a relationship.
  4. Will one of these courses make or break your GPA?  This would be my last consideration, but I would still think about it.  If you can do especially well in one of these courses, it could help your GPA, your in-major GPA, and your reputation with the professor who teaches it.  Similarly, if you think a course will take too much of your time, or that you can't do well in it, you may want to think about how that could impact your grades and reputation.  Again, this would be the last thing I would worry about -- the other factors are more important, IMHO.
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You seem like you already have a good decent background. As someone in a behavioral neuro program, I agree with the other posters that class A vs. class B isn't going to make or break you. I'd recommend stats if you haven't taken it (or even if you have. you can never have enough stats) and keep up with the research. But, if you're set on the options you listed, I'd take the upper level neuro class. A good bio-based neuro class is never a bad idea.

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As I've heard a thousand times on other websites like SDN, professors aren't going to be sitting there looking at your transcript dissecting it. As long as you have the basic background knowledge, they aren't going to complain. Take whatever class you think you will enjoy, about the subject that you want to learn more about, and that you think will help fill gaps in your knowledge.

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