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I am currently an undergraduate student with 67 hours complete, and roughly a 2.6 GPA. However, I have all my 'tough' classes over. Now, I just need to choose a major and complete my degree. I anticipate a 3.0 minimum GPA at graduation. Does this disqualify me from med school? I was on track to be a chiropractor, but learned some rather disappointing characteristics of that profession. My heart is definitely set in medicine, and I'll do whatever it takes to make it. I just need to know if someone with a 3.0 GPA has a chance to get in somewhere. Also, I want to be a surgeon, either orthopaedic or neuro. Should I be shooting for allopathic schools rather than osteopathic? Thanks for everyone's help.
02-22-1999, 08:45 AM
Well, a 3.0 is low. However, everybody knows of someone with that type of GPA getting into med school. (both allopathic and osteopathic). Nonetheless, those cases are attributed either to an excellent MCAT score, a significant trend of improvement in academic performance that is not reflected in the overall GPA, significant clinical exposure, or any other circumstance that makes you suitable for a career in medicine in the eyes of the admissions committee.
As for becoming a surgeon, it can be done as a DO. There are AOA approved residencies in orthopedic and neurological surgery. If you decide to pursue an allopathic surgical residency, the competition probably will be more intense.
Whatever you decide upon, I hope you make it. Good luck.
02-22-1999, 09:23 AM
Over the years, I've developed somewhat of a reputation for being brutally honest at times (it comes from working in oncology). You came seeking opinions, so here is mine.
While I am sure that many of the other members on this list will encourage you to give the application process everything you have, I cannot give that advice in good conscious. While grades "aren't everything" they sure do mean a lot in the medical school application process and I am afraid your GPA is going to prove to be a tremendous hurdle to you. What especially concerned me was the fact that you suggested that all of the "difficult" courses were behind you. I assume this means the premedical requirements? Regardless of what your overall GPA may be in the future, your science GPA is going to be well below a 3.0 and that will not gain the faith of most medical school admission committees.
Also, you mentioned an interest in being an orthopedic or neurological surgeon. I'm usually suspicious of people who have their heart set on these types of professions so early on in their education. Why? Because these are professions where you can not even taste what it might be like to be a neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon. You can work with a FP, IM, OB/GYN, or Peds physician and determine that you like that sort of patient interaction. But truly, how do you know so early on that you love orthopedic or neurological surgery? Is someone in your family a surgeon? Or do you like the prestige associated with these professions? You don't have to answer, just search your heart for your true motives.
So while I commend you on your confidence, these are immensely competitive programs to gain acceptance to. I think you should make an honest appraisal of your strengths and weaknesses and realize that someone who has struggled with their undergraduate education and has had tremendous difficulties gaining acceptance to a medical school may not "have what it takes" (whatever that is) to be competitive for surgical subspecialties. So perhaps you should not set your sights so high.
I'm sorry that my opinion seems bleak as I know this is not what you wanted to hear. Perhaps others on this list will have more encouraging opinions to offer. But as I watch many of my friends with GPAs of 3.6 and higher failing to gain acceptance anywhere, I can only imagine that your difficulties will prove even greater.
Lastly, I can offer you two pieces of hope:
1. You could complete a masters degree in something like biomedical science and, if you excel, you might slightly improve your chances of medical school acceptance.
2. You should consider podiatric medicine. These medical schools, much less competitive than medical school, grant the DPM degree (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine) and you could be a podiatric surgeon. If you have a true love for surgery (and not the prestige associated with the field), then you will probably find fulfillment as a podiatric surgeon. The pay is good, the hours are excellent, and you make a tremendous difference in the life of your patients? but it is still quite competitive.
Good luck to you.
02-22-1999, 10:04 AM
I must agree here with Greg. Many people on this list tend to ere on the side of optimism when answering posts like this, but I think that is a disservice. Let's try and be reasonable in our expectations and advice. 1) I am hard pressed to imagine what you mean when you say you have completed 67 hours with a 2.6 and "all your hard courses are behind." Are you saying that you took your upper division classes first? Or do you mean that you think that intro to lit, English 101 and 102, general psych and sociology, are your tough classes. Also realize that if you get a standard BS/BA (120 hours) that you will have to maintain a 3.5 for the rest of your college career to get to 3.0. Possible, but not probable given past performance. Although certainly if you perform admirably during the next couple years admission commttees will see that, you will also be applying before you finish school, and won't have your last two semesters to bolster your GPA (assuming you apply your senior year).
2) For my class at AZCOM (2001) we had approx 4500 apps and 110 seats. I know of only one student who had a GPA of lower than 3.1 (his was 2.9) and he scored 32 on the MCAT. The question is not whether you feel like you will make a fine doctor, but whether out of the 2500-4000 applications that most schools get your record will convince an admissions committee to give you an interview.
3) Unless there is something miraclulous about your application (multiple publications based on original research, an MCAT of 35, etc) almost every MD school will not even consider your app with a GPA <3.0.
02-22-1999, 10:22 AM
I would have to agree with Gregory. Although I know that this is tough news to hear, I feel that you will be very thankful someday for receiving such advice. I know that I am extremely thankful that I received similar advice 6 years ago (that's right..6 years ago).
I don't mean to discourage or frighten you, but it has taken me 6 long years since I graduated from undergrad to get accepted into med school. Of course, I would have liked to have gotten in a lot earlier in my life, but I think that if this is something that you truly want to do in life for the right reasons, then you should be willing to do whatever it takes to achieve it.
To give you an idea of what I mean, take my example. I decided that the only way I was going to be able to achieve acceptance into medical school would be to make other aspects of my application shine. So, after a stint in the Army, I worked in the clinical research arena for a couple of years then followed that with an acclerated master's program in biomedical science (I also worked on improving my MCAT, which of course will also be very important way for you to improve your application). I was very fortunate to have great people to work with and support me through out this process and as a result, I was able to achieve some great personal successes at each.
I guess what I'm trying to tell you is that you will have to work much harder and probably longer than most people because of your GPA. But with the right attitude and determination, I believe that you can do it. It'll just take some time. Patience is definitely a virtue you will need through out this process. So, hang in there, dig in your heels, and prepare to struggle because you defintely will.
I hope I have not been harsh. I, like Gregory, am trying to be brutally honest so that you can be better prepared for the future and perhaps achieve your goal to be a physician someday!!
So, good luck in all that you do = http://www.medstudents.net/bbs/smile.gif
02-22-1999, 10:25 AM
Gard, even though you have a low GPA, there are ways that you can overcome this. First, I would recommend that you work your ass off and do your best to get 4.0 on all your classes from here on in (it is entirely possible but you have to work very hard). If you do this, you would end up with a gpa around 3.3 or so. While this is still rather low, it is a stepping stone toward med school. When you take your MCAT, you should plan to do awesome (again, everyone here will say that this is impossible but it's not. If you study hard and realize the question strategy of MCAT, you can do very well. Most people don't realize that the MCAT is only 15% information while the rest is simple logical thinking.) I think that while you probably do have a very small chance of gaining admittance once you graduate, you do have a good chance at a post-bacc program. Some of these will give you a chance at retaking your premed classes and doing much better in them. Some post-bacc programs are structured that you will take courses along side with med students and if you perform very well you will gain admittance and sometimes even advanced credit into that med school. However, these programs are very expensive and instead of doing this you may wish to take higher level biology, chemistry, physics and biochemistry courese once you are done your degree, in an effort to upgrade your mark.
If you want to be a surgeon, fine. I can find it believable that someone can have an early desire for such a profession. There are many surgeons who are quite open and willing to allow students to shadow them, even into the OR. It's very exciting to scrub, put on the smocks and then stand a few feet away from a hip replacement (however, make very sure that you are not squemish before you do this). If you've had a similar experience, you'll know what I'm talking about and I can't blame you for having an early desire to become a surgeon.
As for allopathic vs. osteopathic, by law, the two degrees are equal. However, there are still vestiges of discrimination by allopathic surgery directors against DO's. This is changing but it may not necessarily be totally removed by the time you have graduated from med school. Thus, if you want to do an allopathic surgery residency you may want to get an MD as it will be easier to get into with such a degree. However, there are AOA surgery residencies that only DO's can apply for.
02-22-1999, 11:21 AM
If you have your heart set on medicine, then you should do everything in your power to achieve that goal. In order for reach it, you will need to prove that you can succeed in medical school. This means smoking the MCAT (I would say at least a 32 given your academic record) and taking more courses. Is that 2.6 GPA science only or cumulative? I would not retake any courses that you performed poorly in. I would however take advanced courses in those areas. The reason is that when you retake a course, you're expected to do better. If you take an advanced course (i.e. vertebrate structure versus introduction biology), there are no expectations. Thus, an A in vertebrate would mean much more than a retake A in intro bio. One option is a post-bacc program. I won't comment about that since I know nothing about them but you can also get a Master's degree (the route I took), which someone already mentioned. In terms of osteopathic schools, I think that if you can get around a 3.3 (hopefully better) and you do well on your MCATs, then I think you will get in.
In terms of being set on ortho or neuro, I am also curious why. At the moment, I too want to go into ortho, but this was after spending several months shadowing orthopods at the major hospital in my city (if you're in the location that your profile gives, then you might be able to guess which one). However, I am not committing myself to this field because I haven't done other rotations and there are many fields of medicine that I could also fall in love with.
Anyway, best of luck to you.
I have to agree with what the others have said. I graduated with a 3.0 from Boston College and had 9s on my MCAT. However schools look at the quality of your undergraduate program as well as how you performed. I spoke with a director of admissions at my state med school in SC. They wait GPAs using Barron's. My pre-med advisor in Boston said that all med schools use some sort of formula to equilibrate GPAs. So I recommend going to a bookstore and seeing how your undergrad school compares. It might raise your GPA higher than you think. I don't know of anybody at my school with a 3.0 or above and solid MCATs that hasn't been accpepted and as of October I've joined them. If your program is not at least rated as highly selective you might want to consider another field. If it is, get your GPA up to a 3.0 and give it a whirl.
02-22-1999, 12:03 PM
You said that your heart is definitely set in medicine and you'll do whatever it takes to make it. Then start now by taking more advanced science courses next semester such as Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Histology, Physiology, Microbiology, Anatomy, etc., and getting As in those classes. I agree with the previous posts that you should look into other health professions; only because you stated that your hard classes were over. Those classes aren't nearly as hard as the more advanced science courses in med school. If you're sure that this is what you want to do, then work hard and make it happen.
02-22-1999, 01:15 PM
If you start taking "hard core" science classes and you get all A's & B's (mostly A's) you might have a slim chance of getting in. The way grades are done on the AACOMAS/AMCAS appications might actually help you. Your grades will be divided into 2 ( science/nonscience ) and then into each year (freshman/sopho./Jr/Sr)- so if you can show the commity that you have "shined" during your last two years and kick ass on the MCAT - you might have a chance of getting in.
Also, remember that you will be competing against some of the best students from each school / not the "slakers" -
As far as your dreams about being a surgeon - focus on getting in first. You will understand what I'm talking about once you start applying.
Good luck to you -
02-22-1999, 03:31 PM
The big question is whether you really have a commitment to medicine, and are willing to take a few years to improve your credentials before applying. I don't think you should even bother applying to allopathic medical schools, I have friends who have 3.7s and almost perfect MCATs who have had to go overseas for their MD because allopathic schools only care about you if you have the best numbers. But I won't kid you, osteopathic medical schools are also very competitive, they only take about 2,000 students from a very qualified applicant pool of 10,000 (only 1 in 5 gets in; whereas 1 in 3 gets into allopathic schools).
I only had a 3.1-3.2 in college and I knew I couldn't get into medical school with those numbers, so I didn't apply allopathic or osteopathic. So I took 2 years off to work in a medical clinic and in the biotech/pharmaceutical industry. After that I started my M.S. program and have a 3.73 GPA with 40 units of credit. With my high grades in grad school, my Science GPA at the time of applying was only 3.38 (now it is 3.4). As you can tell, it takes many units of high performance to raise your GPA even a tiny bit.
I was lucky to get in to DO school. I applied to 17 osteopathic schools (didn't apply MD) and got 6 interviews, took 3 interviews and got accepted to 2 schools. If you have the drive to get an M.S. in science, an M.P.H. or a postbacc program, go for it. To increase your GPA you need to kick ass the rest of college, I did very well my junior and senior years. You also need to score high on the MCAT, at least a 27 to show them you can handle medical school. Don't fall in to the pre-med syndrome, where you think life gets easier when you get accepted to med school. 4.0 students with 90% MCATs fail classes and even fail out of med school each year!
Another thing you need to consider is the financial sacrifices you may need to make to go to graduate school or pay for a postbacc program. I had to move back in with my parents for these past 4 years in order to afford school, the application process, and save up for tuition. I spent almost $3000 just on applying to the 17 schools! Personally, I think you should go for a M.S., even at a state college (I'm doing mine at Cal State Hayward). With a low GPA, you need to have a backup plan in case you don't get in. If I didn't get in, I was planning to work as a research assistant in a biotech company or go to PA school.
Finally, you definitely should try to shadow a D.O., preferably a primary care osteopathic physician. My friend just got into the DO college at Ohio University, and he never even shadowed a DO, and they didn't like that. At least he had a 3.8 GPA and 10s and 11s on the science portions of the MCAT. I'm convinced my strong recs from my thesis advisor and my DO got me in, my grades and MCATs are a little bit above average but not that great. My research background and medical experience helped a bit too. Good luck with your decision, a bit of soul-searching at this stage in college is warranted. It can be done, I got in but I had to make many sacrifices along the way (2 years in grad school and taking the MCAT 3X).
02-22-1999, 04:24 PM
Gard, unless you are an underepresented minority and/or your 2.6 is in nuclear physics at the University of Chicago, I would say do not waste your time stateside. Start thinking Caribbean, grab your surfboard and beach thongs and head south!! The UAG (Mexico) and St George's probably will not even interview you, but Ross (Dominica) and AUC (St Maarten) will be happy to take your $$$ and give you a chance, plus they do not require the MCAT. If you can beat the USMLE US student mean, you might have a slim chance at transferring back to the US, but do not count on it. As far as ortho/neurosurgery, while you are dreaming, why limit yourself? Shoot for surgeon general or to replace George Clooney on ER. Good luck, you are going to need it, plus one hell of a lot of tenacity.....
02-22-1999, 05:08 PM
I disagree with a lot of what was said previously and want to tell you my story. When I was thinking of applying to medical school I too was discouraged about my GPA which was about a 2.98. A medical student told me that if I really wanted to go to medical school I shouldn't let my grades stop me. With this GPA and a 25 MCAT I applied late last year, 1 interview and no acceptances. I retook the MCAT, took 1 more course which increased my GPA to 3.0 for DO programs and 2.98 for MD programs (the applications calculated them differently), and higher MCAT scores of 27. I applied to lots of schools and so far have been offered 5 DO intervews went to three and accepted at 2, and offered 3 MD interviews one is next month, rejected at one, and am competitive listed at my state school.
The stats out, I have to tell you to follow your heart, but be patient. Applying twice shows persistance, but keep busy doing relevant maturity fostering activities. I have been out of school for almost four years working as a research tech, volunteered in an ER, shadowed an MD and talked with DO physicians and students. My main comment is that I think these and other "well roundedness" facters did play a part in my application. I was a competitive springboard diver throughout college, in the choir, active in the outing club, guided orientation backpacking trips, and performed in several plays.
Schools that look only at stats or have cut offs are not going to look at you (or me), but there are schools out there that are going to look beyond just the grades and look at who you are as a person. Good Luck!
Gard, as you can probably see from the vast number of responses that have been listed so quickly...EVERYBODY has a recipe for success in this field. As I read each of the responses I couldn't help but remember all of the advice that was given to me when I chimed in with a 2.5 my junior year (Whatsmore, all of my "tough" work was ahead of me after that year). I took someone's advice that sounded very similar to what Kristen has told you.
I won't go into the details of how I fought my way back because EVERYBODY has a story as well .
I have been offered admission to one MD school and two DO schools now. My MCAT is below a 30 and I have almost zero volunteer work.
Take Kristen's advice (above) and you will do fine.
02-22-1999, 10:23 PM
Just a few more "words of wisdom". I hope you have seen the same "Take home message" from the posts listed above that I have. Work hard, real hard, and give it a shot! Good luck!
02-22-1999, 10:30 PM
I have been a member of this "community" for a few months now and have been impressed with the depth of some of your responses.
However, I must admit I was a little concerned to read some of the responses in this thread. In the future I hope that we continue to offer honest advice, but I do not think it is our place to questions someones motives regarding their pursuit of medicine or a particular branch of medicine. I feel that some of the questions raised about Gard's reasons for wanting to become a surgeon were a bit out of line.
Just some thoughts. Take care.
02-23-1999, 07:31 AM
motives for medicine and specialty are exactly what admission's committees will be concerned with. Numbers might get an applicant an interview, but if he can't explain why he wants to be a doc or a surgeon--bye bye. Those questions are very much "in line."
02-23-1999, 09:05 AM
I agree with your statement. However, when someone asks for advice and receives responses suggesting that Gard wants to be a surgeon because of the "prestige" associated with being a surgeon goes beyond advice and is a bit to judgemental for my taste. I have not had a large exposure to primary care, but I wish to persue it after medical school...should my motives be questioned? Just my thoughts. Take care!
Thanks to all who told me the deck is stacked against me, but work your ass off and make it happen. To those who said, just give up, is that what you'll say to a cancer patient when you graduate? "Just give up, the odds are against you." That's not hardly the doctor, bust-your-ass at all times attitude.
02-23-1999, 11:29 AM
Matthew, yes, I think your motives should be questioned. So should mine. Everyone, for that matter, that pursues a medical education should have their motives thoroughly explored both by an admissions committee and, most importantly, by themselves.
There are certainly legitimate reasons for wanting to pursue any medical specialty early in one's educational career. Such reasons might include intense, long-term exposure to that specialty, having a family member that practices that specialty, or a personal experience with that specialty (i.e., a particular type of physician that greatly influenced one's life). But many premedical, aspiring surgeons rarely have any solid motives (outside of wanting a prestigious career) for wanting to be surgeons. And I do not think it is out-of-line to encourage them to question their motives before someone else does.
[This message has been edited by Gregory Gulick (edited 02-23-99).]
02-23-1999, 11:57 AM
Gard, I just did a search on this thread and the only time the words "give up" have been used was in your most recent post. The general consensus, by far, has been that it will be more difficult for you than most but if you are willing to persevere then you might stand a chance. But don't be so proud that you don't begin developing a backup plan.
Granted, Prefontaine offered incredibly negative, sarcastic and hardly useful opinions but we've all come to expect this from him.
Oh, and I work with cancer patients everyday. While I don't see anyone telling them to "give up," this is always a legitimate and respected option they may make for themselves. Some of the most peaceful conclusions from this terrible disease come from people who accept their condition rather than fight what they know is a losing battle. It is not our place to put false hope into their minds for that is as bad, possibly worse, than telling them to give up. This approach applies to our everyday lives as well: there are times when it is appropriate and honorable to resign and times when it is foolish, costly and embarassing to cling to false hopes and persevere.
02-23-1999, 12:37 PM
I will agree to disagree. Encouraging someone to examine their own willingness to put in the hard work necessary to persue a career in medicine (even becoming a surgeon) is different than offering your own interpretation of their motives especially when, in my opinion, you are in no position to do so.
"Why do you want to be a doctor?" is an important question for one to ask themselves and an important question one should be asked in an interview....we should not question someones motives when they simply ask for honest advice. In my opinion that type of "advice" is unproductive.
02-23-1999, 01:10 PM
don't take this the wrong way but in my modest opinion there is a big difference between ONE asking himself why he/she wants to be a doctor and ONE asking himself why he/she wants to be a "surgeon"-
I don't think anybody's questioning Gard's motives for wanting to be a physician - but
I do honestly question the motive behind somebody's desire to go into neuro/ortho surgery so early in their pre-medical career (from all surgical special./sub-spe.)
PS: Gard, you may have perfectly good reasons for wanting to be a neuro/ortho surgeon (that would be great), however, what I think everybody is trying to tell you here is that if you got the idea on ER or Chicago Hope - you might want to look a little deeper into those professions (shadowing a surgeon is a great experience and it looks good on your application.)
02-23-1999, 01:39 PM
Keep your head up and focus on the future. Figure out what the highest GPA you can get after 4 years and make it your duty to get as close as possible. Take some advanced classes and show yourself as well as anyone else that you have the ability to excel. The MCAT is your chance to show you have the goods. I was in the same boat, having a 2.9 after 2 years. I re-evaluated myself and became a serious student and took summer courses that year. I ended with a good GPA and my trend was very positive. You might want to take the MCAT over the summer so classes won't cause any time constraint. I did that and even quit work to put all my time in. With the help of Kaplan I did very well and eventually gained admission to DO school after a year off. During that year I did plenty of research, volunteer work and was even on a VAC for a while. I also took more classes! Plus I worked a bit. Basically, I had dug myself a hole freshman year w/c I thought I couldn't get out of and I did. There comes a point where you have to forge foward and quite honestly do whatever it takes to follow your dream. Not every medical student is 22-23 years old, straight out of college with an impeccable record. Things happen and getting up after you are down is a great character builder.
Remember there is a difference between a dreamer and a hard worker.
Best of luck, Danny
Danny, Thanks for the encouragement. I will stop at nothing to ace the hardest classes in undergrad. I dug myself in, I can dig myself out. Thanks for the support. To other people like Nick, Matt, and Greg: I really do appreciate all input I get, regardless of negativity. But, please don't fight like little kids over all the opinions. I don't really care about people's opinions on my choices. All I'm doing is trying to get as much info as possible before I start working towards my goal. Yes, one might want to look deeply into what they decide they want to do, but the fact that I want to be a surgeon doesn't mean I won't end up in family practice or OB/GYN. No one has any idea what they really want until they actually experience it for themselves. Ya, I think it'd be prestigous, cool, awesome, and all that other crap to be a surgeon. But the real decision will come in clinical experience, where one see's all aspects of a subspecialty. So, please quit arguing over stupid things. This web ring is ingenius, and can really help a lot of people, if we use it right.
02-23-1999, 03:09 PM
If you want my honest advice, I recommend becoming a woman or a minority student since that has as much of an influence on who accepts you as your grades and MCATS, perseverance, or clinical, research experience. Most people may not think it is politically correct to state this but I am stating the obvious which I am sure my other white male applicants have experienced. I am not writing this out of bitterness since I have been accepted at many schools but voicing my frustration at seeing friends bypassed for less qualified students. Of course there are many many qualified minority students, this is just an opinion.
02-23-1999, 04:43 PM
That's is a very strange recommendation. It is uncalled for to suggest that somebody change themselves physically to increase their chances of getting into medical school. I am an Asian American, and many statistics have borne out that Asians have higher GPAs and MCATs than all applicants regardless of race, but for some reason the percentages of Asians accepted is always lower than for other majority or minority groups. And medical schools need to be sensitive for society's needs, and the bottom line is that the United States is becoming more racially diverse and that means the physician pool needs to diversify as well. It sure would be boring and detrimental to the quality of medical care in this country if all physicians were white males. The bottom line is that there are more qualified applicants for medical school than spots, so some people will get rejected every year. And I refuse to believe that crap about how people of some races/backgrounds are intrisically or even racially more suited for medical school. Intelligence is on a bell curve, most of us are somewhere in the middle of that curve. What determines whether someone gets in or doesn't is that if they have the "complete" picture that admissions committees want. So, I'd suggest that you stop blaming certain groups or genders for the fact that some of your friends weren't accepted this year. They can always apply next year.
WU-COMP Class of 2003
02-23-1999, 06:28 PM
Thanks for your comments. I too would suggest the vary things you have outlined in your response. I am sure Greg, among others, were expressing the same view as yours. I just took offense when I probably should not have. I will take the excellent advice of Grad and let it be. I hope all is well. Take care.
02-23-1999, 06:31 PM
It is true that no race or ethnic group is more suited for a career in medicine, but just because society is becoming more diverse does not mean that there should be more diverse representation in medical school. Applicants should be accepted on the basis of merit alone. If that means more minority students are accepted because they are more qualified, fantastic, that is how it should be. Unfortunately, this is not the case today. You stated this yourself Edgar when you mentioned that medical sctudents should reflect the diversity in society. I just don't agree with that. I am for whoever is the most qualified to gain acceptance. These can be interesting discussions if people don't take things personally. I am just stating my opinion and I respect everyones opinion regardless of whether I agree with it.
02-23-1999, 08:42 PM
I'm a bit bothered by the comment that implies that women have an easier time getting in. I am a woman and a student at a medical school. The first day I walked into classes and saw how few women there were compared to men, probably 1/3 women to 2/3 men, I was pretty shocked. I don't believe that women are getting any kind of break, at least not where I go to school, if anything we are scrutinized that much harder for being a woman. It is also disappointing that in all of my classes I've only had 2 female lectures compared to probably 30 men.
No matter how you look at it there are still a lot of people, male and female, that are well qualified that don't get in.
02-23-1999, 08:57 PM
In response to your recommendation of either becoming a woman or a minority to gain acceptance to medical school, I would like to share just a couple of facts with you. For KCOM's class of 2002, there are 27.27 % women
and 59.74 % WHITE men. Now just because I have been accepted to med school doesn't mean I'm a genious or anything, however, these numbers may suggest a higher rate of white men being accepted last year for this school, but don't quote me!
02-23-1999, 09:30 PM
I know it is really stupid to talk about classifications of people and how it affects one's application but it is something that someone who is applying should at least have some idea of. White males make up a great majority of the applicant pool and at many schools compete for a certain number of seats. This does not in any way say that there are not probably hundreds of women and or minorities that out compete white males who actually are accepted to schools. It should however be understood by a white male(if that is what you are Gard) that is weighing the decision of whether or not to pursue medical school, that because women and minorities are underrepresented in medical schools and in the profession, relative to their population, that their application might be given some small degree of preference by certain medical schools. I of anyone do believe the process is biased against anyone. The systems that are in place are there to simply balance the "unwritten preference" that has been given to white males for hundreds of years in most every facet of life. Medical schools do not waste time in accepting students that they do not deem very qualified to become physicians. It took me several years to be accepted just this year so I think it is very important to be very realistic about the difficulty of getting in with average or low grades. I know everybody has a story about someone beating the odds but how many of us know many many more people who have decent numbers and never even get interviews. Also, I think it is somewhat naive to think that if one shoots for a certain GPA or a great MCAT, that it is somehow then attainable. It can be difficult to raise to 3.5 in one course not to mention a whole semester's worth of courses. Obviously that is not to say it cannot be done. Regardless of an applicant's trend, realize that schools will not look fondly upon science requirements with poor grades when they have the opportunity to accept students that have done well in these same courses
[This message has been edited by Kobi1 (edited 02-24-99).]
[This message has been edited by Kobi1 (edited 02-24-99).]
02-24-1999, 09:06 AM
When you see a black student, do you automatically have a presumptious conception that he/she got accepted because of affirmative action? Who do you think is angered the most by this? The black students who studied their butts off to prove otherwise. All I ask is that the next time you sit in class and it happens to be a minority, don't assume that he/she has less stats than you do because you may be wrong. I personally do not know any blacks with MCAT scores below a 29 and I know they're tired of comments that minorities are somewhat intellectually inferior.
Every year, more white students get accepted into med school with low gpas and/or low MCATs than the entire population of minority students getting in that same year yet nobody talks about it. The amount of minorities admitted by Affirmative Action is such a tiny amount and is undeserving of the numerous claims of reverse discrimination it brings.
The percentage of minority physicians are ~13-17% and yet the majority of Minority physicians are providing medical care to the minority population not white physicians which is the reason why Affirmative Action is still here.
No, my stats aren't superior, 3.49 UGPA; MCAT 31, but I started poorly and then took as many upper level science courses as I possibly could to make up for it which is why I take offense when someone says comments such as the ones above.
I believe Gard will make it as long as he works hard and keeps that motivation to move forward just as I did as an undergrad.
02-24-1999, 09:59 AM
Bravo Doreen!! This is not a forum to fuel racial division and tension. There's enogh of that crap in the world as it is. If those who spend so much time and energy complaining about a system such as affirmative action would channel that effort into improving themselves, then there would be much less to complain about. I am a white male too, but you do not see me belly aching over the fact that it took me six years (after graduating from undergrad) to get into medical school. Sure, in that time I saw some of my african american friends get into med school with very similar credentials (and sometimes less)to mine. But I chose to be happy for them rather than be spiteful and jealous because they were good people, and I knew that they would be great physicians someday. I just concentrated on working even harder to achieve my goal and thank God I did.
My point is that it seems to make more sense to do what you have to do to get in and don't worry about what Tom, Dick, or Harriet are doing. If you are truly committed to becoming a physician, you can make it happen. I truly believe that because I was able to make it happen when it seemed it was defintely not going to happen. I'm not going to go into any details, but my situation was worse than Gard's and I made it. So, hang in there Gard. But remember what I said earlier in this string, you will have to work much harder and longer now to achieve your goal to be a physician. Be prepared and good luck!
DO 2 be
02-24-1999, 10:09 AM
I think Gard has heard enough. Let's keep the negative posts out of this board and move on. Good luck Gard. Just work on your GPA, need to take some more science classes to boost up your science GPA, score 30+ on the MCAT and you'll be in. ;-)
02-24-1999, 10:12 AM
You guys are getting into medical sociology, and I love it! I suppose it is time for some comments from Gregory, the social scientist:
It is a widely held belief in our society that "the best grades make the best doctors." Whether you agree with this statement or not, this is the way our society seems to operate. Because of this, anyone belonging to a group (ethnic, professional, or otherwise) that is suspected, whether true or not, of having lower grades WILL be looked down upon by society and the medical profession. Osteopathic physicians and minorities (M.D. or D.O.) fall into this group.
This entire phenomenon is simply basic stereotyping and is a way for society to simplify the complex reality they are forced to process. Therefore, anytime society encounters a D.O. that is immensely successful like Ronald Blanc, D.O. (the Surgeon General of the U.S. Army) or Ben Carson, M.D. (a black neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins with 6 honorary Ph.D.s), society will often choose to view these individuals as exceptions rather than rules. To do otherwise would require an individual to rework their entire perception of reality, which most people are not willing (or capable) to do.
To change this phenomenon, we must continue to present society with more and more exceptions. Meanwhile, understanding why people stereotype us like this should help each of us to better deal with the negative attitudes people will impose on us. And these negative attitudes will be imposed, so be prepared to deal with them in a positive fashion. We should always continue to strive and change these negative attitudes. But I think it will be a few more decades before we see a dramatic reversal of many of the negative attitudes toward D.O.s and minorities. And I think the improvement will occur incrementally as the prestige of the medical profession continues to decline and society, while being confronted with many allied and alternative health practitioners, will be forced to reevaluate their assement of all health practitioners.
02-24-1999, 11:25 AM
Great social commentary Greg! I couldn't have said it better myself.
02-24-1999, 11:27 AM
If you want to go to medical school, go for it. Life is too short not to follow one's dreams. I was always too scared to apply because I thought my grades and MCATs were too low, but I figured I'd try anyways so that I wouldn't ever thought of what could have been. I'd just like to caution you about being to optimistic about the MCAT, it is very hard to do well especially since everybody takes prep courses these days.
As for the minority issue, it is a catch-22. The bottom line is that URM students face an uphill battle because they are deprived of economic, educational, and social opportunities largely afforded to Whites and Asians. What if med school was a totally merit-based process, all the doctors in this country would be White and Asian, no doubt. Though I am sure there are a few URM students who are not qualified for medical school but do in fact get admitted, I'd say they are the exception rather than the rule. Take for instance my friend who is a 1st year at UC Davis Medical School. UC Berkeley graduate, 3.7 GPA (science and nonscience), MCAT 30+. He was rejected without interview at Stanford, UCLA, UCSF, USC. Was interviewed at UCSD and UCD, wait-listed at UCSD and admitted to UCD. Why was he not admitted at all the med schools he applied to if it is so easy for a minority to get in? He'd probably have better chances of admittance if he were a white male. Another Mexican-American friend of mine from college had 3.8 and 30+ MCATs, she is at USC Medical and belongs there. I have no doubt she will graduate at the top of her class, and her sister is a UCSF graduate, she had a 4.0 at our university as well. Lastly, one of my African American friends graduated the top of his college class, 4.0 in EVERY SINGLE CLASS HE TOOK. I asked him why he was choosing to apply only to Physical Therapy school rather than medical school. He told me flat out that doctors are too arrogant, he didn't want to have that kind of attitude towards other people. It is a shame for the profession, one of the most caring and compassionate people I've ever met. Harvard would have busted down his door to recruit him, regardless of his race. It is very dangerous to stereotype or make assumptions about other people. I for instance am Asian, and there is a stereotype that we are geniuses at Math. I barely passed my college calculus classes with Cs, while my African American friend/tutor got straight-A's. You will always find so many exceptions to stereotypes that you will see they are ultimately flawed.
02-24-1999, 02:49 PM
I think this discussion has been interesting and pertinent. I have a couple of
questions/points. Edgar, I know that most of the anecdotal information you posted involved California schools. I believe that California repealed affirmative action laws in the state a couple of years ago. Do you think this was in any way a factor? I read, I think in Time magazine, that since the laws were repealed that the number of minorities at "top" schools decreased, but increased at other schools considered less prestigious. So the education and opportunities were still extant but the "have your cake and eat it too" process that may have been occurring before has been diminished. It also seems that if more white males are applying in the first place then the classes will have more white males regardless of affirmative action programs.
I still don't understand why it's such a priority to have a racially diverse physician population. I have seen surveys that showed the majority of patients, (including minorities), rank the ethnicity of their physicians at the bottom of their concerns and competence at the top. I know it would be "boring" to have an all white male physician population, (and I don't think this would ever occur), but I think patients are more concerned with receiving the best possible care no matter who delivers it. I agree that some minority groups deserve assistance to get started in education to overcome unfortunate circumstances, but I think the question should be when and how should the bar stop being lowered in the interest of fairness to all...Undergraduate college admission? Graduate college admission? Professional school admission? Government contracts? If the goal of these programs is to give all applicants a fair shot at future competition it seems duplicitous to move the starting line ahead throughout the careers of some and not others that have run the same course.
I know that some schools explicitly state that they "actively recruit" underrepresented minoritites and women. If schools don't lean toward admitting minorities, then they appear to do nothing to dispell this perception. If "actively recruit" really means "encourage to apply" then great. If it means "we'll take all we can get" then I'm not so sure. It would be interesting to see the actual stats regarding these issues from the schools themselves, but these are often closely held. In the meantime, our discussions will be totally based on what all of us have "heard," "read somewhere," or totally on personal assumption.
Nevertheless, I think if we strive to treat each other as professionals that deserve to be in position to become physicians from day 1 no matter what a person's race or ethnicity is, then we'll be doing both society and our profession a great service.
02-24-1999, 03:38 PM
I'm glad at least one person has an open mind about this issue and is willing to consider why affirmative action is necessary in medical school admissions. All of the info I posted about my friends were true stories, and they are California residents. California has a bumpy and thorny road in its history of affirmative action. The Bakke case in the 70s was a case in point. Bakke was a white 30-ish electrical engineer who wanted to go to medical school. Many med schools who interviewed him realized he didn't have compelling reasons to go to medical school, he was just interested in designing medical equipment and technology. These same schools rejected him, as well as UC Davis. Bakke found out that minorities with lower scores than him got in, and he filed a lawsuit against the State of California. He eventually won, and attended UC Davis Medical School. It was all for naught anyway, Bakke moved to Minnesota and became an anesthesiologist.
The banning of affirmative action has been disastrous in California. We are the most racially diverse state behind Hawaii. In the LA area where there are 5 medical schools, Latinos and Mexican-Americans make up the majority of the population. Since AA was banned 2 years ago, the number of minorities have drastically dropped at prestigious colleges such as UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine Med, UC Davis Med, UC Irvine Med, UC San Diego Med. The only thing repealing AA did was to increase the number of Asians in these schools. The number of white applicants has been dropping, so their acceptance rates have stayed the same. The whole issue of affirmative action for URMs in medical school is that minorities tend to practice in their communities. I believe that Chicanos, African-American, and Native American physicians can prove more socially-sensitive medical care in underserved communities because they understand where their patients are coming from and speak their language. I have a Chicano friend who is planning to go to Drew Medical School, which is part of UCLA and whose mission is to serve the poor and underserved in LA, mostly the Compton and Watts area. It isn't a perfect system, but affirmative action IS NECESSARY for medical school admissions. Like I said before, if all doctors are White and Asian primarily Chicano, African American and Native American communities will continue to be medically underserved. And I do not see droves of Whites or Asian physicians moving into those communities in the near future either.
Class of 2003
02-25-1999, 06:12 AM
As things stand now, the cards *are* indeed stacked against you. Consider a Master's degree in biomedical science, significant research or volunteer experience, and some exposure to surgical specialties. I'd realistically say that you're about three years away from applying.
03-04-1999, 02:20 PM
You guys are great. I learned a lot from reading your messages...
03-04-1999, 04:16 PM
If being a minority can make you to get into medical school, I think there will be more minorities in Med school than whites.
As a chinese american, we are considered as minority in the society. However, if you ask any medical school, chinese, korean, japanese, vietnamese, etc are not minority because they are all consider as a group or race.
If being a minority is the stepping stone to get into medical, I should a lot of asian in medical school. My class is predominantly white male.
I will be very offended to hear other people saying that minority can get into to medical school because of the affirmative action. I believet that many medical school don't need to even thing about affirmative action because there are so many qualify applicants that are MINORITY and they are highly qualify to be accepted.
I am a minority in the American society but I am not consider as minority in all medical schools in the US. The reason is, many Asian can get into medical school without the help of affirmative action.
Not only I feel offended by such statement, I consider this is a form of bias. This kind of discrimination exist in every corner of this country. It seems to be we, the MINORITY, are not well accepted in this country even we speak the same language or receive the same level of education.
03-04-1999, 05:15 PM
I understand your frustration, I am a Chinese-American as well and I was bitter after I was rejected by UC Berkeley when I was applying to college. I was a good student, but I think my race was a factor in my rejection. I agree that Asians are considered minorities in society but not in medicine. In fact, in college I asked if I could participate in the Minority Biomedical Research Scholarship (MBRS) sponsored by the NIH, but the staff member laughed because Chinese people are not underrepresented in medicine/research. In fact we may be overrepresented in these fields compared to our numbers in the US population.
In general though, I think underrepresented minorities such as Chicanos, Native Americans, and African Americans suffer more from discrimination than Asians. Especially African Americans, they suffered slavery for 200 years. Many URMs do not have as many opportunities as Asians and Whites, and I still believe affirmative action is needed to guarantee their representation in medicine. My school, COMP is noticeably more diverse than the other DO schools I interviewed at. I believe they have affirmative action, since they are exempt from the restrictions for the UC system (we are a private school). For sure, I saw a good mix of Whites, Asians, Mexican-Americans, and African-Americans. I like it in fact, I'm used to that living in California.
03-13-1999, 08:50 PM
I'm a chiropractic student and I'm going to apply to D.O. schools in the near future. I'm curious what you have heard and what your concerns are about chiropractic? I'm sure I could be of some advice about my profession. Believe me I won't hold back to be PC about chiropractic. However, I want to make sure your concerns are valid. Let me know if I can help.