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GPA enhancement programs: SMPs, postbacs et al...June 2009 List

Discussion in 'Postbaccalaureate Programs' started by DrMidlife, Jun 24, 2009.

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  1. faith2

    faith2

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    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    are u interested in DO? if so you are perfect


  2. DrR4387

    DrR4387

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    robflanker - im not sure if you completely understood what i was asking... i know about BCPM but i was just wondering if "health & medical terminology" could fall under, say, biology; and if a class like "food science," in which chemistry was regularly discussed, could fall under chemistry... thanks for your post

    faith - i have thought about DO and am interested, but id rather go to an MD program eventually... however, given my low science GPA I know i am not quite qualified for that yet, which is why im thinking about SMPs... my question is, which SMPs are ideal for my situation, and what are be the best ones to which I have realistic shot at gaining admission?
  3. robflanker

    robflanker

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    drr4387 - so when you enter it on AMCAS you can try and enter it as a biology class or chemistry class but you risk having AMCAS flagging it and making you change it. They will go with what your transcript says most of the time but they do allow some things to pass based on the name. So if you food science class is listed as (im making this up) FSC 100 on your transcript and you put it as a BIO 100 they may let it pass or they may flag it and make you change it.
    However, i do know someone who was a neuropsych major who was allowed to classify his class of "biological basis of psych disorders" as BIO class despite having a PSYCH ###.

    That being said, i think his case for it being bio might be stronger than your food science argument.

    If I were you, I wouldn't use it in my BCPM estimations to work on a worst case scenario, and if you decide to try and tag it as Bio and it gets thru, then you'll have a better sGPA than you thought.
  4. PhoenixBlaze500

    PhoenixBlaze500

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    Hi everyone,

    I looking for a program that is similar to Drexel's DPMS program and at least has the following:

    - MCAT prep
    - Last one year (or could leave after one year)
    - Can take courses taken during first year in medical school*
    - Guarantee admission to the medical school upon completing the program

    *Just a plus; not absolutely necessary.

    I went through most of the list provided on this thread and on a couple of others but the problem would usually be 1) the program requires applicant not to have taken the MCAT (which I already did :(), 2) the deadline has passed (my fault for not checking sooner), 3) the program requires the applicant to not have taken most of the prereq courses (again, which I already did) and 4) the program does not offer admission into their medical school after completing the program.

    Any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  5. gujuDoc

    gujuDoc

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    None of these programs absolutely GUARANTEE acceptances. you still have to earn it. 2. if the deadlines passed for the ones that fit your criteria, then I'm sorry but that is the way it is.
  6. texasgal87

    texasgal87

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    Try the Indiana University MSMS program. The deadline might have past, but it is similar to what you are looking for and you can leave after a year
  7. PhoenixBlaze500

    PhoenixBlaze500

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    Thanks, texasgal87. I checked out the Indiana University MSMS program and its deadline has not passed yet (March 15) but I am not sure if I should apply to that one for its application process has been going on since October 15...but I think it is worth a shot. Thanks, again.
  8. curious87

    curious87

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    .I am trying to decided between going to Columbia University's Master of Nutrition Program and Tufts MBS. I plan to apply for 2011 matriculation in med school, so my application initially will only have the school and courses I am taking in the Fall of 2010. I want to know what the description ..in Category 2 .."your GPA isn't THAT bad" means, and if choosing one program over another will hurt my initial consideration by admissions committees. Personally I think I would prefer to go to Columbia, but the Tufts program might be much better for my career and getting into medical school. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Also I'm a New York resident, if that changes your answer on admission's committee thoughts.

    My stats
    Brandeis Undergrad
    sGPA: 3.01
    GPA: 3.34
    MCAT: 31M

    Lab research, public health non-profit volunteering, Extracurriculars, shadowing...
    .
  9. robflanker

    robflanker

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    Tufts MBS hands down IMO.

    Not sure how many true hard sciences a nutrition degrees allows you to take but it won't be with medical students i bet (Tufts is) and it wont be productive thinks like microbio, immuno, a&p....
  10. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion Gold Donor

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    Agree w/robflanker.

    Your numbers are 1-2 std dev's below average, so undergrad GPA/MCAT are holding you back. SMPs can amend that, but a program like Columbia's isn't for a low GPA comeback. Columbia nutrition would round out a 3.5 GPA for NY schools, maybe. Love the name, love the program, but it won't help you be competitive on GPA/MCAT, so it won't do much to get you into med school.

    That said, Tufts and similar SMPs will set you up to be competitive for med school, but not necessarily for competitive med schools. SMP to Stony Brook is believable; SMP to NYU not so much (it happens, but don't plan on it).

    Best of luck to you.
  11. curious87

    curious87

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    Thank you both for your feedback and really quick response. This confirms what I thought, but I kind of wish it didn't. Goodbye NY, Hello Boston.
  12. robflanker

    robflanker

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    NP - not sure where you parents live but you should try and establish residency somwhere other than MA. Their criteria for residency is like 5 yrs or something really strict so it'd be better for you to maintain NY residency or wherever your parents live or some other scenario
  13. purpledolphin

    purpledolphin

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    I am wondering. Most of the SMPs you are talking about, are they masters degree granting programs or are they non-degree and certificate granting programs?

    and if so.. which one is better? and how do you know which one you are qualified for?
  14. robflanker

    robflanker

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    SMPs grant masters - hence their title Special Masters Programs....

    Post-bacs tend to be non-degree and certificate granting.

    Which one is better depends on how much of a repair job you need on your GPA.

    Most SMPs and good post-bacs have 3.0 cGPA (and sGPA in some cases) cutoffs
  15. purpledolphin

    purpledolphin

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    does that mean that when you apply to these SMP programs, Medical schools do not consider your Undergrad GPA given if you complete programs that offer masters programs?
  16. robflanker

    robflanker

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    No - your UGrad GPA will go with you forever and ever.

    Every grade taken at a 4-yr or CC will count, regardless of how old it is.

    DO schools do some grade forgivement - MD do not
  17. flyaway11

    flyaway11

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    Hi members,

    I have been following you guys for a while but I decided to post today. I was wondering, if I were to do an SMP, do I have to graduate from a school before I apply?

    I am currently a Junior, but I am thinking of doing an SMP program because I don't think my GPA is high enough for Medical school. However, I will not be able to complete my major at the end of 4th year since my last class is only offered in the Fall, which forces me to stay an extra year for the major. However, if I were to be accepted to a "real" SMP, can I attend SMP without finishing my last class for the major?? or do I have to finish everythign first and then apply? thank you all for your input.
  18. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion Gold Donor

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    You can apply whenever you want.

    IMHO don't start an SMP until your med school app is complete: strongest possible MCAT score, maximum undergrad GPAs (take more undergrad until it's no longer fruitful), interesting and consistent ECs, thrilling LORs, compelling essay.

    You'll save a lot of money if you just add a year or two to your undergrad plans. Add a major or a minor, doesn't matter, just get yourself time to take a boatload of hard classes and get straight A's. Do the math to see what more coursework would do to your cumulative.

    Best of luck to you.
  19. klmnop

    klmnop SuperSenior Member

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    Yeah you can apply whenever you want, but do you still recieve your bachelor's without completing your major. because neither an smp (if it awards a masters degree) or med school will accept you without a bachelor's degree. i agree with drmidlife, if you have to stay an extra year anyway enroll in some cake bcmp courses (or a separate major) that you have a great chance of acing, it'll improve your chances at both med school, and even an smp if necessary.
  20. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion Gold Donor

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    He/she's not suggesting he/she won't finish his/her degree at all, just not before applying.
  21. klmnop

    klmnop SuperSenior Member

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    Oh, well in that case, it doesn't matter at all, as long as you are on your way obviously.
  22. flyaway11

    flyaway11

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    Hi again,

    So you are all suggesting that I finish my degree before applying for an SMP? since SMP won't allow me to apply unless I have a degree right? I don't really want to stay a year behind because a year load of course work might not do that much for me, maybe raise my GPA from 3.2-3.3-ish? since I will be going over 216 unit cap. I am not sure if spending another year is a good investment. =/

    I should probably ask my counselor if I would be granted a bacc degree without finishing my major, given that I have one class left before I could graduate.

    But by any chance that I do get accepted to a SMP by the end of 4th year, that means I would graduate with the Master degree from that school right? so even if I did not graduate with a Bacc degree, they will still see the uGPA that I have?

    Thank you all for your input! I greatly appreciate all of your comments.
  23. flyaway11

    flyaway11

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    I forgot to mention: most of my science core classes are the ones I did not do well on, so should I just repeat all those classes? I could probably retake the ones I got C- or Cs in them =/ (that's probably 7 classes). Or should I not do that since it would look super bad on my transcript?
  24. jslo85

    jslo85 OMS-3

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    They will see all your undergraduate work because you will be submitting all official transcripts of academic institutions attended as part of the requirement to be considered for acceptance into a graduate program.

    Also in the realistic scheme of things a 3.2 and a 3.3 isn't that much of a difference in Adcom's minds as I would think as neither of those are truly competitive for allopathic school admissions. Take that how you will.

    Retaking classes will not help you at all if you are applying to allopathic schools. If you are considering osteopathic schools then repeating them would be a good decision as AACOMAS factors in retaken class grades as the actual grade. For allopathic schools the best direction for you to take would be to take a plethora of upper division science courses to demonstrate that you can handle a hard course load.
  25. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion Gold Donor

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    Oh dear lord, you were asking about not finishing your degree. Putting on a gown & marching for the parents stops mattering before you leave the stadium. Having "bachelors degree granted" on your transcript matters big time if you want to do med school. Particularly with a low GPA, you don't get to cut corners.

    Not finishing your major means not finishing your degree. Bad idea. Bad. As in: bad. Cart-horse inversion.

    If an SMP lets you start without finishing your bachelors, that's an irresponsible SMP. If you do such an SMP and then try to use it to get into med school, guess what med schools are going to ask you: why didn't you finish your degree?!?!? Your answer will be definitively lame.

    So you have another year in undergrad: great! Improve your undergrad GPA, do lots of volunteering, prep for the MCAT, try really hard to not need an SMP. You don't have to restrict yourself to one school for taking more undergrad - any 4yr will do. Mix & match. Sounds like you don't have to be at your current school for more than fall term anyway.

    Repeating coursework: for MD schools, a retake does not erase the old grade. For DO schools, retakes erase the old grade. Some people say you should retake prereqs if you got a C or worse, I go by don't retake if you got a C or better. If you didn't learn the material well enough to do well on the MCAT, then retaking isn't a bad idea. Otherwise, just take every upper div science class you possibly can and get really, really good grades.

    Best of luck to you.
  26. klmnop

    klmnop SuperSenior Member

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    With all due respect, it doesn't sound like you're taking this seriously.

    1-True SMP's grant masters degrees, which cannot be obtained without a bachelor's
    2- A year of 4.0 coursework can only be beneficial, especially if its upper-level biomed. It may not be the difference, but an SMP is not a magic GPA eraser... it too is usually one year of GPA help, however the courseload is more rigid and significantly more difficult.
    3- If you are over the credit cap, work with advisors to find a loophole. I know that some schools won't grant you a degree unless you finish your major at their school. I also know that some schools, such as mine, do not let you take credits after you completed your major and the minimum number of credits for graduating. What I did was put off all my major-required classes until 2nd semester of my last year, allowing me to take electives and thus improve my GPA.
    4- If you can finish your bachelors without a major i'm not sure what type of school this is.... its unlikely.
    5-Agree with the above, they see everything and will probably screen you out if you don't have a bachelors degree... even if you had a 3.9. The only thing I can thing of is if somehow you already have a phd or professional degree without a bachelors... and it would require some explaining.

    Summary - since you have to complete that last course, either start a new major/minor and work to get that gpa up without entering an smp. Or complete that course in the summer and do enroll in an smp later, but it may be a waste of time and money if you could mitigate this problem with another year of cheap ugrad work.
  27. flyaway11

    flyaway11

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    Thank You all for your input. I truly value your opinions. I'll talk to my counselor to see if there is an option for me to take summer school or at another institution. Thank You again!
  28. smarty666

    smarty666

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    I was hoping someone could help me out with some confusion I have. I had a lower than avg (non-competitive) GPA for allopathic school (cGPA of 3.45 by school, but cGPA of 3.39 by AMCAS spreadsheet) and I was thinking of, going back to my undergrad institution where I got my BS degree as a non-matriculating student and taking 5-6 mid-upper level bio sci courses I didn't get a chance to take when I was there to improve my undergrad GPA for allopathic med school.

    The question I have is this. On my schools website, they say that if you have your bachelor's degree already and take courses on a non-matriculating basis, they will not generate a GPA for you and add it to your previous undergrad GPA? If that is the case then what is the point of taking the courses if they don't have a GPA for you or add it to your previous undergrad GPA? Even if the school doesn't do it, would AMCAS add these courses to my undergrad gpa once I eventually applied to med school???

    Any information would be greatly appreciated! :D
  29. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 chick magnet

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    AMCAS will add every undergrad you took into your UG GPA. Was your cGPA higher than your AMCAS GPAs b/c of A+s counting as 4.3? Or because of a retake?

    I don't think 3.45 is that uncompetitive, even if it's not optimal. You're only going to help yourself by taking classes postbac if you get all As in them.
  30. smarty666

    smarty666

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    well I don't know, my institution didn't have A+'s, the highest you got was an A and I put that in but Dr. Midlife said that A's are counted the same as A+'s so it shouldn't matter. I didn't retake any courses except withdrawing out of physiology in the summer at the beginning of class taking it two semesters later getting a B in it! Since my GPA is what it is, getting B+'s and A's would go to improve it.

    Luckily I have time to decide. If I could get above 26 on the MCAT next year I could possibly apply to a SMP but I'm just so nervous about them because of how risky they are. Plus I'm a non-trad and a lot of stuff is a bit rusty for me since its been a few years since I've learned it.
  31. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 chick magnet

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    That's weird that your GPA would be different then w/o retakes or A+s then.
  32. smarty666

    smarty666

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    well I don't know, my institution didn't have A+'s, the highest you got was an A and I put that in but Dr. Midlife said that A's are counted the same as A+'s so it shouldn't matter. I didn't retake any courses except withdrawing out of physiology in the summer at the beginning of class taking it two semesters later getting a B in it! Since my GPA is what it is, getting B+'s and A's would go to improve it.

    Luckily I have time to decide. If I could get above 26 on the MCAT next year I could possibly apply to a SMP but I'm just so nervous about them because of how risky they are. Plus I'm a non-trad and a lot of stuff is a bit rusty for me since its been a few years since I've learned it.
  33. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 chick magnet

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    A B+ is a 3.3, it will lower your GPA. You need to get grades with an A in them, preferably solid As.
  34. smarty666

    smarty666

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    Wow, see I didn't know that. That is where the difference is. At my institution, a B+ is a 3.5 and I got many of them, so if AMCAS is 3.3 for that grade that is why my both my GPAs are a little bit lower.

    Thanks for point that out drizzt!

    Actually, now that you brought that to my attention about AMCAS, I don't know if I might go back and take some undergrad bio sci courses because I'm not 100% sure if I could get A's in all those classes. If I get B+'s, they are 3.5 at my institution but that does me little good if AMCAS will put it at 3.3 which then in the AMCAS grading WILL NOT help my GPA!.
  35. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 chick magnet

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    Yeah, although if your school only has B+ and no A-, in between, it's possible that you may be able to get it considered an AB, which is a 3.5. I am not sure about that though. I do know that some schools use A, AB, B, etc... and AB is 3.5. If there is no A- at your school and B+ is 3.5, it sounds like it's the same thing. You may want to contact AMCAS.
  36. smarty666

    smarty666

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    I don't know if AMCAS will believe that or not though I would assume they would double check with the school. As far as I know our schools did not have AB or A- for grades. I never got one, it was either F, D, C, C+, B, B+, or A. This is where C = 2.0, C+ = 2.5, B = 3.0, B+ = 3.5 and A = 4.0

    It doesn't really matter, even if AMCAS would allow the AB thing as you are thinking, my schools calculated cGPA is 3.45 and my sGPA is 3.38 so even those are still not competitive for allopathic school. I'm still in the same predicament of either improving my undergrad GPA or doing a biomed master program proving I can do grad level science coursework.
  37. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 chick magnet

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    That all depends on your MCAT. Like I said, I don't think 3.45 is an uncompetitive GPA if you had a good MCAT and were qualitatively a good candidate. If you were going to do additional coursework, it'd only benefit you if you were getting solid As anyways.
  38. smarty666

    smarty666

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    This is what I don't understand, someone else on here says that AMCAS uses a B+ = 3.5 depending on your schools grading system and if they use a +/- system or not?? That seems conflicting to what you guys said earlier? Please set me straight on this so I get the right GPAs! Thanks in advance.

    Here is a link to that discuss so you can tell me if that is bogus or not. http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=590424

    I think the spreadsheet he uses is better and more interchangeable. Here is the link.

    Attached Files:

  39. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 chick magnet

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    I'd just call AMCAS yourself to find out for sure rather than speculating.
  40. smarty666

    smarty666

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    I most certainly will at some point. I had some time to kill after dinner tonight and for the heck of it I entered all my courses into the spreadsheet again and did the calculations for a B+ = 3.5 and then again for B+ = 3.3

    You wouldn't think it but that small difference does change your GPA a little bit. With B+ = 3.5 my cGPA was 3.45 and sGPA was 3.36

    When I switched B+ = 3.3 my cGPA dropped to 3.4 and the sGPA became 3.28.

    Thanks a lot for pointing that out again drizzt. I really appreciate it.
  41. gujuDoc

    gujuDoc

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    That's still good enough to get into SMP at the least. Just do well in an SMP.
  42. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 chick magnet

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    Why do you suggest SMPs to everyone as a first step? The OP hasn't taken the MCAT yet so they don't even know if they need a SMP. With a good MCAT I'd suggest applying broadly without one, anyways.

    SMPs are a last resort for those who aren't competitive without them.
  43. CaliHope13

    CaliHope13

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    Can any one shed some light on what program would be more beneficial

    I got into both BU mams as well as Loyola.

    BU seems a little more reputable but it has a class size of 180 people and seems impersonal

    While Loyola sounds just as prestigious but has a class size of 50 with more direct support from staff and faculty.


    I am having a very hard time trying to decide, but maybe its just where ever I feel like I will succeed most is the place to go.


    any advice would help
  44. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 chick magnet

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    Where are you from?
  45. CaliHope13

    CaliHope13

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  46. smarty666

    smarty666

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    Agreed with drizzt on this one. SMPs should always be a last resort because they have the biggest risk to them. Your taking med school classes with med students, most of whom were a lot smarter than you and did not struggle during undergrad or need a post-bac or SMP in order to go right into med school so you have a really uphill battle in a SMP to do well and it is extremely difficult to pull all A's, which is what is almost required to get med school admission interviews/acceptances.

    If you get anything less than a B+ in a SMP course you can forget med school. I've heard horror stories from people in SMP programs that got just one bad grade, such as B- or B, and that ruined everything. There is more pressure in a SMP then actual MS-I year for a regular med student since they don't have to get all A's in order to move onto MS-II whereas in a SMP you do.

    I just checked with my undergrad institution, I don't think going back to take more undergrad bio science classes is going to be the way to go because they don't let non-matriculating students sign up to till the last day of registration when all the freakin classes are filled up and I know the hell of this since I went through it for 4 years while going there myself so its not worth the headache.

    As everyone else has indicated, it really will come down to my MCAT score. A admcas cGPA of 3.4 and sGPA of 3.25 is going to have to be accompanied by a 35+ MCAT score if I was to apply broadly without doing anything else.

    My biggest problem, due to my continued health problems and surgeries is the amount of gap I'll have between undergrad graduation in May 2008 and when I apply to med school. I have a few friends who did special biomed master programs, got B+'s and A's in grad science work, who got accepted to MD, DO, and PA schools. I most likely would try that out before doing a SMP because I think having a 4-5 year gap, the adcoms are going to want to see some grad level work in there to show I can still do it and while even grad level biomed sciences will be hard, it won't be as hard as SMP would be.

    But again, it all comes down to the MCAT.

    Actually I was hoping drizzt or someone else could help me out with a few specific questions about the MCAT. I'm not really concerned with what score I get because I can take it again if I have too, but how long are scores good for? I've heard only 3 freakin years. That is ridiculous considering how hard and expensive it is to take. Sounds like a money racket to me :mad:. Some med schools I have seen only take scores from two years prior to application :mad::mad::mad:! I was planning on taking it the beginning of 2011, but if I have to do a grad program I'm not sure if I should wait because I want the scorers to last. I don't understand why the scores are not good for 5 years like all the other standarized tests? Also, I cannot afford the $2k out of pocket costs that TPR and TBR want to take a prep course. Do you guys recommend the materials and study schedule for the MCAT that SN2ed has on SDN and if so have any of you used it?? He recommends priarimly TBR and EK review material and TPR verbal hyperlearning along with lots of AAMC FL practice test. Does this sound right??

    Any help on the MCAT questions I have would be greatly appreciated!!! :D
  47. jslo85

    jslo85 OMS-3

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    That is actually really not true and a gross over-generalization.

    What I will agree with is doing your best and trying to achieve as many As as possible and staying within the top echelon of your class.

    If you want to enroll in a SMP where the class size is 180 students like Gtown who openly state they are going to take 10 students (less than 10%) or Tufts which has 70-80 students and only guarantees interviews to only the top 25% then it's completely your choice and what you said about the As as opposed to Bs holds true. But you go in there fully knowing how many students you are competing against and the statistics going in.

    EVMS and Ucinn have class sizes of 22-24 and matriculate a vast majority of their students into medical school, somewhere along the lines of 85% if I remember correctly. Osteopathic SMPs set the base minimum for their students (usually only 8-12) at 80% and offer conditional acceptance upon completing the program. Sure it would be great to get As, but if you obtain a B, you qualify as well. 70% is the minimum a medical student can achieve unless he/she wishes to be disciplined by the school whereas students in said osteopathic SMP programs (don't know personally about EVMS or UCinn) have to make a 80% or higher due to them taking a reduced number of medical school classes than an actual medical student thus they should score higher.

    Long story short, do the best you can in whatever SMP you get into. That I do completely agree with but a receiving a B is not going to turn your medical aspirations into a pile of rubble in an SMP.
  48. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion Gold Donor

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    Oh, but getting those B's hurts you real bad. Drizzt is right: the solid med students who didn't need an SMP are mostly getting B's.

    If you start an SMP without being insanely ready to succeed, without having addressed and recovered from any academic weaknesses, you ain't getting B's, my friends, you just ain't.

    An SMP is where you do the best academic work of your life, and if you're not going for a 3.5 against exceptional students who get B's, you're wasting your time and money.
  49. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 chick magnet

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    I personally think BU MAMS is a little bit more rigorous program because you take classes with med students, etc, but my personal experience is that there are three students that did the Loyola MAMS at my top 25 Mid Western med school, so I'm not entirely sure what to tell you about this. From what I've heard, it's not too difficult to do very well at Loyola's MAMS.
  50. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 chick magnet

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    As far as MCAT goes, I don't think you need to do a formal prep course to do well. I did TBR when I was in postbac because it was offered through my program and it was easy, but I definitely didn't need to do a prep course to do well. I studied by learning the subject materials with the TBR books (to a certain extent) but mostly by doing a lot of full-length practice tests.

    I would acquire as many full-length practice tests as you can, and find out what people's consensus on the best review materials are right now, and master them. Don't take the test until you're getting mid 30s on AAMC practice tests, if that's what you want to get.

    Personally, if I were you, I'd first do that, if you got a mid 30s MCAT, you wouldn't need a SMP and could apply right away (but send apps to 25-30 schools, apply broadly to maximize your chances)

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