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Low GPA: Take post bacc courses or start Graduate classes

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by lolasmommy, Jan 6, 2008.

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  1. lolasmommy

    lolasmommy

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    Hello,
    Ive had many suggestions as to raise my 3.085 undergrad GPA by taking upperdivision post bacc courses and not scoring less than a B+ on any of them. I was actually considering starting graduate courses. Would this be a better alternative to showing an upward trend in grades? I know that the undergrad GPA will remain but I am determined to work harder than ever to do well in my graduate courses. Please help... Post bacc courses or Graduate courses?
  2. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser

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    Graduate GPA is listed separately and not given much credit when it comes to admissions (since everyone doesn't have one & the grades are usually inflated).

    Do undergrad courses.
  3. chebella7604

    chebella7604 Baby

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    In addition to the point made above, opt for post-bacc so even after you complete it, if your GPA is still not where it needs to be you have the option of doing grad work to give your app a boost.
  4. lolasmommy

    lolasmommy

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    Can someone clarify if the GPA considered is the overall undergrad GPA or the institution GPA(based on BCMP)? Should I be most concerned over my overal GPA or GPA based on BCMP?
  5. bioteach

    bioteach MSIV

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    As someone with a 3.07 undergrad GPA and a master's degree (3.87) - DO A POST-BACC.


    I had no idea I wanted to go to med school back when I did my undergrad and subsequent masters. Had I known then....well that's a whole other story...
  6. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser

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    Both are important, but overall is more important than BCPM. Overall GPA is overall for all courses taken @ the undergraduate level - regardless of institution & year.
  7. LikeClockWork

    LikeClockWork Guest

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    So are post-bacc grades factored into your undergrad BCMP? I thought they counted as graduate work. I'm considering doing a masters, but I could start the program as simple post-bacc work that transfers over....
  8. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser

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    So long as it is a post-bacc taking courses that count at the undergraduate level, they go into your undergrad GPA. AMCAS breaks it into fresh, soph, junior, senior, post-bacc. But they obviously combine to make your total UG GPA.

    You can take classes at some schools as a post-bacc (i.e. non-degree) for graduate level credit, but the value is arguably next to none compared to other things you could be doing.
  9. LikeClockWork

    LikeClockWork Guest

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    Ah ha. I see. I thought this would be a good way to bring up my UG BCMP and start a MS degree, but of course if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Thanks!

    Oh, and sorry for the hijack, OP.
  10. lolasmommy

    lolasmommy

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    Thanks, will do!
  11. centersharpie

    centersharpie Pre-PA

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    Ok... I am not in the same boat, but I feel as though my GPA isn't really that competitive as well. I asked my pre-med advisor if I should do a post-bacc, and he told me no. Unless you didn't take the pre-reqs, then a post-bacc wouldn't be good. It would show the adcoms, for example, that you got a C the first time you took it, then got a B+ the second time. The Post-bacc is mainly for non-trads/people who did not complete the pre-reqs. He actually suggested to me either grad school or a SMP, that is if I don't get in when I apply. So I would try to do that. If you do get into an SMP and do really well, and show that you can handle the work, then I don't see you not getting into med school.

    c.s.
  12. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser

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    He/She is wrong. If your GPA is truly bad and you've already taken your pre-reqs, you can continue to take upper division courses and show you can handle an academic load with success (>3.5). An SMP won't improve your GPA, but is an option - putting all your eggs in one basket though.

    I do agree that re-taking pre-reqs isn't terribly useful unless you haven't taken the MCAT or you truly need improvement on the basics.
  13. gobears2007

    gobears2007

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    i think it depends on the post-bacc. someone please correct me if i am wrong, because i just recently started looking into this, but there are formal and informal post-bacc programs. formal ones seem like an opportunity for those who haven't taken the pre-reqs and are "career changers" or something along those lines. those wouldn't be good in this situation since, as you stated, you would be taking the same classes over again. an informal post-bacc, however, allows you to take more upper-div science courses to boost your GPA. apparently you enroll as a 2nd bachelor degree student, but you usually never finish the 2nd degree. so, in this situation, an informal post-bacc may be the way to go for gpa enhancement without retaking pre-reqs. hope this makes sense and that someone can back me up on this!
  14. Perrotfish

    Perrotfish Has an MD in Horribleness

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    OP, you either need to take more undergraduate classes or do an SMP. With under a 3.1 I would guess an SMP is probably the fastest/cheapest route to medical school. A Masters degree won't help enough.

    I think your advisor doesn't know what s/he's taling about. SMPs will get you in if you do well. Failing that you need to improve your undergraduate GPA, either by taking more classes or retaking the old ones. A masters program just won't help.
  15. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser

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    Check out the post-bacc FAQ. Formal means that you are in an official program - informal means you are just a non-degree seeking student on your own.

    You can try an SMP, but if you don't get in to an MD program after that year then you have to go backwards to a post-bacc. It's a lot riskier IMO.
  16. gobears2007

    gobears2007

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    Right, but doesn't a formal program include pre-reqs, while an informal program means you can take whichever courses you think will help you since you are doing it on your own (hence taking upper div science courses)? If you have already taken the pre-reqs, then it seems that an informal program would be a better option than a formal program. Yes, no, maybe so? I'm heading to the post-bacc forums as we post :thumbup:
  17. centersharpie

    centersharpie Pre-PA

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    ... don't shoot the messenger... that is what my advisor told me. Yes, you can take upper division science courses to boost up you science GPA. This is true. So I would try to do that. He was talking to me about doing a post-bacc that requires you to take some pre-reqs over again, that it doesn't matter. Sorry if I did not clarify. If you do have time and can boost your science GPA by taking upper division courses than go for it. If you don't then try going for an informal post-bacc. If you want to spend the money then go for it, but if you have a strong upward trend, and if you think you can handle the course load and do well, I will suggest a SMP.
  18. kami333

    kami333

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    Depends on the program. Some, like Goucher's, are aimed at non-trads who don't have any/many pre-reqs. Others, like American, can be/are aimed at raising your GPA and allows you to take pretty much any science class. The big difference between formal and informal is the structure (and the cost in most cases, lol). Most formal postbacc programs have dedicated advising and help picking classes, priority registration for classes, MCAT prep, structured volunteer/research oppurtunities, etc which is what you are paying for. Most of which is stuff that you can set up yourself if you put in the time and organization.
  19. gbennett

    gbennett

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    i didnt opt for a post-bac. i did poorly in my lower division science classes, thus resulting in a low overall gpa and bcpm gpa, but instead of doing a post-bac or repeating the same classes, i took higher level courses (for a simple example, i did poorly in org 1 and cal 1, and then did very well in org 2 and cal 2). combined with a great mcat, no one at my interviews has even mentioned my low gpa.
  20. Nasem

    Nasem

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    it depends on what masters your talking about....

    if your talking about just any masters (like biology, chemistry, biochem, math, engineering)... I mean they are "nice" to have but I don't think they are more valuable than strengthening your undergrad GPA

    BUT, if your talking about an SMP, some folks around here will tell you that a strong performance in an SMP along with a lowish undergrad GPA (something around a 3.0) is usually a good combination to have...... but then again, I wouldn't know, I went with the post-bacc route (Me = Graduated '04 with a BS in computer science & minors in Math with 3.01 undergrad, and 3.2ish science)

    IF you are going with the SMP route, try to do it at a school that also has a medical program as well (like Wayne state), that way you can create some kind of a bond with you and the professors, you never know, that might help you get addmitions to that school

    good luck
  21. jamorro12

    jamorro12

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    Ok, so I'm an "unclassified grad". Are you all saying that regarding post-bacc students, GPA acquired taking undergrad courses such as ochem, physics, etc. is different from the GPA acquired taking graduate level courses such as med physiology, gross anatomy, etc.? -- If they ARE different, what I'm getting is that it is better to take those undergrad courses?
  22. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser

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    Undergraduate GPA is separate than graduate GPA - so, regardless of your current program or level of education, if your class is listed by your registrar as undergraduate credit then it will go into your undergraduate GPA.

    UG GPA is much more important than grad GPA - you want to maximize your UG GPA by taking UG level classes, within reason (diminishing returns).
  23. not so calm now

    not so calm now MS-4

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    Wait a second - I'm guessing SMP grades count as graduate school. If so, why are they so highly recommended to people with low gpas?
  24. kami333

    kami333

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    At most schools, an SMP consists of taking first year medical school classes; some mix in graduate level bio classes, have seperate classes, etc, but the general idea is to take medical school classes with medical students. Therefore if you do well, in theory it shows adcoms that you can handle the curriculum and not fail out.
  25. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser

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    GPA's are hard to fix, especially compared to MCAT's. You could spend years and years getting a 4.0 in a post-bacc and never pull your GPA up to the normal admissions standards (3.7). So, once you kind of "max out" your UG GPA and prove you can do the work then an SMP is the next logical step. With an MCAT, theoretically, you could fix your low score at your next sitting.
  26. jamorro12

    jamorro12

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    Ok, so let's take for instance myself with a below 3.0 UG gpa, an unclassified grad student, all premed req's finished. -- Should I take grad courses that could count toward a master's degree in say, physiology, or should I take something like molecular biology, an upper division bio elective that undergrads take toward obtaining a bachelors degree?
  27. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser

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    If you have never proven that you can do high quality work at the undergraduate level, I think most people would agree that you need to increase you undergraduate GPA. It's tricky because you're in what sounds like some sort of graduate program, so I'm interested in what others have to say.

    If it were me, I would take undergraduate credit courses to boost my undergraduate GPA.
  28. Cwc127

    Cwc127

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    Forgive my ignorance, but what is an SMP? Thanks.
  29. aaj117

    aaj117

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    Not true at all. Of course, if you successfully completed the pre-recs it's a waste of time to retake them, but this isn't all you can do in a post-bacc. A post-bacc is any set of undergrad classes taken after recieving a bachelor's degree. You can take some upper level sciences to prove you can do the work, which would get factored into both your BCPM gpa and your overall gpa. You can also take things that have no real relevance to med school if you're just interested in them; it's your money. A post-bacc will bring up your GPA if you do well, and if you choose the right classes it will show that you are capable of doing the work in medical school.

    edit: haha oops sorry didn't read all the way down the thread and see this had already been said, only read about the SMPs. I appologize for being redundant.
  30. CoolSpot7Up

    CoolSpot7Up

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    If you've already graduated and finished all your pre-med reqs, it seems almost ridiculous to take more undergraduate classes. You've completed a degree, but going back down to a lower level makes it seem as if you're afraid to take more advanced graduate-level courses.

    Personally, here's my advice:
    If you're still in undergrad (w/ low overall and science GPAs), take as many upper-level undergrad science courses as possible to boost both GPAs.

    If you've graduated already and have low GPA's (and were always pre-med), then do an SMP. No point going back to the undergrad level. An SMP shows you can handle medical school workloads, and if you do well, is a HUGE plus to your application...and in many cases will override your low undergrad GPA.

    If you've graduated already, but were not pre-med or are a career-changer, then do a Post-Bacc.

    If you cannot get into an SMP, then as a last resort take more undergrad courses until you qualify for an SMP, or just do a regular masters program.
  31. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser

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    While I appreciate you offering your opinion, you're extremely wrong. Coming from someone who has a low GPA and did a post-bacc, I didn't do it for jollies. With a really low UG GPA and no ridiculous upward trend (last year or two at 3.8 or 3.9), you're not going to get into SMPs - let alone allo schools.

    Going to a post-bacc to take classes that are not pre-reqs is not uncommon - it's what people with low GPAs have to do. Doing a graduate program will NOT improve your UG GPA and will not help your admissions chances by much at all. Again, this is coming from someone who did a post-bacc and is in a graduate program. No one cares about the classes I've taken in grad school, they all fixate on my post-bacc. Graduate GPAs are universally worthless in this process - many would say they're only a possible liability.
  32. CoolSpot7Up

    CoolSpot7Up

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    After reading your MDApps, I noticed that your situation is exactly what I noted for people who should do a post-bacc. You were not pre-med and needed to take your pre-req classes. That's when a post-bacc makes sense.

    Med schools don't care about your Masters because you already did well in the classes that mattered in your post-bacc. Your UG doesn't matter b/c of your explanation about the math classes. In YOUR situation, a graduate degree doesn't matter, but for others it does.

    For people who were pre-med all along, took all the pre-reqs, and didn't do well...these are the ones where a post-bacc is worthless. Taking one year of post-bacc and repeating classes they've already taken will barely dent four-years of grades, an essential waste of time and money. It is very possible to get into an SMP with a low GPA, you just need a high MCAT. There's a reason why SMPs have been so successful over the past several years in getting students into med schools. Their undergrad was poor, but they proved themselves in the SMP.
  33. CoolSpot7Up

    CoolSpot7Up

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    Maxprime: Actually, I noticed you mentioned you did take your pre-reqs. Thus, you must've been pre-med. I guess your situation is just one example of when you're advice would work, but is not 100% true in all cases.
  34. CoolSpot7Up

    CoolSpot7Up

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    Additionally, you mentioned you didn't care about grades in undergrad. Thus, by showing that you could do really well in the same pre-reqs when you do care about grades was very helpful. Not everyone has a reason like that to retake the same pre-reqs, especially if they really tried the first time and couldn't do well.
  35. Nasem

    Nasem

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    I totally agree with Maxprime...

    There are thousands of some of us "slightly-older" folks (such as myself) who graduated in early 20s with low undergrad GPA and decided to pursue medicine some years later (after obtaining a job in thier original degree and not enjoying it)

    Fixing an Undergrad GPA is a PAIN in the @$$, actually, in my case, getting my GPA to a 3.5 is an impossibility (I have a 3.01 overall with a 136 credits!!!!)...... This means that I have to take another 136 credits and 4.0 every single class, inorder for me to bring that 3.01 to a 3.5 (and thats never going to happen)........ So I had to improvise

    Instead of thinking 3.5, I am giving myself a little more room and deciding that I will take an additional 50-60 credits as a post-bacc student (AKA obtaining a 2nd bachelor degree) and trying to get a 3.7-4.0 in every class... which should bring my overall to a 3.2-3.3 (it isn't exactly great, but its alot better than a 3.0), and I'll be applying to both MD and DO programs to better increase my chances for interviews / acceptances....
  36. Nasem

    Nasem

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    one thing I forgot to add, when you do your post-bacc, you DON'T have to only take pre-med sciences (like general chemistry, organic, and general biologies).... there are MANYYYY other interesting classes you can take that will make adcoms really appreciate your application, such as:
    Biochem, Physiology, Anatomy, Microbio, even some social sciences like psycology & or sociology aren't bad, and the list goes on and on..... and if your a real science geek, you can take both Pchems (Im staying away from this lol).... you can be really creative in the classes you take
  37. njbmd

    njbmd Guest Moderator Emeritus

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    SMP is a Special Masters in Physiology (or Special Masters Program) which is essentially a one-year non-thesis masters degree where the one generally takes either coursework in physiology, biochemistry and other medical school courses and receives a degree. The good thing about these types of programs is that they can enhance a poor undergraduate GPA. The bad thing about these programs is that you are essentially "tanked" if you do poorly (poorly is anything less than B+).


    SMPs do not override a low uGPA. They can enhance a low uGPA but only if you do very, very well as they show your ability to do something close to medical-school level coursework. They are expensive and practically worthless unless you are able to get into medical school. Some SMP courses are medical school courses but again, screw up and you are "toasted". Doing extremely well is easier said than accomplished.

    Regular masters degrees are considered graduate work and are ranked about the same as an extracurricular. If you anticipate that you wish to go to medical school and your uGPA is poor, do post bacc work and do well (again, no grade less than B+) Even better is to do a post bacc with linkage and do extremely well. If you make the cut, you have a seat in medical school.
  38. Nasem

    Nasem

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    I thought those linkage programs only guarantee you an interview, not a seat (assuming you do well of course)
  39. wiscyon

    wiscyon

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    This is a super old thread but relevant to what I'm confused about.

    I just graduated and want to take classes independently for a year at least. I took many upper level science courses as part of my major and am having trouble finding new ones, esp. at the new uni I want to go to.

    At my school I graduated from, grad and undergrad classes are not very distinct. For example, for my undergrad major I had to take a grad class and it is designated as a grad level class. (And it was extremely hard omg). According to the logic of this thread, is that class not part of my UG GPA?

    And running along that thought, if I take classes post-bacc that are designated graduate level, it doesn't count to my GPA? Even tho I have grad level classes from undergrad??
  40. mehc012

    mehc012 Billy Goat Gruff

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    If you are given undergraduate credit for the class, it counts towards your uGPA.
    Many 'graduate level' courses are designated as such to indicate that they can count towards a graduate degree if your graduate program accepts them, but they are by default UG courses. If no graduate program gives you credit for the courses, they're not really graduate courses, right? They're just college courses which you took not as part of a graduate program.

    The point is, ask. Ask the institution you are taking the courses from whether you will be receiving undergraduate credit for them (if you're not officially in a graduate program, but they let you take the course, you usually get undergraduate credit, at least in my experience).

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