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Low GPA: Would an SMP program help if your goal is MD/PhD?

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by Professor Deej, Apr 6, 2012.

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  1. Professor Deej

    Professor Deej Member

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    Can you guys help my cousin with his issue? Thanks!

    His question:
    I've taken an interest in research and I may want to go the MD/PhD-Virology route. The problem is my science grades aren't that good. I know that I could've gotten better grades but I was unmotivated and not sure about what I wanted to do in life. Would a Physiology SMP help open the MD/PhD doors? Or are those programs only for students who are solely after an MD?

    Thanks guy!
  2. Fencer

    Fencer MD/PhD Director

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    It might help you increase your science GPA but sustained research is the most important item. He/she might not have sufficient research to be competitive at the present time.
  3. StoicJosher

    StoicJosher Reality?? Check. Lifetime Donor

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    I don't have much to contribute to your question directly but I would recommend that your friend look into exactly what he wants. If he/she wants to improve UG GPA, SMP is not the way to go.
    SMP --> Show that you can handle med school curriculum despite your bad grades and your grad school courses to beef up your app. The grades from SMPs show up as graduate coursework on your application.
    Post bacc --> Upper level courses to improve UG (s/c)GPA.
  4. Professor Deej

    Professor Deej Member

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  5. Neuronix

    Neuronix Super Corgi Away! Administrator SDN Senior Moderator SDN Advisor

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    I don't feel it's right to comment until I know more about the application in question. I want to know the usual: cumulative and science GPA, MCAT score, and years of research experience.

    Generally, I do not recommend SMPs. However, what was the major of your cousin and did he take all of the pre-med courses?
  6. Professor Deej

    Professor Deej Member

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    Fair enough!

    Psych major (Senior)
    cGPA: 3.0
    sGPA: 1.8
    MCAT: n/a

    He's only taken half of the pre-reqs because he was usually off-and-on about being pre-med in the past.

    He took this Winter semester off to figure out what he really wants to do with his life and he decided medical research.

    In the past, he would always let the horror stories scare him away but I thinks he's serious about it this time.

    He only has 6 months of preventive public health research experience.
  7. Neuronix

    Neuronix Super Corgi Away! Administrator SDN Senior Moderator SDN Advisor

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    This is the type of case where it's going to be extremely difficult to get into medical school at all, let alone MD/PhD. I'd say choose one of medical school OR graduate school and focus on that for now. I've seen people with GPAs like that who are not even able to get a decent graduate school spot.

    If he does decide on medical school, he could consider SMP. But with that science GPA, I don't know if a SMP will take him. I'm also a bit pessimistic as to whether he'd ever get in even with a successful SMP. I think if he repeats a lot of courses and gets a near 4.0 in the SMP, he could be successful in the DO route (DO application replaces grades, MD doesn't). As always, you could consider just continuing in undergrad an extra year if allowed. Typically this is much cheaper than an SMP and just as effective.
  8. Professor Deej

    Professor Deej Member

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    I know that he is planning a 5th year in undergrad to retake and finish the prereqs and to take a few upper-level bio courses as well. He said a lot of smp programs that he talked to said they would take his gpa as it is on his schools transcript, and his school has a grade forgiveness policy, so he's hoping that will help.

    I think he understands how screwed he is but he's still hoping to find a way to slip in somewhere. I will definitely inform him about DO school though. Thanks! :thumbup:
  9. soundnin

    soundnin

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    all reasonable advice but does this cousin really need a md?

    Sent from my LS670 using Tapatalk
  10. notbobtrustme

    notbobtrustme Crux Terminatus

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    He's done for MD. There's no way to make up a 1.8 sGPA. SMPs are for borderline candidates, not complete make-overs.

    DO is possible with grade replacement.

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