About the ads

**The Official Guide to Special Masters Programs**

Discussion in 'Postbaccalaureate Programs' started by braluk, Dec 5, 2006.

  1. SDN is a nonprofit organization. Services are made possible through the generous support of SDN members and sponsors. Thank you.
  1. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,849
    Location:
    The Big Easy
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN Published Author SDN 5+ Year Member

    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    Hey Guys, Feel free to add onto this thread- now that I'm well under way with my own Special Masters Program (SMP) I'd thought that I'd donate some of my time back here because it's been so helpful for me. I'll keep tacking on more when I have more time to spend on this.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Who is it for?
    SMPs are generally programs designed for several different populations of students
    1) Those who completed their science requirements in college and need to improve their academic standings (mostly low GPA issues).
    2) Those who completed their science requirements in college and will have a "gap" year(s) between graduation and their intended year of matriculation into medical school
    3) Those who have graduated college a while ago who have their basic science coursework completed (either through a postbac or through their alma mater) and need to demonstrate that they can still handle the coursework years after such an academic atmosphere. These are nontraditional applicants and often, career switchers.
    4) Those who have both a low GPA and a low MCAT. One program that I can recall in particular, though it may not be considered an SMP, offers courses built into its curriculum to raise a student's MCAT score if low, while offering science classes to supplement their science background.

    What is it?
    Students who have been accepted into an SMP generally take a repertoire of advanced science courses. Because an SMP, is after all, a master's graduate program, many, if not most, require graduate work alongside PhDs and other masters (M.S. or M.A.) students. When you take these graduate classes differ from program to program. Some SMPs offer exclusively only advanced graduate classes. Some require a thesis to be completed, amongst other diverse array of classes in the spectrum of graduate education. Some schools also only offer classes in which students watch a recorded lecture, and does not offer a live component to the class- be it size constraints, or school policies, or whatever. However, what makes a select few SMPs unique, and especially valuable, are those that require students to take classes alongside medical students. Not only does this offer medical school admissions committees a direct comparison of your abilities with already accepted medical students, it also demonstrates that (contingent upon doing well in those courses) despite having a lower GPA or longer period of time since graduating, you can stack up against medical students and give them a run for their money. This often gives SMP students a "get out of jail free" card, a second chance to show adcoms that you have what it takes, all while earning your masters degree. Additionally, some SMP or postbac programs offer a linkage to affiiliated medical schools contingent upon receiving a certain defined required GPA with a minimum required MCAT. Some offer an automatic medical school interview contingent upon grades as well. Again these vary from program to program

    How long is it?
    Most, if not all, SMPs have a minimum one year requirement to graduate. However, after this one year requirement, some programs will offer only a certificate of completion with an option to continue a second year to work towards the intended masters degree (usually in such programs, the first year is filled with medical school classes with the second year filled exclusively with graduate only classes). Other programs, offer the masters degree after only one year, and thus, does not require a second year to continue your education. These programs usually combine two years of medical and graduate education into one, and thus, a masters degree is earned quicker.

    When should I apply?
    The application cycle for many SMPs open up around January for entrance into the fall semester of the same year. In the case for students currently in college applying to medical school who have not yet received an acceptance/interview by January of their senior year, SMPs offer a "fallback" net to catch students who may be unsuccesful this time around into getting into medical school, but may fare a better chance after completing the SMP in the next application cycle. Applications are usually due sometime in the spring. As with anything, apply early because admissions are often rolling. Some SMP programs offer application to enter in the spring, you will have to plan accordingly and tailor your timing to each.

    What's required to enter?
    Usually, most SMPs will require everything that a standard medical school application will require (AMCAS or AACOMAS)- MCAT scores, letters of recommendations, grades, sometimes a personal statement (or equivalent essay), a resume or list of extracurriculars, etc. Sometimes students can submit an AMCAS or AACOMAS application directly if one is available. Thus, it will serve to your best interest to have all these ready in hand by the time you apply- you should plan to have letters or a committee interview letter completed, MCAT, as well as all other requirements done no later then the deadline, usually a few months after the application cycle has opened in January.

    What about the numbers? (GPA, MCAT, etc...)
    Minimum numbers or recommended numbers vary from program to program, from school to school. The most competitive SMPs (and thus, usually, the most well known or successful program) usually have students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and MCAT of 27. The actual averages may differ from the recommended numbers. Other competitive SMPs have lower recommended/required GPAs falling anywhere from the range of 2.4 and above (Just an experienced guess) and MCAT minimum of mid-twenties (although for obvious reasons, you may want to reconsider taking the MCAT again anyways). In terms of class sizes and acceptance rates, you will find that the more competitive programs (like Georgetown, University of Cincinnati, etc..) will have acceptance numbers that can be comparable to medical school itself. Larger programs have SMP class sizes of over 150 with nearly 1000 applicants, while others have more intimate programs that accept only 15-20 students with over 150-200 applicants. With each year, application numbers usually go up, while class numbers usually stay the same. In terms of how many students ACTUALLY get accepted to medical school during or after the program, the more competitive programs usually see around at least half their students get into medical school (mostly into their own medical school) during the program, and boasting figures of up to and around 80-90% of their students a year or two after completing the program, eventually accepted into medical school (DO and MD). These numbers vary from school to school.

    What is the cost?
    The cost, again, varies. The most expensive SMP programs in the country run upwards into the mid $30,000 range, while others may run as cheap as the low $20,000's, or even less. GradPlus loans, as well as Stafford Loans, as well as other graduate loans, and FastWeb.com scholarships are excellent ways to fund your education if the entire cost cannot be paid in full up front. One must also include in their assessment of cost, the location of the program, and the cost of living there (apartment rental in the city vs. suburbs, transportation to and from, food, leisure, books). Many students also (re)apply to medical schools by the time the program starts (if so, usually students will start applying in the summer and hopefully get most applications done before the academic year starts), and thus the cost of application, interviewing, travel must also be taken into consideration. I tend to find that students in an SMP, and understandably so, apply to more schools than the average student (I applied to 20 myself), so the cost can invariably go way up. My advice is: use the summer before entering an SMP to find a job and pay off those bills for medical school applications and budget yourself some money to spend during the year- you will most likely not be working a job- the time required to study will be much more than what most SMP students (or any college student for that matter) will have encountered before. Simply said, time and money is a scarce resource because SMPs is characterized as studying for finals all the time. Learn to budget everything.

    How about residency?
    Some programs are located in states in which residency can be offered to students after living one year in that state. This qualifies them to become a state resident after completing one year of the program, which opens up a marked advantage for students to qualify for a decreased cost of education should he or she continue to study there. In addition, and perhaps one of the more attractive qualities of this, is that in-state medical schools will open up their doors to you now as an in-state resident. One particular state that comes to mind is Ohio (with its seven medical schools, 6 of which are public schools) and New York (I think?). International students will have to inquire about their candidacy into a program or benefits, but will most likely require a pending American citizenship before even qualifying for any in-state amenities.

    When should I apply to medical school?
    Personally, I think the best time to apply to medical school if you intend to attend an SMP, is to apply the summer right before it starts and get EVERYTHING done as early as possible, preferably before the programs start. As anyone will tell you, you barely have enough time for yourself when classes start, imagine having to do secondaries alongside. Indicate on the AMCAS or AACOMAS all the classes you are going to take, and list it as "blank School of Medicine Special Masters Program". You'll get it verified and will catch the eyes of admissions committees. Wordsmithing can go a long way. Most likely, unless your GPA and MCAT can carry you far, you'll most likely be asked to submit grades (along with recommendations from your program). Submit them as soon as possible, and as often as possible. Many submit after their first exam, which also includes a handful of small groups quiz grades. I submitted after my second exam (both medical physio and medical biochem). That way, you keep adcoms up to date, and give them an idea of the trends you are on. Funny how doing well on one medical school exam can determine if you get an interview or not.

    Give me an example of how the timeline with SMPs & med school should be like
    I'll give you my example of what my timeline has been like. This should vary from student to student, but the logistics should be similar.
    Fall Semester of my Senior year: Enrolled in MCAT Prep course, began to get preliminary recommendation writers. I've asked in advanced at least a year ago for most my recommendation writers, so it was just a matter of reminding them. Start notifying my pre-med committee that I am interested in being interviewed for my committee letter. Began my personal statement.
    Winter Break of my Senior year: Had a strong idea of who was going to write my recommendations, MCAT studying, perused through SDN to look for ideas post-graduation- still figuring out where to go, what to do, etc. Continued on my personal statement.
    1st Half of Spring Semester of my Senior year: Found out all about SMPs, began to apply, and notified SMP adcoms that I intended on taking the MCAT in April. Continued on personal statement. MCAT studying. Full dedication to final courses (I wanted to end the school year with great grades)
    2nd Half of Spring Semester of my Senior year: Took the MCATs, finalized SMP applications and submitted, finished personal statement, began to look into medical schools, had committee interview (which requires you finish many different things including personal statement, list of extracurriculars, etc. etc.)
    Summer after graduation: Made my decisions on where I will attend. Submitted AMCAS with information about where I expect to attend, classes I intended to take there, etc. etc. Received and Finished most secondaries before program start in August. Looked for places to live, roommates, cost of living, if I needed a car... etc.
    SMP- First half of the year: Wait to hear back from schools about decision, interviews, etc... Keep up with work and update schools with official grades and department recommendations
    SMP- beyond: Havn't gotten here yet, but since I've been accepted by medical school, keep up with work and submit my final deposit to medical school before May. For those who havn't been accepted yet, if your program is one year, get ready to reapply with the full force of your grades in June again. Figure out what to do in that following year (continuing education seems to be the best way to further enhance your application). If your program is two years, continue on with your second year and keep sending in grades.

    Which SMPs are out there?
    http://services.aamc.org/postbac
    On the right hand side, under the field "Degree Type" you can choose Special Masters. Traditional masters also lists some of the two year programs mentioned earlier.

    Off the top of my head these come to mind:
    University of Cincinnati Special Masters Program (M.S. Physiology)
    Georgetown SMP (M.S. Physiology)
    Boston University (M.A. Medical Sciences)- or BUMAMS
    Drexel University Interdepartmental Medical Sciences (IMS) - Masters in Medical Sciences (M.M.S.)
    Eastern Virginia Medical School (M.S. Biomedical Sciences)
    Rosalind Franklin University (M.S. in Biomedical Sciences)
    Indiana University (M.S. Health Sciences)
    Loyola University (M.A. Medical Sciences)
    Tulane University (ACP Program (Pharmacology)
    Virginia Commonwealth University
    Barry University
    University of Pennsylvania Special Sciences Program
    UMDNJ
    Dartmouth University C.E.C.S. Center for Evaluative Clinical Sciences (I Believe MPH?)

    There are many others, but those come to mind. Most of the "heavy hitters" are listed here. An outdated link of some of them are listed here
    http://www.fiu.edu/~preprofc/GAP_YEAR_PROGRAMS.htm
    However, going to google and querying "gap year programs", "special masters programs", "glide year programs", along with "medical school" will yield many results.
    ------------------------
    More to come...

    EDIT: (adding more)
    How about adding my SMP classes to my AMCAS/AACOMAS?
    You should now be applying/start applying to applying to SMPs (It is January of 2007 now- start of the new year is usually when applications open up). By May, you should know where you may be. By the time that AMCAS/AACOMAS opens up in early June/late May, you should have hopefully made some preliminary decision about where you will attend. That said, acquire a list of the courses you will be taking for the entire SMP year (if you can get them- Im sure the course director can provide you with this), and add it on AMCAS as classes you will be taking in your planned SMP. If possible, since not ALL schools know about what SMPs are- under the school name in which you list your graduate classes- list your school as XXX School of Medicine (if indeed your classes take place there in the official SMPs). Not only will this catch adcoms eyes, but it should give a heads up to those unfamiliar with what an SMP is. This is what I did with my AMCAS- I listed my entire course list under University of Cincinnati School of Medicine as graduate work.

    Do SMP grades count as graduate work on the AMCAS or undergraduate?
    Graduate. Take note that you may hear from others that many medical schools consider graduate grades less important than undergraduate on the tenet that some classes (particularly research ones) are easy grades. SMP grades are indeed graduate grades, but take comfort in that SMP grades usually don't get second-guessed on the tenet that your classes are those taken in medical school. If I had to make an educated guess, Id say that SMP grades, if not equal to the importance of an undergrad grade, is at the very least of a comparable weight/importance. There are other postbacs out there that allow its students to take advanced level courses in their undergraduate school. These grades can be added onto the undergraduate GPA.

    Ok, Im taking the April MCAT and its approaching the deadline, what should I do?
    April is starting to approach the deadlines for SMP so I understand your concern. I suggest submitting your application as early as possible, and include a printed note (if it isn't included in the application already) that you are taking the April MCAT and will have scores forwarded to them as soon as they are made available. That way, your application won't be automatically be dismissed.

    What about osteopathy?
    SMPs generally will be helpful for application into both allopathic and osteopathic schools, given that the courseload is pretty much the same the first year between both schools. There are osteopathic programs (some are listed above, I will add more later on), but SMPs work for both types of medical schools.

    How about programs for dental school/predents?
    This is repost off of other helpful posts about dental students and postbacs. As I am no expert on dental postbacs, it may be helpful to research through these forums and online to find more information about each of these in the respective dental fields.

    Boston University - BUMAMS (BU MA in Medical Sciences) - Research based, however you can opt for the library thesis track and the program can take twelve months. Two concentration of interest to predental students within the masters program: oral biology and oral health. You can take classes alongside dental students here.

    Barry University - MS in Biomedical Sciences - 1 year or 2 year track. didactic courses. Pretty straight forward, and they have impressive numbers on their website as far as successful d-school applicants go. I'm still skeptical about this program... it's probably not legitimate skepticism. classes taken alongside health professional students.

    UMDNJ - MS in Biomedical Sciences - 1 year. didactic courses. A lot like Barry, but you can take classes with dental students like at boston. This is also the least expensive program i found.

    Rosalind Franklin School of Medicine and Science - MS in Biomedical Sciences - 1 year. didactic courses taken alongside medical students. Again, pretty straightforward.

    UPenn - No degree granted - This program accepts any standardize test score, and was overall the least attractive in my opinion. It's catered to med students, no degree, and really expensive. You take science courses alongside graduate science students and there's the name recognition.

    UConn- There's one pre-dent in the post-bac program right now, and you can do upper level coursework if you have all the prereqs filled.
  2. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,125
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Do any SMP's still have official linkages? I thought I remembered that the last one to dissapear was the last one with a true linkage.
  3. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,125
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    True SMP's:
    Dartmouth Medical School: Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences (CECS)
    Drexel University College of Medicine
    Eastern Virginia Medical School
    Georgetown University
    Medical University of Ohio
    Midwestern University
    Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
    University at Buffalo-Roswell Park Cancer Institute (SUNY)
    University of Cincinnati

    Traditional Master's (hard science instead of applied):
    Barry University
    Boston University School of Medicine
    Indiana University School of Medicine
    Indiana University School of Medicine
    Loyola University Chicago
    New York Medical College
    UMDNJ, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
    University of North Texas Health Science Center

    The differences are arguable - for example I don't consider the BU program to be theory instead of applied, so take the seperation with a grain of salt. I just posted them that way b/c they're on the AAMC site that way.
  4. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,125
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
  5. nanaschool2000

    nanaschool2000 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    173
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Thanks to Braluk. This is a great thread. It will be very helpful for me (even though issues have been discussed many times in other threads). It's good to see everything in just one thread.

    My questions to Braluk or who have done SMP:
    1) I know it is best to apply as soon as the application cycle opens up. But, what about for those who are taking spring(winter) courses? Do you think they will have disadvantages because they are going to get their grades like the end of april (Assume that MCAT is taken by then)? What kinda advice can you give to them?

    2) Were you satisfied w/ curriculum they offer? I heard many comments from BU, Georgetown, Cinncinati, and Drexel. I haven't heard much about Loyola chicago. For me, loyola and cinncinati are the best option because of location. I want to stay in midwest. If you have done SMP @ Loyola, tell me about it. I heard that loyola doesn't have a side by side comparison to medical students.

    3) How are GPA being counted? I heard that Graduate GPA is being counted differently. Does SMP work the same way?
  6. silkworm

    silkworm Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2004
    Messages:
    463
    Location:
    Bardo
    Status:
    Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    I can tell you how it works at Geogetown SMP, where I am currently attending.

    All grades of medical school classes (Embyrology, Histology, etc) are based on the curve set by medical school students.

    A - Scoring equal to or better than the top 10% of the Medical Class
    A- - Down to the next 10% of the Medical Class
    B+ - Down to the next 10% of the Medical Class
    B, B- - Down to bottom 10% of passing medical students
    C - Below B- to Pass/Fail cutoff.
    Pass/fail cutoff - 2 standard deviations below medical mean.

    For SMP's graduate school classes (there are two), the curve is much more lenient.
  7. nanaschool2000

    nanaschool2000 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    173
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    SDN 2+ Year Member

    So it is not being counted towards UG gpa right? it is being counted towards Graduate GPA. MY UG gpa is 3.2. I'm not sure if I need to bring up my UG gpa before I start SMP.
  8. chowchilla

    chowchilla

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2005
    Messages:
    82
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    absolutely fantastic thread braluk. someone should make it a sticky.
  9. imrep1972

    imrep1972 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Messages:
    389
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    SDN 7+ Year Member

    Nana,

    No, your SMP grade is a separate, Graduate GPA from your undergrad GPA. With a 3.2, as long as your other stats are fine, should be ok. The next step would be to perform well in a SMP and it will look good.
  10. nanaschool2000

    nanaschool2000 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    173
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Hmm..I'm very glad to hear that. I think I'm going to apply for 2007 fall. Hmm... I hope that I kick ass on the MCAT. I have a following question.

    Is SMP only good medical school that has its program? For example, is Georgetown SOM the only institution that considers of Georgetown SMP high? My #1 target medical school is going back to my alma mater.
  11. imrep1972

    imrep1972 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Messages:
    389
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    First things first, Gtown is not the only SMP - there are many (see the SMP thread...) So, even if your alma mater (what school, btw?) does not deem Gtown SMP to be of quality, it is possible that it may consider another one.

    Having said that, many of the SMP's have a good record of placing students at many different schools.
  12. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,849
    Location:
    The Big Easy
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN Published Author SDN 5+ Year Member
    Hey Nana, no problem about the thread, I figured it'd be helpful especially since, around now, we start seeing an outcropping of threads covering the same things, so it might be helpful to just make one comprehensive one. To answer your questions
    1) I applied in the second semester of my senior year and took the MCAT in the April of my senior year as well. This does not affect your chances. Apply regularly. Now that MCAT grades come in much faster, you should have no problem worrying about filled spots as there are also many applicants who are taking the April MCAT. However the earlier the MCAT you take, the better. FOr spring grades, send them a final transcript when available. Some programs might put you on hold to see what spring courses you are taking if they choose that it is a necessary action to take, but usually, it's not an issue for any decisions.
    2) I am extremely glad that I attended UC. THe curriculum is extremely challenging. Im taking, what many would consider to be the most difficult classes in an M1 year, and probably a good indicator of how well you might do in med school- Medical Biochemistry and Medical Physiology. In addition I'm working on a thesis (a required component of our curriculum), which has a pretty decent chance of being published since its essentially a literature review on current research topics.
    3) GPA is counted as graduate GPA. However, thats not where the power of SMP programs lie. The power lies in how you rank against other students, i.e. the SMP students DO get a GPA, but our strength lies where we stand in relationship to our class- honors (top 10% or above a certain numeric grade cutoff), high pass (top 15% (85%-90%) or above a certain numeric cutoff), pass, and fail. These relationships are detailed in recommendations usually written by your program coordinators (my coordinator is the med physiology professor). This is usually where the power of the programs lie.

    As for your grades Nana, this depends what year you are in. a 3.2 is far from "disasterous" but has alot of room for improvement to hit that golden number 3.6. If you are in your junior year now, its going to be rough to bring that number up to a 3.6. I say, continue your coursework. a 3.2 is well above the required GPA for most of the SMP's (it's what I have). I managed to get into an allopathic medical school this cycle so you can do so just as well.
  13. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,849
    Location:
    The Big Easy
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN Published Author SDN 5+ Year Member
    I think he means, does the Georgetown school of medicine consider only students of their own SMP with an advantage? At least thats what I think. and if thats the question, then no, its not the name or affiliation which determines how good a program is, its the quality of it. By quality, I mean, the classes, the relative difficulty of them, when you take them, and how well you do in them. If the SMPs are done at a good standing medical school (U.Cincinnati is in the top 50, as well as Georgetown, etc...), then even better.
  14. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,849
    Location:
    The Big Easy
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN Published Author SDN 5+ Year Member
    Maxprime- UC's program is indeed new. I am in its inaugural, first year , and have found things to be surprisingly well run, smooth and efficient. What got me to come here were for several reasons. The top three reasons for me were 1) Its only 19 SMP students here out of some hundred and fifty or more that applied. This makes for a great personalized recommendation and creates a really tightly knit group. 2) Medical physiology and medical biochemistry, two classes which are arguably the two most difficult classes, and thus a strong predictor of medical school success are taken first. This is extremely helpful for students who are applying to medical school while in the program. It defintely helped me already garner an acceptance to a medical school. 3) Cost, Location (Ok thats more reaons I guess). Its only $22K to get educated in a top 50 school AND get your masters (M.S.) degree in one year with a thesis. We take 74 or so credits in 11 months. 74!!! Thats essentially two undergraduate years in one. That coursework alone is more than enough to make most adcoms to look twice. Its located near my home state of NJ, and cost of living here is not very expensive. In fact, I lived in a closed community (gate accesssed) with a clubhouse that has a pool/conference room/freeprinting/tanning/dry cleaning/gym/gameroom/ etc. etc. all for 380/month. I share with two other SMP roommates, so we all end up studying together, and learning together. Cost of living=extremely cheap.
  15. brudog59

    brudog59 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Messages:
    56
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Hey guys. I'm actually in the process of applying to the MA in Medical Sciences program at BU. It seems really cool. You take med school courses with other med students, and most people who do the program (and do well) find themselves a back door entrance into BU med.

    ANyway, I was wondering if I could get some suggestions for the entrance essay. It must be over 200 words and is basically nothing more tha an eloquently stated resume (must include work/lab/volunteer/clinical experiences etc). Has anyone written an essay like this before that could offer some advice.

    It seems easy enough (much easier thatn the amcas ps), I just don't know if there are some particular things that would be worth including more than others.

    any feedback would be great!
  16. Mace

    Mace Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2006
    Messages:
    45
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Hey - great summary thread Braluk

    I wonder if any one has any info on the new Rosalind Franklin BMS program. Anyone know if the medical school has been accepting people who are over a certain GPA cutoff since the program was revamped?

    Any info at all would be really great

    Thanks
  17. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,849
    Location:
    The Big Easy
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN Published Author SDN 5+ Year Member
    From what I heard, RFU Postbac program lost that linkage or connection, but I'm not sure anymore, I think I do remember people saying that the program lost its appeal after losing that linkage. Don't quote me though.
  18. RT0223

    RT0223 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    187
    Status:
    Dental Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
  19. kidthor

    kidthor ASA Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    435
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    So for those of you who are in / have done post-baccs, how hard is it to get honors in those med school classes?
  20. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,849
    Location:
    The Big Easy
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN Published Author SDN 5+ Year Member
    its pretty damn hard. you gotta bust your ass. you're in class with students who are as smart, or smarter than you, and all are competitive and a few gunner gunners. you just gotta keep it in your head that its like studying for finals all the time.
  21. kidthor

    kidthor ASA Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    435
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    So I assume that your SMP classmates are all of the mindset that they're going to bust ass too - along that vein, have you all performed relatively well?

  22. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,849
    Location:
    The Big Easy
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN Published Author SDN 5+ Year Member
    Yeap, all of us are here to kick some med student butt. The best part is, that our grades dont count as part of the curves in the med school classes, nor are our grades compared to each others', our grades are compared to only those of med students without having our grades count as part of the curve. Thus, all of us could theoretically be first in the class. All of us have done relatively well, some better than others, but all of us know the stakes at hand if we dont.
  23. Maxster

    Maxster New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Messages:
    27
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Thank you for the information. It is very helpful.

    One question about the time table:

    I should start applying to an SMP January 2007. Then apply to medical school June 2007. Start SMP August 2007. Keep medical schools updated with my grades throughout September/October.

    Is this correct?
  24. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,849
    Location:
    The Big Easy
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN Published Author SDN 5+ Year Member
    You are correct my friend.
  25. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,125
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Most SMP's take apps into the summer, right?

    Also, most of them allow you to apply & just hold for an MCAT, yes? h
  26. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,849
    Location:
    The Big Easy
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN Published Author SDN 5+ Year Member
    Most apps take until late spring, usually. most of them are rolling, so if your submitting in the summer for that fall of the same year, you might not get looked at. I took the april mcat and had a "hold", and conditional acceptance- that is, i have a seat reserved for me if I did well on the mcat, which I did.
  27. nanaschool2000

    nanaschool2000 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    173
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Hey,

    Okay. I'm thinking about taking MCAT at then end of March or early April. I know they have a computer generated system, so I heard that score comes out a month earlier than before (one month instead of two). I gotta bust my ass so I don't have to retake that ****. If I get my score at the end of April, should I consider of sending my application before April (and send MCAT score as soon as I get a score)? Or should I just wait and send all of materials together?

  28. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,849
    Location:
    The Big Easy
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN Published Author SDN 5+ Year Member
    send it all beforehand and then forward your scores once you receive them, its alot easier for someone to reda your application make an informed decision and then base their decision upon your MCAT versus having the whole thing in later than most people.
  29. 121494

    121494 Guest

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    Hi!
    Thanks for posting this thread, its really helpful!
    I was hoping someone could give me some advice, but first some background about myself:
    I am current applicant to medical school (i.e. for starting 2007), and I have applied to both MD (about 20) and MD/PhD schools (about 10 schools). My desire to go for a career as a physician who is strongly committed to both research and patient care.

    I graduated UG in 2002, and completed a MS in bioengineering in 2004. I have over 4 years of research experience in medical imaging (have published several papers (two first authored) and abstracts (8 first authored)). My BCPM gpa is a 3.8 BUT my August 2007 MCAT score is a 27 (10,7,10,M) which I know is a bad score. As I have not had any interviews yet, I have a very strong feeling that I will not be accepted to any schools this year, I am starting to think very seriously about applying to SMP or postbacc programs (in fact I have already submitted my app to Harvard's health career's post-bacc program). My guess is that many med-school see my low MCAT score as a sign that I no longer have what it takes to handle a medical education; if that's the case, I was hoping that doing an SMP would prove that I still have what it takes.

    So my question is, do I have a solid shot at getting into a strong SMP program? Any advice would be helpful.
  30. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,849
    Location:
    The Big Easy
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN Published Author SDN 5+ Year Member
    hmm...the thing is, the issue with your application is not really something that the SMP addresses. SMPs are designed for those who have been away from science for some time, or have poor grades. You have a really strong BCPM, and finished a masters in science not too long ago. It sounds to me, that all you really have to do is fix your MCAT, which is the problem area in the first place. Have you retaken or are thikning of retaking it? SMP is good, but you definitely dont want to be labeled as the "degree collector" or "career student" by adcoms, when the problem is smiply your standardized scores.
  31. 121494

    121494 Guest

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    Hey OP,
    Thanks for the advice!
    The thing is, I have been away from science for a long time, the last science class I took was in spring 2002. So that's why I thought an SMP would be a good fir for me. I would like to re-take the MCAT but I am not I'm having trouble refreshing on all the material without a class format- I did use kaplan but they're MCAT classes are terrible. But I'm confident, that if I'm in a program where I'm taking science courses and competing against other students, I would excel.

    So, do you think that if I applied to an SMP program, they would think that I'm not a good fit?
    btw, what do you think about Harvard's Health Career Program? I know it's not an SMP, but they have a sponsorship program.

    Thanks!
  32. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,849
    Location:
    The Big Easy
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN Published Author SDN 5+ Year Member
    Personally, I think that if you retook the MCAT and gotten above a 30, you'll probably have a good chance of getting into medical school. There are plenty of people who take years off to do somethign else, non-trads, who end up in med school because they had the science background done. However, I can see your point, and see why you may want to consider an SMP, though I think you can definitely get in without having to go through that route. If you applied to an SMP, they might see you as a good fit seeing that you have been away from sciences for a few years, but not to improve your already stellar science grades. I'm not too sure about Harvard's Health Career Program, as I have never looked through it- is this through their extention school? If so ive heard good things and ive heard bad things about it- you can probably find the thread somewhere on the postbac forum.
  33. nanaschool2000

    nanaschool2000 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    173
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Okay. BU MAMS, Georgetown, UC (even though MCAT is most common and more preferred) allow people to take GRE instead of MCAT. Since I'm good at Math, I feel like I can get a better score on GRE than MCAT in short amount of time. I know I have to take MCAT eventually. Has anyone who have got into SMP w/ GRE instead of MCAT? Or have you heard about someone who has got into the program w/ GRE?

    Do you think admissin committee would give more preferences to those who have taken MCAT instead of GRE?
  34. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,849
    Location:
    The Big Easy
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN Published Author SDN 5+ Year Member
    ive heard of places that do allow the GRE to be taken in the stead of the MCAT, but those programs are more obscure than the powerhouse SMPs, so I've "heard" stories of folks getting into SMPs with GREs, but for the purposes of an SMP and medical school, I wouldnt be surprised if there was a tacit understanding in the adcoms that preference be given to individuals with high MCAT scores.
  35. 121494

    121494 Guest

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    Thanks!
    Ok, so I'm going to think seriously about re-taking the MCAT (the thought brings a shiver down my spine)
    But one last question for now, if I do apply to SMP programs such as Georgetown, BUMAMS, or Drexel - do I have a solid chance with my current stats? Thanks for the feedback
  36. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,849
    Location:
    The Big Easy
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN Published Author SDN 5+ Year Member
    Don't forget University of Cincinnati (that's my program). The top, more selective programs, like Georgetown's, and UC's have minimum requirements of a 3.0 and a 27 MCAT. The average MCAT score in my group of 19 is somewhere around a 31-32 (29-37). So you can see that its not necessarily easy to get in. GIven your grades, you should have no problem there. Your MCAT is honestly the only thing that is limiting, even for upper tier SMPs. Your score makes the minimum cutoff. I understand that you do not want to slay the beast again, but at least this time around MCAT is computerized, is shorter and faster, and your grades come back quicker. Good luck with everything and PM me if you need any help
  37. silkworm

    silkworm Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2004
    Messages:
    463
    Location:
    Bardo
    Status:
    Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    There is a Yahoo Message Board on which the director of the Georgetown SMP frequently respond to applicant's questions:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/physios/

    If you want answers, migh as well get it straight from the horse's mouth.
  38. redsiren

    redsiren New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    24
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    great thread thanks braluk!

    this is my background:
    -graduated 2006 UC Riv w/ 2.9 GPA in BioSci
    -MCATs in 2004 that were LOW (didnt honestly put my all into it)
    -Plan to take GREs by end of FEB
    -currently working as an EMT

    No real reason for poor grades, just enjoyed college in the beginnig i guess and now looking for a 2nd chance to show my real capabilities. my only think about retaking the MCATs is i wanna start school as soon as possible, which is why im looking for schools that accept GRE (i know of Drexel MSP already).

    in short are there any SMPs that i might have a better chance at? any recommendations? any advice in general?

    thanks
  39. Instatewaiter

    Instatewaiter But...There's a troponin

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2006
    Messages:
    4,597
    Location:
    Washington
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    VCU/MCV Certificate Program is a great place for people who have low grades and/or MCAT and need a second chance. They accept the GRE also. While their acceptance rate to medical school is not as high as the better known programs they have lower entrance requirments making it easier to get into the program and get your second chance.

    There are 6 programs that you can apply to: Biochem, Anatomy, Physiology, immunology, genetics, and pharmacology. The base requirements are 2.8 and ~22 MCAT (some programs of the 6 programs have much higher requirements) so almost anyone would qualify.

    This program is similar to an SMP in that you take most of the 1st year med school curriculum but technically since you only get a 'certificate' instead of a masters after 1 year it is not a standard SMP. If you don't get into med school the first year, you can turn this program into an MS (instead of an MA or MMS like most of the SMPs) which is relatively useful. Again this program is great for people who really need second chances and is also much cheaper than the average SMP.
  40. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,849
    Location:
    The Big Easy
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN Published Author SDN 5+ Year Member
    Sounds like you're on the right track, but you're going to have to eventually retake those MCATs one way or another- you can have stellar grades whever you will go for your SMP but your MCAT will always be an issue.
  41. Lindyhopper

    Lindyhopper Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2004
    Messages:
    589
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    This very useful thread has been focused on SMPs to help people get into MD programs. Don't forget that many osteopathic schools also have SMP type programs. PCOM & LECOM come to mind but there are several more.
    It seems to me that the SMPs help people with high MCATs & so-so GPAa get into MD programs. If your application is really in trouble & you're not a particularly good test taker an osteopathic SMP may be the better bet.
  42. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,849
    Location:
    The Big Easy
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN Published Author SDN 5+ Year Member
    Good point LindyHopper. Can someone post here about them? I know somewhat of PCOMs program, but do not know much about the osteopathic ones. Would one of you mind adding them here so I can append it to my original post? Thanks!
  43. rkonmd

    rkonmd New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2006
    Messages:
    64
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    hey braluk, we went to school together at brandeis, rk from mod 9..lol...anyways man, how is everything at the Univ. of Cincinatti? I read somewhere else you got into Tulane, congratz!

    I'm actually looking into applying there for Fall 2007 (currently working right now for the Navy), and hopefully matriculate into medical school either Fall 2008 (preferably) or Fall 2009 at the latest, any help you can give will be appreciated..

    I took the August 06 MCAT (30 P, 10VR, 10BS, 10PS), have pretty good EC's, etc...but my science gpa is what's really hurting me at 2.9-3.0....i've heard of people who do post-bacc work just by taking advanced undergrad science courses rather than doing a master's , and I want to get your input on it..i'm leaning towards an SMP but not 100% yet
  44. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,849
    Location:
    The Big Easy
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN Published Author SDN 5+ Year Member
    Hey RK, whats going on man? Sounds like you're doing something really extraordinary. (by the way I was mod 9, weren't you in a different mod lol)

    At University of Cincinnati, it's been tough. Tough in terms of workload of course, shared between medical school classes, and thesis work. Being the inaugural first incoming class meant that we had to pave the way for the next class. And we've done alot of paving. Fellow SMPers have established a link with UC's cardiothoracic surgery department, and have started to shadow surgeries, and attend their conferences (free dinner too!). By next year, I wouldn't be surprised if SMP students interned under them. This provides alot of students with the necessary clinical experiences that some individuals may or may not lack. This is definitely something that not many programs out there provide, so its definitely a really cool perk. That aside, we get ALOT of personal attention (the program is only, after all, 20 students) from staff and professors that medical students do not even have. We research under physiology professors (that teach the med classes) and will roll out with a thesis in the summer under their direction and there may be a chance for it to be published as well. Thats why alot of students in my med classes get bewildered (also our main biochem professor is a Brandeis Grad lol), when we get called out by our first names when we have our hands raised. And yes, I did get into Tulane, you probably saw it on my sig or my mdapps, but thank you :)

    You're looking to apply to where for Fall 2007? Tulane or UC?

    Anyways with the advice part:
    Your MCAT is solid. Yes, your Science GPA will hurt you (thats the same as mine- first two years spent working jobs and getting adjusted to college were detrimental to my grades). However, it won't necessarily kill you. What is your cumulative GPA? I havn't really looked too deeply into taking advanced undergrad science courses. I've taken a few advanced undergrad courses, and from what I can tell you, they are alot different than actual medical school classes- in terms of how much they cram down your throat, how much you have to regurgitate, and how much you can do it for many classes at once. Personally I think it would be a better bet to go for an SMP because 1) you get a degree!!! 2) Personally speaking, you get alot of diverse things to add to your resume after attending an SMP- specifically a published thesis topic on current medical topics, clinical experiences, you have an entire staff of professors at the SMP school that will bust their ass to get you into medical school, and of course, you will always have an added advantage of getting into your own medical school where your SMP is at. Additionally, you will be taking med school classes! Adcoms have to do alot of guesswork (even with students who have a large chunk of advanced undergrad science classes) as to who will be successful in medical school. You do yourself a service by actually taking those medical school classes, and doing their "guesswork" for them. It would be pretty hard for a school to straight up reject you, if you did well in classes. Hell, I'd even say that if you did better than 75% of the class (Pass to High pass grades), you could always make that argument, that you did better than the majority of the students who are already medical school students, while not even being a medical student yourself. Its a pretty convincing argument. You definitely don't have all those perks if you, say, just took undergrad advanced science courses.
  45. MadHopsMD

    MadHopsMD

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2006
    Messages:
    1,715
    Location:
    North
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    I am not sure if it is in this thread...but i asked Braluk this question via PM. I think its important everyone know the answer to this....

    Is SMP grades factored into undergrad GPA?

  46. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,849
    Location:
    The Big Easy
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN Published Author SDN 5+ Year Member
    Hey sony, I answered your question via PM, but no, SMP grades are not factored into your undergrad GPA. Its an entirely different grade altogether in the AMCAS, in the graduate GPA. Seeing that you are taking medical school classes, and graduate classes, your GPA will inevitably be considered graduate. I would argue that the SMP graduate GPA has a pretty important weight relative to the undergrad GPA, versus a simple graduate grade (which, at least from what I read, is not as important since many adcoms see grad classes full of classes that are easy As).
  47. DrZeke

    DrZeke yzarc gniog ylwolS

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Messages:
    1,660
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    I did the Barry University 1 year - track one SMP program, so if anyone has any questions just ask me on here or PM me.


    J
  48. redsiren

    redsiren New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    24
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    thanks for the info..im gonna look into it!!!

    thanks also to braluk
  49. Gabby

    Gabby Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Messages:
    650
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    How was Barry's program? As a fellow Floridian, I've looked into it, but I don't know anyone who's done it. Were med schools impressed by your record at their SMP? Also, can you tell me which schools you were accepted to and were you accepted after the program or during? Thanks!
  50. greg567

    greg567

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    in the lab
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    I just found out recently that tufts is doing a biomedical science ms program "for students wishing to be stronger medical school applicants" and they are accepting students for their inaugural class in 07

    http://www.tufts.edu/med/education/mbs/

    I am also in a masters program myself, but its at a school without a medical school, thus the program is essentially half a biology ph.d. which can suck bigtime if you don't find science interesting. I think the science is kinda interesting, but at times not worth the tedium you gotta endure to get the results. For me, I am wondering if my benchwork skills will really show the adcoms that I would be acceptable in medical school more than if I could go back in time and take one of these mini medical school programs instead!

    Oh yes, and a non-thesis MS program will give you a guaranteed end date, and, well, I was supposed to graduate almost a year ago!! Another point for SMP.

Share This Page


About the ads