Banco

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Your MCAT and activities are excellent. Your GPA is the weakest link in your application. Still I would not discourage you from applying to big names.

I think what you should do is apply to a broad base of realistic options (state schools, low tiers etc.), and then add the big names. Why is Rutgers not on your list if you are from NJ?

Edit: Also Feinberg actively recruits LGBT applicants, so look into them.
 
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md-2020

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You will need more mid-low tiers, as top tiers are dicey w/ a below avg GPA. UMD is pretty selective about GPA (avg is 3.8) and you are OOS so I'd cut them.


For starters you absolutely need the 2 NJ schools if you don't want to run the risk of reapplying.
 

GrapesofRath

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I'm all for going big but the Pritzer, Penn's and Yale's of the world are ALOT to ask for with a 3.3 GPA no matter who you are. The upward trend will help a good bit as is the fact your sGPA is at least very close to the 10th percentile of alot of the big names you crave.

Other schools I think it might be worth looking into. I tried to list the majority of these within the NJ/PA region.

Robert Woods
Rutgers Jersey
NYMC
Hofstra
Quinnipac
Stony Brook
Case Western
Emory
Mt Sinai
Cornell
USC
Rochester
Einstein
Northwestern
Columbia
Vanderbilt

md2020 is right you absolutely 100% need to apply to the 2 Rutgers schools in Jersey. Both interview around 30% of IS applicants. The vast majority of these schools you apply to OOS won't interview more than say 5-7% of OOS applicants to provide some perspective on how important it is to include Robert Woods and Jersey.

Also pay attention to the 90th percentile of schools MCAT's that you add. While I wouldn't say don't add any schools with lower MCAT medians, pay attention to those schools where the 90th percentile MCAT is around a 35-36 or something. Particularly if they get tons of apps, its possible they think there's very little chance you would actually attend and get screened out. This why adding your state schools is so important(they won't screen out there own IS applicants like this) and why I tried to mostly add middle tiers and big names where I think your app might fit in.
 
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You will need more mid-low tiers, as top tiers are dicey w/ a below avg GPA. UMD is pretty selective about GPA (avg is 3.8) and you are OOS so I'd cut them.
I'm all for going big but the Pritzer, Penn's and Yale's of the world are ALOT to ask for with a 3.3 GPA no matter who you are. The upward trend will help a good bit as is the fact your sGPA is at least very close to the 10th percentile of alot of the big names you crave.
You guys really think the GPA being below the 10th percentile warrants a rejection from Top Tiers? Yes there's a discrepancy, but it was alleviated by a recent upward trend. Coupling that with a 44-equivalent MCAT (so a LizzyM of a 77), LGBT, and strong ECs, it's safe to say she can apply wherever she wants.

Of course, it's always better to apply to state schools and other medical schools that wouldn't weed her out with her strong MCAT. But schools like WashU, Pritzker, Northwestern and Penn should definitely be on her list, both for strong academics and for diversity.
 
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GrapesofRath

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You guys really think the GPA being below the 10th percentile warrants a rejection from Top Tiers? Yes there's a discrepancy, but it was alleviated by a recent upward trend. Coupling that with a 44-equivalent MCAT (so a LizzyM of a 77), LGBT, and strong ECs, it's safe to say she can apply wherever she wants.

Of course, it's always better to apply to state schools and other medical schools that wouldn't weed her out with her strong MCAT. But schools like WashU, Pritzker, Northwestern and Penn should definitely be on her list, both for strong academics and for diversity.
LizzyM stats are not all that useful for apps with discordant stats like the OP

Note I included some top tiers on my list. But Penn Uchicago and Yale are absolute best of the best stuff; they really can be super picky with whom they want. You also have to remember Op has been out of college for 4 years you would expect there ECs to be a lot better than your generic 20 year old college junior applying.

Upward trends are all well and good but note the median gpa at penn is 3.92; thats a 4 year trend of greatness not 1. The 10th percentile gpa at those schools is around a 3.7; Op isn't just below it they are a little over 0.4 below it

Like I said though OP should definitely apply to top 20's. It's just tread carefully and have back up options. Penn Harvard WashU U Chicago Yale; the competition is just ruthless for those schools especially when the GPA is that much below their 10th percentile.
 
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md-2020

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You guys really think the GPA being below the 10th percentile warrants a rejection from Top Tiers? Yes there's a discrepancy, but it was alleviated by a recent upward trend. Coupling that with a 44-equivalent MCAT (so a LizzyM of a 77), LGBT, and strong ECs, it's safe to say she can apply wherever she wants.

Of course, it's always better to apply to state schools and other medical schools that wouldn't weed her out with her strong MCAT. But schools like WashU, Pritzker, Northwestern and Penn should definitely be on her list, both for strong academics and for diversity.
I think the OP should absolutely apply, 100%!


But applying and expecting an acceptance from such schools are 2 different stories. IMHO, OP is rolling the dice; which is good, provided you have adequate safeties. The OP's original list was severely lacking in the latter category, with a couple super low-yield schools as the only fallback, and no IS publics.
 

Banco

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LizzyM stats are not all that useful for apps with discordant stats like the OP

Note I included some top tiers on my list. But Penn Uchicago and Yale are absolute best of the best stuff; they really can be super picky with whom they want. You also have to remember Op has been out of college for 4 years you would expect there ECs to be a lot better than your generic 20 year old college junior applying.

Upward trends are all well and good but note the median gpa at penn is 3.92; thats a 4 year trend of greatness not 1. The 10th percentile gpa at those schools is around a 3.7; Op isn't just below it they are a little over 0.4 below it

Like I said though OP can apply to some top 20 schools(in fact I recommend they do) I'm just hesitant to recommend Penn and Harvard types
I agree with you that discordant stats are hard to advise, but this applicant may be one of those exceptions that makes it. The MCAT is godly, and the extracurriculars are excellent. That's why I don't shy away from any of the top tiers (given that there is a realistic base), because you just don't know which ones will bite. There is little difference (if any) in competitiveness/selectivity between Penn/Chicago/Yale and some of the other schools you listed (Columbia, Cornell, Sinai, NW, Vandy). All of their stats/acceptance rates are comparable. Maybe you're drawing an arbitrary line between top 10 vs. 20 when differentiating "types" of top schools?
 
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Time to work on the self-esteem. Nobody is going to sneeze at you with an MCAT score that's perfect. Your ECs hrs are wonderful as well...in the category I call "killer".

If you're not a MD resident, I'd write that off...it's a hard state for OOSers.

I would add Case, Northwestern, Vandy, all NYC schools, SUNY SB, U VT, Keck, Emory, Stanford, Harvard, Loyola, Tulane, U Miami and Drexel.

Do you have an upward GPA trend? That always helps.

  • Temple
  • Jefferson
  • Cooper Rowan
  • University of Maryland
  • Boston University
  • Tufts
  • Dartmouth
  • Mayo
  • Pittsburgh
  • Pritzker
  • Perelman
  • Yale

26, female, Caucasian, LGBT. NJ resident, living in PA.
3.3 cGPA, 3.5 sGPA, 527 MCAT

Graduated 2011 from fairly well regarded liberal arts college. Strong personal statement and secondary essays. Took 20 BCPM credits at a state school this past year (4.0 post-grad GPA) while working full time and studying for the MCAT in the spring
  • 5000 hours non-clinical employment
  • 2000 clinical volunteering hours (includes 1700 hours community health AmeriCorps position)
  • 1200 research hours (undergraduate thesis, two summer internships, no publications)
  • 800 hours hobbies (ultimate Frisbee, illustration; significantly underreported hours in AMCAS, probably closer to 1400…)
  • 500 hours non-clinical volunteering
  • 500 hours unique extracurricular in undergrad, significantly underreported these hours in AMCAS, more like 800-1000…)
  • 300 hours teaching (elementary science education)
If accepted out of state, I’d be relocating with my partner, so I’ve up to this point limited my applications to places where she has friends/family and could easily find employment in her field. I’ve only applied to 12 schools (complete at most the first week of August) and I’m worried I greatly overestimated how much my MCAT would compensate for my lackluster GPA. Hoping to get some honest advice about my app, school list, and where else I should start looking to apply even though it’s getting to be late in the game.

Current application list:
  • Temple
  • Jefferson
  • Cooper Rowan
  • University of Maryland
  • Boston University
  • Tufts
  • Dartmouth
  • Mayo
  • Pittsburgh
  • Pritzker
  • Perelman
  • Yale
 

GrapesofRath

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I agree with you that discordant stats are hard to advise, but this applicant may be one of those exceptions that makes it. The MCAT is godly, and the extracurriculars are excellent. That's why I don't shy away from any of the top tiers (given that there is a realistic base), because you just don't know which ones will bite. There is little difference (if any) in competitiveness/selectivity between Penn/Chicago/Yale and some of the other schools you listed (Columbia, Cornell, Sinai, NW, Vandy). All of their stats/acceptance rates are comparable. Maybe you're drawing an arbitrary line between top 10 vs. 20 when differentiating "types" of top schools?
I edited my statement a little from above because it was a tad bit too much but the difference in a Penn or Harvard from NW or Duke or Cornell comes at the 10th percentile GPA level. You are talking about 3.7 type range to a 3.6 and below. And keep in mind the 3.6 from the Cornell types is really a recent thing; you look even 2-3 years ago and the 10th percentile GPA was close to a 3.5 while Harvard/WASHU type 10th percentile GPA's really haven't moved more than say 0.02-0.03. I guess the point is simply those Pitt types have a track record of taking those with a lower GPA and even if the stats are a little higher now they still aren't Penn level and the fact it is higher now I think is more just due to competition than principle. Like I said, the rise in 10th percentile GPA for a Pitt over the past couple years vs WASHU or Harvard is a significant difference. It just seems like the Penn types simply have kept their 10th percentile GPA's close to 3.7 for a while now and there's probably a reason for that.

So that's the main point. Looking at overall stats is misleading and saying oh they all have the same median GPA and MCAT so they are basically just as competitive as each other. I do think there is a real difference between say a 3.72 10th percentile GPA(which is what you are looking at for say JHU or WASHU or Harvard) and a 3.59(which I think is what Pitt and Cornells is) or a 3.57(Columbia) or 3.55(Duke's), especially for those who will be below both by a fair amount. It's also worth noting the gap is bigger for 1oth percentile sGPA between a WASHU and Columbia or Duke.

Nonetheless, OP should apply to top 20's. We'll just have to see what happens. As Goro said any school can be in play(even Harvard) it's just there's more to it than just looking at median stats and saying they are all virtually identical.
 
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When an applicant hits a grand slam like a 527, and the gpa is significantly lower than expected given that ulter-superior performance, will they get questions about that in the interview? That's the first question that comes to mind for me. Interestingly her science gpa is virtually identical to md2020. I agree OP could get in anywhere, and I would guess that schools like BU and Dartmouth will be drooling to get her (and offering $$$). The LGBT aspect raises the boost question again as well. How will the boost rate compared to Veteran, URM, world-class musician, athlete, etc?
 

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OP has the classic scary dissonance that leaves committees wondering which of the usual reasons caused the low grades.
She will have better results with an answer that fully explains which reason and gives evidence that it is resolved.

Add Wash U no matter what...
 
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Your MCAT and activities are excellent. Your GPA is the weakest link in your application. Still I would not discourage you from applying to big names.

I think what you should do is apply to a broad base of realistic options (state schools, low tiers etc.), and then add the big names. Why is Rutgers not on your list if you are from NJ?

Edit: Also Feinberg actively recruits LGBT applicants, so look into them.
I'm a city kid born and raised, so the thought of living in New Brunswick or Piscataway (shudder...) for four years is a little hard to stomach, but RWJMS is a great school and you're right, I should apply. Also thanks for the tip about Feinberg! That was part of my reasoning in applying to Yale, as they were one of the few I knew of that actively recruited, at least they did a few years back.
 
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You will need more mid-low tiers, as top tiers are dicey w/ a below avg GPA. UMD is pretty selective about GPA (avg is 3.8) and you are OOS so I'd cut them.


For starters you absolutely need the 2 NJ schools if you don't want to run the risk of reapplying.
Hey, MCAT twin! Yeah, my list is top heavy for sure... I had a hard time finding lower tier schools in places both my partner and I would be happy living. They all seem to be in the burbs. And dang, I thought I'd read UMD was one of the more OOS friendly state schools. Any other state schools that you think might look more favorably upon my stats?
 
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md-2020

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Hey, MCAT twin! Yeah, my list is top heavy for sure... I had a hard time finding lower tier schools in places both my partner and I would be happy living. They all seem to be in the burbs. And dang, I thought I'd read UMd was one of the more OOS friendly state schools. Any other state schools that you think might look more favorably upon my stats?
Well can't speak to whether you'll accept the location but these publics are more friendly to OOS:

Michigan (semi-urban/suburban)
Ohio State (urban)
Penn State (suburban, though Hershey rocks)
Vermont (suburban/rural)
W. Va. (suburban)
You could probably chance the UCs, though they are oversaturated with apps.
 
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I think the OP should absolutely apply, 100%!


But applying and expecting an acceptance from such schools are 2 different stories. IMHO, OP is rolling the dice; which is good, provided you have adequate safeties. The OP's original list was severely lacking in the latter category, with a couple super low-yield schools as the only fallback, and no IS publics.
Cooper Rowan is actually NJ's third public MD school, graduating its first class this year.
 

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Hey, MCAT twin! Yeah, my list is top heavy for sure... I had a hard time finding lower tier schools in places both my partner and I would be happy living. They all seem to be in the burbs. And dang, I thought I'd read UMd was one of the more OOS friendly state schools. Any other state schools that you think might look more favorably upon my stats?
Your best bet for lower tiers is to go with all your state schools, to stick with the one's Goro gave you and do a solid list of middle tiers. You could rather easily get screened out at some of these lower tier schools with lower MCAT averages. More middle tiers to consider on top of Einstein and Boston U in the relative NE area might be Ohio State, UVA, Rochester and Case Western

If you want schools in cities: Emory, USC, Miami, Northwestern, Chicago, the Big 4 of New York, UCSF, WASHU all can be possibilities.
 
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Time to work on the self-esteem. Nobody is going to sneeze at you with an MCAT score that's perfect. Your ECs hrs are wonderful as well...in the category I call "killer".

If you're not a MD resident, I'd write that off...it's a hard state for OOSers.

I would add Case, Northwestern, Vandy, all NYC schools, SUNY SB, U VT, Keck, Emory, Stanford, Harvard, Loyola, Tulane, U Miami and Drexel.

Do you have an upward GPA trend? That always helps.

  • Temple
  • Jefferson
  • Cooper Rowan
  • University of Maryland
  • Boston University
  • Tufts
  • Dartmouth
  • Mayo
  • Pittsburgh
  • Pritzker
  • Perelman
  • Yale
Well, I wouldn't really call it an upward trend, probably better described as a moderate rise in my Sophomore year followed by a plateau in my junior and possibly a dip in my Senior. Not exactly what you'd want to see. Grades in my pre-req courses are nearly straight A's aside from a B+ in O-chem II, if that's a good sign at all. Northwestern is now solidly on my 'will apply' list, and I'll be sure to look into the others! If I have the bulk of this second batch of secondaries in by September 1st, would you say that's still early enough for consideration by most schools?
 
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Well can't speak to whether you'll accept the location but these publics are more friendly to OOS:

Michigan (semi-urban/suburban)
Ohio State (urban)
Penn State (suburban, though Hershey rocks)
Vermont (suburban/rural)
W. Va. (suburban)
You could probably chance the UCs, though they are oversaturated with apps.
Thanks! I'll check out Ohio State and Vermont as well. Somehow rural sits better with me than suburban.
 

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Should be!


Well, I wouldn't really call it an upward trend, probably better described as a moderate rise in my Sophomore year followed by a plateau in my junior and possibly a dip in my Senior. Not exactly what you'd want to see. Grades in my pre-req courses are nearly straight A's aside from a B+ in O-chem II, if that's a good sign at all. Northwestern is now solidly on my 'will apply' list, and I'll be sure to look into the others! If I have the bulk of this second batch of secondaries in by September 1st, would you say that's still early enough for consideration by most schools?
 
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Well can't speak to whether you'll accept the location but these publics are more friendly to OOS:

Michigan (semi-urban/suburban)
Ohio State (urban)
Penn State (suburban, though Hershey rocks)
Vermont (suburban/rural)
W. Va. (suburban)
You could probably chance the UCs, though they are oversaturated with apps.
Not sure there could be many better places for LGBT than Burlington, VT....IF......you are white. One of the coolest, and most progressive, little cities in North America. And they take more OOS than IS (by far). Wonder if UVM would give the OP a free ride.
 
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OP has the classic scary dissonance that leaves committees wondering which of the usual reasons caused the low grades.
She will have better results with an answer that fully explains which reason and gives evidence that it is resolved.

Add Wash U no matter what...
I wish I had a better explanation for my grades than that I simply wasn't ready for college when I went, but that's mostly it. I wasn't ready to work hard because I wasn't sure yet what I was working hard for. Not an excuse by any means, but it's a lot easier to push yourself to excel when you have a tangible goal in mind. Confidence was also a major issue; my undergrad had discussion-heavy curriculum in all departments and an obnoxiously smart student body, and I struggled with class participation which impacted my grades significantly. In the years since, I've figured out what I'm good at and what I want to do which translated into the motivation I needed to start meeting my potential. I just wish I'd been at that point my Freshman year! I've read on SDN and elsewhere to not address poor grades in your application unless it's a short term dip and you have a particularly good reason (illness, etc.). Should I mention my uGPA at all in secondaries from this point, or would you recommend against it as well?

EDIT: also thanks, will add Wash U to the list!
 
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Not sure there could be many better places for LGBT than Burlington, VT....IF......you are white. One of the coolest, and most progressive, little cities in North America. And they take more OOS than IS (by far). Wonder if UVM would give the OP a free ride.
You seem confident that someone's going to give me money and I like that. I'd also gladly take a free ride cause my car is busted. Ba dum tssssss.
 

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I wish I had a better explanation for my grades than that I simply wasn't ready for college when I went, but that's mostly it. I wasn't ready to work hard because I wasn't sure yet what I was working hard for. Not an excuse by any means, but it's a lot easier to push yourself to excel when you have a tangible goal in mind. Confidence was also a major issue; my undergrad had discussion-heavy curriculum in all departments and an obnoxiously smart student body, and I struggled with class participation which impacted my grades significantly. In the years since, I've figured out what I'm good at and what I want to do which translated into the motivation I needed to start meeting my potential. I just wish I'd been at that point my Freshman year! I've read on SDN and elsewhere to not address poor grades in your application unless its a short term dip and you have a particularly good reason. Should I mention my uGPA at all in secondaries from this point, or would you recommend against it as well?
There is a short differential for a person who gets a perfect MCAT score doing below average in class.
If you don't tell us, we are left to speculate.
 
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If your "fairly well regarded LAC" is top 15 or higher (Swat, Haverford, Wesleyan, etc) then that may help a little with the grades explanation. Perhaps not so much if top 30-45 (Dickinson, F&M, etc).
 
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You seem confident that someone's going to give me money and I like that. I'd also gladly take a free ride cause my car is busted. Ba dum tssssss.
I'm sure free ride is a little overboard, but if prestige isn't a huge deal for you a place like UVM might be a fantastic fit, and perhaps you would have a shot at being one of the top students and a leader in your class.

You will need fully functioning vehicle to get there, though.
 
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There is a short differential for a person who gets a perfect MCAT score doing below average in class.
If you don't tell us, we are left to speculate.
Well yes that does make sense. And any Adcom familiar with my undergrad might assume I partied a little too hard...
A few follow up questions if you're willing to answer!
1) Would the explanation above assuage concerns at all? I'd hope lack of motivation is a more reassuring explanation than overindulging in college nightlife.
2)For schools I've already submitted secondaries to without a mention of grades, would a letter of interest later in the season (assuming no IIs, which is likely) be an appropriate place to address that, so long as I'm also mentioning new/continuing activities since I submitted?
 
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gyngyn

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Well yes that does make sense. And any ADCOM familiar with my undergrad might assume I partied a little too hard...
A few follow up questions if you're willing to answer!
1) Would the explanation above assuage concerns at all? I'd hope lack of motivation is a more reassuring explanation than overindulging in college nightlife.
2)For schools I've already submitted secondaries to without a mention of grades, would a letter of interest later in the season (assuming no IIs, which is likely) be an appropriate place to address that, so long as I'm also mentioning new/continuing activities since I submitted?
LOI's are creepy at this point.
Like proposing on a dating site.
 
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If your "fairly well regarded LAC" is top 15 or higher (Swat, Haverford, Wesleyan, etc) then that may help a little with the grades explanation. Perhaps not so much if top 30-45 (Dickinson, F&M, etc).
.
 
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Swat and Haverford aren't just fairly well regarded, they're hella well regarded. My school opts out of submitting data to US News, so it's out of the top 50 as far as those rankings are concerned. It's better known on the West Coast, where I haven't applied at all :(
Well, if it's the first one that comes to mind from that hint, a few out there might consider your school one of the best (and toughest!) in the country.
 
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I wish I had a better explanation for my grades than that I simply wasn't ready for college when I went, but that's mostly it. I wasn't ready to work hard because I wasn't sure yet what I was working hard for. Not an excuse by any means, but it's a lot easier to push yourself to excel when you have a tangible goal in mind. Confidence was also a major issue; my undergrad had discussion-heavy curriculum in all departments and an obnoxiously smart student body, and I struggled with class participation which impacted my grades significantly. In the years since, I've figured out what I'm good at and what I want to do which translated into the motivation I needed to start meeting my potential. I just wish I'd been at that point my Freshman year! I've read on SDN and elsewhere to not address poor grades in your application unless it's a short term dip and you have a particularly good reason (illness, etc.). Should I mention my uGPA at all in secondaries from this point, or would you recommend against it as well?

EDIT: also thanks, will add Wash U to the list!
I'm like 93.4% sure you went to Wellesley College based on this description.
 
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I'm like 93.4% sure you went to Wellesley College based on this description.
The odds were not in your favor! I guess "discussion heavy curriculum" and "obnoxiously smart" describes most liberal arts colleges, doesn't it?
 
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I'm curious why you recommend WashU so emphatically. Is it because they love perfect MCATs and have money to throw?
The fact their MEDIAN bio MCAT section has been a 14 for years now should tell you something about how they value MCAT scores. Yes, WASHU has a thing for obnoxiously high MCAT scores(although don't we all).
 

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I'm curious why you recommend WashU so emphatically. Is it because they love perfect MCATs and have money to throw?
Yes. WashU has a street rep of being absurdly numbers-centric. I believe their average MCAT is 38. To put that into perspective: one out of every two students scored 38 or above!!
 

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I'm curious why you recommend WashU so emphatically. Is it because they love perfect MCATs and have money to throw?
Of the applicants we have interviewed that have gotten into Wash U, I can confidently say that a very high MCAT score is a more significant component of their evaluation. In other words, much is forgiven for such a high score at Wash U.
 
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GrapesofRath

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Of the applicants we have interviewed that have gotten into Wash U, I can confidently say that a very high MCAT score is a more significant component of their evaluation. In other words, much is forgiven for such a high score at Wash U.
Obviously what you are saying is true but I guess I'll thrown in is worth noting the 10th percentile GPA is a 3.69 which is probably the 3rd highest in the country and has been that way for years unlike alot of top 20 schools who's 10th percentile GPA has only very recently shot up. There are clearly top 20 schools which emphasize different things and it is seen in their 10th percentile GPA being lower to some extent(Duke and Columbia as examples). So is it so that maybe the golden ticket for WASHU is all about numbers not just MCATs(and the only reason I bring any of this up is because it directly relates to the OP with the jackpot MCAT and a middling GPA)?
 

gyngyn

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Obviously what you are saying is true but I guess I'll thrown in is worth noting the 10th percentile GPA is a 3.69 which is probably the 3rd highest in the country and has been that way for years unlike alot of top 20 schools who's 10th percentile GPA has only very recently shot up. There are clearly top 20 schools which emphasize different things and it is seen in their 10th percentile GPA being lower to some extent(Duke and Columbia as examples). So is it so that maybe the golden ticket for WASHU is all about numbers not just MCATs(and the only reason I bring any of this up is because it directly relates to the OP with the jackpot MCAT and a middling GPA)?
I'm just pointing out that much is forgiven for a big MCAT at Wash U. I say this as someone who has seen overlap between our schools. I am not denigrating their gpa (far from it!).
 
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