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Jul 12, 2008
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I'm posting because our Biology and Health Science Club had a doctor speak to us today, and he revealed some of the entrance criteria for his particular school (for which he's on the Adcom).

He revealed that the immediate computer-cutoff is done by adding your "adjusted" GPA and MCAT, and removing all applicants who fail to meet a minimum sum.

He said the "adjusted" GPA was determined by multiplying your GPA by a "Difficulty Factor" (which is determined by your school).

He said that if a student went somewhere difficult, their GPA was multiplied by 10. If less difficult, 7.

My degree is through Excelsior College in Albany, NY. It's an accredited university, and the degree is ABET certified, meaning I can take my Professional Engineer Exam if I want to.

Because it's an online or transfer-credit only school, do I even stand a chance? (My pre-reqs are all being done at a local community college not related to Excelsior).

I was just curious, since I know people are in the full throws of application season right now. I won't be applying until Spring 2010, but I didn't know if anyone was in the same boat.

Thanks!
 

Law2Doc

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I'm posting because our Biology and Health Science Club had a doctor speak to us today, and he revealed some of the entrance criteria for his particular school (for which he's on the Adcom).

He revealed that the immediate computer-cutoff is done by adding your "adjusted" GPA and MCAT, and removing all applicants who fail to meet a minimum sum.

He said the "adjusted" GPA was determined by multiplying your GPA by a "Difficulty Factor" (which is determined by your school).

He said that if a student went somewhere difficult, their GPA was multiplied by 10. If less difficult, 7.

My degree is through Excelsior College in Albany, NY. It's an accredited university, and the degree is ABET certified, meaning I can take my Professional Engineer Exam if I want to.

Because it's an online or transfer-credit only school, do I even stand a chance? (My pre-reqs are all being done at a local community college not related to Excelsior).

I was just curious, since I know people are in the full throws of application season right now. I won't be applying until Spring 2010, but I didn't know if anyone was in the same boat.

Thanks!

I wouldn't call it an "AAMC" difficulty factor. How a school screens is determined by the individual med school, not a global AAMC policy. But yes, a lot of schools have screens, and few of them are the same.
 

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That's "throes," as in "in the throes."

You've taken the academic low road by doing online and CC academics. I don't think you're looking at a "7" for your schools' rankings, at schools which do such rankings - probably considerably less. Adcoms would be reasonable to question the rigor of your preparation. They're looking for candidates who have demonstrated that they can thrive under a 25 credit all-science courseload for 2 years straight (among other things they're looking for). I'm not saying anything about fairness, I'm just saying this adcom position is reasonable.

You can keep going on the CC path, and defend your position with a stellar GPA and stellar MCAT.

If you don't have a stellar GPA, and/or you're not going to work for a 31+ on the MCAT, then you should change direction NOW and finish your prereqs at a 4yr bricks-and-mortar school. 60% of candidates get rejected, and those are some well-qualified applicants. Don't set yourself up to fail.

Best of luck to you.
 
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MSmentor018

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don't let the numbers game fool you! there's always a "perferred" cut off for every school, that's how the game works. t's just a way to filter out your app b/c the schools get thousands and they don't have the time to read them all. don't get discouraged because you're from a CC vs Univ of BFE. as long as you have decent pre req gpa and mcat, strong PS, good LOR, you'll get in somewhere, maybe not where you dream to go but at least you'll end up a physician.....the lower the score, the broader you should apply. pay for us news on line, medicals school section, see where your scores fit in relation to applying. good luck!
 

flip26

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I'm posting because our Biology and Health Science Club had a doctor speak to us today, and he revealed some of the entrance criteria for his particular school (for which he's on the Adcom).

He revealed that the immediate computer-cutoff is done by adding your "adjusted" GPA and MCAT, and removing all applicants who fail to meet a minimum sum.

He said the "adjusted" GPA was determined by multiplying your GPA by a "Difficulty Factor" (which is determined by your school).

He said that if a student went somewhere difficult, their GPA was multiplied by 10. If less difficult, 7.

My degree is through Excelsior College in Albany, NY. It's an accredited university, and the degree is ABET certified, meaning I can take my Professional Engineer Exam if I want to.

Because it's an online or transfer-credit only school, do I even stand a chance? (My pre-reqs are all being done at a local community college not related to Excelsior).

I was just curious, since I know people are in the full throws of application season right now. I won't be applying until Spring 2010, but I didn't know if anyone was in the same boat.

Thanks!

Name the med school, please.

That isn't really much of a penalty, assuming you have "better than average" grades at the "lesser" school, plus a nice MCAT score to go along with it.

However, you will be screwed if your grades are sub par from the sub par school...
 
Jul 12, 2008
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I'm referring to one of the University of Texas system schools. Thanks for the "throes" heads-up. D'oh!

The majority of the credits I have at Excelsior were accomplished by attending school full-time while working full-time (in the Navy). I'm taking all my pre-reqs 15 credits at a time at my CC.

My intention is to get an AS in Biology at the end of my two years at CC. I plan on doing well on the MCAT (I've always done well on standardized tests and I'm studying for it while taking my pre-reqs.)

I figure if I don't get accepted to med school the first time, I can always transfer to a University and finish a BS in Biology. :laugh:

For what it's worth, I'm only applying to the state schools (Tech, UT, and A&M) since that's what my Hazelwood Act will cover. ;)
 

ChairmanMao

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I'm posting because our Biology and Health Science Club had a doctor speak to us today, and he revealed some of the entrance criteria for his particular school (for which he's on the Adcom).

He revealed that the immediate computer-cutoff is done by adding your "adjusted" GPA and MCAT, and removing all applicants who fail to meet a minimum sum.

He said the "adjusted" GPA was determined by multiplying your GPA by a "Difficulty Factor" (which is determined by your school).

He said that if a student went somewhere difficult, their GPA was multiplied by 10. If less difficult, 7.

My degree is through Excelsior College in Albany, NY. It's an accredited university, and the degree is ABET certified, meaning I can take my Professional Engineer Exam if I want to.

Because it's an online or transfer-credit only school, do I even stand a chance? (My pre-reqs are all being done at a local community college not related to Excelsior).

I was just curious, since I know people are in the full throws of application season right now. I won't be applying until Spring 2010, but I didn't know if anyone was in the same boat.

Thanks!


That sounds about right. I wouldn't be surprised if schools adjusted their GPA cut-offs based on the difficulty of undergraduate school (i.e. a GPA from MIT is more worthy than one from South Harmon Institute of Technology). But I would also imagine that they adjust the GPA of engineers higher than creative writing or theater majors.

Apart from that, as the other posters have pointed out, getting your degree at an online university is a major problem, accredited or not. Comparing an online college to a four year brick and mortar school is like comparing a Carribean medical school to an accredited allopathic US medical school - the two simply aren't held to the same standard and there is still a stigma to getting an online degree. The Adcoms are going to wonder why you didn't have the motivation or the time commitment to go to physically go to class and get your degree from a 4 year institution.

Doing your pre-requisites at only CC could also be a major problem as a lot of schools don't accept CC credit. Some schools may accept them if you only took one or two classes to complete your pre-requisites, but I've never heard of anyone completing ALL of their pre-requisites at a community college. As you mentioned, I would really try to transfer to a 4 year institution and get a bachelor's degree before applying. I've never heard of anyone getting accepted to medical school with only an Associate's degree, but if that's what your aiming for, you might really want to google the medical school's admissions office and ask them by phone if they accept online college credits or if they accept an AS degree.
 

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I feel horribly un-qualified even responding, but just wanted to say that I find it admirable that you were able to finish school while serving. I would hope that Adcoms take that into account while evaluating your application. In any case, I don't think it would hurt for you to call some of those schools to see what their stance is on your particular situation. Many of the secondaries I filled out specifically asked whether I served, so there may be some special consideration given for your circumstances.
 
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I find it admirable that you were able to finish school while serving. I would hope that Adcoms take that into account while evaluating your application.


To you and Mao:

I'm hoping that they accept my BS (apparently Excelsior is accredited by Middle States, same org that accredits Columbia). If so, then I'll be applying with a BS and an AS.

I appreciate the sentiment that it's admirable. It was tough to do! The reason I'm so concerned is that I fear being cut automatically before ever being allowed to explain myself.

Sorry about the double-post. ;)
 

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makes a lot of sense to check with the school before applying, to the extent possible, to find out what the academic cutoff is.

The challenge is that cutoffs may change (they did from 2007 to 2008) based on the number of applicants to a school, so it's tough to say what will be competitive 2-3 years in the future.

I would doubt any schools lack some academic cutoff, for nonbelievers, consider a candidate with a 2.0 and 20 mcat but stellar ECs and personal statement. The question is what the cutoff is, and does an applicant exceed it.

Haven't heard of a GPA cutoff based on a school's difficulty level, clearly a med school can screen how they want to do, & maybe this type of screen would help those of us w/decent gpas from tough schools (top 40 large public) who've done premed courses at "easier" schools later on. I can't imagine any adcomm would separately weight each school's difficulty and GPA from that school, too much work for them. (would they seriously take the weighted average of my GPAs from 6 colleges/universities?)
 

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In any case, I don't think it would hurt for you to call some of those schools to see what their stance is on your particular situation.

This is the best advice - by all means talk to the schools you're interested in! It's a relatively short list in your case, so it should be a feasible task to arrange a phone call or meeting with admissions folks at each of your schools to discuss your app and their suggestions for improving it. (June is a particularly good month to do this, I think, as one app season is winding down and the next has not quite started.) I REALLY hope you got the name and contact info for the doctor who spoke at your school (if not, hopefully you can look him up). I would certainly try to follow up with him - tell him you learned a lot from his talk and hoped he might have a bit of time to speak with you about your particular situation, as you're very interested in attending his school but had some questions not answered by his talk. I think you'll find that admissions folks from many schools will be willing to offer a bit of "counseling" (at least, that's been my experience). It would be great to do this while you still have some time to improve on your app, rather than when it's too late (as has also been my experience . . . D'oh!). :luck:
 

flip26

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Doing your pre-requisites at only CC could also be a major problem as a lot of schools don't accept CC credit. Some schools may accept them if you only took one or two classes to complete your pre-requisites, but I've never heard of anyone completing ALL of their pre-requisites at a community college.

Define "a lot" of schools. Name them. Name more than one or two...

This CC myth gets repeated daily on SDN. Plenty of people have done most if not all of their pre-reqs at a CC, but since at some point one has to transfer to a 4 year college to get a BS or BA, why does the mythology about CC credits not being accepted at "a lot" of med schools keep getting repeated?
 
Jul 12, 2008
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I was curious about this as well, as I could swear I've seen several people on here post that they did most of their pre-reqs at CC. Granted, that's not saying they're all med students. But I'm just sayin... ;)

And I spoke to the Dr. immediately after the presentation (in private). He threw his hand on my shoulder and said "you're ex-military, so that's huge. You should do just fine."

I just wasn't sure if that was his genuine belief or a way to shrug me off so he could head back to the ED.
 
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DrMidlife

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"you're ex-military, so that's huge. You should do just fine."

I agree with this wholeheartedly - if you served in Iraq or Afghanistan or Somalia et al, make sure that any service country name goes in the first line of your personal statement.

But again, defend yourself from questions about your preparedness. If you get 30+ on your MCAT, that'll remove doubt folks have about your undergrad institutions. Just don't apply with low stats and low-ball schools and expect military service to erase the doubt. Too many well-qualified candidates get rejected - don't be one of them.
 

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I know that neither of the med schools I have been associated with would take community college credits...I am 99% sure. But those places were hypercompetitive MD schools...I'll bet many DO schools and a good number of MD schools would probably accept community college credits. Personally, I would telephone the admissions office at all 3 or 4 of those schools that you mentioned and ask them
a) Do you accept community college credits from X community college (i.e. the one you attend) for required science courses
b) Would you accept an online degree in engineering as a 4 year degree for purposes of admissions?

I am much more worried about the online degree than some community college credits, though in general I'd recommend people do the required courses at a 4 year accredited brick-and-mortar university. If you do credits at a community college, be ready to prove yourself on the MCAT...you may get away with it if your MCAT score is 30+.

I think the takehome message is that you need to find out FROM THE SCHOOLS YOU ARE INTERESTED IN ATTENDING what their priorities are in terms of what they look for in a student, and where they like for people to take their premed classes. Maybe they have a special relationship with local 4 year university Y, knowing exactly what it means to get an A- in chemistry there, and trusting the teaching there. In that case it might be worth it to suck it up and just take your credits there vs. the community college. It's just a for-example.

Thank you for your service, too :)
 

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Oh yeah, and since you're in Texas, and it might be a couple of years before you apply...apparently there is a new medical school being started up in El Paso. It's in the process of being accredited by the LCME (group that accredits medical schools in the US) but assuming that it makes it, that might be another option for you to go in-state in Texas. I definitely think that going to one of the state med schools there would be the way to go if you can...considering that there are multiple options and you'd get in-state tuition.
 

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definitely put that you served, esp if you've served in a combat theater, accommodations, special background. that was always brought up during my interviews. as for your on line credits, you could transfer them to a CC or another institution that could transfer them Univ. or just keep transferring them until you get to where you want the name from. I know a guy that did that....it was costly, but he got the big name he was after!
 
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Thanks everyone for the info. Because I'm a Texas veteran, I'm eligible for the Hazlewood Act (attend a public institution tuition-free).

This means I'm only applying to state schools! :)

I called UTHSCSA (my #1 choice) and they said they accepted community college credits and a degree from any accredited university. I believe Excelsior is accredited by Middle States.

Now it's just a matter of resurrecting a 6 year old bad GPA. Finished my first semester back to school with a 4.0 in 15 hours of bio, chem, english, and calculus, so here's hoping. ;)
 
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