IL Pre Med

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Hey guys, I'm back on here because this is my go-to place for advice so I would appreciate any help.

So I applied late this cycle (complete early October) with a 2.9 undergrad GPA, a 3.9 grad GPA, and a 35 MCAT (13/10/12). Unfortunately I have been rejected from all but one school so far, my state school, so it's looking like I'll have to reapply and I now have 6 months or so to improved. I am currently enrolled in a PharmD program and that is where my good graduate GPA is coming from. I thought it would look good to medical schools that I achieved a high GPA there and it would help overlook my poor undergrad but obviously I was wrong. I only applied to the Chicago schools because I need to stay close to family for personal reasons. I am planning on withdrawing from my pharmacy program at the end of this semester so I will end up with 3 semesters here of good GPA. I'm now hoping that schools will see I am committed to medicine now that I have left pharmacy. I'm also going to take 3 or 4 upper level bio classes at my undergrad to help boost that GPA and possibly get it above a 3.0 before applying. Along with this I'm planning on becoming EMT certified as well and hopefully I can land a job over the summer to boost my ECs. Obviously I will apply day 1 next cycle, had to wait this year because I was studying for my MCAT over the summer. Is there anything else I can do to improve my app? Am I doing the right thing by leaving my grad program? Should I include DO next year as well? What else hurt me? (I know applying late and my undergrad, but I thought I was solid other than that)
 
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Graduate gpa is infamous for being heavily inflated and will not help you tremendously. In my opinion it will look worse, not better, if you leave that program without completing it. It might appear you are indecisive and medicine is just your next 'whim'
 

ChemEngMD

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I'm sure part of the reason you got rejected is because you weren't in the final year of your current program. They tend to reject first year Master's students as well because they won't finish their degrees in time to matriculate.

I think it may be smarter for you to finish the PharmD and apply in your final year of that program. Dropping out of a grad program doesn't look particularly great unless you can really justify on your app why you did.

Graduate gpa is infamous for being heavily inflated and will not help you tremendously.
While this may be the case with some ADCOMS, it certainly isn't universal. I was told multiple times that my Grad GPA helped make up for my undergrad GPA quite a bit.
 
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Hey guys, I'm back on here because this is my go-to place for advice so I would appreciate any help.

So I applied late this cycle (complete early October) with a 2.9 undergrad GPA, a 3.9 grad GPA, and a 35 MCAT (13/10/12). Unfortunately I have been rejected from all but one school so far, my state school, so it's looking like I'll have to reapply and I now have 6 months or so to improved. I am currently enrolled in a PharmD program and that is where my good graduate GPA is coming from. I thought it would look good to medical schools that I achieved a high GPA there and it would help overlook my poor undergrad but obviously I was wrong. I only applied to the Chicago schools because I need to stay close to family for personal reasons. I am planning on withdrawing from my pharmacy program at the end of this semester so I will end up with 3 semesters here of good GPA. I'm now hoping that schools will see I am committed to medicine now that I have left pharmacy. I'm also going to take 3 or 4 upper level bio classes at my undergrad to help boost that GPA and possibly get it above a 3.0 before applying. Along with this I'm planning on becoming EMT certified as well and hopefully I can land a job over the summer to boost my ECs. Obviously I will apply day 1 next cycle, had to wait this year because I was studying for my MCAT over the summer. Is there anything else I can do to improve my app? Am I doing the right thing by leaving my grad program? Should I include DO next year as well? What else hurt me? (I know applying late and my undergrad, but I thought I was solid other than that)

Is your graduate program a 4 year program? I feel like I have heard that schools won't consider you if you're in a graduate program and won't be done by the fall you're applying for. This could be why.


edit: ah ChemEng seems to agree..
 
OP
I

IL Pre Med

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I really can't afford to complete the PharmD program (yes, it's 4 years). My school costs $35,000/year and I'm already a year and half in. That's a lot of money for someone who's taking out loans, I'll be buried in loans if I continue. Completing would be a lot of time and money wasted in a career that isn't for me. I was afraid of the non-completed graduate program holding me back, which is why I'm planning on withdrawing, hopefully this will show schools that I'm 100% in medicine. Also, regarding the inflation of programs I must say that pharmacy programs do not have grade inflation. My course load was much tougher in pharmacy school than in undergrad and I put in a lot more work to get my good GPA. I've spoken to a few medical students and they agree that pharmacy school is no walk in the park, considering my program takes courses with medical students, so I'm not sure that grade inflation is the issue.
 
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theseeker4

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It is definitely NOT worth completing a 4 year pharm D and then applying to med school. Withdraw, and try to boost your undergrad GPA. It might take more GPA repair than you can get in before the next application cycle, especially if you are limiting yourself geographically to such a great extent. You likely want to broaden the schools you are willing to attend if you are serious about becoming a doctor, but of course I suggest this not knowing what your "personal reasons" are. It will greatly improve your chances of getting in somewhere though.
 

pietachok

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Is there anything else I can do to improve my app? Am I doing the right thing by leaving my grad program? Should I include DO next year as well? What else hurt me? (I know applying late and my undergrad, but I thought I was solid other than that)
Graduate GPAs do not compensate for undergraduate GPAs that much. With a 2.9 you were probably automatically screened out by most MD programs (unsure about DO programs) and I cannot imagine anybody would have advised you to apply in these circumstances (i.e. low GPA plus mid-graduate program). Your best bet is to do grade replacement by retaking some of the courses you did poorly in during undergrad and then applying to DO programs, although you *might* be able to get in without it, you certainly cannot count on it. You are essentially non-competitive for MD programs, particularly those in the Chicago area. Even for DO programs, to get yourself an acceptance, you may have to open up your geographic restrictions depending on the full picture your application paints and luck. Grade replacement aside, you could try taking some more undergraduate courses to bring yourself above a 3.0, since that purportedly would be a big screening cutoff, but I'm not sure how much that would help you, especially if you're unwilling to leave the Chicago area.

Assuming you're going to be applying to CCOM, you have to make sure you do some osteopathic shadowing. When I applied DO, that was one of the schools that wouldn't even consider an application without it. It's among the stronger DO programs, so you cannot just use it as a back up for a failed MD application.

Your undergrad is too important a component of your application to consider yourself "solid other than that." Applying late is a pretty big deal, too.
 

MrTobiasFunke

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Assuming you're going to be applying to CCOM, you have to make sure you do some osteopathic shadowing. When I applied DO, that was one of the schools that wouldn't even consider an application without it. It's among the stronger DO programs, so you cannot just use it as a back up for a failed MD application.
CCOM gave me an II without any DO shadowing or LOR from a DO. I did all MD.
 

pietachok

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CCOM gave me an II without any DO shadowing or LOR from a DO. I did all MD.
Duly noted. I haven't applied since 2008, so perhaps they've changed. Regardless, it does make you a more convincing applicant to DO programs, and an applicant with a 2.9 GPA would be foolish to let something like not shadowing a DO potentially cast doubt on his/her application. I applied without it, but at all DO interviews, it was brought up. The awkward song and dance around it could lend to a bad evaluation by an interviewer if he/she were really passionately osteopathic. I was admitted to all of the DO programs that interviewed me, so clearly it doesn't tank everybody, but I had a 3.5 GPA and 35 MCAT. There were 2 schools that sent pre-interview rejections specifically mentioning the lack of DO exposure & CCOM was one of them. I think PCOM was the other.
 
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OP
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IL Pre Med

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I just want to say, it's annoying that some schools don't give you feedback on your application as to why you were rejected, and those that do don't give feedback until the end of the cycle. As if you're going to have enough time in May to strengthen your weak points. I really would have liked actual admissions feedback on how they would view my withdrawal and where to go from here, but oh well...

So on another note, where do I go from here? Do I just take as many credits as possible of undergrad bio and apply day 1?
 
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I just want to say, it's annoying that some schools don't give you feedback on your application as to why you were rejected, and those that do don't give feedback until the end of the cycle. As if you're going to have enough time in May to strengthen your weak points. I really would have liked actual admissions feedback on how they would view my withdrawal and where to go from here, but oh well...

So on another note, where do I go from here? Do I just take as many credits as possible of undergrad bio and apply day 1?
I don't know how you can realistically expect to apply next cycle. You were rejected because of your relatively abysmal undergraduate GPA... end of story. I don't know why you would enroll in a PharmD program without any intention of completing it. Withdrawing from it in order to show medical schools you are serious seems like a terrible idea. At this point, your chances for MD are pretty marginal. How many classes would you need to take to raise your GPA to 3.0, let alone 3.4-3.5? How are you going to take all of those classes in one semester?

If the PharmD is not for you, and you can't see yourself happy pursuing that path, then my advice would be to try grade replacement and apply DO. I don't know how many classes you would have to retake to get your GPA into the acceptable range for DOs, so that plan may not even be realistic for the upcoming cycle. As others have said, it is a good idea to shadow a DO and get a LOR from a DO. Realistically, you should be looking to apply in the 2015-2016 cycle. There are no quick fixes for your application.
 

pietachok

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I don't know why you would enroll in a PharmD program without any intention of completing it. Withdrawing from it in order to show medical schools you are serious seems like a terrible idea.
I don't think the OP enrolled in the PharmD program to support a med school application, rather I think the OP started the PharmD and then realized it was not the right fit.
 
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IL Pre Med

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I don't think the OP enrolled in the PharmD program to support a med school application, rather I think the OP started the PharmD and then realized it was not the right fit.
Yes, this is exactly what happened. For reference: I need 9 credits to get my sGPA to above a 3.0, 20 credits can get me to a 3.1 and 50 can get me to a 3.3. This is considering how AMCAS calculates grades, so for DO it would be even higher.

I'm in a hurry to apply because I don't want my MCAT (August 2013) to expire so I will try each and every cycle from here on out no matter the cost and I will try and expand my schools to more Midwest schools.
 
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ynot89125

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I just want to say, it's annoying that some schools don't give you feedback on your application as to why you were rejected, and those that do don't give feedback until the end of the cycle. As if you're going to have enough time in May to strengthen your weak points. I really would have liked actual admissions feedback on how they would view my withdrawal and where to go from here, but oh well...

So on another note, where do I go from here? Do I just take as many credits as possible of undergrad bio and apply day 1?
if it was me I would do a year post-bac program to get that GPA up (your MCAT is great). During the year post-bac program I would concentrate on clinical work to show you want to do medicine and not PharmD. I think this is probably your best bet to be competitive almost anywhere.

However if you don't want to wait that long (starting a post bac program now may be too late for next cycle) I would like you said just take science classes at a reputable undergrad. Not at a CC. I would take science classes that you did not do well in college instead of taking "easy" science classes. Again concentrate on some clinical work. If you chose this path perhaps apply more widely.

Also if there was a good reason (work, family issues, etc) your undergrad GPA was low make sure to make that one of your focal points of your application next cycle.
 
OP
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IL Pre Med

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if it was me I would do a year post-bac program to get that GPA up (your MCAT is great). During the year post-bac program I would concentrate on clinical work to show you want to do medicine and not PharmD. I think this is probably your best bet to be competitive almost anywhere.

However if you don't want to wait that long (starting a post bac program now may be too late for next cycle) I would like you said just take science classes at a reputable undergrad. Not at a CC. I would take science classes that you did not do well in college instead of taking "easy" science classes. Again concentrate on some clinical work. If you chose this path perhaps apply more widely.

Also if there was a good reason (work, family issues, etc) your undergrad GPA was low make sure to make that one of your focal points of your application next cycle.
I like this. I think this is going to be my plan of action. Unfortunately I don't have a good reason for doing poorly. Was just an unmotivated/unfocused teenager.
 

ynot89125

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I like this. I think this is going to be my plan of action. Unfortunately I don't have a good reason for doing poorly. Was just an unmotivated/unfocused teenager.
Btw was your 2.9 GPA your overall GPA or science GPA? My major in biochemistry plus essential premed classes was around 45 credits so getting good grades on 30 or so units should significantly raise your science GPA. Your overall GPA matters less especially in your case because in order to significantly raise that GPA one would have to take an crazy amount of credits.

I have seen people write essays about how they were just a "unmotivated/unfocused teenager" and how they have changed. Although not the best reason, you want to make it known to medical schools that you yourself realize this and that you have changed.

I think with a year or so of hard work you can be in an great position to apply. Good luck and keep us posted! (also don't give up on your last medical school, write letters of interest, intent anything, because getting in there would still be your best bet!)
 
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IL Pre Med

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Btw was your 2.9 GPA your overall GPA or science GPA?
cGPA came out to ~2.8 and sGPA was ~2.9X so I'm right there for the science. Credits taken are between 60 and 80 so there's a decent chunk there. Still, I think I can fit around 40-50 credits in between Spring 2014 and Spring 2015 including a full summer load. Obviously would be taking all sciences so that should all go towards the sGPA.
 

ynot89125

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cGPA came out to ~2.8 and sGPA was ~2.9X so I'm right there for the science. Credits taken are between 60 and 80 so there's a decent chunk there. Still, I think I can fit around 40-50 credits in between Spring 2014 and Spring 2015 including a full summer load. Obviously would be taking all sciences so that should all go towards the sGPA.
gotcha. it seems like you are a really hard worker and are determined to do this which I think are quite essential for success. All the best.
 

pietachok

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I'm in a hurry to apply because I don't want my MCAT (August 2013) to expire so I will try each and every cycle from here on out no matter the cost and I will try and expand my schools to more Midwest schools.
I understand why you feel the way you do, but re-application is not always beneficial to your application. If you repeatedly apply unsuccessfully, after a certain point, schools view your application with extra skepticism. Indeed, many schools will be biased against an application from someone who previously applied to their institution even just one time. Applying with a 2.8 GPA makes me think you are pretty naïve as to what makes a competitive application to medical school and the competition you are up against, which means you seriously need to seek some advising (or at least listen to the advice you get here). You may be able to get DO schools to pay attention to you because of your 35 MCAT, but until you bring the GPA above a 3.0, there's essentially no point in reapplying to MD programs and doing so many actually hurt your future chances.
 
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IL Pre Med

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Does it make a difference if I take 300 or 400 level courses at my university?
 

theseeker4

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Does it make a difference if I take 300 or 400 level courses at my university?
Difference between the two? Unlikely to matter. In addition to the above, look into schools like Wayne which will consider more recent science post Bach grades instead of a poor initial undergraduate performance. Can help a lot if you ace a few straight semesters of science courses.
 
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cGPA came out to ~2.8 and sGPA was ~2.9X so I'm right there for the science. Credits taken are between 60 and 80 so there's a decent chunk there. Still, I think I can fit around 40-50 credits in between Spring 2014 and Spring 2015 including a full summer load. Obviously would be taking all sciences so that should all go towards the sGPA.
OP, I'm a bit confused. Are you planning to re-apply June 2014? If so, your courses for summer 2014 and onwards wont' be a part of your AMCAS GPA unless you wait until the end of the summer, at which point you are a late applicant. Your plan lends itself more to applying June 2015 after all your courses are done. I know you said that you wanted to try and apply every year but keep in mind that some schools only let you apply 2 times. So if you are rejected this year, and then again next year at your IL schools, you can't reapply summer 2015 for many of the schools. I think you are better off waiting a year (your MCAT will still be valid) and be a reapplicant, not 2x reapplicant.
 
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IL Pre Med

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Question regarding post bacc coursework:

If I take classes at my undergraduate university and I have completed a bachelors degree will the courses get calculated into the AMCAS undergraduate or graduate GPA? I registered for a few classes both 300 and 400 level but they are listed as "Graduate" not "Undergraduate" in my transcript since I am currently a graduate student at large. Will this prevent me from getting my undergrad GPA up? As mentioned earlier I absolutely need to raise that undergrad GPA.
 

pietachok

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Question regarding post bacc coursework:

If I take classes at my undergraduate university and I have completed a bachelors degree will the courses get calculated into the AMCAS undergraduate or graduate GPA? I registered for a few classes both 300 and 400 level but they are listed as "Graduate" not "Undergraduate" in my transcript since I am currently a graduate student at large. Will this prevent me from getting my undergrad GPA up? As mentioned earlier I absolutely need to raise that undergrad GPA.
The GR you're seeing on your transcript probably reflects your enrollment status at your school and not the designation of the class.

Graduate coursework completed in undergrad gets listed as undergrad.
Undergraduate coursework completed while in a graduate program gets a separate designation as PB (post bacc) if it does not count toward the graduate degree.
AMCAS will generate an undergrad GPA and Graduate GPA for you. The undergrad GPA is then broken down by year (Fr, So, Jr, Sr, PB), so the PB courses will both be included in your total Undergrad GPA and reported separately as a PB GPA.

See page 39:
https://www.aamc.org/students/download/182162/data/amcas_instruction_manual.pdf
 

CarlosDanger

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If I was an ADCOM I would rate your PharmD GPA at least as well as a post bacc, probably better - but some people here seem to think graduate work isn't as valuable. I echo ChemEngMD's comments, I was encouraged about my grad degree during interviews, I know it made up for my undergrad GPA...but my undergrad GPA wasn't so bad (I also never experienced any grade inflation in grad school). I think the issue is that you aren't going to finish it, and you have good reasons for that, I agree its too expensive if you want to ultimately change careers. Starting a post bacc would be just the same as staying in your current program in terms of debt, except you wouldn't have a useful degree at the end of the day.

I would take a few more undergrad classes in upper level science and over the course of a year or two, also get involved in medically relevant ECs to show you're committed. I would not reapply right out of the gate, it'll probably only hurt you. You only want to reapply if you have a very significant improvement. Your MCAT is good for probably 3 years so you really don't have to worry about that as long as you have a timeline planned out.

Maybe even more important is choosing to apply only in Chicago. Thats going to be really, really hard. The good news is your MCAT is awesome, which is the biggest hurdle for most people. I think if you have a solid plan it'll work out.
 
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IL Pre Med

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The GR you're seeing on your transcript probably reflects your enrollment status at your school and not the designation of the class.

Graduate coursework completed in undergrad gets listed as undergrad.
Undergraduate coursework completed while in a graduate program gets a separate designation as PB (post bacc) if it does not count toward the graduate degree.
AMCAS will generate an undergrad GPA and Graduate GPA for you. The undergrad GPA is then broken down by year (Fr, So, Jr, Sr, PB), so the PB courses will both be included in your total Undergrad GPA and reported separately as a PB GPA.

See page 39:
https://www.aamc.org/students/download/182162/data/amcas_instruction_manual.pdf
Thanks for the help guys, really appreciate it.

One more question. One class that I will be taking is a 400 level course which at my institution is a graduate level course (normally for masters students) and I am taking this as a graduate student at large but I am not taking any of these courses towards any degree. Will this still count towards undergraduate postbacc? The AAMC manual wasn't clear on how they handle this situation. Only reason I'm asking is because I need every credit possible to go towards undergrad science, if I contribute anything towards graduate it will be a waste of my time and money.
 
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Dral

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I just want to say, it's annoying that some schools don't give you feedback on your application as to why you were rejected, and those that do don't give feedback until the end of the cycle.
You expect schools that get that many apps to go in to apps and figure out weak points and give advice for improvement to each rejected applicant? Really?:eyebrow:

GW receives close to 15,000 apps. You really think schools are going to do that? Wow.

Anyway, I wish you luck. Grade replacement/DO seems your best bet imo.
 

pietachok

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Thanks for the help guys, really appreciate it.

One more question. One class that I will be taking is a 400 level course which at my institution is a graduate level course (normally for masters students) and I am taking this as a graduate student at large but I am not taking any of these courses towards any degree. Will this still count towards undergraduate postbacc? The AAMC manual wasn't clear on how they handle this situation. Only reason I'm asking is because I need every credit possible to go towards undergrad science, if I contribute anything towards graduate it will be a waste of my time and money.
The AAMC manual states at the top of page 39:
Assign Graduate (GR) status to any professional or graduate-level coursework that is not applied to an undergraduate degree.

I know it's not the answer you want, but that course is counting towards your GR GPA.
 
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IL Pre Med

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The AAMC manual states at the top of page 39:
Assign Graduate (GR) status to any professional or graduate-level coursework that is not applied to an undergraduate degree.

I know it's not the answer you want, but that course is counting towards your GR GPA.
Got it, thanks. I'll switch to undergrad 300 level courses then, glad to find this out sooner rather than later.
 
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Hey IL Pre Med, I think we took the MCAT on the same date!

The most likely reason you're not seeing much action this cycle (as you pointed out), is because you have 3+ years left in your degree-granting program. PhD candidates are not considered unless they're in their final year; same goes for MS and BS candidates. Almost all MD schools require you finish your degree before matriculating. They are unlikely to grant an acceptance 3 years before your MD matriculation date :p

I'm going to diverge from popular opinion here, and recommend you invest $60K into a STRONG SMP. With your MCAT and GPA, you most certainly can get in.

"Strong" SMPs are those with >80% acceptance into MD/DO schools, or direct linkages to their host medical school. I.E., score > 32 MCAT and > 3.5 gGPA, get an automatic interview. Or, traditionally successful programs like RF, EVMS, Cinci, UNTHSC, etc. Both MD and DO granting schools host these kinds of SMP/post-baccs. If your dream is to become a physician, invest the 4-6 years it takes to get the degree regardless of where your medical school might be. Mistakes were made in undergrad; now's the time you have to pay 'em back, plus bloated interest. The longest SMP is 2 years; your MCAT will definitely still be good at the end of it. You're not too late if you start applying now.

I offer this from the perspective of someone who is(was) going through a similar situation. I had a dismal undergrad (<= 2.7 sGPA, <= 3.0 cGPA) but did moderately well in my SMP (>= 3.7 gGPA, >= 35 MCAT). I've been screened into schools that didn't even spare me a glance before. So far, I've had 2 MD IIs (after being verified in September and complete end of October), and 1 MD acceptance.

Over the course of this journey, I've figured out what and how I'd like to contribute to medicine. My entire application is woven around the work, research, volunteer, and medical experiences I've had that influenced and expressed my passion for medicine. The time you have now is a unique opportunity to further refine your insight into yourself, and the driving force propelling you towards a medical career.
 
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nedsybedsy

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At the least, I think you should bring your undergrad GPA up. I think 3.0 is like an unofficial cutoff for schools. I also think you could benefit from doing an informal post-bacc (since you're crunched on time). Get in as many units as you can to boost that GPA! With the right personal statement, that strong MCAT, and a good post-bacc GPA (to show that you're a more mature individual and can handle science coursework better), it should improve your next application cycle (although it'll still be a tough journey).