Advice needed on GPA repair coursework

The_Sunny_Doc

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    I graduated last May with my B.A. from top school with a very dismal GPA (~2.5) and have since gotten my health issue resolved and developing legitimate study skills, getting straight As in my science courses this year (Physics I and II, Chem I and II, Microbio w/lab, Calc I, Statistics) taking a full load the second semester. My question is.. how soon should I try to take the MCAT--how many more years of GPA repair would get my application a second glance from adcoms? Speaking with the director of admissions at prominent medical school in my state, I was told a killer mcat score and a standout resume would suffice to outweigh a poor GPA if I was able to show a few semesters of As.

    Every semester of As will, however, add ~5K to my sizeable private university undergrad debt, so I'm wondering how long I should wait before take a crack at MCAT and applying to schools. Has anyone else condensed/accelerated their post-bacc GPA repair by taking summer organic chemistry, for example? Should I just go for summer orgo I and II and then one more semester (w/Biochem, Immunology, some other upper level science courses) and try to take the MCAT in the spring?

    (I would have to finish my research project and find time to shadow at the hospital in the fall, too. Just asking for advice from anyone who's followed a similar path and had to decide how long to drag this out. Thank you!)
     

    DrHoffy

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      I graduated last May with my B.A. from top school with a very dismal GPA (~2.5) and have since gotten my health issue resolved and developing legitimate study skills, getting straight As in my science courses this year (Physics I and II, Chem I and II, Microbio w/lab, Calc I, Statistics) taking a full load the second semester. My question is.. how soon should I try to take the MCAT--how many more years of GPA repair would get my application a second glance from adcoms? Speaking with the director of admissions at prominent medical school in my state, I was told a killer mcat score and a standout resume would suffice to outweigh a poor GPA if I was able to show a few semesters of As.

      Every semester of As will, however, add ~5K to my sizeable private university undergrad debt, so I'm wondering how long I should wait before take a crack at MCAT and applying to schools. Has anyone else condensed/accelerated their post-bacc GPA repair by taking summer organic chemistry, for example? Should I just go for summer orgo I and II and then one more semester (w/Biochem, Immunology, some other upper level science courses) and try to take the MCAT in the spring?

      (I would have to finish my research project and find time to shadow at the hospital in the fall, too. Just asking for advice from anyone who's followed a similar path and had to decide how long to drag this out. Thank you!)

      I think I would sit down and calculate out your gpa to the Allo and Osteo applications. They weigh things a little differently and it seperates out science gpa from total, etc.
      Also you can then look at which if any classes to retake, if any, to make most difference in your gpa. Remember that allo will average your repeated classes and osteo will replace.

      A great MCAT with a trending upwards gpa will help overall also. So make sure you take a practice test before the real thing and give yourself an idea of what your test range will be.

      IF you haven't shadowed, voulunteered yet then start yesterday. you want consistant experience for your apps....plus you absolutly need to make sure this is what you want to do. try to shadow in outpatient and inpatient as well...they are very different medicine, lifestyles, etc.
      This is a marathon, not a sprint...so try to do it right once rather than racing to check off each step.

      Hope this helps,
      Marcia
       

      Chip N Sawbones

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        Your best bet is going to be to retake classes until your cGPA with retakes is over a 3.0 and apply for DO schools. Unless you're set on going into a very competitive specialty this will save you at least a year of undergrad. If nothing but an MD will do, keep retaking classes and taking more science classes until your cGPA without retakes is over a 3.0. If you do really, really well on the MCAT you will have a decent chance of getting an MD acceptance if you apply broadly to schools that tend to accept nontrads. As I've said before, it's easier to find a hot date in an Alaskan fish cannery than it is to get a 35 on the MCAT. If your practice tests aren't in that range before test day, it won't happen. In that case, keep taking classes until your GPA is even higher, maybe around a 3.4, and give DO schools another look. They're going to be a much better option for someone in your situation.

        As far as summer classes go, people here will give you mixed opinions on them. I took the general chemistry last summer. It was pretty intense but I got good grades and learned the material. Treat your one organic summer class as a full load of classes, don't ever fall behind and you'll be fine.
         
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        Prncssbuttercup

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          To truly overcome this (as I did, left UG w/2.8) I would say 8-9 semesters of solid A work. Even with that I still only was interviewed in the DO schools (rejected @state MD schools), but I did get in with a 3.2. If you really want to go to med school, you need to realize you have a LOT of work to do...
           

          The_Sunny_Doc

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            To truly overcome this (as I did, left UG w/2.8) I would say 8-9 semesters of solid A work. Even with that I still only was interviewed in the DO schools (rejected @state MD schools), but I did get in with a 3.2. If you really want to go to med school, you need to realize you have a LOT of work to do...


            Thank you for sharing your situation - this is exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for! Can I ask what your mcat score was? I'm definitely looking at DO schools as my best bet. Did you get any Bs in any of your classes? Did you post your story somewhere else at SDN?

            Chip N Sawbones and marciah, I appreciate your input as well. I'm planning on specializing in psychiatry, which I haven't heard is particularly competitive. I already have over a year of volunteering weekly at the same outpatient clinic under my belt. I know it is a long road ahead. Celebrating one semester down. One step closer! :D
             
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