Dec 21, 2009
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Hi all,

I am currently a Junior attending Cornell University. Ok long story short, I transferred after attending my freshman year at a state school and here are the courses I took with the grades:

Fall:
Gen Bio I: A
Gen Chem I: B
Gen Chem Lab I: B+
Calculus: B+

Spring:
Gen Bio II: B+
Gen Chem II: B-
Gen Chem Lab II: A


Cornell University:

Sophomore
Fall:
Organic I: C+

Spring:
HGAD (see below for details): B
Microbiology: B
Organic II: C
Organic Lab: B-

Junior: **Had a rough end of semester because of family death...**
Fall:
Biochemistry: B+
Intro to Behavior: C+
Parasitology (see below): A-


GPA's:
State school: ~3.6ish 3.7

Current: ~3.1 (STATE SCHOOL NOT INCLUDED, because apparently, you start off with a clean slate when you transfer). Sophomore year: 3.1.
Junior Fall: 3.2.

Science: ~3.0

HGAD stands for Human Growth and Development, Biological and Behavioral Interactions. I am unsure if this class counts towards the science gpa because it is not really a biology class, and this is the same for Parasitology. I did not include those 2 classes into my science gpa.

Here's my situation:
I was advised to get perfect scores and I was going ok until recently when I received my Anatomy grade back that I realized that the highest grade I could obtain would be an A- and that is IF i get perfect scores on everything else (and we know even though that's possible, it is highly unlikely). So I am going to give myself a at least a B for that class. So a perfect 4.0 is highly unlikely... and I feel miserable because I need it very badly to raise both my overall and science.

Any advice on what I should do from here? Anything is appreciated. Thanks.

-WH
 
Mar 11, 2010
947
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Pre-Medical
Fall:
Gen Bio I: A
Gen Chem I: B
Gen Chem Lab I: B+
Calculus: B+

Spring:
Gen Bio II: B+
Gen Chem II: B-
Gen Chem Lab II: A
Have a hard time seeing how these grades from state U translate into a 3.6 - 3.7. Looks more like a 3.3 - 3.4, unless I'm looking at the wrong set of data. Foregone results, but why transfer to an Ivy with those grades and risk punishment?

Take a job. Get some perspective. Not the end of the world.
 
Dec 21, 2009
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Pre-Medical
The 3.6-3.7 comes from A's in all the other courses that I took along with those science classes during those semesters.

I transferred to an Ivy because I was very unhappy at the state school. I was naive and thought college would not get any harder and going from state to Ivy would be the same but just different people. I was right, yet I was wrong at the same time. Doing average at the Ivy means barely passing, while doing the same amount of work at state equates to B+ or higher.
 
Mar 11, 2010
947
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Pre-Medical
Yeah. Cornell is a raw deal. There are harsh curves there, and they don't get quite the same bump as HYPS. Although many a Harvard-Yale-Princeton alum have whined about putting Herculean amounts of work into a class only to get a B+ or B.

An acquaintance of mine had a 2.75 from Tufts, which is deemed lower than Cornell. He ended up going three cycles, took the MCAT three times, and after all of that, he got into one medical school. Have faith. I think the key to his success was that he hooked up with a Harvard Medical School lab and got a few authorships after four years of work there.

Ironically, after all that, he decided not to go into medicine. :laugh:

Since you're a junior, I'd recommend finding the easiest classes or classes where you have enough of an edge (e.g., if you're Hispanic, take Spanish I) to get an A. Focus on GPA repair until you're out.
 
Mar 11, 2010
947
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List what science classes you've taken, credit hours, and grade.

No, do not take any more science classes at Cornell! Focus on raising your cGPA for the remainder out.
 
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Dec 21, 2009
30
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State
Fall:
Gen Bio I: A
Credits: 4
Gen Chem I: B
Credits: 3
Gen Chem Lab I: B+
Credits: 1
Calculus: B+
Credits: 3

Spring:
Gen Bio II: B+
Credits: 4
Gen Chem II: B-
Credits: 3
Gen Chem Lab II: A
Credits: 1


Cornell University:

Sophomore
Fall:
Organic I: C+
Credits: 3

Spring:
HGAD (see below for details): B
Credits: 3
Microbiology: B
Credits: 3
Organic II: C
Credits 3
Organic Lab: B-
Credits: 2

Junior: **Had a rough end of semester because of family death...**
Fall:
Biochemistry: B+
Credits: 4
Intro to Behavior: C+
Credits: 3
Parasitology (see below): A-
Credits: 2


HGAD stands for Human Growth and Development, Biological and Behavioral Interactions. I am unsure if this class counts towards the science gpa because it is not really a biology class, and this is the same for Parasitology. I did not include those 2 classes into my science gpa.
 
Mar 11, 2010
947
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undergraduate postbac... a few years removed. Do it at an easier school, and do it when you're hungry again with more confidence. When you do them again, study concurrently for the MCAT as you take the courses. Don't do a master's as those grades don't get factored into the undergrad GPA, which is the almighty factor along with MCAT.

Please be open to DO, as they will replace your core premed grades if you do better in them. In your case, much of wreckage can be swapped. As for MD, some good life experiences and ECs during and especially after college will help.

People, Ivies are not easy!!
 
Dec 21, 2009
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Question: How hard is it to get into an undergrad postbacc? And does it matter where you get your post bacc? What classes do I usually take? I am asking this because I heard from a friend of mine that post bacc programs are for people who have not yet completed their prereqs... I am nearly done...

Hahaha, Ivies are definitely not a walk at the park, yo.
 
Mar 11, 2010
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They're very easy to get into as nearly every school uses them as a money-maker b/c they won't give you financial aid. You can go to your local state U and take them, or you can go to a formal program like Harvard Extension, SF State, UPenn, Columbia.

I don't entirely agree with your friend. Like I said, DOs will swap bad grades out for the good grades entirely. There are some formal GPA repair programs called SMPs, but I'd caution you because some of them are really hard and make you take medical school-caliber classes.

Only exceptions are like Bryn Mawr and the like that make some pretense that their connections get you in... Those are a bit tougher as they want to maintain their 100% acceptance rate rep. They usually accept candidates with good GPAs who are missing the science coursework.
 
Dec 21, 2009
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Are the Ivy league postbacc programs (like Harvard Extension, UPenn, etc...) hard? I would feel kind of, I don't know, weird going from Cornell to a postbacc program at a state U, but if I have to do it, I will. Would that be a bad thing for the med school admissions committee (seeing you go from Ivy league undergrad to state U postbacc)?
 
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Mar 11, 2010
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As you probably know, all science courses are the same but the difference is who you're being curved against. None of those programs have you taking classes against their own undergraduates, but you'll have to take them against competitive post-bac enrollees.
 
Sep 4, 2006
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Dec 21, 2009
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Really? They actually recalculate your gpa? I thought my gpa from my other school doesn't get equated so what I get at my latter school is what I have.
 
Dec 21, 2009
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After entering my grades into the spreadsheet that you've linked, here are my gpas:

cGPA: 3.3
GPA for non-science: 3.5
sGPA: 3.0
 
Sep 4, 2006
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Well, that looks a bit better. If you get a 3.7 this current semester, and a 4.0 all of next year, you'd have a 3.5 when you graduate. Maybe you could figure the effect on your BCPM GPA, since you know how many credits you plan to take in science (if any). If it's still too low (or you stop taking science classes, as docelh suggested), you could stay in college another year, or graduate and take postbac classes informally at your state school, or mainly apply to DO schools which are more forgiving of past academic difficulties (but which will still want to see a recent upward trend in sciences).
 
Dec 21, 2009
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Does reputation of the school matter for your post bacc? What is the difference between formal and informal? Thanks.
 
Sep 4, 2006
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A formal postbac is expensive, you have to apply and be accepted, has a set sequence of classes (may not be 100% true), and is usually meant for someone without any prerequisites. The advantage is that they may have linkage with a med school or due to their reputation, you might be more likely to get an acceptance if you do very well. They are also expert at counseling on where to apply, giving you opportunities to fill in the needed ECs, and getting you great LORs (may not be universally true). If you have a few of the prerequisites, it wouldn't hurt to retake them so you do really welll on the MCAT.

An informal postbac is a do-it-yourselfer. You pick the school, ideally not a community college, so it can be less expensive, you can pick the classes to work around a job, but you have to find your own EC opportunities.

SDN has an entire Forum on this issue called Postbaccalaureate Programs, where you'll find a list of all the formal programs and a lot of information about them.