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another low gpa; high mcat question

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by ted, Mar 17, 2001.

  1. ted

    ted Junior Member

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    Hi,

    I like to get an opinion on whether I should proceed with a post-bac/special student program or a MSc in Biomedical Sciences for the best chance of getting into med school.

    Background: a really low GPA (2.4), but a MCAT score of 35, as well as a GRE score around 2100. My undergrad was in comp. sci., but I have also taken a ton of life science courses (quite a number of high-level ones, such as biochemistry, genetics, etc.) - although my marks in those were not exactly stellar - hence the low GPA. I'm a manager at a software company now and have been working for three years since my undergrad. I have always wanted to be a doctor, and also very active in my community in terms of volunteering and helping others.

    Any thoughts?

    Also, could it be that my chances are so slim that these programs won't help me at all?
     
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  3. lilycat

    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    There's a similar debate going on about this on the "Rejections?" thread that you might want to check out, specifically pages 5 & 6. It seems like post-bacc is the way to go, to raise your undergrad GPA so that you will be eligible for the "cut-offs" many schools use for secondaries/interviews.
     
  4. ted

    ted Junior Member

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    Thanks lilycat! However, if I need to get my average up to the cut-off (around a 3.3?), I would need to do A LOT of courses, probably more than the number of years needed to do a normal bachelors degree.

    Would you say the adcoms would look favourably upon one and a half years of Post-Bac full-time studies? That may not get me a 3.3 GPA, but at least it will show that I can handle higher-level science courses. Any thoughts?
     
  5. Kid_Charlemagne

    Kid_Charlemagne Junior Member

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    You could find out what the retakr policy at your school is. If you have a score of less the C- you may retake the course and the new grade will be put on your transcript and the old one may either be taken off or left on but not counted to your GPA.
    Call your advisor and figure out their policy. Have a good. [​IMG]

    ------------------
    Ya, thats what I thought...
     
  6. Dave2K

    Dave2K Member
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    Wow. I WISH that I had gone to a school that replaced higher grades onto an official transcript! Most schools report both, and AMCAS will make calculations using both of them.

    Ted - As another low GPA/high MCAT applicant, I feel your pain! Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. Schools have different "cutoffs" if any, and use different methods for calculating the GPAs that they look at. Some average all grades they recieve (undergrad/grad/post-bac) while some separate them out and look at them separately. Either way, you (and I!) will never escape poor grades in college.

    As for what you should do - call up the top choice schools you are interested in. Ask to speak frankly with an admissions counselor about your chances (you'd be surprised how often they are willing to do this, usually in mid-summer when the application cycle is over and hasn't re-started yet). Find out if they prefer postbac classes or actual grad programs.

    Personally, I would suggest a master's program. I'll admit that I'm biased, as I'm just now finishing earning an MPH. However, a graduate degree is another degree, something you can actually use in your life and may lead to better jobs and improved marketability. Post-bac courses may improve your GPA, but don't really "count" towards anything else. I would consider them a last resort in order to pull up a GPA. One final word of caution- some schools are unimpressed with single courses taken every so often. Don't just take one course a semester on top of your full time job. That doesn't really indicate your academic abilities. If you are serious about going back to school, enroll full time (and get used to eating Ramen noodles again!)

    Best of luck to us, email me if you want any more semi-useful advice or just to bitch about how the medical application process is biased against over-intelligent slackers...

    Dave
     
  7. lilycat

    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Although I have not done post-bacc or master's work myself, it seems to be the general consensus of the people I know in this situation, as well as that of many posters on these boards, that most adcomms view grad programs as rampant with grade inflation. Thus, I think you might be better served by a post-bacc program, although it doesn't really help you in any other way, as Dave2K mentioned. I think he had some very good advice -- call a few schools you think you are interested in now (at least one should be your state school), and see what they recommend, since they are ultimately the ones who will be reviewing your application.
     

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