Aug 11, 2020
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Hey I’m kinda new to this site and never thought I’d be posting but here goes. (Sorry for the grammar mistakes I’m typing this on my phone because I don’t have access to a computer right now).

I am applying to med school this summer (after my senior year) so i’ll be taking a gap year. So right before the pandemic and lockdown hit I was diagnosed with depression so the lockdown was incredibly difficult and still is for me.

Winter semester 2020 was my junior year and up until that point I had gotten all A/A- throughout college with one B+ freshman year (GPA: 3.94). Because of the effect of the lockdown on my mental health I decided to take my winter courses all pass/fall I ended up getting an A, A-, B+, B which I know might not have been the best choice looking back but was what I needed to do at the time.

This semester Fall 2020 (senior year) things are still very difficult but slowly getting better. But, I kinda dropped the ball on my grades getting a B, 2 B+, A-, A. At this point my GPA is now 3.85. None of the classes this semester were pre med reqs they were just classes to finish up my Chemistry/Sociology double major.

Also I took the MCAT this past summer got a 510 and am planning to retake. I know that might seem like a crazy bad idea but I had scored a 514+ on the official AAMC practice exams and really think it was just the day and know I can do better.

I am heading into my second semester senior year. I’m pretty confident I can pull and all A semester because my schedule is not bad and my mental health is improving .

Back to the mental health. I know there are countless threads on this but I want to justify why I think I can handle med school. My mental health issues were never related to school they were because of personal reasons outside of academics. Things are slowly getting better in that regard and it’s part of the reason I chose to take a gap year. I want to improve that area of my life before diving into med school. I have read things on this site that say mentioning mental health is a serious red flag but the thing is school/academics is one of a couple things that is helping me keep going. Academics gives me structure, purpose, and goals so can I mention my mental health in that regard?

The one good thing going for me now is I’m currently working on what will be a publication (if all goes well) with my mentor in my research lab. My name will be on it and I’m super proud of it because research is a huge passion of mine and the reason I am going to med school. I want to get into the medical research field and am going to continue working in the lab full time during my gap year to gain more experience/work on my mental health.

Anyways , I know this post is long winded and there is not really a clear question I have but I was just kinda looking for some unsugarcoated advice. Have I messed up my med school chances? How should I explain the drop in grades on my app? And whatever other advice you have.
Thank you for reading this!
 
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Not sure if you are URM or not etc. But your grades should not be a major problem by themselves.
 
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KnightDoc

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Hey I’m kinda new to this site and never thought I’d be posting but here goes. (Sorry for the grammar mistakes I’m typing this on my phone because I don’t have access to a computer right now).

I am applying to med school this summer (after my senior year) so i’ll be taking a gap year. So right before the pandemic and lockdown hit I was diagnosed with depression so the lockdown was incredibly difficult and still is for me.

Winter semester 2020 was my junior year and up until that point I had gotten all A/A- throughout college with one B+ freshman year (GPA: 3.94). Because of the effect of the lockdown on my mental health I decided to take my winter courses all pass/fall I ended up getting an A, A-, B+, B which I know might not have been the best choice looking back but was what I needed to do at the time.

This semester Fall 2020 (senior year) things are still very difficult but slowly getting better. But, I kinda dropped the ball on my grades getting a B, 2 B+, A-, A. At this point my GPA is now 3.85. None of the classes this semester were pre med reqs they were just classes to finish up my Chemistry/Sociology double major.

Also I took the MCAT this past summer got a 510 and am planning to retake. I know that might seem like a crazy bad idea but I had scored a 514+ on the official AAMC practice exams and really think it was just the day and know I can do better.

I am heading into my second semester senior year. I’m pretty confident I can pull and all A semester because my schedule is not bad and my mental health is improving .

Back to the mental health. I know there are countless threads on this but I want to justify why I think I can handle med school. My mental health issues were never related to school they were because of personal reasons outside of academics. Things are slowly getting better in that regard and it’s part of the reason I chose to take a gap year. I want to improve that area of my life before diving into med school. I have read things on this site that say mentioning mental health is a serious red flag but the thing is school/academics is one of a couple things that is helping me keep going. Academics gives me structure, purpose, and goals so can I mention my mental health in that regard?

The one good thing going for me now is I’m currently working on what will be a publication (if all goes well) with my mentor in my research lab. My name will be on it and I’m super proud of it because research is a huge passion of mine and the reason I am going to med school. I want to get into the medical research field and am going to continue working in the lab full time during my gap year to gain more experience/work on my mental health.

Anyways , I know this post is long winded and there is not really a clear question I have but I was just kinda looking for some unsugarcoated advice. Have I messed up my med school chances? How should I explain the drop in grades on my app? And whatever other advice you have.
Thank you for reading this!
I'm a fellow future applicant just like you, so take my advice for whatever you think it's worth, but I honestly think you are worrying about nothing. Your grade drop is a tiny blip that is not worth mentioning. A drop that would need to be explained would include several Ws, Cs, Fs, etc., certainly not a fractional drop from an A- cGPA to a slightly lower A- cGPA!

You're fine going from 3.94 to 3.85, ESPECIALLY if you actually get all As this semester. Both GPAs are more than fine to get into any school in the country. As a result, saying anything at all about mental health will raise more questions than it answers and do more harm than good. It is unnecessary, definitely will not help, and should be avoided. Good luck, and stop worrying!! :cool:

Retaking the MCAT isn't crazy, but also might be counterproductive if all you are looking for is a few points. 510 is good but not great. 514 is a little better, but not incredibly so (80%-ile to 89%-ile). Most schools average scores. Depending on the schools you are targeting, it might be unnecessary. 514 still won't be nearly good enough for the top schools. 510 might be fine for the rest.

Going from 510 to 514 is very different from going from 506 to 510 in terms of potential benefit. If you have a reasonable shot at getting a 517 or better, it might be worth taking. Otherwise, I'd be careful. If you somehow end up with a 507, you'll be sorry you opened this door, and it's as possible as going up to a 513.
 
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Good for you for taking serious care of your mental health. Being premed is straining and will only get worse as you progress through the admissions cycle. Seek therapists, and pursue mental exercises to keep your head clear.

You mentioned medical research is your passion, but you don’t need an MD to do medical or clinical research. I have lots of clinical research experience but my bosses all had PhD’s, except one. Unless you have other reasons, I believe a PhD track is less stressful financially, mentally, and physically.

Also, best of luck to your publication! Because of COVID, the review process is taking forever, but hope you get good reviewers and get your name out before applying to medical school! It’s much quicker to participate in research conferences, especially since they’re all virtual and easy to prepare due to COVID.
 
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Imo, grades are fine and you don't need to explain anything. Also 510 is good and you don't need to retake unless you are dead-set on harvard. Assuming you have EC's, you have a good shot
 
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Please fight the urge to resort to premed hysteria. Do not retake a 510. It is a great score. Having a 510 or a 515 next to your name will not be the reason that you do or do not get into medical school next cycle.

What will be the difference whether you get into medical school at this point? Your ECs and quality of your essays. Good luck!
 
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Aug 11, 2020
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I'm a fellow future applicant just like you, so take my advice for whatever you think it's worth, but I honestly think you are worrying about nothing. Your grade drop is a tiny blip that is not worth mentioning. A drop that would need to be explained would include several Ws, Cs, Fs, etc., certainly not a fractional drop from an A- cGPA to a slightly lower A- cGPA!

You're fine going from 3.94 to 3.85, ESPECIALLY if you actually get all As this semester. Both GPAs are more than fine to get into any school in the country. As a result, saying anything at all about mental health will raise more questions than it answers and do more harm than good. It is unnecessary, definitely will not help, and should be avoided. Good luck, and stop worrying!! :cool:

Retaking the MCAT isn't crazy, but also might be counterproductive if all you are looking for is a few points. 510 is good but not great. 514 is a little better, but not incredibly so (80%-ile to 89%-ile). Most schools average scores. Depending on the schools you are targeting, it might be unnecessary. 514 still won't be nearly good enough for the top schools. 510 might be fine for the rest.

Going from 510 to 514 is very different from going from 506 to 510 in terms of potential benefit. If you have a reasonable shot at getting a 517 or better, it might be worth taking. Otherwise, I'd be careful. If you somehow end up with a 507, you'll be sorry you opened this door, and it's as possible as going up to a 513.
Thank you so much! Yea I definitely want to make sure I can get a lot better score if I do retake it so we’ll see. I know a lot of comments have told me not to so i’ll definitely really need to think it over. Good luck to you as well!
 
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Aug 11, 2020
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Good for you for taking serious care of your mental health. Being premed is straining and will only get worse as you progress through the admissions cycle. Seek therapists, and pursue mental exercises to keep your head clear.

You mentioned medical research is your passion, but you don’t need an MD to do medical or clinical research. I have lots of clinical research experience but my bosses all had PhD’s, except one. Unless you have other reasons, I believe a PhD track is less stressful financially, mentally, and physically.

Also, best of luck to your publication! Because of COVID, the review process is taking forever, but hope you get good reviewers and get your name out before applying to medical school! It’s much quicker to participate in research conferences, especially since they’re all virtual and easy to prepare due to COVID.
Thank you so much for the advice! Yes I originally was planning to pursue a PhD. But after rotating through a couple research labs and hospital volunteering I realized I also want the physician aspect of medicine. A lot of the MD I have talked to at universities do research and also see patients at the hospital.
 
Aug 11, 2020
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Please fight the urge to resort to premed hysteria. Do not retake a 510. It is a great score. Having a 510 or a 515 next to your name will not be the reason that you do or do not get into medical school next cycle.

What will be the difference whether you get into medical school at this point? Your ECs and quality of your essays. Good luck!
Thank you! Yes I am trying really hard to not give in to the premed pressure. I somehow ended up in a friend group in which I am the only pre med which turned out to be a good thing because I can avoid all the hysteria. But, that means I also don’t have anyone to really talk to about this so that’s kinda why I wanted to post. Thanks for the advice!
 
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gonnif

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Anyways , I know this post is long winded and there is not really a clear question I have but I was just kinda looking for some unsugarcoated advice. Have I messed up my med school chances? How should I explain the drop in grades on my app? And whatever other advice you have.
Thank you for reading this!

You dont have any issue except in your own worry. There is nothing to explain.
 
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LindaAccepted

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Hey I’m kinda new to this site and never thought I’d be posting but here goes. (Sorry for the grammar mistakes I’m typing this on my phone because I don’t have access to a computer right now).

I am applying to med school this summer (after my senior year) so i’ll be taking a gap year. So right before the pandemic and lockdown hit I was diagnosed with depression so the lockdown was incredibly difficult and still is for me.

Winter semester 2020 was my junior year and up until that point I had gotten all A/A- throughout college with one B+ freshman year (GPA: 3.94). Because of the effect of the lockdown on my mental health I decided to take my winter courses all pass/fall I ended up getting an A, A-, B+, B which I know might not have been the best choice looking back but was what I needed to do at the time.

This semester Fall 2020 (senior year) things are still very difficult but slowly getting better. But, I kinda dropped the ball on my grades getting a B, 2 B+, A-, A. At this point my GPA is now 3.85. None of the classes this semester were pre med reqs they were just classes to finish up my Chemistry/Sociology double major.

Also I took the MCAT this past summer got a 510 and am planning to retake. I know that might seem like a crazy bad idea but I had scored a 514+ on the official AAMC practice exams and really think it was just the day and know I can do better.

I am heading into my second semester senior year. I’m pretty confident I can pull and all A semester because my schedule is not bad and my mental health is improving .

Back to the mental health. I know there are countless threads on this but I want to justify why I think I can handle med school. My mental health issues were never related to school they were because of personal reasons outside of academics. Things are slowly getting better in that regard and it’s part of the reason I chose to take a gap year. I want to improve that area of my life before diving into med school. I have read things on this site that say mentioning mental health is a serious red flag but the thing is school/academics is one of a couple things that is helping me keep going. Academics gives me structure, purpose, and goals so can I mention my mental health in that regard?

The one good thing going for me now is I’m currently working on what will be a publication (if all goes well) with my mentor in my research lab. My name will be on it and I’m super proud of it because research is a huge passion of mine and the reason I am going to med school. I want to get into the medical research field and am going to continue working in the lab full time during my gap year to gain more experience/work on my mental health.

Anyways , I know this post is long winded and there is not really a clear question I have but I was just kinda looking for some unsugarcoated advice. Have I messed up my med school chances? How should I explain the drop in grades on my app? And whatever other advice you have.
Thank you for reading this!
Kudos for taking the gap year and taking care of your mental health.

You do not need to address the slight dip in grades fall semester especially if you end up all A's and A minuses spring semester . IMO the info you provided above has not messed up your med chances, provided that you also have clinical exposure, which you didn't mention.

Regarding the MCAT, it's risky to retake a 510, but if you are very confident you can improve it and are aiming for programs with higher average MCATs for matriculants, that's a personal decision, and I can see your logic.

Good luck!
 
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Please fight the urge to resort to premed hysteria. Do not retake a 510. It is a great score. Having a 510 or a 515 next to your name will not be the reason that you do or do not get into medical school next cycle.

What will be the difference whether you get into medical school at this point? Your ECs and quality of your essays. Good luck!
Disagree. I think this is a different situation because a 3.85 is a great GPA, so a 510 still would be competitive. BUT from personal experience, and speaking more broadly, if you are applying in a competitive region such as New York/Tri State Area, an MCAT can make or break you. I had a 3.7 overall, 3.3 Science GPA, and my 517 MCAT is what saved me and got me accepted into a competitive NYC school. So maybe for this particular student, going from a 510 to a 513 for example might not be what does it, and I agree that ECs and essays are important, BUT at the end of the day, a 510 is a good score but might not be good enough in a competitive area or if you have a science GPA below a 3.7.
 
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