akaVonk

7+ Year Member
Jun 30, 2009
140
2
Status
Medical Student
Here's the rundown:

Graduated 2010. Majored in Biology and a foreign language
GPA: 3.50
science GPA: ~3.3

MCAT (took in '09): 33Q (VR: 10, BS: 11, PS:12)


Have a good number of volunteer hours in a children's hospital, a molecular lab, and on an overseas mission trip. Did some shadowing during a study abroad opportunity. Since graduation, did some research and have two pending publications, first author on one (entered into the other after it was started, but contributed a modest amount).

I didn't apply this cycle due to family/personal reasons.

I'm planning on enrolling in some upper-level sciences this upcoming Winter/Spring as a post-bacc student to boost my low sGPA. For next academic year, I'm in the process of filling out apps for some special master's programs and searching for a research posting, though I feel like I mind wind up having to take the former option. I'm planning on applying to around 20-some places, the majority of them being M.D. schools.

At this point in time, I'm trying to decide if I'm looking in the right direction. My previous advisor advocated SMPs as a viable way to demonstrate one's ability to cope with the challenges of medical school level coursework and *hopefully* follow up on an upward trend in my grades since Junior year of undergrad (even though SMP grades are regarded separately, my advisor mentioned that achieving good grades would show some consistency building upon my past upswing). However, from reading around the forums, SMPs also seem to have the potential to complicate things by imposing a formidable amount of work and possibly hamper future applications; plus, since first semester grades won't be out till the end of the year, they won't contribute to most adcoms' assessment of my primary app if I apply early (which I undoubtedly will).

I'm also trying to decide on whether it's worth the risk to re-take my MCAT. I was previously advised to keep my current one and not re-take unless I'm applying after this one expires, and the general consensus seems to be that unless you can improve by 2 or more points, it may not be beneficial to re-take and score the same or risk getting lower.

Anyways, I'm not sure what else I can add. A bit bummed out at the moment from a one-year Master's rejection I recently received (a non-SMP program), so I'm trying to sort things out while I work on other essays :(
 

Catalystik

The Gimlet Eye
10+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2006
32,279
11,857
Camp SDN: The Place for Summer Fun
Practically speaking, an SMP rarely has an impact until the application cycle after completion, though an acceptance has been known to happen after fall grades came out at the end of the first semester. Your GPA isn't low enough to seriously need an SMP to redeem it.

It seems to me you'd be just as well off in a self-directed 3 semester postbac in which you'd choose med school-like classes at a time you can attend, taken at a pace that wouldn't overwhelm you. This would likely be the less-expensive option.

You would not even need to do that if you'd be content with a DO school acceptance.

And your MCAT score is fine. I'd have said not to chance a retake unless 3+ points higher seemed likely.

Try to get in some US physician shadowing. If you don't have some nonmedical community service, consider getting this in.
 
OP
akaVonk

akaVonk

7+ Year Member
Jun 30, 2009
140
2
Status
Medical Student
Thanks for the insight Catalystik. I'll probably be doing some shadowing while I'm taking my classes this upcoming quarter.

On the subject of post-bacc classes- the ones that I'm going to be taking are upper-level undergrad courses at my state university, so will it be clear that their grades should be considered as post-bacc. courses/rolled onto my undergrad GPA afterwards? I'm enrolled as a non-matriculant, and I know that these classes can be credited towards a graduate degree at the university later, though I believe they should be valid as "post-bacc" classes.

Oh and how would a non-SMP, one-year Master's program stack up as another option? I know Tulane, UC Davis, and Northwestern offer something along those lines. Tuition-wise, probably around the same for an SMP, though I've heard they may be less risky.
 

Catalystik

The Gimlet Eye
10+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2006
32,279
11,857
Camp SDN: The Place for Summer Fun
1) On the subject of post-bacc classes- the ones that I'm going to be taking are upper-level undergrad courses at my state university, so will it be clear that their grades should be considered as post-bacc. courses/rolled onto my undergrad GPA afterwards? I'm enrolled as a non-matriculant, and I know that these classes can be credited towards a graduate degree at the university later, though I believe they should be valid as "post-bacc" classes.

2) Oh and how would a non-SMP, one-year Master's program stack up as another option? I know Tulane, UC Davis, and Northwestern offer something along those lines. Tuition-wise, probably around the same for an SMP, though I've heard they may be less risky.
1) Whether you take undergrad classes or grad-level classes, so long as you are not a grad degree candidate, grades earned after you receive your bachelors degree will all be lumped together on the application on the postbac line. They will then be included in the overall cumulative undergrad GPA along with your FR, SO, JR, and SR grades.

2) A traditional science-heavy masters degree GPA will have the grades listed separately on the application. The AMCAS application never merges the uGPA and gGPA the way that the AACOMAS application does. Most med schools don't much regard a graduate BCPM, as severe grade inflation is presumed, but there are exceptions that will consider those grades.

A formal Medical Masters Program, specifically meant to boost a med school application is different, but I personally don't have a sense of how much they can be relied on, or if they are "less risky." I would refer you to the Postbaccalaureate Programs Forum where you can Search out input on this question or even post it yourself if you can't find what you want. Schools' websites might also list % chance of a med school acceptance after completion, but be wary that they usually include both MD and DO schools in their statistics from what I've seen. Come back and tell us what you find out.