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At what point is the GPA high enough?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by link2swim06, Jun 15, 2008.

  1. link2swim06

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Everyone is saying higher is better, but what one point can I just work on maintaining? Can I hold my 3.48 science accum. and 3.55 overall accum and get in or does it need to be higher? Lets assume all other parts of my app is slightly above average.

    P.S. Any MD school is fine for me, not particular, (even DO works)
     
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  3. OCallag

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    Why would you want to settle?
     
  4. link2swim06

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    Because some classes, such as, chemistry I don't like and would rather spend time on other activities and just settle for a B if it will get me it med school
     
  5. Mr Cookie Pants

    Mr Cookie Pants Living the chief life
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    I got in with a 3.55. I had a 3.3 first two years and then a 4.0 third year. I'm confident that this is the only reason they let me in. I had a well balanced app and a 33, but my GPA was the only exclusion criteria, they even told me. I asked them during my interview.

    The process is so competitive, it's like the US open. You're going up against the best golfers in the world, try and win at pebble by 12 strokes. (IE dominate, give yourself every advantage you can), If you start coasting, someone like Tiger can turn on the jets and put up 2 eagles and a birdie on the back 9 like he did yesterday. And you dont want to go head to head against Tiger Woods. So do well in Chemistry. It's not that hard and it's interesting.
     
  6. WinterLights

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    A 3.8 GPA is high enough, assuming everything else is average.
     
  7. flip26

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    Not a good reason.

    Consider other fields than medicine. Your current grades are not very competitive for med school, and your disdain for the sciences is not a good sign of commitment to the academic rigors ahead...
     
  8. Textuality

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    Umm...I didn't like Chemistry either, in fact, I got AP credit for it so that I didn't have to take it in college. I know a lot of successful med school applicants who hated physics and chemistry with a vengeance, but have a genuine motivation for medicine and did just fine in the application process, a possible B and disinterest in college intro chemistry isn't necessarily a sign someone is ill suited for a medical career. Maybe if he said he hated biology courses...

    Although, I would say the GPA is a bit on the low side, I'd try to maintain a 3.6 to be comfortably "competitive" at DO/lower tier schools. I don't really know much about anything though, it's just speculation on my part :/
     
  9. Law2Doc

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    Yeah, I think the law of diminishing returns starts kicking in at around a 3.8. You don't get much benefit having higher than that, there is no place for which that isn't competitive, and if you spend too much time on GPA at the expense of other things after that point, you are actually hurting your chances. So yeah, I'd say that is where I'd say "high enough".

    OP, there are psychological advantages to having over a 3.5 as that is the "average" at a lot of schools.
     
  10. Law2Doc

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    A 3.6 is the average for all US allo med schools as a group. So you'd be above average if just looking at the lower end. (There is no real "tier" system for med schools though).
     
  11. Depakote

    Depakote Pediatric Anesthesiologist
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    I got in with a GPA similar to yours but had a kick-ass upward trend. I think you'll find that pretty common for people that get in with GPAs in the 3.5 range.

    As mentioned above, your attitude is a concern. You do not want to be settling (especially this early). There will be plenty of harder classes than general chemistry along the way and you will need to be able to master difficult material that isn't particularly enjoyable if you expect to succeed.
     
  12. Textuality

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    Haha yeah, but school "averages" can be weirdly misleading, I guess I"m just more paranoid that most. I know a lot of people who had numbers that met and exceeded schools' average numbers, that didn't get interviews, which is why I would say a 3.6 is where I'd feel safe, because it would be put me a little above average at some schools, just in case some other parts of my app aren't stellar. Personally, I'd feel comfortably confident of my chances with a 3.6 GPA, it might just be that psychological difference between the 3.6 and 3.5 talking.

    Guess it depends how much of a risk taker you wanna be.
     
  13. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod
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    Yeah, OP, you fail at life. Take your 3.55 and go be a janitor. Someone who dislikes chemistry with a terrible GPA like yours can never succeed at anything.

    Holy crap, lighten up!!!
     
  14. DenaliView

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    :laugh:I completely agree! Pretty soon people will start posting that they don't like homework or exams and just think what kinda doctors they will make....what is the world coming to??? lol
    While I think it is always important to strive for higher scores the OPs desire to have a little balance in undergrad is not a bad thing. Figure out what schools you want to go to and see what is needed to be accepted, this might better help you gauge where you are and what you need to succeed.
     
  15. Depakote

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    I'm not saying that the OP has to enjoy every class along the way. I'm pretty sure that nobody enjoys performing a rectal exam during their 3rd year of medical school... at least hopefully no one does. The point is that you need to apply extra effort at your weak points, not shy away from them.

    If the OP is just taking chemistry now, he's probably at the start of his college career. That leaves a lot of difficult classes ahead. Chemistry is the foundation for Organic Chemistry which is the foundation for Biochem. Being comfortable with how chemistry works now will pay off when you're not struggling with the basics while trying to nail down some difficult concepts.

    If you worked your ass off and got a B, then fine, you earned that B. But if you settled for something less than your best, it's probably going to come back and bite you in the ass.
     
  16. flip26

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    But he doesn't even have a 3.6...he has a 3.55, and and even lower science GPA, and as someone else pointed out, if he is hoping to slack off on Chemistry, he may be fairly early in his college career and still have a few toughies to take like Organic and maybe even Physics...you need to get as many As as you can, especially in the sciences...

    The OP's attitude is lacking. Bs are not really very good in the pre-req / pre-med game, or they certainly are nothing to "settle for." The whole idea of "settling" is what is unsettling about the OP's attitude.
     
  17. Law2Doc

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    Um, I was responding to another poster there, and said a 3.6 was higher than needed for some of the schools she was suggesting. In a prior post to the OP, I indicated he wanted to break 3.5.
     
  18. TheRealMD

    TheRealMD "The Mac Guy"
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    Above a 3.7 or so, GPA is no longer a reason NOT to be accepted. Same with an MCAT between 32-35.

    However, you need something that WILL push you over the edge. If you aren't applying this year, try working on whatever that may be (it's different for everyone).
     
  19. dienekes88

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    I'd bust my butt to get that GPA higher especially with Chem being a prereq and a solid part of your Science GPA. It's definitely not in the "safe" range. You don't want to give an AdCom member even a shadow of a reason to reject you.

    However, you can find a lot of anecdotal evidence about people getting into great schools with GPAs like that.

    Remember to apply early.
     
  20. flip26

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    I didn't start the thread. There is a ton of misinformation on SDN, especially about GPA, and I am simply putting in my 2 cents. If you don't like my opinion, move along.

    Oh, and your statement that "MCAT is more important anywasys as long as you have over 3.4 or so" is total BS...but that's another opinion, so heed my prior advice.
     
  21. Caesar

    Caesar In Memory of Riley Jane
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    OP,

    GPA trends CAN make the difference between being at the top of a waitlist and being in the middle of it. You don't want to give the impression that you figured a 3.55 was "good enough".
     
  22. coldweatherblue

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    I think 3.8 is a good comfortable GPA.

    However, I think you should just get used to doing your best in every class regardless of your target GPA.
     
  23. Caesar

    Caesar In Memory of Riley Jane
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    Qft.
     
  24. flip26

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    So by your standards only someone in med school should offer an opinion here? Why don't you suggest that to the mods? Brilliant idea...

    I'm not complaining about anything, bub.

    The OP has a bad attitude if he is trying to figure out how to "maintain" a 3.5 rather than trying to bust his butt and raise it...and anybody who advises him that his GPA is good enough is doing the OP a disservice.

    Move along...
     
  25. Remember that the mean GPA of allopathic matriculants is around a 3.65 now.
     
  26. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod
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    I don't think he shouldn't try to improve it, but to suggest that a 3.5 isn't "good enough" is pretty astounding, absurd standards of adcoms notwithstanding. Yes, a 3.55 is below average, but it's hardly nightmarish. It's within a standard deviation of the mean, so he's still in great shape if he maintains that same GPA. I'm willing to bet we wouldn't be having this same conversation if he was concerned about his 30 on the MCAT. It's still slightly below average for matriculants - roughly the same amount that a 3.55 is, statistically speaking - but it's not very often that people freak about someone getting a 30.
     
  27. link2swim06

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    Thanks for all the replies, I have finished gen chem and most of o-chem. I will be a junior this year and have never got any thing lower than A- in any classes OTHER than chemistry. I dislike chemistry but love biology, physics, and enjoy shadowing doctors. I guess I wondered if anyone took the point of view of taking a B instead of A in a class they disliked so that they could pursue an extra EC.
     
  28. Ktbro323

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    I got in with a 3.56 cum GPA. I also had a huge upward trend beginning with end of sophomore year. I had a 3.95 average my senior year which was probably the deal maker for me. good luck.
     
  29. Raryn

    Raryn Infernal Internist / Enigmatic Endocrinologist
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    Higher for whites and asians though.
     
  30. rowerlauren

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    Exactly what I was going to say... don't settle for a 3.55. Only when you are sitting pretty with a 3.8 and no real way to let it go down can you really chill out and not worry at all.

    Well lets not bring up WashU right now... we don't want to scare the OP into thinking that (s)he needs to get a 3.91 to be "average".
     
  31. Vihsadas

    Vihsadas No summer
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    I don't believe in doing anything less than my maximum effort. I don't think anyone should settle for less than they are capable of. You're doing yourself a disservice, IMO...trust me, I've BEEN there.
     
  32. ekchang

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    anyone see tonight's US Open? Tiger tied with a birdie on the last hole. craziness!
     
  33. gplex86

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    A 3.5 GPA and a 10 in each MCAT section are very respectable scores for applying to med school, if you exclude the 20-30 mega-institutions with ridiculously high stats. Average is average. You can still be below it and get in. That's why it's an average.
     
  34. Bahadur

    Bahadur Cookies! nom nom nom
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    Not anymore.


    Sorry, don't mind the bitterness.
     
  35. Lokhtar

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    I'll have about a 3.50, but it went from 2.0 after my second year to 3.50 with a 3.85 in the last three years. My Science will be around a 3.4 (3.92 post-bac so far). As it is, the GPA will be the thing that keeps me out, even with that very good upward trend. I might have to deal with the diminishing returns (I have 180 cr already) and spend yet another year in undergrad to try to get close to a 3.5 sci and close to a 3.6 overall, and get above the median on the MCAT (like 34-35) to have a decent shot.

    Seriously, I've dug myself into a hole - don't do the same thing. You'll regret it.
     
  36. flip26

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    A 3.5 is a big problem in med school admissions. We can all dance around what is "good enough" and what we even mean by it, but in the context of the OP's question, "settling" for a B in a pre-req he doesn't "like" sounds like a really bad plan if not a bad attitude. Anything less than one's best effort is a bad plan.
     
  37. gplex86

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    A 3.5 is NOT a big problem in med school admissions. It's near the average for most state schools, although you likely won't get far with the top 20.

    I got 7 interviews (OOS, 5 of which I attended), 3 acceptances, and 1 waitlist with a 3.4 GPA and a 3.3 science GPA. Mostly B's in my prereqs. Oh, and my AMCAS was submitted in December. I'm going to NYMC next year.

    Would most people have made it? Probably not. But a 3.5 is DECENT shot for many medical schools. So cut the CRAP and stop waving around your GPA's like a big penis.

    The real issue is his attitude!
     
  38. mbd12

    mbd12 Futurama's cool, right?

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    I agree that a 3.5 is not a big deal. I had a 3.5 and about a 3.3 for science. I got accepted at 2 med schools. Durring the application cycle I sure wished I had a 3.7, but in the end it worked out. If you do decently on your MCAT, have decent letters, and good extracurriculars you should be okay. One thing I would recommend STRONGLY is making sure you get your primary in early. Also, it might not be a bad idea to submit an osteopathic application to a few schools, if you would consider attending one.

    I don't think OP's attitude is too concerning. Early on in college I decided that college would be a rounding experience for me. I didn't focus solely on my grades or even my classes. I had fun with friends, played sports, volunteered, had a job... I do not regret this decision. Just know that once you get to med school things need to be different.
     
  39. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod
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    You're one of those people who berates the professor then goes home and contemplates suicide after getting an A-, aren't you? A 3.55 is a perfectly respectable GPA. See my MCAT rationale above.

    I was the same way. Granted, I screwed around too much my freshman year and sucked up a 3.2 when I should've probably had at least a 3.7 considering the ease of the classes I took, but I don't regret not burying myself in books all the time to hit a 4.0. College is supposed to be fun. Screw immersing yourself in a subject you don't enjoy for the sake of improving by a fraction of a grade. Like you said, as long as it's clear that 100% effort is necessary in med school, everything will be fine.
     
  40. flip26

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    You have me pegged wrong, pal. I have never berated a professor, never approached a professor to bump up a grade. What I have done: I have busted my ass, and my GPA reflects that effort, and it did not keep me from doing any EC or any activity or thoroughly enjoying my college experience.

    And do you not see any irony in the fact that per your MDApps, you applied to around 30 med schools and only got into one? You came perilously close to not getting in anywhere, and my guess is that it was your "low" GPA that held you back - a 3.5X is "low" for med school admissions, no matter how you try to spin it (like saying it is "perfectly respectable" - for the general student population, a 3.5x may be perfectly respectable, but for a pre-med, it is low).

    Your example is proof of the need to do everything possible to have a higher GPA, not to justify having a lower one. From your own MDApps, you wrote: "I knew my GPA was going to screw me..." and I agree with you (and more importantly, you agree with me).
     
  41. JLC

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    I thought the average was a 3.65? IMO a 3.5 is still fine and won't hold your application. As long as you can get a good MCAT as well.

    Also
     
  42. Ginzo

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    Yawn, come back and talk to us after you've been through the application process. Have fun watching people with "worse" grades than you get accepted to "better" schools than you do.
     
  43. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod
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    Yeah, my GPA sunk me. There's no question about that. I'm not trying to somehow say my GPA was fine because it's obvious that it wasn't. Focuson what I'm saying rather than my stats.

    Just so we can stop beating around the bush, the AAMC reports the mean GPA for 2007 medical school matriculants as a 3.65 with a standard deviation of 0.26 (source: http://www.aamc.org/data/facts/2007/mcatgpabysex4mat.htm). That'll put the OP at something like 35th to 40th percentile. While we should all clearly aim for higher than that, he's still very much in the thick of things and certainly does not need to "consider fields other than medicine," as you suggest. Again, we wouldn't even be having this discussion if the OP had scored a 30 on the MCAT which is roughly in the same percentile range for matriculants as his 3.55 (mean score of 30.8 with std. dev. of 1.8).
     
  44. flip26

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    It will be tough because you have set the bar so high with Toledo!

    Yawn...
     
  45. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod
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    Wow. :laugh:
     
  46. flip26

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    And you seem to have missed the point I was trying to make, namely that asking if it is OK to "settle" for a B in a pre-req so that the OP can enjoy college more is a BAD plan. "Settling" for Bs is NOT a smart plan for a pre-med.

    How do you reconcile the belief you have expressed in this thread that a 3.5X is "perfectly respectable" with this from your MDApps: "My GPA (a 3.55) is horrendous by med school standards..." Does horrendous = not fine = perfectly respectable?

    For the record, I don't think a 3.55 is horrendous. I think it is low - well, that is a statistical fact, not so much an opinion worthy of debate. And as a "low" GPA it is not very helpful in med school admissions, so again the point with respect to the OP, a pre-med should not be settling for anything below an A or A- in any pre-req IF by working harder he can earn the higher grade.
     
    #45 flip26, Jun 17, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2008
  47. gplex86

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    It's a screwed statistic because there are 20-30 insanly competitive schools (WashU, Harvard, etc) that drive up the average. They're called, in statistics, outliers. If you take them out of the equation, then the average is about 3.5.Here in Michigan, people with those averages are very competitive for Wayne State and Michigan State, but not at Michigan. Get it?

    Honestly, I respect people with high GPA's. I really do. But stomping on people who didn't get grades quite as good as yours is really disrespectful and not a quality that has a place in medicine. Your high GPA entitles you to grad school for sure. But med school? Not necessarily.
     
  48. Ginzo

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    That hurts. I'm going to go cry now.

    I really hope that your online persona isn't how you come across in real life. Because that ain't gonna fly come interview time.
     
  49. MilkmanAl

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  50. 194342

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    How can 20-30 schools out of a 129 school pool be outliers?! If you remove those schools, you remove the most competitive people from the game... Also, your assumption says the top schools have a plain seperation from the ther 100?! Where is this data at? Even the top 20-30 show a downward trend in GPA/MCAT.

    Dude, GPA matters. Why would you gamble on what GPA will or will not get you in?! OP should try to get the best grades she/he can no matter the situation. Last time I checked, how well you preform in undergrad is a pretty important criteria for admissions...

    Also, Chem is a pre-req and is subject on the MCAT. Try to do well in it. It will haunt you later if you don't.

    Edit: Do you consider the lowest statistics of the spectrum outliers, too? for example, Marshall University has one of the lowest mean GPAs out of all allo schools but primarily in state students get in, so for the national pool most people can't even consider it as an option. Would excluding the school raise the national mean GPA?!?!
     
    #49 194342, Jun 17, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2008
  51. Lacheln

    Lacheln Cavorting in the Hills
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    HA! I started off majoring in physics as a freshman. I was quickly disabused of that notion. It turns out that not only am I not good at physics or math, at least by my school's standards, but I also hate it. Probably a connection there. Anyway, going back to take it over again ten years later...yup, still despise e&m. Clearly this hatred will translate into dismal failure during med school.

    OP, I think a balanced approach to life is great, for soooooooo many reasons. If you are doing special things with the time you are freeing up (ie. not just hanging out with friends), I wouldn't worry too much about a B here and there. The only caveat I'd throw in is to make sure that you're not avoiding it just because it's difficult for you, as opposed to not liking it. Swallowing some nasty classes will be a part of med school.

    :luck:
     

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