Attending Graduate School to get into Medical School--please tell your stories

GoWiththeFlo

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Some applicants have low GPA's/MCAT's which have kept them out of Medical School. Many try to improve their chances in the future by taking:
  • Post Bac courses
  • SMP
  • Graduate Programs in Science (such as Chem, Bio, Physics)
I was wondering about the last point "Graduate School". Some have said it is no more than an EC, others have been more positive about it.

I am asking people who have taken the "Graduate School" route to weigh-in and let me know if it has been successful or unsuccessful.

Thanks.

GoWithTheFlo
 

Drrrrrr. Celty

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Well its relatively consensus on SDN that a masters won't help make up for a low gpa. However it will be a good EC and give you good research.
A post-bacc isn't really a graduate program. It's mostly to raise your gpa so you can get into a SMP or get the pre-req's done. A SMP is the best masters program for the sake of getting into medical school( however it's only good if you have a 30+ mcat).

That being said I know a few people who did get into medical school after doing a master program. However there states were relatively good 3.3-3.6 and 29/30 mcats. So yah they could have gotten in with those stat's regardless.
 

ShinyDome19

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Doing a Masters of Science is probably a very bad choice if your ultimate goal is to go to medical school. While it can help with your overall GPA for AACOMAS applications, it doesnt help for AMCAS. The biggest benifit you will have is, if you enjoy research, you should get quite a bit of experience at it. However, research is very hit or miss...you could spend 2-3 years chasing your tail in the lab and not really produce anything...and ultimately not have anything to show for your research in the end.
Also, if you go for a Masters of Science, you cant really say "I am going to graduate this year and apply to medical school"...When and if you graduate is really out of your hands...You graduate when your committee decides you graduate...and dropping out of the program before finishing to apply for medical school will most likely look very bad on medical school apps.

If you know your ultimate goal is to attend medical school, do a special masters or post-bac. This is what they are meant for.
 

austinap

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I wouldn't recommend graduate school if you're not actually interested in doing science. However, if you like actually doing science, and want the chance to be able to really explore a topic in more detail than you'll ever have a chance to again in your life, grad school can be awesome. It's a ton of work, it can be stressful, but it can also be incredibly rewarding.

I didn't go this route solely to make up for GPA - my GPA isn't great, but it isn't prohibitive either. I don't think my grad GPA helped me at all. However, it did make me a non-traditional applicant, made me more confident, and made me more interesting on the interview trail. I would do it again in a heartbeat, but I also happen to love science. You'll likely have to take the MCAT again as scores expire quickly, but that really isn't that big of a deal. In any case, it certainly isn't a decision to make without looking into in some detail.
 

austinap

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Doing a Masters of Science is probably a very bad choice if your ultimate goal is to go to medical school. While it can help with your overall GPA for AACOMAS applications, it doesnt help for AMCAS. The biggest benifit you will have is, if you enjoy research, you should get quite a bit of experience at it. However, research is very hit or miss...you could spend 2-3 years chasing your tail in the lab and not really produce anything...and ultimately not have anything to show for your research in the end.
Also, if you go for a Masters of Science, you cant really say "I am going to graduate this year and apply to medical school"...When and if you graduate is really out of your hands...You graduate when your committee decides you graduate...and dropping out of the program before finishing to apply for medical school will most likely look very bad on medical school apps.

If you know your ultimate goal is to attend medical school, do a special masters or post-bac. This is what they are meant for.

As far as the graduation thing, if you're a respectable grad student, most schools will all but guarantee your graduation within two years. Certain programs offer "non-research masters", where you don't even need a committee to sign off on you so long as you take enough courses.
 

plsfoldthx

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I was attending a Kaplan seminar and one of the MCAT teachers told us that he had a very low undergraduate GPA. He said he did a MS in chemistry with a 4.0 and applied, but pretty much it came down to ... so you can do theoretical stuff... so what? He ended doing a Georgetown SMP and getting into Med school.
 

GoWiththeFlo

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Thanks for all the replies..........Is there anyone out there who "did" go to grad school, and got into Med school upon re-applying? thanks. GWTF
 

armybound

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I got in after getting an MS in biomedical studies.

My main issue when applying the first 2 times was a low GPA. I had a 2.5 my freshman year and something like a 2.7 cumulative after my sophomore year. Junior and senior years went well, but I still needed to get my grades up, or show a recent trend of good performance.

I finished my MS with a 4.0 and reapplied. Pretty much every one of my interviews discussed at length with me the courses I had taken in my MS and how I did in them. They were very interested and seemed impressed by it.

Is it the best way to get your GPA up? Well, it doesn't affect your undergrad GPA, so it's not the best way... but it is a good way of both working on a backup plan in case medicine doesn't work out, plus showing continued interest in pursuing medicine and good academic progress.

So it worked out for me and I'm happy with my decision to go to grad school.
 

austinap

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Thanks for all the replies..........Is there anyone out there who "did" go to grad school, and got into Med school upon re-applying? thanks. GWTF

I did a PhD and got in afterward, but I also got one acceptance before I went to grad school.
 
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I did an MPH before applying going to medical school. I am fairly certain that I would not have gotten in without the degree, or at least, not to the caliber of schools to which I was eventually accepted.

It helped, not because the grades influenced things (they were actually not even reported), but because it gave me a different insight into health care and the system as a whole, which gave me tons of things to discuss both in my application and interviews. In addition, it provided a lot of helpful research experience.

However, I only found the experience valuable, because I enjoyed the MPH for the sake of the MPH. If I had not had "the right stuff" to get into medical school, I would have enjoyed working solely with that degree. As it stands now, I'm very much looking forward to combining them!
 
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Some applicants have low GPA's/MCAT's which have kept them out of Medical School. Many try to improve their chances in the future by taking:
  • Post Bac courses
  • SMP
  • Graduate Programs in Science (such as Chem, Bio, Physics)
I was wondering about the last point "Graduate School". Some have said it is no more than an EC, others have been more positive about it.

I am asking people who have taken the "Graduate School" route to weigh-in and let me know if it has been successful or unsuccessful.

Thanks.

GoWithTheFlo
I applied at the end of my undergrad, and did not get in. I since enrolled in a Master's of epidemiology (which I have loved, btw). I am currently holding two acceptances, and am waitlsited at a third school. I do think a graduate degree can help, but there's a few caveats:

1) As an international, I was much better at picking my schools accoridngly the second time around, and much better with timing my application.

2) The last time I applied, the schools never saw my senior year GPA. With that year, my undergrad GPA was much higher (as are my MCAT scores). My graduate GPA is even higher, but I am unsure as to the degree that grad courses matter for med school applications.

3) Since I am involved in clinical research, my grad degree added to my application in less direct ways as well. It allowed me to have a publication, to submit letters of references from physicians (my supervisor is a doctor), shadow physicians, and have a lot of patient contact for my research. Obviously, not every graduate degree can provide these opportunities.

I would also add that my research experience tends to be more well-regarded at schools that are more research focused. In general, a relevant graduate degree may add more to your application at schools that whose mission is in line with your grad degree, and may not have as much of an impact at other schools.
 

willen101383

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Thanks for all the replies..........Is there anyone out there who "did" go to grad school, and got into Med school upon re-applying? thanks. GWTF
I dunno where this consensus serenade speaks of came from because I know plenty of people who went to grad school and then got into medical school. I am one of them.

I had a VERY VERY poor undergrad GPA (2.45) and a okay (27) MCAT when I graduated undergrad. I did an internship after graduation and started working as a clinical lab technologist (MT ASCP) and after doing that for a year applied to grad school and got in. I retook the MCAT...did significantly better and completed my accelerated masters program in forensics with a GPA upwards of 3.75. I had lots of love during my application season and got acceptances to 3 US DO schools and 1 US MD. I am headed to PCOM in the fall. I am leaving a lot of information out, but I am confident in saying my graduate school GPA was instrumental in getting me in to medical school. I dont think there is any sort of consensus. SDN is famous for people agreeing on stuff they have no experience with. There are only a handful of people who actually did graduate programs on the boards in all liklihood.

If you are someone in my former situation I would ALWAYS recommend grad school for you. With such a low GPA(I dont know your GPA..but I was referring to mine) the chances you wont get into med school are pretty significant. With a masters in something tangible like my forensics degree you can assure you will actually have a shot at getting a job after your MS. With SMPs or certificate post baccs you are throwing money down the drain with no assurance you will actually get into medical school. Granted I am a non trad and have been working FT in clinical labs since 2003...which obviously played a role in my success as an applicant.

OP if you have any questions feel free to PM me.
 

dr zaius

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I chose to pursue a MS in biomedical engineering prior to applying because 1) I didn't decide on medical school until the summer before graduation (had to take the MCAT and 3 pre-reqs not required by my undergrad degree) 2) I have a strong interest in research and hope to stay in academia and 3) I got paid for it.

My undergrad GPA was fine. All of my interviewers responded positively regarding my choice to pursue a MS, and it gave me much to discuss during the interview (research, new innovations, etc). Overall I think it was a good decision on my part, and probably helped me more than getting a job in engineering while waiting to apply.

It's not a good choice for everyone, and if you haven't been heavily involved in research before it could be miserable. I've had weeks when experiments would go horribly wrong, and I've had periods when everything went wonderfully. It has taught me patience, problem solving skills, and many other valuable lessons. If I had the choice to go back and do it all over again I wouldn't change a thing.
 
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noshie

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I applied twice before (2006 and 2008) but didn’t get in due to a poor MCAT (19) and bad GPA (2.9-3.0). I had a hard time deciding on an SMP or traditional masters too. I applied to both at TCOM (UNTHSC) and ended up in the 2 year Masters of Biomedical Sciences in Immunology program. I disagree that getting into a regular masters program is difficult for people that are premed, I stated in my application my intentions and everyone seemed very supportive of it.

I am applying again this year, so I can’t really tell you if it has helped my chances yet. However, I now have a 3.65 graduate GPA from a school where my classes were taught by all of the med school professors at TCOM. The best thing about going that route is the confidence I gained and the opportunities I have received from it. You get what you put in, so if you go in and really care about what you are doing (don’t just think that this is only a stepping stone to med school) then you will have a great experience to talk about in your applications. I would have done it again if I had the chance, and personally I am glad I didn’t get into the SMP because I learned more doing the full masters degree with research.

It allowed me to fix all of the holes in my application as well. I conducted research, gained leadership by being a class officer and had several volunteer opportunities with the American Cancer Society.

Weigh your options, because the worst thing that can happen is you get into grad school and you hate it. I had several friends that quit in the first year because they just wanted to get into med school and hated research.
 
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Med schools are looking for people who are mature, know themselves, and are confident in their decision to become a doctor. From my experience, it is more important that you take your own path and not go to grad school/volunteer/etc... simply because it is required. If you are interested in graduate school, you should pursue it because it fits with your interests, not because you hope that it will get you into med school. You will likely be asked about this during your interviews!
 

sosalubrious

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I applied at the end of my undergrad, and did not get in. I since enrolled in a Master's of epidemiology (which I have loved, btw). I am currently holding two acceptances, and am waitlsited at a third school. I do think a graduate degree can help, but there's a few caveats:

1) As an international, I was much better at picking my schools accoridngly the second time around, and much better with timing my application.

2) The last time I applied, the schools never saw my senior year GPA. With that year, my undergrad GPA was much higher (as are my MCAT scores). My graduate GPA is even higher, but I am unsure as to the degree that grad courses matter for med school applications.

3) Since I am involved in clinical research, my grad degree added to my application in less direct ways as well. It allowed me to have a publication, to submit letters of references from physicians (my supervisor is a doctor), shadow physicians, and have a lot of patient contact for my research. Obviously, not every graduate degree can provide these opportunities.

I would also add that my research experience tends to be more well-regarded at schools that are more research focused. In general, a relevant graduate degree may add more to your application at schools that whose mission is in line with your grad degree, and may not have as much of an impact at other schools.
Hello! I have a wierd multidisciplinary situation here: I actually applied to MPH programs to raise my GPA for reapplying to allopathic medical schools; I'm now having doubts since MPH doesn't involve science classes. I got into USC's epidemiology and biostats program for the fall and i'm not sure of what to do: will it help raise my math/science gpa for medical/health professional schools? If not, can I get a decent-paying job with this degree/what is the scope for this degree?

Is it worth the time and money (USC is really expensive)?? Should i do it and then reapply to med school? If no MPH then I'm considering re-taking the MCAT and maybe taking a science class this summer and then reapplying to med schools. I also got into podiatry schools but I'm having doubts about picking a medical specialty so soon. What should I do??? cgpa: 3.2, sgpa: 2.9 mcat: 26 (v:8, b:10, p:8)

Thank You!!!
 

MaxillofacialMN

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Hello! I have a wierd multidisciplinary situation here: I actually applied to MPH programs to raise my GPA for reapplying to allopathic medical schools; I'm now having doubts since MPH doesn't involve science classes. I got into USC's epidemiology and biostats program for the fall and i'm not sure of what to do: will it help raise my math/science gpa for medical/health professional schools? If not, can I get a decent-paying job with this degree/what is the scope for this degree?

Is it worth the time and money (USC is really expensive)?? Should i do it and then reapply to med school? If no MPH then I'm considering re-taking the MCAT and maybe taking a science class this summer and then reapplying to med schools. I also got into podiatry schools but I'm having doubts about picking a medical specialty so soon. What should I do??? cgpa: 3.2, sgpa: 2.9 mcat: 26 (v:8, b:10, p:8)

Thank You!!!
Podiatry is the shiz. But, if you aren't certain you'd like working with feet in derm, path, vasc, ortho, and biomechanics, then you should probably stick to the med school route.