Average GPA, Average MCAT scores...

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by workingirl, May 14, 2007.

  1. workingirl

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    I am an average student with average MCAT scores and am wondering how much of a difference my few years of work experience actually make. Does it count for something that I have a masters in public health and have been working in the field for a little while now?

    My MCAT scores were PS9, V10, BS11 for a total of 30R.
    I am disappointed because I was averaging a 34 on practice tests...However, working 40-50 hours a week and studying in the evenings has been quite a challenge and quitting my job is not an option!

    Any thoughts? Anyone have any experience or advice in this area?
     
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  3. Catalystik

    Catalystik Platinum
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    Your MCAT of 30 is fine and is average for med school matriculants. What do you mean by "average student"? Does that mean a C average or a GPA of 3.6; could you be more specific?

    It would also help to know what your work actually entails.
     
  4. workingirl

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    My apologies, I thought I had written my GPA. Good guess - it was a 3.6!

    I am currently working as a health care analyst and devote most of my time on projects related to research on and programs aimed at reducing health care disparities for racial and ethnic minorities.

    I guess my real question is - how much difference does a few years of work experience actually make? Medical school websites say that admissions committees value work experience and think that non-traditional students bring experience and knowledge to the class... but if i've only been working for a few years, is that still the case?
     
  5. Law2Doc

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    Odds of admission are quite good with a 3.6/30. All schools will consider whatever else you have done besides academics -- helps them put together a class of diverse and well rounded experiences. Certainly those who have worked have used that credential. Not sure if there's a specific time you need to have worked for it to be valuable but I tend to doubt it.
     
  6. Catalystik

    Catalystik Platinum
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    I'd say a few years of your current work experience, especially with the projects you mention, would make you an attractive candidate. Hopefully you have some volunteerism and clinical exposure as well to report. For a non-trad working full time there will likely be some forgiveness in these latter two areas if you haven't logged extensive hours doing them, but there needs to be some. The lack of either, but especially the latter could kill your application.
     
  7. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    With a 3.6 and a 30, you are a textbook applicant. Unless you are a horrendously bad interviewee or lack significant exposure to medicine, there's no reason why you won't gain admission if you apply early and cast your net wide. Good luck!
     
  8. MJB

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    The only thing "average" about those numbers is they happen to be at, or very close to, the "average" numbers of MATRICULANTS for MD programs...

    Both are actually quite a lot above average. Congratulations.
     
  9. adismo

    adismo covered in moon dust
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    your chances are .... average


    have a good answer to the question "why do you want to be a Doctor?"
     
  10. workingirl

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    Thank you all for your responses. I guess I am just nervous about being so average a candidate and will need to beef up everything else about my application (clinical and volunteer experiences, personal statement, interview...).

    I'm still not sure about re-taking the MCAT though!
     
  11. workingirl

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    hm. i actually never thought of that... they do post the average score for matriculants, not applicants... that makes me feel a little bit better...
     
  12. njbmd

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    Your academics (GPA/MCAT) are taken within the context of your entire application. Just having work experience is not going to "wow" anyone. Having a well-written PS that shows you as an individual in a very positive light, can have a huge impact on your application. Your PS should clearly and logically give the members of an admissions committee a very favorable impression of you and your suitability for medicine.This is where you can highlight your extracurricular activities and show that what participating in them has added to your desire to practice medicine, or enhanced your personal growth etc. If you want to set yourself apart from the other applicants, make sure that your PS is very, very polished and excellent.

    What your letter writers say about you will have a tremendous impact on the success of your application. Be sure that you have obtained letters from people who can access your abilities and know you well. A form-type letter written by a professor who just says "Sally X took my organic chemistry class and received a grade of A" is not a very strong letter. Be sure to provide your letter writers with a copy of your CV and personal statement so that they know something about you more than just an acquaintance. Sometimes the strongest letter comes from a professor whose class was a struggle for you because of the interaction and overcoming that struggle.

    Yes, the average GPA/MCAT for those who matriculated in 2005 was 3.6/30. These numbers have increased every year and thus may not reflect the matriculants in the year that you will be applying. That being said, you can't "worry" about something that you really can't change that much. You put together the most competitive and positive application that you can muster and you apply broadly and apply to enough schools.

    I would strongly caution you NOT to re-take the MCAT unless you are positive that your score is going to increase. Go to the website and have a look at that document that shows the percentage of people who increase their MCAT score with a retake. It is a very small number and a very small increase. You don't want to drop and your 30 is fine.
     
  13. braintrust

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    I was wondering about whether a lower undergrad GPA (Both BCPM and AO =3.42) could be offset by the fact that I completed two degrees in the four years I was in undergrad.

    Al in all I've got a lot of inconsistancies in my academic record up until last december when I heard "the calling" and actually started to try and began to try. My problems are many and scattered which altogether definiately supports my lack of direction up until a year and a half ago. I have not taken a single semester off from school since graduating in 2004 but in my postbac and undergrad there has been semesters of bad grades, an incomplete->3.9, a withdraw, 5 summer school classes, a CC class, part-time status, and a C+ in Gen Chem the second time around (although I got A's in OChem). I have so many of these issues that I dont think that I can justifiably ask the adcoms to see my app and not be scared about my previous lack of direction.

    I want to focus on what I've done since then but my past is glaring and my recent dedication and redemption seems very much overshadowed. Since hearing the call in Dec 06 Ive Maintained a 3.9 GPA, enrolled in a MS in physiology at the University of Hawaii Med school, TA in Biochemistry, published a paper, volunteer in the ER every week. From my 1.5yrs of research I've also got a number of abstracts and poster presentations (5), award for poster presentation, a research scholarship, and another paper as first author that is currently being written.

    I don't have my MCAT scores but I've been getting practices scores from 27-32 but I haven't studied much yet for it.

    Anyone have any suggestions?
     
  14. braintrust

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    Since I have succeeded in raising my Postbac+Undergrad BCPM to a 3.55 (total BCPM with grad 3.64) my AO GPA is still at 3.42. Is there anything that a nontrad should be worried about having his BCPM greater than his AO.
     
  15. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    I'm confused: did you complete two degrees or just a double major? The latter is pretty common, and I wouldn't expect it to go far towards impressing adcoms.
     
  16. braintrust

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    I completed two degrees. I got my BS psych degree from the college of arts and sciences while I got my BA BUsiness from the college of business adminitration (both at the same university and at the same time)
     
  17. gotmeds?

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    Your work experience will be a positive.

    If you're like most non-trads, however, you're probably lacking clinical, volunteer, and research experiences. The lack of these will outweight any benefits of an MPH and work experience.

    If I were you, I'd work on getting good ECs and good LORs.
     
  18. bel15

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    xxxxxxxxxxx
     
  19. Law2Doc

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    In general, higher GPA is better, but switching from one postbac to another less prestigious one in the same city would look way too transparent and I would worry that no med school would buy it. Much in the same way that folks who struggle at the home school and magically get A's in the prereqs at community colleges over the summer get frowned upon.
     
  20. Think Big

    Think Big That's What She Said
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    It sounds as though the OP is working in research. I don't think you necessarily have to have spent time at the bench, just be able to demonstrate that you clearly understand the thinking behind good clinical or basic science research.

    I think work experience can make or break you in the interview. My interviewers seemed very happy to be able to talk to someone who has been working in the healthcare field. They seemed to enjoy the fact that I had opinions that were grounded in my own personal experience and I think my previous work experience really helped my application. (And rightly so, since it is my work experience that made me decide to pursue med school in the first place:)

    On the other hand, if you can't use your work experience to support your motivations to become a doctor or if you can't draw from it to support your answers to some of the most commonly asked interview questions, it's going to seem like a more trivial aspect of your application.
     
  21. postbacker

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    Is Hunter cheaper? That would be my reason alone to switch.

    Just get the grades you need wherever you need to go to get them...I don't think that much consideration will be given in the initial app screening to a shift in the schools where you get the post bac done...however, is the Hunter program a "formal" post bac like Columbia? and at Columbia do they write committee letters? same at Hunter? This could raise some questions...but again, I would rather go where I can get the As I need and worry about answering a question at an interview about it later...
     
  22. bel15

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    ========================
     
  23. postbacker

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    Since Hunter does a committee letter, too, I think that there would be less reason to question the move from Columbia (i.e., you were not "running away" from Columbia for some bad reason; Hunter is a reputable post bac program with a committee letter, etc.)...not that I know more about Hunter, I think the change makes sense, and hopefully you are correct about the grades...I don't think any eyebrows will be raised...I say go for it.
     
  24. bel15

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    my mistake. they actually don't have a committee. i take it from your previous post then that means that that would make less sense then?

     
  25. postbacker

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    Hell, who knows? It might raise an eyebrow, but I still doubt it...Hunter is a reputable college, and I assume the post bac program is decent.

    I wouldn't worry about it too much. Save some money, get the grades you need , and move ahead...
     

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