Can one continue to be crucified for a sub-par GPA...

skbirdie510

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...despite doing infinitely better in grad school? I'm on my way to two grad degrees, one in biology from NYU (M.S.) and one in public health from Downstate (M.P.H.). I'll be starting a clinical research position in the spring semester (where I may be published), am working on getting an agent and (hopefully) a book deal for a novel I wrote (wishful thinking perhaps but it can't hurt to wish!), and I have been tutoring high school students for the past few months in a host of subjects.

I'd just hate to think that after all of that, medical schools will just throw me into the proverbial trash bin because of my awful undergrad GPA (despite strong upward trend and other things, though I did go to an Ivy). I know many medical schools do screen out candidates with low GPAs, but what percentage of medical schools actually do? I realize that post-baccs are options, but I don't exactly have the financial resources or the time (I'm the oldest daughter of immigrant parents...do the math). :scared:

I want to apply to medical school next year for admission in 2010, but I just want to know if I'm being just a hair too quixotic in believing I have some sort of a shot. Really, what can I do at this point?

Thank you so much for your help. :)
 
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phospho

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awesome word, i've never seen it before. I just learned something new today:hardy:

quixotic = Caught up in the romance of noble deeds and the pursuit of unreachable goals; idealistic without regard to practicality.
 

skbirdie510

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How awful is awful for that undergrad GPA? Are you talking about 2.0 or 3.1, or what?

2.94...basically I took a nosedive sophomore year but recovered each subsequent semester so I ended off with a 3.67 at the end of my senior fall semester (I graduated early).
 

crx7

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I just got in with a 3.01 so anything is possible. Get a good MCAT score and get that clinical research position, I think my clinical/medical research position is what cinched it for me.
 

littlealex

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Graduating early was perhaps a mistake. Getting your GPA above 3.0 would look much better.

You may be screened out at some schools but likely not most. A strong graduate GPA and lots of life experience will help.

At the same time, no one can say how much; it depends on the school and the committee.
 

MILK07

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awesome word, i've never seen it before. I just learned something new today:hardy:

quixotic = Caught up in the romance of noble deeds and the pursuit of unreachable goals; idealistic without regard to practicality.

Think Don Quixote. Great novel and great word.
 

pianola

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Honestly, I think it's probably the same deal as with a lot of applicants -- you'll be competitive at some schools and less so at others. So apply broadly and choose a range of schools that you would be happy to attend. It's impossible to predict exactly what places will be the most receptive to your application...

The 2.94 isn't going to help your case, but you'll have completed at least 3 years of graduate work by the time you apply (presumably with a better GPA) and hopefully with a very significant # of credit hours. It sounds like you have great ECs and a compelling application -- both of those will work in your favor as well.

Just make sure you apply broadly. Good luck. :luck::luck::luck:

--> The other thing you can do that might help (although perhaps not much) is to try to find time in your schedule to take an undergrad class along with your current grad classes. I ended up taking a couple of undergrad science classes during my MS and it boosted my sGPA (science GPA) a little bit. A little bit of a nudge is what you need to get your UG GPA over that magical 3.0 cutoff that some schools screen for...

Speaking of which, what is your sGPA? If it's lower than the 2.94, then this may be a problem as well...
 

mmmcdowe

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Jesus has been sitting up on peoples crosses for 2000 years now, and here you are complaining after just a few? Sheesh, you think you're better than Jesus or something?

:p:p:p:p:p:p:p:p
 

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Think Don Quixote. Great novel and great word.

I always wondered why we pronounce it "kwicksotic" when the character's name is pronounced "Key-Ho-Te".

For my taste, I always liked the word solipsistic. Very apt word for alot of pre-meds.
 
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armybound

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yes, it can continue to haunt you. I got a 4.0 in my masters (3.3 undergrad) with a 33 MCAT and continue to get passed over for a lot of interviews.

some schools may care a lot more about the poor undergrad performance than the strong grad performance.
 

mezmerized7

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Skbirdie, I think you'll be ok, especially since you have upward trends and are doing other advanced degrees. I think adcoms will look on that favorably. Just have a good explanation for the nosedive - and I understand that as I too had something similar in my sophomore year. I am finishing my MPH and will start med school this coming fall. It can be done!!!:thumbup::)

Be strong and show them how committed you are to becoming a physician.
 

JLC

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Under grad gpas and Grad gpas are very different and more often than not grad gpa are much much easier. For example in several phd programs students must maintain a B average...basically as one grad student puts it grad school is pass/fail, A=pass, C=fail
 
N

njbmd

A low GPA hurts, but surely adcoms would look past it considering all the grad work you've done. UG GPAs aren't the only things that can make good doctors.

Graduate work does not offset a poor undergraduate GPA. This is why going to graduate school, while good for obtaining a graduate degree, is poor preparation for medical school. You are expected to have a high GPA in graduate school because you are studying a discipline in depth that you like and have some interest in. Anything lower than 3.7 is considered a poor graduate performance and graduate school, in general, does not "make up for" a poor undergraduate performance. The only exception to this are the Special Masters programs (SMP) that are designed to enhance your application into medical school.

If you want to obtain a graduate degree then do so but not to "attempt to show" that you can get good grades to enter medical school. If you want to attend medical school do either post bacc work or SMP and have a very strong performance. In short, you get essentially one shot not to "screw up" as an undergraduate. Those who do not do well, have a very long road ahead to try to do some "damage control".

Yes, undergraduate GPA is one of the main criteria for acceptance into medical school. It's not the only thing that is considered but it is a major consideration and if poor, can knock you out of consideration for acceptance. If your uGPA is low, you need to get it into an acceptable range by post bacc or enter an SMP and do very well.
 

pianola

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My advice, for what it's worth, is to first of all focus on getting the UG GPA above a 3.0. 3.0 is still low but it's higher than some of the automatic cutoffs that schools have.

Make sure your science GPA is above that as well.

Then, make sure you do a killer job on your MCAT.

It may be in your best interest to calculate how many UG classes you would have to take to raise your UG GPA to a 3.0.
 

student1799

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My advice, for what it's worth, is to first of all focus on getting the UG GPA above a 3.0. 3.0 is still low but it's higher than some of the automatic cutoffs that schools have.

Make sure your science GPA is above that as well.

Then, make sure you do a killer job on your MCAT.

It may be in your best interest to calculate how many UG classes you would have to take to raise your UG GPA to a 3.0.

Definitely agree. I read a post just recently from a student who was screened out of their own state school with a 2.98! So it's really worth taking a couple of extra classes just to clear that hurdle. It will save you a lot of grief.

But once you've cleared the 3.0 hurdle, I wouldn't spend too much time trying to get your uGPA a lot higher--PROVIDED your science GPA is good. (If not, you really need to work on that. Your chances of getting into med school with a low uGPA AND a low BCPM are going to be pretty poor.) Make sure your volunteer work is outstanding, in both quantity and quality, and line up some killer LORs.

And of course, you need to kill the MCAT. My advice here is DON'T TRY TO RUSH IT--even if you have an excellent past history on standardized tests, the MCAT is a very different animal, and even the smartest people have met their match on it. Because the MCAT is going to be especially important to your chances, given the low uGPA, you might even want to allow an extra year just to study and take the test, to be sure you get the best possible score.

I know that sounds outlandish, but I wish I'd done it that way. I allowed myself only 2 months of hard-core studying and thought I'd do well based on my practice tests, but I did horribly on the PS section because I ran out of time (something that hadn't happened when I took the practice tests). I've done everything I can think of to overcome that score and help me get interviews, and I'm very grateful that I have 2 invitations so far. But both schools are hundreds of miles from where I live (NYC, like you), so I may have to leave my family behind to go to med school. With a higher PS score, I think my chances with the NYC schools would be a lot better.
 

pianola

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And of course, you need to kill the MCAT. My advice here is DON'T TRY TO RUSH IT--even if you have an excellent past history on standardized tests, the MCAT is a very different animal, and even the smartest people have met their match on it. Because the MCAT is going to be especially important to your chances, given the low uGPA, you might even want to allow an extra year just to study and take the test, to be sure you get the best possible score.

Very true. Very true.

Whatever you do, you want to avoid taking the MCAT twice; I suspect this is especially true if you're nontrad (like me or student1799)...

It's entirely possible to nail the MCAT. OP, clearly you have the stamina to go through several years of graduate degrees -- just apply that same stamina to studying for the MCAT.
 

bioteach

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What everyone else said. Your uGPA is a HUGE factor. Much bigger than grad GPA.

My uGPA was 3.03 and my grad GPA was 3.83. I was still able to get into an MD program, but I'm sure it was by the skin of my teeth. The only negative in my application was my uGPA. I have publications, taught as a lecturer in bio and A&P at the college level, master's degree, volunteer experience all over, 13 in bio MCAT and 12 in verbal, but it wasn't enough to overcome the low uGPA at most schools. I got in with one try, so don't rule it out. Just make sure everything else in your app kicks butt.
 

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What everyone else said. Your uGPA is a HUGE factor. Much bigger than grad GPA.

Agree with much of what is said above, and especially recommend OP reread njbmd's post above. Your grad GPA is pretty meaningless -- it can hurt you if it's low, but makes up for nothing if it's high. In general, grad degrees are basically looked at like a strong EC -- schools love folks who have them, but not unless the also have the undergrad stats and MCAT scores etc to go along with them. For this reason, do not go to grad school to make yourself more appealing for med school. As mentioned, the one exception is SMP programs, and in those, the point is neither the degree nor will the GPA help your undergrad GPA, but those courses will be used to prove you can handle med school level courses. Which is why most SMP's require folks to already have above a 3.0, because they generally can't help those below that threshold.

OP, the only way to fix a lackluster ug GPA is to take more ug courses. Graduate is of no help. So yes, you will be crucified until you actually do something about it. If you take enough ug courses for A's, perhaps your GPA will bring you to a salvageable level. But your graduate work doesn't do the trick.
 

Quix

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awesome word, i've never seen it before. I just learned something new today:hardy:

quixotic = Caught up in the romance of noble deeds and the pursuit of unreachable goals; idealistic without regard to practicality.

Nope, I've never heard of the term "quixotic" before. ;)

To the OP, yes, you can still suffer from the effects of a low undergraduate QPA. I'm one of them. I was ultimately admitted and decided to stay in academia, but you will still be judged by your raw undergraduate numbers, and graduate education and experience may or may not be mitigating factors in the eyes of particular adcoms.
 

Bacchus

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OP, also, I'd like to say having an average MCAT score with a low GPA isn't going to do much for you. You NEED to do well on the MCAT. I was waitlisted and PSU and Drexel recently, so I can effectively say that even good ECs won't get you an interview.
 

flip26

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Several posters make it sound like 3.0 is the magical cut off, one going so far as to say to get it up to 3.0 but don't bother to raise it past that point. I disagree - within reason, an applicant should do everything possible to raise that GPA well over 3.0 with post bacc classes. I believe every little bit helps...

The truth is that an UG GPA much lower than, say, umm...3.395...is poisonous for med school apps...the success rate for applicants with GPAs south of that level is quite low, although there are a number of SDN posters who have made it...and will soon be here protesting what I just posted.

And if you have one of these "low" GPAs, you really need to show the adcom a pretty decent (or above average) MCAT score...think 11s or better in each section...

Just look at the post from Bachhus - an applicant with a 3.5+ GPA and an OK but not stellar 29 MCAT...a perfect example of the uphill climb you face with a lower than average GPA and MCAT combo.
 
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