shaunx

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This is Shaun I just have a quick question for everyone and would like to have some feed back. This is the story -- I just got into a postbaccalaureate program at VCU (simlar to the Gegoretown's SMP). I also had a job offer at biomedical reserach lab(one year deal). My GPA is good: 3.5 overall and 3.5 for science; however, my MCAT is low 24 or 25. Judging from the forums, most people who go on to postbacc programs are those who have high MCAT but low GPA. To many, the postbacc program is just a way to bring up the GPA for medschools. I was wondering if I'd be more benfit just to take the job and retake the MCAT or I should do the postbacc program and try for medschool. Any input is welcome.

Shaun
 

Phil Anthropist

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Shaun, your GPAs sound pretty competitive. If you're looking for an enrichment program to get your MCAT up, I think Drexel's MSP program is a better choice than VCU's pre-medical certificate programs. But with the MSP program, you wouldn't take the MCAT until April 2006, so you would be applying for matriculation for the Fall of 2007.

I'm sure the VCU program couldn't hurt, but it's not as MCAT specific. And besides, your GPA isn't bad at all. I have no personal experience with the VCU program, but people keep saying it's "harder than the first year of med school." I don't know when you're planning on taking the MCAT, but I doubt the program will give you much time to study for the MCAT. This is true for most SMP-type programs. These programs tend to be most effective for the low-borderline GPA, good-great MCAT applicants that are trying to prove they can handle the medical school curriculum. There seems to be a lot in the postbac forum that fit that profile. There are also many career changers.

I think Job + MCAT retake is a better option than the VCU program.

Alternatively, you could study your butt off for the MCAT this August (only take it if you're confident you'll score in the 30's) AND do the VCU program or the biomedical research gig while (or before, if you're worried the August MCAT will delay your application) applying.
 

skicu

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Your GPA is pretty competitive but I would still do the postbac program. You will be taking the actual med school classes and this will help you tremendously once you are actually accepted into med school. Also, if you aren't able to bring up your MCAT you may still get accepted if you do well in the postbacc. If you do teh job and don't bring the MCAT score up, it doesn't seem like it will really help you that much.
 
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shaunx

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To Phil anthropist and Skicu.

Thank you for responding to my post. I have to weight each option carefully. Judging from the post and I am wondering if I am better off delate the entry to the Postbacc for one year. I will work for a year and take the Aug MCAT. I talked to dean of the department, he says I could deferment for a year, and enter the next year. I am not sure how important is MCAT after you successfull completion of the postbacc. If I am require to retake the MCAT even with successfull completion of postbacc then postbacc program to me is uesless. Any inputs?


Phil Anthropist said:
Shaun, your GPAs sound pretty competitive. If you're looking for an enrichment program to get your MCAT up, I think Drexel's MSP program is a better choice than VCU's pre-medical certificate programs. But with the MSP program, you wouldn't take the MCAT until April 2006, so you would be applying for matriculation for the Fall of 2007.

I'm sure the VCU program couldn't hurt, but it's not as MCAT specific. And besides, your GPA isn't bad at all. I have no personal experience with the VCU program, but people keep saying it's "harder than the first year of med school." I don't know when you're planning on taking the MCAT, but I doubt the program will give you much time to study for the MCAT. This is true for most SMP-type programs. These programs tend to be most effective for the low-borderline GPA, good-great MCAT applicants that are trying to prove they can handle the medical school curriculum. There seems to be a lot in the postbac forum that fit that profile. There are also many career changers.

I think Job + MCAT retake is a better option than the VCU program.

Alternatively, you could study your butt off for the MCAT this August (only take it if you're confident you'll score in the 30's) AND do the VCU program or the biomedical research gig while (or before, if you're worried the August MCAT will delay your application) applying.
 

jeg5q

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Attending VCU's postbac program won't make up for a lackluster MCAT score. Even if you attend the graduate postbac program you should still retake the MCAT to pull of you score in order to make yourself more competitive.
 

Phil Anthropist

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skicu said:
Your GPA is pretty competitive but I would still do the postbac program. You will be taking the actual med school classes and this will help you tremendously once you are actually accepted into med school. Also, if you aren't able to bring up your MCAT you may still get accepted if you do well in the postbacc. If you do teh job and don't bring the MCAT score up, it doesn't seem like it will really help you that much.
I agree with your comment about the job and not bringing the MCAT score up, that is why I don't think Shaun should take the MCAT if his practice test scores aren't in the 30's.

I would not do the VCU postbac without retaking the MCAT. If Shaun can pull a 30+ this August, he'll be in good shape and can even do the VCU postbac this Fall. Alternatively, he could also take the August MCAT after doing the program, but I think that could put him at a slight disadvantage in the application cycle.

Not too long ago, I also thought the VCU premedical certificate program allowed you to take courses with the MCV med students, but this is not the case, unless VCU changed the curriculum. My understanding is you take courses with the MS and PhD students and that you take courses similar to the med students, but you don't take the actual MS-1 classes.

I think 3.5 cume, 3.5 bcpm, 25 MCAT, 3.8+ grad VCU premed certificate GPA would not be nearly as competitive as 3.5, cume, 3.5 bcpm, 30+ MCAT without the premed certificate.

Special masters/certificate programs are most effective for those who have competitive-fantastic MCAT scores (29+), but need to prove they can handle an MS-1 courseload (due to poor-borderline undergrad cumulative/science GPAs).

Those who score in the upper-20s and have low-borderline GPAs could probably benefit from special masters/certificate programs as well. Reasoning: If you have a 27-29 MCAT and a 3.2ish GPA prior to entering an SMP, do well in the SMP (e.g., 3.7), and then take the MCAT in August, you might still be in okay shape. The upper-20's MCAT score may at least get you past early pre/post-secondary rejections and your application won't be as delayed as first-time August MCAT test-takers because you already have an MCAT score at the time of application.

Those with non-competitive MCAT scores should deal with their MCAT issue first. Reasoning: if you struggle in Chemistry, Physics, Verbal, or Organic, the SMP is not going to help you score that much higher. It'll help in Biology, tremendously I'm sure, but the program won't help you too much with the sections you're struggling with. Additionally, you'll have little time to study while enrolled in an SMP-type program. An MCAT score of 25 is simply not competitive for US allo schools (however, it is for US osteo schools). Even with a solid VCU postbac performance, a score of 25 would be a major hurdle in the application cycle. The national matriculant average is around a 29. Those with lower scores that successfully gain acceptances are often atypical applicants (URM, disadvantaged, amazing ECs, etc.).

The only special masters program I would consider with a mid-20's MCAT score would be Rosalind Franklin's MS in Applied Physiology program due to the strong linkage.

Just my opinion on that. :)
jeq5q said:
Attending VCU's postbac program won't make up for a lackluster MCAT score. Even if you attend the graduate postbac program you should still retake the MCAT to pull of you score in order to make yourself more competitive.
Agreed.
shaunx said:
If I am require to retake the MCAT even with successfull completion of postbacc then postbacc program to me is uesless. Any inputs?
I don't think it's the best option for you. I'm a little unclear about which August you're talking about (Summer 2005 or Summer 2006). I would not recommend that you take the August 2006 MCAT (it will delay your application), especially if you can take the MCAT in August 2005 or April 2006.
 

jeg5q

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Good post Phil. I agree wholeheartedly. Just finishing the VCU postbac program last year it definitely helped my application this year, but my MCAT score was fairly competitive to begin with. Also to clarify as Phil posted you will be taking classes with MS and PhD students not M1's. Retake the MCAT and kick butt, that is the best thing to do. With a science and cum GPA of 3.5 you don't need a postbacc program of any sort. You just need to get your MCAT score into the competitive rangs. Good luck.
 

CutiePieMD

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Phil Anthropist said:
Those with non-competitive MCAT scores should deal with their MCAT issue first. Reasoning: if you struggle in Chemistry, Physics, Verbal, or Organic, the SMP is not going to help you score that much higher. It'll help in Biology, tremendously I'm sure, but the program won't help you too much with the sections you're struggling with. Additionally, you'll have little time to study while enrolled in an SMP-type program. An MCAT score of 25 is simply not competitive for US allo schools (however, it is for US osteo schools). Even with a solid VCU postbac performance, a score of 25 would be a major hurdle in the application cycle. The national matriculant average is around a 29. Those with lower scores that successfully gain acceptances are often atypical applicants (URM, disadvantaged, amazing ECs, etc.).

.
Excuse my ignorance... but what the heck is an URM?? What do you mean by disadvantaged??? And what are EC's???

I hope you aren't implying what I think you are. :confused:
 
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shaunx

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Thank you all for your imputs. To answer Phil Anthropist's question I am planning on taking Aug 2005 MCAT. To clearify a point, I already got accepted to VCU's postbacc program. I also have a job offer as a researcher(one year). I just have to choose between postbacc and the job. It seem to me that everyone have agreed the postbacc isn't going to help me at this point unless I have a high MCAT. I can always delate the entrance for postbacc a year. If I do end up with high MCAT this Aug 2005, I don't need postbacc anymore, I can just apply directly to medschool.

p.s. how are osteo school compare to MD? Do MD have advantage over osteo schools?

Shaun


Phil Anthropist said:
I agree with your comment about the job and not bringing the MCAT score up, that is why I don't think Shaun should take the MCAT if his practice test scores aren't in the 30's.

I would not do the VCU postbac without retaking the MCAT. If Shaun can pull a 30+ this August, he'll be in good shape and can even do the VCU postbac this Fall. Alternatively, he could also take the August MCAT after doing the program, but I think that could put him at a slight disadvantage in the application cycle.

Not too long ago, I also thought the VCU premedical certificate program allowed you to take courses with the MCV med students, but this is not the case, unless VCU changed the curriculum. My understanding is you take courses with the MS and PhD students and that you take courses similar to the med students, but you don't take the actual MS-1 classes.

I think 3.5 cume, 3.5 bcpm, 25 MCAT, 3.8+ grad VCU premed certificate GPA would not be nearly as competitive as 3.5, cume, 3.5 bcpm, 30+ MCAT without the premed certificate.

Special masters/certificate programs are most effective for those who have competitive-fantastic MCAT scores (29+), but need to prove they can handle an MS-1 courseload (due to poor-borderline undergrad cumulative/science GPAs).

Those who score in the upper-20s and have low-borderline GPAs could probably benefit from special masters/certificate programs as well. Reasoning: If you have a 27-29 MCAT and a 3.2ish GPA prior to entering an SMP, do well in the SMP (e.g., 3.7), and then take the MCAT in August, you might still be in okay shape. The upper-20's MCAT score may at least get you past early pre/post-secondary rejections and your application won't be as delayed as first-time August MCAT test-takers because you already have an MCAT score at the time of application.

Those with non-competitive MCAT scores should deal with their MCAT issue first. Reasoning: if you struggle in Chemistry, Physics, Verbal, or Organic, the SMP is not going to help you score that much higher. It'll help in Biology, tremendously I'm sure, but the program won't help you too much with the sections you're struggling with. Additionally, you'll have little time to study while enrolled in an SMP-type program. An MCAT score of 25 is simply not competitive for US allo schools (however, it is for US osteo schools). Even with a solid VCU postbac performance, a score of 25 would be a major hurdle in the application cycle. The national matriculant average is around a 29. Those with lower scores that successfully gain acceptances are often atypical applicants (URM, disadvantaged, amazing ECs, etc.).

The only special masters program I would consider with a mid-20's MCAT score would be Rosalind Franklin's MS in Applied Physiology program due to the strong linkage.

Just my opinion on that. :)
Agreed.

I don't think it's the best option for you. I'm a little unclear about which August you're talking about (Summer 2005 or Summer 2006). I would not recommend that you take the August 2006 MCAT (it will delay your application), especially if you can take the MCAT in August 2005 or April 2006.
 

Lindyhopper

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A good resource for questions like this is the Examkrackers website. The online counselor is Judy Levine a former director of admissions to NYMC. It's easy & free professional advice. :thumbup:
http://www.examkrackers.com/
 

sunnyjohn

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CutiePieMD said:
Excuse my ignorance... but what the heck is an URM?? What do you mean by disadvantaged??? And what are EC's???

I hope you aren't implying what I think you are. :confused:
URM =under represented minority.
EC= extra- curricular


Benign . . . . . . . . . . . What you be, after you be eight
CAT Scan. . . . . . . . . . . Searching for Kitty
Congenital . . . . . . . . . . . Friendly
Labour Pain . . . . . . . . . Getting hurt at work
Outpatient . . . . . . . . . A person who has fainted
Rectum . . . . . . . . . . . Damn near killed him
 

CutiePieMD

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sunnyjohn said:
URM =under represented minority.
EC= extra- curricular


Benign . . . . . . . . . . . What you be, after you be eight
CAT Scan. . . . . . . . . . . Searching for Kitty
Congenital . . . . . . . . . . . Friendly
Labour Pain . . . . . . . . . Getting hurt at work
Outpatient . . . . . . . . . A person who has fainted
Rectum . . . . . . . . . . . Damn near killed him
Thanks. Wow...we have an acronym now? :eek: Hmmmm...

Haha...Rectum...LMAO. :D
 

Phil Anthropist

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CutiePieMD said:
Excuse my ignorance... but what the heck is an URM?? What do you mean by disadvantaged??? And what are EC's???

I hope you aren't implying what I think you are. :confused:
As sunnyjohn stated, URM = underrepresented minority and ECs = extracurriculars. Examples of URMs include those with American Indian heritage and those who are African American. Disadvantaged is a status that you can specify on the MD application, AMCAS (and possibly the DO application, AACOMAS, I don't know). Disadvantaged status is often used for those who claim educational or financial disadvantages. Examples include someone whose parents have annual salaries consistently below the poverty level or applicants who have to work full-time to finance their education while simultaneously taking 16+ credits/semester. Amazing ECs might include getting published in Nature or Science, starting a non-profit organization that sends millions of dollars to Multiple Sclerosis/Cancer/Domestic Violence charities, etc.

I don't know what you think I'm implying. I am simply stating that those who get accepted with MCAT scores well below the national average typically have something unusual about their applications. I certainly wouldn't want to get in an argument with a cutiepie ;)
sunnyjohn said:
URM =under represented minority.
EC= extra- curricular


Benign . . . . . . . . . . . What you be, after you be eight
CAT Scan. . . . . . . . . . . Searching for Kitty
Congenital . . . . . . . . . . . Friendly
Labour Pain . . . . . . . . . Getting hurt at work
Outpatient . . . . . . . . . A person who has fainted
Rectum . . . . . . . . . . . Damn near killed him
:laugh:
 

CutiePieMD

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Phil Anthropist said:
As sunnyjohn stated, URM = underrepresented minority and ECs = extracurriculars. Examples of URMs include those with American Indian heritage and those who are African American. Disadvantaged is a status that you can specify on the MD application, AMCAS (and possibly the DO application, AACOMAS, I don't know). Disadvantaged status is often used for those who claim educational or financial disadvantages. Examples include someone whose parents have annual salaries consistently below the poverty level or applicants who have to work full-time to finance their education while simultaneously taking 16+ credits/semester. Amazing ECs might include getting published in Nature or Science, starting a non-profit organization that sends millions of dollars to Multiple Sclerosis/Cancer/Domestic Violence charities, etc.

I don't know what you think I'm implying. I am simply stating that those who get accepted with MCAT scores well below the national average typically have something unusual about their applications. I certainly wouldn't want to get in an argument with a cutiepie ;)

:laugh:
No argument, Phil. :love: Just wanted a little clarification, I guess. I never heard of the term URM before. I don't like to think of myself as an acronym. But good info anyway. Thanks!
 

Phil Anthropist

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shaunx said:
p.s. how are osteo school compare to MD? Do MD have advantage over osteo schools?

Shaun
DO schools and MD schools are very similar, but there are a few differences. The MD degree allows for more international practice rights (see the sticky thread in the pre-osteopathic or osteopathic forum, I can't remember). The DO curriculum involves osteopathic manipulative treatment. For highly competitive allopathic residencies (radiation oncology, urology, dermatology, etc.), the MD degree is advantageous over the DO degree. But the schools are, for the most part, the same. Also, if you're in Virginia, you have an osteopathic school, VCOM. It's fairly new and is associated with Virginia Tech.
 

Phil Anthropist

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CutiePieMD said:
No argument, Phil. :love: Just wanted a little clarification, I guess. I never heard of the term URM before. I don't like to think of myself as an acronym. But good info anyway. Thanks!
Didn't mean to call you an acronym, but you can call me an ORM (overrepresented minority) if you want!!! :D

Nothing but :love:,

Phil
 

lightnk102

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one thing to keep in mind is that with the post-bacc, you may be killing two birds with one stone, since it will likely also help with your MCAT score. if your weak point is biology, then going through an SMP program will make the MCAT bio section seem like cake, thus leaving you more time to study for the rest of the sections.