medstylee

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hey all,

i'm applying to medical school this year, but i may not get in and, honestly, i've been having a lot of second thoughts lately about a phd instead. i've always been really into research and i did a thesis in undergrad. the thing is, my grades from undergrad aren't very spectacular. my overal gpa is around 3.4 but i have a few clunkers (i.e. C+s) in some chemistry courses. i'm currently in a masters program and i think i can probably finish with a 3.6-3.7 (at this rate, at least). i haven't taken teh gre yet, but i've done well on the mcat (33P - 9V, 13P, 11B) and i did well on my SATs way back when, so i'm not too worried about that. i'm pretty sure i might try and do a 1-2 year post-bacc IRTA at the NIH (NIDCD specifically cause i'm interesting in auditory neuroscience and did a lot in undergrad). i can get some great letters from people i worked with in undergrad cause i was in a very small department and i know several professors very well (and they know my research). so, after all that (if you're still reading), my question is, how much are my grades from undergrad going to affect me if i have strengths in other areas (good amount of relative research, better MS grades, good recs)? i know it probably depends on the program. so, just to give an example, i'm really interested in northwestern's institute for neuroscience (nuin) because they have a big auditory branch and that's right up my alley. (i'm aware that it's a competitive program).

i'm just starting to try and plan things out (or, better yet, figure out what the hell direction i'm going in), so i appreciate anyone's help. thanks :thumbup:
 

Jonathan13180

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Im in the same position as you-applying to medical school this summer, although im not sure of my chances. Im also looking into PhD programs, most likely in pharmacology (drug discovery), then get my MBA. Im guessing as long as you have good recs, GRE scores, youre UG grades wont matter too much. Also, because ive done 2+ years research with pubs, i hear that greatly improves your chances. goodluck.
 

QofQuimica

Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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I think you'll be all right, too, especially if you have a good GRE score. I didn't have any undergraduate grades or GPA at all (my whole school was pass/fail) and I didn't have any trouble getting into graduate school. I just sent my narrative evaluations to the programs. In my experience, grad schools are a lot more flexible about these kinds of things than med schools are.
 
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medstylee

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thanks guys, i appreciate the encouragement. doctoral admissions seems more flexible than med for sure. i think i can definitely do more things to help balance out some of my poorer marks whereas it's been really tough to do with med apps. in any case, i think that, no matter what route i am able to take first (md or phd) that i'll end up doing both because i'm pretty sure that becoming a physician scientist fits my interests most. anyway, thanks again and good luck.
 

Scottish Chap

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As long as you have >3.0 GPA and a semi-decent GRE, you'll be just fine for graduate school - even the 'good ' ones. Some gradute schools (like the one I went to) - at a push - actually accept the MCAT in place of the GRE so be sure to look into that because you have a wonderful MCAT score. Don't underestimate the importance of the graduate school interview, however (I used to help out with that when I was in graduate school).....they will be more likely to accept you into the PhD program if they see that your level of commitment to research and your drive is high; this, in my opinion, is more important than grades in determining your success as a PhD student.

In my humble experience, I found that the medical school interview differs in the sense that they obviously look for motivation (and, one hopes, compassion), but grades and standardized test scores play a much weightier role than graduate school post-interview......M.D. admissions committees sometimes get edgy if the whole package isn't there from the start.

It sounds like you’re interested in both research and medicine. Like you, I was not sure of my real passion and it was hard for me to gauge my strengths and my weaknesses after my undergrad. so I opted for graduate school first. Now, as a first-time applicant to medical school, those issues are much clearer so don’t feel bad about letting medical school ‘wait’ if you want it that way.