Feb 6, 2010
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Pre-Medical
I'm a non-traditional pre-med (made the decision relatively recently) and have spent the last months fulfilling the organic chemistry prereqs that I needed, while preparing for the MCAT. Didn't do well the first time (26Q), and have a retake planned for 5/22. So here's the specifics:

GPA
I'm fighting an uphill battle; I have a B.S. and M.Eng in biomedical engineering, but the cGPA came out to be around a 3.2 both times, which is horrid, I know. If my calculations worked out correctly, then not including the current 5 credits (Organic 2 and lab) I am working on now, my sGPA comes out to be about a 2.8 for AMCAS purposes and 3.2 for AACOMAS purposes (thank god for biomedical engineering). It shows an upward trend towards junior and senior year of undergraduate, but the majority of the courses I screwed up on were BCPM (Biology 1&2, Physics 1&2, Calculus 1&2, etc. ... but not Chem 2, Calculus 3&4, etc.), because you usually take them earlier in the undergraduate curriculum, which was when I was not doing well in school. Coincidentally [or fittingly], the beginning courses are hanging over my head forever and have come back to bite me in the ass.

So firstly, I'm trying to figure out how to boost them, or if it's even worth it. I've tried substitutions in my GPA spreadsheet (from this site), and assuming I get A's in the current 5 credits, I can try to take 9 credits/3 classes over the summer and with all A's in those I think I can boost my sGPA to 3.0 and 3.3 for AMCAS and AACOMAS respectively. Is that worth the trouble? Is retaking classes a better approach, and would that even be possible anymore (i.e. I finished the Biology pathways with C+ and C...do they usually let you retake them if you pass with C or take lower level classes after you took the higher class)? Not really sure what to do there. I don't think postbac programs will cater to my needs anymore, either.

The obvious part is that I will be banking on a good MCAT, because my GPA throws most MD options out the window. I'm looking at DO schools too, but that doesn't mean I won't at least "try" for allopathic options.

Advisors
Since I'm non-traditional, I'm kind of confused on how to approach the need for an advisor. I am taking my orgo classes at a different institution from my undergraduate and graduate university, and I spoke with the advisor here. He told me that they only cater to those in the honors/accelerated premed program and everyone else manages their applications on their own. When I asked him about a letter of recommendation from premed committees, he told me it wouldn't make much of a difference because they didn't know me well so they wouldn't have much to write about. When I thought about approaching my undergraduate premed advisor (I haven't yet...), I assume his response would be the same. I'm non-traditional, so they haven't been keeping in contact with me for 4 years like everyone else. Are advisors really necessary (I find SDN to be a huge help...), and how does it look if you don't have the LOR from them even though you came from a school that 1.) had one, and 2.) are associated with one of the med schools you would like to apply to?
 

blaithnaid

lady clairol
Jan 7, 2010
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- have a retake planned for 5/22.

Wait. How long have you been out of school?


GPA
- retake anything under a C
- make your own post-bacc at your local 4yr.
- what are the actual numbers/trends for your GPA


Schools
- all your state schools
- any mid range MD OOS that like OOS'ers
- any interesting DO schools

Advisors
- screw the school
- you'll need to make friends with a science instructor or two, a non-science, an employer, someone you're clinical or vol'ing with for letters
- what's your motivation for medicine?
- take SDN with a grain of salt
 
Feb 6, 2010
265
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Pre-Medical
I finished the Bachelor's in Spring 08 and Master's in Spring 09 and was looking for work in industry, which was my original intention. I then made the decision to pursue medical school, so I started taking the MCAT review classes and catching up on the organic chemistry for these past few months, which I never took before.

- Make my own post-bacc ? By taking new courses/higher level courses ? And when you say retake anything less than a C, do you recommend all courses or just BCPM, and then place emphasis on taking new science courses to boost both GPAs?

- The actual numbers for my GPA were as stated, but again, without considering the 5 credits for my current organic chemistry 2 + lab that I am taking now, they are.. (AMCAS) cGPA 3.19, sGPA 2.85 and (AACOMAS) cGPA 3.19 sGPA 3.2 (if you were curious). The actual trends started off with C's and C+'s with few B's and A's sprinkled about and then moved to less C's and more B's and by senior year I finished off with mostly A's, so the semester GPAs looked something like 3.3 > 3.2 > 2.6 > 2.7 > 2.6 > 3.2 > 3.9 > 3.9.

- Also, lol @ "screw the school" ... I understand the LORs from other science instructors or other sources; that was my intention and I already had that planned. Are you saying that the committees probably wouldn't be practical for me since I'm non-traditional ?
 
Jan 2, 2010
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Reality, or so i think.
Status
I finished the Bachelor's in Spring 08 and Master's in Spring 09 and was looking for work in industry, which was my original intention. I then made the decision to pursue medical school, so I started taking the MCAT review classes and catching up on the organic chemistry for these past few months, which I never took before.

- Make my own post-bacc ? By taking new courses/higher level courses ? And when you say retake anything less than a C, do you recommend all courses or just BCPM, and then place emphasis on taking new science courses to boost both GPAs?

- The actual numbers for my GPA were as stated, but again, without considering the 5 credits for my current organic chemistry 2 + lab that I am taking now, they are.. (AMCAS) cGPA 3.19, sGPA 2.85 and (AACOMAS) cGPA 3.19 sGPA 3.2 (if you were curious). The actual trends started off with C's and C+'s with few B's and A's sprinkled about and then moved to less C's and more B's and by senior year I finished off with mostly A's, so the semester GPAs looked something like 3.3 > 3.2 > 2.6 > 2.7 > 2.6 > 3.2 > 3.9 > 3.9.

- Also, lol @ "screw the school" ... I understand the LORs from other science instructors or other sources; that was my intention and I already had that planned. Are you saying that the committees probably wouldn't be practical for me since I'm non-traditional ?
like ur an URM when u mean ur non-traditional?

i am a man who likes numbers, try this http://aamc.org/data/facts/applicantmatriculant/table25-mcatgpa-grid-3yrs-app-accpt-raceeth.htm

that chart doesn't state their ECs nor LORs, so....judge for your self...

btw thats a few years ago, the numbers prob have gone up by now.
 
Feb 6, 2010
265
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Pre-Medical
like ur an URM when u mean ur non-traditional?

i am a man who likes numbers, try this http://aamc.org/data/facts/applicantmatriculant/table25-mcatgpa-grid-3yrs-app-accpt-raceeth.htm

that chart doesn't state their ECs nor LORs, so....judge for your self...

btw thats a few years ago, the numbers prob have gone up by now.
Oh... no, not URM. When I said "non-traditional" I meant more for being the type that aims to enter the application process later than usual (i.e. traditional students are usually pre-med from the getgo, prepare during all 4 years of their undergrad, and then attend medical school the following fall). If I've been using it incorrectly, I apologize, but the fact that I went for a Master's seems to indicate right away that I'm non-traditional.

And I'm not really sure what to make of those statistics. Obviously myself as an end package will be all that matters. But for now, I'm more concerned about boosting up the GPA, I suppose, because that's, what? More like the first line of cuts (roughly speaking)?
 
Jan 2, 2010
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Reality, or so i think.
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Oh... no, not URM. When I said "non-traditional" I meant more for being the type that aims to enter the application process later than usual (i.e. traditional students are usually pre-med from the getgo, prepare during all 4 years of their undergrad, and then attend medical school the following fall). If I've been using it incorrectly, I apologize, but the fact that I went for a Master's seems to indicate right away that I'm non-traditional.

And I'm not really sure what to make of those statistics. Obviously myself as an end package will be all that matters. But for now, I'm more concerned about boosting up the GPA, I suppose, because that's, what? More like the first line of cuts (roughly speaking)?
yea if you do not meet the school's minimum cuts your automatically out. i don't think 2.8 is bottom line for most schools tho, i am sure some schools will still accept you.

btw the minimum cut doesn't mean @^*% if you have LOR from some one like.....President.Obama. ur automatically in i think.
 

blaithnaid

lady clairol
Jan 7, 2010
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Status
And when you say retake anything less than a C, do you recommend all courses or just BCPM, and then place emphasis on taking new science courses to boost both GPAs?

- All science under C, any non-science under C that's recommended or looked at, like English, psych, speech.

Your 4yr should allow you to attend as a non-degree or second bacc student-- not necessarily in a post bacc (of course, if you're already in one, disregard).

- The actual trends started off with C's and C+'s with few B's and A's sprinkled about and then moved to less C's and more B's and by senior year I finished off with mostly A's, so the semester GPAs looked something like 3.3 > 3.2 > 2.6 > 2.7 > 2.6 > 3.2 > 3.9 > 3.9.

- what's with the the run of 2.x's? you need to have 2-3 years of solid shiny GPA -- not necessarily 4.0s, but 3.6+ and 3.0s min. (so 2 post bacc)


- Are you saying that the committees probably wouldn't be practical for me since I'm non-traditional ?
Yeah. they're more for the straight through pre med kids. non trads make their own path. if anyone asks you just tell them that you're non trad, and the end.
 

DP4NB3S301314

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
Dec 16, 2008
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Pre-Medical
btw the minimum cut doesn't mean @^*% if you have LOR from some one like.....President.Obama. ur automatically in i think.

lol...I wonder, are there any LOR in the world can beat that one...:rolleyes:
 
Feb 6, 2010
265
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Pre-Medical
- All science under C, any non-science under C that's recommended or looked at, like English, psych, speech.

Well I only got a D in a humanities course (Introduction to Macroeconomics), so is that nothing too major? And based on your recommendations, does that mean in general, taking newer, higher level courses with A's is more important than retaking basic courses FOR A's?

- what's with the the run of 2.x's? you need to have 2-3 years of solid shiny GPA -- not necessarily 4.0s, but 3.6+ and 3.0s min. (so 2 post bacc)

Yeah, there's not too many excuses I can make for that, but the bottom, inexcusable line was that I just wasn't focused. Probably the worst time for that to happen, because that was when I took Biology, Physics (I had to take engineering physics), and Calculus II.
 

blaithnaid

lady clairol
Jan 7, 2010
182
0
0
Status
Well I only got a D in a humanities course (Introduction to Macroeconomics), so is that nothing too major? And based on your recommendations, does that mean in general, taking newer, higher level courses with A's is more important than retaking basic courses FOR A's?

- what's with the the run of 2.x's? you need to have 2-3 years of solid shiny GPA -- not necessarily 4.0s, but 3.6+ and 3.0s min. (so 2 post bacc)

Yeah, there's not too many excuses I can make for that, but the bottom, inexcusable line was that I just wasn't focused. Probably the worst time for that to happen, because that was when I took Biology, Physics (I had to take engineering physics), and Calculus II.
Macro you can skip. It's more important to prove that you can do well in higher levels if you didn't do well in pre-reqs/basics, provided that you've got at least Cs in the lower-levels -- anything under a C is often not counted by schools.

Not being focussed happens. Your 2.x's are in the B-/C+ range, so it's not like you 1.2'd for a year.

Are you planning to apply 2010 for 2011 admit? Can you push it to 2011 for 2012?
 
Feb 6, 2010
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Pre-Medical
I'm aiming for 2011.

Pushing it to 2012 is plan B. I mean just because I did terrible doesn't mean I won't stop doing all I can and at least try to see what I can do for 2011, which is why I am also considering DO schools. I want to plan the best way I can do that; it's almost self-explanatory (good LORs, experience, etc.), but the GPA part is an obvious hole I need to address.
 
Feb 6, 2010
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Pre-Medical
Just wanted to add on:

Let's say I use this summer to take more classes in order to boost my GPA. How would the application process work? Should I file my AMCAS application early on, in June, and leave the classes section to include ongoing classes? Wouldn't that be useless as it wouldn't take into account my updated GPA? Thus, an updated GPA wouldn't even be seen before schools send out secondaries?
 
Nov 9, 2009
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Medical Student
I don't think adding more classes is going to boost your gpa any noticable amount. You have already completed a crap load of credit hours, so taking a few summer classes may only give you a .001 gpa boost. You already have your B.S. and M.S. so maybe you can do something elso to supplement your application. Numbers have nothing to do with how good of a doctor you will be, they just help you start the process of getting into a school haha. If you want it bad enough, and show it, you will get picked up by a med school.
 
Feb 6, 2010
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Pre-Medical
Yes, that's a good point and that's what I've been trying to decide between. However like I said, if my calculations worked out ... the more significant boost will be getting my AMCAS sGPA from around 2.8 to around 3.0 by taking around 9 more credits and getting A's in them. That seems like a significant boost; I mean it's only 0.2 but it's 0.2 that brings me from a 2+ GPA to a 3...
 
Feb 6, 2010
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Pre-Medical
Oh also just to double check: retaking classes just allows you to average the two grades right? Not completely replace it (like AACOMAS, I think)? So for example, I could turn a D and A into a B-?
 

blaithnaid

lady clairol
Jan 7, 2010
182
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0
Status
Just wanted to add on:

Let's say I use this summer to take more classes in order to boost my GPA. How would the application process work? Should I file my AMCAS application early on, in June, and leave the classes section to include ongoing classes? Wouldn't that be useless as it wouldn't take into account my updated GPA? Thus, an updated GPA wouldn't even be seen before schools send out secondaries?
correct, you need to have the majority of your fixin' done before doing AMCAS. otherwise it won't go on the app.
 
Nov 9, 2009
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Medical Student
yes, amcas will average the grades of the retake and the original score. You do have a good point that bringing a 2.8 up to 3.0 will look better. Just make sure the classes you take mean something to you and are relevant to your future studies lol. bowling, tennis and badminton may not help (which i know you wouldn't take i just thought i would add that in haha)
 
Feb 6, 2010
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Pre-Medical
So I guess the question is...

- Apply earlier, with current GPA, and no ongoing plans to take summer courses to try and boost it?

- Apply earlier, with current GPA, and still continue to take summer courses to try and boost it (hoping that A. they might notice that I'm trying to bring it up and B. it could serve as a failsafe/backup for next application cycle in case things don't go smoothly now [but still try and apply now])?

- Apply later, around end of July/August after current GPA has been boosted from the summer?
 

blaithnaid

lady clairol
Jan 7, 2010
182
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0
Status
Don't apply late.

If you're going to apply this year, go early.

What state are you in?
 
Feb 6, 2010
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Pre-Medical
New Jersey

UMDNJ is among the obvious choices for me. And they have a DO program in addition to MD.