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Foreign Graduate Education as a "Post-bacc"

Calculate Your Odds of Getting into Medical School
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epk1231

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I graduated from a UC in June 2010, and took an Anatomy course at Berkeley Ext, while shadowing to keep "going" during the Fall. Now I'm studying for the MCAT and will be retaking it in April to apply to post-baccs/smp.

In case I'm not accepted into a post-bacc/smp, I am thinking about attending a post-graduate program in the UK since I don't want to spend another year to study for the GRE and then apply to a US grad program. The UK programs are only a year so I found that as a plus and most of the programs are a "masters in biomedicine" type of program. Would graduate education outside of the US be a problem for applying to medical school? It is really inconvenient from the whole application process standpoint, but I would be able to get a masters relatively quickly. Would it worth the trouble?
 

DrMidlife

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As you seem to know, foreign study adds hiccups to the med school app process, because you have to have the transcript evaluated (which can take months).

Foreign coursework does nothing whatsoever to address a low undergrad GPA for US med schools. If GPA redemption is part of your motivation to study overseas, that part doesn't hold water.

That said, if you have an opportunity to study/work/travel overseas, imho you should definitely take it. SMPs & MCAT retakes & med school can wait.

Edit: I should also mention that I can't tell, at all, what your plan is. There seems to be a new thing going on where people say they want to do an SMP but are taking the MCAT really late for SMP apps and are complaining about MCAT vs. GRE. Which is all over the place. There are a bunch of people in this forum who are really, really good at helping you figure out your basic GPA comeback plan - help us help you.

Best of luck to you.
 

epk1231

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Well...now I feel like my plan isn't a good one anymore.

I first applied to SMPs in March 2010 with an undergraduate GPA of a 3.1 and was unsuccessful...I got into Harvard Ext, but they basically told me the program wouldn't be useful for me and should pursue a program with graduate/medical work. I also got into NYMC Traditional Track program...but I got extremely nervous with some of the bad reviews I read and that the program didn't seem to be that "well-known" with some of the med schools I talked to...and my parents were complaining to me about the costs of living and such since I didn't get student housing...I guess I just didn't get a good vibe. So I didn't go and wanted to start studying for the MCAT again since I'm sure that was one of the main negative factors since I didn't hit most of the minimal MCAT requirements.

Then I wanted to take TBR, which wasn't offered for the Fall - so I took an Anatomy course. April 9th ended up being the earliest I could take the exam while completing the course.

I was told that I shouldn't focus on my undergraduate GPA anymore, which is why I want to apply to SMPs now. I realize schools are already accepting, but I've read of people getting acceptances when they applied in May...though they were probably outstanding candidates...

Great...the more I think about this...the more I think my chances are shot since I won't even get my score back until May....

So is it even worth applying? I don't think I would go abroad knowing that I probably would still have to take a SMP afterwards. I feel like I would get into one school after retaking the MCAT...at this point, I don't care which SMP I go to...I just want to start getting somewhere. Sometimes I think I should have stuck with NYMC program despite the negatives since at least I would already be working on graduate work.

But I can't do anything about it now, so I'm trying to turn things around. As much as I would like to study abroad, if it isn't going to really help, then I probably won't end up doing it. I know if my parents were complaining about the cost of living in NY...I'm sure they would get on my case especially if I have to do a SMP after going abroad.
 

DrMidlife

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OK, so the basic recipe for getting into med school is to get great grades and pretty much never make a mistake. Advisers do pretty well advising such folks.

If you don't "follow the recipe," and you still want to get into med school, then most advisers have no freaking clue what to do with you.

So I suggest that you need to own your comeback recipe. Do a ton of research (for example: how much more would you know about the Georgetown SMP if you read every single one of the 10,000 Yahoo groups posts...most of which are questions from Californians with 3.1's asking WAMC). Consider hiring a consultant like Judy Colwell or MedEdits. Find people who are in med school who had your stats. Be all over the AAMC FACTS site. Give DO a fair shake.

Please make sure to collect multiple SDN opinions, and keep in mind that it's free. Think critically; be polite.

Here's my specific advice for you.
1. Berkeley Extension is great. I strongly encourage you to take as many hard science classes there as you possibly can, while you're waiting for things to happen. Every A helps your story. And it's not at all true that more undergrad is useless - no, you can't get your 3.1 up into competitive range without spending years at it, but an upward trend is going to be noticed.
2. Assuming your first MCAT was a disaster, don't retake it until you are ready to get a competitive score. If April is too soon, then wait. This is the one big fat number that is still arguably under your control, and it will make or break you. So what if it "costs" you another year.
3. SMPs are hard. I strongly recommend that you prove to yourself that you're an A student under a hard load of science before you take on an SMP.
4. SMPs are not standard. If you go to Georgetown, you can assume you're not getting into Georgetown, and you can assume that applying to UCs (and others) after doing very well at Georgetown is a fair bet. If you go to EVMS, you can assume you're going to EVMS: with a 3.1 you're not likely to get in someplace else during the SMP. If you go to Drexel, you have to pick the right program and likely spend 2 years in it, and then who knows. If you go to Boston or Loyola or Tufts, there's no data to tell you what to predict, but these are generally good programs. A program that is not hosted at a med school is questionable (except for Loyola).
5. An SMP that will let you apply successfully a couple months before school starts is the least likely SMP to help you. A good SMP app, imho, is a very-solid-with-only-one-exception-and-that's-undergrad-GPA med school app. ECs/LORs/essays are done. MCAT is maxed. And the SMP app is submitted the day the app opens, which is as early as October.

Hopefully others will pipe up to give you some contrast.

Best of luck to you.
 

epk1231

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5. An SMP that will let you apply successfully a couple months before school starts is the least likely SMP to help you. A good SMP app, imho, is a very-solid-with-only-one-exception-and-that's-undergrad-GPA med school app. ECs/LORs/essays are done. MCAT is maxed. And the SMP app is submitted the day the app opens, which is as early as October.

Hopefully others will pipe up to give you some contrast.

Best of luck to you.

I know for sure Georgetown is out...So I'm interested in BU, Drexel, EVMS, Tufts, UMDNJ, Midwestern-AZ, Loyola, RFU, Western and Touro...so I would be pretty much out of luck on most, if not all of these if I applied in May? If I had to choose some of the programs to try my hand at, which should I go for?

If I do end up taking more time off...then I guess I'll have to figure something out...hmmm maybe if I have enough time I can complete enough classes to get the certificate from Berkeley Ext while I reapply to SMPs.

Thanks for the advice!!!

So I guess at the end of it all...1) abroad is basically just for the experience and 2) if I'm applying to SMPs, it is most likely too late to apply in May. Kind of sucks to hear that, but it doesn't help to get all the fluffy stuff.
 
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