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Future M.D. Applicant

Discussion in 'What Are My Chances?' started by Smitty02086, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. Smitty02086

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    Hello, first post on the SDN forums, long time reader. I just graduated from Loyola University Chicago this past May with a less-than-stellar GPA (cGPA: 3.1/sGPA: 3.5). A post-bacc or SMP is definitely in store for me in the Fall of 2009, but I was wondering how crippling my GPA would be as a future applicant for a MD program.

    Events in college include:
    *Student Volunteering for children w/ severe mental and physical disabilities
    *Volunteering at Chidren's Memorial Hospital in Chicago (Hematology division)
    *Shadowing a physician (100+ hours)
    *Wind Ensemble member for 2 years
    *Formed an official political club freshman year, took Secretary position

    My major concern at this point is if the strength of the post-bacc GPA will be enough to negate some of the damage caused by the undergrad GPA. Looking at other threads, I've noticed conflicting views regarding this matter (some people saying nothing will overwrite uGPA, others saying it will greatly benefit the application), so any other help would be appreciated. Thanks!
     
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  3. Mobius1985

    7+ Year Member

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    We all have different experiences and opinions (some wrong), so it's a good idea to read them all, educate yourself, and eventually form your own opinion. More detailed information on formal postbacs and SMPs can be found at: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/forumdisplay.php?f=71 Especially read the first and last sticky at the top.

    Post baccalaureate classes, whether taken through a formal program, or informally on your own, are figured into your undergrad GPA, by which you are primarily judged by admissions committees. If your GPA of 3.1 was earned with 120 semester hours total, then an additional 60 hours of 4.0 GPA will raise your uGPA to 3.4, for example.
    The purpose of doing this is not only to get your GPA high enough that a school will not automatically screen you out without looking at the rest of the application, but also to prove to adcomms that you have what it takes to do well in a science-intense curriculum. So you need to take a lot of upper-level science classes.

    A masters degree which is not science-intense will not help you at all. It is just a nice EC. The GPA is listed separately on the application. If it is not high, it can hurt you.

    A Special Masters Program (SMP) is different, as it is science-intense and usually requires an MCAT score. They are expensive. One often takes classes along with med students. It is very difficult. If you don't do great, it will destroy your chances of ever being considered, and it won't make you more hire-able in the job market. Some, being linked with med schools, guarantee an interview (not an admission) if you keep your GPA above a certain point (like top 10%). Doing well may enable your consideration at other med schools too, thus trumping a low uGPA. This is not my area of expertise, so read more in the forum linked above (and regard any other opinion as more informed than mine).

    In addition to having two years of great grades, you'll need a good MCAT score to prove you understood the material. This should not be a problem for you, considering you have a higher sGPA.

    Your ECs look very good. Make them better by having an awesome leadership experience, so adcomms will say "WOW!" when they review your application. Also, get in a research experience, so more schools will consider you. With the handicap of a lower GPA, every other part of your application needs to be the best it can be.
     
    #2 Mobius1985, Dec 3, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2008
  4. Smitty02086

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    Thanks for the great info!

    This may be a stupid question, but how valued is high school education for adcomms?

    Reason being, I have a ton of ECs from back then, and most importantly, I have an excellent community service project. I was the NHS's Historian, and early in the year one of my classmates became injured in a garage accident, resulting in 75% of his body being covered in 2nd/3rd degree burns. Two other officers and I created the idea of a community-wide event, getting local business sponsors and various clubs of the high school to make a mini-golf course within the school in addition to a spaghetti dinner. We were able to gain a good amount of income for the victim's family, and the following year at the national convention the NHS was able to win a prize as one of the best projects.

    And yeah, I definitely need research under my belt, and I'm currently looking at Midwestern's Master's in Medical Sciences in Downer's Grove, IL as a future program.
     
  5. Mobius1985

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    Perhaps you are a fellow Illinoisan?

    Those high school experiences sound fantastic (like WOW!). Unfortunately, AMCAS won't let you list them, unless you continue the activity into the college years. Could you do another fund raiser in the summer for the same purpose or for someone else, with the NHS organization? They are so good, it's a shame not to make the extra effort to be able to use them.
     
  6. Smitty02086

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    Yep. From Oak Lawn, IL, and if you know where that is I'll be extremely surprised.

    Again, this may sound like a stupid question, but Midwestern is known as an Osteopathic school of medicine. Will that factor into my application into an allopathic school? I'm not really looking at tiers for allopathic, just plan on hitting all the major ones in IL (Loyola, Rush, Rosalind, UIC, SIU, etc) and some of the nearby out of state ones.

    From what I've read in the other forum, there hasn't been too much discussion about Rosalind Franklin's or Midwestern's SMP, so I'm wondering how many actual graduates of the program get into an allopathic medical school.
     
  7. mp1106

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    You will be fine. Some schools requires just a 3.0 gpa. Aim for at least a 30 on the MCAT and you will be fine with your EC's.

    Good Luck
     

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