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GPA: 3.56, sGPA: 3.48, low MCAT, no letters

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by willeh21, Aug 1, 2015.

  1. willeh21

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    Hey y'all,

    So I'm basically trying to decide what my next step should be.
    I graduated in August with a 3.56 GPA and a 3.48 science GPA.

    I've been working as a scribe manager for almost a year now (since graduation).
    My extracurriculars are pretty good.
    Dean's list.
    First generation.
    LOW MCAT
    NO LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION

    Because I was doing well in school, I never really found it helpful to go to the teacher's office and ask them for some LORs. Then it came back and bit me in the rear end. My school offers a committee letter, but I don't think that's feasible at this point due to the lack of letters and the low MCAT.

    Should I go for a postbac or a masters program?
    Any other recommendations?
     
  2. redbird1133

    2+ Year Member

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    How low is "low mcat"? If it's below 30, maybe consider retaking it? Can you get a letter from someone at your scribe job/anyone else? It is very important to have LORs, so if you really don't have any then I'd suggest a postbac could be a good idea, or try to get some experience somewhere else to get letters. It seems your GPA could cut it, especially if aided by a decent mcat, so maybe try studying harder/in a different way and retake it.
    Good luck!
     
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  3. avgn

    avgn Lv 30, HP 85
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    Do you have anyone else besides teachers who know you well and can write about you positively? Did you not come into contact with any adults in a meaningful way at all over 4 years of college? What your boss at your job?
    Also, this is a dead horse at this point but if you have a <3.5 sGPA, you were not doing so well in school so as to never visit your professors. Don't make the same mistake again!

    What else have you been doing for this past year? Just working and MCAT? If the MCAT is that low, you need to retake it, no questions asked. If you want to go MD, you should either do an SMP or just go take classes to boost up the grades (often called a DIY post-bacc). I don't know what the standards are for DO these days, sorry.

    GET OUT AND MAKE RELATIONSHIPS WITH PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH. I know it's difficult being first-generation and not having lots of guidance on what to do and when, but START RIGHT NOW.
     
  4. willeh21

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    I can get letters from most if not all of the physicians that I work with. I have built very close relationships with them.
    However, my fear is that I don't have a composite letter from my school and I've heard terrible things about not going through the committee if there's one available. Is this true?

    Also, I do plan on retaking my MCAT, but given my financial situation, I've found it hard to be able tow work 40+ hours a week and sit down and study extensively as I feel I should. That's why I thought maybe a program with MCAT preparation could help me.
     
  5. avgn

    avgn Lv 30, HP 85
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    It depends where you are from. If you're from some no name school without a committee letter, people wouldn't even know that your school offered the service. If you're from the Ivies/JHU/UCs where people see committee letters all the time, they will notice.

    I sympathize with you. First off, there are no academic programs that offer MCAT preparation. You would be looking at like a prep class with Kaplan/Princeton Review. But more importantly, if you can't find the time to study well for the exam, no prep course is going to help you at all. You need to be able to figure out how to balance work and study. Do a search for this type of situation; plenty before you have come across the same difficulty and I am 100% sure there is stuff on this website that will help you. Just got to go find it
     
  6. willeh21

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    I'll do that, thank you!
    Also, say I get my recommendations in. My MCAT score is 496 which isn't all that great, I'm sure.
    Does anyone know of any schools that I should aim for with those stats?
     
  7. avgn

    avgn Lv 30, HP 85
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    Absolutely nowhere. Sorry but that is the truth; you will not find a different answer. 496 is 37th percentile, or 23 on the old scale. You will not get into any schools with that score. You need to be at least in the 50-60th percentile for even DO schools to start considering your application since your GPA is average for DO. 75th percentile+ would be safest.
     
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  8. redbird1133

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    I know what you mean about working those 40+ hour weeks and trying to study for the mcat, it's so tough! But i'd say try to make a solid plan for each week. Set aside time where you HAVE to study. It will be exhausting but if you're really serious about it you can do it! A prep class could be a good idea because that would give you those hours in a week where you'd be committed but you need time on top of that to review material and such. You could also try cutting back a small amount on your hours for a couple months while you study. I know that may be tough in terms of finances though. It's definitely possible to boost your score immensely if you isolate your problem and work at it. In terms of letters, it's tough to know if you don't actually work on the acceptance committee of a med school but really they're looking for people who can speak about you as a person, so if you know some doctors who could really speak about your personality, why you'll make an excellent doctor, your work ethic, etc. then that sounds good to me.
     
  9. Shirafune

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    1) Go masters and focus on an awesome GPA.
    2) Build relationships with science faculty during masters. Find non-science faculty LOR. It can just be your average letter.
    3) Study hard and go retake the MCAT.

    You may decide to retake the MCAT and plan accordingly. If your MCAT is not in range for MD, you may consider post-bacc for DO grade replacement (feel free to correct me; I am not familiar with pre-osteo tracks). Either way, #2 still stands. #3 is a must. #2 will fall into place if you follow up on #1.
     
  10. Lord Osis

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    Allow me to oppose, please don't take this personally.

    1. Unless it's an SMP, getting a Master's will not help you. AMCAS counts undergrad and grad GPAs separately. Getting a 4.0 Master's GPA will not practically help an applicant.
    2. If you have a graduate degree, the LoR requirement becomes pretty tricky. Many schools will want letters from undergrad AND grad school separately, and this policy varies from school to school. There is no general rule to this, but at least some schools stipulate this requirement specifically. This means getting Master's in this case may backfire OP.
    3. If you want to become a doctor, why not DO? They accept grade replacement, so doing some good post-bacc work (not Master's!!!!) will potentially make you a competent candidate for DO. Probably MD as well, as long as your application tells a very compelling story that can offset your stats.
     
  11. md-2020

    md-2020 The Immaculate Catch
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    If you are URM the HBCUs and Puerto Rico trio might take a look at you.
     
  12. avgn

    avgn Lv 30, HP 85
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    With a 496/23 MCAT? How low are the standards in PR?
     
  13. md-2020

    md-2020 The Immaculate Catch
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    Quite, b/c of the unique student requirements.

    San Juan Bautista average 3.43 GPA and 21 MCAT
    Ponce averages 3.67 GPA and 23 MCAT
    Puerto Rico SOM averages 3.75 and 25 MCAT
     
    #13 md-2020, Aug 2, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2015
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  14. samac

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    He doesn't need grade replacement for DO, just a higher MCAT.
     
  15. GrapesofRath

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    The SMP talk is nonsense. Your GPA isn't an issue and above average for DO schools. Your MCAT is. 23 is just very low. I'm hesitant to even recommending focusing on newer DO schools even with an above average GPA with that 23.

    Study for the retake that should be your focus. Considering you already have a bad score on your record, you really should try to aim for the bare minimum of 26-27+. I can't recommend MDs unless there is a major dramatic improvement in the MCAT score on the retake.

    As for rec letters physician letters won't really mean much in most situations. You NEED letters from professors who taught you. a) either suck it up man up and go ahead and ask them. You literally can't apply without rec letters. Even if the letters aren't great it's something b) if you really have NOBODY you need to put yourself in a position to have someone to vouch for you. Do a DIY post bacc take a couple science classes, work on making meaningful relationships with professors and acing the classes.
     
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  16. FutureD.O

    FutureD.O OU-HCOM OMS-II
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    If you are willing, apply to Lecom's post-bac. Maintain a 3.0 or above in their one year program and you'll matriculate into the med school. I know 3 people who have done this and are all first year students at Lecom.

    They required a minimum of a 23 on the old mcat to matriculate into the medical school. I'm not sure what they want for the new mcat. If you're willing to work an additional year, call the school and ask for more information. An additional year in the grand scheme of things is nothing imo..

    Edit: just checked their website..you need be in the 40th percentile..
     
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  17. Lord Osis

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    Oh, you're right. To look back, I wonder why I was too obsessed with the GPA issue and thought it was the GPA that was too low and not the MCAT.

    So, a revised bottom line -
    1. Do a good postbacc work for GPA remedy to be considered a decent MD applicant.
    2. Say no to Master's.
    3. Retaking the MCAT to get a good score is priority, regardless of MD or DO. Taking more than twice without a significant score increase is not recommended. Some people say it's a red flag.
     
  18. Meeehai

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    As far as I know, if the school doesn't require a committee letter, then not having one won't harm your application as long as you have strong letters. If you're struggling financially, I recommend to avoid any MCAT prep classes like Kaplan or TPR, they're very pricey - just buy the books instead. When I studied for the MCAT I paid for a TPR course, it's just people presenting the material to you that's ALREADY in the books... It's not worth the money and time, unless you have a really hard time sitting down and committing to learning the material in the books/study materials.
     

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