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GPA vs MCAT vs extracurrics

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by jimjones, Mar 3, 2001.

  1. jimjones

    jimjones Senior Member
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    Anyone with a lowish GPA and a good MCAT and good extracurriculars confident they'll get in someplace? I'll have about a 3.15 showing improvement towards the end. An honors degree too. And it seems my MCAT will go well, I'm scoring 30+ on the practice tests already. And I've travelled lots and have had a serious sporting interest. Can anyone comment on this... It's hard to shake the idea that GPA is the main factor that will get you interviews or rejections.
     
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  3. wooo

    wooo Senior Member
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    People tend to worry about their weaknesses, whatever they may be.

    4.00 with a low MCAT = poor chance.
    3.15 with good/really good MCAT = good chance.

    Zero extracurriculars = poor chance
    some extracurriculars = no damage

    Summary:

    MCAT above 30 can have a gpa as low as 3.1-3.2.

    MCAT below 25 must have a 3.85-4.0.

    MCAT is the most important, but you must have a decent gpa.

    You cannot get away with zero ec's but you don't need to be Mother Theresa either.


    SIDE NOTE: these are my opinions. Don't waste our time slamming me for these generalizations. Yes, I know the application must be well rounded. I know you cannot tell someone their chances w/o having the whole picture. This is just information to help someone with a question.

    (It's a shame that I have to do this to keep from getting slammed.)

    [This message has been edited by wooo (edited 03-04-2001).]
     
  4. I agree with Woo. Also, I'd like to add that if you have a major other than Biology or Biochemistry, that your GPA can be around the 3.0-3.5 region with a 27+ MCAT. This is just to get an interview, however. In general, you want to have a 3.5 GPA and a 30+ MCAT. With those stats you can be sure that you'll get in to most anywhere that you apply. I agree with woo that MCAT is more important, if you have a mediocre to low MCAT, your chances decline considerably. I know MANY MANY MANY Bio majors with nearly perfect GPAs and MCATs in the range of 20-25 that got zero interviews. Just do well on the MCAT, good luck.

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  5. Sam Adams

    Sam Adams Member
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    After my application experience, I would definately say that your MCAT is very important. It was explained to me that GPA is a great predictor of academic caliber, but isn't necessarily a reflection of academic rigor. That is to say, the MCAT is a way that puts all students on equal ground. It allows ADcoms a measure to evaluate students on equal terms. However, a very high GPA does work in your favor. I would recommend that you score 28+ to increase the probability of interviews and rate of acceptance.

    Personally, my GPA was fairly respectable with honors in Graduate School. Out of 8 schools, I received one interview..I'm still waiting for 3. I initiated dialogue with many of the ADcoms and it was stated that I was rejected NOT because of my GPA...but because of my MEDIOCRE MCAT SCORES.
    --As a rule of thumb, it can be said that a student can be taught many principles of science. However, one cannot be taught how to reason. Thus, beef up on your MCAT...do well on your verbal!!! I have been told that this section is indicative of success in med. school.

    -hope that this helps
     
  6. jimjones

    jimjones Senior Member
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    Wow thanks you guys for the great responses. I feel good about the MCAT. I'm surprized its not more competetive.. you'd think people would dedicate a whole semester to acing it. But most people seem happy to just get it over with. I think its the tool I need to get back in the ball game. Thanks again, good luck to all.
     
  7. biophysicsbadass

    biophysicsbadass Junior Member
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    Hey jimjones,
    I am in the same boat you are, lower GPA ( around a 3.1, albeit from a very good university, double major in Physics and Physiology, 3.9 my last year and a half), great MCAT's, grad school GPA 3.9, and tons of other stuff. But I'm still worried its not good enough, mostly because I haven't heard of anyone getting in with great MCAT's and low GPA, even from good schools. I get the picture of these adcoms sitting in a room with primaries separating them into a no or yes pile just based on your numbers without looking at circumstance. Its nerve racking, but I suppose there is nothing to be done about it except hope that someone does take the time to look at circumstance and realize that GPA's do not always reflect merit. Good luck to you.
     
  8. ithinkso

    ithinkso Junior Member
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    TELL ME THIS IS TRUE.. because my gpa is crappy and im "hoping" i will do well on MCAT. well i guess Mcat will decide for me right???
     
  9. lilycat

    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    I think it kind of depends on what schools you are shooting for -- if you are hoping for a lot of schools in the Top 25, then I definitely believe that your lower GPA will keep you from getting interviews, even if you have a 30+ MCAT. That was just my experience, and from looking at other people's stats around here, it seems to hold true -- really high GPA, mediocre MCAT will get you the interview at a top school, but the other way around seems more rare. That being said, as long as your heart isn't set necessarily on a Top 10, or possibly even Top 25, and you have the necessary smattering of extracurrics., you should be able to get your foot in the door at a lot of places. By the way, you mentioned a "serious sporting interest" -- it has also been my experience that serious athletes tend to fare extremely well in this process. I'm not totally sure why, but it's just something I've seen over the years. Good luck.
     
  10. Dave2K

    Dave2K Member
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    I'm right there in the little boat with jimjones and biophysicsbadass. I'm now at the tail-end of my 2nd round of applications. Graduated from college with a 3.2 and a 33 MCAT 11/11/11. Nobody was interested. I had one interview at my state school and a prompt rejection afterwards.
    After a year of genetics research, I went back to grad school and will be getting an MPH in May with a 3.8 So, this year's application should be much better, right?
    Well, guess what? Again, one interview at my state school. Although it was MUCH earlier in the cycle (October) I'm still waiting to hear back. Probably will be waitlisted.

    Bad grades in college continue to haunt you. Of course, what really killed me is the "trend." You can make up for poor grades by showing that you were putting forth the effort to improve yourself academically. If your senior year average is noticeably better than your freshman year average, adcoms will cut you some slack. Unfortunately for me, too much partying/not enough studying slowly caught up with my. My year-by-year GPA broke down as follows: 4.0 / 3.6 / 3.0 / 2.6 with a smattering of C's, two W's, one D and one F. I graduated on academic probabation (I was honored to find out that I was among a select few students to make both the Dean's list and the academic probation list!)

    Sadly for me, my MCAT scores expire this year. So, if I don't get in to CU this year (Please, God!) it'll be back to the books and time to dust off the long-abandoned portions of my brain where OChem and Physics are stored...Good luck to everybody and hopefully somebody can learn from my mistakes!

    Bottom line: Party EARLY in college and then make up for it in later years, not the other way around!
     
  11. HumbleServant

    HumbleServant Junior Member
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    Just my $0.02:

    I wasn't quite sure about the whole process (i.e. how it worked, my chances,.. i'd heard conflicting reports), so I decided to apply to 30 schools -- yup, that's right, 30. It was quite a bit of money (do the math) and quite a bit of time spent writing essays and forcing myself to figure out why I "wanted" to go to each school -- a reason that would be convincing for each. Here are my stats:

    30 schools applied to
    10 interviews
    6 interviews attended (received acceptance, canceled last four interviews)
    2 accepts so far
    1 reject
    3 responses yet to come

    The two I received accepts from were good schools (top 50, and I think rating med schools is overrated).

    GPA: 3.8/4.0 Graduated 3.5 yrs, honors
    Major: Biochem.
    Extracurric: Volunteered and Worked at Rehab. hosp. for 6 months
    Computer Industry experience (computer consultant for 1.5 years)

    Good recommendations help a little too.

    The interviews are also a key decider -- I read all about different things -- heavily referred to www.interviewfeedback.com -- it all paid off.

    Hope this helps -- i really didn't have anyone to guide me in this whole process.

    HS
     
  12. pcl

    pcl Senior Member
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    Ive been accepted to several schools with grades similar, over 30 MCATS. I've had people tell me that my letters of Recc, my MCAT's, work experiences, etc... were the deciding interview factor because, from a statistical perspective, I'm a marginal candidate.

    My point is, you never know until you try, but MCAT will be valuable, as well as your personal statement. I discussed my grade trend briefly and positively in the statement and during one interview the guy told me that particular sentence had been underlined and circled by the reviewer. "My undergraduate grades may not fully support my candidacy; however, two factors assure me I can succeed in medical school and as a physician..."

    Good Luck! It can be done, I just think it depends on whose hands your application falls into...

    [​IMG]
     

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