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history major concern??? what do you think??

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by dondon, Apr 14, 2007.

  1. dondon

    dondon 7+ Year Member

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    I am a history major with a 3.62 GPA... is that worth less then a bio or chem major???

    when admission committees look at my GPA... is a 3.6 history GPA worth less then a 3.6 science GPA???
     
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  3. Vvandenn

    Vvandenn Member 2+ Year Member

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  4. WantsThisBad

    WantsThisBad Member 2+ Year Member

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    The general consensus is that your major or concentration doesn’t matter to med schools. In fact, if you are a history major you may stand out because everyone else is a Biology or Chem major. What will really end up mattering is you science GPA which would be the GPA for all of the science and math courses you have taken. If that’s good then it should matter.
     
  5. lord_jeebus

    lord_jeebus 和魂洋才 Moderator Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Relax, it probably isn't worth less.

    Even if it is, what are you going to do about it?
     
  6. nassir

    nassir Member 5+ Year Member

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    Although a high overall GPA is important to have to remain a competetive applicant for medical school, it is also important to consider which field you are more passionate about. You should choose a path that you will be most sincere and enjoy the most regardless of what that path is, because it will be this passion that will be transparent to the admissions committee more so than your numbers when you interview or when they read your essays.

    I myself struggled to decide between biochem/bio versus history as my major. But by my junior year, I chose history not because I thought it would be any easier (and I would argue that it is not an easy path), but because I realized how much I loved it and I got a thrill from the challenges the field offered. I also realized that I would not have a chance to explore it once in med school.

    For me, this decision was the wisest one I have made in my undergrad career. I feel that much of what helped me "stand out" in the whole process (especially in answering secondary questions) was that I was a non-science major and was able to show med schools my passion in both history as well as in the sciences.

    Having been accepted to three schools now, it is my humble opinion that ad coms are looking for well rounded individuals and one of several ways to prove your well-roundedness is to excel in non-science fields while excelling in the sciences.

    Feel free to PM of you have further Qs.
     
  7. SupergreenMnM

    SupergreenMnM Peanut, not chocolate 2+ Year Member

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    Yes.
     
  8. Non-TradTulsa

    Non-TradTulsa Senior Member - Resident 7+ Year Member

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    No, it's not worth less at all. And, these days, medical schools are putting such a huge emphasis on having a well-rounded class that being a history major will probably be very much welcomed - as long as you have acceptable pre-req grades and a decent MCAT.

    Unfortunately, what often happens in the "real" world is that applications are screened by admission office folks for minimum standards for GPA and MCAT. They don't give two hoots about what your major was (nor who you are, for that matter). So, if you had a 2.5 as a history major you'd be in just as much trouble as an astrophysics major with a 2.5. Once you get past the initial screening, the "soft" stuff starts to matter much more - who you are, what you did with your life, and what's in your personal statement. You just have to have good enough "numbers" to get past the admissions office in order to get to the admissions committee.
     
  9. Anastasis

    Anastasis caffeinated for safety Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    I had that same GPA in Engl/Psyc... what's your science GPA? As long as that's decent I think you're okay. You're right at the average (or alittle above) for accepted gpas.
     
  10. MissSonu

    MissSonu

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    I majored in English in undergrad, and I applied to medical school with a 3.65 GPA. I got waitlisted to the two schools I interviewed at, and I ultimately did not get in. At my interviews, they grilled me on what science classes I *had* taken in and wanted to make sure I continued to take more science classes, even though I had completed my prereqs. Had I done superbly in my science classes, they probably wouldn't have done that. However, I had a 3.35 science GPA, which was not enough to convince them that I was ready for medical school. Not only had I only taken slightly more than the prereqs, but I hadn't done a great job in them. The question you should actually be asking yourself is not whether a 3.6 in a History major is okay (which it is - it's great!), but whether your science GPA is good enough.

    Hope that helps!
     
  11. SupergreenMnM

    SupergreenMnM Peanut, not chocolate 2+ Year Member

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    In pc world, it isn't. In RL, it is. Sorry, sucks I know. The well rounded part will help, but the question was if a 3.6 lib art gpa is equal to a 3.6 science. Sorry, nope. Even 3.6 science ain't all that great. Hope the rest of your app makes up for the low gpa and you do well on the mcat.
     
  12. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    If you have done well in the prereqs, you are fine. Med schools take history majors - nonsci majors do fine in the process. The days of it being an advantage to be eg a bio major for med school ended in the 1980s. These days, it's likely harder to distinguish yourself if you are one.
     
  13. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    ROFL -- you are way off. Write back once you are in med school and see how many of your classmates were nonsci majors with similar GPAs. Schools like diversity of majors in their classes. The days of bio majors being the ideal premed major ended back in the 1980s. The number of nonsci majors in med school has steadilly increased since then.

    And a 3.6 is at or above average GPA for most places, so that won't be an impediment to med school regardless of your major.
     
  14. Non-TradTulsa

    Non-TradTulsa Senior Member - Resident 7+ Year Member

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    Being a business major used to be absolute medical school poison - but my adcom was rather interested in the fact that I'd been a CPA in hospitals for over 20 years (being over 40 used to be the kiss of death, too, but I managed to get into a good allo school - although I'll admit it wasn't easy). Doctors are actually interested in the business side of how medicine works these days and I think they decided that, since I was coming over from the "dark side" of hospital administration, I was a useful addition. However, in terms of difficulty, I had gone to a top-10 accounting school and also had an M.S. in the subject, which I doubt hurt.

    MissSonu, I'm sorry you had a bad experience. But - I didn't say that I do think science GPA counts more than overall every time (as long as the overall is "acceptable"). A 3.35, a middle "B", ought to be good enough for medical school but, in most cases, it isn't. I also think that taking the minimum pre-reqs is really bad for your app. The minimums in chemistry, orgo, and physics are fine (my opinion) - but I think everyone ought to have biochem, cell bio, and genetics - plus micro if there's time. I had people laugh at me for taking time for micro - and then I had at least three pure micro passages on my MCAT form and definitely got the last laugh. I had three out of those four courses (and no life at all since I was working full-time while doing pre-reqs).
     
  15. Non-TradTulsa

    Non-TradTulsa Senior Member - Resident 7+ Year Member

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    Bravo, Law2Doc. Our friend should go look at the statistics that say that English majors overall do better on the MCAT and Step 1 by a statistically-significant margin, because they have better reading skills. Proven fact.
     
  16. Non-TradTulsa

    Non-TradTulsa Senior Member - Resident 7+ Year Member

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    Sorry to be so chatty this morning - I've had my third cup of coffee (it's the weekend after test block and my sleep patterns are totally blown).

    One thing that I think ought to be said... and I'm not seeing that much discussion of it on the pre-allo board (I've just been briefly reading since I can no longer look at SDN during block). The problem with grades these days are that applications are going WAY up. The word about the impending physician shortage is really getting out.

    Harvard and UCSF are getting 5,000 apps a year, just like they always have. However, you can really see the trend at my more humble University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. OU is ranked for primary care, however, and is quite well-respected nationally with a very respectable match list year after year. My class (2010) was the first class to break 1,000 applications for 162 seats (up from 150 in earlier years). Everyone was astounded that we got 1,100 apps for the Class of 2010. Well, there were just shy of 1,500 applications for 2011 - and the 2011 rise in our mean MCAT was scary. Lord knows what it will be for 2012. Grades have always been super-important - but, believe it or not, applications in recent years with odds of getting in of roughly 1:2 overall are not that bad historically. Looks like we're going back to the old days when the odds were more like 1:4. Sure, schools are increasing seats, but applications are rising faster. At my school, for instance, we have 170 useable seats in the auditorium and 170 desk spaces in the modules. We can't go over 170 without blowing up the building and starting over.
     
  17. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    At least one school broke 10,000 applications this year, which is pretty mind boggling. I don't know that you can chalk it up to physician shortage though, since there hasn't been a salary boom (and likely won't) because of this. I chalk it up to TV -- everybody wants to be House.
     
  18. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon 7+ Year Member

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    More likely McDreamy.

    To the OP: Non-sci majors are fine. Your GPA is fine. It isn't a 4.0 but you already knew that. The issue of UG major and acceptance has been studied and humanities do just as well as hard science.

    Speaking as a humanities major, you should make sure that you have a definite concentration/interest to talk about on interviews. It's better to say "I majored in Hist b/c of my interest in X" than "I majored in Hist b/c it is so interesting."
     
  19. SupergreenMnM

    SupergreenMnM Peanut, not chocolate 2+ Year Member

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    Have to disagree with you on this one. While I don't know much of the adcom of the school I am going to, the school I did my PhD in has left me very familiar with their process. Your point of a lot of non science majors making it into medical school is irrelevent. Look at what I was saying, he asked if the gpa was looked upon equally, not if non science has an equal/better chance of getting in. Sorry, its not, and I'd bet I have a bit more experience with that process than you, though I may be mistaken I doubt that your law school experience gave you the same insights (...unzip pants, pull out tape measure and measure...just kidding :D ). While there are differences in different sciences, the committees absolutely will not look at say a physics 3.6 compaired to a history 3.6 in the same light. Both are a bit unique (as you mentioned bio majors...please show me where I spoke of those) and will have that to their advantage, but only the physics major can pull the 'I was in a very difficult major' card as an explaination for his low gpa.

    Also, side note of some relevence: most committees will like to see more than just min science prereqs if you are a non science major. And Law2doc, if yours didn't I'd argue your situation was unique.
     
  20. HreComesTheSun

    HreComesTheSun 5+ Year Member

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    way to address the actual question MnM, i wouldn't expect anything less from someone who has had PhD training ;) this does fall in line with the idea that adcoms are a bit more lenient for engineering majors

    op, assuming that the rest of your app is solid, your gpa should be just fine regardless of major
     
  21. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Not even close to unique -- a lot of us nonsci types were well recieved with our unusual majors and mere prereqs. I said that a 3.6 is going to be a 3.6 is going to be a 3.6. Some adcoms reportedly give some extra weight to engineering but definitely not to things like bio or chem (the majors in the OPs post, to which you responded to). While you are welcome to your opinion, it's just not so.

    I have no idea why you think a PhD gives you insight (it should actually give you less, since the diversity of majors going into specific PhD programs is far more limited). Nor would a law degree. But being further along in the process gives you more insight in terms of how your own credentials (and those of your classmates) were regarded though.
     
  22. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    I majored in history. Adcoms don't prefer science majors to non-science majors. As long as you did well in your prereqs, you should be fine.
     
  23. BigRedPremed

    BigRedPremed Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    What is your science GPA? If you have a 3.1 in science and a 3.9 in your history classes, yeah, you're in trouble and your 3.6 overall wouldn't be as highly regarded as a chem major with a 3.6. Well-roundness, diversity, blah blah blah is fine and all and God knows we all hate those bio majors, but in the end medical schools want students who they know will be able to pass their classes.
     
  24. HreComesTheSun

    HreComesTheSun 5+ Year Member

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    first, l2d, please don't put down my field, i didn't do it to you...

    second, i can't speak for all PhD's, but what you're failing to see is that our PI's, our friends PI's, our thesis committee members, and our collaborators may all be adcom members, current or former. PhD students develop very close relationships with these people who are more than willing to share their insight and advice on admissions. i have even overheard several adcom meetings in the office next door (i don't know why they keep the door open!), but of course i won't disclose anything i've heard. being further along just means you applied a few years before us, doesn't mean that you know more about the process, seeing as how MnM and i have both been accepted.
     
  25. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Okay, so here's where I'm calling BS on you. Sure, I buy that you have some inside knowledge on the selection process at the school you attended, but that doesn't mean that other schools work in the same way. So, yes, at your school maybe they want to see more science classes, but that wasn't my experience, nor was it Law2Doc's, nor was it true for lots of other applicants. I don't think you're in the position to judge whether or not one person's experiences are unique just because they don't match what you learned at the admissions process at ONE school.

    What I can say is that no one ever said anything to me about taking more science classes. Of course, my science gpa was a 3.8, and I scored above 10 on all the science sections on the MCAT. Taking more classes might be useful if the adcom has a reason to doubt your scientific aptitude, but if you can ace orgo and physics and do well on the MCAT, they're not going to worry.

    Also, a 3.6 is not a low gpa. It's not a fantastically great gpa, and we might be reaching the point where it's below average, but it's not low for either applicants or matriculants. Consequently, the op doesn't need to say he majored in something hard to counteract his gpa. Yes, his situation is different if his science gpa is low (say below 3.5), but we don't know that.
     
  26. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Actually if you read MnM's post again he pretty much did (he noted the lack of insight, I responded in kind; However in my post I suggested my degree didn't provide insight either, just my current progression down this path.) Also, a PhD is not a field.

    But I think you didn't get my drift -- I wasn't putting down PhD's, just saying that they don't have relevant insight into the plight of nonsci majors applying to med school -- particularly since far far fewer nonsci majors apply to science PhD programs.
     
  27. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    And what you are failing to see is that some of us already further along the path than you have similar contact to adcom members; current, not former...

    All I'm saying is a history major with the prereqs and a 3.6 is adequate. If med schools wanted more sciences, they would require more prereqs (a handful do require biochem, for example). You can believe whatever you want, but in the meantime there will be many people in many med school classes who took the minimum required and faced no hurdles anywhere.
     
  28. SupergreenMnM

    SupergreenMnM Peanut, not chocolate 2+ Year Member

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    Actually, I wasn't putting down your field. I was pointing out that having spent the last 4 years working with/researching with/going to baseball games with/speaking frequently with as equals with the people who make these decisions at my school gives me a better idea of what they want. I'm sorry you misinterpreted, but you came off as knowing exactly everything in your first post...and as to you being unique, I meant you were in that you already had an advance degree, don't try to imply that that didn't give you an advantage, just as my having done an advanced degree gave me one as well. My point was: have you sat around talking with an adcom, any adcom, for the last 4 years? I wasn't implying you lacked experience for any other reason than I think the answer to my question is no. And again...I would argue that a chem major has a more difficult time pulling gpa (btw I did a double major, lib arts and science as an undergrad).

    To the other poster who said that simply because it works one way at my school...well you are right and wrong. I admitted that I don't know how some other schools work, yet at the same time my schools is a major medical school, and they all seem to think they way they think is similar to how others think. Now if you are claiming that the varous people that make up our committee are all idiots and have no idea what they are talking about then feel free to continue that arguement. While I know various people want to defend lib arts majors, and thats fine, there are many reasons why a liberal arts person can stand out, however in the case of the specific question about the gpa I stand by my position. Of course there are plenty of lib arts majors in medical school, that wasn't the point...
     
  29. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Actually the answer is yes, in somewhat similar contexts to that which you described. :rolleyes:

    Never assume.
     
  30. Asianagirl

    Asianagirl 2+ Year Member

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    Wrong. 90% of schools rather take 3.8 BCPM and 3.5 overall than the other way around. :sleep:
     
  31. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    The point was that they were getting in with the same numbers as bio and chem majors, which is the case. Thus evidence that there are "plenty" is, in fact, directly on point.
     
  32. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    That wasn't the question.
     
  33. SupergreenMnM

    SupergreenMnM Peanut, not chocolate 2+ Year Member

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    You assumed I was making a direct comment about your profession...:rolleyes:

    I haven't this year, but last year I saw the database with applicants' gpas. And no, the science gpas and non science were not the same, so just saying they get in is not relevent to saying their gpas are the same. So if you claim that the adcom at my university are full of fools that have no clue what they are talking about when speaking of other schoos please give you evidence from your own, equal experience to back it up instead of simply stating you have experience.
     
  34. GreenShirt

    GreenShirt 10+ Year Member

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    The science GPA and the MCAT are the great equalizers and best indicators for the admissions committee. The overall GPA coming from different majors is probably more prone to interpretation. No, I don't sit on an adcom, but I can tell you I would have gotten better grades as a non-science major and worse grades as an engineer than as a Biology major at my school. Yes, some majors are easier than others and any adcom knows this! However if you're #s are good, the adcom's not going to care what your major is, and having a non-science major may be an interesting topic of conversation your during interviews.
     
  35. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Not saying they are fools at all, just saying they perhaps aren't reflective of the other 120 schools' adcoms out there. I don't know what evidence you expect to be provided -- mine is pretty much the same as yours on this topic (and I'm not going to name names, nor should you). I tire of this. Good luck in your med school endeavors.
     
  36. SupergreenMnM

    SupergreenMnM Peanut, not chocolate 2+ Year Member

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    Agreed. Especially with the highlighted.
     
  37. SupergreenMnM

    SupergreenMnM Peanut, not chocolate 2+ Year Member

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    Was going to say the same thing. Same to you.
     
  38. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Wow, way to misconstrue my argument. I see you're following typical SDN rhetoric by taking what I said and exaggerating it. I never said people at your school were "idiots" nor did I imply anything like that. However, you can't deny that every school has its own thing, and they all look for certain types of applicants. Also, adcoms that work together as a group start to develop at certain style and favor certain types of applicants. So, again, you'd have to have experience at multiple schools to really know how the game works generally. Also, you're the one who accused L2D (and I guess me and every other liberal arts person) of having a "unique" experience. So his reports are all anecdotal and can be shrugged off as "unique," yet yours can't? Yours are anecdotal, too.

    Anyway, if it really were such a big deal that students take more than the required prereqs, don't you think you'd hear more cases to back it up here on SDN? And, no, you can't use students who have a 3.3 science gpa and a 7 on the physical science or biological science part of the MCAT to further your argument because those students aren't rejected because of not taking more science classes.

    Also, last I looked, adcoms were not dominated by science PhDs, so even if your PI, thesis advisor, baseball game going science buddies all think one way doesn't mean the adcom as a whole thinks that way.
     
  39. SupergreenMnM

    SupergreenMnM Peanut, not chocolate 2+ Year Member

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    Actually, I took what you said to the extreme to show how illogical it was. I won't bother to reply more as from your post you didn't read or understand what I said. Good luck to you.
     
  40. foofish

    foofish 7+ Year Member

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    I was a history major and didn't seem to encounter any problems...if anything, several interviewers commented on it (or on not being a science major in general) in a very positive light, and one Dean of Admissions said that at their school, they had more history majors than any other major represented in their student body. (Really.) It's all about distinguishing and proving yourself in your field, doing the prereqs, getting a little clinical exposure, and not being a giant human turd. You'll be fine. :laugh:

    I could only bear to skim the beginning of the fight in this thread, but I can say that atleast at my undergrad, the sciences were known for their grade inflation, whereas the humanities were known for their grade deflation.
     
  41. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Wow, just wow! Thanks for insulting me and then wishing me a truly heartfelt "good luck." If only everyone at sdn were as sincere as you.
     
  42. SupergreenMnM

    SupergreenMnM Peanut, not chocolate 2+ Year Member

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    Sorry you felt that way. I didn't insult you, just pointed out that from your post it was obvious you didn't read what I posted (for example, I was a lib art undergrad...:rolleyes: ). If I wanted to insult you I woulda said something like 'wow, I didn't know a 4 on the verbal still got one into med school these days'.;)
     
  43. The Buff

    The Buff The Big Cat 7+ Year Member

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    Right behind you...
    I found this to be the case as well. I don't know why everyone assumes that non-sci majors are automatically easier than science majors. To me, (and I was a non-sci major) writing a coherent 20 page paper on a topic plus smaller papers every week is just as difficult as memorizing biochem pathways. Plus, the highly subjective grading scales in non-sci majors can make it difficult to get A's in every class. I think what is harder depends on what you personally are better at, and that is why adcoms probably look at them more or less equally.
     
  44. HreComesTheSun

    HreComesTheSun 5+ Year Member

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    i'm not surprised you really wanted to get this nitpicky, l2d...instead of wasting your time trying to pick at trivial word meanings just to be condescending, you should have focused on the fact that i said i did not attack the field you previously worked in. "he started it" is a bit awkward of a response at our level...please try to stick to the relevant issues...i understand that you offer helpful advice in general, but it's this unnecessary condescending tone that seems to turn people off
     
  45. HreComesTheSun

    HreComesTheSun 5+ Year Member

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    oh man, i think that you probably know yourself that it is a bit of a joke for you to try to even compare the relationship of a med student with a prof to that of a PhD student with his/her mentor...<sigh> and yes, with current adcom members, i just thought it was unnecessary to push that point

    and please read my above posts before making these responses, i said the exact same thing to the OP that you just said to me...i never mentioned anything about needing more science classes, you'll have to go back to MnM for that one
     
  46. lsumedgirl

    lsumedgirl Livin' the dream! 2+ Year Member

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    To the OP, relax. I don't think ad coms will look at your application and say, "Oh, this GPA is low for an "easy" major." Btw, I'm a history major, and I wouldn't call it easy; just as I wouldn't call biochem, or business, or physics easy. The ad coms will take your whole application into consideration, and as far as GPA, most everyone seems to be right... they'll look at your science GPA and MCAT scores to gauge your knowledge on that.

    All of my interviewers commented on my history degree and were really interested in my studies in that field, as well as my knowledge of science.

    So, the notion that schools have different scales for measuring GPA based upon major is bunk. Yep, I'm the little history major that earned myself a place in med school, so yes, it can certainly be done.
     
  47. geogil

    geogil Still training. 7+ Year Member

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    OP, relax. I got into med school with the exact same GPA, and I was a History/French double major. To those who claim that history is an 'easy' major, I disagree. The amount of synthetic original thought required of a history student exceeds that of a science student until you get to about the 400 level where they equal out. I can't think of any science class that required me to do original research without being explicitly a research class. (i'm not talking about some lame respiration experiment in bio1)
     

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