Mar 18, 2010
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I have seen many people say they are worried about their "low" gpa's of 3.2, 3.5, 3.4 ect, and the advice given is that they can boost their gpa's with an SMP. I have also seen that most SMP's require a minimum 3.0 GPA to even apply.

I really didn't know what I was going to do as a career and put 0 effort toward my undergrad and only received a 2.7GPA. I have since got my act together (2 years later) and got a 1520 on the gre. I am fairly confident I can score high 30's to low 40's on the MCAT (based on practice questions/tests).

The question is... Will any SMP allow me to enroll, or will they throw out my application because of the minimum 3.0 GPA requirement? Does any amount of success in MCAT/GRE/SMP's make up for such a low gpa? And ultimately, do I stand any realistic chance of getting into medical school (I'm talking any school, Carribean ones included)? In an unrelated question, where can I get letters of recommendation if I have not been in school for 2 years (I'm guessing my professors would not remember me very well by now).

I understand it is my own fault for not trying in undergrad, but if I had known I would want to attend medical school I would have put in 110% to get top grades. Does the fact that it took me longer to figure out what I wanted out of life, mean I missed my chance to get it?

I have read some of the low GPA stories, and it seems some people found relief through years and years of postbac classes, but with student loan debts and interest I do not think I could support more than another 2 years of non-medical school courses.
 
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jslo85

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I have seen many people say they are worried about their "low" gpa's of 3.2, 3.5, 3.4 ect, and the advice given is that they can boost their gpa's with an SMP. I have also seen that most SMP's require a minimum 3.0 GPA to even apply.

I really didn't know what I was going to do as a career and put 0 effort toward my undergrad and only received a 2.7GPA. I have since got my act together (2 years later) and got a 1520 on the gre. I am fairly confident I can score high 30's to low 40's on the MCAT (based on practice questions/tests).

The question is... Will any SMP allow me to enroll, or will they throw out my application because of the minimum 3.0 GPA requirement? Does any amount of success in MCAT/GRE/SMP's make up for such a low gpa? And ultimately, do I stand any realistic chance of getting into medical school (I'm talking any school, Carribean ones included)? In an unrelated question, where can I get letters of recommendation if I have not been in school for 2 years (I'm guessing my professors would not remember me very well by now).

I understand it is my own fault for not trying in undergrad, but if I had known I would want to attend medical school I would have put in 110% to get top grades. Does the fact that it took me longer to figure out what I wanted out of life, mean I missed my chance to get it?

I have read some of the low GPA stories, and it seems some people found relief through years and years of postbac classes, but with student loan debts and interest I do not think I could support more than another 2 years of non-medical school courses.
I'll give this a shot with advice but keep in mind this is my own and other people in this forum will agree/disagree. I'll address each bolded statement in order.

Until you take the actual MCAT you will never know your score. Practice tests (past AAMC exams) are a fairly good gauge but until you take your exam, you'll never know how you will do. Rarely it'll be an easier experience and you'll score better but for the majority of people, it'll be 2-3 points below what you are achieving on your own. I think you already know this but it's too pre-emptive to even estimate what you might get and based on that hypothetical score to try and gauge where you might stand when everything is still outside your control (SMP/med school admissons)

With your GPA and the min GPA requirement of many SMP programs, the answer to your question is it is purely based off of the program you apply to. Certain competitive and sought after SMPs will toss out your application (screening) and others will take a look depending on how close you are to their requirement. Do some research and read through FAQ sections of programs that you are interested in to see if they are likely to consider your application. If there is no information, take the initiative to call the admissions office to speak with a counselor or admissions rep and ask if you will be considered considering you stats. I will say this though, if you meet their minimum requirements, your application will most likely be reviewed and considered in all aspects.

There is no guaranteed set combination of numbers or scores that will "offset" or balance factors. It is your entire application that they will consider and it is purely up to the admissions committee whether or not in their mind, you have the potential to succeed in medical school. If you have a low GPA over four years of studies, it automatically translates into you are unable to handle the heavy coursework in medical school. Whether that is because you are not mentally disciplined enough, not intelligent enough, you don't know the material, you are unable to comprehend the material, whatever. You just can't handle it based on what they can see. If you have a very high MCAT score with a low GPA, it would probably mean you know the material and you're intelligent, but you don't have the discipline or drive to constantly apply yourself which also leads them to think that you can't handle medical school. What an SMP will do for you is provide them with is your most recent academic performance in medical school classes graded against medical students that are already accepted. Will it offset your undergrad perforamnce? I really don't know, but since it has worked for many other people with poor uGPA, it would seem to be a strong persuasive argument that the past is the past and the current you can/will excel.

SMPs are also known to be more forgiving in looking at applications with a deficient factor because most of them serve a remedial purpose for students exactly of this kind. They will (if you pass minimum requirements) look at factors in your application that you will become a good physician (LOR/EC/Personal statement) in combination with everything else. Many conduct an interview as well.

You get LOR from science faculty, people with credentials in healthcare that can evaluate you, and others who know you well and can evaluate your personality in a professional sense. In general, I would say 2 LOR from science faculty, at least one from a physician shadowed, and another from an employer/supervisor who has worked with you for a while. I'm assuming the last applies to you because you seem to have been out of school for a while. I would suggest enrolling in a local university into some upper division science courses (microbiology, toxicology, etc) and attending office hours and really making an effort to know your professors so they can (if you do well in their class) write you a letter of recommendation at the end. I would also look into finding some doctors to shadow.

If you have financial burdens then I would immediately start doing research into possible options that are available to you. Is taking classes part time at a local university and then applying to SMPs an option? Is taking a formal AET program elsewhere another viable option for you? I mean these are questions you have to ask yourself because you are the only one who can really answer them. We can suggest options for you but it is far easier for both sides if you have thought everything through, have concrete stats instead of hypothetical, and outline the 2-3 paths that you are considering and people will be able to provide the pros/cons of each path to help you decide.
 

TyrKinase

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Are your cumulative and science GPAs both 2.7? How many units have you accumulated thus far? DrMidLife consistently offers the sage advice of making a spreadsheet and calculating where you are, and how many units at 4.0/3.9/3.7/etc it will take to edge you up to a specific cGPA and/or sGPA goal, be it 3.0, 3.4, etc.

If you're open to osteopathic schools (and you should be, they're a great option), you could focus on retaking a few pre-requisite courses in which you received Cs as well as some challenging upper-division science courses. Based on how the osteopathic application service works, your previous grades will be 'replaced' for the sake of the GPA calculation. Doing that has the potential of making a much shorter route to medical school and would allow you to obtain LORs and take your MCAT. It's a route I wish I had seriously considered before I embarked upon my own pre-med odyssey, which lasted four years and took me to three schools in different parts of the country. Mind you, this was after completing my BA.

As for offshore schools: you'll have a shot if you can swing an MCAT in the range you mentioned in your original post, but I would encourage you to aim for a domestic school (MD or DO). It might mean another year or two of coursework (at the undergraduate level or in an SMP, if you can get in) but in my mind, it'll be a good investment.

The number of residency spots isn't changing much, while the number of seats in both MD and DO schools are increasing. An offshore graduate will have an increasingly difficult time matching in the future, from what I've read.

Best of luck!