How much does a GRADUATE GPA help???

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caprisun

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mommy2three

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i can only tell you what i was personally told by admission reps/deans...i am sure you will find people with different opinions on this matter.
when i first applied i had a 3.2 overall undergrad gpa, 3.7 bcpm and a 26 R mcat (9p, 8b, 9v)....i applied to east coast schools (hubby and i were located there at the time for job) and did not even get a single solitary interview...nada zip zilch zero.
i called the admissions office and talked to numerous people about what i could do to improve my application to better my chances at getting in and they all told me the same thing....go to graduate school and get my master's.
they said this would prove i could succeed at a graduate courseworkw hcih is what med school is and that i could handle it. secondly it would give me a blank slate so to speak on my gpa since i had so many undergrad hours that it would not matter how many courses i took it would not raise my cum gpa much and retaking the courses i failed (in a different major) was not an option...so a grad gpa that was good would give me a boost in the gpa department and would offset my low undergrad gpa.

again this is just my personal experience based on what i was told...i think your improvement will help you...plus your improved mcat will definetly be in your favor.
gl and best wishes
 
D

deleted113029

your grad gpa will play a very small role. (i had a 4.0 grad gpa, 3.0 undergrad and adcoms told me undergrad gpa is way more important.) your improved senior undergrad gpa and much improved MCAT will play a bigger role. overall, you stand a good chance to matriculate at a state school. private top ranked schools would most likely be a waste of money and time...but do as you wish.

good luck.
 
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ana

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In your case, I think the grad gpa will help somewhat becaue it was a 4.0, especially if it was in a science realted discipline. If it had been less than a 4.0, then it might have dragged you down. But no, it isn't regarded as highly as a 4.0 in undergrad.

Sometimes, people are surprised that a 3.7 gpa in a graduate program is not regarded that highly. There is marked grade inflation in grad school (with exception of SMPs), and getting less than all A's doesn't look good.

However, I think your new and improved MCAT scores will help you tremendously this time around even more. Good luck.:thumbup:
 

ana

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when i first applied i had a 3.2 overall undergrad gpa, 3.7 bcpm and a 26 R mcat (9p, 8b, 9v)....i applied to east coast schools (hubby and i were located there at the time for job) and did not even get a single solitary interview...nada zip zilch zero.

I think this was probably related to your low MCATs. It is low even for DO schools. I think you could even get into a school next cycle if you were to simply raise your score by 4 points.


i called the admissions office and talked to numerous people about what i could do to improve my application to better my chances at getting in and they all told me the same thing....go to graduate school and get my master's.
they said this would prove i could succeed at a graduate courseworkw hcih is what med school is and that i could handle it.


Well, if this is what they said, who can contradict it? Actually, I think they told you this because you had already exhausted other options. I think you once posted you had already been to an SMP, where you say you did not fare as well as other students. Also, your gpa is already above the computer cutoff for most med schools, so there is no point to your talking more undergrad classes. I think grad school was simply the only other option that you had not tried yet (and there really isn't anything else the adcoms could recommend at this point).

secondly it would give me a blank slate so to speak on my gpa since i had so many undergrad hours that it would not matter how many courses i took it would not raise my cum gpa much and retaking the courses i failed (in a different major) was not an option...so a grad gpa that was good would give me a boost in the gpa department and would offset my low undergrad gpa.

Retaking classes really hurts more than it helps. You are expected to get an A in the retake (because you've had it before), and it really doesn't mean that much (because you took the class twice). However, if you get less than an A, then it looks really bad. So yes, this was good advice.

Study hard in grad school. It is much easier than SMPs or undergrad. ADCOMs know this, and getting less than a 4.0 looks kind of bad.
 

mommy2three

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when i first applied i had a 3.2 overall undergrad gpa, 3.7 bcpm and a 26 R mcat (9p, 8b, 9v)....i applied to east coast schools (hubby and i were located there at the time for job) and did not even get a single solitary interview...nada zip zilch zero.

I think this was probably related to your low MCATs. It is low even for DO schools. I think you could even get into a school next cycle if you were to simply raise your score by 4 points.


i called the admissions office and talked to numerous people about what i could do to improve my application to better my chances at getting in and they all told me the same thing....go to graduate school and get my master's.
they said this would prove i could succeed at a graduate courseworkw hcih is what med school is and that i could handle it.


Well, if this is what they said, who can contradict it? Actually, I think they told you this because you had already exhausted other options. I think you once posted you had already been to an SMP, where you say you did not fare as well as other students. Also, your gpa is already above the computer cutoff for most med schools, so there is no point to your talking more undergrad classes. I think grad school was simply the only other option that you had not tried yet (and there really isn't anything else the adcoms could recommend at this point).

secondly it would give me a blank slate so to speak on my gpa since i had so many undergrad hours that it would not matter how many courses i took it would not raise my cum gpa much and retaking the courses i failed (in a different major) was not an option...so a grad gpa that was good would give me a boost in the gpa department and would offset my low undergrad gpa.

Retaking classes really hurts more than it helps. You are expected to get an A in the retake (because you've had it before), and it really doesn't mean that much (because you took the class twice). However, if you get less than an A, then it looks really bad. So yes, this was good advice.

Study hard in grad school. It is much easier than SMPs or undergrad. ADCOMs know this, and getting less than a 4.0 looks kind of bad.

ana,
thank you for all your wonderful advice :). i already retook my mcat and scored a 28...i am planning on retaking again in september.
i am hoping and praying that this is the cycle for me :)
the info i posted was from my first app cycle which was in the summer of 2004.
 
C

Critical Mass

This is speaking from personal experience...

It won't help you much at all. It's one of those things that can hurt you if it is low, but it can't help you because grad schools need their students to make all A's or B's to keep from failing out.

The MCAT is still going to be their primary selection tool because everyone in the country takes it. Yours is fortunately pretty respectable. Med schools tell all applicants to go out and learn some stuff and then take a test that they all sanction. Those who can answer their questions well get in. Those who can't don't. Whether or not you know the active residues in the fern Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (just a sarcastic example of grad-school-type knowledge) doesn't interest them much.

That said, I looked at your mdapps. Doing undegrad at Penn and carrying a 34 MCAT is a lot more important than your graduate GPA. I'd say that your odds are decent for Colorado, but Colorado is also a tough state because of the neighboring state agreements. If you click on "MSAR" in my signature, you will see that CO has the seventh fewest amount of resident med school slots per million state citizens.

You will get interviews off that list and likely a handful of places to choose from at the end of the day. Your best bet and financial deal will still be Denver, so I'm one of those naysayers who would say to not waste so much money on all of those others.

:luck:
 

ana

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ana,
thank you for all your wonderful advice :). i already retook my mcat and scored a 28...i am planning on retaking again in september.
i am hoping and praying that this is the cycle for me :)
the info i posted was from my first app cycle which was in the summer of 2004.


How are you studying for our mcats?

I raised my score by 5 points on a retake by going threw the Flowers book and then doing a lot of practice exams. I didn't find a didactic mcat course very helpful in my case, although I did take one. I tought the exam was about taking the test efficiently, quickly, and not falling for the "traps." After going through the Flowers book, I was able to spot the distractors and time-wasters fairly quickly.

I think your 28 points you in the running for DO schools (however, a 30 and above would give you more options). Make sure you get a good DO letter.

Good luck.
 
C

Critical Mass

Okay I just read mommy's post, and I have something else to add.

First, medical school is nothing like graduate school. I've been to both. While grad school requires a lot of application-based critical thinking skills, the level of detail memorization isn't even remotely similar. Graduate programs (at least those in the natural sciences) train students to design experiments aimed at the assimilation of new information. Medical school is merely a review of a vast pool of knowledge related to what is already known to be true about the human body. They are not comparable, and that is why graduate GPA's are not useful. The material in medical school isn't any more challenging than undergrad, there is merely a lot more information than what most pre-meds are accustomed to.

Schools do in fact recommend graduate school for those with lackluster numbers, but SMP's are far more geared to medical applicants than traditional Master's programs.

I have heard from SDNer's who have said that admissions people tell them to go to grad school so that they'll have a better chance at an alternative career rather than to actually improve their chances at med school.

There are still others who suggest that applying a second time is like attempting a vaginal delivery after you've already had a C-section. It can be accomplished successfully, but the tissue weakening from the previous surgery can lead to another rupture. Their take is that re-applying is inherently tougher because the fresher applicant has a tendency to be more desirable. My class does have a lot of re-applicants in it, but most all that I know showed some improvement in their MCAT between applications.

:luck:
 

ana

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Okay I just read mommy's post, and I have something else to add.

First, medical school is nothing like graduate school. Schools do in fact recommend graduate school for those with lackluster numbers, but SMP's are far more geared to medical applicants than traditional Master's programs.

:luck:

I agree. Unfortunately, Mommy already has an SMP under her belt, but still no admission. I think the admissions staff who spoke to her just didn't know what else to suggest.

The key to her getting in, IMHO, is finding out why the MCATs are low, dealing with it, then kicking butt on the september exam. I am assuming, since she already has an extensive science background, that the problem is with test taking skills rather than lack of basic knowledge foundation. Also, with a 'CAT score of 28, some DO schools are not beyond her current reach. I would just like to see her have more options since she has a family to take along.

A guy with a PhD once asked me for a private consultation. I reviewed his entire AMCAS and saw the problem immediately: B+ average in grad school, and C- average in undergrad, and MCATs in the high 20's after two sittings. While in grad school, he even took some undergraduate courses to meet some prereqs, but he got C's in them. He just couldn't believe schools wouldn't be lined up to take him since he had a doctorate in public health, the recent "C" in biochem notwithstanding. He was even offended when I suggested he apply to osteopathic schools -- he was from a family of M.D.'s, the thought of getting a "lesser" degree just turned him off. To the best of my knowledge, he is still trying to get in.
 

relentless11

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A guy with a PhD once asked me for a private consultation. I reviewed his entire AMCAS and saw the problem immediately: B+ average in grad school, and C- average in undergrad, and MCATs in the high 20's after two sittings. While in grad school, he even took some undergraduate courses to meet some prereqs, but he got C's in them. He just couldn't believe schools wouldn't be lined up to take him since he had a doctorate in public health, the recent "C" in biochem notwithstanding. He was even offended when I suggested he apply to osteopathic schools -- he was from a family of M.D.'s, the thought of getting a "lesser" degree just turned him off. To the best of my knowledge, he is still trying to get in.

Its very easy while in grad school and after graduate school to think that you've suffered enough to be the best at everything;). Some people are in denial I guess. I know a few people like that in my group. One can't compare a PhD program vs. an MD program. Apples and oranges. However its interesting to run into some PhD students who think they are just as capable as a med student or vice versa without having set foot in the other program..haha. I'm not making any assumptions on my end, but since I took some med school classes already, I can say that they have similarities and many differences too!

In all honesty, I wish a high grad GPA makes up for a sub-par undergrad GPA. However in the case of the guy you mentioned, if he can't muster A's in undergrad classes during grad school, and can only pull a B+ average in grad courses, then there are clearly issues right there.

Anyway, back on topic: I of course agree with everyone above that grad GPA plays a lesser roll compared to undergrad GPA. For the most part, med schools expect you to get a 3.6 or higher IMO. This value comes from the fact that most of your institutional grants require a 3.4-3.5 grad GPA, and some med schools award extra points for having a grad GPA of 3.7 and above. Of course how helpful these points are is anybody's guess. In the end, there's a reason why I'm now trying to balance undergrad classes with a PhD thesis project. Its starting to get tough, but its still doable. You gotta do what you gotta do I guess. However, I don't want to be the negative one here, but there are times that one needs to re-evaluate what and why you want to do something. Its not that you can't do it, but there may be something really wrong that you have not addressed yet. Rather than keep "trying" and digging yourself a deeper hole, some of these people should seek other alternatives.

Critical Mass said:
There are still others who suggest that applying a second time is like attempting a vaginal delivery after you've already had a C-section. It can be accomplished successfully, but the tissue weakening from the previous surgery can lead to another rupture. Their take is that re-applying is inherently tougher because the fresher applicant has a tendency to be more desirable. My class does have a lot of re-applicants in it, but most all that I know showed some improvement in their MCAT between applications.

I agree that adcoms may see fresher applicants as more desirable. I believe its due to the fact that most re-applicants don't have time or motivation to put in any additional significant improvement in their applications. In this forum alone, you can probably find several threads about re-using LORs, and personal statements. IMO, if you're going to re-apply, you better have some significant changes, like earning another degree, going off to do research or community service somewhere for an extended period of time. Not JUST improving the MCAT by 1-2 points (of course a 10 point improvement is quite impressive..haha).

Therefore, not everyone can feel OK with waiting 1-2 years to get new letters of recs and new experiences. So that may be a factor in reducing the numbers of successful re-applicants. Same goes for those that hold graduate degrees. Not many people who jumped through the hoops to get their PhD degree wants to go through another 4 years of med school. A lot of my classmates are sick of classes after the 1st year. They are shocked to know that I'm still taking classes as I enter my 3rd year.

In regards to the OP, I would go with undergrad GPA to pick schools. Grad GPA should be viewed as an extracurricular on your part. However you can try to use the grad stuff to your advantage in your personal statement. Ultimately, its UGPA, and MCAT that are the big quantitative values used by med schools. Grad GPA can augment existing good grades. Only post-bacc courses can directly enhance poor UGPA's. SMPs are the exception though and is also a double edged sword. You do well in one, then you're almost golden. You do poorly in one, then you might have torpedoed your chances.
So I'm quite conerned about the fact (if i read it right) that Mommy didn't do so hot in an SMP. I don't think its impossible to get into a med school after this but you are piling up more negative evidence against you.:(
 

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Therefore, not everyone can feel OK with waiting 1-2 years to get new letters of recs and new experiences
I will NEVER, EVER understand why so many nontrads feel this way because it makes no sense. What's worse is when I hear folks in thier early mid 20's talking about "wasting" time before med school to improved their applications. I say either you want it or you don't.

Greart post, btw.
 

ana

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I will NEVER, EVER understand why so many nontrads feel this way because it makes no sense. What's worse is when I hear folks in thier early mid 20's talking about "wasting" time before med school to improved their applications. I say either you want it or you don't.

Greart post, btw.

I want a dollar for everytime I see this on SDN where someone wastes their time when he/she...

... applies year after year without significant improvements in their creds because he truly believe that applying late in september is what killed his application (instead of low MCATs and UGPA).
... end up taking the MCATs over and over because they first couple of times they "didn't take it seriously".
... applies to both DO and MD schools with qualifications that are nowhere in the ballpark for allopathic schools. Then they are upset they only got into a DO school; therefore he wants to reapply for MD schools and only go to DO if he fails a 2nd time for allo.
... gets into a school despite low-ish numbers, and then wonders if it will be highly ranked enough to get him that ultra-competitive residency.

I'd buy a new car with all the $$$ I got.
 

relentless11

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I will NEVER, EVER understand why so many nontrads feel this way because it makes no sense. What's worse is when I hear folks in thier early mid 20's talking about "wasting" time before med school to improved their applications. I say either you want it or you don't.

Greart post, btw.

What baffles me even more is why I see this post in the nontrad forum, but 3 posts down there's the same one..where one of us told them the same exact thing about improving the app..blah blah blah, etc etc etc...haha.

I think this is just intrinsic to forums...but still, its kinda interesting, and depending on the time of day..sometimes frustrating;).
 

mommy2three

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How are you studying for our mcats?

I raised my score by 5 points on a retake by going threw the Flowers book and then doing a lot of practice exams. I didn't find a didactic mcat course very helpful in my case, although I did take one. I tought the exam was about taking the test efficiently, quickly, and not falling for the "traps." After going through the Flowers book, I was able to spot the distractors and time-wasters fairly quickly.

I think your 28 points you in the running for DO schools (however, a 30 and above would give you more options). Make sure you get a good DO letter.

Good luck.

i am combining the ek 10 wk home study program with the stuff i have from kaplan last summer when i took their prep course. and i am also elaning heavily on my hubby who has a master's in physics to help me muddle thru and get better at it. i had a HORRID 1st semester teacher and since that is the foundation for everything else i struggled with 2nd semester and now since it has been a few years it all looks greek...lol

the do i shadowed last yr is a ccom alum and i have a really good relationship with him. my pcp is also a do and i plan to get a letter from him as well..so i actually have two :)

i think my main problem last yr is i felt i needed to take it to get over the whole 26 thing and then tried to take it after taking a kaplan course which i was taknig while exceedingly pregnant and after giving birth then taking the mcat with a 6 wk old.....sleep deprevation and mcat are not a good combination.
 

ana

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i think my main problem last yr is i felt i needed to take it to get over the whole 26 thing and then tried to take it after taking a kaplan course which i was taknig while exceedingly pregnant and after giving birth then taking the mcat with a 6 wk old.....sleep deprevation and mcat are not a good combination.


Ahhhh... I see the problem. I once tried to tell a male friend what being postpartum was like. I told him to see the movie 1984, where John Hurt is being tortured and brainwashed. Know how they do it? You guessed it -- the protagnist is made to perform complex tasks while being sleep deprived for weeks and weeks.

Seriously, you probably should not have taken the MCATs in that condition because the more # of times you take the exam, the worse it looks. 3 times is not fatal, but it's probably the last time you can take it without a long hiatus in between tests (to allow some of the older ones to "time out" as far as amcas is concerned).

You should read the thread where we discuss people who take the mcat without thorough preparation or reapply without improved credentials, and all they end up doing is wasting more time in the long run. However, it's a long time to September, and you have more than enough time to study. Who knows, you may even end up in a DO school with your score of 28.

Good luck to you. Please be sure to post your progress in the process.
 

exmike

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when i first applied i had a 3.2 overall undergrad gpa, 3.7 bcpm and a 26 R mcat (9p, 8b, 9v)....i applied to east coast schools (hubby and i were located there at the time for job) and did not even get a single solitary interview...nada zip zilch zero.

I think this was probably related to your low MCATs. It is low even for DO schools. I think you could even get into a school next cycle if you were to simply raise your score by 4 points.


i called the admissions office and talked to numerous people about what i could do to improve my application to better my chances at getting in and they all told me the same thing....go to graduate school and get my master's.
they said this would prove i could succeed at a graduate courseworkw hcih is what med school is and that i could handle it.



Well, if this is what they said, who can contradict it? Actually, I think they told you this because you had already exhausted other options. I think you once posted you had already been to an SMP, where you say you did not fare as well as other students. Also, your gpa is already above the computer cutoff for most med schools, so there is no point to your talking more undergrad classes. I think grad school was simply the only other option that you had not tried yet (and there really isn't anything else the adcoms could recommend at this point).

secondly it would give me a blank slate so to speak on my gpa since i had so many undergrad hours that it would not matter how many courses i took it would not raise my cum gpa much and retaking the courses i failed (in a different major) was not an option...so a grad gpa that was good would give me a boost in the gpa department and would offset my low undergrad gpa.

Retaking classes really hurts more than it helps. You are expected to get an A in the retake (because you've had it before), and it really doesn't mean that much (because you took the class twice). However, if you get less than an A, then it looks really bad. So yes, this was good advice.

Study hard in grad school. It is much easier than SMPs or undergrad. ADCOMs know this, and getting less than a 4.0 looks kind of bad.



considering the avg MCAT for DO school is around 24, i'd say her MCAT is would be very competitive for DO schools. where are you getting your info
 
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