chiddler

5+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2010
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Hello fellow readers,

My grades are sub-par. I have meh extracurriculars, et cetera. Basically not a very good applicant. At the moment, a junior at univ. of california, irvine.

I am trying to figure out whether it's possible to put med/dental schools as a goal.

So here is my question: what are things I can do (aside from the obvious: improve GPA, do well on mcat) to bolster my application and really make myself a competent applicant?

Supposing I graduate next year, I will probably have to take a year off before applying again, i'm sure, to even consider this.

Thank you!

...Also does being a minority really help you? And does being arab count as a minority?
 
Mar 9, 2010
167
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Spook City, USA
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Medical Student
Get a good MCAT/DAT.

Investigate taking more undergrad courses to boost your GPA or take a look at Post-bacc pre-med programs.

Work on your ECs starting uh, now. Getting a job in a hospital where you actually do something (read: not sitting around with your thumb up your ass doing nothing as a volunteer as happens in some hospitals) wouldn't be a bad idea.

Never say never, but you're going to have to work hard to make up for a mediocre GPA.
 

ILikeDrugs

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Jul 19, 2008
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You need to do a complete 180 when it comes to the things that med schools look for. If you get Cs and Bs, get As and Bs (more As than Bs). Stay that way for the rest of your undergrad and finish off that way. Maybe you should delay your gradation for a year so that you can continue continue to take upper division science courses to show your improvement. If you don't have clinical volunteer service or community service, look for at least three, maybe one clinical and two community, and participate in those for at least 3-4 hours a week for at least 1-2 years. Show that you can commit. Get a good MCAT score. I will apply with a 3.2GPA to MD schools and about a 3.5GPA for DO schools and am shooting for at least a 35 MCAT. Try to do a couple semesters of research. And most importantly, I think, have a life outside of this. You need to full dive into this whole process. If you don't it will show and you won't get in.
 
Dec 2, 2009
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I agree with what the previous people have posted, though for me what worked in "redeeming" myself was a master's program. I had sub-par undergrad grades, some research experience, but virtually no clinical experience. I took 2 years off and worked at a pharma company doing biology research, then did a master's program and rocked it. I really don't think I could've gotten in without that. And being a few years out can really work to your advantage because you can more easily make the argument that you weren't as mature/focused/driven as an undergrad as you are now, etc. etc.

Of course do everything in your power now to get A's, bring your GPA up, and get involved in EC's/volunteering. But also don't be afraid to take your time and boost your application for one or two years after graduation before you apply. Better to put in the time and apply with a good shot at getting in than to frustrate yourself with the wasted time and effort of applying with a shotty application. Just my two cents. Good luck!
 
Jan 5, 2010
884
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Pre-Medical
What is your GPA? That will help as more accurately diagnose your issues?
 
Jun 9, 2009
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Medical Student
Hello fellow readers,

My grades are sub-par. I have meh extracurriculars, et cetera. Basically not a very good applicant. At the moment, a junior at univ. of california, irvine.
You can try joining some clubs and participating in things to fill your application. Do some volunteer work.

I am trying to figure out whether it's possible to put med/dental schools as a goal.
It probably is, but it depends on how bad your stats really are. Below a 3.0 is not very promising even if you're applying to the worst DO school. MD would be nearly impossible. Dental schools may actually be tougher to get into because there are less and it's therefore more of a crapshoot unless you really stand out.

So here is my question: what are things I can do (aside from the obvious: improve GPA, do well on mcat) to bolster my application and really make myself a competent applicant?
Again, join some clubs, shadow some doctors, volunteer in the clinic, volunteer outside the clinic, etc. If you have extremely strong volunteering and extra curricular activities you'll look much better.

Supposing I graduate next year, I will probably have to take a year off before applying again, i'm sure, to even consider this.
By 'taking off' I hope you mean getting a job or joining Americorps (or some other organization) and volunteering for a year. If you do close to nothing for a year you will not get in anywhere (and no one will hire you either). Keep very busy for your "year off".

...Also does being a minority really help you? And does being arab count as a minority?
It's a minority (if you're not white you're considered a minority in the US), but I doubt it is considered for medical school. If you're underrepresented in medicine that's an advantage. If you're disadvantage (like you grew up in the slums of Detroit) that's an advantage. I doubt "arab" is underrepresented in medicine* and I don't know if you grew up in an impoverished neighborhood. Even if you do fulfill one of those, it's not as much as an advantage as you might think. I knew a black guy from the Bronx with stats similar to mine who found it impossible to get into medical school. To put that in perspective I got more interviews and I was accepted this year and I'm white. But that's anecdotal evidence, so I wouldn't trust it much. Just saying it's not necessarily your ticket into medical school.

*My reasoning for thinking Arab is not underrepresented in medicine is because I think it's probably overrepresented. Lets say the US population is 1% Arab and their population in the profession of physician is 5%. It's actually a disadvantage for you to apply and say you're Arab. A real disadvantaged status would be African American, where something like 12% of the US population belongs to that group but it's probably less than 5% of doctors.
 
Last edited:
Dec 2, 2009
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It probably is, but it depends on how bad your stats really are. Below a 3.0 is not very promising even if you're applying to the worst DO school. MD would be nearly impossible. Dental schools may actually be tougher to get into because there are less and it's therefore more of a crapshoot unless you really stand out.
I think this is a little harsh. While having a GPA below 3.0 is certainly a significant obstacle for an applicant to overcome, I don't think it's as inhibitory to gaining admissions to U.S. MD programs as you are suggesting. It all depends on what you do to improve yourself and how you package yourself when you apply. If you look at the stats for all applicants*, those with a GPA in the 2.5-3.0 range can have acceptance rates in the 25-54% range, so I wouldn't classify that as "nearly impossible". I had a GPA below 3.0 and I got accepted to multiple schools... though I did spend quite a lot of time and effort in boosting my application to make up for my undergraduate record. This included excelling in a master's program, rocking my MCAT, working for a couple of years in a life science-related field, and volunteering/shadowing in various clinical settings. I just don't want the OP, or others reading this thread, to feel discouraged from applying to medical schools just because of a low undergraduate GPA. But I would encourage applicants in this position to do everything in their power to improve their application before applying in order to save themselves time, money, and unnecessary frustration. I hope this helps someone who was in a similar situation as I was!

*From AMCAS applicant data, aggregated 2005-2007 data:
http://www.aamc.org/data/facts/applicantmatriculant/table24-mcatgpa-grid-3yrs-app-accpt.htm
 

orthomyxo

SDN Bronze Donor
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Aug 18, 2009
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Saw the title of the thread and couldn't resist:



"Just when I thought you couldn't get any dumber, you go and do something like this....AND TOTALLY REDEEM YOURSELF!!"