How to update Schools with my Fall Grades/ How to phrase it

nabilesmail

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Hey guys, So pretty much I'm at the 0 interview boat even though I was complete in August. I'm a reapplicant that applied with a lower GPA, (I got a 3.0 during the year of my first application cycle, though my overall GPA stayed at a 3.6).

Anyways, I decided to stay an extra semester at my university to update grades because I knew my downward trend would affect me. This will pretty much be my last stand to try and get interviews this cycle. The problem is, I'm not sure how to phrase my grades as I don't think my semester looks to rigorous. Pretty much:

16 Units

Stats- 4- A
Special Topics (An Upper Div Bio class that focuses on a research project/journal reading)- 4- A
Advanced Research (Upper Div Bio research- 2- A
Spanish 3- 4- Pass
Intro to Chess and Critical Thinking-2- Pass

Though I took 16 units and got straight A's, 6 units of it was Pass/No Pass. I'm just looking for a way to phrase that I bounced back from my senior year fiasco but I'm not sure if this semester really proves that :/
 
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nabilesmail

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I don't think calling attention to these classes is in your best interest.
Do I really have anything to lose though? I have 0 interviews 10 rejections, waiting for 20 schools, and have been complete for almost 4 months. I am sure the big flag on my application is the grades.

Unfortunately, I elected to take Spanish Pass/No Pass because I had taken my earlier spanish courses during my freshman year and wasn't confident I could get an A (Though I think I may be holding an A regardless) . The chess class was Pass/No Pass Only :/
 

TeddyBoomBoom

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I don't think calling attention to these classes is in your best interest.
I agree. To some schools, you basically just got an A in Stats. No offense. *I* know that some of those "research" and "special topics" course can be more time consuming than a traditional didactic course, but it doesn't give the school much to compare, because those courses are rarely standardized. Intro to chess is not a sexy line item on your transcript. Best of luck either way.
 
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nabilesmail

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So there would be no way to use these grades to benefit me? Even at schools that I may be on the brink of an interview with (small pools etc..). Ugh, I feel like I wasted a semester and money
 

gyngyn

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So there would be no way to use these grades to benefit me? Even at schools that I may be on the brink of an interview with (small pools etc..). Ugh, I feel like I wasted a semester and money
If you actually believe that the grades (or P's) you received in these classes will convince someone to interview you and if the schools to which you applied request updates, then go right ahead.

At my school this would not be received positively. Perhaps other places would have a different opinion.
 
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nabilesmail

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If you actually believe that the grades (or P's) you received in these classes will convince someone to interview you and if the schools to which you applied request updates, then go right ahead.

At my school this would not be received positively. Perhaps other places would have a different opinion.
Ahh I see, Thank you! I guess I'm out for this cycle then, I was hoping this might have pushed me over the edge
 

DoctorLacrosse

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just curious, if you were trying to prove to schools that your last year was a fluke, why didn't you take a more rigorous/science-based course load? honestly just wondering.

Good luck though, it's a long cycle!
 

Euxox

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At my school this would not be received positively. Perhaps other places would have a different opinion.
Does this mean that it would actually hurt the applicant's chances at your school if they were to send in an update like this? Why so? I understand that a mix of As and Ps may not be the most impressive thing ever, but why would an update with these grades be something that is detrimental instead of something that merely doesn't help?
 

Mr Roboto

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Does this mean that it would actually hurt the applicant's chances at your school if they were to send in an update like this? Why so? I understand that a mix of As and Ps may not be the most impressive thing ever, but why would an update with these grades be something that is detrimental instead of something that merely doesn't help?
My guess is it would be detrimental because the school will be left wondering why, after OP didn't do well in standardized difficulty science courses, they didn't take more of the same to demonstrate their academic abilities. Respond to a challenge by upping your game, not by taking cake courses.
 
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nemo123

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Does this mean that it would actually hurt the applicant's chances at your school if they were to send in an update like this? Why so? I understand that a mix of As and Ps may not be the most impressive thing ever, but why would an update with these grades be something that is detrimental instead of something that merely doesn't help?
Aren't the California schools notorious for not accepting pre-interview updates (from the UCs to Stanford... I don't know about USC though)?
 
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nabilesmail

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Yeah I took these courses because they were the only ones I could get after I decided to register for the semester. I was in my final course over the summer (Spanish 3) when I found out I wouldn't make it off the waitlist. I dropped the course (so that I wouldn't fulfill my graduation requirements ) and registered for classes as soon as I could. I could only choose between two upper div bio classes, ecology and this special topics class, which was taught by my previous genetics professor and who I thought would be a wonderful mentor.

I can't believe I wasted this semester, and I have no idea how to salvage this cycle now.

Ill be applying to SMPs with high linkages ,but I seriously wish I could have gotten a couple of II this cycle :/ it sucks that I have mentored and given advice to so Many kids that now hold acceptances where as I am still stuck in this limbo lol
 

Euxox

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My guess is it would be detrimental because the school will be left wondering why, after OP didn't do well in standardized difficulty science courses, they didn't take more of the same to demonstrate their academic abilities. Respond to a challenge by upping your game, not by taking cake courses.
Makes sense.

Ill be applying to SMPs with high linkages ,but I seriously wish I could have gotten a couple of II this cycle :/ it sucks that I have mentored and given advice to so Many kids that now hold acceptances where as I am still stuck in this limbo lol
From taking a quick look at your MDApps profile, it looks like the issue is that you didn't address the weaknesses of your application from the last cycle. Your MCAT and grades are already good, so there is no need to take more classes to try to bring up your grades. The issue is your ECs. If you add up all the hours listed on your MDApps, it looks like you only have ~300 hours of ECs in total. That's less than a hundred hours a year, and less than two hours a week. To be entirely frank, spending two hours a week in total on all extracurriculars is not at all significant. It's maybe one fifth to one third of what the average premed does.

The cycle is far from over, so don't loose heart, but if you end up having to apply again next year, I would spend time working on building up those ECs.
 
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nabilesmail

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I don't believe this to be true. Catskysik posted that the average premed has 150 hours of clinical volunteering and 50 hrs of shadowing. I have 180 on application (220 now) and 80 hours of shadowing. I also have 150 hours in other projects,and 2.5 years of research. Though my ecs are not stellar, I believe they are about average. My premed adviser read my app and said my activity section was descriptive and informative and that she didn't see any red flags with it. My problem is most definitely my senior year grades (3.0) as the cover page of each amcas application lists ones total gpa, science gpa, and gpa by year. (According to lizzym)
 

Euxox

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I don't believe this to be true. Catskysik posted that the average premed has 150 hours of clinical volunteering and 50 hrs of shadowing. I have 180 on application (220 now) and 80 hours of shadowing. I also have 150 hours in other projects,and 2.5 years of research. Though my ecs are not stellar, I believe they are about average. My premed adviser read my app and said my activity section was descriptive and informative and that she didn't see any red flags with it. My problem is most definitely my senior year grades (3.0) as the cover page of each amcas application lists ones total gpa, science gpa, and gpa by year. (According to lizzym)
While grade trends matter, cumulative GPA matters more. A 2.5 GPA with a strong upward trend won't get you anywhere, even if you had a 4.0 through your senior year. By the same token, if you have a 3.6 GPA with a downward trend, your overall GPA is good enough that a decent number of medical schools would be willing to overlook the trend as a fluke. (The fact that you have a good MCAT score also helps.) Besides, didn't you also apply last year before you had your senior grades? So I don't think your grades are holding you back.

Maybe I was wrong about how many hours of ECs the average premed does -- I'm just going by what I've seen at my college and that might not be representative of all colleges. But remember that the average premed applicant does not get into medical school. Only the top 40% do, so average premed ECs might not cut it.

If you are sure that it's not your ECs that are holding you back, then I would start looking at your letters, your personal statement, and your secondary essays.

Anyway, that's just my take based on what I read on your MDApps. You're in a better position to make the judgment than I am.
 
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nabilesmail

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I applied the first time with a 3.74/34 and very late, and got 4interviews so at the time my gpa was not the problem, rather my interviews were (and probably my ec/personal statement, I did a terrible job writing about them) this year I fixed the way I wrote, I was complete two months earlier and I did add a bit to my ecs , the only thing different is the big gpa drop. (My junior year gpa was a 3.8 senior 3.0),


I do appreciate your encouragement though , maybe someone will see something in me soon!