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dcsurgeon

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In addition to this my username is completely misleading: I am not a surgeon in DC. However, it's a representation of what I'd like to become.

I am pretty new to the world of medicine. I'm hoping this forum can help me out along the way, since there are not many friends or family members I can turn to for guidance. I'd like to introduce you all to myself in order to get an outside opinion of where I stand in regard to getting accepted to medical school, and what I can do to improve my chances.

The title of this thread is true, I dropped out of high school in my freshman year in order to work full time. I had to support not only myself, but my mother who was struggling with a methamphetamine addiction. Thanks to this, obviously I never got a chance to try and get into a fancy university.

Blah, blah, blah, enough with the sob story. +pity+

Fast forward to my 20th birthday, my Mom was finally doing alright on her own, and obviously I was ready to get out of the deep south (where I lived during most of my life) and start my education. I took some of my savings and moved to Washington, DC. I was born in Fairfax, VA, right outside of the city and had visited DC often, so I was already familiar with the area and I knew I loved it.

I knew I wasn't going to get into any of the great schools up here without a high school education so I enrolled at NOVA (Northern Virginia Community College). My placement tests landed me in Honors courses, but also landed me in developmental math courses. I'm finishing my first year now with a GPA of a 3.76. My major is biology (I adore science) and I recently made the decision to become a surgeon. If I don't become a surgeon, ethological research is probably my next pick, considering I love animals, but my heart is set on medicine. The prospect of being in school for such a long time is actually something I'm not unhappy about. I love learning, and I love being in an environment where you are exposed to new concepts all the time. The human body fascinates me, and so far dissections have thrilled me. I recently cracked open my first pig and stayed in the lab an hour longer than all of the other students. The only reason I left was because I felt bad for keeping my professor in there for so long!

I know that getting into medical school is tough. What/where do you guys think I need to be/go/do? I was working 40-50 hours a week, but recently (thanks to my long-term boyfriend who is dedicated to helping me get through the schooling necessary to become a surgeon) I've cut my shifts down to weekends (33 hours in three days), so I can focus on school. In addition to my GPA, I'm a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honors society, I'm a volunteer at the National Zoo (collecting behavioral research data) and starting volunteering at Georgetown University Hospital (inpatient/outpatient surgical dept) in June.

I have another year or so (those damn remedial math classes) at NOVA before hopefully transferring into a university in or around DC. Before you ask, I'm not interested in moving. Commuting to Hopkins? YES. Moving to Boston, NO. I've heard good undergrad schools like Hopkins, Georgetown, etc boost your chances of getting into medical school, but I've also heard that GPA and hospital experience counts for more than anything.

Insights? Medical students aren't all rich kids with doctors for parents right? I need to hear that people like me succeed in becoming surgeons too. Thanks in advance, and sorry for such a long thread!

:hello:

PS. I've been to a pre-medical adviser at my community college. She got her medical degree in the UK and told me to look into a pre-medical program. I know this is NOT the path I need to take, and that I can major in biology and do fine as long as I take the right pre-medical courses (one year of bio, chem, physics, etc). What I need to know is what else to do (extra curricular, etc) and how much certain schools/ GPAs matter as far as getting into medical school.
 
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235788

In addition to this my username is completely misleading: I am not a surgeon in DC. However, it's a representation of what I'd like to become.

I am pretty new to the world of medicine. I'm hoping this forum can help me out along the way, since there are not many friends or family members I can turn to for guidance. I'd like to introduce you all to myself in order to get an outside opinion of where I stand in regard to getting accepted to medical school, and what I can do to improve my chances.

The title of this thread is true, I dropped out of high school in my freshman year in order to work full time. I had to support not only myself, but my mother who was struggling with a methamphetamine addiction. Thanks to this, obviously I never got a chance to try and get into a fancy university.

Blah, blah, blah, enough with the sob story. +pity+

Fast forward to my 20th birthday, my Mom was finally doing alright on her own, and obviously I was ready to get out of the deep south (where I lived during most of my life) and start my education. I took some of my savings and moved to Washington, DC. I was born in Fairfax, VA, right outside of the city and had visited DC often, so I was already familiar with the area and I knew I loved it.

I knew I wasn't going to get into any of the great schools up here without a high school education so I enrolled at NOVA (Northern Virginia Community College). My placement tests landed me in Honors courses, but also landed me in developmental math courses. I'm finishing my first year now with a GPA of a 3.76. My major is biology (I adore science) and I recently made the decision to become a surgeon. If I don't become a surgeon, ethological research is probably my next pick, considering I love animals, but my heart is set on medicine. The prospect of being in school for such a long time is actually something I'm not unhappy about. I love learning, and I love being in an environment where you are exposed to new concepts all the time. The human body fascinates me, and so far dissections have thrilled me. I recently cracked open my first pig and stayed in the lab an hour longer than all of the other students. The only reason I left was because I felt bad for keeping my professor in there for so long!

I know that getting into medical school is tough. What/where do you guys think I need to be/go/do? I was working 40-50 hours a week, but recently (thanks to my long-term boyfriend who is dedicated to helping me get through the schooling necessary to become a surgeon) I've cut my shifts down to weekends (33 hours in three days), so I can focus on school. In addition to my GPA, I'm a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honors society, I'm a volunteer at the National Zoo (collecting behavioral research data) and starting volunteering at Georgetown University Hospital (inpatient/outpatient surgical dept) in June.

I have another year or so (those damn remedial math classes) at NOVA before hopefully transferring into a university in or around DC. Before you ask, I'm not interested in moving. Commuting to Hopkins? YES. Moving to Boston, NO. I've heard good undergrad schools like Hopkins, Georgetown, etc boost your chances of getting into medical school, but I've also heard that GPA and hospital experience counts for more than anything.

Insights? Medical students aren't all rich kids with doctors for parents right? I need to hear that people like me succeed in becoming surgeons too. Thanks in advance, and sorry for such a long thread!

:hello:

PS. I've been to a pre-medical adviser at my community college. She got her medical degree in the UK and told me to look into a pre-medical program. I know this is NOT the path I need to take, and that I can major in biology and do fine as long as I take the right pre-medical courses (one year of bio, chem, physics, etc). What I need to know is what else to do (extra curricular, etc) and how much certain schools/ GPAs matter as far as getting into medical school.

Why surgery? Intuitive? Saw something on TV? If possible, try to remain open to all fields of medicine. Surgery is great, but try not to make up your mind too early or demonstrate close-mindedness.


Just keep up the good work, try to do some of the traditional ECs (research, shadowing, volunteering - both clinical and non, clubs) and go from there. Its really too early to give you much advise beyond that. You have a long long lonnnnnng road ahead of you.

Not everyone has money, however most do. But never let that discourage you. Just do the work and you'll be fine.

Lastly, pre-med is a coursetrack not necessarily a program. I was pre-med bio major, but was never officially pre-med. It just means you took the basic sciences.
 

TheMightySmiter

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I was a Georgetown undergrad, and while it is an awesome school, there's no reason to spend that much money on college. :) GW is even pricier. George Mason is a great nearby school that would be a lot less expensive, and being pre-med there will in no way hold you back. Having said that, Georgetown is very generous with financial aid (far more so than GW from what I know). I got a full-tuition financial need-based grant when I was there, so for me it ended up being cheaper than state school. Georgetown also has a lot of research opportunities, especially since the med school is right there on campus. Regardless of where you transfer, you have an advantage being in the DC area because of all the government research opportunities there like NIH and DOH. It's great that you started volunteering and doing some research at the National Zoo! I was an EMT as an undergrad and have many fond memories of GUH. :D Best of luck to you!
 
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Thego2guy

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I am in the midst of a million papers, but I read your post anyway (high-five for procrastination!) You will find an inspiring story from a physician named Alfredo Quinones. GOOGLE HIM.. and then search for him on Youtube, and watch as many videos as you can see. Trust me, if that won't motivate you, nothing will.

Undergrad prestige doesn't matter for **** at most places, and grades almost always outweigh the rigor of the school or the courses. For example, it is better to take algebra-based physics and get an A, than calculus based physics and get a C+. Just make sure you go to a DECENT four year institution that won't suck you dry and that will keep you happy.
You seem motivated and dedicated, and you will pull through. Good job on your hard work and on trying to get through with the math, I know its not easy. Anyway, I promised to keep this short. Take home message from all of this? Go to a place that makes you more or less happy and gives you decent opportunities. KEEP UP THE HIGH GPA. For the love of god, if you can screw everything else in your life, do so, but DON'T mess up your GPA. In most instances, GPA > MCAT in terms of how much weight it bears, so just keep at it. Med schools will see your grades through all of your years in all of your colleges, so make sure not to mess up. Withdraw from a few classes if you have to, so long as you save your GPA and don't get F's.

Good luck!
 

Stumpyman

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School doesn't matter that much. Just transfer to wherever you feel best (commuting 2hrs to JHU seems harsh and if you don't get an actual worthwhile experience out of it-- which is hard when you commute and are only there for classes-- then it's not worth it).
 

Knocked Up

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I am in the midst of a million papers, but I read your post anyway (high-five for procrastination!) You will find an inspiring story from a physician named Alfredo Quinones. GOOGLE HIM.. and then search for him on Youtube, and watch as many videos as you can see. Trust me, if that won't motivate you, nothing will.

Undergrad prestige doesn't matter for **** at most places, and grades almost always outweigh the rigor of the school or the courses. For example, it is better to take algebra-based physics and get an A, than calculus based physics and get a C+. Just make sure you go to a DECENT four year institution that won't suck you dry and that will keep you happy.
You seem motivated and dedicated, and you will pull through. Good job on your hard work and on trying to get through with the math, I know its not easy. Anyway, I promised to keep this short. Take home message from all of this? Go to a place that makes you more or less happy and gives you decent opportunities. KEEP UP THE HIGH GPA. For the love of god, if you can screw everything else in your life, do so, but DON'T mess up your GPA. In most instances, GPA > MCAT in terms of how much weight it bears, so just keep at it. Med schools will see your grades through all of your years in all of your colleges, so make sure not to mess up. Withdraw from a few classes if you have to, so long as you save your GPA and don't get F's.

Good luck!

This is incredibly misleading. The truth is that MCAT>>>>>>>>>GPA.

A high MCAT can overcome a low GPA, but a high GPA never, ever, in a million billion zillion years will make up for a low MCAT. NOTHING MAKES UP FOR A LOW MCAT.
 

osprey099

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This is incredibly misleading. The truth is that MCAT>>>>>>>>>GPA.

A high MCAT can overcome a low GPA, but a high GPA never, ever, in a million billion zillion years will make up for a low MCAT. NOTHING MAKES UP FOR A LOW MCAT.
:thumbup:
 

Stumpyman

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This is incredibly misleading. The truth is that MCAT>>>>>>>>>GPA.

A high MCAT can overcome a low GPA, but a high GPA never, ever, in a million billion zillion years will make up for a low MCAT. NOTHING MAKES UP FOR A LOW MCAT.

While you may preach this every chance you get, Knocked Up, I think the point trying to be made is, once you have a low GPA, it's a steep uphill battle to try and put yourself back in that competitive range. Whereas, an MCAT can be made up in a matter of a few weeks.
 

sliceofbread136

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First thing to focus on is transferring into a decent 4-year university from your CC. Try to avoid taking your med school pre-reqs at CC, because it can be looked down upon (it's ok if you take some of them at CC, I just don't think taking all of them at CC is a good idea). Here's alittle list of things to start doing

1. MOST IMPORTANT KEEP DOING WELL IN YOUR CLASSES. THE REST OF THIS IS SECONDARY
2. 2ND MOST IMPORTANT start looking for some clinical experience. The hospital is a good place to start, but there are better options if you look hard enough.
3. start looking for shadowing. This can be TOUGH, especially since you aren't related to a doctor. When you do volunteer in the hospital, try to network with some doctors. As a last resort try cold calling random doctors.
4. Look for a good non-medical volunteering experience with the poor. Example: soup kitchen. This I highly recommend to you because of your background. You can say that since you were poor you are interested in serving in underserved areas, and if you back this up with lots of volunteering with the poor this can be a HUGE BOOST.
5. Look for some teaching experience. Try to get hired as a tutor. Bonus points will be given if you tutor poor kids.
6. Look for some leadership experience.
7. Research. This will be all but impossible to find at CC so don't worry about it yet.
8. Down the road you'll have to worry about your MCAT. You'll probably be taking the new MCAT, so I don't really have any advice for you about this one.

I know with your job you are tight on time. Just try and do some of this stuff as each thing will be a nice boost to your app. Once again, first focus on transferring to a uni. When you do get to uni, get to know your professors so they can write you nice LORS. Try to pick a major you enjoy. Don't be too focused on surgery (maybe you'll end up liking another specialty more) and best of luck :luck:
 

Shalashaska

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While you may preach this every chance you get, Knocked Up, I think the point trying to be made is, once you have a low GPA, it's a steep uphill battle to try and put yourself back in that competitive range. Whereas, an MCAT can be made up in a matter of a few weeks.

No doubt. Speaking as someone who has a low GPA, I know that a high MCAT is never-ever-for-never-ever-never going to make up for my mistakes in undergrad. As far as the MCAT being the most important thing, I'm going to disagree. GPA comes first, then MCAT along with other parts of the application, based on the many admissions profiles that I have read.

Bottom line: in my opinion, good GPAs open doors, low GPAs close doors. Good standardized test scores provide proof that one can handle the material but those test scores don't mean as much as a GPA. That's just how the system works around here.

Anyways, OP: keep your head up and stay strong. I hope you become a successful physician, and welcome to SDN.
 

Aerus

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No doubt. Speaking as someone who has a low GPA, I know that a high MCAT is never-ever-for-never-ever-never going to make up for my mistakes in undergrad. As far as the MCAT being the most important thing, I'm going to disagree. GPA comes first, then MCAT along with other parts of the application, based on the many admissions profiles that I have read.

Bottom line: in my opinion, good GPAs open doors, low GPAs close doors. Good standardized test scores provide proof that one can handle the material but those test scores don't mean as much as a GPA. That's just how the system works around here.

Anyways, OP: keep your head up and stay strong. I hope you become a successful physician, and welcome to SDN.

I definitely agree. GPA is the center of the application. MCATs are actually incredibly close behind GPA in terms of importance where the difference is almost indistinguishable. But if you had to choose one to focus slightly more on, focus on GPA. You only need 2-3 months to prep for the MCAT. GPA is a lot harder to fix.
 

impervious0ne

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I am somewhat familiar with the NOVA program in Virginia. It is my understanding that they have an agreement with other great Virginia schools - University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and College of William & Mary. Try considering transferring into the schools after your graduation from the NOVA. I am sure you're above their GPA cutoff.

Keep up your work, do well on MCAT, get shadowing hours, volunteering hours and perhaps get involved in research as well. Good luck on your journey. :]
 

sirenomelia

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1) Get out/ stay out of DC. Its a ghetto and the schools are overated, private and too expensive.
2) Establish residency in Virginia or Maryland and set your sites to transfer from your JUCO to the public universities that facilitate/ pipeline their students into those state medical schools. You'll boost your chances, get an equal/better education and save tons of $$.
 
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Hemorrage

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You are an amazing girl. I'm glad you were able to get yourself to college even though you faced severe adversity. Believe me Adcoms will understand this. Just Focus on getting yourself into a 4 year university and you'll be fine :)
 

plumazul

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1) Get out/ stay out of DC. Its a ghetto and the schools are overated, private and too expensive.
2) Establish residency in Virginia or Maryland and set your sites to transfer from your JUCO to the public universities that facilitate/ pipeline their students into those state medical schools. You'll boost your chances, get an equal/better education and save tons of $$.

Wow, you really need to let go of your hate :eek:
 

xroc

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This is incredibly misleading. The truth is that MCAT>>>>>>>>>GPA.

A high MCAT can overcome a low GPA, but a high GPA never, ever, in a million billion zillion years will make up for a low MCAT. NOTHING MAKES UP FOR A LOW MCAT.

Don't listen to this guy, I see him posting this crap on every thread, and it's absolutely false. He loves to overhype the MCAT probably due to a traumatic experience where the MCAT inappropriately touched his private parts.

Both MCAT and GPA are equally important, and if anything I would argue that GPA is EVEN MORE important than MCAT.

For example, look at the acceptance rate published by aamc:

For a LOW MCAT (21-23) with a HIGH GPA (3.8-4.0), you have a ~26.5% acceptance rate
For a HIGH MCAT (39-45) with a LOW GPA (2.6-2.79), you have a ~12.5% acceptance rate

I think that speaks for itself.

Not to mention how much harder it is to bring up a low GPA vs a low MCAT (which can just be retaken)


source:https://www.aamc.org/download/132334/data/table24-mcatgpagridall2007-09.pdf.pdf
 

Knocked Up

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Don't listen to this guy, I see him posting this crap on every thread, and it's absolutely false. He loves to overhype the MCAT probably due to a traumatic experience where the MCAT inappropriately touched his private parts.

Both MCAT and GPA are equally important, and if anything I would argue that GPA is EVEN MORE important than MCAT.

For example, look at the acceptance rate published by aamc:

For a LOW MCAT (21-23) with a HIGH GPA (3.8-4.0), you have a ~26.5% acceptance rate
For a HIGH MCAT (39-45) with a LOW GPA (2.6-2.79), you have a ~12.5% acceptance rate

I think that speaks for itself.

Not to mention how much harder it is to bring up a low GPA vs a low MCAT (which can just be retaken)


source:https://www.aamc.org/download/132334/data/table24-mcatgpagridall2007-09.pdf.pdf

Please don't cite statistics that don't make sense. Who the heck applies to medical school with a 2.6? That 27% you are citing by the way is largely URM at HBC. Good lucking matching a competitive specialty.

Assuming you are applying within the range of everyone else, 3.6+, there is no denying that the MCAT exceeds any GPA by a large margin. Start looking for an ORM that got into a top 20 medical school this year with a 29-31 and a 3.9+. Few and far in-between. Start looking for a 3.6 and a 38-40, and you'll be surprised how many you find.

To the OP, DC is not so bad of a city. It is fun. There are many good looking women in DC. Go to the Washington Sports Club nearest the train station around 5 or 6 if you ever need any sort of inspiration. I've never seen such a large congregation of good looking women in one place at the same time. Stay away from Chevy Chase and Bethesda, they are over-priced and not fun at all. Again, I don't know what everyone is talking about that DC is the slums? There are tons of great bars and clubs, and good looking women (which is rare for the region).
 

Knocked Up

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While you may preach this every chance you get, Knocked Up, I think the point trying to be made is, once you have a low GPA, it's a steep uphill battle to try and put yourself back in that competitive range. Whereas, an MCAT can be made up in a matter of a few weeks.

I understand, but it's not that hard to get a 3.5 or 3.6 at any schools in the US, even the grade deflated ones. It is very difficult to get in the 34+ range on the MCAT. I do believe it does take more than a couple weeks to get the MCAT score up, though, if you are poor at reading comprehension. In this case it could take someone years to get their MCAT score up, and even then they may quit before they get in range.
 

TheMightySmiter

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To the OP, DC is not so bad of a city. It is fun. There are many good looking women in DC. Go to the Washington Sports Club nearest the train station around 5 or 6 if you ever need any sort of inspiration. I've never seen such a large congregation of good looking women in one place at the same time. Stay away from Chevy Chase and Bethesda, they are over-priced and not fun at all. Again, I don't know what everyone is talking about that DC is the slums? There are tons of great bars and clubs, and good looking women (which is rare for the region).

Who ever said DC was a slum? Also, OP is female, clearly you didn't read the post. I don't know why people on SDN always assume that someone who wants to go to med school is male. I had to put my gender in my sig because everyone assumed I was a guy. They still do, for some reason.
 

sliceofbread136

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Who ever said DC was a slum? Also, OP is female, clearly you didn't read the post. I don't know why people on SDN always assume that someone who wants to go to med school is male. I had to put my gender in my sig because everyone assumed I was a guy. They still do, for some reason.

Sir, I just wanted to comment on what a great post this was. Perhaps we could meet up, go lift some weights, watch football, and and talk about how great boobies are? I'm sure one day we could be a real couple of bros.
 

LizzyM

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I'd take those low MCAT, high gpa things with a grain of salt. In some cases those may be BS/MD combined program students who have to take the MCAT but need not excell so long as they have a good undergrad record. "Just walk in off the street and take it, you've already got your ticket to med school..." what would you expect the result to be? The same treatment is not afforded traditional (or even non-traditional) applicants.

Low gpa, high MCAT... you don't see the rest of the story which may be an advanced age and graduate work, exceptional work experinece (Peace Corps, Marine Corps, etc), a horrible year with a strong upward trend due to a catastrophic event, etc.
 
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blkshrtdynasty

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One doc I knew well went off the beaten path prior to graduating highschool. Explored her youth for a time, then had the epiphany to capitalize on her enormous potential. Moved back home, finished HS grad requirements, motored through undergrad, got into med school, and is now a very successful physician.

Maintain focus on what you want to do with your life, and don't let peripheral circumstances obscure your goals from you. It all depends on YOU now- not your socioeconomic status, your age, past choices (so long as they weren't criminal choices), etc.
 

Ashley1989

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First of all, good job working hard and your perseverance is very inspiring!

For this whole GPA vs MCAT debate going on here, I messed up my first couple of years and let me tell you its an all consuming mistake, you MUST keep your GPA your top priority. Go to a school that makes you happy, don't worry about prestige just go to a place that you click with. DO NOT LET YOUR GRADES SLIP. Being at a school that you love and feel at home with can lead to a happier and more positive experience, but it also will help you mentally for this long road. Once I transferred to a school I love, I found more strength to push myself for those good grades.

I screwed up big time my first couple years, and I'm now on a looooong road of GPA recovery. Im essentially in academic purgatory right now and will be for a long time. Paying for my mistakes and righting my past wrongs is my life now, and that's not something that you want to do to yourself, trust me.

Maintaining a good GPA demonstrates that you had/have the willpower and drive for many years, and that you overcame hardship and have maintained a high level of excellence for yourself. It takes years of cultivating and demonstrates your discipline.... It shows that you not only have discipline, but time management skills, stress management, etc. Of course a high GPA and MCAT is most desirable, but worry about your GPA now and the MCAT's time will come.

Best wishes!
 

Donald Juan

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I'd take those low MCAT, high gpa things with a grain of salt. In some cases those may be BS/MD combined program students who have to take the MCAT but need not excell so long as they have a good undergrad record. "Just walk in off the street and take it, you've already got your ticket to med school..." what would you expect the result to be? The same treatment is not afforded traditional (or even non-traditional) applicants.

Low gpa, high MCAT... you don't see the rest of the story which may be an advanced age and graduate work, exceptional work experinece (Peace Corps, Marine Corps, etc), a horrible year with a strong upward trend due to a catastrophic event, etc.

That's just what I was about to point out. I'll go into the pile of 3.0-3.2 GPA acceptees, but I've had a 4.0 for the last three years, and my GPA is being pulled down by coursework from almost a decade ago now.
 

Ashley1989

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That's just what I was about to point out. I'll go into the pile of 3.0-3.2 GPA acceptees, but I've had a 4.0 for the last three years, and my GPA is being pulled down by coursework from almost a decade ago now.

Agreed. I haven't calculated my AMCAS(?) GPA yet mainly because I can't bring myself to do it, but I know I will be in the same boat. Hopefully though you can address it in your PS and they will see your high GPA now
 

TheMightySmiter

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Sir, I just wanted to comment on what a great post this was. Perhaps we could meet up, go lift some weights, watch football, and and talk about how great boobies are? I'm sure one day we could be a real couple of bros.

As long as you don't mind that your bro knows more about football than you do. :D
 

Thego2guy

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As long as you don't mind that your bro knows more about football than you do. :D

Congrats on your recent acceptance!!!!!!

To all that have originally agreed with me about the GPA usually being slightly more important than the MCAT, thank you. You definitely know your stuff.

For the others that doubt what I said, I promise you that my sources don't lie. I have seen the data, I have spoken with countless adcoms, I have a lot of family and friends in the "admissions field", and I've seen some interesting documents over the years. To my great dismay, the GPA is always equal or greater in weight than the MCAT. Does that mean that if you have a low GPA and a high MCAT you won't make it? Of course not! There is never a distinct formula. Applicants are viewed holistically. Even a low GPA + lower than average MCAT doesn't kick you out of the game. A computer doesn't choose who gets in or not, but a human professional does. So we are definitely hair splitting here.

I should mention this, as I have mentioend before in previous threads, that schools like Einstein view the GPA/MCAT as a 60/40 type of thing. Big name schools put a strong emphasis on the MCAT. Still, nothing can provide more insight into a student's endurance and determination than the student's GPA. This was addressed before, med school is not as particularly mentally challenging as it is overwhelming. Endurance is key. Keeping up that high caliber work, nonstop, under crazy pressure.

It is much easier to repair an MCAT than the GPA. Hence my original advice was to cherish the GPA. That thing will be stuck with you for the rest of your life.
Like it or not, a 5 hour exam will never erase the holes in your college grades. :thumbdown:

While you may preach this every chance you get, Knocked Up, I think the point trying to be made is, once you have a low GPA, it's a steep uphill battle to try and put yourself back in that competitive range. Whereas, an MCAT can be made up in a matter of a few weeks.
Stumpyman, :love:
 

UnclePhil

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Assuming you are applying within the range of everyone else, 3.6+, there is no denying that the MCAT exceeds any GPA by a large margin. Start looking for an ORM that got into a top 20 medical school this year with a 29-31 and a 3.9+. Few and far in-between. Start looking for a 3.6 and a 38-40, and you'll be surprised how many you find.
completely disagree.

I know plenty of "ORM"s who got into top 20 med schools with MCAT scores either in that range or only slightly above.
 
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Knocked Up

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Congrats on your recent acceptance!!!!!!

To all that have originally agreed with me about the GPA usually being slightly more important than the MCAT, thank you. You definitely know your stuff.

For the others that doubt what I said, I promise you that my sources don't lie. I have seen the data, I have spoken with countless adcoms, I have a lot of family and friends in the "admissions field", and I've seen some interesting documents over the years. To my great dismay, the GPA is always equal or greater in weight than the MCAT. Does that mean that if you have a low GPA and a high MCAT you won't make it? Of course not! There is never a distinct formula. Applicants are viewed holistically. Even a low GPA + lower than average MCAT doesn't kick you out of the game. A computer doesn't choose who gets in or not, but a human professional does. So we are definitely hair splitting here.

I should mention this, as I have mentioend before in previous threads, that schools like Einstein view the GPA/MCAT as a 60/40 type of thing. Big name schools put a strong emphasis on the MCAT. Still, nothing can provide more insight into a student's endurance and determination than the student's GPA. This was addressed before, med school is not as particularly mentally challenging as it is overwhelming. Endurance is key. Keeping up that high caliber work, nonstop, under crazy pressure.

It is much easier to repair an MCAT than the GPA. Hence my original advice was to cherish the GPA. That thing will be stuck with you for the rest of your life.
Like it or not, a 5 hour exam will never erase the holes in your college grades. :thumbdown:

Oh man, you have a lot to learn. Go through an application cycle and you will see my perspective (the truth) more clearly.

I have a brilliant idea, please do ask LizzyM, an actual adcom at a top tier medical school how many low MCAT high GPA students were admitted to her school this year (or last year, or the year before that). Most to all will be URMs.
 

Thego2guy

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Oh man, you have a lot to learn. Go through an application cycle and you will see my perspective (the truth) more clearly.

I have a brilliant idea, please do ask LizzyM, an actual adcom at a top tier medical school how many low MCAT high GPA students were admitted to her school this year (or last year, or the year before that). Most to all will be URMs.

Without being offensive, I think you completely misinterpreted everything that I said. I clearly stated that the GPA is often weighed greater than or equal than the MCAT. You constantly make the notion that the MCAT far outweighs the GPA when that is simply not true. The only time when the MCAT might have enough momentum to make up for a lousy GPA (~3.2) is if it is exceptionally on the extreme end of the scale (38+), but even then, it is far from being a ticket. Others have brought up statistics and real life examples to you numerous times on this very thread, but you simply fail to acknowledge them.

OP, the point was, the GPA and MCAT are roughly equal in importance (although for the vast majority of schools, the GPA definitely slightly outweighs the importance of the MCAT) and that you should worry right now about your GPA. The GPA is multi-faceted compared to the MCAT. It can be broken down into the types of classes you took, how many credits per semester, your BCPM, your AO (all other) GPA, the context of your majors/minors, the school, the time period of the courses (ie: if you took them in the summer, or on-line), whether you studied abroad, and what kind of trends you have throughout at least THREE years of course work. Meanwhile the MCAT is typically only 3 sections, and that's it. My point has been conveyed enough, and I hope you cherish the valuable advice on SDN as much as you cherish your precious grades. Make no mistake like others have done in the past, where they dismissed the importance of grades, fooled around excessively, over partied, enjoyed the remainder of their teens, and felt that they "have plenty of time to swing the MCAT, and score a 40, and make something somewhere".
 
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Braves123

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1) Transfer to a University, doesn't have to be JHU, GW or whatever, but it needs to be a legit 4 yr university or liberal arts college. The bigger the name the better, but weigh it against more competitive academic environment, grade inflation/deflation, costs, etc.

2) Protect GPA--you need to keep it above 3.7, preferably go for 3.8 or higher. Quit job if possible to protect GPA, but to be honest, most undergrads can probably work a full time job and still pull down As given how much a joke most university courses/workload are.

3)Do well on MCAT

Volunteering, exposure, clinical experience, reseach--not so important right now, if you can confidently pull down a 3.8, work full time at University, then you can tack those on. You can always gain those sort of exposures after undergrad if needed, same can't be said of your GPA. Can't state this enough...if you feel overwhelmed, STOP volunteering. Your life story is experience enough, protect your GPA at all costs.

Number 1 is most important right now, get that done first. You have almost no chance of medical school from community college.
 

Ismet

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Oh man, you have a lot to learn. Go through an application cycle and you will see my perspective (the truth) more clearly.

I have a brilliant idea, please do ask LizzyM, an actual adcom at a top tier medical school how many low MCAT high GPA students were admitted to her school this year (or last year, or the year before that). Most to all will be URMs.

You need to read this: http://reelpremeds.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/medical-school-admission-factors3.pdf

"Even though UGPA and MCAT were high on the list in deciding which applicants to interview, these dropped in importance in deciding which applicants to admit"

I'm sorry you had a bad application cycle, but maybe you applied to too many reach schools, maybe something in your ECs was lacking...I kinda doubt that it was JUST your MCAT score that kept you out. Please stop preaching that MCAT >>>>>>>>>> GPA because they are basically 50/50, and according to this data, that's only when deciding who to give an interview to. GPA>MCAT when deciding who to admit. Yes this is an average for 113 schools, but if you applied broadly and in your stat range, it should apply to you.
 

Thego2guy

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You need to read this: http://reelpremeds.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/medical-school-admission-factors3.pdf

"Even though UGPA and MCAT were high on the list in deciding which applicants to interview, these dropped in importance in deciding which applicants to admit"

I'm sorry you had a bad application cycle, but maybe you applied to too many reach schools, maybe something in your ECs was lacking...I kinda doubt that it was JUST your MCAT score that kept you out. Please stop preaching that MCAT >>>>>>>>>> GPA because they are basically 50/50, and according to this data, that's only when deciding who to give an interview to. GPA>MCAT when deciding who to admit. Yes this is an average for 113 schools, but if you applied broadly and in your stat range, it should apply to you.

:thumbup: Thank you. Congrats on UPitt btw!!
 

Knocked Up

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You need to read this: http://reelpremeds.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/medical-school-admission-factors3.pdf

"Even though UGPA and MCAT were high on the list in deciding which applicants to interview, these dropped in importance in deciding which applicants to admit"

I'm sorry you had a bad application cycle, but maybe you applied to too many reach schools, maybe something in your ECs was lacking...I kinda doubt that it was JUST your MCAT score that kept you out. Please stop preaching that MCAT >>>>>>>>>> GPA because they are basically 50/50, and according to this data, that's only when deciding who to give an interview to. GPA>MCAT when deciding who to admit. Yes this is an average for 113 schools, but if you applied broadly and in your stat range, it should apply to you.

Oh no, I got in. Just not into a top 10 program as I had been envisioning since freshmen year of college (only one of those elite programs even interviewed me this season, and even then I had to sit in a room with a bunch of people I didn't like who kept gloating over their MCAT scores like it was a message from God that they were the chosen ones). The MCAT was the cause of this. For your average poster on here who probably doesn't have ECs galore and or a 4.0, I'm just trying to tell them that the MCAT can make up for that. The other two factors cannot make up for a lower MCAT.

The article is nice and maybe it speaks to the bottom rung programs, but it is certainly not true of schools that care about their ranks. Again, it's not hard to get a 3.5 or 3.6 (which is perfectly fine for most schools) and can be made up for by the MCAT. The harder part, and the part (like it or not) that is more substantial is the MCAT. A ORM is NOT getting into a top tier program without high MCAT these days. Maybe a few (one or two) will slip in, but I wouldn't count on it no matter what your ECs or GPA are. I've been reading these forums for years now, and I am definitely not the only one to speak of this. You see stories of high MCATers with poorer GPAs matriculate at big name programs all the time, I've never seen a poor MCATer with my (or similar) excellent GPA and ECs break into the top 10. That tells me all I need to know. For ORMs the MCAT is everything.
 

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You all done got trolled hard.
 

TheMightySmiter

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Oh no, I got in. Just not into a top 10 program as I had been envisioning since freshmen year of college (only one of those elite programs even interviewed me this season, and even then I had to sit in a room with a bunch of people I didn't like who kept gloating over their MCAT scores like it was a message from God that they were the chosen ones). The MCAT was the cause of this. For your average poster on here who probably doesn't have ECs galore and or a 4.0, I'm just trying to tell them that the MCAT can make up for that. The other two factors cannot make up for a lower MCAT.

Omg I'm soooo sorry...how awful for you. :( I mean you might as well not go to med school at all.
 

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I'm pretty confident that if you have over a 3.5 GPA and a 30 MCAT thats pretty acceptable for most medical schools, especially your instate schools, at least what an adcom told me. A 3.5 means your getting all A's and B's/B+s each semester which is pretty good, I'm sorry that not everyone can get a 3.9 and some people go through stuff during college which hinders there grades, so to the OP seriously just keep it around the 3.6 range and you'll be okay SDN typically is unrealistic
 

Thego2guy

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I'm pretty confident that if you have over a 3.5 GPA and a 30 MCAT thats pretty acceptable for most medical schools, especially your instate schools, at least what an adcom told me. A 3.5 means your getting all A's and B's/B+s each semester which is pretty good, I'm sorry that not everyone can get a 3.9 and some people go through stuff during college which hinders there grades, so to the OP seriously just keep it around the 3.6 range and you'll be okay SDN typically is unrealistic

Not unrealistic per se, but certainly inflated. That is only because advice that is given on here is meant to absolutely maximize one's potential of getting in. Hence everyone states a such and such GPA + MCAT, so much of such research experience, clinical experience, etc.... in an effort to explain the utmost possible potential someone has. Its still inflated though relative to the real world.

I've been trying to search around, but I can't find the breakdown of national GPA's. For example, I always wondered how many people in this country, for a given major/degree have a 3.9 GPA +
I bet it is definitely more than 10,000 students.
 

GS Mikami

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Oh no, I got in. Just not into a top 10 program as I had been envisioning since freshmen year of college (only one of those elite programs even interviewed me this season, and even then I had to sit in a room with a bunch of people I didn't like who kept gloating over their MCAT scores like it was a message from God that they were the chosen ones). The MCAT was the cause of this. For your average poster on here who probably doesn't have ECs galore and or a 4.0, I'm just trying to tell them that the MCAT can make up for that. The other two factors cannot make up for a lower MCAT.

The article is nice and maybe it speaks to the bottom rung programs, but it is certainly not true of schools that care about their ranks. Again, it's not hard to get a 3.5 or 3.6 (which is perfectly fine for most schools) and can be made up for by the MCAT. The harder part, and the part (like it or not) that is more substantial is the MCAT. A ORM is NOT getting into a top tier program without high MCAT these days. Maybe a few (one or two) will slip in, but I wouldn't count on it no matter what your ECs or GPA are. I've been reading these forums for years now, and I am definitely not the only one to speak of this. You see stories of high MCATers with poorer GPAs matriculate at big name programs all the time, I've never seen a poor MCATer with my (or similar) excellent GPA and ECs break into the top 10. That tells me all I need to know. For ORMs the MCAT is everything.

Actually this guy is right.

Once you interview at Top 10 schools and hang around people accepted at these schools, you realize that the common them among accepted students is a high MCAT score AND amazing EC's. Some will slip in having an average MCAT score but their EC's/life experiences are ridiculous.

Few of these people frequently post or contribute to SDN, but they are out there.

It is what it is.
 

UnclePhil

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Oh no, I got in. Just not into a top 10 program as I had been envisioning since freshmen year of college (only one of those elite programs even interviewed me this season, and even then I had to sit in a room with a bunch of people I didn't like who kept gloating over their MCAT scores like it was a message from God that they were the chosen ones). The MCAT was the cause of this. For your average poster on here who probably doesn't have ECs galore and or a 4.0, I'm just trying to tell them that the MCAT can make up for that. The other two factors cannot make up for a lower MCAT.

The article is nice and maybe it speaks to the bottom rung programs, but it is certainly not true of schools that care about their ranks. Again, it's not hard to get a 3.5 or 3.6 (which is perfectly fine for most schools) and can be made up for by the MCAT. The harder part, and the part (like it or not) that is more substantial is the MCAT. A ORM is NOT getting into a top tier program without high MCAT these days. Maybe a few (one or two) will slip in, but I wouldn't count on it no matter what your ECs or GPA are. I've been reading these forums for years now, and I am definitely not the only one to speak of this. You see stories of high MCATers with poorer GPAs matriculate at big name programs all the time, I've never seen a poor MCATer with my (or similar) excellent GPA and ECs break into the top 10. That tells me all I need to know. For ORMs the MCAT is everything.
Uh... no you don't. Not unless that person had some sort of extenuating circumstance or went to a school with horrible grade deflation.

ECs are more important than stats at a lot of schools, not because stats are not important, but because everyone who applies already have high stats. I know a handful of people with MCAT scores between 30-33 who got into top 10 programs. And yes, they are either white or ORMs, why? 4 years of working hard and doing what is needed and putting in the hours is more important than how you perform on one exam. I don't know anyone who gets into a top 10 MD program with a lower GPA unless they went to a school that is notorious for grade deflation. And I didn't have a 4.0, but maintaining a high GPA took much more effort (at least for me) than spending 7 weeks reading a prep book and scoring 35+ on a standardized test.

Also, no one at any top 10 or top 20 interview I went to ever talked about their MCAT scores. The only thing I noticed about the top 10 interview that I went to was that out of 7 kids, the other 6 were from Harvard, Yale or Princeton. That was kind of awkward and was pretty indicative to me that undergrad school does matter (though apparently not enough to keep me from an interview spot there). But if those schools just wanted to fill their ranks with huge MCAT scores, they have enough high MCAT applicants to enroll about >10 classes.
 
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GS Mikami

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Also, no one at any top 10 or top 20 interview I went to ever talked about their MCAT scores. The only thing I noticed about the top 10 interview that I went to was that out of 7 kids, the other 6 were from Harvard, Yale or Princeton. That was kind of awkward and was pretty indicative to me that undergrad school does matter (though apparently not enough to keep me from an interview spot there). But if those schools just wanted to fill their ranks with huge MCAT scores, they have enough high MCAT applicants to enroll about >10 classes.

This is also true too. A lot of people who interview at top 10 schools come from top name undergrad institutions (Harvard, Yale, Brown, Columbia, etc).

Asking for MCAT scores during an interview day will be really akward, as UnclePhill said. Wait until you go for Second Looks at these schools and talk to M1s or other prospective students. At this point, nobody cares about scores or GPAs so people are more open about it.
 

dcsurgeon

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Thanks to all of you for your advice! It's taken me forever to get back here and read this thread because of finals, but I highly appreciate all the replies.

First off,

1) Get out/ stay out of DC. Its a ghetto

Yeah no thanks. I love this city and would never trade it in for the suburbs. I don't know if you've been to DC but apparently you did not visit Rock Creek Park and some of the surrounding neighborhoods. Opposite of "ghetto".

Second,

MCAT vs GPA. Obviously they are both important. Obviously I'm going to try and get the highest score I can. :beat:

Third,

I don't think some of you read my post. I'm a girl and I do not expect to walk out of a two year community college into medical school. Give me some credit! ;)

Most of you though, thanks for the encouraging words! Oh and it actually may be cheaper for me to go to Georgetown or GW vs Mason in VA because in VA I pay out of state (and no it doesn't matter if I move there, domicile is based on your parents until you're 24 and my mother is still in AL). Plus I hear private universities have more money to give away.

Keep the suggestions coming if you have more! Mostly will be looking for advice on ECs, clinical experience, etc.

Enjoying the forum already!
 
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