impressions?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by ramey, Feb 12, 2000.

  1. ramey

    ramey New Member

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    Hi,

    My name is Michael. I am in my fourth year in undergraduate school earning a B.S. in Chemistry with a minor in Anatomy & Nuerobiology. I'll be applying for med schools this June. I took the MCAT last spring and got a 25R, needless to say. I'll be taking it again this April. Here's the kicker football fans. I'll be applying with a cum GPA of about 3.3 or so. However, this not so hot GPA is due to one horrible semester of grades. My first year was a 4.0, followed by two bad semesters. The rest of my grades since that year have been fine...mostly A's mixed with a few B's for good measure. The bad year was due to my over-involvement with a now ex-girlfriend. The question is: I wonder whether the schools will actually look at my transcripts and see that my GPA is not reflective of my academic ability. Should I mention this girlfriend fiasco in my personal statement? Any thoughts or comments would be welcome.
    Thanks.
     
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  3. ana

    ana

    Michael,
    Let's take this one point at a time:

    1. Your transcripts as not being reflective of your academic ability.

    OF COURSE they are reflective of your academic abilities! Now this being said, they also reflect a number of things: whether or not you had other time commitments (volunteer work, working for income, commuting, research, etc.), how you handle stress, how seriously you take academics, how well you are able to concentrate when there are other life stressors about you... etc.

    Now this being said, let's see how you can recuperate from a less than stellar gpa...


    2. Should you mention your girlfriend?

    ABSOLUTELY NOT! I am going to be flippant for a moment here: the only way you should mention her is if there was some tragedy involving your girlfriend (ie, she was very ill, she died, etc...), you loved her, and whilst you were dealing with this tremendous personal challenge you were also going to school. If, however, it was just "one of those things... (she was not nice, you were obsessed/in love, she played a lot of "mind games," etc.) then you will look like a big, immature schmuck for even mentioning her.

    SO HOW ARE YOU GOING TO FIX THINGS?

    a)You must absolutely kick butt on the mcats. With your gpa, you need double digit scores to get into an allopathic program (as well as some other things I will discuss later). A score of 10 in each category is good, but it is considered "average good." The better you do on the exam, the more you can overcome your mediocre gpa. If you score in the high 20's, you can still get into an osteopathic school, in which case you need to think about shadowing a DO, learning all you can about the profession, and obtaining a genuine appreciation for it (ie, one year from now when you have an acceptance to an osteopathic program you will not be posting about how ambivilant you are about being a DO vs. an MD... Michael, the most successful people I know understand the word, "commitment").

    Do not take that exam again unless you are absolutely sure you can do well. Take a commercial prep course if you have to. Yes, even take a year off if necessary. The reason I say this is because you have already blown one seating for the exam. You can retake it once without too much penalty, a third sitting will raise eyebrows. How can you tell how well you will do? You can buy practice exams from Kaplan, Princeton, and the people who administer the mcats (they are old exams). In general, I found that my scores were 1-2 points lower than my practice scores (this was true for many of my friends) depending on which test I took. If you can score double digits on these practice tests, you can do well on the real thing.

    b) start working on a personal statement. Always be positive about yourself. If you have to explain deficiencies, for instance:

    "I got bad grades because..." sounds bad. Try something like, "Despite the fact that I (fill in the blank with some circustances that show what a hard worker you are, how much time you spend on extracurricular activities, volunteer, leadership, research, low income... whatever... find something), I still graduted from college because I refuse to be daunted by my personal circumstances.

    c) get some outstanding letters of rec. Pick one advanced life science class and get an A+. In fact, work your butt off and get one of the highest grades in the class. Then get a letter of rec from that prof. You can also try do clinical volunteer work or research. These are also good sources of letters.

    Ok, this is already too long, so I'll say good bye. Post again if you have other questions. Also, post again if you think I was out of line with any of the stuff I said. I didn't mean to offend, but I just did not want to see you blow your chances to get into a program, and maybe I came accross as too heavy handed.

    Best wishes, Ana
     
  4. ramey

    ramey New Member

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    Ana,

    Thanks for your input. I appreciate thoughts and candor in this matter. I do agree with nearly all the things you mentioned. I'm pretty confident about the MCAT. I feel that just having been through it once alleviates any uncertainties I might have about what the whole day is like, what to expect, etc.

    Also, one of the major "good things" about my app. is that I have a ton of volunteer experiences, both in and out of the health field, alsong with being a leader in those organizations. If, however, I'm not accepted this year I plan to enroll in a MS program in Anatomy & Neyrobiology that my school offers. It's only one year long, so that should work out great.

    Michael
     
  5. hankhill

    hankhill Member

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    You can also consider retaking some of the courses to raise your GPA. This is much more effective if you are applying to Osteopathic schools which do not average both takes together.
    Good Luck
     

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