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Improve GPA or EC? Tradeoffs

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by ys1228, Jan 1, 2009.

  1. ys1228

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    I'd appreciate your advice on how to enhance my med school app. Please let me know if you think I should (1) focus on improving my uGPA through extension courses or (2) improve ECs.

    I have a 3.2 overall and 3.0 science GPA (higher not counting retakes) from a college known to be very competitive.
    .
     
    #1 ys1228, Jan 1, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2009
  2. beckhunter116

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    Hello. Well a few questions and then we can give better advice. Do you have any volunteering? Health related or just community related? Do you want to apply to MD only or MD/DO?

    Do you have a lot of research as of now or you would plan on doing that instead of school? Even if you have a good amount of research you still need to show an altruistic mentality. Hope this helps, and good luck!
     
  3. ys1228

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    Thanks. I do not have any volunteering and plan on starting that soon.

    I have a ton of research experience (3 yrs full time, 1 year part).

    I will apply to MD programs only.
     
  4. bigDinLV

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    If you can bring up the science GPA with some upper level science classes, that would work for pulling up the overall and the science GPA. Having all that other stuff sounds good.

    With a little lower GPA your MCAT will be more important. I had high/average GPA in biochem and molecular bio from a good school, average MCAT. It can all all average out in the end.

    What if you try taking the MCAT and apply, If no acceptances this round then you can work on things?????
     
  5. ys1228

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    .
     
    #5 ys1228, Jan 2, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2009
  6. flip26

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    Not a matter of either/or - you need both - you need to raise that GPA, and you need to get your ECs in order.

    What this probably means is taking more time to get it done - there is nothing here to compromise - you can't forsake grades for ECs, or vice versa, and expect to be successful.
     
  7. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
    Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Agree with this.

    OP, right now neither your grades nor your ECs are competitive for medical school, particularly allopathic programs. It is better to do this process slow than it is to do it over. First, the average GPA for allo matriculants is a 3.6. Your GPA is at the bottom of the range of acceptability. The good news is that some schools will give more weight to your more recent post-bac grades. Ideally, you should strive for a post-bac GPA of 3.8+. Keep in mind also that only undergrad grades count toward your AMCAS GPA; the grad grades are averaged separately. Basically, you can think of your MS and research experience as a nice EC. These things will *not* make up for low UG grades or a lack of other important ECs.

    Ok, so now let's discuss ECs. Right now, your ECs are insufficient to be competitive for medical school. At a bare minimum, you must get some kind of clinical experience, such as shadowing physicians, working in an ER, volunteering for a hospice, etc. You are not limited to these examples, but your clinical experience should entail contact with patients and interactions with physicians. The purpose of this is to convince both yourself and an adcom that you know what you're getting yourself into. You should also consider getting involved in some kind of service activity. Medicine is a service profession, and adcoms like to see an altruistic streak in competitive applicants. You don't have to put in a great deal of time for your ECs; a couple of hours per week over a year or more would be reasonable.

    Third, a high MCAT score is something that many aspire to and many fewer actually achieve. Until you start taking practice tests and studying, you cannot predict that you will probably get a high score. Particularly if English is not your native language, the VR section of the MCAT could be a difficult obstacle for you. Even many American students have difficulty with that portion of the test. Treat the MCAT with respect; it is a much harder test than the GRE.

    Finally, I recommend that you consider applying to osteopathic schools as well as allopathic schools. Both routes will permit you to be a physician. The training and licensing are analogous, and there are no specialties that are open to MDs and not DOs, although some of the more competitive allo residencies may be more difficult to match into as a DO. The benefit of applying to DO schools for someone in your situation is that you can replace previous poor grades with current high grades if you retake the courses. This allows you to raise your GPA much faster. In contrast, allo schools will average all grades together, even when you repeat a course. Thus, it is much harder to raise your GPA to a competitive level.

    There are links to several threads and forums in the stickies at the top of this forum that you may find useful. Hope this helps, and best of luck to you. :)
     
  8. gman33

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    Agree with Q's advice.
    Let me comment a little more on the DO part.
    What reason do you have for not applying to DO schools?

    The path to get into a MD school will be long and difficult.
    Your stats are weak and will take a while to fix them.
    Probably about 2 years of full-time UG plus a SMP.
    For DO schools, you could do about a year of retakes and have a very competitive application. You could even start in the spring, bang out a few retakes through the summer and apply next cycle. I'm not saying to rush the process, but it could happen.

    I go to a MD school, but there is really no difference. If you choose to only apply MD, just realize you are adding at least a few years to the process.
     
  9. ys1228

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    Thanks guys.
     

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