I've been told I would be foolish to do a SMP, but others tell me it would help me.

Systemic

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I'm honestly confused at this point and could use some guidance on my next steps.

I'm applying to medical school for the first time this year. I am a non-trad with a 3.51 GPA (last 60 science credits are all As) and a 510 MCAT score. I have the standard array of clinical experience, research, shadowing, etc.

I've been told by some people that I need to be applying to SMP programs along with medical schools this year given my stats. When I mentioned this to other people, they are kind of surprised. They think my stats are good enough to get in, and that SMPs are generally for people with sub 505 MCATs and GPAs closer to 3.0. Those same people tell me I would potentially be destroying my medical school chances if I did a SMP and didn't do well, especially given my already fine stats (in their opinion).

So I'm trying to gauge who is right here and whether I should consider a SMPs alongside my medical school applications.

I appreciate any advice.
 
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Your last 60 science credits of all As essentially has already fulfilled the primary purpose of an SMP, which is showing that you figured out how to get your **** together and do science courses at a high level.
 
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I see a SMP as being high risk, low reward for you. The upward trend compensates for the lower GPA. Your MCAT score is decent for allopathic programs. I agree with the others that I would apply as you are stats wise.
 
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MCAT is too low in my opinion. There is not point of doing an MD SMP without a 515+ MCAT. I acknowledge this is a hot take but I am happy to elaborate if anyone disagrees.

You also should try your luck at at least a few schools for one cycle before you drop the cash on an SMP. Don’t go crazy and risk being a 2nd time applicant at 50 schools, but 10-15 low tier MD schools wouldn’t hurt. Because you aren’t out of the running for low tier MD schools if you have good ECs.

The kind of stats that work best for SMPs are like 3.2-3.3 sGPA and 518+ MCAT with good EC’s AND you are only ok with MD. I may or may not be saying this from personal experience.

oh, and what is your science GPA? That matters 1000% more than your cumulative GPA or all other GPA.
 
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I definitely believe that you should not do SMP and just apply to medical school !!! Your scores are competitive .
Btw - if you are comfortable sharing , what’s your state of residency ?
 
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MCAT is too low in my opinion. There is not point of doing an MD SMP without a 515+ MCAT. I acknowledge this is a hot take but I am happy to elaborate if anyone disagrees.

You also should try your luck at at least a few schools for one cycle before you drop the cash on an SMP. Don’t go crazy and risk being a 2nd time applicant at 50 schools, but 10-15 low tier MD schools wouldn’t hurt. Because you aren’t out of the running for low tier MD schools if you have good ECs.

The kind of stats that work best for SMPs are like 3.2-3.3 sGPA and 518+ MCAT with good EC’s AND you are only ok with MD. I may or may not be saying this from personal experience.

oh, and what is your science GPA? That matters 1000% more than your cumulative GPA or all other GPA.
511 is the median for MD aceptees.
 
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511 is the median for MD aceptees.
Neither said it wasn’t. The point of an SMP is GPA improvement and to get into an MD school. It is a huge financial risk. I don’t think it is a justifiable risk to take if you don’t already have a very solid application to make up for a low GPA (normally in the 3.0-3.3 range). Part of making up for a bad GPA is a killer MCAT, which I consider to be 515.

Waaaaay too many people do SMPs with <505 MCATs and then still can’t get into an MD school even if they do well in the SMP, because their MCAT is still bad.

Also, I would argue that if you have a low GPA AND a low MCAT, you weren’t just lazy in undergrad, you probably do not have the horsepower to excel in medical school/an SMP. Pretty much every MD SMP requires you to be in the top quartile or above on exams that are compared to the M1 class at a top 50 school. So to do an SMP you need to be confident that you can be well above the “average” medical student…and being an average medical student is already a lot of work.
 

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and for MD with a strategic list. Do you need one?

That would actually be helpful, thanks.

I definitely believe that you should not do SMP and just apply to medical school !!! Your scores are competitive .
Btw - if you are comfortable sharing , what’s your state of residency ?

I am in Florida, but originally from Louisiana. My family is in Louisiana, I graduated from LSU, and I've lived there for most of my life. I moved to Florida a few years ago for a software related job.

I'm actually unsure as to whether I need to move back to Louisiana to attain in state status again before this cycle. Both LA-NO and LA-Shreveport highly prioritize in-state students, and if I move back I can legally become an in-state student again. Given my connections to the state, I would most definitely be viewed as an in-state applicant even though I had technically just moved back.

Now, I could just stay in Florida and apply to Florida schools at as in-state student, and to Loisiana schools as an OOS, but have moved away from this for two reasons - 1) Florida is insanely competitive, and I don't have the stats to compete, and 2) Admissions committees would see that I've only lived in Florida for 4 years and therefore wouldn't consider me a "real" in-state student (even though legally I would be one) and would instead focus on those who have actually lived here for most of their life and/or graduated from HS/college here.

Basically, I feel like I have no shot at a Florida school anyway, won't be viewed as a real in state student, and that moving back to Louisiana with my extensive connnections there would boost my chances at LA-NO/LA-Shreveport as an in state applicant.

If this is backwards thinking, please let me know before I potentially make a mistake, lol.
 

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That would actually be helpful, thanks.


I am in Florida, but originally from Louisiana. My family is in Louisiana, I graduated from LSU, and I've lived there for most of my life. I moved to Florida a few years ago for a software related job.

I'm actually unsure as to whether I need to move back to Louisiana to attain in state status again before this cycle. Both LA-NO and LA-Shreveport highly prioritize in-state students, and if I move back I can legally become an in-state student again. Given my connections to the state, I would most definitely be viewed as an in-state applicant even though I had technically just moved back.

Now, I could just stay in Florida and apply to Florida schools at as in-state student, and to Loisiana schools as an OOS, but have moved away from this for two reasons - 1) Florida is insanely competitive, and I don't have the stats to compete, and 2) Admissions committees would see that I've only lived in Florida for 4 years and therefore wouldn't consider me a "real" in-state student (even though legally I would be one) and would instead focus on those who have actually lived here for most of their life and/or graduated from HS/college here.

If this is backwards thinking, please let me know before I potentially make a mistake, lol.
I think you are overthinking 4 years not being long enough to be considered instate in Florida. Adcoms don’t expect you to trace back your family tree to Spanish conquistadors who founded the state lol.

I would say you should become a LA resident again because their two state schools quite low stat for MD schools iirc. Florida has way more medical schools so it’s not an extremely easy choice. Pros and cons for both states. One thing that will work against you is that your GPA from LSU seems really low. Even though both LSU medical schools have low stats for an MD school, most kids that come from a flagship undergrad and go to the state’s medical school have a very high GPA. This is because of two reasons, 1) flagship state schools are normally easier to get a high GPA at than private schools and 2) they are HUGE, so LSU undergrad probably has like 500 premeds applying to LSU med school every year and the med school can be much more picky within that cohort.
 

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That would actually be helpful, thanks.



I am in Florida, but originally from Louisiana. My family is in Louisiana, I graduated from LSU, and I've lived there for most of my life. I moved to Florida a few years ago for a software related job.

I'm actually unsure as to whether I need to move back to Louisiana to attain in state status again before this cycle. Both LA-NO and LA-Shreveport highly prioritize in-state students, and if I move back I can legally become an in-state student again. Given my connections to the state, I would most definitely be viewed as an in-state applicant even though I had technically just moved back.

Now, I could just stay in Florida and apply to Florida schools at as in-state student, and to Loisiana schools as an OOS, but have moved away from this for two reasons - 1) Florida is insanely competitive, and I don't have the stats to compete, and 2) Admissions committees would see that I've only lived in Florida for 4 years and therefore wouldn't consider me a "real" in-state student (even though legally I would be one) and would instead focus on those who have actually lived here for most of their life and/or graduated from HS/college here.

Basically, I feel like I have no shot at a Florida school anyway, won't be viewed as a real in state student, and that moving back to Louisiana with my extensive connnections there would boost my chances at LA-NO/LA-Shreveport as an in state applicant.

If this is backwards thinking, please let me know before I potentially make a mistake, lol.
You're way overthinking this.

List will come soon
 

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You're way overthinking this.

List will come soon
I agree OP is overthinking the residency issue but it’s honestly refreshing to see someone be tactical about residency.

I know too many people who went to undergrad with me in my “crappy” flyover state…they stayed CA residents, then complained that they had to end up going DO because CA schools are too competitive. Then have the audacity to say, “I probably would have gotten into *insert state MD school* if I had just changed my residency like you.” Yeah, no ****! That’s why I changed my residency!!!
 
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I'm honestly confused at this point and could use some guidance on my next steps.

I'm applying to medical school for the first time this year. I am a non-trad with a 3.51 GPA (last 60 science credits are all As) and a 510 MCAT score. I have the standard array of clinical experience, research, shadowing, etc.

I've been told by some people that I need to be applying to SMP programs along with medical schools this year given my stats. When I mentioned this to other people, they are kind of surprised. They think my stats are good enough to get in, and that SMPs are generally for people with sub 505 MCATs and GPAs closer to 3.0. Those same people tell me I would potentially be destroying my medical school chances if I did a SMP and didn't do well, especially given my already fine stats (in their opinion).

So I'm trying to gauge who is right here and whether I should consider a SMPs alongside my medical school applications.

I appreciate any advice.
Would be a waste of time and money
 
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That would actually be helpful, thanks.
I suggest:
All FL schools, except maybe USF/Morsani
ALL LA schools.

BUT, do your homework and find out if you count as which state you're truly a resident of. I suspect that the LSUs will cut you some slack.
EVMS
Jefferson
Drexel
Albany
NYMC
Rush
Loyola
Rosy Franklin
Tulane
Wake
MCW
SLU
Creighton
Wayne State
Netter

Any DO program. Include UNECOM if you’re from the NE, OSUCOM if you’re from the Plains states and PacNW if you’re from that region. I can't recommend ARCOM, Nova, BCOM, ICOM and LUCOM, for different reasons. MSUCOM? Read up on Larry Nasser and you decide. LMU has an accreditation warning, which concerns me. CUHS is too new and appears to be too limited in rotations sites.
Any DO program. Include UNECOM if you’re from the NE, OSUCOM if you’re from the Plains states and PacNW if you’re from that region. I can't recommend ARCOM, RVU, Nova, BCOM, ICOM and LUCOM, for different reasons. MSUCOM? Read up on Larry Nasser and you decide. LMU has an accreditation warning, which concerns me. CUHS is too new and appears to be too limited in rotations sites. Avoid those new schools that haven't graduated a class yet, if at all possible.

 
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I suggest:
All FL schools, except maybe USF/Morsani
ALL LA schools.

BUT, do your homework and find out if you count as which state you're truly a resident of. I suspect that the LSUs will cut you some slack.
EVMS
Jefferson
Drexel
Albany
NYMC
Rush
Loyola
Rosy Franklin
Tulane
Wake
MCW
SLU
Creighton
Wayne State
Netter

Any DO program. Include UNECOM if you’re from the NE, OSUCOM if you’re from the Plains states and PacNW if you’re from that region. I can't recommend ARCOM, Nova, BCOM, ICOM and LUCOM, for different reasons. MSUCOM? Read up on Larry Nasser and you decide. LMU has an accreditation warning, which concerns me. CUHS is too new and appears to be too limited in rotations sites.
Any DO program. Include UNECOM if you’re from the NE, OSUCOM if you’re from the Plains states and PacNW if you’re from that region. I can't recommend ARCOM, RVU, Nova, BCOM, ICOM and LUCOM, for different reasons. MSUCOM? Read up on Larry Nasser and you decide. LMU has an accreditation warning, which concerns me. CUHS is too new and appears to be too limited in rotations sites. Avoid those new schools that haven't graduated a class yet, if at all possible.

This is very helpful, thank you for taking the time to put it together.

Given your recommendation that I apply to all Florida schools, I'm assuming you feel it would be better for me to just stay in FL and apply to the LSUs as an OOS, rather than move back to LA?
 

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Out of curiosity, why exclude USF? Is it significantly more competative than the others?
State schools favor the home team, and particularly do not seem to reward reinvention. As such you have to be better than average for an out-of-state MD school.
The only exceptions to this seem to be EVMS and Wayne State
 
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I'm honestly confused at this point and could use some guidance on my next steps.

I'm applying to medical school for the first time this year. I am a non-trad with a 3.51 GPA (last 60 science credits are all As) and a 510 MCAT score. I have the standard array of clinical experience, research, shadowing, etc.

I've been told by some people that I need to be applying to SMP programs along with medical schools this year given my stats. When I mentioned this to other people, they are kind of surprised. They think my stats are good enough to get in, and that SMPs are generally for people with sub 505 MCATs and GPAs closer to 3.0. Those same people tell me I would potentially be destroying my medical school chances if I did a SMP and didn't do well, especially given my already fine stats (in their opinion).

So I'm trying to gauge who is right here and whether I should consider a SMPs alongside my medical school applications.

I appreciate any advice
I do not think you need an SMP. That's a very high risk/high reward option where you will sometimes be taking classes alongside actual med school students and you are expected to get a great GPA (3.8+). Why don't you apply this cycle and see how it goes? If it doesn't work out for you, there are more risk-averse paths you can take to strengthen your application. You can:
- do a record enhancer postbacc
- take courses as a second degree student
- attend "open university" courses or extension school (ex. Harvard extension)
- do a traditional master's (1 year accelerated MS, no thesis) - would probably be the most expensive and least helpful for you though

Yea, I really wouldn't do an SMP unless you get rejected by all the MD and DO schools you apply to after pursuing at least one of the above options first, if you are looking for grade enhancement. But, people get in all the time with a 3.5/510. Check out the table provided by AAMC below:


Applicants with stats in your range get accepted to at least 1 medical school about 50% of the time. Those are good enough odds that you should just apply first and see what happens. Only delay your application if you are missing some critical component like shadowing, volunteering, etc.
 
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Systemic

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I do not think you need an SMP. That's a very high risk/high reward option where you will sometimes be taking classes alongside actual med school students and you are expected to get a great GPA (3.8+). Why don't you apply this cycle and see how it goes? If it doesn't work out for you, there are more risk-averse paths you can take to strengthen your application. You can:
- do a record enhancer postbacc
- take courses as a second degree student
- attend "open university" courses or extension school (ex. Harvard extension)
- do a traditional master's (1 year accelerated MS, no thesis) - would probably be the most expensive and least helpful for you though

Yea, I really wouldn't do an SMP unless you get rejected by all the MD and DO schools you apply to after pursuing at least one of the above options first, if you are looking for grade enhancement. But, people get in all the time with a 3.5/510. Check out the table provided by AAMC below:


Applicants with stats in your range get accepted to at least 1 medical school about 50% of the time. Those are good enough odds that you should just apply first and see what happens. Only delay your application if you are missing some critical component like shadowing, volunteering, etc.

Yeah, I've come across a few of these programs that don't appear to be explicitly labelled as "Special Masters Programs", but are instead 1 year Masters Programs in the Biomedical Sciences. Tulane has one, Wake Forest has their own, etc. Are these not viewed the same way as a formal SMP in which you actually take courses alongside medical students (ie, Georgetown's program)? Do they hold less weight in the eyes of an admissions committee?

Also, thank you for that link. I had no idea people in the 3.4-3.59 range with a 510-513 MCAT score had a 50% chance of at least one acceptance. That's higher than I would have thought.
 

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Yeah, I've come across a few of these programs that don't appear to be explicitly labelled as "Special Masters Programs", but are instead 1 year Masters Programs in the Biomedical Sciences. Tulane has one, Wake Forest has their own, etc. Are these not viewed the same way as a formal SMP in which you actually take courses alongside medical students (ie, Georgetown's program)? Do they hold less weight in the eyes of an admissions committee?

Also, thank you for that link. I had no idea people in the 3.4-3.59 range with a 510-513 MCAT score had a 50% chance of at least one acceptance. That's higher than I would have thought.
Make sure you adjust for your race. It is 40% for Asian applicants and 87% for Black applicants in that GPA/MCAT range. Unfortunately the data on this is getting older every year because AAMC stopped releasing info on this because the optics aren't great.
 
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Unfortunately the data on this is getting older every year because AAMC stopped releasing info on this because the optics aren't great.
This information should be reported or URM data as a group separated out. Otherwise, you give ORMs an overly optimistic outlook.
 
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Make sure you adjust for your race. It is 40% for Asian applicants and 87% for Black applicants in that GPA/MCAT range. Unfortunately the data on this is getting older every year because AAMC stopped releasing info on this because the optics aren't great.
40% chance of acceptance still worth applying with a strategic school list imo.
 
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Yeah, I've come across a few of these programs that don't appear to be explicitly labelled as "Special Masters Programs", but are instead 1 year Masters Programs in the Biomedical Sciences. Tulane has one, Wake Forest has their own, etc. Are these not viewed the same way as a formal SMP in which you actually take courses alongside medical students (ie, Georgetown's program)? Do they hold less weight in the eyes of an admissions committee?

Also, thank you for that link. I had no idea people in the 3.4-3.59 range with a 510-513 MCAT score had a 50% chance of at least one acceptance. That's higher than I would have thought.
To clarify, we don't care if you take classes with med students or not. Adcoms don't get into that level of granularity.

We just care that the courses are like what you get in med school.
 
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To clarify, we don't care if you take classes with med students or not. Adcoms don't get into that level of granularity.

We just care that the courses are like what you get in med school.
I was told something different when I interviewed at multiple med schools after an SMP. So I don’t think this is universal.
 
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I'm honestly confused at this point and could use some guidance on my next steps.

I'm applying to medical school for the first time this year. I am a non-trad with a 3.51 GPA (last 60 science credits are all As) and a 510 MCAT score. I have the standard array of clinical experience, research, shadowing, etc.

I've been told by some people that I need to be applying to SMP programs along with medical schools this year given my stats. When I mentioned this to other people, they are kind of surprised. They think my stats are good enough to get in, and that SMPs are generally for people with sub 505 MCATs and GPAs closer to 3.0. Those same people tell me I would potentially be destroying my medical school chances if I did a SMP and didn't do well, especially given my already fine stats (in their opinion).

So I'm trying to gauge who is right here and whether I should consider a SMPs alongside my medical school applications.

I appreciate any advice.
As someone in an SMP currently, i think your GPA is perfectly fine. Even your MCAT is pretty competitive. SMPs are not cheap. My SMP cost me around 40k a year, but at the same time i will be a medical student come August 2021 :) I would personally say, you are better of doing a post bacc or taking a few upper level science classes at your university to boost your GPA and provide some strength, but your app is pretty strong as is if you apply in a smart manner. If anything, if you brought your MCAT up to a 515 i think you would have an awesome shot at getting 5+ II's this upcoming cycle. I would not spend the 40k a year on an SMP only to have a 3.7/3.8 masters GPA. While it looks good, you could also apply this upcoming cycle and get into a lower teir school like Drexel, Buffalo, St. Louis, and not bat an eye. Not saying they are bad schools, but if you apply with breadth and some intelligence I can def see you doing well during your app cycle. I don't think the risk of taking an SMP is worth it for you. Say you had a 3.2/3.3 GPA I would def try the SMP route, but at 3.5 for example some med schools have that as their average GPA for their incoming classes so you should be fine. Also there's a risk that you don't do well and you get a 3.3/3.4 in the SMP, then what happens? I think you're good where you are!
 
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As someone in an SMP currently, i think your GPA is perfectly fine. Even your MCAT is pretty competitive. SMPs are not cheap. My SMP cost me around 40k a year, but at the same time i will be a medical student come August 2021 :) I would personally say, you are better of doing a post bacc or taking a few upper level science classes at your university to boost your GPA and provide some strength, but your app is pretty strong as is if you apply in a smart manner. If anything, if you brought your MCAT up to a 515 i think you would have an awesome shot at getting 5+ II's this upcoming cycle. I would not spend the 40k a year on an SMP only to have a 3.7/3.8 masters GPA. While it looks good, you could also apply this upcoming cycle and get into a lower teir school like Drexel, Buffalo, St. Louis, and not bat an eye. Not saying they are bad schools, but if you apply with breadth and some intelligence I can def see you doing well during your app cycle. I don't think the risk of taking an SMP is worth it for you. Say you had a 3.2/3.3 GPA I would def try the SMP route, but at 3.5 for example some med schools have that as their average GPA for their incoming classes so you should be fine. Also there's a risk that you don't do well and you get a 3.3/3.4 in the SMP, then what happens? I think you're good where you are!

Thanks for the input.

I have to be honest, I'm not really liking where I stand right now. Both my GPA and MCAT are kind of just average. Not outstanding, but certainly not bad. Just kind of "meh".

If my GPA was 3.1/3.2, it would make the decision on a SMP easier. And if my GPA was a 3.7 I wouldn't have to even think about it at all. But at a 3.5, I feel like I'm right on the border - med school adcoms won't be impressed, but like you and others have stated, it's too high to consider a SMP. Oddly enough I just calculated my science GPA and it's somehow a little higher than my overall GPA (sGPA is a 3.55, cGPA is a 3.51).

MCAT is the same thing. With a 510, that's not high enough to impress anyone, but at the same time, it's a little too high to risk a retake. A 513+ would be imrpessive, and a 508 or lower would probably warrant a retake. But with a 510, I'm right on the border again.

So with my GPA and MCAT, I feel like I'll either take huge risks with a SMP and a retake of the MCAT, or I'll end up applying to medical schools with stats that aren't impressive at all.
 
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Thanks for the input.

I have to be honest, I'm not really liking where I stand right now. Both my GPA and MCAT are kind of just average. Not outstanding, but certainly not bad. Just kind of "meh".

If my GPA was 3.1/3.2, it would make the decision on a SMP easier. And if my GPA was a 3.7 I wouldn't have to even think about it at all. But at a 3.5, I feel like I'm right on the border - med school adcoms won't be impressed, but like you and others have stated, it's too high to consider a SMP. Oddly enough I just calculated my science GPA and it's somehow a little higher than my overall GPA (sGPA is a 3.55, cGPA is a 3.51).

MCAT is the same thing. With a 510, that's not high enough to impress anyone, but at the same time, it's a little too high to risk a retake. A 513+ would be imrpessive, and a 508 or lower would probably warrant a retake. But with a 510, I'm right on the border again.

So with my GPA and MCAT, I feel like I'll either take huge risks with a SMP and a retake of the MCAT, or I'll end up applying to medical schools with stats that aren't impressive at all.
I would really encourage you to buy MSAR if you haven't already. Most school advertise a 512 MCAT average, but their 25th percentile ranges is at 508 and their 75th at a 515. For example that is what Temple has. You would be a perfect candidate for Temple as a result. You might not be their average, but you have a higher MCAT then like 40% of the accepted students. Similarly with their GPA stats, some schools have 25%th percentiles in the 3.3/3.4 ranges, with their average at a 3.6/3.7. I think its worth the money to buy MSAR and look at the data. You will be surprised how competitive you are. Don't take those average numbers that schools publish to heart. On MSAR you can even filter to the average scores by MATRICULATED students, and most times the averages for the school in MCAT and GPA drop by a few points. Spend some time within MSAR (like $25 from AAMC), and I think you will feel a lot better.
 
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