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Ivy League with lower gpa

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Sheiila, Jun 20, 2000.

  1. Sheiila

    Sheiila Member

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    Hello,
    I am doing my premed and finishing my degree at Harvard, at night, as I work fulltime and am a single mother to two kids. I'm also an anceint 33 years old.

    My gpa is about a 3.6, but of course I have orgo next semester, so there is a real chance of it slipping. (Chant: Gonna ace orgo, gonna ace orgo, gonna ace orgo...) My gpa would be much higher if it were not for these cruel science classes.

    If I were to go to, graduate from, an easier school, my grades would be better. And at my age, I need every advantage I can get. Especially since because of my kids, I have to go to a Massachusetts med school.

    My question: Is a degree and a B from Harvard worth it, is it better than an A- from a lesser school? Everyone says that an A- from a state school (etc) is better, but I am having a hard time believing that! Please, someone who knows first hand, help me out here!

    Thanks!
     
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  3. raindodger

    raindodger Senior Member

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    No No, Sheilla, don't doubt yourself!

    Take a look at this post i found from another bulletin board (the reference is at the very end of it).

    You have a much better chance than someone with a 4.0 avg from a state school.

    It looks like your B will turn into an A- perhaps, solely by the fact that you attend Harvard! [​IMG] My friends and I (we go to Cal), breathed a sigh of relief when we saw this, we were close to not applying to several well known schools in the East Coast.

    I hope this helps raise your spirits! [​IMG]

    raindodger

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
    okay..here is the deal I heard on undergrad rankings. An interviewer at a top 20 NE school told me this.

    They group schools in to 6 different categories.

    In the first category there are 8 schools. They are the big three ivies (Harvard, Yale, ???), duke, stanford, caltech, mit, and Cal.

    The second category contains 18 schools. This category is made up by the rest of the ivies except for penn. Then you have the usual second tier schools rounding out the list- nyu, tufts, vandy, emory, gtown, NW, etc.

    The third category is made up of mainly solid state schools- UCLA, UNC, Michigan, Virginia, etc

    The fourth category contains large state schools which don't measure up to those in category 3- UF, UGA, Michigan State, Illinois, etc. Bascically any state university with 15,000+ people and an avg entering class with mean sat scores of between 1140-1260.

    The fifth category contains smaller lesser known private schools which don't measure up to those listed in category 2 [i'm assuming he means category 4 instead]. Decent, but top students usually would not go there. Avg student profile for an entering freshman would probably be something like 3.4 gpa, 1080 SAT score.

    The sixth category contains crappy regional state schools and crappy smaller private schools. You know what I mean.

    Okay, here is how they weigh/adjust the grades.

    If you are in category 1 you get .20 points added to your gpa.
    If you are in category 2 OR 3 you get .10 points added to your gpa.
    If you are in category 3 you get .05 points added to your gpa.
    If you are in category 4 you get .05 points taken away from your gpa.
    If you are in category 5 you get .15 points taken off your gpa.

    And if you are in category 6 you are taken off the list and your application is immediately discarded. This school in question will still send out a secondary (I think at $85) to most anyone however, but they will only open it to get your check.

    So we see that the adjustment between a student at NYU and a student at Penn State, for ex, would be a net of .15 points, after .10 is added to the nyu guy and .05 is subtracted from the PSU guy.

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

    source: (http://discuss.review.com/forums/Index.cfm?CFApp=100&Message_ID=829392)


     
  4. Sheiila

    Sheiila Member

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    Wow, that is a help. These courses are nuts, inhuman. Very, very few people get A's. And we know they do it to be big macho Harvard.

     
  5. EmB

    EmB Junior Member

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    Sheiila- I assume you're doing the Extension school courses at Harvard. I did most of my premed courses there as well, and I think they do a really good job of preparing you -- Fixsen's bio course is tough, but it's good MCAT prep. Same for the other courses. Make sure to get a good T.A. for Orgo (and for any other courses you will take) -- that, more than anything, can get you the extra help and review you need to bring up the grades. I found that most places seemed impressed that I'd done my premed work there -- make sure you tell people that you are taking the SAME courses the undergrads take, only you are also working 40+ hours a week and raising 2 kids!!! I got into great med schools - better, I'm sure, than if I'd gone to UMass Boston for post-bac (I did take one course there, and it was much easier, but I learned nothing, and would have had a much harder time prepping for the MCATs). Bottom line: Harvard costs the same as UMass (except for the summer courses, which are ridiculously expensive), and it gives you the extra preparation you need, plus shows the admissions committee that you can do the work. I'd stick it out.
     
  6. raindodger

    raindodger Senior Member

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    yes, Sheilla, you're a shoe-in for med school, especially since you have all of those qualities that make you a well rounded person. Being a mother and working 40 hrs a weak helps you in that department, my mother looked at the requirements for Columbia, and she said: "hey!, i should apply too! i didn't do the premeds, but what about everything else?" [​IMG]

    -raindodger
     
  7. Zero Cool

    Zero Cool Senior Member

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    Do they even look at what you majored in? Are you telling me that my 3.5 in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida will be docked .05 points and someone elses 3.5 in Electrical Engineering from Harvard will gain .20 point, even though Florida is ranked higher as far a EE goes. And as far as engineering in general goes Florida and Harvard are the same. I would think that they would have to take your major into some account.
     
  8. ChrisSteffen

    ChrisSteffen Member

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    That's crazy, there are mane small private schools in the midwest that are as hard to get into and maintain grades than any Ivy leauge schools. Also, don't forget about all of the Patriot leauge schools such as Lehiegh, colgate etc. The bottom line is, there really is no formula for ranking schools that is not of a subjective nature. Your best bet is to get better grades if your'e that worried about it.
     
  9. raindodger

    raindodger Senior Member

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    This is not about ranks or ability to get into the respective undergrad institutions.

    The process tries to make up for grade inflation or deflation, whatever the case may be.

    Compare this with the correlation between attending certain medical schools and obtaining certain residency positions.

    raindodger
     
  10. Sheiila

    Sheiila Member

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    didn't "get into" the Harvard Extension School. At Harvard, you can take the courses if you pay the money. (And yes, they are the exact same profs, courses, tests as the Harvard College students.) You have to keep above a B- average to get a degree, but I would expect every premed to do that anyhow.

    Thanks for the info about Harvard and the MCAT. Good to hear! I will pass it on to my fellow students.
     
  11. Lisa Liu

    Lisa Liu New Member

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    Is GPA a REALLY BIG factor in gaining admissions to medical school? Of course you can't have a 2.3 and expect to get in. You have a pretty good GPA. Don't fret about O-Chem. If I can get an "A" in that class at Yale, so can you! Besides, I think scoring well on the MCAT is more important than keeping a 4.0 (Honestly). My roomate in college is now going to UCSF with a 3.5 but superior MCATs. I had a much higher GPA, but my MCAT was only a 34 and I got rejected from my top choice which was UCSF. So study hard and don't let O-Chem defeat you before you even get started. Don't raise your hand in defeat yet....try harder if you know that it is going to be hard!
     
  12. MikeS 78

    MikeS 78 Senior Member

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    Attention:
    I hate to clue you guys into this but MCAT's are almost everything when it comes to academic evaluation of applicants. Grades are an ancillary consideration and no body really cares all that much where you did you undergraduate work. I've heard statements to that effect nearly 300 times from faculty members at state schools, as well as Harvard, MIT, Stanford etc (my dad is in academia). All things equal the Harvard kid will probably get the nod over the New Mexico state kid, but they are never equal. A guy who I went to high school with told me that 3 kids got into Harvard from the University of Oklahoma (A "crappy state school") two of which had GPA's lower than 3.6 but excellent MCAT scores and personal experiences. By the algorhythm stated above those kids would have basically been "File 13'ed" and not asked for interview.

    Yes more kids from Harvard are probably going to Ivy league medical schools than from the University of Oklahoma, but that is more likely because Harvard attracts more serious students who tend to score higher on the MCAT. But a 4.0 and a 39 at New Mexico State beats a 3.0 and a 30 at Harvard, end of story.

    How can I make such claims???

    While at UCSF last summer, I met several people who were presently on, or had been on the admissions committee. UCSF is arguably the most competitive school in the nation admissions wise (5600 applications to 133 spots, MCAT scores in the hovering round 34-35), and from what I could gather,their algorhythm operates as follows:

    All numbers are put on a scale of 100 based on a table in the admissions office, and then are multiplied by a
    MCAT Verbal: 35%
    MCAT Composite: 35%
    GPA: 20%
    Rating of school (based on a different table):10%
    The numbers are placed into a computer tells the committee who they should begin to look at further. (i.e. mail a secondary to)

    Why is the MCAT 70%?

    1) It is the only standardized measure available: no one really has an all-knowing view of the difficulty level at every school
    2) Numerous studies have linked MCAT performance to improved USMLE performance
    3) It is given 60% weight in the student selectivity portion of US News rankings (which accounts for 40% of the total)

    It would be interesting to note that the same study found no correlation with GPA and USMLE

    Yes UCSF's admissions policy is not the law of the land, however the practice of putting numbers into a computer to screen people is far from atypical (Duke and Wash U openly admit doing this on their website) And even schools that do not use a computer, are quite cognizent about the importance of objective numbers (if they weren't then they wouldn't have 11.7 MCAT averages).

    In short, if I were in your position I would try to keep my grades as high as possible, Do some research, but most of all study for the MCAT like the world is coming to an end and that is the only way to save it.

     
  13. PimplePopperMD

    PimplePopperMD Senior Member

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    Some med schools take into account average MCAT from your undergrad institution as a measure of "ranking" of sorts. That is to say, if your undergrad institution's students averaged a 29 MCAT, then your school is quite competitive, etc. But we, of course, don't have that info. US News rankings are very helpful in that regard, however.

    And take my word, if you go to a good school undergrad, it's known. My lesser GPA was forgiven much more than other applicants, who had much better gpas, who didn't get in (their gpa was like .5 above mine!)

     
  14. raindodger

    raindodger Senior Member

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  15. do?

    do? Junior Member

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    these answers are so full of ****!
    My Ivy League diploma (and that of many of my friends) did not lead to a walk into med school! I even had offers to PhD programs at Ivy Leagues (Brown and Harvard), but not into the MD programs.

    You should plan on doing REALLY WELL on the MCAT. Otherwise, forget about it! When you talk to med schools about the Ivy League diploma, the admissions office will tell you that it makes no difference. A case in point: My GPA from Dartmouth was not significantly lower than my friend's from UConn. Our MCATs were the same. We were both white males from Connecticut. He got into Dartmouth med school, and I did not!

    Now I have a MS degree from a presitigious program, and about to finish med school- but it was not an easy task to get it (ie waiting list at many programs!)
     
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  17. Sheiila

    Sheiila Member

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    Question... it seems that verbal MCAT is very significant. Why?? I am not what I call a "math/science" person, but more of a humanities person. (And, no, I do not plan to become a pediatrician!) A good verbal score on the MCAT will be a breeze. Remembering the science that I struggled through, that will be very difficult.
     
  18. fiatslug

    fiatslug Senior Member
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    M'dear, nothing on the MCAT is a breeze. Planning on doing well on the dread CAT is one thing; opening that envelope and seeing scores, quite another. You can bet there are plenty of people on this board who studied their eyeballs out for the MCAT, and yet did much worse on the exam than they ever would have thought. Myself among them: I "planned" on a 43, but my humble 31T did the trick (and by the time I got the envelope, anything over 30 was just delightful by me).

    The MCAT seems to correlate well with USMLE scores. Since becoming a doc is in large part about doing well on exams, it is a necessary evil in the screening process.
     
  19. PimplePopperMD

    PimplePopperMD Senior Member

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    well, do?

    I think that you must have spoken with some odd adcom for them to say that the quality of the undergrad institution doesn't color their perception of your gpa. Granted, there will always be examples of identical numbers, and dissimilar acceptances. But on the whole, I reckon that your Dartmouth degree DID help, eventually, your admission into medical school. All the adcoms that I spoke with seemed to think that my Ivy League education was an asset. As do I.

    Now, don't get me wrong. It doesn't mean that you can get a 2.5 and a 21 MCAT. It just means that they'll look at lower gpa numbers. It's not the end-all, but it's a shove in the right direction.
     
  20. Naraku

    Naraku Senior Member

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    Just for the record, sometimes the adcoms really don't care where you do your undergrad. I'm sure (I hope!) that this isn't the case for all schools, but I was told flat-out by one of my interviewers that the Dean of Admissions would rather accept a 3.9 from a no-name school than a 3.7 from Cornell. My interviewer considered this unfair, but there wasn't much he could do about it. Well, that's life.

    Paige (who hasn't seen a 3.7 in a long time in any case)
     
  21. raindodger

    raindodger Senior Member

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    I'd think the schools which dont care what school you went to are probably state schools which only accept in-state residents,
    and therefore a student with a 3.9 from an undergrad in that state, will have a better chance than someone with a 3.7 from Cornell, which is probably in a state other than the state school the person with the 3.9 is applying to.

    But, I think the ranking letter I posted previously belonged to a private medical school in the East coast, and is therefore representative of only one school, not all of them. Some schools may have criteria which differ from that indicated on the letter. Interestingly, Columbia's application has only a limited number of schools on their application's designation list, in which you designate the undergrad school you attended. They tell you that they'll fill it in for you if your school is not listed, but it seems like they may have the same reasoning about certain schools, as the letter i previously posted (i.e. apps from 'crappy regional schools' getting automatically rejected). We shouldn't jump to conclusions though.

    -raindodger
     
  22. Naraku

    Naraku Senior Member

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    Nope- I went to Cornell, but I maintained NJ residency, and applied in-state. I wish I remembered the specific no-name college that my interviewer mentioned, but I can tell you that it was definitely not a state school, and that the interviewer himself referred to it as a "no-name school" (whatever that's worth).

    Paige
     
  23. MikeS 78

    MikeS 78 Senior Member

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    hahahaha Raindodger

    Funny that you mentioned Columbia because I am from what you would probably consider a "Crappy state school." Columbia filled in my school code. I am going there next fall.

    I was also accepted to 3 other top ten schools, and was interviewed at all of the top 10.

    I also got in without a bachelor's degree. I'm not meaning to brag (well a little) but once again I'll state that if you're good numerically, personally, and research/extracurricular wise, it really does not matter where you went to school. Standardization is the purpose of the MCAT The Ivy type schools put you in better position to become the "ideal candidate" but as my uncle put it "if you're good you're good"

     
  24. Sheiila

    Sheiila Member

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    Mike S 78--

    How did you get in without a bachelor's degree??
     
  25. raindodger

    raindodger Senior Member

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    Earlier in this thread, he stated that his dad was in 'academia'. Hmm, i wonder how he got in without a degree....hmmm...
     
  26. youngjock

    youngjock Banned
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    how did you get into harvard, and take classes at night? is it like its extension college courses?

     
  27. MikeS 78

    MikeS 78 Senior Member

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    hahaha ..my dad is a chemical engineering prof and really has little contact with medicine.....the one thing he did help me with is how to write a research grant to the NIH...but as far as backdoor shenanigans I can only say it would have been alot easier to do that than all the time i spent studying for the MCAT and I truly wish I had some

     
  28. buttercup

    buttercup Senior Member

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    sheila- you heard it from fiatslug, but just let me reiterate- nada on the MCAT is a breeze, and certainly not verbal. Believe you me, I am a kaplan MCAT instructor and most of my students are lucky to get a 9. The verbal score, according to two doctors on the faculty at stanford and cornell, is supposedly correlated to performance in your clinical years as it's an assesment of how much material you can absorb from reading in a limited time period.
     

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