Bouddha

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Worst case scenario, I don't get accepted this year. If I were to bump my GPA above 3.0 by May (when I graduate), and reapply EARLY (my MCAT is 36T), would volunteering medically in a developing South Asia country for 5 months be at all beneficial to my reapplication?

I am also a parent, and a 6 year veteran of the military.
 

lftbndlbrnchblk

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How high above 3.0? Let me tell you something, if you could somehow spend that 5 months raising your GPA to a 3.5 instead of volunteering in a South Asian nation - that 3.5 + 36T on your MCAT = really good chances of getting into MD, DO, whatever you want.
 
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The problem is that if OP is just going to be bumping it above a 3.0 at the time of graduation, it's probably impossible to raise it to a 3.5 with just 5 additional months of work. The MCAT score is great and not really a limiting factor on the application, and military and volunteer experience is always helpful, but what about research experience? 3.0 is low, but definitely not the lowest I've heard of matriculating with a good MCAT and solid ECs. Raising the GPA would definitely help, but would likely take years of post-bach and OP is specifically asking about applying for next cycle, so I'd recommend adding to your research resume unless you already have plenty of that an just forgot to mention it.
 

Richardh

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def research experience will help (either publishing in a journal or presenting at a symposium through a poster :thumbup:) above all apply early and also apply to many schools (don't restrict to one's native/resident state)
 
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Bouddha

Bouddha

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With 320 credit hours, another semester is not gonna do much for me. Additionally, I have a family, so unless I'm gettig paid, research is out. I mentioned south Asia because we can live there on my VA disability check (cost of living is very low).

How would two years of Teach for America with concurrent MPH coursework help?
 
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Bouddha

Bouddha

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Another question. Would working as a research technician at a major medical school qualify as doing research? Just trying to figure out all of my options, and which are better. I really don't know much about research, and haven't done any.
 
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It definitely could count as research. It's what I am currently doing. You get out of it what you put into it. You could go to work and run the same experiment all day for a year or you can get as involved as you want.

As far as the Asia thing goes, an Adcom member told me the only thing he thinks when he sees people with the overseas volunteering is "Ok, he had the money to go overseas- BFD." Volunteer, yes, but staying where you are is just as good.
 

Isoprop

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How are the rest of your ECs looking?

Clinical experience? Shadowing?
 
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Bouddha

Bouddha

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It definitely could count as research. It's what I am currently doing. You get out of it what you put into it. You could go to work and run the same experiment all day for a year or you can get as involved as you want.

As far as the Asia thing goes, an Adcom member told me the only thing he thinks when he sees people with the overseas volunteering is "Ok, he had the money to go overseas- BFD." Volunteer, yes, but staying where you are is just as good.
Thanks for the point. This totally makes sense, although I wouldn't be overseas because I'm rich or anything. I just know how to get around on a budget.

How are the rest of your ECs looking?

Clinical experience? Shadowing?
My ECs are excellent. Over 1000 hours volunteering in various arenas. 150 hours on ski patrol. 125 shadowing/volunteering in ER. 30 hours shadowing with surgeon/dermatologist.

I have NO research, so I'm thinking working as a research tech/assistant would be my best option. Is it hard to get a job as one or the other?

Thanks.
 

Isoprop

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Research and leadership ECs are also good to have (though not crucial). Really, your GPA is what's keeping you out.

Research techs/assistants usually want to see at least a year commitment. So I would look for positions now and apply very broadly if you are a bio major.

Have you considered an SMP?
 

dragonfly99

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Sustained high grades in upper level course work for ~ 1 year would be what I was looking for, if I were on the adcom.
36 MCAT shows you can think, but the <3.0 GPA makes them wonder if you have commitment to studying. Can you sit in a classroom 6+ hours a day and then go study multiple more hours per day? Will you suck it up and do it?
 
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Bouddha

Bouddha

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Research and leadership ECs are also good to have (though not crucial). Really, your GPA is what's keeping you out.

Research techs/assistants usually want to see at least a year commitment. So I would look for positions now and apply very broadly if you are a bio major.

Have you considered an SMP?
I would love to do an SMP, but that is not an option at this point in time. I have a family, so unless I'm in medical school, the agreement is that I will have some form of steady income. That is why I'm leaning towards the research tech/assistant position. My leadership and other ECs are great, I don't however, have any research.

Sustained high grades in upper level course work for ~ 1 year would be what I was looking for, if I were on the adcom.
36 MCAT shows you can think, but the <3.0 GPA makes them wonder if you have commitment to studying. Can you sit in a classroom 6+ hours a day and then go study multiple more hours per day? Will you suck it up and do it?
My GPA will be ~3.01 after this semester. My recent GPA is closer to 3.35, with most of that coming in upper division bio courses. I know my GPA is hurting me, but the biggest dent is from 3-4 years ago while I was finishing up my BA in Government. Since adding the BS Biology degree, I have done much better. I guess I better just hope that more clinic hours + research + slightly higher GPA + very early application will be enough to get me in somewhere. I of course am still hoping that my one interview will pan out, but am also trying to cover my bases and be prepared for the worst.
 
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bel15

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sounds like that 3.0 gpa is your cum gpa. what's your bpcm gpa (sciences and math)?



I would love to do an SMP, but that is not an option at this point in time. I have a family, so unless I'm in medical school, the agreement is that I will have some form of steady income. That is why I'm leaning towards the research tech/assistant position. My leadership and other ECs are great, I don't however, have any research.



My GPA will be ~3.01 after this semester. My recent GPA is closer to 3.35, with most of that coming in upper division bio courses. I know my GPA is hurting me, but the biggest dent is from 3-4 years ago while I was finishing up my BA in Government. Since adding the BS Biology degree, I have done much better. I guess I better just hope that more clinic hours + research + slightly higher GPA + very early application will be enough to get me in somewhere. I of course am still hoping that my one interview will pan out, but am also trying to cover my bases and be prepared for the worst.
 
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Bouddha

Bouddha

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sounds like that 3.0 gpa is your cum gpa. what's your bpcm gpa (sciences and math)?
Currently, its at 3.01. After this semester should be between 3.05-3.1. After graduation in May, I'm hoping to have it a little higher, so maybe 3.15 for the next round of applications.
 

Isoprop

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My recent GPA is closer to 3.35, with most of that coming in upper division bio courses.
This is problematic. Your recent GPA needs to break 3.5 MINIMUM. Is this for the past few semesters? Forget ECs, you need a year of recent and consistent upper-div science work to give you a better chance of acceptance. If you can't do that, any ECs will be almost meaningless for admission.
 
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This is problematic. Your recent GPA needs to break 3.5 MINIMUM. Is this for the past few semesters? Forget ECs, you need a year of recent and consistent upper-div science work to give you a better chance of acceptance. If you can't do that, any ECs will be almost meaningless for admission.
I couldn't agree more. For me, I had a low GPA for my first three years of undergrad due to other things I had going on and changing majors, and when I went and discussed it, this is almost word for word what I was told. I carried a 3.9 for the last two years and even though that only raised my overall to a 3.4, I prematched this year due to the huge upward trend.
 
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Bouddha

Bouddha

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I couldn't agree more. For me, I had a low GPA for my first three years of undergrad due to other things I had going on and changing majors, and when I went and discussed it, this is almost word for word what I was told. I carried a 3.9 for the last two years and even though that only raised my overall to a 3.4, I prematched this year due to the huge upward trend.
This is problematic. Your recent GPA needs to break 3.5 MINIMUM. Is this for the past few semesters? Forget ECs, you need a year of recent and consistent upper-div science work to give you a better chance of acceptance. If you can't do that, any ECs will be almost meaningless for admission.
I am fully aware of the importance of carrying a high GPA. I'm tracking to hit 3.5 this semester. Next semester will be equally as challenging if not more so, as my wife has her bar exam at the end of February, and unlike this semester when I've split primary care of my infant daughter with my wife, next semester I will have to provide primary care of my daughter for the first half of the semester, while carrying 19 hours. I would carry a lighter load, but that's what I have to carry to graduate. I'm gonna do my best, but my situation is just not primed for a 4.0 semester. Oh, and I'm teaching at Princeton Review on top of all that.
 

Isoprop

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Er
I am fully aware of the importance of carrying a high GPA. I'm tracking to hit 3.5 this semester. Next semester will be equally as challenging if not more so, as my wife has her bar exam at the end of February, and unlike this semester when I've split primary care of my infant daughter with my wife, next semester I will have to provide primary care of my daughter for the first half of the semester, while carrying 19 hours. I would carry a lighter load, but that's what I have to carry to graduate. I'm gonna do my best, but my situation is just not primed for a 4.0 semester. Oh, and I'm teaching at Princeton Review on top of all that.
I sympathize with your situation, I really do. Adcoms do consider extenuating circumstances, but only within reason. Your family responsibilities aren't going to go away when you enter med school. You really should look into dropping ECs to get your grades up to show that you have the academic capacity to succeed in med school.

Good luck.
 
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Bouddha

Bouddha

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Er

I sympathize with your situation, I really do. Adcoms do consider extenuating circumstances, but only within reason. Your family responsibilities aren't going to go away when you enter med school. You really should look into dropping ECs to get your grades up to show that you have the academic capacity to succeed in med school.

Good luck.
Thanks for the feedback. A lot of my family responsibilities will change in mature in med school when my wife is no longer in law school, we have income for child care, and I'm no longer a primary care provider for my infant. Guess I'll drop my only significant current EC, being a father. Alternatively if grades are gonna screw me that bad, I'll just give up.

Ok, now that I'm done venting. Here's the deal. I've never been a rock star when it comes to academic performance. I worked for a long to improve on this, and have come a long way, but I've still got a little ways to go. Having responsibilities beyond those most people on this forum just simply can't understand doesn't make it any easier, especially for someone who has struggled academically. Do I have what it takes? I believe so, and I think when it comes down to it, I show up to perform. For example, look at my balanced 36T MCAT.

So here's my question. My grades are gonna be what they're gonna be. I'll give it my best shot, but that's all I can do. If I have to reapply (and there's a slim chance I might still get accepted this cycle), how is my time best spent in the year in between? I can't to a post-bach, because I have to make money. That leaves my only realistic options as doing research at a Health Science Center, spending two years with Teach for America (not my top choice because not really medically oriented), working some clinical job as a technician of some sort, or giving up and pursuing another path. I could go to nursing school instead (for instance).

I'm set on wanting to be a physician, so which of those first three options is the best one for getting me into med school? My GPA is pretty much stuck at 3.01 - 3.03.

Thanks, and sorry for the snippy comment at the beginning, I just really needed to blow off some steam.
 
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Nov 17, 2010
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I think you're misunderstanding. The overall GPA isn't going to be the end all for your application, as long as you can show a significant upward trend over the more recent semesters. For me, my circumstances that cost me in my first few years were taking care of my parents while they died of cancer. That's something outside of my control that admission committees take into account, but if that was the end of my story, I wouldn't have had a prayer. They saw me come back from that and carry a strong GPA for the last couple of years, and that's what impressed them.

Are your grades worth giving up over? Absolutely not. I do think that with all you have going on anyway, and the fact that you acknowledge the fact that you tend to struggle academically, taking 19 hours just to force a May graduation may be unwise. You could cut back some hours, really focus on the classes at hand and do much better than the aforementioned circumstances would allow, and take the other classes later (summer or, if you don't get in this cycle, the fall) and graduate later. It would be essentially the same use of time, but opening up the possibility for you to really shine academically and show them what you're capable of.

On the other hand, if you're really set on forcing the May graduation, you'll have to try your hand with the ECs and hope for the best. It's not guaranteed with either method, but you know your circumstances and what you can do better than we do. The grades are the more likely way to get accepted, but if you know that won't work for you, you'll have to work some other way out.
 
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Bouddha

Bouddha

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I think you're misunderstanding. The overall GPA isn't going to be the end all for your application, as long as you can show a significant upward trend over the more recent semesters. For me, my circumstances that cost me in my first few years were taking care of my parents while they died of cancer. That's something outside of my control that admission committees take into account, but if that was the end of my story, I wouldn't have had a prayer. They saw me come back from that and carry a strong GPA for the last couple of years, and that's what impressed them.

Are your grades worth giving up over? Absolutely not. I do think that with all you have going on anyway, and the fact that you acknowledge the fact that you tend to struggle academically, taking 19 hours just to force a May graduation may be unwise. You could cut back some hours, really focus on the classes at hand and do much better than the aforementioned circumstances would allow, and take the other classes later (summer or, if you don't get in this cycle, the fall) and graduate later. It would be essentially the same use of time, but opening up the possibility for you to really shine academically and show them what you're capable of.

On the other hand, if you're really set on forcing the May graduation, you'll have to try your hand with the ECs and hope for the best. It's not guaranteed with either method, but you know your circumstances and what you can do better than we do. The grades are the more likely way to get accepted, but if you know that won't work for you, you'll have to work some other way out.
Okay, now I feel like an *****. I really am sorry for your losses, and that you have rebounded and are now headed to medical school is inspirational. My recent GPA is mostly As and Bs, with a couple of Cs interspersed (I got stumped in Calc II, and another course). This semester, I'm looking at 3.5, and next semester, I should be able to do better, if I can make it through the end of February without missing too much. The 19 hours is because my University decided to be cheap, and stopped offering German 4 (I've already taken German 3). So now to finish my BA (which is a remnant from my previous academic pursuits), I have to take a one semester German 3/4 combined 6 hour course. I guess I could just focus on the BS, and finish strong with those 13 hours. I'm just worried that if I don't finish the BA now, I never will. I suppose I could always do German 4 at some CC later. So many choices.

Thanks, and again, I really am sorry for your loss.
 
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It's all good, bro. No way you could've known. I only stated my case to show that it's not so much the hardships or challenges that impress the committee, but what you do to persevere. I really wish you luck on getting accepted.
 

Isoprop

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Are your grades worth giving up over? Absolutely not. I do think that with all you have going on anyway, and the fact that you acknowledge the fact that you tend to struggle academically, taking 19 hours just to force a May graduation may be unwise. You could cut back some hours, really focus on the classes at hand and do much better than the aforementioned circumstances would allow, and take the other classes later (summer or, if you don't get in this cycle, the fall) and graduate later. It would be essentially the same use of time, but opening up the possibility for you to really shine academically and show them what you're capable of.
I just wanted to echo this point. I feel that this is solid advice. Good luck OP.
 

dragonfly99

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Agree with the not taking 19 hours. The admissions committee won't care that much about your hard luck story. Having a family is important, but that is something you chose. Med school is not a cake walk. It will be harder than taking 19 hours. They want to see if you can do it.

I would ditch the german class. You can just take it next summer, if you feel like it is important for you to do. It would be better to take fewer hours and do better, grade wise. It would be much better for your application.
 

AutumnChild

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There's some great advice here for you. I agree with not taking 19 hours at once. Definitely spread that out so you can really focus and perform well in those classes. Also, if you think you can handle it, perhaps while taking a lighter class load you can work at a lab to gain some research experience and possibly some income?

Alternatively, if you're not dead set on getting into an allopathic school, your 3.0ish GPA and 36T MCAT puts you in pretty good running for osteopathic schools. I would still suggest having some experience in research though, however it is not entirely necessary.