Low GPA, High MCAT, and I'm very worried

billstevens68

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    So I have a bachelor's and master's degree in engineering. My bachelor's gpa was a little below a 3.0 and my graduate gpa was a little above a 3.6. I got mid-30s on the MCAT, and I am the primary author of three published papers. I applied to these schools:

    1. Albert Einstein College of Medicine
    2. Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
    3. George Washington University Sch of Med & Hlth Sci
    4. Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Scien
    5. Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
    6. University of Maryland School of Medicine
    7. Boston University School of Medicine
    8. Dartmouth Medical School
    9. Emory University School of Medicine
    10. Harvard Medical School
    11. Jefferson Medical Coll. of Thomas Jefferson Univ.
    12. Medical College of Wisconsin
    13. Michigan State University
    14. Mount Sinai School of Medicine
    15. Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicin
    16. Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine
    17. SUNY Upstate Medical University
    18. University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
    19. Weill Medical College of Cornell University
    20. Yale University School of Medicine
    21. University of Kentucky College of Medicine
    22. Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
    23. Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicin
    24. Wake Forest University School of Medicine

    I know it doesn't matter since I can't do anything about it anyway, but what do I have a chance to get in anywhere?? Yeah, I'm also Canadian (hence all the private schools).
     
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    rockymhs

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      So I have a bachelor's and master's degree in engineering. My bachelor's gpa was a little below a 3.0 and my graduate gpa was a little above a 3.6. I got a 35 on the MCAT, and I am the primary author of three published papers. I applied to these schools:

      1. Albert Einstein College of Medicine
      2. Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
      3. George Washington University Sch of Med & Hlth Sci
      4. Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Scien
      5. Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
      6. University of Maryland School of Medicine
      7. Boston University School of Medicine
      8. Dartmouth Medical School
      9. Emory University School of Medicine
      10. Harvard Medical School
      11. Jefferson Medical Coll. of Thomas Jefferson Univ.
      12. Medical College of Wisconsin
      13. Michigan State University
      14. Mount Sinai School of Medicine
      15. Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicin
      16. Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine
      17. SUNY Upstate Medical University
      18. University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
      19. Weill Medical College of Cornell University
      20. Yale University School of Medicine
      21. University of Kentucky College of Medicine
      22. Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
      23. Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicin
      24. Wake Forest University School of Medicine

      I know it doesn't matter since I can't do anything about it anyway, but what do I have a chance to get in anywhere?? Yeah, I'm also Canadian (hence all the private schools).


      Yes, your low GPA will be a problem, even though you have great MCAT score.

      But your research experience will benefit you greatly.

      However, I don't have your ECs.

      You will need extensive clinical exposure as well as volunteer experience.

      The biggest flaw is your citizenship. Unless you hold permanent residence in the US, you have very slim chance of getting accepted in the USMD schools.

      However, you might have a chance with MD/PhD track since you have great research experience.


      The only reason why international students are not accepted by many schools is that the internationals are not financially backed up. So unless you have a big lump of money in the bank, most schools won't hand out acceptance letters.

      Nonetheless, with MD/PhD track, your tuition is paid for and there won't be any financial problem that will keep you from getting accepted.

      So if you applied as MD/PhD, you have fair chance of getting accepted, granted that you have great ECs.

      If you applied as MD only, you have only a slim chance of acceptance.
       
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      TheMightySmiter

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        Are you a US-Canadian citizen or do you have Canadian citizenship only? If you don't have US citizenship, it will definitely be a long shot with your undergrad GPA, although you do have a good MCAT score. There's nothing you can do about it now, but if I were you I would not have applied to so many top-tier schools. Your research experience will help a lot, but I don't see ECs. I second the recommendation to apply MD/PhD if you don't get in this year.

        When was your app submitted? Have you submitted any secondaries?



        (Hey, rockymhs, I'm assuming you're from FoCo? :D Congrats on the CU Med acceptance.)
         

        Stratego

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          I think your chances are poor regardless, considering the number of internationals applying with close to perfect records and ECs. A significant moderating factor might be research of an extremely substantive nature in a ground-breaking area that makes a school want to snap you up. Very, very strong ECs in the areas of community service and leadership would also help a lot, along with the usual shadowing and clinical experience. Unfortunately , your improved grad school GPA isn't going to help you in this process at US schools.

          Hopefully, Bannie, another international applicant who currently lives in Canada, will come along and give you his perspectives.
           

          bannie22

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            So I have a bachelor's and master's degree in engineering. My bachelor's gpa was a little below a 3.0 and my graduate gpa was a little above a 3.6. I got a 35 on the MCAT, and I am the primary author of three published papers. I applied to these schools:

            1. Albert Einstein College of Medicine
            2. Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
            3. George Washington University Sch of Med & Hlth Sci
            4. Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Scien
            5. Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
            6. University of Maryland School of Medicine
            7. Boston University School of Medicine
            8. Dartmouth Medical School
            9. Emory University School of Medicine
            10. Harvard Medical School
            11. Jefferson Medical Coll. of Thomas Jefferson Univ.
            12. Medical College of Wisconsin
            13. Michigan State University
            14. Mount Sinai School of Medicine
            15. Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicin
            16. Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine
            17. SUNY Upstate Medical University
            18. University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
            19. Weill Medical College of Cornell University
            20. Yale University School of Medicine
            21. University of Kentucky College of Medicine
            22. Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
            23. Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicin
            24. Wake Forest University School of Medicine

            I know it doesn't matter since I can't do anything about it anyway, but what do I have a chance to get in anywhere?? Yeah, I'm also Canadian (hence all the private schools).

            yay! ure canadian! i get to help out!!! okay so my views are, great research, 3 pubs is really good, but the problem would be the gpa. unfortunately, excellent research and not-so-good gpa is often a bad combination because schools that would be interested in your research would have higher gpa "cutoffs"

            I think you have a chance at Jefferson, and I would also suggest adding Wayne State, they are the two schools in America that take the most international students yearly.

            I think your chances are poor regardless, considering the number of internationals applying with close to perfect records and ECs. A significant moderating factor might be research of an extremely substantive nature in a ground-breaking area that makes a school want to snap you up. Very, very strong ECs in the areas of community service and leadership would also help a lot, along with the usual shadowing and clinical experience. Unfortunately , your improved grad school GPA isn't going to help you in this process at US schools.

            Hopefully, Bannie, another international applicant who currently lives in Canada, will come along and give you his perspectives.

            Stratego is right here, unfortunately, master's degree gpa do not confer anything onto your application in the states. you might want to do an smp or postbac to raise your gpa instead.

            you will also require greater than stellar extracuriculars (hospital volunteering, communtiy service, student groups, leadership roles, atheletic achievements...)

            also, your mcat score is good, but it is still only the average at top schools like jhu/penn/harvard/northwestern/cornell...
            and it is also not sufficient to be a "SPECIAL BONUS" on your application to the more mcat-lenient schools.

            there has to be something special on your app (like stratego said, amazing research) if not, i think you might want to try applying, but with a sub3.0 gpa, the chances are not looking good, and you might want to do a postbac/smp. :thumbup:
             

            bannie22

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              can i add, if you had gone on some mission trips, that would greatly help your cause. but really have to take in mind that big schools who would be pleased with 3 pubs are the same schools that would "screen" you out for a sub3.0, while the nicer schools (god i dont know how to put this politely without talking about rank) who would be more lenient with your 3.0 will not give u too mcuh credit for having 3 pubs simply because they are not looking for research/academic medicine ppl
               

              billstevens68

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                Thanks for the assessment. I find it mind-boggling that schools do not value a Master's degree (in freaking engineering), but that's another discussion for another thread.

                I have decent ECs: TA, worked a year, obviously shadowing, some other stuff that's a bit more impressive, but don't want to share.

                Yeah, I figured it was a long shot. I wonder if I should have applied to Canadian schools too. It's just that they are even harder to get into, and I've heard they almost only care about undergrad GPA. Yeah, I'm only a Canadian citizen, not a US citizen.
                 

                Stratego

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                  If being a physican is important to you (ie, no back up plan), you might consider applying to US DO schools next season. They do regard the masters GPA somewhat, and are more forgiving of past academic mediocrity (not that a 3.0 in engineering is mediocre by real-world standards). With your great MCAT score, you'd have a high chance of an acceptance. There are a number of schools that consider a sub-3.0 cGPA. A good number accept Canadians. You'd need to find a DO physician to shadow, to acquire a LOR.

                  Alternatively, how would Australian and Irish schools view your application? And what about being an engineer? Is the job market flat?

                  Alternatively, if you can get your undergrad GPA over 3.0, you'd be able to get into an SMP (Special Masters Program meant to revive the hopes of underperforming premeds, but having no application to the real world) with your great MCAT. Downside, your great MCAT score might expire and you'd have to take it again.
                   
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                  deleted261621

                    I find it mind-boggling that schools do not value a Master's degree (in freaking engineering), but that's another discussion for another thread.

                    I am in the same boat as you ... 31S MCAT ... 2.8 undergrad GPA ... 4.0 Grad GPA ... and it's such a shame the Master's degree isn't worth crap to med schools because I learnt more in one year of graduate school than all the years of undergrad combined ... the system is bullcrap :mad:
                     

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                      I am in the same boat as you ... 31S MCAT ... 2.8 undergrad GPA ... 4.0 Grad GPA ... and it's such a shame the Master's degree isn't worth crap to med schools because I learnt more in one year of graduate school than all the years of undergrad combined ... the system is bullcrap :mad:

                      it is what it is....you have to play the game!!
                       

                      apumic

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                        You should have done a better job picking schools. Your MCAT is pretty average or only slightly better than average for many/most of those schools and your GPA is multiple standard deviations below all of those school's means. As a Canadian citizen, you have the whole internat'l thing working against you. It seems highly unlikely you will get an acceptance this year and even interviews may be hard-won. Your research, while nice, isn't going to get you past the other red flags on your app. You also didn't mention any clinical, shadowing, or volunteer experience, each of which are individually able to sink an app (meaning if you're missing one, it's a very big red flag to a med school adcom).


                        I am in the same boat as you ... 31S MCAT ... 2.8 undergrad GPA ... 4.0 Grad GPA ... and it's such a shame the Master's degree isn't worth crap to med schools because I learnt more in one year of graduate school than all the years of undergrad combined ... the system is bullcrap :mad:


                        Why should they consider grad school GPA moreso than UG? Everyone gets As in grad school. A B means "Barely Passed" and more than 1 C can get you immediately dismissed from many/most graduate programs. As a result, everybody has a 3.5+ GPA in grad school and 3.8s, 3.9s and 4.0s aren't really that uncommon. It wouldn't really help a med school to look at your grad school GPA as presumably any other applicant could have gotten a 4.0 as well had s/he gone to grad school before going for the MD.
                         

                        billstevens68

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                          Thanks to all for their advice/predictions. I hope it works out, and I will post the result if anyone would be curious.

                          To answer the undergrad GPA vs. grad GPA argument:

                          Very quickly, my problem is the lack of perspective involved in analyzing the GPA. A GPA of sub 3.0 from a very challenging engineering program where the AVERAGE gpa is sub 3.0 is seen much less favorably than a GPA of 3.5 in a field such as biology (forgive me for picking on this degree, but I TA'd many of them) in a school where the AVERAGE GPA is 3.5. Amazingly, most of my graduate engineering courses were not considered science courses in AMCAS, and are treated equally as if I took philosophy courses.

                          The MCAT is a standardized, normalized score, and by and large, all MCAT scores are created equal. GPA is very subjective, and should hence be analyzed much more carefully. While it is certainly true that a "C" could not work in a graduate program, it's also true that "C" students could not hack it in graduate programs. I took a few elective courses that had a mix of undergrads and grads. Without exception, we had much more homework, and while the same exam was given, a much higher grade was needed to get an A or a B for graduate students. Graduate programs also differ greatly, and I can only speak to the challenging program I faced at a very good school (my undergrad research and strong recs got the school to make a special exception for admitting me despite my low undergraduate GPA).

                          I am not sure if this system is unfair or not. I am more mature, smarter, and much more hard-working than I was when I was 20. But I would consider it unfair to compare me to those who just graduated college. After all, with a few more years, they would also be more mature, smarter, and more hard-working. But what I do find unfair is if people wonder if I could handle the work in medical school and suggest a post-bacc. I was competing with people who wanted to make engineering their lives, who were the best and most dedicated in their undergrads and decided to go to grad school, and I did better than most of them. I handled a workload so much greater than anything I had in undergrad.
                           
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                          JJThomson

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                            Thanks to all for their advice/predictions. I hope it works out, and I will post the result if anyone would be curious.

                            To answer the undergrad GPA vs. grad GPA argument:

                            Very quickly, my problem is the lack of perspective involved in analyzing the GPA. A GPA of sub 3.0 from a very challenging engineering program where the AVERAGE gpa is sub 3.0 is seen much less favorably than a GPA of 3.5 in a field such as biology (forgive me for picking on this degree, but I TA'd many of them) in a school where the AVERAGE GPA is 3.5. Amazingly, most of my graduate engineering courses were not considered science courses in AMCAS, and are treated equally as if I took philosophy courses.

                            The MCAT is a standardized, normalized score, and by and large, all MCAT scores are created equal. GPA is very subjective, and should hence be analyzed much more carefully. While it is certainly true that a "C" could not work in a graduate program, it's also true that "C" students could not hack it in graduate programs. I took a few elective courses that had a mix of undergrads and grads. Without exception, we had much more homework, and while the same exam was given, a much higher grade was needed to get an A or a B for graduate students. Graduate programs also differ greatly, and I can only speak to the challenging program I faced at a very good school (my undergrad research and strong recs got the school to make a special exception for admitting me despite my low undergraduate GPA).

                            I am not sure if this system is unfair or not. I am more mature, smarter, and much more hard-working than I was when I was 20. But I would consider it unfair to compare me to those who just graduated college. After all, with a few more years, they would also be more mature, smarter, and more hard-working. But what I do find unfair is if an adcom asks me if I could handle the work in medical school and suggest a post-bacc. I was competing with people who wanted to make engineering their lives, who were the best and most dedicated in their undergrads and decided to go to grad school, and I did better than most of them. I handled a workload so much greater than anything I had in undergrad. But to prove I can handle medical school you want me to go back to the undergrads I mentored and compete directly with them for a non-degree that does nothing for my future? This, I find baffling.

                            The blunt truth: Your GPA is more than 1 standard deviation below the average and combined with being Canadian you will have a hard time getting an MD acceptance. The fact you were an engineering major makes no difference. By your own admission you did about average for you major. Meaning that there were people who did better than you within your major. It is arrogant to think that a sub 3.0 gpa in engineering would be a significantly better gpa in biology (physiology, biochem, genetics, molecular biology are not cake walk classes- - - biology isn't all about the mating patterns of bees). I think that your masters program will be looked on favorably but not enough to replace your undergrad work (that was your chance to compete directly with other applicants and you didn't excel).

                            My advice: The SMP is only a waste of time if you fail at it. Your excellent MCAT score and Master's work show that you are more than capable of succeeding in one of those programs (it will only take a year). However, it might be better to retake a few classes and pull your uGPA up a little and apply at some D.O. schools. Also, I think you should have applied to canadian schools as well and more U.S. mid-tier schools.
                             

                            billstevens68

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                              I shouldn't have pitted majors against each other. That doesn't make sense.

                              My only point is that if you and I both go to good schools, but the average gpa in your program is 3.5 and the average gpa in my program is 2.5, and both of us hit the average, then we should be looked upon as having done equally well. The reason I thought of engineering is that its a field where grade deflation is more common. Much more succinct than my previous attempt.

                              Bannie, thanks for answering the question about Canadian schools. I thought I had a less of a chance, and I didn't want to spend gobs more money. I tried to catch a wide-net of schools, but the reason I applied disproportionately for the top-tier was that they state they don't care about nationality, and I was hoping they might care more about research and disregard my undergrad gpa because they were so good that they could afford to.
                               
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                              JJThomson

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                                I shouldn't have pitted majors against each other. That doesn't make sense.

                                My only point is that if you and I both go to good schools, but the average gpa in your program is 3.5 and the average gpa in my program is 2.5, and both of us hit the average, then we should be looked upon as having done equally well. The reason I thought of engineering is that its a field where grade deflation is more common. Much more succinct than my previous attempt.

                                Bannie, thanks for answering the question about Canadian schools. I thought I had a less of a chance, and I didn't want to spend gobs more money. I tried to catch a wide-net of schools, but the reason I applied disproportionately for the top-tier was that they state they don't care about nationality, and I was hoping they might care more about research and disregard my undergrad gpa because they were so good that they could afford to.

                                This is a huge false assumption. At a lot of schools a 3.5 will let you graduate cum laude. A 3.5 gpa is usually well above average (an average of a B+ is ridiculous)!
                                 

                                billstevens68

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                                  JJ, this was literally the first link I came across. Grade inflation is ridiculous; it is also widespread.

                                  http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200503/douthat

                                  Its six paragraphs down.

                                  "This one will be issued to you alone, for every paper and exam that you complete. The second grade, computed only at semester's end, will be your, ah, ironic grade—'ironic' in this case being a word used to mean lying—and it will be computed on a scale that takes as its mean the average Harvard grade, the B-plus. "

                                  And I was referring to the metaphorical "you", and I did not mean 3.5 specifically. I just meant that people should evaluate how well someone did as a comparison to the average, so instead of hypothetically needing a 3.8 to get into Harvard, you would need a + 0.6
                                   
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                                  bannie22

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                                    Although I dont agree with the huge grade inflation at Harvard, just to play devil's advocate.

                                    You do realize that even in the "least intelligent" class at Harvard, you are up against people who have 2390 SATs right?


                                    Perhaps they are all so capable that IF they took your engineering class, the average would go up to 3.9. MAYBE you guys are just not as smart and capable as those at Harvard.
                                     

                                    JJThomson

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                                      JJ, this was literally the first link I came across. Grade inflation is ridiculous; it is also widespread.

                                      http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200503/douthat

                                      Its six paragraphs down.

                                      "This one will be issued to you alone, for every paper and exam that you complete. The second grade, computed only at semester's end, will be your, ah, ironic grade—'ironic' in this case being a word used to mean lying—and it will be computed on a scale that takes as its mean the average Harvard grade, the B-plus. "

                                      And I was referring to the metaphorical "you", and I did not mean 3.5 specifically. I just meant that people should evaluate how well someone did as a comparison to the average, so instead of hypothetically needing a 3.8 to get into Harvard, you would need a + 0.6

                                      I didn't think your earlier comment was directed specifically to me.

                                      I think that article is interesting, but I tend to believe that extreme grade inflation is not that wide spread. Clearly your opinion is that it is that wide spread. I think in general a generous curve is to a C+/B- (2.5-2.7 GPA). At least it is at my school.

                                      Just out of curiousity did you get straight A's in your med school pre-reqs and in all of your general education classes outside of engineering? Your argument would be more convincing if that was the case.

                                      Honestly I wish you the best of luck.
                                       

                                      AKPMD

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                                        Bill Steven,

                                        You gotta stop complaining.

                                        Unless you can cause some sort of massive reorganization of how med school select their applications, I suggest you just work on making yourself a better applicant.

                                        There are thousands of students with better marks than you and better EC's than you. What makes you so special?

                                        From what I see, you're just someone who isn't able to adapt and get the marks required.

                                        Best of luck.
                                         

                                        billstevens68

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                                          I already acknowledged that I made a mistake comparing majors. I'm saying grade inflation is an unfair advantage to those who attend schools that have it. I do believe its widespread; some people believe otherwise.

                                          Also, if Harvard students are that much smarter, it would reflect in their MCAT scores. I'm not saying they are not much higher. I'm just saying there is an avenue for them to show how they are superior to people who go to state schools. They don't need the added bonus of grade inflation.

                                          "Not able to adapt" seems surprising, since I did go to graduate school and performed very well.

                                          In all seriousness, I do appreciate you guys hoping for the best for me. Since its Thanksgiving, I give thanks for there being a forum where people can bring up whatever issues they like. It certainly makes the time go faster while I wait for the responses to come in.

                                          Best of luck to everyone!
                                           

                                          VMSmith

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                                            Your school selection is problematic, too many top tier schools. Essentially half your list is in the top 20, where you have an extremely slim chance at admission with a sub-3.0 GPA even with a good MCAT and publications.

                                            So you basically applied to only 13 schools. If there are any schools out there that still are accepting secondaries I'd add them to ERAS if you have money to spare.
                                             
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