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low gpa/ high mcat, good EC's, advice please!

Discussion in 'What Are My Chances?' started by craziecrackers, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. craziecrackers

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    Hey guys,

    I would like some advice. I've spent the entire night reading some of the more recent posts hoping that I would get a general answer to my question, but alas, I am still a little unsure of where I stand.

    I have an overall gpa of 2.2 (very low I know, no excuses... freshmen and sophmore year were horrible, and junior and senior year have only been average)

    MCAT: 40

    EC's: shadowed neurologist for 3 months (4 hours/day, 4 days/week)
    100 hrs. volunteer work at hospital
    founder/co-executive director for charity organization providing school supplies and medical aid to vietnamese orphans for 3 years now

    I probably could write a whole book about my experiences working with these children, etc., however i'm afraid I won't even get in the door with that low gpa.

    How fares my chances for a US med school?

    Any advice is much appreciated. Thanks guys!
     
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  3. GoSpursGo

    GoSpursGo Allons-y!
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    Wow, that's a REALLY high MCAT and a REALLY low GPA... did you apply this year, and if so, have you gotten any interviews?

    My gut reaction is that there is a limit to how far an excellent MCAT will go to forgive a low GPA, and a 2.2 is probably stretching it. I'd say you probably need to bang out straight A's in your last semester of senior year to start yourself on the way to rehabbing your GPA. Assuming you will still have a 2.2 at the end of this semester, and assuming straight A's for next semester on a 15 hour course-load, that gets your GPA to a 2.435. An additional 2 years after that of 15-hour course-loads each semester and getting straight A's in those classes will bring you a a 2.95; if you take some summer classes, you can bump that up a little higher even. At that point you might finally be marginally competitive with such a steep upward slope in your GPA, as long as you apply broadly. Alternatively, you can start re-taking some of the classes you did poorly in and apply for DO schools, which will replace your old grades with your new ones and wind up raising your GPA much faster, which I think is probably your best bet at this point.

    But again, you're such a rare case of such an amazingly high MCAT and such an abysmally low GPA that I can't really accurately tell you how far you would need to go to repair that GPA before a school would consider you competitive. I'd see if maybe you could get a meeting with an adcom member to go over your application and see what they think, as they can probably give you a better answer than we can.
     
  4. Mobius1985

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    Could you tell us what your GPAs have been each year? Why so low those first two years? And how did you wow the MCAT, without a better classroom performance?
     
  5. craziecrackers

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    My university does not replace old grades with new ones, they are averaged together... so let's say I made a D in the class... it isn't counted towards pre-reqs so I have to retake it. Even with an A in the class the second time around, it still leaves me with a C overall, which is why its hard to raise my gpa. And i don't always get A's the second time around, most of the time I make B's, which sucks.

    As for MCATs, I studied for a year for it, bascially weekends and holidays were out for me. It was a balance between volunteer work, mcats, work, and school for me, which is probably why my gpa isn't the greatest. I know, you guys don't have to tell me, my prioritizing sucks.

    GoSpursGo, could you please explain DO schools to me and how they work? I don't quite understand.

    I don't graduate til Dec '09 which leaves me with 2 long semesters and a summer left to raise my gpa, but I'd basically have to knock out all A's in order to raise my gpa to a 2.4, possibly a 2.6. Thank you guys for answering me so quickly. I appreciate it!
     
  6. NPEMTIV

    NPEMTIV Accidentally Accepted
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    The above is some really good advice from GoSpursGo. Alternatively you can start pursuing a master's degree or other type of graduate work as this is typically reported separately from the undergraduate GPA. Schools will not dismiss your undergraduate GPA, but stellar graduate grades and your high MCAT would certainly put you back on track in my opinion.

    I don't think the 40 will help you much here, however, because the MCAT only reflects one day and your GPA is obviously over several years and that's exactly how medical school is, four years of arduous work. Several, if not most, schools also have a minimum GPA (usually 3.0-3.3) to even be considered regardless of anything else. I would focus on graduate level courses and try again in a year or two.
     
  7. zdogg

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    wow, you are a very rare case. This is off topic, but do you mind telling me how you were able to do so well in the mcats? Like how were you able to master all material, or were your courses really that tough, that you actually learned alot.
     
  8. GoSpursGo

    GoSpursGo Allons-y!
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    The gist of why it might be easier for you to get into a DO school is that they have a separate application service, AACOMAS, that calculates your GPA independently from your home institution. Essentially, they will go through all the grades on your transcript and calculate your GPA; if you have taken a class multiple times, they will only factor in your more recent grade. The application service for MD schools, AMCAS, will do something similar to what your home school does, which is average the two grades together. That is why you would be able to raise your GPA faster going the DO route and retaking some of your pre-reqs.

    As far as what the differnece is between an MD and a DO, we have a pre-osteopathic forum here on SDN that could answer any questions you might have far better than I possibly could; look for the FAQ that's stickied at the top of the forum. :)
     
  9. CarrieBad

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    I'm just going to throw this out there. I have no idea if it's accurate, but here's my thought... Just about everyone applying to medical school has a 3.6 or higher. The average GPA at med school is like a 3.8. That being said the average MCAT is between a 30-33 for most schools. I would say a med school is much more likely to let you in with a 2.5 and a 40 MCAT than a 4.0 and a 25 MCAT. You are much less likely to bring down the average GPA as SO many people are within a small standard deviation. But with a 40 MCAT you are WAY above the mean, and could possibly raise the average (which is good for schools in terms of US News rankings). My suggestion is to take some more classes and try to get that GPA into the 2.7 range at least. You can always take more undergrad classes or do a post bacc (how are your science grades, by the way?) to raise your GPA a bit more.

    Also, I saw some guy on here who had a 2.7 and a 42 MCAT and he had interviews to all the top programs (Stanford, Harvard, UCSF, etc).
     
  10. MeatTornado

    MeatTornado On Sabbatical
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    congrats on the MCAT score

    your GPA would be a HUGE liability for schools because of the concern that you might not be able to complete med school or you'd need an inordinate amount of resources to pass. I agree with CarrieBad that schools seem to put a whole lot more emphasis on MCAT than on GPA (despite what some people will tell you on this forum) because a good MCAT score is much more rare than a 4.0 GPA. I think if you bring your GPA up a bit, which will be really hard seeing as you've already completed tons of coursework, then you can probably get into some MD program that see you as an opportunity to boost their stats.

    However, keep in mind that only median MCAT scores are reported in rankings so while you have a really high MCAT score, for a school that has a median MCAT of 35, accepting you is the same as accepting someone with a 36 MCAT. Despite this however, high MCAT scores are so rare that some schools will choose to accept you to be able to have half their class above a certain MCAT threshold.
     
  11. Mobius1985

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    I think you need to demonstrate to schools that you can do outstanding work in the classroom (ie, all As). Ideally, 1.5-2.0 semesters might be enough to accomplish that (per REL, an adcomm posting in the mentor forum). Could you delay your graduation by a semester at least? I'd guess that schools will lust after acquiring a student with your MCAT score, but not at the expense of having a student who won't complete the curriculum and who will decrease their successful graduation stats.

    Consider posting in the Mentor Forum: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=410718
    (But read the rules at the beginning first. It is not a "What are my Chances?" area.)
     
  12. Mobius1985

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