Dec 18, 2009
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post bac to raise your GPA and apply broadly to places outside of California as well.
 
Dec 30, 2009
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whats up!

I am currently a senior at ucla (physiology major) and my cGPA is 3.4 and my sGPA is 3.36. I have not taken the MCAT yet, but planning to do so this summer. Since I am a California resident I know that it would be harder to matriculate into medical school, so I was wondering if you guys would suggest me going to a postbacc program or smp. I will be applying as a nontraditional applicant since I am planning on working as an EMT to pay off my undergraduate loans.

here is a general list of my ECs:
-american medical student association
-orthopaedic surgery research with 1 publication (1 year)
-300 hours of clinical volunteering
-working at a restaurant (6hrs/week)
-brazilian jiu-jitsu (2hrs/week)

Thanks!
I am in a very similar situation to you, had a 3.45 GPA with a 3.39 sGPA with a upward grade trend, but I've been recommended, based on what I get on my MCAT to do a SMP; it really comes down to the MCAT, unless you get a super stellar score like above 33, its going to be tuff for allopathic school with our lower GPAs; post-bacs, IF you already have the prereqs completed are not going to increase your GPA that significantly to raise it up and r really designed more for people who are changing career's who do not have the sci pre-reqs for med school, remember its always much harder to raise your GPA from a slump then to have a high GPA and have it fall from bad classes! I have an upward grade trend getting mostly B+'s and A's in upper level bio courses so the ADCOMS I spoke with recommended the SMP to show I can do the work!

depending on your MCAT, I would do a SMP; most allow you to, if God for bid it does not go well in the SMP, allow you to stay a extra year and get the Master's degree, or certificate at the end! at least its something! your EC's are great! I'm leaning myself toward a SMP because I have always been a avg standardized test taker, as my SAT and GRE scores have proven so I'm expecting a 28-29 maybe on my test! if that is the case I def would need to do a SMP!

some SMPs, like Temple's for instance, even have a MCAT review part of the program so that if you MCAT score is like 25-30 you can retake it to try and get a better score after their review class!!

best of luck!!
 

libraryismyhome

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So, how low does one need to go to consider postbac?
 

riverjib

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I probably wouldn't even apply right now. Your GPA isn't terrible, but it's below average, and you're already okay with doing a SMP/post-bacc program. It will reflect better on you that you're realistic enough to know you're not a competitive applicant (unless you really rock the MCAT), and you'll spare yourself the expense and time of applying, plus the stigma of "re-applying" after you complete a Master's or post-bacc program. Focus on studying for the MCAT and getting the highest possible score.

I think that either post-bacc or SMP programs are great options. Your GPA is good enough that you'll be competitive for whichever you choose. I'd apply to both types of programs, and look into the relationships they have with med schools. I personally know two people who did post-bacc programs in the past two years...one had a 3.2 and went to BU (and is now accepted at BU med) and another had a 3.4 and went to Columbia, and has multiple acceptances this year. I don't know anyone who did SMP programs, though a few of my classmates are finishing Master's degrees in bio-related fields at my school and have been accepted to US MD programs.
 

Xcited392

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Some on the post-bacc forum will say that use the SMP as a last resort, since it's a risky option.

I agree with that and think you should "max out" your GPA by taking more undergrad classes in a post-bacc.

Once you mess up in an SMP, it's over (literally). SMPs are very difficult since you'll be competing against some intelligent med students. When you do an SMP, you should aim for a GPA higher than the majority of med students. If you just have an average GPA in an SMP (like a 3-3.5), your chances of getting into med school go down.

So, just take some more classes and maybe get some interesting ECs.
 
May 22, 2009
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whats up!

I am currently a senior at ucla (physiology major) and my cGPA is 3.4 and my sGPA is 3.36. I have not taken the MCAT yet, but planning to do so this summer. Since I am a California resident I know that it would be harder to matriculate into medical school, so I was wondering if you guys would suggest me going to a postbacc program or smp. I will be applying as a nontraditional applicant since I am planning on working as an EMT to pay off my undergraduate loans.

here is a general list of my ECs:
-american medical student association
-orthopaedic surgery research with 1 publication (1 year)
-300 hours of clinical volunteering
-working at a restaurant (6hrs/week)
-brazilian jiu-jitsu (2hrs/week)

Thanks!
Since it seems you have taken most of the pre-reqs, doing well in a post-bacc won't boost your GPA too much. Just as others mentioned, SMP can also be a risky move 'cuz you'll be taking classes with med students. But, if you manage to do very well in SMP, it will pay off very nicely at the end of the application cycle. But, regardless of which option you choose, you will have to get 35+ on MCAT, and this is not even optional. Also, any major leadership role will add a nice touch to your application package. Good luck.
 

xpanchox

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thanks to all of you guys for the input and help!
i really appreciate it.

i was thinking of doing an SMP program, but i realized that paying for it would be difficult.

i did some research and found a postbac program at cal state LA where you take 24 undergraduate units in the sciences to "boost" your undergrad GPA. Since I have taken a lot of units, I don't think that taking these classes will help much, but it'll certainly help raise my gpa to about a 3.5 if i finish with a 4.0

any thoughts on the csula postbac program?
 
Jan 2, 2010
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thanks to all of you guys for the input and help!
i really appreciate it.

i was thinking of doing an SMP program, but i realized that paying for it would be difficult.

i did some research and found a postbac program at cal state LA where you take 24 undergraduate units in the sciences to "boost" your undergrad GPA. Since I have taken a lot of units, I don't think that taking these classes will help much, but it'll certainly help raise my gpa to about a 3.5 if i finish with a 4.0

any thoughts on the csula postbac program?
i am no where near my senior year nor am i an expert in this, but i am going to give you my 0.02$ any way. i personally find post-bac kind of pointless, because if you manage to achieve a high grade but do not get in med school afterwards, the $$$ + time you have spend on it were wasted, that is if you achieve a high grade. also do keep in mind at the point of 3.4+ thats a B+, which means you can only get a noticable difference if you get A's. From my experiences, A's in sciences are not as easy as it was for me in math or english or history related classes. if i am in your spot, i would do a double major. since you are going to use time to do something, might as well add that to your backup plan. this is just me tho. GL :).
 

riverjib

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Again, I'm not an expert on this and everyone is right to caution you. But if you're truly determined and are willing to work your butt off, post-bacc programs are great. I don't know about the one you're interested in. Go to the AAMC site and research it. If you get a 4.0 in a post-bacc program that is a "feeder" for one or many med schools, you're practically guaranteed admission. You need to make this your entire life to guarantee your success.
 
Dec 30, 2009
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I probably don't have to tell you this but make sure you research your post-bac programs extensively. Several programs around where I live, Rutgers is a good example, will not admit students to the post-bac program who already have taken the sci-prereqs regardless of GPA or what grades you got in those classes. A good chunk of post-bac programs will only admit students who have not taken the sci pre-reqs before, such as career changes. So just keep that in mind before you apply. I live in NJ, and I am having a hell of a time finding a post-bac program that would admit me because I took all the science pre-reqs and got C+'s in two of them, and B and B+'s in the rest of them! I'm more limited to SMPs in my area and as others have said, they are a much riskier propaganda to take since you'll be taking 3-4 med school courses with med students. The only thing in my favor for that is the upperward B+ and A trend in my grades for the upper level bio sciences courses.

For anyone who goes the SMP route, I recommend going to programs that either gurantee admissions into their medical school if keep a certain GPA (ie Temple Drexel) or to ones that, God forbid something happens and you can't get high grades for med school, they let you stay and finish to get a master's degree or certificate (ie Drexel, Cinncinati, etc). At least that way you do not walk away from the SMP empty handed.

Best of Luck To You All
 

drizzt3117

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I don't think you should do a SMP with that sort of GPA. SMPs are for people who can't get into med school without them. I'm not sure you'd even need postbac if you got a good MCAT score, although it's certainly not a bad option. The CSU-LA postbac is pretty popular for people in LA. If you're dead set on trying to get into a UC, you're going to have to raise your GPA. If you're going to apply anywhere and score in the mid 30s I think you could probably apply now.
 
Feb 15, 2010
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have you considered taking upper level bio courses without doing the whole post bac thing. Im in the same situation with similar gpas. I dont think u want to risk going to med school with a SMP.
take your MCAT and apply. if you dont get around 30, then withdraw your app and take upper level bio classes and gets A's