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low gpa, potentially high MCAT, probability of acceptance?

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Hello everyone,

So I am planning to take my mcat this april and have taken a few practice tests scoring above a 508 each time and have been getting better each time. I have volunteered with various societies in cancer research, have about 2 years of lab experience, can speak 3 languages fluently, volunteering regularly at a hospital where I feel like I can get a very very strong letter of recommendation, am self taught in various programming languages and am developing a company that provides medical literacy internationally.

My issue is all based on my undergrad GPA where I have a 3.02 gpa overall and a 2.82 science gpa. I took a class at a different university (ivy league) during a summer and got a high A where it was all graduate students which helped. I took a year off to reflect, and during my year off I've traveled and lost a lot of weight and just become a much better version of myself. I realized that my gpa being so low was because I went to a crappy university and I hate to say that. How can I be honest when it sounds like a cop out to blame my university even though it's the only conclusion I can come to? Can someone offer genuine advice?

Thank you for your time and sorry about the length!
 

Dr.Kitty

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You shouldn't blame it on your university and if you do, medical schools won't take that lightly. I wouldn't even apply with a 3.02 overall GPA to begin with, but if you really are dead set on doing it, then try to emphasize how different you are from when you got bad grades. I think the most honest thing you can do is be honest with yourself and realize you just didn't know how to perform well academically. If you were mentioning death in the family, or real emergencies, then that would be a completely different story.
 
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You shouldn't blame it on your university and if you do, medical schools won't take that lightly. I wouldn't even apply with a 3.02 overall GPA to begin with, but if you really are dead set on doing it, then try to emphasize how different you are from when you got bad grades. I think the most honest thing you can do is be honest with yourself and realize you just didn't know how to perform well academically. If you were mentioning death in the family, or real emergencies, then that would be a completely different story.
I do blame myself for not knowing how to respond to the situation I put myself in, I am looking into post bacc programs because I really do care a lot and want to be the best doctor I can be for future patients. I know it comes across like a red flag to blame my university but you're right, it was my fault for not trying to transfer out when things started going downhill and I accept that. I just want to explain that in a way that doesn't make it seem like I'm trying to push blame. Thank you for your response.
 

QofQuimica

Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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We need some more info from you regarding your grades in order to provide useful feedback. How long ago did you get those low grades? Besides that one class you mentioned, have you done any postbac or SMP work (or even taken upper level UG classes) since earning those low grades? If not, that's where you need to start, with GPA rehabilitation. There is tons of info on this site regarding pros and cons of DIY postbacs vs formal post bacs vs SMPs, so you should spend some time reviewing that.

Regarding explanations, if you've gotten your act together since you were in college, then the way you demonstrate that is by earning better grades from now on, and the way you explain that to med schools is by saying, "I screwed up in college, but now I've become more mature, learned how to study effectively, etc." In other words, you take full responsibility for not doing well in the past, and you don't put any blame on the school at all. What the school did/didn't do or could have done better isn't relevant here. Your college isn't applying to medical school; YOU are. So the focus should be on how YOU have changed and improved. This isn't a court where we assign proportional liability based on the degree of each person's or institution's contribution to the bad outcome of your low grades. Plain and simple, the adcom wants to determine whether you have the aptitude and scholastic ability to handle medical school. So you need to show them that you do.

Regarding the MCAT, take it when you're ready, and don't count on earning a certain score until you've earned it. Everyone thinks they're going to score high on the MCAT, but it's a standardized test, so the number of people who can earn high scores each year is limited by design.

As for your chances, we really need more info (including an actual MCAT score) before we can offer much input here.

Hope this helps, and best of luck. :)
 

esob

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You're going to need better than a 508 to overcome a 3.0 GPA. Just have a look where that puts you on the scale of matriculants. That GPA/MCAT combo gives you a statistical 15% chance of acceptance. A 516-517 will give you a 1 in 3 chance at admission.
 
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