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Low GPA, Top School, Top Program

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by dabiophyz, Mar 5, 2007.

  1. dabiophyz

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    Hey guys,

    I am applying to med school this upcoming cycle, but due to the rigor of my school and major my GPA is lower than I'd like. It is in the 3.2-high 3.3 range and I am wondering how bad off I am. Everything else in my application is in order: research, shadowing, mentoring, etc. but I just wanted your input to see how much my GPA will be holding me back.

    Thanks,
    dabiophyz
     
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  3. TleilaxuMD

    TleilaxuMD Membership Revoked
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    You should be ok. Just dont count on Harvard,hopkins, etc. to have open arms to your application.
     
  4. vector2

    vector2 ASA Member
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    What's your MCAT?
     
  5. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    write an outstanding PS to get some early interest?
     
  6. NDESTRUKT

    NDESTRUKT Fadeproof
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    good question about MCAT scores.

    keep in mind it's the total package. a stellar MCAT score with good quality research (a year or so of it and not just something to put ur name on), one or two good extracurricular activities (depth > breadth) and you'll be sitting pretty.
     
  7. Robizzle

    Robizzle 1K Member
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    Keep in mind there are 3.7+'s from your top school and top program as well.

    Hopefully you will get some slack, I do feel your pain coming from BME. But all else equal, they'll take a 4.0 psych major (no offense, but it's easy cmon) from no-name college before a 3.2 from your super school. Remember, all else equal. That's why you gotta shine on the MCAT, your PS, and your LORs.
     
  8. FemalesCANTDriv

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    Ya I think a baller MCAT will take care of the GPA.
     
  9. stiffany

    stiffany Hurry up and wait...
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    I also echo the "don't count on Harvard, et al" sentiment, but if you really want to go to one of the top tier schools, go ahead and apply. Also, if you've got that GPA and a 35+ MCAT or so you'll be okay. The lower your MCAT goes, the harder I think it is to bounce back from low GPA numbers. All and all, vary your list of medical schools by tier (a top five, a couple of top 20s, some top 50s, some unranked, et cetera) and you should be okay! I've actually had more luck with the higher ranked schools this year with my low science GPA (average cumulative, high MCAT) than the "bottom tier" type schools I think in part due to my higher than average MCAT score (for each school, not the overall average) and also good letters and a well written personal statement that shows varied interests. Good luck! :luck: :luck: :luck:
     
  10. fotografía

    fotografía Junior Member
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    A friend of mine graduated from Yale with 3.55, got a 37 MCAT, did some research (no pubs), did an IRTA (NIH) during a year off, and got into Columbia, Cornell, Penn, Yale and Harvard HST (where he is now). His curriculum was really intense, and apparentely, schools are forgiving of this if the program is reputable and you have a solid MCAT to back you up. Good luck!
     
  11. Robizzle

    Robizzle 1K Member
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    Your message is def good but a 3.55 and a 3.2 is quite a big difference. Didn't think there was much to forgive in the first place with that kinda GPA.
     
  12. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Agree. You are comparing someone with an average matriculant GPA to someone with a below average matriculant GPA. That's a world of difference.
     
  13. fotografía

    fotografía Junior Member
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    True. I wasn't suggesting that the OP will get in everywhere. Just suggesting that a good MCAT score can compensate, to some extent, for a low gpa at a reputable school. Since 3.2<<3.55, while the OP shouldn't expect to get into the elite, s/he probably still has a shot at some very solid schools (with a good MCAT score of course, and solid letters ECs, PS etc. etc.). Sorry for the ambiguous message.
     
  14. girlsporty

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    Agree as well. I have a high MCAT (top 3%) and low GPA. And research, EC's, masters, LOR, etc etc. Apply very broadly if you only want to do this once! As an example of how strange this process is: On the allo side, I got an interview from Mayo and two of my state schools. That's it. On the other hand I've done very well with osteo if you want to go that route.

    Good luck! PM me if you want specifics.
     
  15. gary5

    gary5 Senior Member
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    Do not take the MCAT until you're scoring consistently over 30 on practice tests. If you score less than 30 on your MCAT, then both your MCAT and GPA will be below the average of those accepted, a tough place to be.
     
  16. Pemberley

    Pemberley Senior Member
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    Apply WIDELY!!! Similar stats, applied to 15 schools, only accepted to 1. Some schools obviously noticed the difficulty of undergrad. Others obviously didn't.

    Tried that. :rolleyes: I got in one place, which fortunately is all I needed. Still, I was very close to disaster.

    BOTTOM LINE FOR THIS AND MOST OTHER PRE-ALLO QUESTIONS: Search mdapplicants.com for people with similar stats and backgrounds to yours. See how they did, but keep in mind that your results may vary. When in doubt, apply widely and early.
     
  17. dabiophyz

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    Thanks for all of the helpful replies, I really appreciate it. One thing I didn't mention was that my major is biophysics, and only has about 5-6 people in it each year. Additionally, it is only offered at the undergrad level at a hand full of schools. Will this help me much?
     
  18. Stroganoff

    Stroganoff Never give up.
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    Why the hell is there still this much friggin ignorance in adcoms?!? Why must they play numbers games regarding the 4.0 psych vs. 3.2 engineering and act like ignorant douches? WHY?!?!?!?!???

    :barf:

    Seriously, this whole numbers games is teh lame. This isn't grad school where many of the undergrad majors are comparable. This is med school where anything goes. Do they understand there are more variables involved? None of this absolute screening BS. Cuz seriously, some of the homecoming queen/king peeps at my TTT state school have like 3.9's in public relations or tourism or ag business or something, all while spending half their day playing Xbox, drinking fifths of vodka, and then spending another 4 hours playing naked olympics. There is clearly a difference between someone who busts their ass and makes sacrifices and someone who chooses basket weaving at TTT and gets a 4.0 cuz they wore a low-cut top to the bitter, entry-level professor in their 300 "upper level" public relations semenar. :rolleyes:

    I'm not bitter, just confoosed. :cool:

    Adcoms need to stop playing this game and become enlightened. Med school applicants have changed. Time to wake up!
     
  19. ryandote

    ryandote Member
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    Apply early or you'll never forgive yourself. I haven't forgiven myself for taking the August MCAT even though I smoked it.
     
  20. dabiophyz

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    I am taking the June MCAT, but I plan to complete as much of AMCAS as possible and just wait on the scores. Is that wise?
     
  21. ryandote

    ryandote Member
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    I'm not sure how quick your scores come back with the CBT these days. If you got your scores back at the beginning of August you probably wouldn't be too bad off. I had ALL the secondaries I had been invited for done and submitted before I took the MCAT in Aug (was actually quite a few because my previous MCAT score was decent) Unfortunately, I wasn't considered complete and put into line to be reviewed until my scores came back mid-Oct. I think it really hurt me.
     
  22. dabiophyz

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    I will have the scores back on July 15th. Can I submit AMCAS before I get my MCAT scores? I am not really sure how the whole process works will being verified, etc. Can someone give me a detailed explanation? I would really appreciate it.

    Thanks
     
  23. mdgrl2001

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    #22 mdgrl2001, Mar 5, 2007
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2011
  24. Stroganoff

    Stroganoff Never give up.
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    I think MCAT should be given 3x the weight of overall GPA and 2x the weight of BCPM GPA.
     
  25. gujuDoc

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    Wow people already covered the high points of this thread but I'm going to say if by your title you mean a top 20 school don't hold out too much for those programs. The chances are far slimmer for the more selective schools.

    However the possibility of getting in somewhere is not completely shot if your MCAT is stellar and your other qualifications are stellar.
     
  26. dabiophyz

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    Thanks for all of the advice!
     
  27. MahlerROCKS

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    I ****ing love you
     
  28. NewKidin2block

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    I got a 34 MCAT, and I haven't even receive an interview offer. I think with a 3.2, in your case, you should aimed for at least a 36. Plus, try to submit ur application ASAP

     
  29. Critical Mass

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    Agree with the above. Make the MCAT your biznitch and you'll be okay.
     
  30. stixx

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    No offense, but I highly doubt your program is that hard (i.e. I'm sure there's some people with 3.8+s who just worked their ass off)

    Sounds like the rest of your app is sweet but do NOT expect to be able to use your program/school as an excuse for the GPA part
     
  31. ryandote

    ryandote Member
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    You can and should submit your AMCAS application the first week you're allowed to (first week of June??) even without having taken the MCAT. It will probably take a few weeks to be verified. The day after you submit your AMCAS, you will start getting sent secondary applications from schools that don't screen. Get cracking and return these as soon as possible. You may also get some secondary applications from schools that don't screen once your AMCAS is officially verified. Get cracking and return these as soon as possible. You probably won't get secondary applications from some of the schools that do screen, but you will be able to find the essay questions listed on studentdoctor.net and you should definitely start writing those essays. Once your scores come back, they will be automatically forwarded to the schools you have applied to, and if you pass the screen at those schools, you will be sent a secondary application. However, since you've already found the questions on studentdoctor.net, you should have the essays ready to copy/paste right into the secondary so that you can send it back as soon as possible. Once your secondary application has been submitted to a school and marked as "complete," they will put you in the line to be reviewed for an interview decision.

    Realize that being "complete" includes having your letters of recommendation sent in. Most schools will use interfolio/virtualevals (an electronic system) so the letters issue is simple. However, if you are sending hard-copy letters for any reason, be sure to get them in or you won't be in line to be reviewed.

    Check MDApps and you will see that people interview in August. Realize that if you get your scores back July 15, and it takes a week for you to be marked complete (allowing for them to receive/process your scores etc) you probably won't be interviewing in August. You're still on track, though.

    As an example, I got my MCAT scores back in the middle of October and was complete at most of my schools by November 1st. My schools had already started accepting people on October 15, which means they interviewed back in September. Given my application, I think that I had a decent shot at top 20 schools (to whom that matters) but by the time I got in line to be reviewed (Nov 1st) it was taking the full 7-8 weeks for adcoms to make interview decisions. I personally feel like it hurt my chances at some of the bigger name schools, even though I had competitive stats.

    Good luck.


    PS- whether your program was actually harder or not, that sounds like a pretty lame excuse to an admissions committee, in my opinion. Like everyone else says, let your MCAT score make the excuses for your GPA.
     
  32. dabiophyz

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    ryandote, thanks for the great post. Given my GPA, say I get a 35-36 on the MCAT, what range of schools should I be aiming for?

    Thanks a lot
     
  33. gujuDoc

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    What is your home state?
     
  34. dabiophyz

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  35. gujuDoc

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    I think your chances of getting in all ride on both your MCAT score and the remainder of your profile in terms of Extracurriculars and other factors such as LORs, essays, etc.

    If you can show the rest of your application to be strong, there is always the chance of getting in at one of the more lower tier or state schools. However, should you not get in during this cycle, it is my advice that you do a postbac or masters and reapply. But again, its hard to predict anything without an MCAT score which will need to be strong to overcome the GPA.

    Depending on your MCAT, I'd then select schools like Albany, NYMC, SUNYs, and a few other schools out of state. Take a look through the MSAR when the new MSAR comes out in June.
     
  36. ryandote

    ryandote Member
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    With 125 allopathic schools, there are a LOT of different places and a LOT of different criteria you can choose based on. Accreditation isn't easy, so realize that pretty much all US medical schools will give you a good medical education. In fact, they all pretty much have to teach the same thing. You should consider things like lecture vs. PBL, location, weather, cost, facilities, people you meet, etc. If you are sure what kind of medicine you want to practice, you can also factor in that certain schools (usually higher-ranked, more "prestigious" schools) produce more academic physicians and more specialists. While you definitely don't want to close doors, I think that going into the process with the plan to go to the "best" school you get into is a common mistake.

    I sat down with the MSAR, found GPA/MCAT averages and found out what % of out-of-staters they accept. Remember that GPA and MCAT citations in the MSAR are averages so being a little above or below in one or both isn't out of the question. Doing that, you will come up with a list of schools that you will be competitive at, probably a lot more schools than you will apply to. From there, you can narrow down by location, name, etc.

    36 on the MCAT puts you at the upper limit of average MCAT stats, but it is FAR from and auto-accept to a top 20 school. (WashU was a 35(?) average in my 2004 MSAR) However, a 3.2 GPA is quite a ways below the average WashU GPA of 3.8(?) so you are far from a shoe-in. The real question, which nobody has the answer for and it probably varies by school, is the tradeoff between MCAT and GPA. That's why we all apply to a broad range of schools and hope for the best.

    Luckily you are from New York, so you have plenty of state schools to choose from. However, if a name is important to you (which is a completely valid way to feel) you wouldn't be beyond schools like Baylor, Columbia, UCSD, etc. I'm not sure that a 3.2 would be considered at Hopkins, Harvard, Penn, UCSF no matter what your MCAT is. This is my opinion.

    ESPECIALLY IF YOU APPLY EARLY.
     
  37. ltrain

    ltrain Senior Member
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    So you can check out my mdapps profile, as I have somewhat similar stats to you. 3.1 overall undergrad gpa in aerospace engineering at MIT. I'll be honest, no one gives a crap what you majored in or if you busted your ass to get a C (I think they expect you to say you had mono or something when they ask about Cs...;) )

    I did okay on the MCAT, but certainly not great. What helped me, I think, is having really great ECs and extended research with numerous publications. And being able to tie together my research and ECs into a vision of what I want to do as a physician in the future.

    I think the part about going to a top school helps too. It's another piece that can help the adcom envision you at their school. On most of the interviews I went to at top schools, the majority of students were from top undergrads. I think it's something that some of the schools are looking for.

    I applied really broadly and I got way more interviews than I thought I was going to get. I should be hearing through the next month how they all ended up. Something that I'm starting to suspect is that they're not done looking at the numbers just because you were invited to interview. So I'll see how it plays out and you can check back in a couple months.

    But the bottom line is that you can get in to med school. Depending on your actual ECs/research/recommendations/ability to convey a "big picture" of yourself, you may be able to get in to a top school.

    Good luck!

    Edit: I forgot to add: don't be afraid to apply to the top schools. I applied to 5/10 top 10 schools and got interviews at 4 of them. Then I was rejected pre-interview by many of the upper-tier, not top 10 schools that I actually thought would have been a great fit for me (chicago, pitt, nyu, mount sinai, case, etc). You never know who's going to like your app. A lot of the top schools are a little less concerned about maintaining their # averages and are really seeking to put together a diverse class. It's all about convincing them you have something cool to add. Okay, I'm done.
     
  38. dabiophyz

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    thanks a lot, ltrain. I really appreciated your post
     
  39. stoppushingit

    stoppushingit stupid savant
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    apply to a wide range
    do well on the MCAT
    do different things, not just the normal volunteering @ the hospital, etc.
    be involved!
    maintain an upward trend.
    demonstrate interest!
    and do everything cause you want to, not cause you have to! (cause it shows)

    ...take this from someone who's been in your situation and got pretty much what i was dreaming for - a reach school (by my standards, at least). =)
    see mdapps.
     
  40. dabiophyz

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    stoppushingit, congrats on Columbia, that's awesome!
     
  41. ltrain

    ltrain Senior Member
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    No prob...feel free to PM me if you have specific ?s or want help picking schools.

    Now go study for your MCAT!
     

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