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MD & DO Low GPA, Upward Trend. Texas Resident

Discussion in 'What Are My Chances?' started by drjwilson, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. drjwilson

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    Here are my stats, there's a bit more exposition below those if needed.

    Stats:
    Starting Senior year, applying for Fall 2017 entry. ORM (Asian male), graduating with BS in Biology with a Minor in Chemistry (I might also obtain an English Minor)

    Grades:
    Have straight A's in my last 29 credits.

    With grade replacement
    Cumulative GPA: 2.97
    Science GPA: 3.22

    Without grade replacement
    Cumulative GPA: 2.46
    Science GPA: 2.42

    MCAT
    Taken twice
    January 2015: 27 (7/11/9)
    June 2015: 80% - 509 (PS - 126/ CARS - 129/ BS - 125/ Psych - 129)

    Clinical volunteering/ Work experience
    Emergency Center Child Life Volunteer ~ 40 hours
    - Involves a lot of patient contact, basically help relieve stress in children brought to the emergency room. This includes bringing items such as books to read and DVDs to watch, but also includes interaction by playing with toys and games. Will probably have around 90 hours when I apply.
    Pharmacy Technician ~ 3 years
    - Not sure if this counts as clinical experience, even with LizzyM's "if you can smell them" guideline. Interact with patients, doctors, and insurance companies on a regular basis, fill medications, etc.
    Shadowing - ???
    - I currently have 4 hours shadowing a D.O. physician (Family Medicine), I have more shadowing lined up with a D.O. that's a Neurologist (!!) and hope to have ~ 50 hours by the time I apply.

    Research
    Worked in a research lab with Drosophila melanogaster for a semester. Worked with my Professor and a partner examining effects of ethanol exposure to different mutants. Had a poster presentation and a final report.

    Extracurricular activities
    Buddhist Youth Association - >5 years
    - Learn about Buddhism, but it's also almost like Boy Scouts, lots of camping and fundraising for the temple, as well as for the less fortunate. Achieved a slightly high position, but now do not have enough time to go as often. Some leadership experience.
    Medical Service Organization - 2 semesters
    - Was involved briefly, didn't get much done though other than obtaining BLS/First Aid certification.
    Local Food Bank - 4 hours
    - Only just started volunteering, but it was interesting and plan to do more.

    Personal
    When I first started college, I was overwhelmed by the sudden freedom and my grades suffered. I slept a lot, and even failed a class because I did not attend at least 25% of the class sessions. After my first year I had a 1.28 (!!) GPA.
    Over time I improved, but ultimately still did mediocre in my classes. However, two semesters ago I changed my study habits, and how I approach school in general and improved ten-fold, achieving As in my last 8 or so classes. I repeated a lot of my old classes from freshman and sophomore year to take advantage of grade replacement though, but there are a few high level science courses in there (Genetics, Plant Bio, Phys II). I feel like I have matured considerably and hope my grades show that.

    Questions
    I have no illusions of grandeur, I understand that calling MD a long shot is as big as an understatement can get. I am on my 5th year and thus have a lot of hours impeding my ability to positively influence my GPA. Maintaining my current A streak, my cGPA might just cross the 3.0 mark. With that in mind, should I apply MD at all? Being a Texas resident and all it's not too costly to apply to all Texas schools, but I understand applying to UTSW and Baylor would essentially be donations.

    While studying for the MCAT as well as for school in general, I was employed full time. Will this be taken in consideration and improve my chances at all? Proof of time management and all that (although MCAT is mediocre).

    School list
    Would some advice on my school list as I just have Texas schools excluding Baylor and UTSW at the moment. I am not opposed to moving a far distance.

    I want to give thanks in advance to anyone that's willing to provide some advice or support.
     
  2. gyngyn

    gyngyn Professor
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    I cannot recommend OOS MD schools for a TX applicant in your situation.
    Only 193 Texans matriculated OOS and I'm pretty sure most of them got nice recruitment packages (at least ours did).
    I suggest DO for OOS if you can get your gpa > 3.0.
     
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    #2 gyngyn, Aug 9, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2015
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  3. GrapesofRath

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    IF you want an MD you will need an SMP

    Ace this year and your stats should be within striking distance for some DO's.
     
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  4. md-2020

    md-2020 The Immaculate Catch
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    w/ a 2.4/2.4 as an ORM? I don't think MD is in the cards for the foreseeable future.

    OP, 2.4 cGPA and 2.4 sGPA is extremely low, as you sure you want to continue spending time+money pursuing medicine? While upward trends are good, when you're starting the trend at a 1.28 GPA that's a big red flag IMHO.
     
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  5. GrapesofRath

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    Well there is still a year of college left. OP has 30 credits worth of A's the past year as a trend. If they can accumulate another 30-35 this year I'm guessing that brings the GPA up to around a 2.8. A 2.8/31 MIGHT get someone into an SMP with that upward trend if they apply to alot of them. If the OP stays a fifth year keeps up a similar trend and brings up the GPA above 3.0 with a 31 then SMP's are definitely in play.

    I'm also assuming that SMPs will calculate your GPA per MD standards but it might perhaps be possible they use the one listed on the transcript which only factors in re-take grades( I know next to nothing about filling out an actual SMP application). In that case the OP's SMP prospects aren't that bad. And if the OP aces an SMP there is an MD school within reach for them even with that atrocious ug GPA.

    But the more feasible and realistic route is certainly DO.
     
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  6. md-2020

    md-2020 The Immaculate Catch
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    The OP is already on his fifth year. Are you suggesting he stay in college for 6-7 years?
     
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  7. GrapesofRath

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    Ahh I missed the part there that was deeper in the post about that. The first line simply said OP is a senior. Yeah, staying 6-7 years is less feasible.

    If the OP aces this year and has a 2.8 MD GPA with the upward trend and 31 MCAT it isn't out of the realm of possibility they might be able to get a look at some SMP program. I wouldn't call it that likely but it could be worth an app. If they really were boning for the MD, staying 2 more years to get the GPA above 3.0 then SMPs can certainly be in reach.

    But this is alot of ifs and like you said staying 1-2 more years in undergrad then doing an SMP is a) very risky b) alot of time and money. As I said above it's more feasible and realistic to ace this year and go the DO route.
     
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  8. drjwilson

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    I'm certain I'd like to pursue medicine. Although you're right about my GPA, that was over 4 years ago, I believe that's substantial enough time to display growth and maturity.

    I'll most likely apply for an SMP at the same time that I apply, is that common? There's the UNTHSC SMP that I believe I may be able to get in to. Almost like a safety net? My most realistic route is to get accepted into TCOM, but they do not take grade replacement so I'm afraid my GPA kills my app regardless.
     
  9. GrapesofRath

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    Applying for an SMP when you apply for medical school doesn't really make much sense.

    The smartest course of action is to simply ace this year and apply DO.

    If you are willing to risk not being a doctor at all to pursue the MD then you need an SMP. But your GPA is rather low for them. Even if you ace this year I'm not sure a 2.8 is high enough to get into one.
     
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  10. Apply broadly to DO and start school. Apply to your state schools for MD if you'd like. No reason not to knock on the door, but don't delay your medical education simply because you want an MD behind your name when all that should matter is that you're practicing medicine and making the same amount as everyone else regardless of MD vs DO.

    EDIT: Get more shadowing of primary care and for the love of God get more clinical volunteering. Your app isn't that good on the numbers side and frankly IMO your volunteering isn't great either. Fix that ASAP if you want a shot this cycle.

    Also, you mention nothing about LORs (according to my control+F; sorry, I'm lazy) -- if you don't have really incredible LORs, I would seriously consider not applying and improving your app this year to apply next year.
     
    #10 TheUPSIDEdown, Aug 9, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2015
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  11. md-2020

    md-2020 The Immaculate Catch
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    I'm not sure this is true.

    DO's are almost always PCPs and don't have as many subspecialization options. With that being said I don't think OP has a real choice in the matter.
     
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  12. First off, regardless of how oversimplified your assessment of DO is, I was referring to an MD and DO doing the same type of medicine: An MD and a DO primary care doc makes on average the exact same amount.
     
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  13. treecat

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    I think they do?!
     
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  14. md-2020

    md-2020 The Immaculate Catch
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    Agreed.

    I was just pointing out that people entering DO should be aware that opportunities for specialization/subspecialization are, at least for the moment, not equal among allo and osteo grads.
     
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  15. They absolutely do. I am a physician scribe at a DO hospital and conservatively, over 60% of the residents on staff are NOT PCP. Ortho and anesthesiology being the two biggies that stick out in my brain. So, regardless of how small my pool of DOs represent, @md-2020's "almost always PCP" is simply not true. Yes, they aim to churn out PCPs, but it's the student's decision based on their grades and their drive.

    I can agree with this statement for "prestigious" residencies and academic medicine specifically, but by and large this persistent "MD or McDonalds" attitude is a load of bs.
     
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  16. md-2020

    md-2020 The Immaculate Catch
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    I'm not saying this at all. However, MD is the first choice for nearly all medical school applicants; this is not a little known fact.

    Regarding DOs and primary care fields: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/03/education/edlife/the-osteopathic-branch-of-medicine-is-booming.html
    "About 60 percent of D.O. graduates go on to primary care fields like internal medicine, pediatrics, and family medicine, compared with about 30 percent of M.D.s."

    I'm not even saying this is an issue or a slight against DOs, just that people need to recognize the difference in opportunity for specialization. Specialization results in higher pay, and I was just noting that fact. @Btv22 go into the ortho subforum and see how difficult it is for DOs to match.

    Calm down everyone.
     
  17. CaptRetired

    CaptRetired DO '18
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    The opportunities are there for DOs, but a lot of us are focused on Primary care even before we start school. When many of the schools have a goal of increasing the pool of PCPs in their region, that is one of the reasons they focus on particular candidates in the application process. I know PLENTY of folks who wanted the primary care slot they got. I know lots of others who got the specialty they wanted, too. One student this last year wanted EM but restricted his application regionally (and too small of a region). He ended up in the scramble and landed in diagnostic radiology in that region. Its not all about the letters behind your name. Board scores go a long way in most programs. Personally, I expect to go FM because of personal reasons, but I feel confident that I could end up in a number of specialties if thats where I want to go.

    As far as MD being the first choice for nearly all medical students, thats true, too. Mostly out of ignorance, though. I thank God that I didn't get picked up at the 3 MD schools I applied to. I enjoy osteopathic medicine too much, and I would have never known it, understood it, or trusted it if I hadn't had the opportunity.

    Back to the original OP- DO schools ARE generally easier to get in (because of the phenomenon of the aforementioned first choice MD app). I also had an awful 1st year (0.6 after my first quarter... yes, I am old enough to have taken quarters) and 1.2 after the second. I dropped out, joined the military for over a decade, and came back. I am not suggesting that route but with life experience, replaced grades, a just below average MCAT, and a good interview (good people skills), here I am working through 2nd year... Good Luck
     
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