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Low or Competitive? GPA thread for ppl stuck between 3.2-3.4 with 30+MCATs

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by djherse, May 8, 2008.

  1. djherse

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    Hello all!!

    Just figured I would start a thread for the people like my self with GPAs between 3.20-3.49 (no mans land if you ask me). We are not low but are we competitive....? That have descent 30+ MCATs What do we do next??

    Heres my story....
    I am a graduating senior (next Saturday) with a 3.39 GPA and Departmental honors (thesis project). I have had a 3.7+ GPA since spring sophomore year but do to immaturity my freshman year grades sucked (2.6), Just took the April 5th MCAT 32O 12BS, 11VR, 9PS, O. If i had a 3.5+ would think that I would be competitive and would apply next cycle. Now I am stuck is my GPA low enough to warrant a SMP???? should I try and apply next cycle anyway?? post bac would be pointless I believe. Any advice would be great!!!

    is there anyone else out there in my situation??? would love to here what you did or will be doing!!
     
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  3. flip26

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    Absolutely look at SMP - your stats are tailor made for an SMP - the required GPA to get into SMPs is creeping upward - you are in the heart of the 3.3 to 3.5 GPA range that is too low for med admissions (before anyone blows their stack, there will be exceptions, but not many)...it would not hurt to try a cycle if you have everything ready to go (letters, ECs, etc), but be sensible and don't load up with Top 40 schools...a waste of time, money, and psychic energy...

    A big factor: what is your state of residency? If CA, you are in for a very rough reception...if a southern state, you may be very close to acceptances...
     
  4. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    I've discussed my situation with a few admissions people and they've all assured me that my "academic risk" is low -- they don't have any reason to believe I can't get through medical school. My undergrad GPA was 3.33 and my MCAT is a 33 (31 at time of application).

    I got off to a very slow start like you did and made up for it in my upper-level classes. I also went to graduate school to get a Masters and got a 4.0 in that. The graduate GPA seems to be what convinced most of these people that I can handle med school, especially combined with my MCAT.

    If you want to continue your trend, a SMP, post-bac, or graduate degree would be very helpful.
     
  5. xiaoyi666

    xiaoyi666 The General
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    There are debates about risk/benefit of SMP though. I was recommended to do a 1 year MS program if I don't get in this cycle instead of SMP.
     
  6. thoffen

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    Take a look at my profile. It is definitely possible, but you do have to distinguish yourself in some way to get looked at.
     
  7. DBR

    DBR
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    I know a guy (non URM) that got into a private US allopathic school with a 26 in the MCAT. His gpa was 3.9, but still I wonder how the hell that happened.
     
  8. nonesuchgirl

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    Daddy.
     
  9. ejay286

    ejay286 Member
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    I know this may sound stupid but....what is an SMP?
     
  10. flip26

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    Special Masters Program...usually linked to a med school...designed to give applicants with low UG GPAs the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to do well in med schoolish science classes...
     
  11. djherse

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    My state of residency is Rhode Island so no state medical school :-( brown would be a long shot I would guess. What type of masters programs would be helpful 1 or 2 years, risk/rewards vs. SMP specifically Tufts SMP
     
  12. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    It's really up to you, ultimately. I chose a 2 years masters (finished in 1.5 years) because it was free and gave me the chance to get 36 more hours of schooling in, which was important because I knew I needed to set a trend of academic success more than anything else. I also liked the subject matter, and the degree could be useful in the future if I don't get into medical school (it's helping me right now with my job).

    a SMP will pretty much be worthless if you don't get into med school, and it costs a lot. But if you succeed in the SMP, your chances of success in med school admissions increase dramatically.. way moreso than success in a traditional MS, in my opinion.

    if you only want to do 1 year, don't mind paying, and are willing to dedicate yourself to schoolwork to make sure you succeed, the SMP is perfect for you. If you don't mind taking longer and having your degree be scrutinized as not being that difficult, a traditional MS will work, too.
     
  13. flip26

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    SMP is higher risk, but higher return, too.

    As for other masters programs...I have heard of an MS in "nutrition" offered at Columbia that many aspiring non trads take - it sounds like "SMP-lite" to me...I think an MPH is just about worthless for the purpose of med school admissions (nothing wrong with the degree itself, just not very useful in med admissions)...

    What is your UG major? If biology, then maybe some sort of biology masters? The problem with this sort of path, though, is that it can take you pretty far afield from medicine, and that is the strength of SMPs for "proving" your mettle to med schools...

    Another problem - don't make the mistake of getting into a PHD program...med schools frown on people who don't finish something they started - this is another knock against multi year MS programs...
     
  14. djherse

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    I wonder how many regular masters programs deadlines have not all ready past. i failed to mention that I also have GRE and bio GRE subject score so applying to regular graduate programs is not an issue as far as test scores go. I dont want to retake the MCAT if I dont have to so I need to be sure I apply before April 2010
     
  15. surfstarj

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    1. UConn gives regional preference to RI
    2. While your GPA is on the low side, it matters more WHY it is low. Did you have a bad first year and recover? Did you get horrible grades in orgo and/or physics and As in other classes. Or did you do really well until the last two semesters where you partied too much and got a 2.8 cum for the year? See what I mean? It is low, but it also depends on what else you have going on. SMP is a decent idea, get a 4.0 and there won't be any doubt that you can handle med school.

    p.s. i had a lower gpa from ugrad and did a master's in biochem before applying with a 4.0. i think that helped since the only truly bad grades i got in college were in gen chem (Cs). Maybe do something you were weak in and do it really well to show you've mastered it.
     
  16. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    most regular masters programs have application deadlines in January and February.
     
  17. surfstarj

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    Could enroll class-by-class as a graduate student at a lot of state schools...it's not the grad program per se, it's the grades you get in graduate level courses. Maybe look into that...if you aren't in a degree granting program, you could probably just enroll for the upcoming semester now. Downfall is lack of finaid.
     
  18. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    that would essentially be a post-bac then, right? which is another way to go to help your GPA
     
  19. flip26

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    ...and in that case simply taking some undergrad upper level science classes might be more sensible...

    If I were in the OP's position, I think I would 1) apply this cycle to realistic chance schools (OP has not actually done a cycle, right?), and 2) simultaneously be shooting for an SMP with a good linkage program that would begin this fall...aren't most of those SMPs still taking apps, etc? Don't they usually get students from the folks who bomb out of a med app cycle, so right about now?
     
  20. djherse

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    my GPA has been 3.7+ since spring of my sophomore year. Was 2.7 freshman year (Cs in gen chem, to much partying). So there is a great upward trend on my transcript (1 B all As or A- since then). SMP deadlines are all in June/July for the most part.
     
  21. flip26

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    I would jump on this now before the seats get all taken. There are threads devoted to a discussion of these programs.

    There are 2 good ones in VA - at EVMS and VCU. There is a very helpful poster -- instatewaiter - who did the VCU program and is at VCU med now...look him up.

    Good luck.
     
  22. surfstarj

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    The key is graduate classes. The OP already has what? 120-130 credits of undergrad work? In a year, even at a 4.0, it's not many credits comparatively. So the effect on her undergrad grade is not very much. As graduate credit, it stands alone on AMCAS. So a 4.0 of 30 graduate credits is a distinctive section and wouldn't just get washed in with all the undergraduate work. It may be a subtle point, but I think it's worth mentioning.
     
  23. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    post-bac also sits in a separate section, I believe.

    and even graduate courses taken as a non-graduate degree seeking student show up as post-bac. so you're either getting a degree as a grad student or you're doing post-bac.
     
  24. Bibbed

    Bibbed Just call it.
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    SMP isn't necessary yet. Assuming you have 120 credits when you graduate, one year of post-bacc (30 credits) with all A's would pump your GPA up to 3.5/3.6 range. I'd recommend that before you through yourself into the SMP, which can be very difficult. If for some reason you did the SMP and didn't do really well, that's basically it for allo schools.

    And graduate school courses are known for being softly graded. I know a few morons that are getting their PhDs in bio or chem fields, and they all have 3.7 or better graduate GPAs. AdComs are aware of the easy grading.
     
  25. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    Please don't go around saying grad school courses are graded easily. That's definitely not a blanket statement that applies to all grad schools or the courses that we take.
     
  26. Bibbed

    Bibbed Just call it.
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    It's not necessarily my opinion, bro. It's what I've been told by advisors and AdCom members. It wasn't meant to be an offensive statement.
     
  27. 191159

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    Say you graduate with a 3.5, but retook the classes that dragged your GPA down horribly and got A+'s in all of them. I know they average the grades but will it make the somewhat lower GPA look more competitive? Also, is being incredibly irresponsible and being pressured by your parents into pharmacy a good explanation for your bad GPA? I'd prefer not to lie about why I did so badly but if I have to I guess I don't really have a choice... Anyways my incredibly detailed mdapps explains what I'm getting at.
     
  28. flip26

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    I agree with you, Anton.

    In most grad programs, a "C" is a fail...pretty hard to not maintain a fairly decent GPA in grad school...and med schools know this and give much less weight to grad GPAs, and they certainly do not view a high grad GPA as a substitute for low UG GPA...
     
  29. littlealex

    littlealex little tiny alex
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    I think the strong upward trend makes you pretty okay. I would try to get a 35+ MCAT if you could though.
    Otherwise, apply broadly this cycle.
     
  30. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    ... which means you have to work harder to pass a class. you definitely CAN still fail glasses in graduate school, and it's really quite easy to do. the reason you see everyone with a high GPA is that you have to work harder to make sure you don't fail, not because as long as you do something you get a B.

    imagine your undergrad only gives you credit for a course if you made an A in it.. would you decry the school for its inflated GPA when everyone graduates with a 4.0?

    the biggest hole in this argument, in my opinion, is that not all classes taken during graduate school are graduate level courses that can be separated from undergrad courses. about half of my graduate hours were taken at the 4000 level--that is, I took a lot of senior undergraduate level courses, with undergraduates, and was graded on the same scale as them (except I had to do extra work in those classes). Why is an A in an undergrad class impressive as an undergrad but inflated when a graduate student takes the same course?
     
  31. Bibbed

    Bibbed Just call it.
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    I think it would help a little bit, but a lot of pre-med advisers will tell you you're better off taking higher level science classes and getting A's in those. Optimally, you should do both, but there's not always time for that.

    LOL. I had to think about that for a second before I realized who you were talking to.
     
  32. Bibbed

    Bibbed Just call it.
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    In that case, you still have to earn the same A grade as you would if they gave B through E grades too. What is being said about graduate schools is that, the A grade is easier to earn. So it's meaning isn't as strong as an undergraduate A. However, I still think A's are impressive regardless of the manner in which they were earned.
     
  33. Howzat

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    WOuld you say this is an upward trend?

    2.9 (frosh yr) --> 3.45 (soph) --> 3.13 (junior) --> 3.4 (senior) --> 4.0 (post bacc .. ~60 credits)
     
  34. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    ever taken a graduate course?

    what you just said is absolutely false, and it's a shame if adcoms really believe that it's somehow easier to get an A in those courses.

    unless you're an undergrad taking a graduate course--every time I took a graduate course that let undergrads in, they were graded on a different scale and their grades were inflated.
     
  35. Bibbed

    Bibbed Just call it.
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    If it's false, then why is it such a popular opinion? I had heard it from several sources before I decided that if everyone's saying it, then it must be true. I haven't taken a graduate course myself, so I can't personally attest to there being a difference.

    Edit -- Removed ******* statements. Bad day at work today.
     
  36. flip26

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    The percentage of As given in a grad school class is higher than in an UG class. The lowest grade given is typically a "C." The grades in grad school therefore distribute across "A" to "C" - the vast majority of grades given in grad school are "A" or "B"...I am not talking about law school, or even business school, but grad school...

    Even in UG, intro classes tend to have the fewest number of As...but by the time you make it to the upper levels, more As are given out...

    Anton is right. Don't make him break out his cow thingie...
     
  37. Bibbed

    Bibbed Just call it.
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    Love that ninja edit.
     
  38. surfstarj

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    Agreed, grad school is not easy. And the schools I interviewed at (all of them) noticed my grad gpa and made a comment on it.

    It really all boils down to a lot of people on here saying anything to make themselves feel better.
     
  39. flip26

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    You are welcome, sir. I would not want to piss off a man of your talents, resourcefulness, and deviousness.
     
  40. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    It's probably a popular opinion because people with no experience swear it's true any chance they get.

    If they had actually gone through it like some of us have, they'd see it's not a blanket statement that always holds true.
     
  41. Bibbed

    Bibbed Just call it.
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    LOL. I don't know how anything I (or anyone else) have said is making me (or them) feel better, but you keep telling yourself that if you need to.
     
  42. onemoreyear

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    I still think you could get in with your current stats. Yes, it takes some luck, but it's not too big a stretch. I had a similar trend, and very similar stats (3.38 GPA at graduation, plus a few post bac As in missing prerequisites).

    A lot will still depend on your extracurriculars and (people will disagree with me about this...) the reputation or perceived rigor of your undergraduate education.

    You have a great GPA trend. Convince schools of how much you have matured since your freshman year and you have a good shot.

    Also, apply early. I didn’t send my primary application until very late and, though it may not have hurt my admissions chances too much, it makes financial aid even more of a pain...
     
  43. flip26

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    The adcoms who post here have made the same comments about grad grades being higher, on average, thus carrying less weight...not sure if it was LizzyM or not, but at least one of them has commented on it.

    It may have been said in the context of "low graduate GPAs" being a real red flag, low being something south of 3.5...certainly a low GPA from an SMP is the kiss of death...
     
  44. Bibbed

    Bibbed Just call it.
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    I sympathize with that statement, those without experience wouldn't necessarily know. But when I say my advisers and AdCom committee members are saying the same thing, is that not different? Unless of course they're hearing it from disgruntled, inexperienced undergrads, and taking their word as fact. Maybe that's the case?
     
  45. surfstarj

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    If you take a test, out of 100% how many possible scores are passing? 60-100. Now obviously, students avoid that lower range but a D- is still technically passing, right?

    Enter graduate school. Now you've got to get 75%+ to pass the class. Students have to be more motivated, larger chance of failure. Now, there will always be top-end students who get As no matter what, but there will also be lower quality students. The difference is two-fold. One, the really bad students don't go to grad school (why bother if you don't like school anyway?) and two, the poorest students in the class simply HAVE to get higher grades to pass. At my grad school, you had to get a B- average (uncurved) to pass a class in your program, C out of program.

    How is that easier?
     
  46. surfstarj

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    Based on the idea that admission to med school is competitive and feeling like another person's record is less impressive than yours gives you a sense of security. Just a thought.

    edit: "LOL"
     
  47. Bibbed

    Bibbed Just call it.
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    Doesn't matter want percentage you need to pass or get an A or whatever. What we're saying is that the grading is easier. Meaning that to get that A, you're given more leeway in terms of partial credit or conceptual understanding even if you're answer isn't exactly right. More so than in undergrad.

    That being said, I agree with you that people have more incentive to work harder in grad school and that the bad students have been mostly weeded out. That definitely factors into the inflated amount of A's and B's.
     
  48. Bibbed

    Bibbed Just call it.
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    My GPA is low, I have no sense of security. :p
     
  49. flip26

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    That just doesn't make sense. Only the more motivated and "better" students get into grad school in the first place...how are there many "lower quality" students?

    Since you have this experience, what was the typical distribution of grades in your classes? What percentage of the class made an A? a B? Whatever the distribution, I bet it is far higher than what I am experiencing in my pre req classes at a very tough college...I am in classes where less than 10 percent of the class can earn an A due to the curving games they play...
     
  50. surfstarj

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    Load of sh1t. Like armybound said, a lot of times you take undergrad classes with extra requirements, meaning you take the same tests as a 400-level class and then have an extra research or paper requirement. If you take the same test, the grading is the same. Honestly, does it make sense to you, logically, that a grad student would get MORE leeway on the same test as an undergrad. I didn't think so.
     
  51. Bibbed

    Bibbed Just call it.
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    That reminds me. In undergrad (and especially in pre-req courses), the difficulty is extreme at times. Often average test grades are in the low 60's and 50's. At the end of the semester professors usually fit a bell curve to the course, meaning a low percentage of individuals get A's, many get B's, but most get C's. If graduate school courses were curved in the same manner (due to intense difficulty), then we would see a bell curve type grade distribution. We don't, instead we see a high number of A's and B's.
     

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