low uGPA, good post bacc...

BowserMD

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    Hi Everyone,

    I'm looking for advice as to whether I should keep trying to improve my app. The one thing that I am REALLY concerned about is my uGPA..


    GPA: 3.0 (cGPA & sci GPA) (D in Orgo II - someone help me & a few C's in thermo & kinetics) Chemistry was not my strong point.
    post bacc GPA is 3.94. The problem here is that most of the classes from undergrad were worth 4 semester units, so including the post bacc doesn't budge my GPA by much (does that even work that way?)

    I've been lucky enough to score research opportunities @ Oxford (published) & in Germany post graduation, did undergrad research at our cancer center and have worked fulltime while doing a post bacc @ a major biotech company in the research dept for the past 3 yrs.

    In terms of volunteering I've done >150 hrs @ a cancer clinic & spent a year doing Americorps *NCCC (full time community service.)

    Anyways, I feel okay about the rest of my app.

    So I guess my question is, Should I keep trying to increase my GPA by taking more post bacc classes or something else? Would my undergrad GPA keep me from admission to a top tier school? I feel my biological clock ticking:p so I feel like I should apply now...

    Thanks!
     
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    Mobius1985

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      The post bac and undergrad grades will all be calculated into a composite GPA. Try using this AMCAS GPA calculator: http://medschool.ucsf.edu/postbac/pdf/AMCAS%20GPA_Calculator%20Version%204%20Final.xls
      or
      http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=590424

      Let us know what you come up with. Also, what is your BCPM GPA (doesn't include engineering grades)? Please tell me you either repeated Orgo II or took Biochem.

      I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest it's time to go ahead and apply. Your MCAT of 36 is just enough to balance a GPA of 3.0 for the least selective schools. Some moderating factors are the outstanding research experience, your non-traditional age, the extra credit you'll get for Teach for America, and the steep upward trend of your recent grades.

      I think you should quickly get in some shadowing experience if not acquired via the cancer research. Do you have any other unlisted clinical exposure? It might be nice to have a broader background in another area besides cancer treatment. And do you have something for leadership experience?
       

      flip26

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        An anecdote with an n=1 qualification, but a few years ago there was a regular SDN poster who was a Cal Tech grad with a very low 3.X GPA and a 40 MCAT who applied to around 20 schools and only got into one, one of his/her state schools in Texas.

        So, anything is possible, but your uphill battle is probably steeper than you realize...the post bacc grades will help your cumulative GPA, though, so let us know what you calculate...sounds like you might get that GPA up around 3.2 which will help.
         
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        BowserMD

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          Wow, thanks for posting back so quickly.

          So after figuring out how our gpa is calculated (freshman year is p/f) and what classes qualify for BCPM gpa, here is what I've got with the post bacc included.

          BCPM: 3.25
          overall: 3.19

          I did retake orgo II with an A:thumbup:.

          I haven't shadowed formally, but my role as a "patient advocate" at the clinic involved speaking with patients about the supportive programs offered by the hospital and occasionally accompanying patients to their appointments/scans etc. if they wanted someone else to be around.

          As for leadership, I did hold leadership positions during undergrad (things like ASB coordinator and director of philanthropy and marketing for my sorority) and in americorps ( I was an assistant team leader for our travelling program and took a leadership role with shelter organization during the Katrina disaster) when I was younger, but since then work and school have been the focus.

          And "sigh" about the cal-tech grad. Unfortunately my state is California so being "in-state" doesn't really help me.

          What should my plan of action be? I feel like I'm in a really weird spot.
           

          Mobius1985

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            I wouldn't completely give up on California. Their schools can be tricky. Superficially, it seems like only high stat folks get in there, but actually folks who are outstanding in some other way (research, community service, leadership, clinical experience) get in too. Maybe your research and Americorps will make you stand out enough to give you a chance. Otherwise, your strategy needs to be "apply broadly." That means maybe 25 schools and I'd include some DO schools in the mix (there's one in CA). I'm from the midwest and in Illinois we have two schools that take a lot of Californians: University of Illinois and Rosalind Franklin (north of Chicago). You'll see lots of posts here with endless lists of schools for low/mid stat people. Start researching them for cost, curriculum style, location, etc. There's also a sticky at the top of this forum ("School Selection spreadsheet") with a list of all US allopathic med schools with their mean acceptance stats and LizzyM scores (yours is 68), as well as the percent they take from out of state (scroll to far right). Include some more-selective schools (you can dream) but do not make the list top heavy with highly-selective schools. Your CA schools should be most of them. For some reason I think of Columbia as one that looks at the whole application and might give you a shot. This is only one opinion, and it's not coming from a California person. I'm sure others will post as well, but look through this forum for other applicants from California and see what advice they got.

            Personally, if I were you, I'd try to get in some chunks of shadowing with a primary care doc, and one other type of specialist who isn't an oncologist. Eight to forty hours each is fine. Use your contacts with the oncology folks to get you in the door at someone's office. You need to shadow physicans to show you understand what the job is all about and that you've thoroughly investigated doctoring as a career.

            Presumably, you have your Letters of Recommendation lined up.
             

            flip26

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              I wouldn't completely give up on California. Their schools can be tricky. Superficially, it seems like only high stat folks get in there, but actually folks who are outstanding in some other way (research, community service, leadership, clinical experience) get in too. Maybe your research and Americorps will make you stand out enough to give you a chance. Otherwise, your strategy needs to be "apply broadly." That means maybe 25 schools and I'd include some DO schools in the mix (there's one in CA). I'm from the midwest and in Illinois we have two schools that take a lot of Californians: University of Illinois and Rosalind Franklin (north of Chicago). You'll see lots of posts here with endless lists of schools for low/mid stat people. Start researching them for cost, curriculum style, location, etc. There's also a sticky at the top of this forum ("School Selection spreadsheet") with a list of all US allopathic med schools with their mean acceptance stats and LizzyM scores (yours is 68), as well as the percent they take from out of state (scroll to far right). Include some more-selective schools (you can dream) but do not make the list top heavy with highly-selective schools. Your CA schools should be most of them. For some reason I think of Columbia as one that looks at the whole application and might give you a shot. This is only one opinion, and it's not coming from a California person. I'm sure others will post as well, but look through this forum for other applicants from California and see what advice they got.

              Personally, if I were you, I'd try to get in some chunks of shadowing with a primary care doc, and one other type of specialist who isn't an oncologist. Eight to forty hours each is fine. Use your contacts with the oncology folks to get you in the door at someone's office. You need to shadow physicans to show you understand what the job is all about and that you've thoroughly investigated doctoring as a career.

              Presumably, you have your Letters of Recommendation lined up.

              I agree with every bit of this.

              Apply broadly - we are talking 25 schools - don't skimp on your instate apps - but don't get too "dreamy eyed" about Top 30ish schools otherwise when you cast your net around the country.
               

              panda11

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                Hi,
                I am sort of in the same situation as BowserMD.
                MIT '06 with low GPA (3.2/4.0 similar in BPCM and AO). Double major. Got D in bio lab, C in biochem and orgo 2 in one semester due to overload. Applied in '07 (kinda late submitted in late August) while in an MPH program. Got waitlisted by Tufts.

                Finished MPH with 3.96 GPA. And also in the meantime, retook those classes and more and received As (after that application cycle). My postbach record is excellent (4.0 52 credits). My cumulative uGPA is now 3.4. MCAT is 35.

                I am working full time as a research associate at a research hospital. Plenty of previous research and clinical/shadow experiences. I will have several published abstracts and papers by the time I fill out AMCAS.Also had summer internships in 3 different countries. Several years of mentoring middle school kids with science projects.

                Will apply this summer, but I would appreciate any comments/suggestions you may have.
                Thanks!
                 
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