KCtoMedSchool

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I'm currently a junior at a top 25 school. My grades are not very good (2.4 GPA :mad: ) and it'll tough to raise it above a 3.0 when I graduate. However, I have a great interest in Biomedical Engineering, which is what I am minoring in(Would have been a BME major if I had applied to the Engineering School). Anyway, I understand my limitations and know that it will be tough to get admitted to medical school with that GPA. My plan is to get a Masters in Biomedical Engineering then take the MCAT and apply to Post-Bacc programs. How often is this route taken and is it a good plan to get into medical school. My goal is to do biomedical research with a strong clinical background (interest in radiology) which is why I want to attend medical school.

Any comments or suggestions.

Thanks alot.
 

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KCtoMedSchool said:
I'm currently a junior at a top 25 school. My grades are not very good (2.4 GPA :mad: ) and it'll tough to raise it above a 3.0 when I graduate. However, I have a great interest in Biomedical Engineering, which is what I am minoring in(Would have been a BME major if I had applied to the Engineering School). Anyway, I understand my limitations and know that it will be tough to get admitted to medical school with that GPA. My plan is to get a Masters in Biomedical Engineering then take the MCAT and apply to Post-Bacc programs. How often is this route taken and is it a good plan to get into medical school. My goal is to do biomedical research with a strong clinical background (interest in radiology) which is why I want to attend medical school.

Any comments or suggestions.

Thanks alot.
Well if you don't have any problems with the amount of time then I guess that route is OK. However please note that your graduate GPA will not improve your 2.4 GPA, since graduate and undergraduate courses are viewed seperately by med schools, and in most cases, undergrad GPA is weighted more. Additionally some schools screen GPA, and tend to have a cut-off around 3.0-3.2. Regardless of your efforts in a BME program, if your GPA is <3.0, then you may be rejected right off the bat.

Doing well on the MCAT is good, but again, GPA is also important and in most cases GPA and MCAT are weighted equally, thus doing well in one may not make up for the other. Although your interest in research is commendable, you may want to sit down, think about how best to acheive your goal of getting into med school. With a 2.4 GPA, it will be tough even with the highest MCAT score, and upward trend in GPA.

I for one have a 4.0 GPA in my PhD program, and a 3.4 in biomedical engineering post-bacc work. However my undergrad GPA was a 2.65 (today its a 2.77 thanks to post-bacc). My MCAT is a 36, however even then it will be tough to get into a med school in terms of numbers...mainly due to the screening processes. On top of that, biomedical engineering courses do not count as science courses...ironically...so doing BME, although great for your interests may not add to your science GPA (but it does add to your overall GPA). To overcome these issues, I will take more undergrad classes over the course of my 3-4 year PhD program to boost my undergrad GPA to a 3.0.

For your case, I would probably (1) focus on boosting your GPA in the best way you can. Personally I would do post-bacc over a grad program if you can afford it. (2) Ask yourself why you maintained a 2.4 GPA. Some of us, myself included had personal issues that were more important than school, thus our GPA floundered, but upon resolution of these issues, we have excelled in our academics and extracurriculars. If this not the case with you, I would highly suggest rethinking your study skills. Its great you want to pursue higher learning, but you also want to do well in the program.

Getting into a grad program, especially one that is highly impacted such as BME is rather difficult even with a GPA of 3.0 and above. It may be challenging (but not impossible) to get into a BME program (or any other program) with a 2.4 GPA. So you may have to address this issue too. Lastly, wanting a strong clinical background may not be a sufficient reason for going from research to medicine. There are many PhDs that have a strong clinical background. Additionally with recent efforts to integrate medicine into biological sciences, there are even more scientists with strong clinical backgrounds (e.g., via Howard Hughes funded fellowships). I for one am a PhD student in pathology, and my thesis IS VERY clinically oriented. I diagnose patients, assess treatment, and will in the future, for my thesis, I will run an intervention study that will prescribe and change therapy (via physician intermediate) as well. So yea, I'm not trying to toot my horn or anything, but I wanted to show you that there is GREAT overlap between physicians and scientists.
 
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KCtoMedSchool

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relentless11 said:
Well if you don't have any problems with the amount of time then I guess that route is OK. However please note that your graduate GPA will not improve your 2.4 GPA, since graduate and undergraduate courses are viewed seperately by med schools, and in most cases, undergrad GPA is weighted more. Additionally some schools screen GPA, and tend to have a cut-off around 3.0-3.2. Regardless of your efforts in a BME program, if your GPA is <3.0, then you may be rejected right off the bat.

Doing well on the MCAT is good, but again, GPA is also important and in most cases GPA and MCAT are weighted equally, thus doing well in one may not make up for the other. Although your interest in research is commendable, you may want to sit down, think about how best to acheive your goal of getting into med school. With a 2.4 GPA, it will be tough even with the highest MCAT score, and upward trend in GPA.

I for one have a 4.0 GPA in my PhD program, and a 3.4 in biomedical engineering post-bacc work. However my undergrad GPA was a 2.65 (today its a 2.77 thanks to post-bacc). My MCAT is a 36, however even then it will be tough to get into a med school in terms of numbers...mainly due to the screening processes. On top of that, biomedical engineering courses do not count as science courses...ironically...so doing BME, although great for your interests may not add to your science GPA (but it does add to your overall GPA). To overcome these issues, I will take more undergrad classes over the course of my 3-4 year PhD program to boost my undergrad GPA to a 3.0.

For your case, I would probably (1) focus on boosting your GPA in the best way you can. Personally I would do post-bacc over a grad program if you can afford it. (2) Ask yourself why you maintained a 2.4 GPA. Some of us, myself included had personal issues that were more important than school, thus our GPA floundered, but upon resolution of these issues, we have excelled in our academics and extracurriculars. If this not the case with you, I would highly suggest rethinking your study skills. Its great you want to pursue higher learning, but you also want to do well in the program.

Getting into a grad program, especially one that is highly impacted such as BME is rather difficult even with a GPA of 3.0 and above. It may be challenging (but not impossible) to get into a BME program (or any other program) with a 2.4 GPA. So you may have to address this issue too. Lastly, wanting a strong clinical background may not be a sufficient reason for going from research to medicine. There are many PhDs that have a strong clinical background. Additionally with recent efforts to integrate medicine into biological sciences, there are even more scientists with strong clinical backgrounds (e.g., via Howard Hughes funded fellowships). I for one am a PhD student in pathology, and my thesis IS VERY clinically oriented. I diagnose patients, assess treatment, and will in the future, for my thesis, I will run an intervention study that will prescribe and change therapy (via physician intermediate) as well. So yea, I'm not trying to toot my horn or anything, but I wanted to show you that there is GREAT overlap between physicians and scientists.

Thanks for the response. I think I would still like to pursue a Master's in BME and then look to attend a post-bacc where I can improve my grades before applying to medical school. I understand the problems that my current GPA has caused more than likely due to me still figuring out how to study properly in college. However, is there not one grad school that would accept me given I raise my undergrad GPA to a 2.6-2.7 by the time I graduate? I would assume the Phd programs are nearly as difficult to get into as medical schools. I guess my point is I want to pursue higher learning or else I'm not striving for my goals and interests. I do understand that I will have to raise my grades closer to a 3.0 to achieve those possibilities.

BTW, thanks for your input about the integration of research into clinical practice. That's something I'm very interested as an alternative if med school ultimately does not work out.

Either way, I'll find a way to get there. It's hard but not impossible.
 
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relentless11

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KCtoMedSchool said:
Thanks for the response. I think I would still like to pursue a Master's in BME and then look to attend a post-bacc where I can improve my grades before applying to medical school. I understand the problems that my current GPA has caused more than likely due to me still figuring out how to study properly in college. However, is there not one grad school that would accept me given I raise my undergrad GPA to a 2.6-2.7 by the time I graduate? I would assume the Phd programs are nearly as difficult to get into as medical schools.
You will have to speak to BME programs at other schools, but for the most part, I have never seen a graduate program that officially says they take anyone under a 3.0 GPA. There are exceptions, like myself, but what made up for my low GPA (2.65), according our master advisor, was the fact that there was clear evidence that my grades were clearly not the result of poor studys kills, but due to personal reasons outside of my control. This was made clear in my personal statement, and reinforced by my performance on the MCAT (substituted for GRE), six years of research experience prior to applying, and performance in the pre-reqs (3.7) PhD programs. I'm not neccessarily your textbook example of an applicant.

Only one other person got in with such a low GPA in past years, so its not a common event. I encourage you to talk to the BME advisors. Some grad programs understand that some people come from low GPAs and eventually do well, but BME has become a very lucrative field, and thus you will compete against many people who have GPAs > 3.0, and usually its relatively clear cut who gets into to grad school or not (unlike med school), especially in competative programs. The reason being, a GPA of <3.0 in grad school = failing. The programs that I've seen will kick a person out for getting a single C+, or if their GPA drops below a 3.0. Most grad student GPAs are around a 3.5, mainly because that allows them to receive extra grants and so forth. Therefore as you can see, schools are hesitant to admit someone that is less than a 3.0. So as you said, you'll need to raise that GPA as far as you can before applying...at least past a 2.5, since at least here at the University of California, <2.5 GPA is not good standing. You can be booted out of the university for that.
 
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KCtoMedSchool

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relentless11 said:
You will have to speak to BME programs at other schools, but for the most part, I have never seen a graduate program that officially says they take anyone under a 3.0 GPA. There are exceptions, like myself, but what made up for my low GPA (2.65), according our master advisor, was the fact that there was clear evidence that my grades were clearly not the result of poor studys kills, but due to personal reasons outside of my control. This was made clear in my personal statement, and reinforced by my performance on the MCAT (substituted for GRE), six years of research experience prior to applying, and performance in the pre-reqs (3.7) PhD programs. I'm not neccessarily your textbook example of an applicant.

Only one other person got in with such a low GPA in past years, so its not a common event. I encourage you to talk to the BME advisors. Some grad programs understand that some people come from low GPAs and eventually do well, but BME has become a very lucrative field, and thus you will compete against many people who have GPAs > 3.0, and usually its relatively clear cut who gets into to grad school or not (unlike med school), especially in competative programs. The reason being, a GPA of <3.0 in grad school = failing. The programs that I've seen will kick a person out for getting a single C+, or if their GPA drops below a 3.0. Most grad student GPAs are around a 3.5, mainly because that allows them to receive extra grants and so forth. Therefore as you can see, schools are hesitant to admit someone that is less than a 3.0. So as you said, you'll need to raise that GPA as far as you can before applying...at least past a 2.5, since at least here at the University of California, <2.5 GPA is not good standing. You can be booted out of the university for that.

Hmmm.... Sounds discouraging for my chances but I have done reasonably well on past standardized tests SAT/ACT. I understand my sophomore year was a complete washout but the academics at my school are extremely difficult as well. However, I do have two years to improve my overall GPA and if needed, I can take extra classes after graduation to improve my GPA even further. I would assume I can improve my chances for grad school in BME if I can increase my extracurriculars - research, internships, volunteer work and etc. I'll just have to work hard, learn how to study properly (in fact I bought a book for that) and do my best to have a 3.0 before graduating and do well on the GRE exam because I do have a strong passion for biomedical engineering and medicine so it would be a shame to not have that opportunity to reach those goals because of one bad year.

Appreciate your input.
 

relentless11

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KCtoMedSchool said:
Hmmm.... Sounds discouraging for my chances but I have done reasonably well on past standardized tests SAT/ACT. I understand my sophomore year was a complete washout but the academics at my school are extremely difficult as well. However, I do have two years to improve my overall GPA and if needed, I can take extra classes after graduation to improve my GPA even further. I would assume I can improve my chances for grad school in BME if I can increase my extracurriculars - research, internships, volunteer work and etc. I'll just have to work hard, learn how to study properly (in fact I bought a book for that) and do my best to have a 3.0 before graduating and do well on the GRE exam because I do have a strong passion for biomedical engineering and medicine so it would be a shame to not have that opportunity to reach those goals because of one bad year.

Appreciate your input.
Just keep at it, you'll get there :) . But please note, the SAT/ACT does not equal the GRE (especially subject tests) and MCAT. Too many people here come in with that assumption and too often they come out dissappointed. The general GRE is adaptive while the GRE subject tests are very detailed. So past experiences from the SAT/ACT may not be an indicator of what you will experience on the GRE. Study hard for them, especially the subject test. I don't know if its worth taking a prep class or not though. Perhaps others can chime in on what the GRE is like.

Extracurriculars such as research is good, actually any extracurriculars are good for you as a person, but what matters the most for grad school is RESEARCH. Sadly, any amount of extracurriculars can't make up for academic deficiencies, therefore as you pointed out, the following 2 years will be crucial. My undergrad publications only took me so far, but as stated, my grade improvement was a big factor. Originally I thought it was my letters of rec, but recently found out that our advisor had to make a special case to our dean of graduate studies (on paper), and thus needed hard evidence (e.g, grades) of successfull academic performance to get me into the program.

Your passion is commendable, but passion only goes as far as what is recorded on yor transcripts. Classes are hard where ever you go, so stating that academics at your school were extremely difficult won't go very far in explaining a bad year. You will find it on the SDN forums that major, how rigorous your coursework, and the "name" of the school you went to has little or no effect on your admission. A 4.0 from some unknown school is better than a 3.5 from Cal. You are expected to do well in what major YOU choose, and which school you go to. I agree, focus on the last 2 years to get the grades up, but be sure to place blame in the right place for your performance in school. :thumbup: Goodluck! :luck:
 
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KCtoMedSchool

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relentless:

After going through mdapplicants.com, I see where you're coming from. It's seems discouraging after looking at the statistics but I have a good shot of finishing undergrad above a 2.7 and a very outside chance of finishing with a 3.0 (i'd need a 3.7 each semester from junior to senior year). I think what I may do is take several classes over and some upper level bio courses after graduation as I apply to grad school for my masters. By then I would have a 3.0-3.2 GPA before entering grad school. With a good graduate GPA and a respectable ugrad GPA, I think I would have a better chance applying to a post-bacc with linkage to medical schools. Hopefully after the formal post-bacc, I can get into medical school!

It'll probably take an extra two to three years but I"ll have no regrets.... BTW relentless, I would like to know what you plan to do once you enter and finish med school. Will you still be research oriented, teaching academic medicine? or will you gear more towards working as a clinical physician.

If you could send me some info/links on what you're doing now as a Phd student, I would appreciate it. Biomedical research is what I would like to do down the road. The MD/Phd program is too competitive for me right now which is why I would like to attain a Masters to have reasonable research experience before applying to medical school.

Thanks.
 

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i did a master's before my post bacc (i'm starting the post bacc in a week woo hoo!!) i didn't do it that way on purpose, but it worked out that way and has unfolded with some great opportunities i wouldn't have expected. things seem to be working out okay for me so far...

i know BME is crazy hard though, kudos for liking it! now, if you can handle the load, you could pepper your BME coursework with some electives in chem, bio, path, medicine, whatever that might improve your application for medicial school. i.e. BME would become like a post-bacc program for you. but that would be insanely intense, mostly b/c the BME students i knew had incredibly heavy loads for grad students, and significant reserach responsibilities. and unless you identified what factors led to your previous GPA, you might be in for a repeat.

good luck! :luck:
 
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KCtoMedSchool

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medanthgirl said:
i did a master's before my post bacc (i'm starting the post bacc in a week woo hoo!!) i didn't do it that way on purpose, but it worked out that way and has unfolded with some great opportunities i wouldn't have expected. things seem to be working out okay for me so far...

i know BME is crazy hard though, kudos for liking it! now, if you can handle the load, you could pepper your BME coursework with some electives in chem, bio, path, medicine, whatever that might improve your application for medicial school. i.e. BME would become like a post-bacc program for you. but that would be insanely intense, mostly b/c the BME students i knew had incredibly heavy loads for grad students, and significant reserach responsibilities. and unless you identified what factors led to your previous GPA, you might be in for a repeat.

good luck! :luck:

I think I'm going to retake those classes as a post-graduate before applying to BME Masters' programs. I don't think I'll have time to take those sciences while concentrating on BME like you said.
 

relentless11

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KCtoMedSchool said:
relentless:

After going through mdapplicants.com, I see where you're coming from. It's seems discouraging after looking at the statistics but I have a good shot of finishing undergrad above a 2.7 and a very outside chance of finishing with a 3.0 (i'd need a 3.7 each semester from junior to senior year). I think what I may do is take several classes over and some upper level bio courses after graduation as I apply to grad school for my masters. By then I would have a 3.0-3.2 GPA before entering grad school. With a good graduate GPA and a respectable ugrad GPA, I think I would have a better chance applying to a post-bacc with linkage to medical schools. Hopefully after the formal post-bacc, I can get into medical school!
Yea thats a good plan, but don't get discouraged with the stuff on MDapplicants ya know. Just push forward, and if you can show a good upward trend, and if possible get to a 3.0+ then that makes life A LOT better.

KCtoMedSchool said:
BTW relentless, I would like to know what you plan to do once you enter and finish med school. Will you still be research oriented, teaching academic medicine? or will you gear more towards working as a clinical physician.
I know I'll continue to do research during and after med school, but to what extent, I can't say at the moment. Definitely would like to do academic medicine. I would favor med students and residents at the hospital rather than in classrooms though, while doing research on the side. I'm a fan of translation and clinical research, thus I feel more at home in the clinical setting:).

KCtoMedSchool said:
If you could send me some info/links on what you're doing now as a Phd student, I would appreciate it. Biomedical research is what I would like to do down the road. The MD/Phd program is too competitive for me right now which is why I would like to attain a Masters to have reasonable research experience before applying to medical school.

Thanks.
Yea no prob, I'll PM you some links.
 
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