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nabeel76

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Quick question. I know that a good number of premedical students with lower than average GPA's for med school admissions pursue a masters in hopes of raising there GPA's. Are masters programs easier, grade wise, in relation to undergrad? I am just geting the impression that most of the students here assume that they will get superior grades in the MS programs to raise there GPA. Why isn't anyone worried that they might end up lowering there GPA?

Thanks,

N......
 

Law2Doc

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nabeel76 said:
Quick question. I know that a good number of premedical students with lower than average GPA's for med school admissions pursue a masters in hopes of raising there GPA's. Are masters programs easier, grade wise, in relation to undergrad? I am just geting the impression that most of the students here assume that they will get superior grades in the MS programs to raise there GPA. Why isn't anyone worried that they might end up lowering there GPA?

Thanks,

N......
In general on average grad school grades tend to be higher than undergrad. Not sure if this reflects grade inflation, easier information, or a self selected aptitude in the subject matter by people who adequately handled the prerequisites (probably a bit of all). However a Masters will not, per se, "raise your undergrad GPA" -- it is in a separate section of AMCAS and never averaged in with the undergrad cum. To improve your undergrad GPA, you need to do a postbac (whether official or self created), and in some form continue taking or retaking classes at the undergrad level. Some med schools have been very receptive to candidates who complete a Masters in the hard sciences, and great performance in one (esp. a SMP) can sometimes make adcoms look past a lower (around 3.0) undergrad GPA, but it never actually removes that GPA from your application or consideration. For really low undergrad GPAs the best bet is sometimes postbac work (i.e. taking more undergrad classes) to improve the undergrad GPA to a certain threshhold followed by a Masters -- so you get the benefit of both a higher cum GPA and the graduate degree in your application.
 

sunnyjohn

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Grades earned pursuing any graduate degree will go in the graduate column of you application. They cannot raise your undergrad GPA. Most people use them polish a sub-par undergrad performance.

Say, you a graduating senior wake up from 4-year drunk, and find you have a 3.0 cumi and science GPA. You are quite dismayed because you really want to be a cardiothoracic surgeon.

You do some quick calculations and realize that it would take WAY too many undergrad hours to improve this.

So what do you do. Instead of taking another 100+ undergrad hours (which many schools will not allow) you enroll in a one year Masters. You finish anywhere from 24-36 graduate credit hours in a year.

They are designed to show ad com's that you've changed (read MATURED) and are able to pull it out in hard sciences courses similar to what MS1's take.

Yep, and your MCAT=37 :p

(p.s. I pulled these # out of the air)
 

cher25

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nabeel76 said:
Quick question. I know that a good number of premedical students with lower than average GPA's for med school admissions pursue a masters in hopes of raising there GPA's. Are masters programs easier, grade wise, in relation to undergrad? I am just geting the impression that most of the students here assume that they will get superior grades in the MS programs to raise there GPA. Why isn't anyone worried that they might end up lowering there GPA?

Thanks,

N......

I'm in a Master's program for hard science. I designed my curriculum to take classes similar to med school classes and I was able to earn a 4.0 in grad school. My undergrad GPA could not be helped because I graduated with 154 credits. So I opted for a fresh new GPA. There was no grade inflation in my Masters courses and there was no curve. I found the courses to be more difficult than in undergrad because there were no scantron exams, instead they were essays, fill in the blank, and short answer. I think that I was able to do so well because I really took a look at myself and radically changed 'my ways'. I told myself that this was the only opportunity that I had to improve and I quit working, moved out of my city and put forth so much study time that I could recite my books and class notes. I needed a change of environment because there are just too many distractions in my hometown. I'm not saying everyone should do this, I'm just saying that I did what I needed to do for me. Everyone needs to figure out what they need to do for them.

I have friends who have attempted the same thing, but they didn't change 'their ways' and they ended up doing just as bad, in some cases worse, than they did in undergrad. So it's not a walk in the park in all cases. And alot of students don't do better. So if you're thinking about doing this, take note that it will take discipline, time, and dedication. Don't overload yourself trying to rush through the courses. Balance your load and your work schedule. I don't work full time anymore, but I picked up a part time job that's quite flexible.

Good Luck! :luck:
 
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sunnyjohn

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good advice cher25, :thumbup:

"If I could turn back time!"
 

cher25

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sunnyjohn said:
good advice cher25, :thumbup:

"If I could turn back time!"

I know the feeling. If I could turn back time, I'd of done things so differently. I hate the fact that I didn't have proper advisors. Everything I know now, I discovered on my own along the way. I know that my short comings are my own fault. But man, it would have really helped if I had some good advisors.
 

sunnyjohn

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cher25 said:
I know the feeling. If I could turn back time, I'd of done things so differently. I hate the fact that I didn't have proper advisors. Everything I know now, I discovered on my own along the way. I know that my short comings are my own fault. But man, it would have really helped if I had some good advisors.
Cher,

Don't even get me started on the bad info from pre-med advisors.

"Don't take THAT Bio Class, Take THIS one."

"Don't worry, you can take 19 credit hours with O-Chem and Calculus."

From a well meaning psychiatrist, "You are too young to be clinically depressed. Anti-depressants are too much for a 17 year old."

I know alot of it was my own fault. How do you direct us young cocky pre-meds?

I may write my own book, "How NOT to get into Medical school." :p
 

kgoods5

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I ended up doing a years worth of grad work simply because I took my MCATs late and had nothing better to do for this year besides my application stuff. I did much better in grad classes than I did in undergrad. I did have less classes per semester, but I think (with the exception of one class) the classes seemed easier for me. I don't know if the professors made it that way because a lot of the students in the class had been removed from their college science classes for years or not, but it just seemed that way to me. Also, a lot of your coursework in grad school can be geared toward what you are interested in.

On a sidenote, I did get pulled off a waitlist after my end-of-the-year transcripts were sent to a school showing a high graduate GPA. I was told that, though my undergrad stats were average for med schools (hit or miss on getting accepted), showing that you "matured" and can improve in grad work really helps. I'm not sure if that is really what happened in my case, but it probably helped.
 

tank you

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i have a question about masters program, specifically the SMP at georgetown. if i were to go into that program, can i apply to med school while i am currently taking classes? or do i have to wait until i finish the program, then apply?
 

deuist

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I see that you mention going to graduate school to compensate for your low GPA. Why not do post-bacc instead? Graduate courses will only be counted in under the graduate GPA category, meaning that your undergraduate GPA will stay low. Second, the graduate GPA is an insignificant factor in applying to medical school since most the grades are inflated anyway.

If you want to increase your undergraduate GPA, you're going to have to take post-bacc classes for a year or two. Ask me if you need more information about post-bacc programs.

If, despite this warning, you still want to go to graduate school for a year, I can recommend the non-thesis master's degrees in engineering offered by the University of Florida (Click on the link for a list of available programs). Many of these degrees can be completed online, meaning that you won't have to move to Gainesville and burden yourself with the nice weather and gorgeous undergrads.
 

nabeel76

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cher25 said:
I'm in a Master's program for hard science. I designed my curriculum to take classes similar to med school classes and I was able to earn a 4.0 in grad school. My undergrad GPA could not be helped because I graduated with 154 credits. So I opted for a fresh new GPA. There was no grade inflation in my Masters courses and there was no curve. I found the courses to be more difficult than in undergrad because there were no scantron exams, instead they were essays, fill in the blank, and short answer. I think that I was able to do so well because I really took a look at myself and radically changed 'my ways'. I told myself that this was the only opportunity that I had to improve and I quit working, moved out of my city and put forth so much study time that I could recite my books and class notes. I needed a change of environment because there are just too many distractions in my hometown. I'm not saying everyone should do this, I'm just saying that I did what I needed to do for me. Everyone needs to figure out what they need to do for them.

I have friends who have attempted the same thing, but they didn't change 'their ways' and they ended up doing just as bad, in some cases worse, than they did in undergrad. So it's not a walk in the park in all cases. And alot of students don't do better. So if you're thinking about doing this, take note that it will take discipline, time, and dedication. Don't overload yourself trying to rush through the courses. Balance your load and your work schedule. I don't work full time anymore, but I picked up a part time job that's quite flexible.

Good Luck! :luck:

Thanks for the advice cher25. In my particular situation, so far, I currently have a very high undergrad GPA, so raising my undergrad GPA hopefully will not be my problem. My dilemma lies in the fact that I will most likely have a lag year after undergrad, and am entertaining a 1 year masters program during the interim. I am just worried that I could potentially kill a good undergrad GPA if the masters program proves to be more challenging or harder.
 

cher25

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nabeel76 said:
Thanks for the advice cher25. In my particular situation, so far, I currently have a very high undergrad GPA, so raising my undergrad GPA hopefully will not be my problem. My dilemma lies in the fact that I will most likely have a lag year after undergrad, and am entertaining a 1 year masters program during the interim. I am just worried that I could potentially kill a good undergrad GPA if the masters program proves to be more challenging or harder.

Well if that's the case, if it were me, I'd take a break from school and just work. It really depends on if you really want a Master's Degree. If you don't have to worry about undergrad GPA and just want to use the lag year effectively, then it's really up to you whether or not that would be school or work.
 

premed

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Law2Doc said:
In general on average grad school grades tend to be higher than undergrad. Not sure if this reflects grade inflation, easier information, or a self selected aptitude in the subject matter by people who adequately handled the prerequisites (probably a bit of all). However a Masters will not, per se, "raise your undergrad GPA" -- it is in a separate section of AMCAS and never averaged in with the undergrad cum. To improve your undergrad GPA, you need to do a postbac (whether official or self created), and in some form continue taking or retaking classes at the undergrad level. Some med schools have been very receptive to candidates who complete a Masters in the hard sciences, and great performance in one (esp. a SMP) can sometimes make adcoms look past a lower (around 3.0) undergrad GPA, but it never actually removes that GPA from your application or consideration. For really low undergrad GPAs the best bet is sometimes postbac work (i.e. taking more undergrad classes) to improve the undergrad GPA to a certain threshhold followed by a Masters -- so you get the benefit of both a higher cum GPA and the graduate degree in your application.


That's a great post! Couldn't have said it any better myself! :cool:
 

Ambs

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I personally don't see any reason to enroll in graduate school or a post-bacc if your undergrad GPA is great. If you have a special desire to earn an MPH or MBA or whatever, then sure, I can see the point. But just to kill time, I wouldn't do it. I took two years off, and I kept myself insanely busy. I taught sixth grade life science, continued my undergrad research going on to publishing & presenting it at a conference, volunteering at the American Cancer Society, studying for the MCAT, getting EMT certified, traveling, & shadowing. At my last job, I got promoted to clinical supervisor, and now I'm working full-time at a cardiology practice. (This was clearly not all at the same time, but even still my two years off were packed.) The point is that if you can and want to take that year off, use it to your advantage by exploring non-academic opportunities you were unable to pursue during undergrad. That way, you prove yourself academically and clinically. Plus, it's lots of fun. BTW, in my interviews, I never got questioned on my time off. Instead, they really, really liked that I took time off & got involved in other activities.
 

LT2

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if you have a solid undergrad GPA, i wouldn't bother with the master's. let the ug gpa speak for itself. if you are bent on doing one, make sure to do well, because if you don't, even though the high gpa in grad school won't help you, a low one will hurt you.

on a side note, (i need to vent), i find it really frustrating how LITTLE a master's/graduate degree means in the whole application process. i've worked my butt off in grad school, and i've been told by a number of admissions people that they hardly even look at it. i've spent my money and time well, acquiring a degree that would mean something in the case i didn't get accepted (ever). However, i'm getting practically chastised by advisors because i didn't pay money to raise my ug gpa through post-bacc work (taking the same classes i have as a grad student)... frustrating :mad:
 

ndugu7

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Ambs said:
I personally don't see any reason to enroll in graduate school or a post-bacc if your undergrad GPA is great. If you have a special desire to earn an MPH or MBA or whatever, then sure, I can see the point. But just to kill time, I wouldn't do it. I took two years off, and I kept myself insanely busy. I taught sixth grade life science, continued my undergrad research going on to publishing & presenting it at a conference, volunteering at the American Cancer Society, studying for the MCAT, getting EMT certified, traveling, & shadowing. At my last job, I got promoted to clinical supervisor, and now I'm working full-time at a cardiology practice. (This was clearly not all at the same time, but even still my two years off were packed.) The point is that if you can and want to take that year off, use it to your advantage by exploring non-academic opportunities you were unable to pursue during undergrad. That way, you prove yourself academically and clinically. Plus, it's lots of fun. BTW, in my interviews, I never got questioned on my time off. Instead, they really, really liked that I took time off & got involved in other activities.

That's wonderfully said man. If your undergrad GPA is descent (above a 3.6) say and you are just thinking of doing a masters to kill time, in my opinion, you will be wasting time, unless you are into something you want to explore further. My advise is as follows: Why not take time to explore, do some activities that will show not only to the adcom but TO YOURSELF, why you want to be a doctor. Volunteer, work at outreach programs, health care orgs, etc, and take time to really evaluate why you want to be a doctor. That will be a good pre prep for your apps to medschool secondaries and your interview. Secondly, man just enjoy life. Life with no classes is just a different type of life. People seem different, places seem different. After I graduated, I took a walk down Westwood, which I had done so many times during my undergrad years, and man it was just a different experience. I kid you not. Westwood is in L.A (UCLA) for those not familiar.
 

nabeel76

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Ambs said:
I personally don't see any reason to enroll in graduate school or a post-bacc if your undergrad GPA is great. If you have a special desire to earn an MPH or MBA or whatever, then sure, I can see the point. But just to kill time, I wouldn't do it. I took two years off, and I kept myself insanely busy. I taught sixth grade life science, continued my undergrad research going on to publishing & presenting it at a conference, volunteering at the American Cancer Society, studying for the MCAT, getting EMT certified, traveling, & shadowing. At my last job, I got promoted to clinical supervisor, and now I'm working full-time at a cardiology practice. (This was clearly not all at the same time, but even still my two years off were packed.) The point is that if you can and want to take that year off, use it to your advantage by exploring non-academic opportunities you were unable to pursue during undergrad. That way, you prove yourself academically and clinically. Plus, it's lots of fun. BTW, in my interviews, I never got questioned on my time off. Instead, they really, really liked that I took time off & got involved in other activities.

I hear you - but as you know ambs, my problem is that I enjoy school way too much! And definitely more than working or volunteering, which I plan on doing throughout my undergrad and grad years anyways. The whole pursuit of the masters degree is not really a ploy for a more competetive medical school application for me, but, more or less, a tangible goal that I have set for myself. I just want to make sure that I know what I am getting into and I don't want it to come back and kick me in the ass - if for some reason I find it alot harder than undergrad. Plus I would learn alot about public health which is a subject I currently know very little about.

On a side note - nothing is written in stone. I know that I will have a year off after undergrad and if I feel that my application isn't quite as competetive in terms of extra cirruculars, than I would obviously use that year to strengthen my EC's and forget about the masters.

Thoughts Anybody?
 

Ambs

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nabeel76 said:
I hear you - but as you know ambs, my problem is that I enjoy school way too much! And definitely more than working or volunteering, which I plan on doing throughout my undergrad and grad years anyways. The whole pursuit of the masters degree is not really a ploy for a more competetive medical school application for me, but, more or less, a tangible goal that I have set for myself. I just want to make sure that I know what I am getting into and I don't want it to come back and kick me in the ass - if for some reason I find it alot harder than undergrad. Plus I would learn alot about public health which is a subject I currently know very little about.

On a side note - nothing is written in stone. I know that I will have a year off after undergrad and if I feel that my application isn't quite as competetive in terms of extra cirruculars, than I would obviously use that year to strengthen my EC's and forget about the masters.

Thoughts Anybody?

I would say most of us enjoy school because if we didn't we've chosen the wrong career. Maybe by the time you're done with undergrad, you'll want a break from academics and will want to concentrate on other things. You'll have medical school to look forward to! I never really did things to look more competitive or to fill up my resume (ah, besides the hospital volunteering), but instead I just picked up things that looked cool and exciting. In the end it worked out really nicely. I think you're thinking too much into it and too early... just focus on keeping your high GPA! ;) Good luck and have fun.
 
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