premedsoldja

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Hi everyone,
I am a rising senior at Wash U about to take the August MCAT. I have a 3.2 overall GPA and a ~3.1 science GPA with great EC's, research, LOR's, etc... The pre-med committee have been telling me to take a year off and strengthen my application (which obviously makes sense since my grades are so low and I'll be applying late). HOWEVER, the dean of admissions for WUMS came in and talked to our class and told us that taking a year off isn't looked at all that strongly in the eyes of adcoms. In fact, Dean Walters (he basically invented CAS which you all now know as AMCAS) said that he personally gets annoyed when students volunteer abroad, re-apply and then wonder why their application gets automatically rejected.
One student told me that the pre-med committee at Wash U doesn't want subpar students like myself to apply so as to lower their numbers, (which are disgustingly high for nerdy wash u pre-meds) which is why they recommend all subpar students to take a year off. I still really want to apply and have a list of close to 30 schools. I mean I've heard tons of these success stories but will applying late be that big of a disadvantage for me? Just wanted to see what you all thought. Thanks in advance...
 

braluk

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apply to a special masters program
DO NOT, i repeat, DO NOT take that year off

stay in academics, it will help you boost your weakest area, another EC wont help it

http://services.aamc.org/postbac

PM if you want help, i have ALOT of experience with these things and can help you find your right path
 

silas2642

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I would bust my butt to get straight A's this year and then take next year to strengthen my application academically-- do a post bac, masters, smp program, whatever. I'm assuming that you have plenty of clinical experience, if not, get some in the meantime. You didn't mention your mcat score; if it's really high then you can go ahead and apply, hoping for the best, but as you know, your gpa is pretty low.
 
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paradisedoc

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If your practice MCAT scores are in the mid 30s, then I would apply this year, but if you will get in the 20s or low 30s (I know practice MCATS are just approximate, but that is all you have to go on for now) then I would probably wait to apply to a bunch of schools. Yet, if you are from a state where instate stats for your state school are in your neighborhood, then I would definitely apply there now and to a few lower scores type schools. If your MCAT is stellar, then add to the list.
Then spend this year upping your application. In your case, I would take science classes that can up your gpa. If you get in and when you get in, then you can quit these, but until you do, they will look good and will help you if you need to reapply next year. Target the weakest part of your application this year, but if you want to go to med school next year, then by all means apply this year. It costs money and time of course, but if you get in, look how much of both you will be saving. If you dont try, you will just never know.
As far as the dean of WashUMed School, I would recognize that WashU is more of a numbers school than many, and his opinions may not be indicative of most admissions committees. If you look on SDNat how many reapplicants do well , you will realize that taking the year off can really help your application. But, still, in my opinion, it is still worth it to apply this year if there is any chance that you can be accepted this year. Med School and subsequent training take a long time, and I would just want to get the process started. If you are really excited about starting, it is a little depressing to be putting your dreams on hold if you have a chance of starting. If you don't get accepted, you are out some money and time, but to me, it would be worth it.
 

braluk

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Maybe so, but his weakness is in his GPA. If his MCAT scores are stellar, maybe he can take that year off, but as far as his grades go, volunteering or whatever EC activity is, doesnt really address his application's shortcomings. You might demonstrated that you really are dedicated to medicine, but until you do something to riase that GPA with a postbac SMP, or getting straight As or getting a stellar MCAT, that year off wont be really productive with any other activity especially since he already has stellar EC's.
 

NPRjunkie

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premedsoldja said:
Hi everyone,
I am a rising senior at Wash U about to take the August MCAT. I have a 3.2 overall GPA and a ~3.1 science GPA with great EC's, research, LOR's, etc... The pre-med committee have been telling me to take a year off and strengthen my application (which obviously makes sense since my grades are so low and I'll be applying late). HOWEVER, the dean of admissions for WUMS came in and talked to our class and told us that taking a year off isn't looked at all that strongly in the eyes of adcoms. In fact, Dean Walters (he basically invented CAS which you all now know as AMCAS) said that he personally gets annoyed when students volunteer abroad, re-apply and then wonder why their application gets automatically rejected.
One student told me that the pre-med committee at Wash U doesn't want subpar students like myself to apply so as to lower their numbers, (which are disgustingly high for nerdy wash u pre-meds) which is why they recommend all subpar students to take a year off. I still really want to apply and have a list of close to 30 schools. I mean I've heard tons of these success stories but will applying late be that big of a disadvantage for me? Just wanted to see what you all thought. Thanks in advance...
I had similar stats to you when I applied last summer. I took the August MCAT which led me to decide to take a year off and work at the NIH (enrolling into a postbac program was another option I was going to take if I couldn't get a NIH position). I was also told by my pre-health advisor to take a year off to iimprove my application. For me, taking a year off was the best decision as I've definitely benefitted from my experience. I've never heard that taking a year off was frowned upon by adcoms.

In the end, the decision is up to you. Due to my positive experiences, I'm a proponent of taking a year off. As long as you do something worthwhile in your interim year, I think you should be fine. Hopefully, other SDNers will also give their opinion to help you decide. Good luck whatever you decide!
 

Law2Doc

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braluk said:
Maybe so, but his weakness is in his GPA. If his MCAT scores are stellar, maybe he can take that year off, but as far as his grades go, volunteering or whatever EC activity is, doesnt really address his application's shortcomings. You might demonstrated that you really are dedicated to medicine, but until you do something to riase that GPA with a postbac SMP, or getting straight As or getting a stellar MCAT, that year off wont be really productive with any other activity especially since he already has stellar EC's.
I would agree with this. A reputable SMP or a postbac of upper level sciences might be a strong way to make schools overlook prior weak sciences. Taking a year or two off is fine if you are not ready for med school, want to work for a while to earn some money for school, or are going to do something specific -- a Rhodes/Fulbright/etc, a specific (NIH, Hughes, etc) research program, or something like the Peace Corps, and these kinds of things are generally regarded positively by adcoms, notwithstanding what you (OP) heard from WUMS. However, you still then have to address your weaknesses too, and so that means taking some more sciences for A's, and probably wouldn't hurt to wail on the MCAT too.
 

Veshy

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Hey, I went to Wash U. and was in a similar situation. My science and overall GPA were ~3.15 and I took the August MCAT right before my senior year. I thought about applying, but ended up deciding to take two years off and am in the process of applying right now. Unlike you, I didn't do research in college, so I decided to do it afterwards. I thought about doing a SMP, but in the end went with working as a research tech. I did well on the MCAT so I'm hoping it helps make up for my grades. I don't know how much it will help, but if you decide not to apply I can let you know how it goes for me (though, seeing how waitlists work it could drag out to this time next year).

Anyway, I tend to agree with paradisedoc. If you really want to apply now and can afford to, it's worth a shot. Good luck to the both of us!
 

63768

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i'd take the year and enroll in a postbac or continue with research. at least do something and don't bum around. your first time applying to med school is your best shot. don't apply if you aren't sure you have a decent shot. and with a 3.2gpa, i think you're not on adcom's radar even with an otherwise great app.
 

Oculus Sinistra

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premedsoldja said:
Hi everyone,
I am a rising senior at Wash U about to take the August MCAT. I have a 3.2 overall GPA and a ~3.1 science GPA with great EC's, research, LOR's, etc... The pre-med committee have been telling me to take a year off and strengthen my application (which obviously makes sense since my grades are so low and I'll be applying late). HOWEVER, the dean of admissions for WUMS came in and talked to our class and told us that taking a year off isn't looked at all that strongly in the eyes of adcoms. In fact, Dean Walters (he basically invented CAS which you all now know as AMCAS) said that he personally gets annoyed when students volunteer abroad, re-apply and then wonder why their application gets automatically rejected.
One student told me that the pre-med committee at Wash U doesn't want subpar students like myself to apply so as to lower their numbers, (which are disgustingly high for nerdy wash u pre-meds) which is why they recommend all subpar students to take a year off. I still really want to apply and have a list of close to 30 schools. I mean I've heard tons of these success stories but will applying late be that big of a disadvantage for me? Just wanted to see what you all thought. Thanks in advance...

I understand what the Dean is saying... if someone is rejected because of their GPA, volunteering abroad is not going to be the thing that corrects it -- raising their GPA is.

I understand too that you may, as a Wash U undergrad, feel compelled to carry on there as a med student. Unfortunately, as you surely know, that's a school that is very difficult to get into -- even with high (3.7ish) numbers.

If you absolutely must apply this year, you probably still have a chance at other schools at least. If you want to wait, definintely improve your GPA as much as possible... 3.4 or 3.5 would be a much better place to be.

Good luck! :thumbup:
 

CheerfulEnergy

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I am about in your identical position, not at WashU, but at a similar school and was told the same thing by my pre-med advisor -- wait a year to apply. I went ahead and decided to apply anyway; if I don't get in, I can just apply next year (which I would have been doing if I skipped a year), but I firmly believe that I have a shot at getting in this year. We can't get in if we don't try, right? I submitted AMCAS a few days ago. I would say, if you really want to apply, go for it!!
 

Law2Doc

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CheerfulEnergy said:
I am about in your identical position, not at WashU, but at a similar school and was told the same thing by my pre-med advisor -- wait a year to apply. I went ahead and decided to apply anyway; if I don't get in, I can just apply next year (which I would have been doing if I skipped a year), but I firmly believe that I have a shot at getting in this year. We can't get in if we don't try, right? I submitted AMCAS a few days ago. I would say, if you really want to apply, go for it!!
Good luck to you, but your perspective is flawed. There are disadvantages to being a reapplicant, the most major being that you need to show substantial improvement from the prior year's application for some schools to even look at you. The money involved in applying twice isn't minor either. The smart approach is to get all your ducks in a row first and only then pull the trigger and apply. You want to apply once, and get in. It is simply bad strategy to apply with low stats figuring you will try to improve them if you don't get in. Improve them first. This is not a race.
 

braluk

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Law2Doc said:
This is not a race.
You make a very good point. Most people, it seems nowdays, don't realize that med schools' M1's on average age is at 24-25 with a large differential between youngest and oldest. Everyone seems to be rushed to do everything nowadays.
 

Law2Doc

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braluk said:
You make a very good point. Most people, it seems nowdays, don't realize that med schools' M1's on average age is at 24-25 with a large differential between youngest and oldest. Everyone seems to be rushed to do everything nowadays.
Yes. The sad thing is that many of those in the biggest rush (skipping years of college etc) have the least knowledge of what they are getting themselves into and the least exposure to other career options. It's often best to slow everything down, get your house in order, and really take the time to look before you leap.
 

yudalicious

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if you have a decently high MCAT you should go for it, especially at state schools. A higher MCAT indicates that you actually learned the material and can help with your low GPA. Good luck.
 

MinnyGophers

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I also would advise you to wait and improve your application before you apply. A postbac is the best idea because improving your GPA is the most important thing you need to do, and it would impress the adcoms if you can show that you can do well in those classes.
So I think you should concentrate on that, and maybe do a few ECs at the same time.
 
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