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Hi guys!

It was recommended to me to mosey on over heretofore glean some advice from other non trads (which I technically am).

I'm a 23 year old biomedical engineer at a big company that manufactures medical devices. I'm also doing my masters inbiomedical engineering as well at UMiami, where I did my undergrad (also BME).

I had a rough 2.5 yrs in the middle of college where my parents separated, I had to work 40+ hrs a week in a restaurant to support myself and my family (my dads salary was cut in half) and my GPA plummeted. Just when I thought everything was on keel, I spent a year and a half in and out f surgery for 2 damaged ureters and kidney stone complications, making my GPA drop to an abysmal 2.4. I worked hard my senior year, made Deans List with a 3.9 and brought my cGPA up to 2.75 although my sGPA remains at 2.6.

I have impressive research credentials in spinal cord injury repair, vascular growth and biomaterials. I've written 4 papers, published 2 an am working on a medical device patent.

So, that's me.

My questions are:
1) do some or most programs take a holistic view at your app or throw out based on numbers? I have a 4.0 in my masters
work so far.
2) AMCAS doesn't care about graduate work per se... What are some schools that weigh that heavily?
3) for the nontrads with low GPAs, do you think I should pump up my MCAT studying and take it in JUne? Will taking it in July really affect me negatively? Do I need that extra jump since my GPA is bad or do u think they'd give me a Better shot later in te application process since they have their "numbers" applicants already?

Thanks in advance!!
 

drizzt3117

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You are going to have to do a bit of gpa repair and probably a SMP I'm addition to doing well on the mcat in order to be a viable candidate. I would check out the low gpa thread in the postbac forum.
 

mspeedwagon

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A few things were unclear to me:
1) Have you taken all the pre-med pre-reqs? I'd assume you have the bio and possible physics given your background.
2) Do you have any idea what your MCAT score may be.

I have a few possible suggestions:
1 - take undergrad courses to lift your GPA to a 3.0
2 - go to a formal SMP program
3 - re-take courses and apply to osteopathic school (which use grade replacement instead of averaging).


Hi guys!

It was recommended to me to mosey on over heretofore glean some advice from other non trads (which I technically am).

I'm a 23 year old biomedical engineer at a big company that manufactures medical devices. I'm also doing my masters inbiomedical engineering as well at UMiami, where I did my undergrad (also BME).

I had a rough 2.5 yrs in the middle of college where my parents separated, I had to work 40+ hrs a week in a restaurant to support myself and my family (my dads salary was cut in half) and my GPA plummeted. Just when I thought everything was on keel, I spent a year and a half in and out f surgery for 2 damaged ureters and kidney stone complications, making my GPA drop to an abysmal 2.4. I worked hard my senior year, made Deans List with a 3.9 and brought my cGPA up to 2.75 although my sGPA remains at 2.6.

I have impressive research credentials in spinal cord injury repair, vascular growth and biomaterials. I've written 4 papers, published 2 an am working on a medical device patent.

So, that's me.

My questions are:
1) do some or most programs take a holistic view at your app or throw out based on numbers? I have a 4.0 in my masters
work so far.
2) AMCAS doesn't care about graduate work per se... What are some schools that weigh that heavily?
3) for the nontrads with low GPAs, do you think I should pump up my MCAT studying and take it in JUne? Will taking it in July really affect me negatively? Do I need that extra jump since my GPA is bad or do u think they'd give me a Better shot later in te application process since they have their "numbers" applicants already?

Thanks in advance!!
 

vc7777

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It was recommended to me to mosey on over heretofore glean some advice from other non trads (which I technically am).
Who says 'mosey' anymore? :D

Welcome! Also, do you wish to continue a career with a research or academic focus? Do you have a particular medical school you are interested in? You want to stay in FLA?

I might throw out there that you may have good success with your application without having to do any post-bacc or SMP work. Some schools (more than others) will value your graduate level and professional work enough to 'excuse' your undergraduate missteps. How many credits in your masters program do you have?

I think it warrants a (civil) and healthy discussion on the pros and cons of applying AS-IS vs. the above suggestions.
 

DrMidlife

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I think it warrants a (civil) and healthy discussion on the pros and cons of applying AS-IS vs. the above suggestions.
Agreed - I'd love to hear your input on this since you got in without following what I've been following.

I would claim that applying with a sub-3.0 means the candidate should:
1. If URM, take advantage of special postbac programs and other opportunities.
2. Regardless, do additional undergrad, complete prereqs, get A's, get above 3.0 if such is possible in 2 years. Consider a 2nd bachelors to maximize financial aid and registration etc.
3. Kill the MCAT. Personally I'd say minimum 32 for MD, 30 for DO. (This assumes the GPA is still low.) I'd say with a 35+, you start having people notice your app despite undergrad GPA.
4. Max out other app assets: EC's, LORs, essays, interview skills. Be interesting.
5. Consider applying at this point, to less competitive schools.
6. For better results, do an SMP (MD or DO).

My $.02.
 

Alvarez13

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You at Medtronic down there?
 
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Thanks guys.

I did all my prereqs... Just did poorly.
This is my current strategy:

1) retake orgo, physics 3 and biochem over summer as well as 6 more credits toward my masters.
2) try to crush the mcat

that's about all :) lol

not medtronic but close!
 

vc7777

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Agreed - I'd love to hear your input on this since you got in without following what I've been following.

I would claim that applying with a sub-3.0 means the candidate should:
1. If URM, take advantage of special postbac programs and other opportunities.
2. Regardless, do additional undergrad, complete prereqs, get A's, get above 3.0 if such is possible in 2 years. Consider a 2nd bachelors to maximize financial aid and registration etc.
3. Kill the MCAT. Personally I'd say minimum 32 for MD, 30 for DO. (This assumes the GPA is still low.) I'd say with a 35+, you start having people notice your app despite undergrad GPA.
4. Max out other app assets: EC's, LORs, essays, interview skills. Be interesting.
5. Consider applying at this point, to less competitive schools.
6. For better results, do an SMP (MD or DO).

My $.02.
Don't forget Apply Early, Apply often! :)

Well, like I have said before, I have (probably rightfully) been accused of being a extreme outlier on SDN.

Having said that here's my run-down: 12 years past my undergrad in engineering. Didn't retake anything: 18 credits DIY post-bacc. 8 interview invites, attended 6 interviews, 0 questions or even comments about my undergrad GPA (I mean zilch).


I suppose I adequately addressed my undergrad GPA with a combination of my PS, good post-bacc grades, my MCAT score, and the shear number of years since graduation. Oh, and, yes, luck was involved too! :luck:

However, many schools did take a very hardline on my application. For example, I can assure you that there are indeed GPA cutoffs at some schools. Whatever the reason, my application was not 'conducive' to many schools' application review algorithm. So, was I as broadly competitive as I could have been had I done more 'GPA repair'? Most certainly not!

To put a finer point on why I think DLove taking a shot this cycle is advisable:
He (like myself) has been working in a science-based medically-related field (heavy in math and other basic sciences), has demonstrated academic curiosity (patent work, e.g.), should be able to articulate how he uses a thought process not un-like a doctor on a daily basis at work for problem solving and investigation, and hopefully will lay out a very compelling case in his PS, if he applies this cycle, why:
1) His academic transgressions were sympathetic (see OP)
2) They are in the past
3) They will not occur again in medical school

And if his goal is to continue a research or academic career in medicine, then there are some advantages to his application to research-oriented programs and institutions. [I suppose some members of these adcoms with similar backgrounds may be more receptive to lower engineering GPAs, consciously or not, that may 'take the edge off' their negativity. - purely conjecture, mind you]

Dr. Midlife, I will not argue that you are right, all of your suggestions will improve the competitiveness of his application. What I am asking is: "At what point is 'Good Enough' for the OP?"

Everybody on this site is continuously assessing their competitiveness and making calculations about when to apply. If SDNers aren't obsessive-compulsively introspective when they join, they soon become! :laugh:

We all have goals. Some people want to get in anywhere they can. Some want a particular school or region or program, some want to get in before they turn 30. Or 40. Or 50... The OP needs to articulate what he wants. Not for us, mind you, for himself!

Waiting a year. Not waiting. Applying to very few schools. Applying very broadly. We each have a completely different and personal perspective about this assessment. Indeed, I would say we each have a completely different "equation". There is no right or wrong path forward.

Should he work on his GPA? Should he apply now? IMHO, I say go for it now. I think he may find out his application is "Good Enough" for what he wants. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
 
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Thanks VC! If you don't mind, would you PM me the schools that you applied to that were sympathetic with your situation?

My goal is to get at least a few interviews where I am confident I can assuage any doubts the ADCOM may have about my GPA.

Do you think a July MCAT date is too late? Do you think that they would want to interview a person like me earlier on when they don't have their numbers set or later when they're willing to take a chance with me since they have their high GPA high MCAT guys?

To answer a previous question, I am applying to all FL schools as well as a couple of Carribbean schools. Does anyone know of other schools that take a holistic approach at apps instead of strictly numbers based? Thanks!

Don't forget Apply Early, Apply often! :)

Well, like I have said before, I have (probably rightfully) been accused of being a extreme outlier on SDN.

Having said that here's my run-down: 12 years past my undergrad in engineering. Didn't retake anything: 18 credits DIY post-bacc. 8 interview invites, attended 6 interviews, 0 questions or even comments about my undergrad GPA (I mean zilch).


I suppose I adequately addressed my undergrad GPA with a combination of my PS, good post-bacc grades, my MCAT score, and the shear number of years since graduation. Oh, and, yes, luck was involved too! :luck:

However, many schools did take a very hardline on my application. For example, I can assure you that there are indeed GPA cutoffs at some schools. Whatever the reason, my application was not 'conducive' to many schools' application review algorithm. So, was I as broadly competitive as I could have been had I done more 'GPA repair'? Most certainly not!

To put a finer point on why I think DLove taking a shot this cycle is advisable:
He (like myself) has been working in a science-based medically-related field (heavy in math and other basic sciences), has demonstrated academic curiosity (patent work, e.g.), should be able to articulate how he uses a thought process not un-like a doctor on a daily basis at work for problem solving and investigation, and hopefully will lay out a very compelling case in his PS, if he applies this cycle, why:
1) His academic transgressions were sympathetic (see OP)
2) They are in the past
3) They will not occur again in medical school

And if his goal is to continue a research or academic career in medicine, then there are some advantages to his application to research-oriented programs and institutions. [I suppose some members of these adcoms with similar backgrounds may be more receptive to lower engineering GPAs, consciously or not, that may 'take the edge off' their negativity. - purely conjecture, mind you]

Dr. Midlife, I will not argue that you are right, all of your suggestions will improve the competitiveness of his application. What I am asking is: "At what point is 'Good Enough' for the OP?"

Everybody on this site is continuously assessing their competitiveness and making calculations about when to apply. If SDNers aren't obsessive-compulsively introspective when they join, they soon become! :laugh:

We all have goals. Some people want to get in anywhere they can. Some want a particular school or region or program, some want to get in before they turn 30. Or 40. Or 50... The OP needs to articulate what he wants. Not for us, mind you, for himself!

Waiting a year. Not waiting. Applying to very few schools. Applying very broadly. We each have a completely different and personal perspective about this assessment. Indeed, I would say we each have a completely different "equation". There is no right or wrong path forward.

Should he work on his GPA? Should he apply now? IMHO, I say go for it now. I think he may find out his application is "Good Enough" for what he wants. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
 

drizzt3117

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I guess I feel like the OP hasn't demonstrated that they're capable of handling the rigors of med school IMO (at least that's what I would write in my report if I read their app)

vc, your situation is different for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that you did postbac, a great MCAT, went to an institution known for greater rigor.

By applying without being a competitive candidate you're just going to give yourself the tag of reapplicant for no reason, at least IMO.
 
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I guess I feel like the OP hasn't demonstrated that they're capable of handling the rigors of med school IMO (at least that's what I would write in my report if I read their app)

vc, your situation is different for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that you did postbac, a great MCAT, went to an institution known for greater rigor.

By applying without being a competitive candidate you're just going to give yourself the tag of reapplicant for no reason, at least IMO.
Herein lies the problem that I feel will be a major detriment to my application. As far as postbacc, I am retaking some of the prereq classes. Hopefully that boosts my GPA to 2.9, the GPA I need to apply to my number 1 choice (UM) through a nontraditional route that substitutes my uGPA with my grad GPA
 

DrMidlife

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Herein lies the problem that I feel will be a major detriment to my application. As far as postbacc, I am retaking some of the prereq classes. Hopefully that boosts my GPA to 2.9, the GPA I need to apply to my number 1 choice (UM) through a nontraditional route that substitutes my uGPA with my grad GPA
Two things on that, bad news good news kind of deal.

First, MD schools don't forgive the old grade on a retake - both grades will still be in your calculated GPA. Thus GPA improvement won't happen quickly. DO schools will forgive the old grade on a retake.

Second, you're misreading the Miami FAQ. "2.9" isn't part of the requirement. Check with UM admissions to clarify that they're talking about having a 3.5 in your grad & postbac work.
"My cumulative GPA is only 2.9. Is there still a chance I can get a secondary application from the Miller School of Medicine? There is if you are a Florida resident and have subsequently done post-bac or graduate work (at least 15 credits of either must appear on your AMCAS application) and have a GPA of at least 3.5. Post-bac and graduate work is not considered when sending secondary applications to non-Floridians."

Best of luck to you.
 

drizzt3117

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Nah, Miami does have a provision that you can replace your uGPA with your gGPA but I am not sure if that's only your science GPA. Gujudoc posted about it a month or so ago. Wayne State does the same thing.
 
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Nah, Miami does have a provision that you can replace your uGPA with your gGPA but I am not sure if that's only your science GPA. Gujudoc posted about it a month or so ago. Wayne State does the same thing.
I called the admissions office. They do basically replace your GPA with your grad GPA if you've done at least 20 credits worth.

And not sure MD what you mean... I'm planning to take postbacc to bump my GPA above 2.9 and I have a 4.0 in grad school so I would apply for that route.
 
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Ahh nevermind Midlife, I get what you're saying. Yes it doesn't specify 2.9 as the minimum cutoff which is good but I don't know, don't you feel that I should retake some of my prereqs?

Two things on that, bad news good news kind of deal.

First, MD schools don't forgive the old grade on a retake - both grades will still be in your calculated GPA. Thus GPA improvement won't happen quickly. DO schools will forgive the old grade on a retake.

Second, you're misreading the Miami FAQ. "2.9" isn't part of the requirement. Check with UM admissions to clarify that they're talking about having a 3.5 in your grad & postbac work.
"My cumulative GPA is only 2.9. Is there still a chance I can get a secondary application from the Miller School of Medicine? There is if you are a Florida resident and have subsequently done post-bac or graduate work (at least 15 credits of either must appear on your AMCAS application) and have a GPA of at least 3.5. Post-bac and graduate work is not considered when sending secondary applications to non-Floridians."

Best of luck to you.
 

vc7777

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OP, I am still curious how many credits you will have completed by this spring towards your masters?
 
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OP, I am still curious how many credits you will have completed by this spring towards your masters?
16.

By the time my MCAT score rolls around (one month after July, so August), I will have 22.

UM told me that they want 20+ credits of post-bacc/MS combined. Doesnt have to be 20 of MS or 20 of Post-Bacc.

So, assuming my summer plan goes well, I will have about 25-30 credits of post-undergrad work before my MCAT score finalizes my application.
 
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Also, question:

My local college offers some summer online courses that I can take (Human Anatomy and Phys I, Human Anatomy and Phys II, Microbio and Abnormal Psych).

Should I just take those courses and bump my GPA up? Or should I go ahead and retake my Orgo and Physics?

Basically, at this point in time, what weighs more to the adcom committee --> a better overall cGPA (above a 3.0) or the fact that I retook some prereqs that I did bad in (orgo and physics 3) although I wouldnt have above a 3.0?

Thoughts?
 

drizzt3117

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Also, question:

My local college offers some summer online courses that I can take (Human Anatomy and Phys I, Human Anatomy and Phys II, Microbio and Abnormal Psych).

Should I just take those courses and bump my GPA up? Or should I go ahead and retake my Orgo and Physics?

Basically, at this point in time, what weighs more to the adcom committee --> a better overall cGPA (above a 3.0) or the fact that I retook some prereqs that I did bad in (orgo and physics 3) although I wouldnt have above a 3.0?

Thoughts?
Better overall cGPA. If you're taking science classes and getting As, it's good. Some schools don't like online courses though, might want to check into their policies.
 

riverjib

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Hi guys!

It was recommended to me to mosey on over heretofore glean some advice from other non trads (which I technically am).

I'm a 23 year old biomedical engineer at a big company that manufactures medical devices. I'm also doing my masters inbiomedical engineering as well at UMiami, where I did my undergrad (also BME).

I had a rough 2.5 yrs in the middle of college where my parents separated, I had to work 40+ hrs a week in a restaurant to support myself and my family (my dads salary was cut in half) and my GPA plummeted. Just when I thought everything was on keel, I spent a year and a half in and out f surgery for 2 damaged ureters and kidney stone complications, making my GPA drop to an abysmal 2.4. I worked hard my senior year, made Deans List with a 3.9 and brought my cGPA up to 2.75 although my sGPA remains at 2.6.

I have impressive research credentials in spinal cord injury repair, vascular growth and biomaterials. I've written 4 papers, published 2 an am working on a medical device patent.

So, that's me.

My questions are:
1) do some or most programs take a holistic view at your app or throw out based on numbers? I have a 4.0 in my masters
work so far.
2) AMCAS doesn't care about graduate work per se... What are some schools that weigh that heavily?
3) for the nontrads with low GPAs, do you think I should pump up my MCAT studying and take it in JUne? Will taking it in July really affect me negatively? Do I need that extra jump since my GPA is bad or do u think they'd give me a Better shot later in te application process since they have their "numbers" applicants already?

Thanks in advance!!
Sorry to hear about your difficulties. Graduate work definitely makes up for a rough uGPA, as long as you did well in the pre-reqs.

As for the engineer ---> med school story, that's pretty standard, in a good way. Med schools love engineers and engineering majors...most engineers are fantastic at problem-solving and are emotionally pretty labile. There are some great engineer to MD personal statements. Google "engineer personal statement medical school" and you should find a few.
 
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you may want to look into some post-bac program as well.

something that have linkage to a medical school will help you

http://services.aamc.org/postbac/getprogs.cfm

good luck

Sorry to hear about your difficulties. Graduate work definitely makes up for a rough uGPA, as long as you did well in the pre-reqs.

As for the engineer ---> med school story, that's pretty standard, in a good way. Med schools love engineers and engineering majors...most engineers are fantastic at problem-solving and are emotionally pretty labile. There are some great engineer to MD personal statements. Google "engineer personal statement medical school" and you should find a few.