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Need advice for low GPA

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by alasra, Aug 14, 2015.

  1. alasra

    2+ Year Member

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    Hey guys!

    I want to apply to dental school next year (for the 2017 matriculating class). I really messed up in my last two years of university, so my GPA is the problem: 3.3 overall GPA, and 3.0 sGPA. BTW, I graduated with a Biology degree May 2014 and I am currently 22 years old.

    What are my chances of getting in?

    Right now, I am enrolled as a post-bacc student to take classes in order to increase my GPA as much as I can before applying. The best I can do is bring my sGPA up to a 3.3 (and that's if I get all A's in every single class). I spoke with the Director of Admissions at the Dental school in my state, and she said the best course of action for me is to get a Masters degree. It's impossible for me to complete the degree before I send in my application and I would rather not send in an incomplete academic transcript. She even said herself that an incomplete academic transcript is not looked upon favorably.

    I will be taking my DAT this December, and am aiming for a 22 AA (which won't be a problem). EDIT: Didn't mean to sound cocky here lol- I just have a lot of time to get my score up to a 22. I'm studying right now, and the material isn't difficult to me, but I definitely have to just practice/take a lot of tests.

    By the time I apply, I will have about 450 hours of shadowing, 250 hours of volunteering, and I'll be in few clubs.

    I also have a great personal story- all my teeth were crowned and root canal treated when I was 19 years old. I have been struggling with a detrimental dental condition since I was 10 and I have had a lot of extensive dental treatments performed on me since the age of 13. My passion for dentistry comes from personally experiencing what a beautiful smile can do for someone. Will this personal statement help a lot?

    What would you all suggest? Should I continue taking post-bacc classes until July of next year, or should I enroll in the Masters program in Spring 2016 with the goal of finishing December 2016 (even though the transcript I turn in will be incomplete)?

    Any other suggestions are welcome! Thanks in advance!
     
    #1 alasra, Aug 14, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2015
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  3. Hammer Time

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    Before you see what your chances are, you really need to take the DAT. If you can get a really high score you should be ok.. However, I would look into retaking some classes to get your science GPA up. If there are a few really bad grades that you can retake and get an A in, to raise up your GPA you should be ok.

    I had a buddy who had a low GPA (similar to yours), he got a 21 AA. He wasn't invited to any interviews, but had a burning desire to go to VCU. He send them an email around January, and called them up as well. They ended up inviting him to an interview (the only one he got). He killed it in the interview and landed an acceptance. I feel he may be a rare case though.

    So you definitely have a chance. But you may need to retake some classes and kill it on the DAT.
     
    #2 Hammer Time, Aug 14, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2015
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  4. Bucks783

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    "aiming for a 22 AA (which won't be a problem)"

    Quite the confidence you have there. 22 is not a cake walk haha
     
  5. alasra

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    Definitely not! I am not trying to sound cocky either. I am preparing right now and have about six months to get to that score, which is not hard if I dedicate myself to this.
     
  6. alasra

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    Wow, that's so awesome! I'll have to remember that if I don't get any interviews.

    Did he have great ec's?

    Also, I'm taking all upper level Biology courses this semester to get that sGPA up, but do you think that'll be enough? Should I try to pursue the masters?

    Thanks!
     
  7. Hammer Time

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    No problem ;)
     
  8. virtualmaster999

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    Valid statement; but don't forget, there are a lot of VERY intelligent individuals that just don't perform well on standardized tests like the DAT. I'm not saying you can't by all means! Just keep your eye on the prize ;)
     
  9. alasra

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    Lol, heard that! Thanks a lot :) Do you recommend I continue taking post-bacc or do you suggest I do a masters?
     
  10. virtualmaster999

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    I think a lot of people go with a Master's to be honest!
     
  11. Hammer Time

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    Well I know he had shadowed a ton of dentists. He had over 100 hours shadowing and had gone to like 12 or 14 different dentists. He had also gone on a dental trip to mexico for a week for the 3 years previous to applying. Other than that I don't think his extracurriculars were that outstanding.

    If it were me, I wouldn't do a masters. I would just retake the classes that I didn't get the best grades in. Masters would take a long time and, at least for me, would be uninteresting.
     
    alasra likes this.
  12. 3rdgenDDS

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    I have a similar undergrad story (a little worse, 2.6 undergrad GPA) but I actually went in the general healthcare direction for a few years after graduation then came back to pre-dental and was faced with a similar situation: post bacc or masters?

    I personally chose to do a post bacc and then masters while applying because a) it shows schools I'm persistent b) I have a lot of damage to fix and c) it shows you're being active during the gap year. As for incomplete transcript, I've had some schools hold my app until fall grades arrive which I prefer rather than a rejection to be honest.

    So my advice to you: take post bacc classes, take your dat in December (AND STUDY LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT...because it actually sort of does) then spring take more post bacc and start masters in the fall or start it in the spring if possible, because what if you apply after a year of post bacc and still are rejected? You would most likely have to take a master's, so this is just being a little pro active about it.

    Also I know there are 1 and 2 year masters programs, Rutgers has a one year mbs program geared for dental students. Good luck!
     
    #11 3rdgenDDS, Aug 14, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2015
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  13. 510586

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    There was a thread on here or on the premed forums talking about how people think they're distinguishing themselves through an international mission trip, but it isn't exceptionally unique and isn't necessarily seen as something special since people with money are often the ones able to go on these trips and the poor are excluded.
     
  14. alasra

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    Thanks so much for your reply! Very helpful :)
     
  15. alasra

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    That was so helpful! I think I'm going to do just that: take post bacc until July of next year and then do a masters. As another user also suggested, I think I'll a couple of my classes since I got C's in them. Thank you!
     
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  16. Hammer Time

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    Lol, this trip was put on by our dental club at our university and it cost 300 dollars per person to do it. It is unique. We drove down there ourselves, and we contacted dentists who were willing to donate time and resources to work on orphan's abcessed teeth. It is something cool to talk about in an interview and those who have participated in it have consistently been asked about it by admissions committees.
     
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  17. 510586

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    Oh yea if you organized it then it's more unique. I'll try to find the post
     
  18. 510586

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    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/volunteering-abroad-joseph-kony-and-why-you-shouldnt-do-it.994079/ I've been on one and plan on going on at least one more, but I can see the reasoning as to why it's not as substantial as people think (unless you're organizing or playing a key role on the trip like as a translator). But as long as you can talk about it a bunch at an interview, I'm sure it will still be very beneficial.
     
  19. Hammer Time

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    That thread is based on one person's opinion. (And in my opinion an individual who has no compassion for others). I go down there because I know spanish, and I have a blast when I'm there. It was this trip that made me realize for sure that I wanted to be a dentist. Imo, it shows compassion.. If you met these orphans and see how bad their teeth were then there's no way you could deny helping them. I think doing a trip like this for the right reason can be a huge booster to an application.
     
  20. 510586

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    Was just putting it out there that as an extracurricular international mission trips are not necessarily something that makes you stand out. Now what you do at them (like your organizing it and being able to talk about it) will definitely boost it. The one I went to last spring definitely opened my eyes to poverty and dentistry outside of the U.S which was great. I'm all for it- I just don't think adcom emphasize mission trips abroad as being overtly important. Again it's what you make of it that counts.
     
  21. Hammer Time

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    Well something interesting to talk about in your application will help you stand out. It doesn't have to be a trip abroad. Haha there are plenty of things you can do.
     
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