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Need Advice..Please Help

Discussion in 'Postbaccalaureate Programs' started by Hydra, Apr 29, 2004.

  1. Hydra

    Hydra Junior Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to the this forum and need some input, so here's my situation. I want to go to med school, but my undergrad grades were pathetic (overall 2.5/4.0) and I've already taken most of my premed classes. I recently started volunteering and have a burning desire to pursue a career in medicine.

    To make a long story short, I looked aroung for post-bacc programs and found one that suits my busy work schedule. It's a non-thesis masters program in biology at a local area 4 year college. It's about a 30-32 credit hour program with all graduate level courses.

    My question is if I complete this program with a 4.0 gpa and do well on the MCAT (30+), do I have a good chance of getting into med school. I work 50 hour weeks so I can only do the masters program part-time (1-2 classes per semester). Any input is much appreciated.

    By the way, I already have over 300 hrs of volunteer work from my undergrad days and about 2 years lab experience. I'm currently volunteering again at a local area hospital.

    Thanks in advance.
     
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  3. liverotcod

    liverotcod Lieutenant Crunch
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    How was the trend in your undergraduate grades? Also, how long ago did you finish undergraduate?

    If you had the typical 130 credit hours undergraduate at 2.5, then adding 32 credit hours at 4.0 will bring your overall gpa up to 2.796, which is obviously still pretty low. Your clinical experience sounds good.

    I'm in a similar situation; I retook all the premed sciences (about 50 total credit hours) at 4.0 and am applying with 2.95 overal gpa. I think I have a reasonable chance.
     
  4. Hydra

    Hydra Junior Member

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    Well I graduated 3 years ago, but took the premed classes that I had about 6 or 7 years ago. I've have about 180 credits. Med schools don't average your classes you take in graduate school with your undergraduate grades like you said because I'll be completing a graduate degree. There will be two separate gpa's on my application, graduate gpa and undergraduate gpa. However, if I took undergraduate classes, then they'll be averaged in with my other undergraduate classses as you said. That's why I want to avoid taking undergraduate classes and pursue a graduate degree. I want a new gpa to pop out in my application. Also, since I'm taking graduate classes, in theory there more challenging than upperlevel undergraduate courses.

    Also, the program I'm intersted in is non-thesis based so there's no research involved or any easy research courses. It's all pure in-class hardcore science courses.

    regards.
     
  5. Megalofyia

    Megalofyia 425 lbs and growing
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    Hydra you have a private message.
     
  6. liverotcod

    liverotcod Lieutenant Crunch
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    Of course you're right, this completely slipped my mind. In my opinion if you apply to a variety of schools (20-30 is what has been suggested to me) you will have a good chance at an acceptance.
     
  7. TiggidyTooth

    TiggidyTooth Senior Member
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    Hydra...I am in an identical situation as you, tbough a little further down the road. I too contemplated pursuing a masters for the reasons you have already listed plus the benefits one recieves with a masters degree in the work force. Logically, it made sence to me so I even applied and was accepted to a few programs.

    But, before I enrolled I recieved some invaluable advice. YOU NEED TO FIX YOUR UNDERGRAD GRADES!! This was a bitter pill for me to swallow because i did not want to go back to school and hang out with the 18-21 year old crowd. I wanted to be with my peers pursuing a more "glamorous" degree.

    The problem in your application is that you, like myself, have a tarnished undergraduate transcript. Taking graduate courses does not fix your undergraduate grades. When you apply to medical school special focus will be placed on the undergrad grades since these are the grades that the adcoms will use to compare yourself with other students. A graduate degree will likely not grant you admission because your undergraduate record has still not been addressed.

    A second point. You need to show that you can handle a full load of science classes. If you pursue either avenue I highly recommend that you quit work for a year and go to school full-time taking a full load of science classes.

    Granted I am not in medical school yet, but this is advice that I have recieved speaking with countless people who are somewhat authorities on the topic. In addendum, the advice I recieved a lot of the time was mixed so I ultimately did what others have done who were in the same position as I. I sincerely urge you to reconsider and speak with some people who have gone through what you are about to go through and do what they did to get in.

    On a side not, I met a girl with a low gpa (2.5) and completed a masters in biology (4.0). She applied to medical school and did not get in, when she asked why the adcom told her that it was because she has not addressed her undergrad grades. So she had to go back and do a post-bac. Then she got in.

    Good Luck and PM me if you like

    Tooth
     
  8. Jonathan13180

    Jonathan13180 Senior Member
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    I agree with Tooth,...i was told by an admissions member that doing a post-bacc over graduate classes is more beneficial,not only b/c of the grades, but coming from a post-bacc you are a "known commodity", and will receive a nice letter of rec.
     
  9. Hydra

    Hydra Junior Member

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    What do you mean by fixing my undergraduate grades? DO you mean retaking my premed courses? I am going to do that before I start my masters work. As far as taking more undergraduate classes, I have 180 credit hours, so taking more undergraduate classes aside from premed classes won't change much in my gpa. Bottom line, it'll still be below a 3.0. I spoke to a dean of admissions at one med school and a committee member at another, and they both said, at least as far as their schools are concerned, more emphasis will be put on the graduate gpa. Yes, my poor grades won't be totally forgiven, but they play less of a role. At least that's what they told me.

    Anyway what do you think of my plan...retake my premed courses and do the masters. Keep in mind that the masters program I'm looking into is course work only and no fluffy research classes.

    thanks.
     
  10. TiggidyTooth

    TiggidyTooth Senior Member
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    I think as long as you retake the pre-reqs, finish the graduate program and get A's you should be fine. But this is just based on my opinion. I know you have 180 hrs and bringing your gpa above a 3.0 is not expected. But a post-bac shows you can compete with all the other pre-meds in your classes. Graduate school classes are known for grade inflation where a B in graduate school = C in undergraduate.

    When you apply you will have seperate GPA's for your original undergrad work, post-bac work, and graduate so emphasis will be placed on whatever new gpa you have acquired.

    These are roads that have not been frequently travelled so it is difficult to say what will help and what won't. I think at this stage of the game, due to time and money, you should do what is most beneficial. I still believe that a full-course load of post-bac is best. I have no experience with someone doing what your plan describes so any opinion I give regarding that is simply opinion. I do however encourage you to take be a full-time student otherwise you may have trouble convincing adcoms that you can handle the rigours of medical school.

    Good Luck

    Tooth
     
  11. Scarlet_Fire

    Scarlet_Fire Member
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    The comments in this forum are dead on the money.

    Hydra, I do not question your assertion that individuals to whom you spoke told you to focus on your graduate degree. I will say, however, that admissions directors to whom I've spoken during my application process (nearly 4 years ago now) have said that undergraduate GPA is much more important. Moreover, when I posed the same question (taking graduate vs. undergraduate courses), I was asked point-blankedly: "Do you want to be a research lab rat or do you want to be a physician?" Now, not to start a degree war, but individuals who pursue graduate degrees (masters, doctoral) typically do research, while on the other hand physicians have a tremendous benefit of doing either clinical and/or basic science research as well as practicing in the most unique profession as a clinician.

    Here's a cold fact: YOU CAN NOT AFFORD TO GET ANYTHING BELOW AN 'A'. Not only will this do almost nothing for your GPA, but it will also not stand out in as direct contrast to your previous undergraduate record.

    I took 2 years off to take classes full-time. I'm graduating from medical school in a month. It's hard to believe I was once in your situation, facing an uncertain future with a huge mountain in front of me. Now, looking back, I probably would not have done anything different other than perhaps being somewhat more aggressive in taking courses. If that's advice, take it for what it's worth. You can do this -- it just takes serious resolve and an unwavering attitude.
     
  12. Hydra

    Hydra Junior Member

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    Sorry for not being in the forum for a while,but I've had a grueling work schedule lately. Anyway, my plans are to retake all my premed requirements, which would add up to about 40 credits or so. After that I will take the 30-32 credits in graduate level work in the masters programs. Again, there are no research classes in the program, just hard core science classes in areas like biochem, molecular and cell biology, microbiology, etc...

    So, lets say I get all A's in the classes I've mentioned above coupled with a 30+ MCAT. My current ugrad gpa is around 2.5 so lets say it goes up to 2.8ish and have a graduate gpa of 4.0. What do you think are my chances with a 30+ MCAT. I already have about 2-2.5 years lab experience as a lab/research assistant and 300+ hours of volunteer work. I will also volunteer some more over the next few years as I take my classes

    Another point, does going to school partime affect my chances. I work fulltime and can't afford to stop working and go to school fulltime. I will be taking 2-3 science classes per semester along with a 50+ hours work schedule. A med school admissions dean told me I should be ok as long as I mention it and make my case in the application.

    thanks in advanced
     
  13. cher25

    10+ Year Member

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    I posted this on another site but it's relavent to the topic:

    I have been accepted into a foreign med school (UAG) and I've decided to go for my Masters and try again in the US. I too am very afraid that it won't be good enough. But I've found a website that has help me decide that it's worth the risk to try a Post Bac or Masters http://www.mdapplicants.com/ Some of these students had GPAs as low as 2.5 including science and math. But they took care of their business in post bac or grad school and took care of their business with MCATs and they not only got interviews, but multiple interviews and multiple acceptance. Prove to the US that you can handle the curriculum by doing post bac or Masters in hard science. It's worth it. I know it's an extra 1-2 years, but it'll be less of a headache in the long run I think. All you have to do is type in GPA range 0 to whatever your GPA is and MCAT range from 0 to 45 or whatever your MCAT is. I typed 0 to 45 so that I could see what type of MCAT my GPA needs to be competitive. I definitely think that it's worth it to exhaust every possibility of going in the states before going off to a foreign med school. I work at Baylor College of Medicine and have spoken with personell and admissions counselors that are in charge of admitting people into residency positions and they have told me that it's getting harder and harder for FMGs to practice in the states and that laws are changing and making it more a difficult route. So I think I'll take my chances. Hope this helps.

    Me, personally, I'm going to quit work because I feel that this is my last chance to make my case for med school. So fortunately, I am able to do that. I know that not everyone has the option of not working and I think that med schools will understand that you have to make a living. Like you were told by the schools, just make sure you make your case. Put it in your personal statement or something. One of the guys on the site that I've recommended had about a 2.7 after his post bac work, and he took his post bacs part time. His undergrad before was like a 2.4. He said that the adcomms kept grilling him on the fact that he only took a part time load and said that it still didn't prove that he could handle a rigorous schedule, but he managed to get accepted anyway. Because he not only had a 4.0 in post bac, but he also had like a 35 MCAT. So go for it. Work for it.
     
  14. camisho

    camisho Senior Member
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    I thought that grades from a master's/post-bacc program would be averaged into your GPA, both science and overall. What is this stuff about holding undergrad grades separate in GPA calculations? Or am I misinterpreting?
     
  15. cher25

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    I applied last year so I know how they do the GPA calculation. Post bac classes, if undergraduate, are averaged in with your undergraduate GPA. Graduate courses are completely seperate and have a completely seperate GPA calculation. So on AMCAS, the breakdown is this. Undergraduate GPA, Undergraduate Science and Math GPA (includes biology, physics, math, and chemistry), Other Undergraduate Classes GPA, Overall undergraduate GPA. And then they have an entire seperate section that has Graduate Overall GPA, Graduate Science and Math GPA, and Other Graduate Courses (non science) GPA. So if you do a post bac, it will average in with your undergrad GPA on AMCAS, provided that they are not graduate level courses. If you do a Masters, you get a whole new GPA but your undergrad doesn't budge. It depends on your situation on which you should choose. Me personally, post bac courses won't help my undergrad GPA much, (154 credit hours from undergrad already) So I'm going for a masters so that I can have a fresh new GPA. Hope this helps.
     
  16. camisho

    camisho Senior Member
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    Hi Cher,

    I have 120-125 undergraduate credit hours with about a 3.17 or so...my science GPA is around 3.0-3.03...I am planning to go to Georgetown SMP, a 1-year master's program...I guess the grades will be separate...is this the advisable thing to do? Thanks :)
     
  17. camisho

    camisho Senior Member
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    also i have a 32R MCAT
     
  18. cher25

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    Hey Camisho,

    I've been told that Georgetown has an excellent SMP and that a large percentage of their students get accepted into either Georgetown or other Medical Schools. Congrats on getting in. With you MCAT score and your GPA being above a 3, I think that either way will be good for you. Because Georgetown's program is so well known, I think you would stand out more if you went for that. And also, the program is more structured than an informal post bac. So you'd also have access to the faculty in a way in which they can help you with their knowledge and rec letters and connections and so forth.

    Good luck. Keep us posted with your progress. :D
     

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