Need help from experienced Grad Students

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by travelingdoctor, Apr 12, 2007.

  1. travelingdoctor

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    Hello-

    I have a friend applying to a science grad school (1 year program) to bring up her science gpa. For those who have been in a similar situation and have written personal statements to grad schools for this purpose, how do you tie together the fact that you are interested in research, but your future goals are to do with medicine and research.

    In other words, how to avoid coming off as just using the grad school as a stepping stone to get into med school. She really does like research and the stuff they teach at this grad school. We were wondering if the admissions board would wonder why she didnt just apply to med school straight out of undergrad.

    Any advice would be helpful!
     
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  3. diosa428

    diosa428 SDN Angel
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    If it's a one year program, I would imagine it's often used as a stepping stone for medical school applicants and PhD applicants. First of all, there's no reason she has to include the fact that she wants to go to medical school in the application unless it specifically asks for future career goals. Second of all, even if she wants to (or has to) include it, I doubt she'd be the first. She can just stress her interest in research and then say she wants a future medical career that involves research and would possibly like to do research in medical school and wants to gain experience.

    Also, there are one year programs that are designed specifically for students that need to bring up their GPA for med school. Has she looked into these?
     
  4. GreenShirt

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    If it's only a 1 year program, then it has to be a stepping stone for something else. What type of degree program is it anyway? Is it a Masters program geared toward producing Lab technicians or for high school science teachers to learn more update info? That's most likely who will be enrolled in that type of course. Your friend should just state that she's interested in eventually doing medical research and wants to learn more science. There's no reason this program should care about a student planning to go onto receive other degrees, as long as they get the tuition money.
     
  5. travelingdoctor

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    it is a non-thesis 1 year grad program in Biochem and molecular biology.
     
  6. HreComesTheSun

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    yep, there's no reason your friend has to disclose that she is using this for med school. this is so common anyways that alot of program professors assume that this is what the masters is for, especially if it is at a medical campus...it has never seemed to be a problem. plus, entry into this type of masters program is generally not too competitive (it's the $$ that matters), so your friend shouldn't worry, she should just make sure she includes her interest in research
     
  7. mlle3000

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    everyone who posted already is a genius! i have nothing to add!

    seriously, though....i remember when these 1-year master's programs started popping up...and my first impression was that they were MADE to give grads something to do for a year to help their application and to make some more $$ for the school (or at least for my undergrad institution...which has a super inflated cost of tuition!)
     
  8. fahimaz7

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    There are not many programs that you will be doing any research in if it's a 1 year non-research based program. I'm currently in a 2 year, research-based masters in-which I will have to write a thesis.

    If you're really interested in science and doing research, don't try and sugarcoat a 1 year program that will not give you anything other than 32 credits of science-type courses and no lab time.

    On the plus side, if you decide to do a real masters, it will be paid for and you'll get a healthy stiped (I'm 1/2 time with a 42k/year salary with free tuition and fees even though I'm out of state).

    If you have any questions, feel free to pm me.
     
  9. Haemulon

    Haemulon Slippery When Wet
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    It is worth mentioning that a grad program will not bring up your friend's undergrad science GPA. Only a post-bac program will do that. If this is the real motivation, I suggest that these plans be re-evaluated.
     
  10. Instatewaiter

    Instatewaiter But... there's a troponin
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    While they may not be factored into the Ugrad GPA these programs generally give you a major boost to get into medical school. If it is an SMP (ie they confer a worthless degree at the end) it is even better since some course will be taken with the medical students.

    Taking classes with the medical students will do more for proving you belong than taking upper-level undergraduate courses.

    As for the PS, a good way is talk about persuing academic medicine combined with research pursuits. If it is a 1-year degree they must assume you are moving on to either PhD or MD after the year is up.
     
  11. Haemulon

    Haemulon Slippery When Wet
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    Be careful in assuming that SMP's will give you a "major boost". I suspect that there is considerable debate on this point. Schools almost invariably put greater emphasis on undergraduate grades. Graduate work is a plus, but lets not get too carried away thinking it will mask a poor undergraduate performance and automatically put you ahead of other candidates. Do a MS program if you are sincerely interested in learning more about some particular field, perhaps even in geting involved with some more in depth research. But don't do it just because you think it will make you a shoe-in for medical school. It is definitely a bonus, but its not the universal application fixer-upper.
     
  12. Instatewaiter

    Instatewaiter But... there's a troponin
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    I agree to some extent. Medical schools do put a lot of weight into undergrad performance, however if it didn't give you a boost, you and I would not have gotten into medical school.

    In my case I had a 2.8 GPA from college. Pretty sure the graduate SMP-like program that I did gave me a major boost since it only took me 1 year after college to get in. With normal Ugrad post bac work it would have taken me years upon years to make up for a 2.8 which the SMP did in 1 year. for example, bring me up to a marginally competitive 3.3 it would have taken me over 90 credits. Thats about 3 years of classes.
     
  13. Instatewaiter

    Instatewaiter But... there's a troponin
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    Granted in these programs you need to do exceptionally but a 4.0 in an SMP goes much farther than a year of 4.0 undergraduate coursework. It is really hard to pull off the 4.0 or even a 3.7 but if you do, you are in an elite class. Basically you are saying, Hey I can be at the top of a medical school class.
     
  14. Haemulon

    Haemulon Slippery When Wet
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    You make an excellent point. Kinda hard to argue with that :laugh:

    Yeh, it definitely counts for something. I guess i'm just saying that its not just a grades thing. grad school provides opportunity for a lot of experiences that most people don't get in undergrad (more in depth/independent research, advanced coursework, publications, presentations, grant writing, national conferences, etc ...), which all looks good in an application. And it does give us some interesting things to talk about during interviews. So yeh, it does help, but a lot depends on how individual schools weight different aspects of the application.
     
  15. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    I think it's safe to say we don't really know how much a certain graduate program will help us. I've got a 4.0 in my master's so far and I still worry like hell that I'll get screened out due to my undergrad GPA. Will they look at my recent coursework or will they look at that semester where I had a 2.5 freshman year? It's all a game, probably meant to mentally beat us into submission.

    But to the OP, the important thing to remember is that this will not affect your friend's GPA, but it might give them new coursework to consider.
     

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