Apr 8, 2010
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I am student finishing up this june at UCSD with a Biochemistry/Chemistry and Management Science degree. My science GPA is only 3.4 and my overall is 3.7, I have a 34 on MCAT, volunteer clinical experience (hospital, student ran clinic, and private practice), research experience (research tech), been published, put myself through school by working two jobs, etc. I would like to apply this upcoming June, but not sure if I will be a strong candidate. I am thinking of sticking around another quarter or year if approved and take more upper division and/or Community College science courses to bring up science GPA. Should I wait another year before applying or just go ahead and give it a shot. I am just not too sure that my GPA will impress any schools. I improved on my upper division science courses, but my early undergrad ones were low to start off with (got some Cs)? Any advice on this?
 

bravofleet4

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do you have anything else in line except just raising your GPA? Assuming you get all A's in your science courses, how much could it be raised? your EC's will definitely be important. Perhaps more specifics regarding their duration and total number of hours would give us a clearer picture.
 
Sep 4, 2006
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What did you get those Cs in?

If you have a strong upward grade trend for BCPM GPA, you might be fine to apply as you are. You could proceed with the plans for the upper-level coursework during the application year, sending in your new grades each quarter in case the results might sway adcomms on the cusp. If you end up reapplying, you'll be the stronger next time around, but I think your chances may be decent for an acceptance now, assuming your ECs are all that WE think they should be.
 
Apr 8, 2010
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Bravofleet4: I think that the GPA is the thing that is worrying me the most. If I get all A's I think that I could raise science GPA to a 3.6 to 3.8 depending on how many units I take. I have done summer research programs during early undergrad years, have been a research tech for about 2 years now, and have been volunteering since high school, but only think that they will look at most recent volunteering. I have been volunteering at a local hospital for about a year and a half once a week for about four to six hours each shift. I work as a research tech full-time for about two years now. I have been working part time since freshman year and still have the same part-time job as well. I also volunteer at church community service events, I have held officer positions in student government and clubs as an undergrad.

Catalystik: I got Cs in the physics sequence, in one of my Organic Chemistry course, and one in my P-Chem. My General Biology and G-Chem were good, my upper division courses: Biochem, Physiology, Immunology, Genetics, Microbiology, Pharmacology, etc. were all good B+ or higher.
 
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Do any of the schools you're aiming for specify minimum grades in the prerequisites? If not, and you got no C-minuses, well, your MCAT pretty much proves you "got it." And your BCPM isn't terrible.

Of course if your primary goal is schools with picky requirements, then retake all the above mentioned coursework and wait the extra year.

Any shadowing?
 
Apr 8, 2010
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They just say that a minimum grade of C is needed. No C minus in any course. I have not done shadowing, just the volunteering at doctor offices and hospital (ER/L&D/Clinic/Psych Unit rotations). Could I use the hospital department volunteering units as shadowing? If you retake the C's will they count them, or just not even consider them since upper division courses are better? Should I even consider taking the MCAT?
 
Sep 4, 2006
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You could carve out the time you spent watching physicians and list those hours separately as shadowing. Or you could make clear from the narrative about the percent time involved spent in physician shadowing vs interacting with patients.

If you retake, the grade earned will be averaged in with all the other grades you've earned, raising your BCPM. So of course they "count," but yeah, getting As in upper divisions counts more, since they're more like med school classes.

A 34 MCAT with balanced subscores isn't worth retaking since it's pretty good. But if you retake all those classes, you'd be well posed to do better (if you can stand the thought of all that pressure).