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Negative trends in grades

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by blankguy, Mar 20, 2004.

  1. blankguy

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    How can I get around it? I mentioned it in another thread.
    After my undergrad years:rolleyes: I did take one or two cosci courses which resulted in bad grades. What I fear is that will set me back tremendously in convincing that I am now different. This was some 4 or 5 yrs ago. Since I've enrolled at UMass Boston so far the lowest grade I've gotten is an A-.
     
  2. The Musketeer

    The Musketeer Guardian of Justice
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    I suggest that you should continue with a graduate program. Dental schools will look highly on individuals who make a progress in their education, and if you get good marks in graduate school, than this will also help you in establishing a positive trend in your grades.

    Good Luck!
     
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  3. mobius

    mobius Senior Member
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    yes put some more effort in and pull the grades up... thats what i am working on right now.....
     
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  4. blankguy

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    Thanks for your advice. I felt like I left out some details that would have changed my situation, initially I wasn't comfortable disclosing the details but since I've warmed up to this board I felt comfortable to do it.
     
  5. Thaxil

    Thaxil Senior Member
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    I have read a lot of your post Blankguy, so far all I know is that your GPA sucks! Can you tell me what your GPA is for the 04-03 year, and 03?02 years are? If the lowest grade is A- your situation is not bad at all.
     
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  6. blankguy

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    My GPA since I started taking courses at UMass Boston is about 3.8. This includes the Computer Science courses (about 3) that I took before I switched to being a postbacc predent. I started taking light load and gradually increase the load since I wasn't that confident(all those"work full-time take 3 courses and get A's" stories don't help:rolleyes: nothing against people who do though). My GPA is not that impressive because I've taken a very light courseload up to now. This is what I intended to do to "baby" myself back into academic mode. My previous undergrad grades werent' that great 2.61 overall with some course that I've taken after graduating (which I proceeded to pull down a little bit with mediocre grades and failing one).

    My science GPA I haven't even bothered to calculate since there are peppered with F s(I think about 5 or 6 of them). All these grades are 5+ yrs ago with the bulk being around 10+ years ago.

    I think I need to pull myself together. :scared: :scared:
     
  7. Thaxil

    Thaxil Senior Member
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    It seem that you have already started to pull yourself together. 3-4 is all the course that I took while in school due to near full-time work. Anyways, 3 courses is fulltime. However, you have a lot to prove. If these three are all sci, then you are fine. 3.8 is an excellent GPA, you seem to have definitely changed your ways. I think the adcoms will see this. Anyways I am just some anonymous guy giving advice over the internet.
     
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  8. blankguy

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    I guess I have chosen my own way of doing it. It's just all this talk about people taking 3 courses AND working fulltime has me flustered. Also I did run some ideas and advice that I've gotten by the premed dean (like doing a master's) and he dismissed it as unnecessary, "if you have the time and money". At this point I just need to up my courseload gradually. I'm not quite sure if I can squeeze a 3rd course. People here make it sound as if a 3rd course is mandatory.
     
  9. Thaxil

    Thaxil Senior Member
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    I am sorry, I thought you were already taking 3 courses. I think 3 science course is absolute minimum course load. I really think adcoms care nothing for extracurricular activity such as work which may inhibit full course load. This is just my feeling on the matter. For instance, if you took 2 course while working full time and receive A?s, they will interpret the situation as, hey he only took two course this explains his A?s.

    I think course load is a critical factor for admissions. At UDM they will have me taking Gross Anatomy, Histology, Biochemistry, Principles in Dental Materials, Essentials of Clinical Practice, Professional Ethics which all amounts to only 16 unit! Next trimester 19, next 23, and winter term of the second year is 26. So, I seriously thing adcoms want to see you excel in at least 3 science with possibility additional non-science courses in order to evaluate your ability to handle terrific course loads in countered in D-school. If you only take two and receive all As for the next years, they will not give you the benefit of the doubt. I think it is better to receive a 3.4 with 3+ courses per term then to receive 4.0 with 2 course per term.
     
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  10. blankguy

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    I considered adding a third course but it conflicted with my work schedule.:rolleyes:

    I have seen people get in taking 2 courses per semester.:confused:

    Also checked with premed/dental dean at my alma mater and he stressed taking your time and getting good grades. He really stressed the good grade part. I checked with him later and he again stressed the same thing. Am I misinterpreting this?:confused:

    In addition I checked the program director of the postbacc program at my alma mater(which I am not doing) which entails 2 course w/labs per semester(plus lighter load during the summer). She stated that students in that program generally do not have time to work. It is too rigorous for an average student to have time to work.

    Maybe it's the particular schools that you checked Thaxil?:confused:

    ---------
    Thaxil I thought about what you were saying and this is what I came up. Let's just say that you are right and that schools want to see 3 courses for people in my case. It means that I will have to spend an extra year with 3 courses per semester, but it won't take away anything that I've done up to that point.
    I think the key here is that I am still in the game if I do well with 2 courses per semester but don't get in, whereas doing 3 courses right off the bat and getting mediocre grades will kill me. By then I will have gotten myself into serious science mode to load up on 3 courses. Flexibility. Not getting in the first time will not take away anything that I will have accomplished up to that point. I think schools will also like to see somebody who is mature enough to realize what he/she is capable of and take their time to get to the goal of being able to handle dental school load. Is this not correct?
     
  11. blankguy

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    Anybody else? I'm very interested in hearing what other people have to say. Do postbacc, master's, dean is wrong, if can't do masters do on you own, etc...

    Also wouldn't an undergrad take 2 sciences with labs and have 2 other courses that are not as difficult(may be even flaky requirements)?

    Also Thaxil I am curious as to what makes you think adcoms are like "I don't care about your extra curricular show me 3 A's in the sciences per semester"?:confused:
     
  12. Thaxil

    Thaxil Senior Member
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    For one thing is it not provable. You can say anything you want, and many do. Another, as far as work, I read from many schools that education and living expense are fundable and thus, work is not an excuse for poor grades. Also it is just my impression.
     
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  13. blankguy

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    Are you implying that it is common for people to lie at the dentals school interview? I agree with not being an excuse for poor grades since it would be due to poor time management. :confused: Also the interviewer is not going to take your word for it when you say that you worked for X hoursat Y place???:confused: If they wanted proof they could require a signed letter from the boss at work that you did in fact work X hours and Y place.

    Where did you read the information?
     
  14. wimmcs

    wimmcs Senior Member
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    blankguy - I believe Taxil is just trying to help you out, that's all.

    For example here's a statement that came right off Oregon's website:

    "Quality and quantity of courses taken per quarter are also considered."

    I KNOW for a fact that I've read similar statements in other dental school's websites.

    Basically I believe that dental schools want to see whether you can handle the heavy load placed upon their students. If you only resort to taking 2 science courses per semester, in essence, you are telling them you may not be able to handle heavy loads.

    I know you and I discussed this in the past, I started just like you with fears that I was not going to be able to handle heavy science loads. After 7 years away from school and with only 2-3 science courses with my 2 undergrad degrees, I was terrified of just "jumping in" and committing academic suicide by taking a full load of science classes. So, I just started with taking 2 classes and at that time, I WAS planning on taking it easy and just doing 2 per semester, until I read this website. This website helped me comprehend that dental schools want to see students challange themselves and not be "afraid" of taking too many science classes. I believe you and I are in the same situation to where we don't need any more "fluff" classes... at least all I need is only science classes to gain acceptance to dental school.

    Therefore, after successfully completing 2 science courses, I took 3 the next semester including OChem 1, Phy 1 and Bio 2. After another successful completion of my second semester, I even went further and currently I'm taking 4 science classes including Phy 2, OChem 2 and 2 upper division biology courses. I may not be able to get straight A's as I've done in the past 2 semesters, however, I feel confident that I'll be able to prove to adcoms my ability and my motivation for not being afraid of taking a full load of science courses.

    Again, IMO, Taxil is actually helping you with his advice. I also believe whoever told you to take a light class load but get excellent grades is misleading you. I also agree with someone else who posted that adcoms would rather see a student who got a 3.4 with a full load of science courses as opposed to another student who has a 4.0 with only taking 2 sciences at a time.

    I do hope you understand that all we are trying to do is to help you succeed. Good luck!
     
  15. blankguy

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    I am not trying to be a pain to Thaxil. The people that I've talked to didn't explicitly state that I should take X amount of courses. I appreciate that he is trying to help. The premed dean at my alma mater stated just to take your time and get good grades, maybe I misunderstood what he was saying. I don't think he was trying to mislead me. Nobody mentioned anything about take X amount of courses. They left it up to me. The reason why I was questioning is that the "better to take 3 courses and get GPA 3.4 than 2 courses and get GPA 4.0" sounds counter convetional wisdom of preferring a candidate who takes a slightly less rigirous courseload(but still fairly rigirous) and gets A's vs a candidate who takes a more rigirous courseload but gets A's, B's and maybe even a C.
     
  16. ncalcate

    ncalcate Senior Member
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    I thought I would mention a couple of things on this subject.

    The pre-med advisor and post-bacc program director at Tufts University gave exactly the same advice as blankguy's pre-med advisor. She specifically stated that post-baccs at Tufts normally take 2 science courses per semester, and then volunteer/work 10 to 15 hours a week. She said that the majority of the students followed that approach. She then went on to talk about all of the great medical and dental schools the post-baccs went on to. Her bottom line: get A's, do well on teh MCAT/DAT, and you're set.

    I am not foolish enough to reach a conclusion based upon one person's or program's approach. But, this does validate the approach that blankguy has been following.

    In my post bacc experience, I took 2 to 3 science courses per semester, while working 15 or so hours per week. In all of my interviews, my workload was never questioned. In fact, in 2 of my interviews, they specifically stated that because of my grades and MCAT scores, they had no concerns about my abilities to handle the upcoming workload.

    Bottom line, IMO, I think some of you might be overemphasizing the need to maintain a full-time courseload as a post-bacc. I think a full-time courseload may help your application, just the way a published research paper or a 25 on a section on the DAT will help. But failing to take 3 courses per semester is not going to kill your chances. In my post-bacc career, I've known plenty of people who were accepted to medical or dental school who took only a couple of classes at a time.
     
  17. blankguy

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    If I had great stats I would be able to ignore Thaxil but since I don't I'm thinking hard about what is being said. The ambiguity of what I've been told plus my blemish record contributes to the confusion. "2 or 3 courses depending on your work schedule" this is straight out of Tufts admissions officer. I think if I get confident enough I may build up to 3 courses per semester. I'm trying to position myself where if I had to do what Thaxil is recommending, I would. As I said before I am trying to be flexible. If Thaxil is in fact right what are the adcoms going to say???"Your grades up to now and all those A's are no good " or "we like the recent trend we see but could you prove yourself little bit more." I think they would be more apt to say the latter, of course there probably will be cases(not many I hope) where they won't give me a chance due to being a screw up earlier on.

    The reason why I am balking is not that I have anything against Thaxil it's just the way advice is given on this board it's almost mechanical and kneejerk reaction. "Have blemished record then take 3 courses per semester?" Instead of stressing that take a load one can handle and get A's and without consideration that once you are a postbacc you don't have the luxury in which you can give studies like undergrad your undivided attention. Also to assume that adcoms will completely ignore the fact that you are working(as in there is something more to the applicant than the transcripts) sounds fishy, however I will agree that they do stress academics heavily.

    Also I'd be careful about calling deans being useless. There was a thread about this a while ago.
     
  18. KrebsPsycho

    KrebsPsycho Senior Member
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    I've taken 2 courses per term for the last 2 years. I remember I was so nervous when I took my first-ever bio class, and the chairman of the bio dep advised me to take 2 courses each term. I did just that. I received 3 acceptances (thus canceled other interviews). If one can take a huge course load with good grades, it's a big plus. However, having a light courseload doesn't hurt your chance. In my opinion, having a good GPA and DAT scores is most important and the adcoms don't care how you got it. just my thought...
     
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  19. Thaxil

    Thaxil Senior Member
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    I have no intention of confusing anyone. I guess, I am a bit confused. Bottom line is DAT and GPA are the primary factor in admissions. Seriously, do what you feel is right. A light course load may cast some doubt, but not as much as a sorry a$$ GPA and DAT.
     
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  20. blankguy

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    I know you are trying to help. It's me being confused by all the advice I've gotten from here and somewhere else. Don't you think it's farfetched to say that adcoms don't care about what you do outside of classwork? If they only see 2 courses don't you think they'll ask what else have you been doing?
    If you are not doing anything else, sure taking 3 courses is a must. There are cases here where people have taken 3 courses and adcoms didn't expect them to work and got a "oh, so you work too" reaction when they mentioned it. The point is that one size fits all approach of recommending 3 courses to everybody doesn't sound sensible to everybody. (This happens so many times here.) I can always up the courseload if you in fact are right and make the necessary adjustments. What I feel is right for me is what I can handle(I assume I can handle at least 2 courses) and get high marks.
     

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