Jan 4, 2016
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Hi all – looking for some advice on building a medical school app.

Here’s my story: I graduated in 2011 with a BS in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. According to an AMCAS calculator I used – cGPA of 3.17, BCPM GPA of 3.16. Obviously, my GPA was not anywhere near where it needed to be for a med school app. I then made things worse by going on to graduate school for a MS in Biology. For a variety of reasons that I will save for my personal statement, I did not do well. After the second semester I took a leave of absence and left the program with a 2.8 graduate GPA.

A few months later, I was hired as a lab tech at a cosmetics company. I did very well. After a year, I was hired full time as a chemist. Two years later, in 2015, I was given the opportunity to go back to school while working full time for an MS in Chemistry at a well-known university. I essentially retaught myself college chemistry so I could do well in this program. I will be graduating this semester with a 3.90. As I finish up this program, I have given a lot of thought to getting an application together for medical school. I did a lot of the pre-med stuff in college including being a volunteer EMT for a little while and I know this is something I want to do.

I understand my graduate degree would be considered an EC and in no way count toward my undergraduate GPA. However, is it enough to establish a positive academic trend?

I know my biggest obstacle is going to be my very low undergraduate GPA and I would like some opinions on how to address this. Leaving my job and doing a post-bacc program (or SMP) is not really an option for me. It also seems silly to retake undergraduate chemistry classes with a graduate degree in the subject. Plus, the formal post-bacc program at the university closest to me explicitly says on their website that they will not accept applicants who are just looking to strengthen their undergraduate GPA. It may be important to note that I have $0 in student debt, so I am not concerned about paying for any classes I may need to take if i was to go the DIY route.

The way I calculate it, if I was to take 6 undergraduate high level bio classes in a DIY post-bacc and get an A in all of them, my GPA would only move from a 3.16 to just about 3.33. That seems like a lot of work for a tiny move. I am aware of the DO grade replacement policy and that MD programs would average together all undergraduate science classes taken. I am interested in getting accepted to an MD program.

Also - I have been away from anything in the medical field for almost 6 years, I would need to get involved again. I do have some volunteer experience, but it is not related to the medical field. I also tutor high school/college chemistry. I will most likely volunteer at the local hospital and start calling around about shadowing. I am looking to start preparing for the MCAT in the next month or so and take it next summer. I would like to have an application submitted in 2019. Is this realistic? Thank you for taking the time to read. Any advice is appreciated.
 

esob

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High level bio classes won't impress many. Honestly most of them are blow-off courses. If you want to make a serious go of it you should consider an SMP, it's the only real way you are going to demonstrate you can handle the academic rigors of medical school to an allopathic adcom. If you really want to take UG classes, take/retake Ochem 1/2, Phys 1/2 and maybe a tougher mid level course like biochem or cell bio. I've never met a 4k level course that my GPA didn't lust after :D
 
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Moose A Moose

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DIY post bacc. Get involved with shadowing, preferably with physicians affiliated with local medical schools. Do well on MCAT.

You will sink yourself if you write up a pity-party personal statement. They don't want to see your excuses. Own it, and focus on your improvements. I don't care if you got sick, or if someone passed away- and neither will they. You gonna drop the ball when things get stressful during residency and beyond as well? Own that ****. GL.
 
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DocJanItor

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I read your previous post and while I can give you advice on your path, I have some thoughts on your general tone as well.

First off, DO grade replacement doesn't exist anymore. It was ended after the last application cycle. GPA is now averaged over all course attempts. As a non-trad, you need to be open to DO. And this is coming from someone who also said that they wanted to go MD. Medicine is just super competitive right now so you take what you can get to be a doctor. I got into an MD program through an SMP (my GPA was much worse than yours) but you said you're not interested in that option.

Second, as others have said, you need to show you can handle rigorous work. Upper level courses may be interesting but they're generally not viewed favorably by medical schools. The DIY post-bacc with the normal requirements is your best option. Also, moving from a 3.16 to a 3.33 is not a "tiny" move. That's actually pretty significant when you look at admissions stats. OChem 1/2, Bio 1/2, Physics 1/2, Biochem, and Psych/Soc should all be on your schedule to prepare for the MCAT. Maybe genetics if you have time. If your local university won't accept you, look into a local community college. You're a little late this semester but you may be able to take accelerated courses given your educational background. I'd aim for your MCAT to be complete by June 2019.

Now, that being said, it doesn't seem like you have a lot of clinical experience. You've made no mention of shadowing a doctor and your previous post indicates that you weren't an EMT for very long. I suggest you get some solid experience with a doctor. I know clinical volunteering can be difficult for a non-trad, but you should get as much clinical time as you can.

Last, it *kinda* seems like you're saying "what's the easiest way I can do to get into med school?" And maybe you're not consciously thinking that, but you're really asking for the easiest/quickest path. Honestly, it's not going to be easy. You've gotta be dedicated at every step along the way. You'll need a near perfect post-bacc, a high MCAT score, good ECs, and a really good personal statement.

Good luck, and let me know if you need more info.
 

workaholic181

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May 29, 2017
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Hi all – looking for some advice on building a medical school app.

Here’s my story: I graduated in 2011 with a BS in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. According to an AMCAS calculator I used – cGPA of 3.17, BCPM GPA of 3.16. Obviously, my GPA was not anywhere near where it needed to be for a med school app. I then made things worse by going on to graduate school for a MS in Biology. For a variety of reasons that I will save for my personal statement, I did not do well. After the second semester I took a leave of absence and left the program with a 2.8 graduate GPA.

A few months later, I was hired as a lab tech at a cosmetics company. I did very well. After a year, I was hired full time as a chemist. Two years later, in 2015, I was given the opportunity to go back to school while working full time for an MS in Chemistry at a well-known university. I essentially retaught myself college chemistry so I could do well in this program. I will be graduating this semester with a 3.90. As I finish up this program, I have given a lot of thought to getting an application together for medical school. I did a lot of the pre-med stuff in college including being a volunteer EMT for a little while and I know this is something I want to do.

I understand my graduate degree would be considered an EC and in no way count toward my undergraduate GPA. However, is it enough to establish a positive academic trend?

I know my biggest obstacle is going to be my very low undergraduate GPA and I would like some opinions on how to address this. Leaving my job and doing a post-bacc program (or SMP) is not really an option for me. It also seems silly to retake undergraduate chemistry classes with a graduate degree in the subject. Plus, the formal post-bacc program at the university closest to me explicitly says on their website that they will not accept applicants who are just looking to strengthen their undergraduate GPA. It may be important to note that I have $0 in student debt, so I am not concerned about paying for any classes I may need to take if i was to go the DIY route.

The way I calculate it, if I was to take 6 undergraduate high level bio classes in a DIY post-bacc and get an A in all of them, my GPA would only move from a 3.16 to just about 3.33. That seems like a lot of work for a tiny move. I am aware of the DO grade replacement policy and that MD programs would average together all undergraduate science classes taken. I am interested in getting accepted to an MD program.

Also - I have been away from anything in the medical field for almost 6 years, I would need to get involved again. I do have some volunteer experience, but it is not related to the medical field. I also tutor high school/college chemistry. I will most likely volunteer at the local hospital and start calling around about shadowing. I am looking to start preparing for the MCAT in the next month or so and take it next summer. I would like to have an application submitted in 2019. Is this realistic? Thank you for taking the time to read. Any advice is appreciated.
DO schools do not do grade replacement anymore, so that option is out of the window.

What DO schools do however is place a degree of importance on your grad GPA, so that 3.90 will mean something for them. They also traditionally cut a little more slack for past poor grades such as in your situation.

If you have your heart set on MD, the only thing you can do now is a DIY post-bacc, as you describe, which you absolutely need to ace. If you take 40 credits or so, there are many MD schools that reward reinvention, which will evaluate the you of then as not being the student you are today.

But again, chasing those letters after your name will take years, thousands of dollars, and a ton of stress. Oh and you also need to get a high MCAT (513 +) to substantiate your claim that your past coursework has no bearing on who you are now. Or, you could take the MCAT next spring, apply DO and possibly get in somewhere. It's your call.

EDIT; the above poster is right, do not center your PS on how hard your life has been.
 
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