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MD Non-trad: Would it be worth waiting another year to improve my GPA to above 3.70?

MonsieurLeDocteur

New Member
2+ Year Member
Aug 11, 2019
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1
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  1. Pre-Medical
Hi, everyone. I’m looking for advice as to whether I should apply this cycle or wait another year. I worked in investment banking for the first year out of college before deciding on a career change. I spent the last two years in a formal post-bacc program, and I have the option to continue taking classes. Would it be worth taking more upper-level courses (i.e. biology or chemistry electives) to both show that I can handle the difficulty and increase my GPA? My advisor suggests that 3.70 is the magic number for a lot of schools, and that certainly seems to be the case based on what I've seen in the MSAR.

cGPA: 3.66 sGPA: 3.61
Post-bacc GPA: 3.85 (formal curriculum at a top Post-Bacc program)
UG: Top liberal arts college (cGPA: 3.61 sGPA: 3.50) (Magna Cum Laude; Honors in Math and High Honors in Lit)*
Majored in Mathematics and English Lit.
Played two varsity sports
*The Math department at my school has a departmental average of 3.10, and my grades in Math (avg 3.45) are most of what is keeping my sGPA low.
MCAT: 522
SAT: 2400
Demographics: White, female (US-France dual citizen)
Resident: NC

Volunteer experience (last 2 ½ years):
Clinical:
- Local hospital ER: 200+ hrs (fairly hands-on, lots of patient interaction)
- Free clinic: 60+ hrs (Spanish-speaking clinic for migrant workers) (ongoing)
Nonclinical:
- Volunteer tutor: 200+ hrs (free tutoring for adults studying to get their GEDs) (ongoing)
- Shelter and food pantry food prep and service: 100+ hrs (ongoing)

Shadowing:
- 75+ hrs (anesthesiology, general surgery, vascular surgery, orthopedic surgery, primary care) (ongoing)

Current status: full-time student and semi-pro athlete (distance runner and triathlete)
I don’t currently have any scientific research on my resume. I have been considering spending my glide year working in a lab. Do you think it's worth doing that or would I be better served doing something more directly involved in health care?


I would also love any ideas on schools to target when I apply. Thanks for all of your help.
 
Last edited:
Oct 14, 2011
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  1. Academic Administration
Hi, everyone. I’m looking for advice as to whether I should apply this cycle or wait another year. I worked in investment banking for the first year out of college before deciding on a career change. I spent the last two years in a formal post-bacc program, and I have the option to continue taking classes. Would it be worth taking more upper-level courses (i.e. biology or chemistry electives) to both show that I can handle the difficulty and increase my GPA? My advisor suggests that 3.70 is the magic number for a lot of schools, and that certainly seems to be the case based on what I've seen in the MSAR.

cGPA: 3.66 sGPA: 3.61
Post-bacc GPA: 3.85 (formal curriculum at a top Post-Bacc program)
UG: Top liberal arts college (cGPA: 3.61 sGPA: 3.50) (Magna Cum Laude; Honors in Math and High Honors in Lit)*
Majored in Mathematics and English Lit.
Played two varsity sports
*The Math department at my school has a departmental average of 3.10, and my grades in Math (avg 3.45) are most of what is keeping my sGPA low.
MCAT: 322
SAT: 2400
Demographics: White, female (US-France dual citizen)
Resident: NC

Volunteer experience (last 2 ½ years):
Clinical:
- Local hospital ER: 200+ hrs (fairly hands-on, lots of patient interaction)
- Free clinic: 60+ hrs (Spanish-speaking clinic for migrant workers) (ongoing)
Nonclinical:
- Volunteer tutor: 200+ hrs (free tutoring for adults studying to get their GEDs) (ongoing)
- Shelter and food pantry food prep and service: 100+ hrs (ongoing)

Shadowing:
- 75+ hrs (anesthesiology, general surgery, vascular surgery, orthopedic surgery, primary care) (ongoing)

Current status: full-time student and semi-pro athlete (distance runner and triathlete)
I don’t currently have any scientific research on my resume. I have been considering spending my glide year working in a lab. Do you think it's worth doing that or would I be better served doing something more directly involved in health care?

I would also love any ideas on schools to target when I apply. Thanks for all of your help.

A North Carolina resident, obviously connect with all in-state programs, but pay attention to mission and student support. Were you in NC as an undergrad or did you come from a different state? I ask because the "migrant workers" clinic intrigues me (as a current opportunity), so which part of the state is this free clinic located, and are there students or residents from the medical schools who work there?

1) I presume your MCAT is 522 and you took it recently. Before or after your postbac?
2) Scientific research is overrated, but did you have any research experience while a math undergrad?
3) You need to see if there are any current med students at schools who share your background. What networking have you done among those attending schools of interest?
 
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MonsieurLeDocteur

New Member
2+ Year Member
Aug 11, 2019
2
1
76
  1. Pre-Medical
A North Carolina resident, obviously connect with all in-state programs, but pay attention to mission and student support. Were you in NC as an undergrad or did you come from a different state? I ask because the "migrant workers" clinic intrigues me (as a current opportunity), so which part of the state is this free clinic located, and are there students or residents from the medical schools who work there?

1) I presume your MCAT is 522 and you took it recently. Before or after your postbac?
2) Scientific research is overrated, but did you have any research experience while a math undergrad?
3) You need to see if there are any current med students at schools who share your background. What networking have you done among those attending schools of interest?

Thanks for the suggestions. What do you mean by "mission and student support" and do you have any thoughts on what I should look for with respect to that?
I went to school in western MA for undergrad, but I have lived in western NC since I was 10. That's where the clinic is located. I just finished my post-bacc, but I've been taking the classes remotely from my home in NC since things moved online in March, so I've been able to continue helping out at the clinic here. There aren't any current med students at the clinic, but I've spoken with a few current UNC students doing rotations at my local hospital and I think my stats fit fairly well for UNC. I know the bar for in-state students is slightly lower, which helps. My goal would be for a T40 or T20 school, if not UNC.

I took MCAT in January, so that was just before my last semester of post-bacc.
I did a two-semester thesis paper for my literature major, which involved a fair amount of academic research of the existing literature. For math, I did a similar two-semester senior thesis with research in the form of critiquing existing publications and models. Would those count as "research"? If the goal of having research on a resume is to show ability to ask questions or to construct and test hypotheses then I think my experience could qualify.
I have friends and teammates from undergrad currently at HMS, NYU, Columbia, and a few other schools, all of whom were science majors, so it's difficult to compare my chances with theirs. Do you have any recommendations for further networking?
 
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Oct 14, 2011
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  1. Academic Administration
Do you have any recommendations for further networking?
It's good to know whether the in-state schools have heard of the clinic up in western NC. I would suspect so, but it's good to know whether there have ever been students rotating at that location. I would still want to know if there are any students with a similar educational background as yours. How many former investment bankers are in med school, really?
 
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Faha

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Sep 15, 2012
14,110
6,555
226
  1. Attending Physician
You have good stats so go ahead and apply this month. I suggest these schools:
East Carolina
UNC
Duke
Wake Forest
UVA
Virginia Commonwealth
Eastern Virginia
George Washington
Jefferson
Pittsburgh
Hofstra
Einstein
Mount Sinai
Rochester
Vermont
Boston University
Tufts
Miami
USF Morsani
Tulane
Washington University
Western Michigan
Case Western
Cincinnati
Ohio State
Kaiser
 
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BlackMathMajor

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Apr 12, 2018
672
687
116
  1. Pre-Medical
No. You don't need any more coursework. Your undergrad GPA, while below average for MD accepted students, isn't terrible. And your postbacc performance killed any doubts that adcoms might have about your academic abilities dead. You've combined that with decent clinical and nonclinical experience. In addition, you're a semipro athlete - that's a solid EC and something that definitely needs to go on your application. You've also got a great MCAT. Apply to the medical school your postbacc is associated with, if there's a medical school associated with it. Also apply to UCSF, Dartmouth, Vanderbilt, and Columbia. @Goro has a list of top schools that reward reinvention; I think you should apply to 5-8 of those. Fill the rest of your list with midtiers and your state schools. If you've got a reach/dream school or two like Harvard or Stanford in mind, go for it as well...but don't get too top heavy, top-20s should probably be around 30 percent of your list tops. Good luck.
 
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Jun 11, 2010
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  1. Non-Student
Hi, everyone. I’m looking for advice as to whether I should apply this cycle or wait another year. I worked in investment banking for the first year out of college before deciding on a career change. I spent the last two years in a formal post-bacc program, and I have the option to continue taking classes. Would it be worth taking more upper-level courses (i.e. biology or chemistry electives) to both show that I can handle the difficulty and increase my GPA? My advisor suggests that 3.70 is the magic number for a lot of schools, and that certainly seems to be the case based on what I've seen in the MSAR.

cGPA: 3.66 sGPA: 3.61
Post-bacc GPA: 3.85 (formal curriculum at a top Post-Bacc program)
UG: Top liberal arts college (cGPA: 3.61 sGPA: 3.50) (Magna Cum Laude; Honors in Math and High Honors in Lit)*
Majored in Mathematics and English Lit.
Played two varsity sports
*The Math department at my school has a departmental average of 3.10, and my grades in Math (avg 3.45) are most of what is keeping my sGPA low.
MCAT: 522
SAT: 2400
Demographics: White, female (US-France dual citizen)
Resident: NC

Volunteer experience (last 2 ½ years):
Clinical:
- Local hospital ER: 200+ hrs (fairly hands-on, lots of patient interaction)
- Free clinic: 60+ hrs (Spanish-speaking clinic for migrant workers) (ongoing)
Nonclinical:
- Volunteer tutor: 200+ hrs (free tutoring for adults studying to get their GEDs) (ongoing)
- Shelter and food pantry food prep and service: 100+ hrs (ongoing)

Shadowing:
- 75+ hrs (anesthesiology, general surgery, vascular surgery, orthopedic surgery, primary care) (ongoing)

Current status: full-time student and semi-pro athlete (distance runner and triathlete)
I don’t currently have any scientific research on my resume. I have been considering spending my glide year working in a lab. Do you think it's worth doing that or would I be better served doing something more directly involved in health care?


I would also love any ideas on schools to target when I apply. Thanks for all of your help.
You're ready to apply NOW.
I suggest:
Columbia
Vandy
Dartmouth
BU
Duke
Pitt
Mayo
Mt Sinai
Keck
UCSF
EVMS
U Miami
Hofstra
Emory
Jefferson
Drexel
Albany
Tufts
NYMC
UNC
Brody
Rush
Loyola
Rosy Franklin
Tulane
Wake
MCW
SLU
Creighton
Wayne State
Netter
NYU.LI
NYU
WashU
Northwestern
Stanford
Any DO program. I can't recommend Nova, Wm Carey, BCOM, ICOM and LUCOM, for different reasons. MSUCOM? Read up on Larry Nasser and you decide. LMU has an accreditation warning, which concerns me. CUHS is too new and appears to be too limited in rotations sites. UIW refuses to post their Boards scores, which is fishy.
 
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