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Oh dear God! What have I done?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Garibaldo, Apr 25, 2000.

  1. Garibaldo

    Garibaldo Membership Revoked

    Apr 14, 2000
    Likes Received:
    I'm a sophomore at UC Berkeley majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology and I'm also a pre-med. I've been trying really hard in the last two years to do well, but I've also been goofing off a little too much to realistically be a pre-med. I really got screwed the fall semester of my sophomore year when I got a C in both Organic Chemistry and Biology. To make a long story short, I didn't think about the layout of my finals and they all hit me on two days and I took Human Physiology on top of those courses to make a total of three hardcore science courses in one semester. Pretty dumb, huh? I thought so in retrospect. I've only been able to pull off two B's this semester in Ochem 2 and Physics (I didn't take it in high school). My GPA is currently a 3.0 cum. and 2.7 science. I think I can bring the science GPA up to a 3.2-3.3 after this semester and Junior year (if I do really well). I've never had any doubts about medicine as a career choice. I was wondering what I should do at this point. I did lab research at UC Davis during my freshmen summer and I'm most likely going to be working as a student researcher this summer too. I'm pretty sure I know my stuff and I can score in the 30's on the MCAT (took a practice exam recently). Should I apply to all of the lower tier MD schools, all of the international schools (even the Caribbean), and the DO schools? Also, I'll apply year after year if that's what it takes. What should I do if I don't get accepted? Should I enter a post-bac program and work towards a PhD while reapplying to med school every year? Or should I get a job as a graduate researcher and do that for a while? I would really appreciate any info at this point.

  2. Tanya

    Tanya Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Sep 9, 1999
    Likes Received:
    I too, was a CMB major in college and ended up with a not so stellar GPA. My career counselor said I could do one of the following:

    1) Apply to med school. If I failed to get an entrance, then go to a post bach program for second time applicants.

    2) Go into public health. A MPH takes about 2 years and covers many issuse at the heart of medicine. It may not be the best option if your lower grades are in science courses.

    3) Get a masters in a science field

    Well I looked into getting a MPH after graduation. At that point, I wasnt sure if I wanted to get into medicine and I was kind of tired of cells and molecules [​IMG] !After a year of volunteering an working, I ended up taking upper level Bio classes to boost my GPA. I thought about getting a MS in Bio but I didnt want to wait 2+ years to apply to med school. I will apply to med school this summer.

    I suggest taking a breath [​IMG] and working hard to complete your major with the best grades you can. CMB is a tough major (In my opinion) Then realize that you have many options to help boost your GPA. Just pick one that works best for you. You recognized your weakness early and you can take time to fix it. Dont worry about applying to offshore schools yet. Focus on building up your application now. Its still pretty early in the game for you

    Good luck!


    "Just like moons and like suns...With the certainty of tides...Just like hopes springing high...Still I'll rise" -Maya Angelou "Still I Rise"

    [This message has been edited by Tanya (edited 04-26-2000).]
  3. Nanon

    Nanon An urban myth.
    10+ Year Member

    Feb 15, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Garibaldo -

    Run, do not walk, to John Matsui's office! It's in VLSB on campus. If he can't help you, then he'll tell you who can.

    I'm planning on transfering to Berkeley next fall from City College of San Francisco, and he's already advising me. My science GPA kind of sucks right now too - I got two C's in gen chem - so I've been nutting up a lot, too lately. I just talked to John yesterday, and he helped me plan out my semesters for the next year, as well as giving me options for what to do and where to go if I don't get into med school right away. I feel so much better now, and it's nice to have someone in my camp.

    Hope this helps!

  4. hi garibaldo,

    Don't despair. I went to uc berkeley too, and i at first did okay but then slipped into c territory later on....berkeley is incredibly competitive and it takes a lot of work just to maintain okay grades, as you already know. But the good part is that most med schools know this. They know that Berkeley has huge science classes with crazy curves too weed out people so that there's smaller classes for upper-division courses like molecular biology and immunology. So, your B's really ain't so bad, especially in organic chemistry where they give D's and F's to the bottom half of students automatically.

    Still, you should obviously try to get A's. I'm just saying that your B's show that you are working hard and med schools know this. Especially since you've improved from C's--they know you're on to something. Round out the rest of your college career with A's in all of your science courses, by taking lighter loads (just 2 science courses tops, plus 2 electives). Sounds tough, but you can do it especially over the short term (I imagine you have just 3 semesters left?). Then if you're still not satisfied with your GPA, take a few post-bacc courses and do well in those. I'd stay away from the master's or Ph.D. programs for now--you might not need them if you can get your science GPA to a 3.2 or 3.3. If not, a 1-2 yr. post-bacc program or a master's might be in order.

    So, hold off on applying to med until you finish college and get your science gpa to 3.2/3.3. Then take the MCAT...you should do very well if you got B's in science at berkeley, judging from recent statistics. Question: which biology did you get a C in? If it's Bio 1B, don't worry--that's plant/ecology/evolution stuff and is slightly less important than bio 1A. The C in chem 3a? That's okay, since you've already improved to a B.

    I think you're stressing too much. There are people who've failed classes like o-chem who still got into med school, and didn't get Ph'd's. To summarize:

    1. Show improvement for the remainder of college.

    2. Take a few more science classes, and make it a point to get A's or B+'s. Take MCB 101, 130 at least to show you can do upper-division work. Take alongside all this easy humanities classes or psych classes. Psych 160 (social psych) and American Studies 101 are simple classes, for instance. Get A's in these classes, consider them gimmees.

    3. Do stellar on the MCAT, like 30's.

    4. Make sure to do some substantive research, work that you can claim as your own. Check out the URAP office for details.

    5. Get rec's from the science classes you get A's in. At the beginning of each course, start going to the professor's office hours to develop a relationship. Make him/her know you by name. Another tip: they will drop hints about test questions if they know you're trying extra hard and appreciate their help. Often the tested questions will bear some relevance to their field of work, so ask questions relevant to their field as well.

    6. Apply after you've done all this. It sounds like you want to apply now--if you do, you will just waste a lot of money, like thousands of dollars.

    Good luck, fellow golden bear!


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