one major and two minors OR two majors OR one major and a masters

Jan 20, 2010
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Hi all,
I was wondering if anyone cares to give me some advice on what to do for next year.
Here's the background: I'm an undergraduate biology major finishing up my third year and studying for the MCATs. I'll be taking it by the end of Spring.
Here's the dilemma: After this spring quarter is over, I have 6 classes to finish my major. I was planning on finishing with two minors: Psychology and Social Behavior (one minor) AND Civic Engagement (one minor). I have only taken a few classes for either. I was thinking about how useful two minors would be for medical school or even other things (if I don't get in and have to take a year or however many off, which is likely as I have a 3.3 cgpa and probably one that's a even lower for science).
So as I will be applying this cycle, I want to figure out what to do in the year that I'm waiting to hear back. Here are the options:
A. Finish Bio and graduate by the end of the summer. Then see if I can get into a Masters Program (maybe SMP or something random) -> I still haven't looked into deadlines and what-not, so I don't know how EXACTLY that would work...
B. Stay an undergrad. Finish Bio and my 2 minors (a total of 32+ 26 units left).
C. Stay an undergrad. Finish Bio and apply for Psychology and Social Behavior as a major and finish (a total of 48 units left).
And just as an aside, I'm used to taking more than 24 units per quarter. So I won't have trouble finishing any of these options. It's simply a matter of which is the best one. [Please don't ask why I took too many units while carrying a low gpa. It's a long story.]
Please give me your opinion on which of the three options would be best for medical school (in other words look better to medical school admission officers) and the possibility of having to take a year or more off.
If there is anyone out there who has done any of these things or was in a similar situation, please feel free to PM me or reply here.
Thanks all,
-biojunky
 

organdonor

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I assume that you have been taking the classes for these minors/majors all along right? Even if say you have 16 credit hours left and space enough for many more than that, many of the upper level classes that you would have to take for a major have prereqs that must be finished before you can begin the next class in the series. You cannot take them concurrently and finish a major in 2 years.

What do you mean by "applying" for another major? At my undergrad we just "declare" it. Literally, sign the paper and it's on your transcript. Of course you can't obtain the degree unless you finish the requirements for it, but you can declare yourself whatever major you want.

As far as applying to an SMP or other masters program, I believe most take a year. Were you wanting to graduate a semester early and try for one? Or graduate a year early? If you already have a BS or BA, just apply to med school, don't bother getting a masters.
 

Bernoull

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Hi all,
I was wondering if anyone cares to give me some advice on what to do for next year.
Here's the background: I'm an undergraduate biology major finishing up my third year and studying for the MCATs. I'll be taking it by the end of Spring.
Here's the dilemma: After this spring quarter is over, I have 6 classes to finish my major. I was planning on finishing with two minors: Psychology and Social Behavior (one minor) AND Civic Engagement (one minor). I have only taken a few classes for either. I was thinking about how useful two minors would be for medical school or even other things (if I don't get in and have to take a year or however many off, which is likely as I have a 3.3 cgpa and probably one that's a even lower for science).
So as I will be applying this cycle, I want to figure out what to do in the year that I'm waiting to hear back. Here are the options:
A. Finish Bio and graduate by the end of the summer. Then see if I can get into a Masters Program (maybe SMP or something random) -> I still haven't looked into deadlines and what-not, so I don't know how EXACTLY that would work...
B. Stay an undergrad. Finish Bio and my 2 minors (a total of 32+ 26 units left).
C. Stay an undergrad. Finish Bio and apply for Psychology and Social Behavior as a major and finish (a total of 48 units left).
And just as an aside, I'm used to taking more than 24 units per quarter. So I won't have trouble finishing any of these options. It's simply a matter of which is the best one. [Please don't ask why I took too many units while carrying a low gpa. It's a long story.]
Please give me your opinion on which of the three options would be best for medical school (in other words look better to medical school admission officers) and the possibility of having to take a year or more off.
If there is anyone out there who has done any of these things or was in a similar situation, please feel free to PM me or reply here.
Thanks all,
-biojunky
Well the answer really depends on ur objective. What do hope to gain from doing x^n minors or a masters? If it's an advantage in admissions, then u're wasting ur time. I don't know wat the rest of ur app file looks like but for now u have a weak cGPA and sGPA that u needs improving.

I suggest that u focus on ur sGPA bcos it's relatively easier to raise it (less units), so rack up on science courses and ace them b4 applying. Depending on how low ur sGPA currently is, u may not be able to raise it to a competitive point b4 applying. In that case, just keep taking science courses, get As and do other stuff (clinicals, research, volunteering) during my gap year to become more competitive. An SMP will help ur academic numbers but expect to shell ~$30K, a grad degree won't do much so I'll advise against it.

Also do ur best on ur MCAT and strengthen other aspects of ur app, if need be.

GL
 
Jan 20, 2010
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To organdonor:
Well, as I said before I have looked into it and it is possible for me to finish the Psychology and Social Behavior major in a year because I took a class that counts as THE prerequisite for A LOT of the upper-divisions. It's just that easy!
I know that I don't NEED a masters, but do you think that a medical school admission officer would prefer to see an applicant who's spending the year of the application on finishing two majors OR a person who is finishing a masters degree in whatever (say... mental health counseling and behavioral medicine from BU... assuming I'd get in...)?
Hopefully this simplifies the question for you. :p
To Bernoull:
Well, the point is that I have more than a year since the application cycle takes that long with only 6 or so classes I really need to take. So the dilemma is what to do to stay a full-time student in this one year and actually have it be useful either for medical school or for the years that I might need to take in between. I think you're pretty eliminating a masters as an option. Right? If so, between two minors or one degree which would you think looks better?
I really think I'd truly enjoy any of these three options, which is why I can't decide. As for SMPs I think the deadline for most of them is in a few weeks, so that probably isn't a good option. But there are other one-year masters programs out there.
 
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Bernoull

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To organdonor:
Well, as I said before I have looked into it and it is possible for me to finish the Psychology and Social Behavior major in a year because I took a class that counts as THE prerequisite for A LOT of the upper-divisions. It's just that easy!
I know that I don't NEED a masters, but do you think that a medical school admission officer would prefer to see an applicant who's spending the year of the application on finishing two majors OR a person who is finishing a masters degree in whatever (say... mental health counseling and behavioral medicine from BU... assuming I'd get in...)?
Hopefully this simplifies the question for you. :p
To Bernoull:
Well, the point is that I have more than a year since the application cycle takes that long with only 6 or so classes I really need to take. So the dilemma is what to do to stay a full-time student in this one year and actually have it be useful either for medical school or for the years that I might need to take in between. I think you're pretty eliminating a masters as an option. Right? If so, between two minors or one degree which would you think looks better?
I really think I'd truly enjoy any of these three options, which is why I can't decide. As for SMPs I think the deadline for most of them is in a few weeks, so that probably isn't a good option. But there are other one-year masters programs out there.
I am finishing a Master's this semester (i applied with a 4.0 gGPA) and I don't think it helped my application much. I enjoyed doing it very much but from a strictly admissions perspective, I would have been better off with a second science bachelors (with As).

What's ur sGPA?
 
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Jan 20, 2010
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I think it's around a 3.0 :(. The thing is that if I were to finish another bachelors, it'd probably not be one in the sciences. I would probably stick to Psychology and Social Behavior. But if I'm staying in undergrad to finish a PSB major, then I could on the side also add A FEW (like one or two- really won't be more than that) extra science classes.
 

organdonor

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As bernoulli stated, with a 3.0 sci gpa you should really take more science classes to bring that up. That would look much better than someone with 2 majors and a 3.0

I wouldn't do the masters program unless you get rejected from every medical school. Even then, don't most of them have minimum GPA requirements that may or may not be above your gpa?

If you must, just work on a second major. Ideally, you should raise your science gpa
 
Jan 20, 2010
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SO a more detailed look at the sci gpa:
gpa for the school of physical sciences (chem, math, physics): 3.014
gpa for the school of biological sciences (bio): 3.437 (there is an enormous boost here because of As in about two years of 4-5 units of research per quarter)
Clearly, my science gpa is in the gutter... in addition, anything that I will do in the next year will NOT be counted toward THIS application cycle. If I don't get in (probab the case), then a higher science gpa would help for the year after... but it still wouldn't have helped with THIS cycle. But maybe... them knowing that I'm doing a Masters or an additional Bachelors would make a difference for THIS cycle...???
 

organdonor

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SO a more detailed look at the sci gpa:
gpa for the school of physical sciences (chem, math, physics): 3.014
gpa for the school of biological sciences (bio): 3.437 (there is an enormous boost here because of As in about two years of 4-5 units of research per quarter)
This breakdown doesn't really have any effect on AMCAS. AMCAS just lumps them all together as BCPM (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Math)

take more BCPM classes to bring up your BCPM gpa.
 
Jan 20, 2010
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I don't know if I'm doing the calculation correctly or not.. but I think so far it's a sgpa of 3.261.
So I guess now the options become:
A. Random science classes + bio major + PSB minor
B. Bio major + PSB major
C. Bio major + masters (seems to be the least favorite between the two of you)
 

lord_jeebus

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If you really want to optimize your med school application, finish just a single major and take as many of the easiest classes available (in any department) as you can to improve the GPA.

EDIT: ouch, noticed the science GPA. If you think you can do better, take some easy science classes
 

Bernoull

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I think it's around a 3.0 :(. The thing is that if I were to finish another bachelors, it'd probably not be one in the sciences. I would probably stick to Psychology and Social Behavior. But if I'm staying in undergrad to finish a PSB major, then I could on the side also add A FEW (like one or two- really won't be more than that) extra science classes.
I would just hate for you to do a master's or two minors in psych/socio and at the end of the day realize that it was in vain as far as improving ur odds go. The AMCAS lumps psych/socio as "non-science"/"BESS" so they count towads ur cGPA and AO (all other) BUT NOT for sGPA.

The reason I suggest sGPA is that ur sGPA is "less weighted" than ur cGPA and IT'S INFINITELY easier to improve ur sGPA as opposed to cGPA. You don't need to do another major if u don't want to, but u can do standalone science/math course (cherrypick ones u're likely to ace and do them..)

this is my 2 cents..
 
Jan 20, 2010
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Again people all of you are telling me to improve my sGPA but that won't do anything for THIS cycle... OR will it?
Maybe I've gotten this wrong all along... but I thought that whatever GPA (s or c or g) you applied with was THE GPA that was considered... IF you were not in the "heck no" pile, then they MIGHT consider the additional grades that you send them as they go along but NOT your GPA... just if you did a little better they might give you a half smile with an "eh". Can someone explain this part?
 

GH253

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i can't even keep track of what you wrote in the thread title
 

Bernoull

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Again people all of you are telling me to improve my sGPA but that won't do anything for THIS cycle... OR will it?
Maybe I've gotten this wrong all along... but I thought that whatever GPA (s or c or g) you applied with was THE GPA that was considered... IF you were not in the "heck no" pile, then they MIGHT consider the additional grades that you send them as they go along but NOT your GPA... just if you did a little better they might give you a half smile with an "eh". Can someone explain this part?

If u're applying this summer (2010), then u're stuck with the grades u have after spring 2010.

I thought u planned on taking a year off to improve ur gpa? If so the unanimous consensus is SMP or informal postbac science course.

Regarding transcript updates, schools primarily want to ensure u're not flunking or if they are on the fence with ur app, it could nudge them one way..

Some schools don't want to be bothered with grade updates bcos they know enough math to know that ur gpa is unlikely to change much after 1-2 semesters, (barring some catastrophe)..
 
Jan 20, 2010
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As I explained, I am a third year undergraduate. I AM applying THIS JUNE. I know where my weaknesses are and I know what I would do if I was applying a year or however many later. What I'm asking is... IN THE YEAR THAT ONE IS APPLYING, is it a better idea to be pursuing two bachelors or adding a masters (one under a medical school)? Or does it not make any difference at all (especially for someone with a low cgpa and a super low sgpa)?
PS: Sorry for the confusion.
 
Mar 1, 2010
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Hi all,
I was wondering if anyone cares to give me some advice on what to do for next year.
Here's the background: I'm an undergraduate biology major finishing up my third year and studying for the MCATs. I'll be taking it by the end of Spring.
Here's the dilemma: After this spring quarter is over, I have 6 classes to finish my major. I was planning on finishing with two minors: Psychology and Social Behavior (one minor) AND Civic Engagement (one minor). I have only taken a few classes for either. I was thinking about how useful two minors would be for medical school or even other things (if I don't get in and have to take a year or however many off, which is likely as I have a 3.3 cgpa and probably one that's a even lower for science).
So as I will be applying this cycle, I want to figure out what to do in the year that I'm waiting to hear back. Here are the options:
A. Finish Bio and graduate by the end of the summer. Then see if I can get into a Masters Program (maybe SMP or something random) -> I still haven't looked into deadlines and what-not, so I don't know how EXACTLY that would work...
B. Stay an undergrad. Finish Bio and my 2 minors (a total of 32+ 26 units left).
C. Stay an undergrad. Finish Bio and apply for Psychology and Social Behavior as a major and finish (a total of 48 units left).
And just as an aside, I'm used to taking more than 24 units per quarter. So I won't have trouble finishing any of these options. It's simply a matter of which is the best one. [Please don't ask why I took too many units while carrying a low gpa. It's a long story.]
Please give me your opinion on which of the three options would be best for medical school (in other words look better to medical school admission officers) and the possibility of having to take a year or more off.
If there is anyone out there who has done any of these things or was in a similar situation, please feel free to PM me or reply here.
Thanks all,
-biojunky
I can't claim to be an expert on this, but I got the feeling that the admissions folks didn't care that much about majors or minors, just that you did well in your classes and enjoyed/could talk about them.

As for what to do with further schooling, the best thing you can to is to take the route that you find the most interesting. Nothing can make acceptance certain and I feel that I would be upset if I took a Masters or a majored/minored mainly to help with med school and I then didn't get accepted. I was one course away from a bio major, but I decided there weren't any courses that I wanted to take, so I didn't worry about it.

The key is to do something you love. If you really want to get an MPH (for example) then graduate early and go do that. If you still love your undergraduate program, take some hard courses and do well in them.
 

Bernoull

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I can't claim to be an expert on this, but I got the feeling that the admissions folks didn't care that much about majors or minors, just that you did well in your classes and enjoyed/could talk about them.

As for what to do with further schooling, the best thing you can to is to take the route that you find the most interesting. Nothing can make acceptance certain and I feel that I would be upset if I took a Masters or a majored/minored mainly to help with med school and I then didn't get accepted. I was one course away from a bio major, but I decided there weren't any courses that I wanted to take, so I didn't worry about it.

The key is to do something you love. If you really want to get an MPH (for example) then graduate early and go do that. If you still love your undergraduate program, take some hard courses and do well in them.
This would be excellent advice IF the OP didn't have gpa issues. Granted there are no guarantees in this game but improving a subpar gpa will make the OP much more competitive. Unfortunately, ADCOMs care about numbers (up to some threshold) and a 3.0 sGPA will make things tough for the OP.

For some context, the avg matriculant in 2009 had 3.6 sGPA w/ an SD of 0.32.
 

Bernoull

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As I explained, I am a third year undergraduate. I AM applying THIS JUNE. I know where my weaknesses are and I know what I would do if I was applying a year or however many later. What I'm asking is... IN THE YEAR THAT ONE IS APPLYING, is it a better idea to be pursuing two bachelors or adding a masters (one under a medical school)? Or does it not make any difference at all (especially for someone with a low cgpa and a super low sgpa)?
PS: Sorry for the confusion.

Dude/Dudette,

I think everyone here is looking out for ur best interest and the advice is the same. Improve sGPA, which automatically improves cGPA (to a lesser extent of course) and strengthen other areas of ur application as well (MCAT, research, volunteering, shadowing etc). Choose whatever option u feel is best to improve ur sGPA.

Best of luck, I'm rooting for you! :luck::luck::luck:
 
Jan 20, 2010
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I know. I know. I'm just very frustrated with myself right now, so I'm sorry if that reflects a certain tone in my writing.
Thanks to everyone who's replied. I'll have to think about it. And once again, I understand all of the above suggestions to raise the numbers but the truth is that whatever I am now is what is going into this application cycle, so raising gpas and what-not will only matter for the next cycle.
 

fahimaz7

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I would stay in undergrad and really work on your sciene and cummulative GPA. A 3.3, with those degrees, isnt' anything special. And to be honest, a 3.8 in basket weaving would be better than a 3.3 in most other majors.

In all honesty, you have a long road ahead of you. I would expect at least another 2 years of great grades to even give you a chance at a MD granting institution.