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Poll: What's more important? GPA or MCAT?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by gobears, Feb 24, 2002.

  1. gobears

    gobears Senior Member
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    Some people argue that GPA is more important in getting into medical school because the MCAT is only a single test while GPA reflects many years of work.

    On the other hand, some people argue that MCATs are more important because GPA can differ so much from school to school while the MCAT is standardized for everyone.

    What do you folks think?
     
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  3. EpiII

    EpiII Senior Member
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    It might differ from school to school. I was told by an interviewer at UCSF that GPA is calculated three different ways (total GPA, Science/Math GPA, Senior year GPA) and thus is in your overall 'application score' three different ways. That could make GPA fairly significant at that school. Other schools may not weight it that much.
     
  4. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    If you actually read the fine print of the USnews rankings, the section where MCAT and GPA is factored into their ratings has a listing for what percentages each is worth. The MCAT is actually worth 65% and the GPA is worth 30%. I forgot what the other 5% is. I've actually used that to compare how competitive I am to other schools, although I'm quite sure the schools for admissions purposes don't rank MCAT that high compared to GPA.
     
  5. imtiaz

    imtiaz i cant translate stupid
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    Do you remember if they do that for each and every school(meaning unique percentages for different schools)? or do they just say on average, mcat is 65% and gpa is worth 30%?

    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Jalbrekt:
    <strong>If you actually read the fine print of the USnews rankings, the section where MCAT and GPA is factored into their ratings has a listing for what percentages each is worth. The MCAT is actually worth 65% and the GPA is worth 30%. I forgot what the other 5% is. I've actually used that to compare how competitive I am to other schools, although I'm quite sure the schools for admissions purposes don't rank MCAT that high compared to GPA.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">
     
  6. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    If you have the USnews magazine, just look under how they formulate the rankings. I don't think I can adequately explain it.
     
  7. gower

    gower 1K Member
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    There are few if any absolutes involved. The relative weights given vary from medical school to medical school, may vary with undergrad college attended, may vary with a medical school's previous experience with accepted medical students from a college/university, may vary with a medical school's knowldege of and trust in the premedical advisor, even vary from applicant to applicant for other reasons.

    US News & World Reports "rankings" are a poor, unreliable and meaningless way to chose medical schools to apply to or to attend. Every medical school and every premedical advisor in the USA knows this.

    If you do not thrive (for many reasons other than "smarts") in a high-ranked medical school, you will be at the bottom of the class. This applies to colleges/universities as well.

    Focus instead on doing well in class and on the MCAT. Your success in life is entirely in your hands. Find more useful ways to spend your time and effort than in pursuing "rankings", a distraction at best.
     
  8. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by gower:
    <strong>
    US News & World Reports "rankings" are a poor, unreliable and meaningless way to chose medical schools to apply to or to attend. Every medical school and every premedical advisor in the USA knows this.

    </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I completely disagree with this statmeny, at least as far as research medical schools are concerned. My friend told me that exact statement, so I decided to research how they did their rankings. The only objective part of the ranking has to do with academic reputation and residency reputation. But that is objective in that it is what the residency directors think. I think US News does a great job of ranking the schools based solely on the information they have.
    Now granted, it doesn't take into effect stuff like location, student happiness, and some people might not do good in a graded vs. P/f environment. But overall I think USnews does an absolutely great job ranking the schools. I personally used it to help me decide which schools to apply to and I told myself that if I got into a school that was 20 points above my favorite school, I would go there regardless.
     
  9. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member
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    but the rankings are based on the information that *USNews* prioritizes, not what the average med school applicant cares about. why should i care what a magazine feels is the 'best' medical school? what is 'best' in a school depends on the individual.

    if the criteria that USNews uses to rank schools is the exact same criteria that you are concerned about and is weighed the same by USNews that you weigh it, then you've found a good way to compare schools. but i think it's pretty foolish to put too much stock into the opinions of a magazine that is completely unassociated with the medical field and is only out to make money for itself.

    the 60% MCAT/35% GPA factor is simply the formula that USNews uses to factor in MCAT scores and GPAs. it has nothing to do with how individual schools weigh these factors in their own decisions. again, the USNews rankings are entirely based on the criteria that USNews feels is important.
     
  10. EpiII

    EpiII Senior Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by sandflea:
    <strong>the 60% MCAT/35% GPA factor is simply the formula that USNews uses to factor in MCAT scores and GPAs. it has nothing to do with how individual schools weigh these factors in their own decisions. again, the USNews rankings are entirely based on the criteria that USNews feels is important.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Exactly. Just because US News uses this weighting scheme does not mean that this is how important each factor is when it comes to getting into medical school. The magazine rankings are rather independent of how we get into medical school.
     
  11. Mr.D

    Mr.D insipidus maximus
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    I share the opinion that the US News rankings are
    only one factor that can be useful in selecting
    which schools to apply to. I don't think that shooting down the credibility of the magazine
    suchs as "they're only in it to make money" and
    "they're not associated with the medical establishment" does anything to reinforce one's opinion. There are multiple variables that US News does not take into account, but others which
    I belive the average applicant would find useful.
    Of course, they select variables that they can
    measure as objectively as possible and those which
    they believe will be useful for their readers.
    We cannot expect them to measure the variables that each of us find personally important - that is foolish and too idealistic. That's why it's up
    to each and every one of us to use all the resouces at our disposal to select the schools of our choice. Nonetheless, I think that the rankings are useful only to a CERTAIN degree.
    My two cents.
     
  12. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    I couldn't have said it better myself. (no really, my writing isn't that good)

    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by aesculapian:
    <strong>I share the opinion that the US News rankings are
    only one factor that can be useful in selecting
    which schools to apply to. I don't think that shooting down the credibility of the magazine
    suchs as "they're only in it to make money" and
    "they're not associated with the medical establishment" does anything to reinforce one's opinion. There are multiple variables that US News does not take into account, but others which
    I belive the average applicant would find useful.
    Of course, they select variables that they can
    measure as objectively as possible and those which
    they believe will be useful for their readers.
    We cannot expect them to measure the variables that each of us find personally important - that is foolish and too idealistic. That's why it's up
    to each and every one of us to use all the resouces at our disposal to select the schools of our choice. Nonetheless, I think that the rankings are useful only to a CERTAIN degree.
    My two cents.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">
     
  13. pre-hawkdoc

    pre-hawkdoc Senior Member
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    What's more important? GPA or MCAT?

    MCAT. A stellar MCAT can make up for not-so-good grades. Good grades won't make up for a bad MCAT score.
     
  14. Cambrian

    Cambrian Colonel/Senior Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by pre-hawkdoc:
    <strong>What's more important? GPA or MCAT?

    MCAT. A stellar MCAT can make up for not-so-good grades. Good grades won't make up for a bad MCAT score.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">so very true, so very true
     
  15. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by aesculapian:
    <strong>I don't think that shooting down the credibility of the magazine
    suchs as "they're only in it to make money" and
    "they're not associated with the medical establishment" does anything to reinforce one's opinion.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">my point was that USNews compiles its rankings by weighing various factors in the way that its editors see fit, so what the rankings really represent is the hierarchy of med school based on what is important to USNews. i do not care what USNews feels is the best medical school--i care what *I* feel is the best medical school, based on the things that matter to me. if i were to compile my own rankings based on the info that matters to me and weighing each of these factors as i see fit, i would come up with a drastically different ranking. the information that USNews uses to rank schools is publicly available already anyway (except for the 'academic reputation' and 'residency reputation' or whatever, which is entirely subjective), so the only thing that results from the magazine's rankings is a subjective compilation of these publicly-available factors as USNews sees fit. at its heart, it's a subjective ranking, but people too often pore over it like it's gold. if someone wants to use it to make their decisions, that's up to them--my point was that putting too much stock into what USNews says about med schools would be a pretty dumb thing to do because it's going to be you, not someone from USNews, that is going to have to spend four long years of your life there.

    by saying what i did, i wasn't trying to 'shoot down the credibility of the magazine', and i don't know where you got this impression. in fact, as a business, they've done a very smart thing. you can't deny that their 'rankings' issue has become a very lucrative thing for them, whether making money off it was their intent or not.

    anyway, in response to the original question, whether MCAT scores or GPA matters more depends on the school--there is no clear-cut answer to this. some weigh one a lot more than the other. however, my experience watching older friends apply to med school is that overall, those with higher GPAs but lower MCATs fare much better than those with lower GPAs but higher MCATs.
     
  16. coop

    coop Senior Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Jalbrekt:
    <strong>I completely disagree with this statmeny, at least as far as research medical schools are concerned. My friend told me that exact statement, so I decided to research how they did their rankings. The only objective part of the ranking has to do with academic reputation and residency reputation. But that is objective in that it is what the residency directors think. I think US News does a great job of ranking the schools based solely on the information they have.
    Now granted, it doesn't take into effect stuff like location, student happiness, and some people might not do good in a graded vs. P/f environment. But overall I think USnews does an absolutely great job ranking the schools. I personally used it to help me decide which schools to apply to and I told myself that if I got into a school that was 20 points above my favorite school, I would go there regardless.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Jalbrekt,
    I think you overestimate the importance of the reputation catagories. I have heard that the response rate for these surveys is very low (~30%) and many people don't fill them out simply because they dislike the ratings. (e.g. Tulane, a very good school, doesn't even submit their basic info to USNews, so you'll never find them in the top 50). Since many residency directors don't fill this out, you don't know whose opinion is truly represented in that ranking, is it one you value or not?

    I also think it's is likely that there is a substantial east coast bias in the rankings. The concentration of programs are on the east coast, and thus they are more likely familiar with east coast programs, while the fewer west coast and midwest programs see their numbers fall for purely geographic/familiarity reasons.

    Also, these are SUBJECTIVE rankings, they are opinions. The gpa/mcat/acceptance rates are OBJECTIVE statistics, they are facts, not opinions.
     
  17. praying4MD

    praying4MD 2K Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by coop:
    <strong>these are SUBJECTIVE rankings, they are opinions. The gpa/mcat/acceptance rates are OBJECTIVE statistics, they are facts, not opinions.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Thank you. I was waiting for someone to say this. <img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" />
     

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