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Post-bac right for people with high MCAT and low GPA?

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walk2020

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Hi everyone, I want to know if I can/should apply to an SMP with my stats:

- Graduated in 09 from a competitive top 5 ranked undergrad institution with a 2.7 GPA with a 2.6 Science GPA.
- My major was in Computer Science and minor in Biology.
- 37 on MCAT on second try. First try was a 28.
- Shadowed an Anesthesiologist for the past 3 months.
- Working as an IT consultant for IBM since graduation.

If not, what other alternatives can you recommend for me? I am considering quiting my job and retaking my UG science courses so I can at least apply to DO schools or those in the Caribbean. I'm willing to do anything because it's my dream to become a doctor and lead a meaningful life helping people. Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

DrMidlife

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Great MCAT. I suggest you'll want to target applying before your score expires. In general you can expect that if you took the MCAT in 2010, you have until summer 2013 to apply ("3 years"). Lots of exceptions to that in both directions.

As for undergrad GPA, I think that quitting your job and going full time is probably what you have to do, because you're going to need to take a lot of classes and get A's.

Two more years of full time undergrad study at a 4.0 will only bring you up to about 3.1. I personally do not think it's wise to try to get into med school, MD or DO, with a cumulative under 3.0. There are people who make it in with sub-3.0s, particularly by doing programs like VCU. VCU isn't really an SMP, it's a cert program, but it has SMP-like outcomes. I think you'd be a good candidate for SMPs as well, but only after you've retaken any C's in prereqs and brought your cumulative undergrad GPA up over 3.0. Definitely having a stellar MCAT and a recent high GPA in upper div undergrad science is helpful in any case.

Degree programs are more likely to offer financial aid (most likely just federal loans), so you'll want to consider a 2nd bachelors, and/or an SMP.

I suggest that mentioning your school's rank does not lend prestige to your cause, not with a low GPA.

Best of luck to you.
 

walk2020

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Hi Dr. Midlife,

Thank you so much for your knowledgeable reply. I have a few more questions after reading the information you gave me:

-After you mentioned VCU, I looked it up and it appears like it's designed for people who have not taken a majority of their premed prereqs, so can I still apply to this? I wasn't aware that this was even an option for me, but if it is, this would be a great and compact way to retake my prereqs with guidance.

-Do you think there any SMPs that would take me with my current stats?

-If not, you mentioned both taking prereqs and upper level UG courses, should I do both in order to apply to an SMP, or can I focus on one then apply?

-How do you feel about taking graduate level classes over upper level UG classes? I looked into my local university's course offerings and I saw there were a lot of human biology classes that may help me do well in medical school courses.

-Also what do you think of getting a relevant masters? I'm thinking about a program offered by Wright State which is close to where I live. It covers gross anatomy, embryology, cell biology/histology, and neurobiology. I should be able to get a fair chance at entering this program because I meet their GRE requirements, which can be taken in place of a low GPA.

-This is off topic, but I was wondering what is your personal opinion on enrolling at Saint George's University in Grenada or any other accredited international school for that matter? I've heard several conflicting opinions on this subject from practicing doctors and forum posters, and I would greatly appreciate your knowledgeable opinion. Personally my only concern is that Caribbean schools may not offer a good education.

Also sorry about mentioning my school's rank. I thought it would factor in slightly in getting advice for my situation. Thanks again for all your helpful advice. I truly appreciate it.

Sincerely,

walk2020
 
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theWUbear

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You should do what I did, sign up as a second degree student at the campus of your State U closest to your house, and get a 4.0 for a year. you might be OK applying right after that with the 37.

i graduated from washu with a 2.6 and its up to 2.84 after a year of 3.9 at State U, i used my year of good grades to leverage admission into an smp where i honored med school courses, now i'm finishing my masters and actually about to get a second undergrad degree from state u (major:bio) with highest honors (graduating with a 3.9 gpa). so, with two years off i have done 1.5 years of informal post-bacc work and 1 semester of masters, which i will finish during my application cycle/3rd year off.

you might ask why i am still taking undergrad courses to get that 2nd undergrad degree when im taking grad bio classes. its a related issue to your question about taking grad classes while in a postbacc or just in general. a 4.0 in grad school (no matter if you take 2 classes or 20 classes) is what it is. it will not affect your uGPA number so as long as you have a 4.0 grad gpa it is in your best interest to boost up the ugly number on your app - the uGPA.

The dean of admissions at NJMS recently spoke about admissions to members of the SMP at UMDNJ. He said "You will get a great education at St Georges. I don't know about the rest of them. But we hope you choose to take time off and ameliorate the issues you may have that have caused you to not be the best applicant for med school, because they might continue to affect you in the future".

The issue SDN has with the carrib. is that they will take anyone, leading to high dropout rates. a person with the ability to score a 37 on the MCAT (assuming some predictive value on the boards) means you have the ability to pass the boards. as long as you work harder than doing 2.7 work, i would bet heavily on you coming out with a solid IM residency from SGU. But with a 37, don't do that. Will probably post more later.
 

americanpierg

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The dean of admissions at NJMS recently spoke about admissions to members of the SMP at UMDNJ. He said "You will get a great education at St Georges. I don't know about the rest of them. But we hope you choose to take time off and ameliorate the issues you may have that have caused you to not be the best applicant for med school, because they might continue to affect you in the future".

The issue SDN has with the carrib. is that they will take anyone, leading to high dropout rates. a person with the ability to score a 37 on the MCAT (assuming some predictive value on the boards) means you have the ability to pass the boards. as long as you work harder than doing 2.7 work, i would bet heavily on you coming out with a solid IM residency from SGU. But with a 37, don't do that. Will probably post more later.


It doesnt matter how great of an education you get from a carribean medical school (im sure some of them are just as good as a mainland med school), the problem comes when its time to get into a competitive residency. You're pushed to the bottom of the list... its unfair but thats just how it is.

Even with caribbean schools in mind, OP there is no "quick fix" for your situation if youre leaning towards MD. A 37 MCAT will pick up the slack for a 3.5 GPA but not a 2.7 GPA. I think by the time you fix your GPA enough for it to be competitive, your MCAT will have expired.

Your best bet (fastest route) is to take 1-2 years to repeat as many of the courses you did very poorly in as well as some upper level science courses and apply to DO programs. DO programs replace courses that you repeat, so you should be able to raise your GPA to competitive DO levels very quickly.
 

theWUbear

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It doesnt matter how great of an education you get from a carribean medical school (im sure some of them are just as good as a mainland med school), the problem comes when its time to get into a competitive residency. You're pushed to the bottom of the list... its unfair but thats just how it is.


(fastest route) is to take 1-2 years to repeat as many of the courses you did very poorly in as well as some upper level science courses and apply to DO programs.

Competitive is the key. At New Jersey's largest teaching hospital (University Hospital in Newark), in my years of work at the IM clinic 75% of the residents have been from the most random foreign medical schools you've never heard of. If you want a ROAD specialty, americanpierg is absolutely correct. You won't have the best shot unless you kill the boards (...which I've already stated you may have demonstrated the propensity to do so based on your MCAT). If you want a mid-level residency or IM, your fastest route is to go to SGU. It would also free up 2 years of physicians' salary.

Your safest route is to do what was stated above or what I did. However, an IM doctor who went to SGU gets paid as much as an IM doctor who went to a US MD....so we'll see whether my decision to lose two years of pay pans out for me.
 

dank204

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Don't listen to them they don't know what they are talking about.

I know plenty of docs who graduated from St. Georges, Indian Med Schools, Guadalajara, and Several European schools and they are Radiologists, Cardiologists, EM, Surgeons, and you name it.

Since you have the 37 MCAT, just work really hard and get high grades and the upward progress will look good. Don't sell yourself short and apply to DO schools because you THINK you can't get into an MD program. Obviously your state school is your best bet.

Only choose DO or foreign schools if you honestly do not get into an MD program.
 
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