Mar 25, 2010
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Hello.
This is my first time on the site, and I am new to the whole idea of post bacc or SMPs. I am in my final year with a health science degree at a UC. I work 20-30 hours a week in order to pay for living and school. I went to a different UC my first two years and was a dance/film studies double major, I didnt do that well in my classes since I was not planning on needing a good GPA since I was planning on auditioning for a ballet company post-graduation. However I changed my mind, transfered schools and have gotten A's in o chem, gen bio and most of my upper div biology classes. My current GPA is a 3.4 however that doesnt factor in the GPA from my old UC which wasnt good. I will not be able to raise my GPA enough to get into many , if any, med schools. I am wondering what I should do. Would post-bacc or SMP be the route to go? If post-bacc would suffice in order to raise my GPA does it need to be a formal program or can I jsut apply to another undergrad school and take upper div bio courses etc to raise my GPA?
Thank you so much for your time , I really appreciate any help or advice
 

DbDan

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Hello.
This is my first time on the site, and I am new to the whole idea of post bacc or SMPs. I am in my final year with a health science degree at a UC. I work 20-30 hours a week in order to pay for living and school. I went to a different UC my first two years and was a dance/film studies double major, I didnt do that well in my classes since I was not planning on needing a good GPA since I was planning on auditioning for a ballet company post-graduation. However I changed my mind, transfered schools and have gotten A's in o chem, gen bio and most of my upper div biology classes. My current GPA is a 3.4 however that doesnt factor in the GPA from my old UC which wasnt good. I will not be able to raise my GPA enough to get into many , if any, med schools. I am wondering what I should do. Would post-bacc or SMP be the route to go? If post-bacc would suffice in order to raise my GPA does it need to be a formal program or can I jsut apply to another undergrad school and take upper div bio courses etc to raise my GPA?
Thank you so much for your time , I really appreciate any help or advice
Are you set on getting an MD or would you consider DO? What is your cum GPA including your old school and what is your science (BCPM) GPA? Have you taken the MCAT?

There are a few things to consider. If your Science GPA is high, which it sounds like you did very well in your science classes that helps quite a bit. Also, if you are not opposed to the DO route, they replace grades vs. MD schools which just keep adding units on top of one another. In this way you could replace Cs, Ds or Fs. You could also, like you said continue to take upper division science courses.

If you rock the MCAT it could change things as well, really more information is needed before anyone can give you specific information, IMO.
 

jslo85

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Hello.
This is my first time on the site, and I am new to the whole idea of post bacc or SMPs. I am in my final year with a health science degree at a UC. I work 20-30 hours a week in order to pay for living and school. I went to a different UC my first two years and was a dance/film studies double major, I didnt do that well in my classes since I was not planning on needing a good GPA since I was planning on auditioning for a ballet company post-graduation. However I changed my mind, transfered schools and have gotten A's in o chem, gen bio and most of my upper div biology classes. My current GPA is a 3.4 however that doesnt factor in the GPA from my old UC which wasnt good. I will not be able to raise my GPA enough to get into many , if any, med schools. I am wondering what I should do. Would post-bacc or SMP be the route to go? If post-bacc would suffice in order to raise my GPA does it need to be a formal program or can I jsut apply to another undergrad school and take upper div bio courses etc to raise my GPA?
Thank you so much for your time , I really appreciate any help or advice
Hi and welcome to SDN. Just a couple questions that might help clarify things for people who are probably going to post here later.

-You say your new GPA (assuming sGPA) since you only cited science courses for your new school is a 3.4 yet you also say you received mostly As in those courses. Shouldn't the GPA be higher than a 3.5 if you received an A in the majority of your science classes seeing that this is not factoring in your troubled UC gpa?

- If you can provide us with the concrete number of units you have as well as a sGPA and a cGPA at this very moment that would help out.

- What is your price range that you're willing/capable to spend?

- Where are you located right now?

It seems that you have a very good upward trend going on so far which is a mark in your favor. A potential problem is in inputting the coursework on either AACOMAS or AMCAS where they will ask you to input which institutions you have attended, what major you received/when, and what your GPA and classes you had taken there was. If you have done any additional work post graduation, it will be inputted as a separate number called "post-bacc GPA". Though I am not 100% sure in your case, I think they would lump the two GPAs together from both institutions as your uGPA.


I think the concerns for you at this point would probably be time and money. SMPs in general are quite spendy and formal post-baccs will be cheaper but more expensive than enrolling say at a local university. You say you went to a UC so I'm assuming you are somewhere either in the bay or so cal. If in the bay, "formal post-bacc" programs that will apply to you (AET ones) would be SFSU's AET track or taking courses as apart of the UC extension. They would probably be the closest programs that I know of that would be suitable for your situation and relatively inexpensive. I would suggest sitting down and doing some research of each program (costs/curriculum selection/times) and find out what is right for you.

Any additional coursework that you do after graduating with your major will be counted as "post-bacc" work. The advantages of some formal programs are that some have a good reputation to medical schools or have some medical school faculty teaching them etc. But SFSU and UC extension have no linkages with any schools so keep that in mind. If enrolling at a local university and simply taking classes would allow you to keep working and save you substantial amounts of money and time, then I would probably choose the latter.

SMPs are ideal but only if you can afford them. It's not a guarantee into medical school and if putting yourself excessively into debt is the result of enrolling into one of these programs then I'd really hesitate and think things through before committing. Try and do a rough calculation on how many units it will take you to get your GPA to where you want it to be competitive to apply to medical school and what programs/universities around you offer a large range of upper division science courses. Also keep in mind that you need to take the MCAT and delve into clinical activities/volunteering/shadowing before applying to medical school or even most SMPs.
 
Mar 25, 2010
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thanks so much for the replies. so to answer some questions:

am currently at ucsc, previous school was ucsb. am open to moving anywhere, out of california or in so location of smp/post-bacc doesnt matter

I have 86 units right now at ucsc only
Cum GPA=3.38
Science= 3.47

I have no outside help financialy So basically I will pay for everything with loans, and I am willing to be in a lot of debt if it will help my GPA

i have not yet taken the mcat, but am planning on taking intensive prep so assuming a pretty good score

thanks again so much! so i think post-bacc seems the better option for now? or would graduate look better even if it doenst improve my uGPA?
 

DbDan

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thanks so much for the replies. so to answer some questions:

am currently at ucsc, previous school was ucsb. am open to moving anywhere, out of california or in so location of smp/post-bacc doesnt matter

I have 86 units right now at ucsc only
Cum GPA=3.38
Science= 3.47

I have no outside help financialy So basically I will pay for everything with loans, and I am willing to be in a lot of debt if it will help my GPA

i have not yet taken the mcat, but am planning on taking intensive prep so assuming a pretty good score

thanks again so much! so i think post-bacc seems the better option for now? or would graduate look better even if it doenst improve my uGPA?
Unfortunately we are still missing your first two years at UCSB. When your GPA is calculated for med school they want all grades from all institutions that you have attended. Unfortunately, this means that your UCSB grades, no matter how much you want to put them in the past, will be included. How much damage has actually been done by those first two years?

Also, don't bank on test prep automatically leading to a high MCAT score, there are many people who took Kaplan with me who scored <27. You never know until you actually take the test.

Like I said before, if you aren't against the DO route they are more lenient when it comes to grades. Also, how are your extracirriculars? Those will weigh heavily as well.

My suggestion is to make an excel file. Put in all of your grades from the time you entered UCSB through now into it with grade points and units. Calculate how many units you will need to make yourself a competitive applicant at either an MD or a DO (DO will be faster for that type of repair due to grade replacement). SMPs can be pricey and many don't guarantee any kind of automatic acceptance, if you can do the repair on your own and save money I'd suggest it. Med school is not cheap and avoiding any kind of unnecessary debt is going to be important.

I know that in my case it would take me 45 units to hit a 3.0 and because of the diminishing returns, even another 4+ years of full time work and 200 quarter units of 4.0 coursework would only get me to a 3.36cum/3.46sci. Obviously this is out of the question and instead I am going to attempt to remedy this through an SMP or if I don't get in work and retake every C I got an get into a DO (which to get a 3.4sci means I need to retake ~8 classes).

Its really a situation that you need all of the details to properly assess. How important is it to you to get in early? How many years are you going to dedicate to doing damage control on your GPA? There are a variety of things that need to be considered.
 
Mar 25, 2010
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Pre-Medical
sorry I left that out
3.1 science GPA at UCSB
3.15 overall GPA
91 units

As of now, I am not looking at DO school. So I am just wondering if a formal or informal post-bacc would be helpful. Not sure which, if any is a better choice. Thank you
 

DbDan

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sorry I left that out
3.1 science GPA at UCSB
3.15 overall GPA
91 units

As of now, I am not looking at DO school. So I am just wondering if a formal or informal post-bacc would be helpful. Not sure which, if any is a better choice. Thank you
well, your overall GPA is a 3.26 from what you've told us. I can't calculate a science GPA but since it sounds like you didn't take many science courses at UCSB its likely closer to the a 3.3. With 40 units of 4.0 work (you'll have to work hard obviously) you'd be at a 3.4cum and likely a 3.5science GPA, which will make you competitive. With >30 MCAT and those grades you should be fine if you apply early and broadly.

That said, an SMP could also work in a year. The difference is you can work full time and take 2-3 classes at Berkley or UCLA extension at night and save money doing it informally vs. a $30k program + cost of living at an SMP.

All that said, I'm not expert and there are far better people to give advice here including DrMidlife and Gujudoc
 

jslo85

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I agree that veteran members would give more substantial support as they have more experience.

That aside, if you have a MCAT score of 32+ then I would simply do my academic enhancement locally at a university and just raise your uGPA to a 3.5 and your sGPA as well. You would save a very substantial amount of money from having to relocate and if you started applying June of 2011 for the Fall 2012 cycle you would have a year's worth of new grades to add onto your upward trend with a solid MCAT and a good GPA. I'd really work on getting extracurriculars during this year so take a mediocre courseload, 12 units first two quarters while working on the MCAT and shadowing while taking a harder load spring quarter while continuing to expand on your CV.
 
Mar 25, 2010
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thanks so much for the help and advice. question to jslo, when you say enhance locally, do you mean at my current university? I am planning on leaving my current city in december, and am wondering if by working on my gpa locally that I can reapply at another school possibly as a transfer and just take upper div bio courses. or is that even an option? thanks so much
 

DbDan

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thanks so much for the help and advice. question to jslo, when you say enhance locally, do you mean at my current university? I am planning on leaving my current city in december, and am wondering if by working on my gpa locally that I can reapply at another school possibly as a transfer and just take upper div bio courses. or is that even an option? thanks so much
Where are you looking to relocate to? Most of the UCs have extension programs, Berkley and UCLA both have them I know, where you can take courses such as upper or lower div bio/chem/physics/life sciences or for a bit more money even take courses that have not filled with the general student body. Cal States I believe have a similar system. San Francisco State has a formal post bac program and also has an "open campus" program where it is about 225/unit to take courses and they are semesters so the units count for a little more vs. quarters (1.5X more to be precise). Look into schools that are going to be in the area of where you are moving to and go from there.

While its not recommended if money becomes a serious issue, community colleges also offer coursework, just be prepared that you may have to explain the reasoning behind taking courses there vs. a state school, and it shoudl probably be a good reason.
 
Mar 25, 2010
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Great, thanks for that information. Financially I do have a good reason to go to a city college, but I want more options for courses so I think Ill try to go to state or another university. I am willing to relocate anywhere in the US. I am also willing to reapply to another university and just take upper div bios etc or apply to a post-bacc in any state. What do you think is the best decision for me taking into account my GPA being mostly poor due to my early years. I also have a lot of volnteer experience, shadowing, volunteering in kenya and volunteering in an ER. Also lots of extracurricular in dance as well, not sure if that plays any role.
thanks so much
 

DbDan

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Great, thanks for that information. Financially I do have a good reason to go to a city college, but I want more options for courses so I think Ill try to go to state or another university. I am willing to relocate anywhere in the US. I am also willing to reapply to another university and just take upper div bios etc or apply to a post-bacc in any state. What do you think is the best decision for me taking into account my GPA being mostly poor due to my early years. I also have a lot of volnteer experience, shadowing, volunteering in kenya and volunteering in an ER. Also lots of extracurricular in dance as well, not sure if that plays any role.
thanks so much
Well, any EC can't hurt, especially if it adds diversity to your application. That said, you are still going to have to do well on the MCAT to stand a chance. One thing you may want to consider if you are a Ca resident and don't intend to apply this cycle (which it doesn't sound like you do) would be to look into moving to a state with more state schools with lower admission standards. Getting residency in another state gives you a "slightly" better chance of getting into their state schools, some require you to be gainfully employed for a year, others have different rules, I think Florida is easy (or used to be).

Look at the sticky up top for the GPA fixer programs, look into taking informal stuff at any university. Look into somewhere you can get a full time job to support yourself so you don't accrue massive debt and just work hard. You have a road but you aren't in as big a whole as many are, myself included. You don't have an obscenely high number of units which works in your favor, work and get your GPA up to a 3.5 and rock the MCAT and you'll for sure have a chance.
 
Mar 25, 2010
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thanks so much. I really appreciate your advice. So, I am just wondering how I go about doing an informal program. Do I reapply as a transfer even though I have already obtained my undergrad degree?
 

jslo85

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thanks so much for the help and advice. question to jslo, when you say enhance locally, do you mean at my current university? I am planning on leaving my current city in december, and am wondering if by working on my gpa locally that I can reapply at another school possibly as a transfer and just take upper div bio courses. or is that even an option? thanks so much
I figured that to save money enrolling at the closest university to you would be advantageous financially because it would cut down on gas/time/relocating. You can reapply to another school but it won't be as a transfer, it would be as a new student. The term that they will use on your transcript is "post-bacc" assuming that you are enrolling in a new univeristy without any intention of declaring a major but simply to "take classes". That is an option, I would simply recommend you check out the curriculum offered at such and such university and see if they have enough classes that interest you and offer them at times you find favorable. I assume you will want to be doing several other things while taking classes.

thanks so much. I really appreciate your advice. So, I am just wondering how I go about doing an informal program. Do I reapply as a transfer even though I have already obtained my undergrad degree?
You go about doing an informal program by simply applying as a new student at a university. I think for a small number of units as a post-bacc it will be relatively cheap but if you plan on doing it full time and for a year, they might begin to charge you more after X number of units. They might also give you a lower priority towards registering for classes, ie. instead of having first priority as juniors and seniors do, you will most likely have a registration window the same as freshman or sophomores.

If you wish to enroll in a program out of state that is within "affordable" range, I would suggest UT Dallas. Read what Dbdan has wrote, it does make sense if you wish to switch residencies but usually you have to be in state for a certain amount of time and I think it involves filing tax forms (possibly job) but I'm not too clear on that. The reason I say UT Dallas is Texas has a huge amount of medical schools within the state that give heavy heavy preference to in state applicants. If you can simply gain residency, your life will be so much easier. Not to mention UT Dallas is quite affordable and as an instate medical student, the price of tuition is very cheap. UT Dallas is something new but I've seen enough of their website/read enough things in here to know that they have an extensive curriculum for students who wish to take the upper division sciences and also have what seems to be a great faculty/staff. I think they are still in the process of establishing linkages but I read somewhere (don't quote me on this) but if you have a 3.5 or 3.7 in the program and a 30 MCAT you will get guaranteed interviews at all medical schools? It was something along this line but it's an example of an out of state formal program that would work for you and have other plusses if you stuck around for a while.

Anyway, I've wrote enough so if you want to PM me to continue the conversation feel free but I don't think you can go wrong with any direction you take, it's just what works for you. SMPs would also work but only if you feel you are ready to undertake heavy competition and take loans to cover the 25-50K these programs cost. Your GPA is not in that danger zone yet imo, and the other options will help you (perhaps not as much) but then again you shouldn't need that much "help" as it is.