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Post-bacc vs. Master's Program. Pros and Cons

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by JJP919, Jul 30, 2006.

  1. JJP919

    JJP919 Junior Member
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    I'm in a spot between two different choices. I was wondering if I could get some knowledge from people that probably know a bit more than I do.

    I graduated already with my B.A. in Neurobiology from UC Berkeley. My grades aren't that stellar and are pretty much the only thing that is keeping me from getting into med school. MCAT is awesome (36P composite) and I have a load of volunteer and research experience under my belt. But it's not enough. All of the people that I have been talking to (admissions counselors, pre-med advisors, med schools, current students) tell me that my only fault is my GPA. Which is why I've chosen to go back to school and improve my GPA before wasting more money on the application process.

    I'm currently enrolled as a non-matriculant student at the University of Utah (U of U). I'm basically going to take upper division science courses over a year's time and use those to hopefully improve my GPA. Since those classes are undergrad courses, I would assume that they would be used to improve my GPA from UC Berkeley.

    My next choice is I was accepted into Drexel's Master's of Forensic Science (MFS) program just this past friday. 18 month course that grants a certificate at the end. Relatively young program that just started in 2005. There are people currently in the program that are in the process of applying to med school.

    What I'm wondering is, which program would be best suited to what I want to do, which is get an end result that would help my med school chances. Will my grades from the MFS program be used to bolster my undergrad GPA or would they be considered separately? Would my grades from the U of U not be considered as high since I'm not in a specific program and just taking classes on my own?

    Anyone want to chime in on this or at least point me to some posts that may help me out? Any help or knowledge would be much appreciated.
     
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  3. Wannabemed

    Wannabemed Junior Member
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  4. DoctorPardi

    DoctorPardi In Memory of Riley Jane
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    What is your undergrad gpa?
     
  5. DoctorPardi

    DoctorPardi In Memory of Riley Jane
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    The key is, if you do a post-bacc it has the ability to improve your undergrad gpa. If you do a master's program you will have an undergrad gpa (which you say is not good) and a grad gpa. From what I understand graduate courses are usually easier to make A's in and so that gpa is much less important to your acceptance to medical school.
     
  6. MissCutie

    MissCutie Senior Member
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    i agree. a post-bacc program is a good option for someone with a really shaky undergrad science background. a masters degree is good to push you over the edge when you're in a borderline position.
     
  7. JJP919

    JJP919 Junior Member
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    Well, it's not really a post-bacc program that I'd be taking. i'd just be taking upper division (3000+ level) undergrad courses from U of U. So it'd basically be me taking these courses on my own as if I were an undergrad. Not part of a program, just taking them.

    Also, 2.6 for anyone wondering. Not even close to what many people would consider borderline.
     
  8. DoctorPardi

    DoctorPardi In Memory of Riley Jane
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    Ok well, with a 2.6 gpa, I would say you need to take a significant load of undergraduate courses. That GPA needs to be at least near 3.1-3.2ish. So I would put off the masters indefinitely until you can raise your gpa above 3.0. You did well on the MCAT and with a 3.2 you could probably get into some places if you apply broadly and are not picky.

    Also make sure you are making only A's, you want to be able to say "well it was tough at first but for the last x years I haven't made a B at all." Another problem is people will question how you did so well at Utah and struggled at Berkley. So you'll need to formulate an answer for this question as well.
     
  9. relentless11

    relentless11 Going broke and loving it
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    If the GPA is 2.6, then I'd go with a post-bacc program and take tons of upper division undergrad courses. Grad GPA is weighted less than undergrad GPA, and MCAT is equally weighted vs. undergrad GPA, thus doing well in one may not make up for the other.

    Although a masters program will yield you a degree, it doesn't neccessarily increase your chances for getting into med school, especially considering your undergrad GPA, even if it was from Cal. Here at UCD, they have said that if you need to boost GPA, then you should do post-bacc. The only caveat is if you do you grad program and take undergrad classes at the same time...this also counts as post-bacc. HOWEVER, you may not have enough time/resources to take enough classes to boost your GPA. I for one had a 2.65 GPA after undergrad, and a 36 on my MCAT as well. I did post-bacc for 1.5 years and got my undergrad GPA up to 2.7 or so. The $$ was too much for me so I continued on with a PhD program. Balancing my grad coursework, and thesis, I can take maybe 1-3 undergrad classes per quarter. At this rate, I will get my GPA up to 2.9-3.0 in 3 years! But for me, I actually like research, wanted a PhD anyway, and need to get my GPA high enough to not be screened out by the UC's.
     
  10. DoctorPardi

    DoctorPardi In Memory of Riley Jane
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    What kind of grades were you making to bring your gpa only up 5 hundreths of a point in 1.5 years? I don't mean that to be rude, I am just curious. I realize that after graduating you will have a lot of classes and positively impacting your gpa will be difficult. I just assumed if you make all A's you should be able to make more than a .05 improvement in a 1.5 year period.
     
  11. TSK

    TSK Senior Member
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    I'm confused, would you be getting a Masters Degree or a Certificare from the Drexel program?

    Either way, I think that you should do the post-bac program as a lot of emphasis is put on your undergraduate GPA. Furthermore, if Drexel does just give you a certificate, by the end of you year, you wouldn't have improved your undergrad GPA as suggested, and you wouldn't have a degree either to boot...

     
  12. defrunner

    defrunner I'm Greased Up
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    Well, I'm doing a master's program in biotechnology myself. Yes, there is grade inflation and while it is easier to get an A in a master's program, it is not like you don't have to work for it. I'd say it's a lot easier to get a B than an A, if you're going to compare it to undergrad. There are minimum standards that you have to maintain if you're in a master's program, meaning you don't have the luxury of getting more than one C and staying in the program, so naturally everyone that stays in the program will have grades of B's or better. So, you do have to work hard to get the A's, but getting below a B means you just didn't do jack. It isn't like schools want you to fail out of master's programs (it reflects badly on them and it is a major money-maker for the school, after all), so if you just put in the time, most likely you can succeed.

    I never really considered doing post-bac myself, even though I graduated undergrad with a deficient GPA myself of 2.85. First, I didn't really know too much about it and from what I thought I knew, I thought that post-bac's in the sciences were designed for people who did not have a science major but wanted to fullfill the prereqs after graduating with an unrelated major (i.e. English). Since one of my majors was biology, I felt that I was therefore ineligible to do that and retake my classes.

    Second, I graduated with two unrelated majors in four years of business and biology. As such, I accumulated ~170 credits during that time so taking more undergrad classes to raise my GPA .25 of a point or more would have been pretty much futile, due to the sheer number of credits I already had.

    Last, I heard that even though schools weigh undergrad GPA more heavily than graduate GPA, they do look favorably upon advanced degrees, especially in the sciences. I may be wrong; it may not impact their decision at all, in which case I'm spending all this money for pretty much nothing. But hey, once I graduate with the advanced degree, at least it will help me find a decent paying job in the biotech/pharma sector in the meantime, while reapplying if I don't get in this cycle, instead of working for crap pay (even though it's a lab tech job and I really enjoy it, it's just too little money -- I hate having to constantly worry about my finances instead of going out, having fun and bringing home the occasional lady for a nightcap. I'm only 23, after all; these are my prime years).

    I mean, really... what can you do with a post-bac or take additional classes, other than use it to get in med school? If you don't get in for the cycle you applied to, then you are stuck in the same position you were upon graduation, but with the caveat being that you will owe even more money.

    I'm going with the MSc degree, because if nothing else, at least I can fall back on that job-wise while reapplying. I already know at this point that it's med school or nothing (meaning I won't pursue any more professional degrees), but I can't afford to go the post-bac route. If med schools can't look past my undergrad grades and see me for the entire applicant that I am (like you, I feel that I am pretty solid overall, other than the aforementioned GPA), then it's not a med school that I will realistically be able to attend anyway, no matter how many more classes I take. I refuse to spend years of my life being a career student and not gain any real work experience at all. If I get rejected based on my grades, then I am prepared for that; it is the grave I dug for myself over the course of undergrad, and there is nothing I can do about that. I don't have the luxury of picking and choosing schools, and my attitude is that I would be blessed to attend any med school in the US (MD or DO). All it takes is one to believe in me. Until then, it's prudent to go with the MSc. It's just the way I'm going and if you want to go take more undergrad classes/post-bac, then that's great for you. Everyone's different.
     
  13. JJP919

    JJP919 Junior Member
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    That's the thing. Attending the U of U ISN'T a post-bacc program. It's just me as a non-matriculant student to take a bunch of classes of my own choosing. Whereas the Drexel program is a degree and a set curriculum, granted it is considered a graduate program.
     
  14. defrunner

    defrunner I'm Greased Up
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    Normally I'd say to do the master's program (and rock the grades), but the certificate at the end is weird, considering that you were accepted into a master's program? If it's just a certificate, then it's really not that much better than the toilet paper that I use. Unless it's the full advanced degree, then there really is no point in going to Drexel, and you might as well just take classes to improve the undergrad GPA. Usually, certifications are just for people already entrenched in the particular career that the certificate is for, and is used as a springboard for higher pay, promotions, perhaps even to a doctorate level. Again, that's just what I know and I could be wrong. I just fail to see how a certificate will help you, considering you just graduated and are (presumably) not yet in forensic science for a career.

    Maybe you should ask your pre-med advisor what s/he thinks is the better avenue to med school. Most likely, s/he can help you more because of an increased familiarity with both your situation and how receptive med schools are to either option.
     
  15. OSUdoc08

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    Post Bacc Pros: Most programs only one year. Courses are often beneficial
    to medical school and actually prepare you and/or improve
    your GPA. Program could be offered at a medical school
    and would actually give you an advantage in the application
    process. Most programs accept the MCAT.

    Post Bacc Cons: If not accepted to medical school, no degree is earned.

    Masters Pros: Degree is earned, which will be useful whether or not you are
    accepted to medical school. Program could be offered at a
    medical school, but there wouldn't be as much of an
    advantage as a post-bacc program.

    Masters Cons: Most programs 2 years. Classes are often unrelated to
    medical school and/or will not prepare you any further. Most
    programs require the GRE.
     
  16. OSUdoc08

    OSUdoc08 Membership Revoked
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    If your MCAT is that good, then you obviously didnt apply to enough medical schools in the first place.
     
  17. GoodDoctor

    GoodDoctor Senior Member
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    Hey, I also went to a UC (Freshman only) and am now at the U. Welcome.

    Here's a an idea I haven't thought through completely. What about doing a second bachelors? I'm not sure exactly how this works, but if my belief is right that you can skip most of the gen ed requirements, you could do one of the majors with lower unit requirements like psych, history, poli sci, behavioral science & health (bsh), etc. I've added a psy double major here and it will only add 38 units and fits my 3 semesters I have left anyway (sum, fall, spring). Some of these majors at the U have really high gpa's. My psy major gives out like 40-50% A's. I just started it, so it hasn't helped me yet, but I already have a 3.8 anyway... so I'm doing it becuase I like it. You could do it because it will help your gpa. The same can be true of bsh and some others. You could maybe do a second bachelors in 2 years while also retaking med school bcmp requirements to also help your science gpa. If you do come here, pm me, and I can give you the low down on the bcmp classes here, and some pre-med friendly classes.
     
  18. relentless11

    relentless11 Going broke and loving it
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    Oh no problem. I think my cumulative post-bacc GPA during those 1.5 years was 3.4, and the number of classes for a total of 9 classes while working, so not much. Hence not increasing my GPA by much. They were mainly biomedical engineering classes since at the time I wanted to do a BME grad program.

    Anyway, since Spring 2005, cumulative UG GPA (UG + Post-bacc) is now a 2.77 with another years worth of post-bacc courses along with my PhD stuff. So slowly but surely;). I think I have like 264 quarter units now...so it'll be a slow process :p
     
  19. JJP919

    JJP919 Junior Member
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    22 schools the first year, 25 schools the 2nd. overlap of maybe 5 schools between years. Any more than that and I felt like I'd be going broke. Not that all of those schools helped me. Also, it is a Master's degree that is granted at the end of the program at Drexel.
     
  20. OSUdoc08

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    I'm willing to bet $50 you didn't apply to any DO schools.
     
  21. JJP919

    JJP919 Junior Member
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    I have no interest in DO schools which is why I didn't apply. Yes, I do understand that they are just as good as MD/allopathic schools, I just don't see the mindset of DO schools being a good fit for me.

    Besides, I'm more wondering about the original post rather than what I applied to and what I didn't apply to.
     
  22. OSUdoc08

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    They tend to go off of personality anyway, so applying my not have helped.....
     
  23. SmartAlek

    SmartAlek Member
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    My situation is almost identical to yours. I opted for a Master's program (MPH in Epidemiology). I'm still in the process of everything (taking MCAT April '07) so I can not definitively say which route is better. However, with a science based bachelors you probably have already taken all of those classes offered in the post-bacc program which are probably best suited for non science majors or those lacking some of the required classes. Although I understand the importance of he the undergrad GPA, I am a fan of moving forward. And as a science major you most likely understand all of the science. I would just focus on doing well in a Master's program while strengthening other areas of your application (research, volunteer, etc.).
     
  24. DoctorPardi

    DoctorPardi In Memory of Riley Jane
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    I agree with this to a degree, but you will want to have a minimum gpa that will get past most school's screenings. 3.0 -3.2 is probably safe territory to say, "Ok I am moving forward and going to get a masters." I think anything below a 3.0 puts you in a situation where schools may not even look at the rest of your application.
     
  25. UMP

    UMP Recovered Under-Achiever
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    ouch... :laugh:
     
  26. UMP

    UMP Recovered Under-Achiever
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    i think if you talk to any ADCOMs they'll generally tell you the same thing... :thumbup:
     
  27. relentless11

    relentless11 Going broke and loving it
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    I agree with what DoctorPardi says, although doing a masters program will make you feel good that you are moving forward, one needs to address ones deficiencies as well. One most note that a post-bacc does not entail being in an official program. Post-bacc merely means courses taken after receiving your bachelors, and in terms of AMCAS, these are undergrad classes. Therefore a person who was previous a science major still has plenty of classes to take.

    I for one was a biochem major, and have now essentially taken courses that would've probably earned me a degree in physiology by now. Despite all that, I have plenty of other subject areas which I can tap into including more chemistry, toxicology, and microbiology.

    Sadly, any amount of research, and volunteering will never make up for a sub-par GPA/MCAT. If GPA rehab is your goal, then a post-bacc program is a must, if not an SMP. A low GPA causes adcoms to worry about your ability do well when faced with the med school curriculum, therefore taking and doing well in courses that are similar (if not the same) as the med school coursework can be VERY helpful. This is why advisors and admissions folk have always recommended taking upper div science classes. This is why SMPs work so well since they essentially have you taking the 1st year med school curriculum. This is also why masters, PhD programs may not help too much with GPA rehab.

    Its great that you to feel like moving forward, but for some people it is not the best option. If it was that easy to make up for my GPA by doing an MPH...then I would've done it. But as our director of admissions said, I need more upper division undergrad classes, and I aim to please...so going to spend my time as a PhD student taking undergrad classes.
     
  28. SmartAlek

    SmartAlek Member
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    Cool, this is good advice and good information to know. Would you say that both science and overall GPA should be brought over the 3.0 mark or would one be more important than the other?
     
  29. SmartAlek

    SmartAlek Member
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  30. DoctorPardi

    DoctorPardi In Memory of Riley Jane
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    I would say, you need both over 3.0. Although I find it would be easier to raise your BCPM, because you will have less credits of BCPM classes than overall credits. This is a good thing, since it is important to show you can excel in science.

    Get out a calculator and figure out how much you can improve your gpa making all A's in a post bacc. See how long it will take you to get to 3.0-3.2, make a goal and shoot for it. Hopefully you can make a significant impact in a year, going full time and taking summer classes.

    Also, I would only take science classes, because they are usually 4 credit hours vs non-science which will be 3 credit hours. This extra hour will make increasing your gpa just a little bit easier.
     
  31. relentless11

    relentless11 Going broke and loving it
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    In my opinion, if you had the option of doing a special masters program, or if you can significantly boost your GPA (say past the 3.0 range) with an official post-bacc program, then I would go for those options.

    The main problem as I have stated is balancing your other academic obligations with your desires to boost your undergrad GPA. I'm getting there, but its rough. I can essentially accomplish my goals in 1.5-2 years if I went full-time and took only upper division undergrad classes. But now I have to prolong it out from 2-3 years. My overall GPA (grad + undergrad + post-bacc) will be at 3.0 within 1.5 years, but as many have pointed out, what counts the most is overall undergrad (undergrad + post-bacc). So like i said, you will boost your undergrad GPA faster if you do post-bacc, at the cost of not getting any degree.

    Now the SMP is a whole different animal. You may get a degree or certification, but like any other masters program, you won't boost your undergrad GPA. The keypoint is the fact that an SMP simulates the first year of med school, and doing well in the SMP = making the adcoms feel better that you can handle med school. So that is another potential route.

    For me, I'm not sure what I am. I am indeed doing a PhD, however my program was originally intended for MSTPs, and VSTPs. Therefore most of our PhD requirements consist of med school/vet school classes. Although not officially a SMP, it sure acts like one. Therefore I now have the choice of just taking med classes (for grade), take undergrad classes (as post-bacc), or do both. I'm not sure what will be better (e.g., more bang for the buck). Anyone have any thoughts?

    Ultimately, if one feels better knowing that there's a degree at the end of the road, then doing a masters program, and taking undergrad classes on the side may be better. I can personally sympathize with those who feel this way since I certainly feel better knowing I'll at least get a masters if not a PhD out of this program. However it does bug me that it will take that long to boost my undergrad GPA up to a 3.01 (last calculations..haha). In the end I stick by my choice, since as an undergrad I was intrigued by MSTPs anyway, so I'm still doing what I want to do, just in a non-MSTP kind of way;).
     
  32. Ebete

    Ebete Senior Member
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    I would call one of your schools of choice and ask for an advisement meeting. Most schools will have you meet with one of the adcom people. They will then review your pre-application (LOR, transcript, personal statement if you have one...and get to know you over all and most importantly why your gpa is non-stellar). They will then advice you on what to do and not to do in order to get in their school. In the end you might meet a few nice people in the process, and hopefully facilitating the process.

    As far as raising your gpa, you're going to take a ton of classes to put a significant dent. I was personally advised to stop taking u/g classes and focus on taking the max allowed grad. classes withwout registering into any degree (so I'm not commited to it for 2 more years). Because I have a great everything (except gpa) all I really need is a 4.0 on any grad level classes I take and a nice MCAT score. Did the first, now working on the MCAT.

    Good luck to you
     
  33. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator
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    the best route to go..by far, is to go for a special masters program. you'll have to take a ridiculous amount of courses to rack up enough credit hours to even bring that over a 3.0 (and thats assuming you pull straight 4.0's). The best thing to do now is to just enroll in a special masters if u get in, then blow it out of the water. Then after a year or two, ull get a masters in physio with direct grades from med school classes that other matriculated M1 students are already taking. (Georgetown, university of cincinnati, drexel IMS, BUMAMS, VCU, Loyola are examples of very good SMP programs) http://services.aamc.org/postbac
     
  34. DoctorPardi

    DoctorPardi In Memory of Riley Jane
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    This is another idea, which I personally did not know much about. It is good to see there is a third option. If your gpa is low and you have a ton of credits, then SMP may very well be your best bet.
     
  35. relentless11

    relentless11 Going broke and loving it
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    I agree that an SMP is the way to go if they are available to you. If not then post-bacc can be a route, or do a masters program that allows you to take med school courses as well. However an official program would be better due to most med schools knowing the curriculum.

    I don't know about that. Our advisors and director of admissions (UC Davis) have said the opposite. This trend is similar at the other schools that i've talked to (UCSF, UCSD, UCI, Stanford, Tulane, Univ. of Wash...and more). As stated MANY times, undergrad GPA >> graduate GPA, hence they encourage doing post-bacc where you take additional UG coursework. SMPs are different since they mimic the first year of med school whereas graduate level coursework can vary in difficulty, and thus may not reflect med level classes.

    If it really was that easy, I would've applied this cycle with my 4.0 and 36 MCAT before it expires next April (lol!). But alas, our director of admissions said that I should focus on upper div UG when possible given that I place priority for finishing my PhD. Lastly, I'm not sure doing a non-degree earning program with grad courses may be the optimal thing to do. A grad degree can only benefit you, and it has been my experience that non-degree earning programs cost more. You are taking up space which student's who are earning a degree need. Here at the University of California, it costs an arm and a leg to do that, and you are limited to 2 grad level classes per quarter. To go beyond, you need to petition. Why would being in a masters-earning program hinder you from taking more classes, especially if you do a masters by exam?
     
  36. Instatewaiter

    Instatewaiter But... there's a troponin
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    I agree that undergraduate GPA is more important than graduate GPA. The problem is that when the damage is done, it is more difficult to fix it than to move on.

    So the OP said something to the effect that he had a 2.6. Assuming he graduated with 120 credits (semester system) to raise that to a 3.0 he needs to take 48 credits and get all A's. That is 1.5 years worth of classes. What's worse is a 3.0 is also not a very good GPA. To be competitive he needs a 3.5. It will take him 216 credits to get to a 3.5 going the Ugrad route. Thats almost 7 years taking 16 credits a semester.

    Personally, I feel like going the SMP or Graduate-level post bac program is the way to go. It allows you to create a marked line between 'you now' and the grades from Ugrad. Furthermore these programs are designed to get people in with lack-luster numbers. Many are linked with medical schools. 16 people from my program got into the associated medical school. Others have even better numbers (apparently georgetown has a good track record) I had a 2.9 in Ugrad and did a grad-level Post-bac program. I got into an MD program without a glide year.

    The good thing about the SMPs and Grad-level programs is that they are cut and dry: do well, you'll get in. It is understood that if you do really well that first semester you will get in. The draw back is that they are much more difficult (in my experience) than undergrad. The undergrad post-bacs are a little less clear. You may be hung out to dry despite a year of 4.0 performance.

    Things may be different from coast to coast. I am just speaking from my experience on the east coast and after speaking with 2 deans of admissions.
     
  37. sunset823

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    This has been a quite enlightening thread, and I thought I'd put in my two cents. I just graduated with my BS as what you may consider a 'borderline' candidate - 3.49 overall GPA, 3.07 BCPM (taking the MCAT in a couple of weeks, scoring in the low 30s on practices) but with a serious positive trend in my junior/senior years; I knew the numbers wouldn't get me into med school, but I kicked ass in my primary major (political science) and will now be going to an Ivy League Masters program in public policy for the next two years, designing my own concentration in biomedical policy. I am going to retake some undergrad classes in chemistry at another nearby school; basically, I am moving on and hoping that med schools don't brand me by what happened five years before I applied.

    So as for the post-bac vs. masters vs. SMP debate; think of how important med school is to you, and where you currently stand for admissions. For me, I am applying to med schools next year (first-time applicant), for Fall 08 admission, but I'm not going to cry/reapply if I don't get in - I will either enter the workforce or get a PhD, because I'm really passionate about what I'm doing. I do want to med school, but it is not my end-all. In this situation, definitely go for an advanced degree; you need something that can carry weight beyond med school admissions.

    However, if a) you have REALLY low numbers, as in, less than a 3.0 overall and b) you cannot imagine yourself doing anything but medicine, go for the post-bacc, and DO WELL in it. I personally know little about this path, but I think it can cancel low grades in prereq classes from the early, immature years of undergrad, and really shows your maturity. But again, since it is just pre-med degree for older candidates, it's going to be of NO use if you don't get into med schools or decide not to apply.

    So, for the (comfortingly good number) of people in this situation, I'd say move forward and just make yourself stand out; whether this is through canceling out a 2.6 ug science with a 3.8 bcpm, or just doing a unique grad degree.
     
  38. SmartAlek

    SmartAlek Member
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    Yes, I agree. I was saying the same thing to a friend the other day. It depends on your situation, what you want, and what you are willing to do to get it. It would be wonderful to become a doctor. However, I feel that it is important for me to move forward because I believe that I have the potential to do well and affect change in any area I choose for a career. If it should be medicine, great. If not, then--in a way--that's great too.
     
  39. RaaMD

    RaaMD Caffeine Addict
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    I have a question. If you do well in an SMP, does that help you get through the initial GPA screenings despite a low GPA? Thanks.
     
  40. relentless11

    relentless11 Going broke and loving it
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    It really depends on the school. The school has the right to say that the classes covered in the SMP is not comparable to their own standards, and/or still consider undergrad GPA to be a stronger indicator of success than an SMP. However I would speculate that the vast majority of schools would see a good GPA from an SMP as something worthy of further investigation, and thus give you a secondary to see where things go.

    Anyway, schools that screen GPA usually have a policy for reviewing an application in more detail when there is indication that the undergrad GPA/MCAT scores were not representative of the person's ability, such as a person who had done very well in an SMP program.

    However this situation that you speak of us quite rare, considering most GPA cut-offs are from a 3.0-3.2. If your GPA was below that, you would have a hard time getting into an SMP anyway. SMP's and official post-bacc programs are often very competative, and thus to get in, you need to have a GPA higher than the actual required GPA, and/or show a significant trend of recent academic success. In all honesty, an SMP's like those offered at Georgetown probably wouldn't want to risk wasting space on somehow who didn't prove themselves academically in the first place (e.g., <3.0) for obvious reasons. Med school classes are harder than undergrad, and if the person manages to maintain a 3.0 GPA in the SMP, then thats not really encouraging either since a B at the graduate level is pretty close to failing.
     
  41. RokChalkJayhawk

    RokChalkJayhawk Muck Fizzou
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    40-50% A's?!?!?!

    I wish I went to that school.
     
  42. RokChalkJayhawk

    RokChalkJayhawk Muck Fizzou
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    A last resort is to go to a Carib. school. I know, I know, it sounds awful, but more good doctors come out of places like that than you think. That 36 though should look awfully appetizing to an adcom though if you spend a year nailing courses in a postbacc program. You'd be above the average for every UC.
     
  43. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    OP- go to a postbac, not a masters. A masters makes a nice supplement to your undergrad, but is not a substitute. Since your undergrad is way below the norm, you need to raise it. Forego the masters for now.
     
  44. relentless11

    relentless11 Going broke and loving it
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    By the way, some schools will not readily grant you admission for a second bachelors degree. At UC (e.g., UC Davis), you need special permission from the dean to get into the College of A&ES. For the College of Engineering, you need to have already completed the lower div requirements for the engineering degree AND your previous major was not something in engineering. Lastly both the College of L&S and College of Bio Sci flat out don't take anyone seeking a second degree. Again, this is for those who have already earned a bachelors degree. If you are currently enrolled at a UC, and want to double major, then that is no problem.
     
  45. eternalrage

    eternalrage Even Kal has bad days...
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    I'd say it really depends on the Master's program. If its in something that isn't basic sciences, it will be irrelevant. An SMP is a great idea. There are programs like at Georgetown where you do a year of coursework with med students (i think) and at the end you get a guaranteed interview.

    At JHU I took a graduate program at the school of public health for biochem and molecular biology and came out with a 4.0 in a curriculum of only science courses. Much better than just several post bacc courses. I don't really know what Forensic Science curriculum would look like, but like everyone has said, it comes down to either raising your undergrad GPA, or making adcoms see you can do a rigorous courseload. I suppose with a 2.6, the former is the better choice.

    But SMPs aren't guaranteed wins... this one student came to speak at a premed meeting who had done an SMP at Hopkins, the one at Georgetown, and then a full masters program and didn't get in through 3 app cycles.
     
  46. 91946

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    I have a question about the upward trend of GPA. Does it really matter? I didnt really have one. My gpa fluctuated all four years of undergrad. I had straight A's and also straight B's through 4 years. I didnt get in this cycle and I'm a little bit worry that it will keep me from getting when I reapply this year. I'm attending the Georgetown SMP this year to raise my stat a bit.
     

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