JJP919

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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.
 

etf

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i've got the exact same degree and the exact same problem, so i'm anxious to see what other people are saying...
 

Surg Path

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Hope you don;t mind me asking, but how low of a GPA are you talking?

JJP919 said:
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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CatsandCradles

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JJP919 said:
Considering that you are from UC Berkley and have a 36 MCAT...then I imagine those classes you took at UCB must have been really really hard.

Good grief that must have been a lot of hard work! :eek:

I wish you the best man :thumbup:
 

ceberzof

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Since you have already taken most of the courses you would take in a true post bacc program the Master's degree would be the way to go. I was in a similar situation and did the Masters program at Johns Hopkins and got into medical school. Most post bacc programs would not except me because I had taken all of the classes they offered. If you get a Masters you can use that to get a job in case the unfortunate occurs. Good Luck with you decision.
 

Mooby

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As far as I've heard, Master's Program grades don't really count for that much given that admission statistics are still based on undergrad. I know people with 3.95 masters of medical sciences who were told that their undergraduate performance was too poor. That person graduated college in '99, but I think it probably hasn't changed much.

I'd say only do a master's program if there's an associated "Linkage" program or guaranteed interviews, usually with Masters GPA and MCAT requirements. The masters is good, however, if neurobiology is a passion of yours and you'd consider pursuing it as a backup plan to medicine.

The Drexel program sounds good if it guarantee's an interview. They have to put some faith in their own programs afterall and take someone who show's a lot of promise from them.

GL :luck:
 

minerva7

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I am in a similar situation too. I majored in biological sciences. My gpa and mcat were both good (not great, but good), I had good clinicals, some volunteer, and limited research. Some of the admissions officers who were willing to speak to me said they thought my numbers looked good and couldn't understand why I didn't get accepted. I can increase volunteer work, but I'm not sure what to do about the rest. I am trying to choose between a special masters program (interview guaranteed if you maintain a certain gpa) or an MPH. Does anyone know how medical admissions view grades from an MPH versus grades from a special masters? Do the programs help with interview skills?
 

dr. dreigh

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JJP919 said:
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.
I graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.S. in Chemistry. I am also in a situation where it is obvious that my low gpa is what prevented me from getting accepted or even getting an interview from any medical schools. I have spoken with several admissions counselors at the med schools, and they have told me the same thing: raise up my science gpa.

I applied to Drexel's IMS program but was rejected after an interview. Last week, they offered me an interview for their MFS program. I have yet to schedule the interview. Because I plan to reapply to medical school in June 2007, my original plan was to take upper div classes at a CA state university for two semesters. I would also retake my MCAT in April 2007.

However, if I decide to interview for Drexel's MFS program and get accepted, I would plan to apply in June 2008 and take the MCAT in April 2008. My questions are:

1. Do you know how many students in the MFS program apply to med school while they are still in the program?
2. Are students able to study for a spring MCAT during the last quarter(s) of the MFS program?
3. How do med schools view the coursework and science classes of the MFS in terms of being valid and worth the time to raise a low undergrad science gpa?
4. Are there any linkages or guarantees to interview with Drexel's med school if a certain gpa is attained?

I know that I haven't even gotten as far as scheduling my interview but getting these questions answered ASAP would definitely help me in making some deicisions.

Basically am I better off creating my own informal post bac program by taking upper div courses for a year at a CA state university or would I be better off doing an MFS program (if I am accepted)? I would really appreciate any feedback or even updates with your situation. Please let me know what you have found out with the undergrad vs. grad gpa. Thanks for your help!
 

mommy2three

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if you would have asked me a year ago i would have told you that smp's were the way to go....today i will tell you to run as fast as you can away from a smp.
i was in a similar situation, my overall undergrad gpa was low a post bacc would not help me as i had all my pre-reqs with good grades and i had a LOT of credit hours, my science gpa was good and i had a lower mcat but still acceptable.
after applying and getting not a single interview from anywhere i talked to numerous ad reps who all told me the same thing....i needed to get a good gpa somewhere. since i could not do it with my undergrad they recommended i seriously consider a master's program. they told me by getting my masters degree i accomplished two things: 1. i raised my gpa (since grad is calculated separately from undergrad and 2. i proved to them that i could "handle" med school classes (since they are the equiv of grad level). so off i went to search out masters programs. ended up getting a last minute acceptance here in chicago to a smp and thought it was the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me. i studied my behind off last year and i ended up missing the gpa cutoff by 1 question on one of my finals. trust me when i say i never took anything for granted...i studied my tush off for every single week i was in class and i still did not make it.
now i have since talked to numerous deans of admissions in chicago area to figure out how my failure to complete this program would play out in the application process and they have all told me the same thing. it is going to hurt me. one of them even went so far as to tell me that students like me who do not make it for whatever reason are the reason she tells people who are considering smp's to run as fast as they can away from them and pursue a regular grad masters instead. you have to realize that you may fall into the small number who do not complete the program...you may fall on the wrong side of the stats. and now i am at a competitive disadvantage compared to people who are coming from grad programs with 3.5 gpas because mine is not near that (even though the classes i took are more difficult than classes found in a traditional grad program). so now on top of the other things i had stacked against me i have a low grad gpa which i have to take the next year to raise.
sad but true that for most adcoms it comes down to numbers...and if you enter these programs you run a very real risk of hurting your numbers, yes you can also help them.
this is jmho based on my personal experience...feel free to take it with a grain of salt.
 

Mleung39

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Hey guys,
I was in a similar situation (low GPA, decent everything else) but i decided to do the Post-bac route and it's a good payoff. 9 of us got into the UC Davis Post bac last year and out of the 4 that decided to apply for this Fall of 2006 got in somewhere. I'm actually applying now and with more confidence. The director of admission here told me that Masters granting programs don't count towards your undergrad GPA and therefore is pretty useless in applying for medical school. They said they prefer someone do a traditional post bac to raise their GPA instead of getting into a masters program, etc. We even had a person in my group with a MPH but sh said it didn't help her the first time with applying to med schools cause her undergrad GPA was low.
Hope it helps.
 

dr. dreigh

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Mleung39 said:
Hey guys,
I was in a similar situation (low GPA, decent everything else) but i decided to do the Post-bac route and it's a good payoff. 9 of us got into the UC Davis Post bac last year and out of the 4 that decided to apply for this Fall of 2006 got in somewhere. I'm actually applying now and with more confidence. The director of admission here told me that Masters granting programs don't count towards your undergrad GPA and therefore is pretty useless in applying for medical school. They said they prefer someone do a traditional post bac to raise their GPA instead of getting into a masters program, etc. We even had a person in my group with a MPH but sh said it didn't help her the first time with applying to med schools cause her undergrad GPA was low.
Hope it helps.
Thanks for the feedback. So basically, if the goal is to improve a low undergrad gpa, taking post-bac classes (formal or informal) would be better than getting good grades in a masters program. Is that right? For me, I think I was drawn to the idea of getting an additional degree that would eventually help me if medical school didn't work out. Well I guess it's all about being patient and doing what is best for right now.

So upon completion of the UC Davis post-bac program, do they grant you a certificate? How long was the program and how did you like it? I know it's probably too late to apply, but your feedback will help me for next year. Thank again!
 

EM2BE

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dr. dreigh said:
Thanks for the feedback. So basically, if the goal is to improve a low undergrad gpa, taking post-bac classes (formal or informal) would be better than getting good grades in a masters program. Is that right? For me, I think I was drawn to the idea of getting an additional degree that would eventually help me if medical school didn't work out. Well I guess it's all about being patient and doing what is best for right now.

So upon completion of the UC Davis post-bac program, do they grant you a certificate? How long was the program and how did you like it? I know it's probably too late to apply, but your feedback will help me for next year. Thank again!
I wandered onto this thread out of curiosity. I think with a GPA at that level, you will have to take a few years of classes to raise it to a decent level (because of the weighted grades). You will be better off doing a master's degree, especially if you do the masters at a school that also has a medical school. If anything, the masters degree will give you a back-up plan if things don't work out with med school. Have you tried to apply to DO and MD schools? I did a masters degree between my undergrad degree and getting into med school. Even if I didn't get in, I would not regret the year I spent on the masters. If any of you have any further questions, feel free to pm me. I will get those, but I can't guarantee I will have the time to check this thread often. Good luck to all of you! :thumbup:
 

dr. dreigh

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HIANMI said:
I wandered onto this thread out of curiosity. I think with a GPA at that level, you will have to take a few years of classes to raise it to a decent level (because of the weighted grades). You will be better off doing a master's degree, especially if you do the masters at a school that also has a medical school. If anything, the masters degree will give you a back-up plan if things don't work out with med school. Have you tried to apply to DO and MD schools? I did a masters degree between my undergrad degree and getting into med school. Even if I didn't get in, I would not regret the year I spent on the masters. If any of you have any further questions, feel free to pm me. I will get those, but I can't guarantee I will have the time to check this thread often. Good luck to all of you! :thumbup:
Thank you for the feedback. How low was your undergrad gpa? I have a 3.1 undergrad sci. All the admissions counselors have told me to raise that by taking more upper div/ grad level courses through a formal/informal postbac program. I applied to only MD schools but plan to apply to both MD and DO schools next time. What did you get your masters in and how long was the program? Thanks again.
 

Touchdown

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For the flip side of mommy 2 three:

Graduated from ND with a double degree in History and Pre Med
GPA: 3.2
MCAT:32

2 interviews, one waitlist no acceptance.

Do Georgetown SMP do good but not great (all Ps in the med school classes)

6 interviews, 5 waitlist, one acceptance.

Lets face it folks its a crap shoot, pick something, try your best, nail your inteview and pray thats enough; its the only thing you can do.
 

redsoxfan

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You can do an unofficial post-bac and just take a bunch of undergrad level science classes, since these would factor into your AMCAS undergrad GPA. otherwise, most schools won't even consider u w/a GPA below 3.0. i would scratch the masters or certificate program u mentioned. u could also do something like G-town SMP or BU post-bac program. these are your best bet for getting in somewhere, given your stats.
 

Instatewaiter

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I have posted this a lot but I figure it's applicable here:

My stats:
Ugrad GPA 2.8, MCAT 33. 1 Year of MCV/VCU grad-level certificate program w/ GPA of 3.86 (4.0 first semester). Accepted to MCV w/o a glide year.


As to formal vs informal programs:
Formal programs give you the benefit of a help network and many times an associated medical school. I am unsure of the stats for people who do their own post-bac course work but I am confident the stats are better for those in a designated program. I am curious to hear from those who have gotten in after doing it themselves since I am skeptical that there are many out there who have gotten in. So if you are reading this & you got into med school after doing your own post-bac work, please chime in.

SMP vs more Ugrad
The SMPs/grad programs give you the advantage of creating a distinct line between the you of undergrad (with the crappy GPA) and the you of grad school (with a great GPA, hopefully). With good grades in an SMP you can show how you are a different person from the undergrad performance. Improving the Ugrad GPA is also a good way to go but may require a significant amount of course work to make a decent dent in the Ugrad GPA, esecially for those with GPAs around 3.0. SMPs also will help you while you are in medical school. You will have an easier transition into med school and you will have taken much of the first year course work. SMPs do carry a level of danger; if you do poorly, you may ruin your chances of ever getting into med school. It basically confirms the AdCom's fears that you will be unable to do well at the level of med school.

So for those with marginal GPAs around 3.3 or above, more high level courses may be the answer; you need fewer courses to bring up that GPA and you do not risk doing poorly in an SMP.

For those with low GPAs (3.1 or lower) an SMP/grad degree may be your only legitimate chance. If you graduated w/ a 3.1 (@ 120 credits) it would take 96 more undergrad credits of A's to bring you up to a 3.5.
 
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