HopingtoHeal

10+ Year Member
Nov 2, 2008
12
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Hello, I recently made a post inquiring about a possible route for me into a US MD program, and have come up with a plan.

My background: I recently graduated with a B.A. in English and a 2.95 GPA. However, the last two years I have received all As and A-, it is early in my academic career that I shot my GPA in the foot. I received 2 Fs that I have since retaken in Accounting and Business Statistics, and a D+ in another random class.

I am planning to pursue a second Bachelors in Biology or Biochemistry as opposed to a post-bac for a couple of reasons:
1.) More credits, meaning a greater increase in my UG GPA.
2.) More upper-level sciences, which I believe will be more effective in proving my dedication to the profession.
3.) More opportunities for research.
4.) More opportunities for volunteering.

Up to this point I have taken NONE of the pre-reqs, so my BCPM GPA will be easily elevated.

What do you guys think about this plan?

Thanks in advance for your responses!
 

DrChuck24

~Keeping Faith~
10+ Year Member
Feb 24, 2008
435
0
NJ
Status
Pre-Medical
well do you really want to pursue an entire second degree..thats another four years that you necessarily wont have to do since your GPA is borderline near a 3.0...you can possibly be able to enroll into a program for the next fall semester..a lot of these post bac programs also allow some time for you to shadow and gain volunteer experience. The best part about it all is the opportunity to apply for a linkage to a medical school..

http://services.aamc.org/postbac/
go onto this website and find the entire list of postbac programs in the US (of course there are some not listed..but whatever)

do some research and call the schools so that you can get more details..

and i assuming that since you wont be in school during the spring, why not volunteer at your local hospital?? do some community service?? try to shadow a doctor??
 

HopingtoHeal

10+ Year Member
Nov 2, 2008
12
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I don't believe another degree would take me 4 years, as I would be able to transfer a substantial number of units. I will be taking classes at a CC this winter and spring, though not any of the pre-reqs (mostly math), and will also be volunteering during this time. I just don't think a post bac program will allow me to take enough classes to significantly affect my GPA, whereas another degree will.

well do you really want to pursue an entire second degree..thats another four years that you necessarily wont have to do since your GPA is borderline near a 3.0...you can possibly be able to enroll into a program for the next fall semester..a lot of these post bac programs also allow some time for you to shadow and gain volunteer experience. The best part about it all is the opportunity to apply for a linkage to a medical school..

http://services.aamc.org/postbac/
go onto this website and find the entire list of postbac programs in the US (of course there are some not listed..but whatever)

do some research and call the schools so that you can get more details..

and i assuming that since you wont be in school during the spring, why not volunteer at your local hospital?? do some community service?? try to shadow a doctor??
 
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Mobius1985

10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2007
3,484
2
Hi HopingtoHeal,

I like your plan. I am an advocate of the do-it-yourself postbac, which is what you'd be doing, rather than taking a very-expensive formal postbac program. The advantage of going for a second bachelors degree is that you'll have priority registering for classes. Also, you can take classes at your own pace, rather than forcing yourself into an expected sequence. There is no point in taking a huge load of classes and getting some Bs. Every extra class you taking without earning an A will set back your redemption plan.

Looking at the numbers (and assuming you have 120 hours already):
1) If you take an additional 60 hours of classes, earning a 4.0, your GPA will be 3.3
2) If you take 30 more hours (90 total) your GPA will be 3.4
3) If you take 30 more (120 total) your GPA will be 3.475

I am not suggesting you will need to take 4 more years of classes. In fact, you don't need to finish the second bachelors degree, as you already have the first one, if an acceptance comes your way.

Considering you already have two years of a very high GPA, you may only need to do two full-time years in addition, as some adcomms will look at your grade trends and see that you've done very well for four years.

Another thing yoiu might want to do to ensure a med school will want you, is to have something amazing among your ECs. I don't mean a 1000 hours volunteering in a clinical setting (though dedication in that arena helps). I mean, eg, that you should have outstanding research, where you come up with an idea on your own, get the funding, carry through successfully, and it's publication-worthy. Or, if it's more your forte, have an outstanding leadership experience, like designing a program and carrying it out (like a diabetic management plan)and organizing others to help you, or starting an organization that raises lots of money for a purpose you are passionate about, or getting lots of docs to sign up to work in a free clinic and then being the administrator of the clinic (with your first bachelors, stuff like this should be possible for you). These are some I've read about here on SDN that I thought gave a WOW! factor to an application. Anyone can be president of a student club (and if you REALLY act as a leader and pave new ground, this is fine), but think outside the box and you can help redeem that low GPA.

Lastly, learn the prerequisite material well enough to get a great score on the MCAT. This will force adcomms to look at the entire application and appreciate all you have to offer, and how hard you've worked to become a good candidate for admission.
 

HopingtoHeal

10+ Year Member
Nov 2, 2008
12
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks for the suggestions, Mobius!

Hi HopingtoHeal,

I like your plan. I am an advocate of the do-it-yourself postbac, which is what you'd be doing, rather than taking a very-expensive formal postbac program. The advantage of going for a second bachelors degree is that you'll have priority registering for classes. Also, you can take classes at your own pace, rather than forcing yourself into an expected sequence. There is no point in taking a huge load of classes and getting some Bs. Every extra class you taking without earning an A will set back your redemption plan.

Looking at the numbers (and assuming you have 120 hours already):
1) If you take an additional 60 hours of classes, earning a 4.0, your GPA will be 3.3
2) If you take 30 more hours (90 total) your GPA will be 3.4
3) If you take 30 more (120 total) your GPA will be 3.475

I am not suggesting you will need to take 4 more years of classes. In fact, you don't need to finish the second bachelors degree, as you already have the first one, if an acceptance comes your way.

Considering you already have two years of a very high GPA, you may only need to do two full-time years in addition, as some adcomms will look at your grade trends and see that you've done very well for four years.

Another thing yoiu might want to do to ensure a med school will want you, is to have something amazing among your ECs. I don't mean a 1000 hours volunteering in a clinical setting (though dedication in that arena helps). I mean, eg, that you should have outstanding research, where you come up with an idea on your own, get the funding, carry through successfully, and it's publication-worthy. Or, if it's more your forte, have an outstanding leadership experience, like designing a program and carrying it out (like a diabetic management plan)and organizing others to help you, or starting an organization that raises lots of money for a purpose you are passionate about, or getting lots of docs to sign up to work in a free clinic and then being the administrator of the clinic (with your first bachelors, stuff like this should be possible for you). These are some I've read about here on SDN that I thought gave a WOW! factor to an application. Anyone can be president of a student club (and if you REALLY act as a leader and pave new ground, this is fine), but think outside the box and you can help redeem that low GPA.

Lastly, learn the prerequisite material well enough to get a great score on the MCAT. This will force adcomms to look at the entire application and appreciate all you have to offer, and how hard you've worked to become a good candidate for admission.
 

HopingtoHeal

10+ Year Member
Nov 2, 2008
12
0
Status
Pre-Medical
One more question:
Assuming I do very well in my second degree (>3.8), do you think this will overshadow my low English GPA, even if my cumulative GPA only raises to ~3.3? Also, I am planning to secure some solid ECs, such as clinical exposure, shadowing, and research experience.
 

mp1106

10+ Year Member
Oct 3, 2008
62
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Ok. If I were in your shoes. I would complete the premed requirements and use that as an opportunity to raise my GPA in the mean time I would volunteer for the RED CROSS or some thing like that. Also work on getting at least a 30+ on the MCAT. I really don't think it is necessary for you to get a another Bach. degree. Have you thought about a health related master degree instead? While you get your pre-requisite together you could do that? Juts in case you don't get into medical school you will always have a master degree that you can put to good use. And having a masters degree in a health related field (ie. PA) might give you an edge over your peers when you apply to med school, a bach. not so much.


I hope I was helpful. Good luck.
 

jrock805

10+ Year Member
Apr 19, 2007
10
0
Status
Pre-Medical
2 years (60+ hours) of 3.90 post-bac brought my cGPA including undergrad from a 2.82 to a 3.14... (I took a lot of P/F units that did not affect GPA) and I hit a 34S.

I had some very unique ECs (during the 4 years in between BA and post-bac) to round out my app, which I think helped me stand out. So far out of 26 secondaries, I have 2 hold-for-interviews and one interview (incidentally at my top choice)...

I'll let you know how it goes for me, but if med school asap is your goal I agree you do not need a second bachelors to be competitive, but you should have some added value (either a masters or some strong real-world experience)...
 

HopingtoHeal

10+ Year Member
Nov 2, 2008
12
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I am contemplating how to best explain my low beginning GPA to the adcoms, and need a bit of advice. For my first two years of college I focused more on mixed martial arts (I am a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt), and teaching my craft to others (which took up about ~25-30 hrs/week) as opposed to school. I competed in many tournaments, and also a number of cage-fighting exhibitions. Should I say this explicitly in my essay, or downplay it a bit due to a stigma I believe is attached to combat sports as a whole. During this time I travelled to Brazil quite often, and as a result my schooling sufferred. What do you guys think?
Thanks!
 

Mobius1985

10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2007
3,484
2
One more question:
Assuming I do very well in my second degree (>3.8), do you think this will overshadow my low English GPA, even if my cumulative GPA only raises to ~3.3?
Yes. It will also help if the rest of the application is as solid as possible, so your plan for ECs is good.
 

Mobius1985

10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2007
3,484
2
Specific questions if anyone has any advice/answers...

1. Retake Financial Accounting or chalk it up as a huge mistake? If I am correct, it will not be removed from calculations. Will schools really care that I can write a balance sheet or should I spend that time continuing with upper level BCPMs.

2. Other ECs outside of clinical experience (which I have plenty of as noted above). I'm assuming some research or shadowing couldn't hurt, correct? I also want to get involved in some under-privilege work around Newark, NJ.

3. Any advice on how to not drive yourself absolutely nuts? I mean I exercise a good amount, eat healthy, sleep well - but this is going to be a very difficult next 18 months. Don't get me wrong - I'm excited as hell, but just trying to take it one step at a time, too.
.
Hi WF04,

1) I think it's OK to let the bad accounting grade go unredeemed. It will be included in your GPA. And you'd be just as well off averaging it with a BCPM class you enjoy and do well in, as by repeating the class.

2) Research will increase the number of schools willing to consider you. Shadowing is definitely a good idea, unless you had a lot of interactions with docs in the ER that you can tell stories about. Your clinical experience is great. You didn't mention everything, but recall that adcomms will want to see evidence of leadership and teamwork. Doing work with the poor will add to the demonstrated altruism indicated by your previous volunteerism.

3) It's good you anticipate the coming stress, and a healthy, regular lifestyle will help to alleviate that. I particularly depend on running, time set aside for friends or a good novel, and, alas, interacting with others on SDN. Try not to get addicted to this place. It can be distracting.
 

Mobius1985

10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2007
3,484
2
yeah, I'd retake Calc I, too, if I were you, since it's a common prerequisite. The other option is to take Calc II and get an A, but I think it's easier to just retake.

I think research can be pretty interesting. It's actually good for three birds, as you can get a great Letter of Reference from the Principal Investigator, who'll get to know you well.

I did a half-marathon this year, too. Black toe nails anyone?
 
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