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Postbac/Master's???

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by yoyoyoyoyoyo12, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. yoyoyoyoyoyo12

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    What's the difference? I will be graduating from undergrad in 3 years with a relatively low gpa...should I stay my last year in undergrad to pull it up as much as possible? Or would doing really well in a Master's program diminish that anyway?
     
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  3. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    One ends up with a degree, the other doesn't.

    A post-bac also improve your undergraduate GPA, so if you're going to stay in school to improve a poor undergrad GPA, that's probably the way to go.

    Doing well in a Masters is good, but it doesn't improve your undergrad GPA. The positive side of graduate school is that you can often get it paid for, and you'll usually get research experience and publications out of that experience.
     
  4. Forthegood

    Forthegood ProcrastinationAficionado
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    You are going to graduate in THREE years??? That's kind of a long time... if you work at it, you can probably pull up your GPA now.

    Unless your just planning on having a low GPA in 3 years. In which case, wtf?
     
  5. yoyoyoyoyoyo12

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    no i'm in my third year right now. i will be graduating next semester with a major in bio and a minor if everything works out. but i should stay and pull up my undergrad gpa? would doing well in the master's give me that same chance though?
     
  6. Mobius1985

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    How low is a "relatively low" GPA?
     
  7. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    doing well in a masters can help, but it's generally thought to not be as impressive as a solid post-bac performance, for some insane reason.

    you can be taking the exact same courses, but they prefer post-bac grades.
     
  8. yoyoyoyoyoyo12

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    3.1 but i have one more semester so hopefully 3.2? if thats possible?
     
  9. yoyoyoyoyoyo12

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    and i thought the masters was preferred to a postbac because of thesis, they look highly upon research experience?
     
  10. WeAreNotRobots

    WeAreNotRobots doctor of medicine
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    just stay a fourth year. it will save you time (applying), money (applying, and postbacc's are costly), and aggravation (your relatively low GPA may be a hindrance getting accepted). plus you can keep your same group of friends and classmates.
     
  11. 236116

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    stay. 3.2 is a killer.
     
  12. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    the research experience will help, but I don't think it will overcome a poor undergrad GPA.

    for what it's worth, I was in the same position you're in. going into my senior year, I had a 3.1 GPA and ended up going into a Master's program. I did very well in it but did not get any publications or do a thesis. Interviewers always seemed impressed by my graduate experience, but I don't know if it would have been as good or better to do a post-bac instead.

    Either way, I'm glad I went with a Masters because it gave me another degree and more job opportunities.
     
  13. yoyoyoyoyoyo12

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    okay but realistically evne staying one extra year would only grant me about 3.3 at most...is this worth it? (the masters program im looking at is the same price as a year of where i go to undergrad so its the same thing for me im not so worried about money)
     
  14. Aladdin

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    Not necessarily.
    1)The post-bacc program at Georgetown yields a degree. For the most part, you are right, but not for all programs.

    2) Most post-bacc programs are graduate level courses so they do not change your undergraduate GPA. However, a stellar graduate GPA will strongly offset the UG GPA. (I graduated college with a 3.4 overall and ~3.0 BCPM. I took a year to take more undergraduate level courses to help my UG gpa and pulled the BCPM to about a 3.4. Am now doing a post-bacc year)

    Another point to make is that some post-bacc programs (for example at MCV/VCU in Richmond) can transition into a masters after an unsuccessful application attempt during the post-bacc year. For example, if you apply while doing your post-bacc work at VCU and you do not get in, you can apply for the masters and finish it in the following year. Essentially, it allows you to do something with your post-bacc year if you do not gain admission to medical school. I know there are a few other schools like that, but I'm not sure which ones...

    Hope this helps.
     
  15. yoyoyoyoyoyo12

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    the majority of my classes from undergrad have fallen into BCPM since I came in with APs that didnt require me to take all the other requirements that typically come with each major, so im lookin at like 3.1 cum but 3.0 BCPM...would doing well in graduate level courses be looked highly upon? and some master's programs allow students to take medical school courses...so if this is the case and you do well could this potentially still give me a shot at us md schools?
     
  16. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    what degree does the Georgetown program give you?
     
  17. 236116

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    bare minumum is 3.5 for competition. that's 84 undergrad hours of A's.
     
  18. Aladdin

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    M.S. in Biophysics and Physiology
     
  19. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    That would make it a masters/graduate program, would it not?

    It's my understanding that post-bac means you take additional courses after graduating with a bachelors, and the credits do not count towards any degree program.
     
  20. RoyBasch

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    yoyo, although research experience is looked favorably upon, the medical school admissions process--or so I understand it--is somewhat "tiered" inasmuch as if you do not have a decent GPA and MCAT score your application will not get a second look. Thus, the first order of business is boost your UNDERGRADUATE GPA (note, your masters classes WILL NOT count towards your GPA) and undergraduate GPA is the primary GPA looked at by medical schools.

    Once you have at least a 3.4 uGPA (and a 3.5+ is strongly preferred) and a 28+ MCAT you can begin working on the other extra curricular sides of your application. Note these "Stats" I am giving you are the lower limits, you should shoot for higher. Take a second science major or something and stay a 4th year of undergrad, if your GPA still isn't high enough then, perhaps then, start looking into a post-bac.

    You should note that you can do research as an undergrad, especially as an upperclassman who has a lot of science coursework experience under their belt already. My personal recommendation is stay a 4th year and try to get a part-time volunteer or paid position in a professor's lab so you can do research and work on your uGPA without having to apply and pay more for a post-bac.
    -Roy
     
  21. Aladdin

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    Well, the post-bacc program I am in allows you to use the credits towards a master's degree if you wish. I think it just depends on the school. The Georgetown program is called a "Special Master's Program." It is considered a "post-bacc" because there is no research involved (as there is with normal masters) and it is only a year long.
     
  22. diosa428

    diosa428 SDN Angel
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    SMPs are structured a little differently than typical postbac programs in that you are given difficult upper level coursework, and sometimes take actual classes with medical students. They are designed for students who want to go to medical school and have a poor GPA and need to prove that they can handle upper level courses. Many of them (especially well known ones) have a reputation for being able to get students in somewhere, at least.

    A Master's degree in and of itself is really not worth it unless you truly have an interest in the subject and somehow see it affecting your career (ie, MPH if you have an interest in public health). However, as already mentioned, a good graduate GPA will make up for your undergrad GPA only to some extent. It helps if you've taken several years off and done some impressive stuff in the meantime. A 4.0 grad GPA might make a school look at you twice, despite a poor undergrad performance, but it's not going to get you into a top ten/big name/whatever if your undergrad GPA is a 3.0.

    A postbac will bring up your undergrad GPA (which is often a better route than a Master's) but they are expensive. You'd be better off staying in school for an extra year and trying to bring your GPA up that way. Even if you end up needing to enroll in a Master's program or SMP, the higher your undergrad GPA is when you apply, the better.
     
  23. slowbutsteady

    slowbutsteady slowbutsteady
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    I have read about a trillion mdapps and have yet to see anyone benefit from graduate work -- especially to "offset" a weak GPA.

    A's in post bacc undergrad courses don't just look good, they actually raise your GPA. You are always better off if you can add objectively, rather than just subjectively, to your record.
     
  24. yoyoyoyoyoyo12

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    the masters i was looking at is a postbac thats geared towards premed/predental students, you take classes with med students to 'prove' yourself as you said, only it awards a masters upon completion - with research if you choose to do a thesis. regardless, i'm gonna end up having to do some type of special masters/postbacc since even if i do stay the extra year the highest my undergrad gpa is gona be is 3.3/3.4, but i guess thats what everyone suggests as the best route?
     
  25. Mobius1985

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    If you get straight As next semester you could have a GPA of 3.25. After an additional year it could be 3.44. And if you stay at your undergrad school five years total, you could get your GPA up to 3.55. Then an MCAT of 31-32 could make you competitive.
     
  26. RoyBasch

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    Also, if you have the upward trend! A lower GPA overall is less damaging if your last two years of undergrad are a GPA of 3.8+
    -Roy
     
  27. arhorton84

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    so would you suggest taking all the classes over that I got a C in to boost G.P.A instead of Masters. I'm in a leaking boat uGPA 3.3/Science 3.0? Is that ridiculous? I'm freaking with indecision:scared:
     
  28. 236116

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    no. take upper levels to show you know what you're doing.
     
  29. Mobius1985

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    Doing both is fine, too.
     
  30. NiCad089

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    Do the masters program. If you can pull a good GPA it shows that you are ready for graduate level work.
    Yay for 3 year undergrads!!
     
  31. njbmd

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    A couple of issues here:

    One of the main criteria for acceptance into medical school is undergraduate GPA (uGPA). A graduate degree or graduate work does not offset or change your uGPA. The special masters programs (SMPs) such as Georgetown's do allow you to take many of the same classes as the (Georgetown) medical students but you have to perform well in these programs. To turn in a mediocre performance can tank your application to any medical school.

    SMPs are also very expensive and thus add to your debt load. You need to keep this in mind especially if your SMP is located in a city where the cost of living is high. You will not be able to work and you will have to be ready to devote your full attention to your studies. That being said, a strong performance in an SMP can make your application more competitive for medical school but they won't raise your uGPA (in other words, at schools that screen by uGPA, you will still be out of options).

    Post bacc work will raise your uGPA but the process is long and is even longer if you have loads of hours and a low uGPA. If you are ready for the long haul and have a source of income/finance, this may be a good option for you. It can also help upgrade you knowledge base for the MCAT which you would likely need to retake if you spend more than 3 years doing post-bacc work. The best case scenario is a strong performance in a post bacc with automatic linkage into a particular medical school. Again, do be prepared to work very, very hard in one of these programs.

    Other graduate degrees such as MPH (Masters of Public Health), MBA (Master of Business Administration and MS (Master of Science) in any field do not raise your uGPA or make you that much more competitive for medical school. These degrees are a means to an end within themselves and are useful if you want to obtain these types of masters degrees. You also need to complete them before matriculation into medical school thus, many medical schools will not interview you unless you are either finished or very close to finishing. Again, these degrees are not going to make you more competitive for medical school if you were not competitive before undertaking these degrees.

    You also need to be aware that grade inflation is rampant in graduate school which means that your grades need to be very high. You need a minimum 3.0 average to stay in graduate school and you need to be well above 3.5 to be considered a strong performer. In graduate school, it is assumed that you are studying subject matter that you love and have strong interest in and thus you need to do very well. In the end, your graduate work (outside of an SMP) will be weighted about the same as an extracurricular activity.
     
  32. slowbutsteady

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    agree with all or this except how "long" postbacc work takes. it takes as long as you need/want it to. Entering a "formal" post bacc program has some benefits, but it is not necessary. informally taking prereqs or other science classes at a good university and doing well on them can take as short as one semester or as long as many semesters. totally up to you and dependent on your specific needs.

    i just did informal postbacc courses at Georgetown and got As and a B+ in orgo2 (damn), but an A in the lab. it worked for me.
     
  33. RoyBasch

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    I can't name too many names of the top of my head, but aren't there a few post-bacs where if you do sufficiently well in the post-bac you can automatically interview at the medical school the next year? I believe this is the case at loyola. I think it might be true with the georgetown SMP aswell. Can someone please confirm or deny this?
    -Roy

    Edit: another poster noted that some medical schools have a uGPA "screen" (i.e. if your uGPA is below a certain cutoff, you will automatically not get an interview regardless of the stregnth of your other credentials). In light of that I would try to get your uGPA at least above a 3.3 with either more undergrad work or a post-bac. The methods i discussed above kind of put "all your eggs in one basket" because if you get an interview at the post-bac/SMP school, but are still not accepted, you might not have a strong enough uGPA for other schools you would apply to.
     
    #32 RoyBasch, Jan 1, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
  34. diosa428

    diosa428 SDN Angel
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    If you read njbmd's post, they are stating that it will take a long time to raise your uGPA if you do a postbac, NOT that a postbac in and of itself takes a long time. If all you need are a few courses to fulfill med school requirements, that's great, but if you have 128 credits (or whatever) and a 3.3 GPA, taking 2 courses and a lab is not going to do much to raise that, even if you do get all As.
     
  35. cliffhuxtableDO

    cliffhuxtableDO Hand sanitizer on deck
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    my situation is a bit trickier. i started at school A, went to school B. struggled at school b after 3 semesters, but managed to come out of school B with about a 3.0. i went back to school A, if i get straight A's after this semester my gpa at school A will be a 3.39 and I am taking a full summer load and a semester in the fall. is the upward trend and potentially strong GPA at school A enough to overcome the bad performances at school B? I am trying to decide if a post-bacc or a master's is a better decision for next spring. Oh, and i'm basically planning on applying DO and my state MD schools, and maybe a few more MD depending on what i do on the MCAT. Let me know what you guys think
     
  36. JeetKuneDo

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    All I know is since you're planning on applying to DO schools, you can retake any classes you did poorly in and the new grade will replace the old one.
     
  37. oneandonlylo

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    I think people have definitely made some really good points, so I won't rehash them, but I want to direct you to the Postbacc forum specifically, where you'll find an incredibly large number of students who have been in your shoes and have seen postbaccs and/or SMP's etc. help them into school. The advice I received there a few years ago definitely pointed me in the right direction :)
     
  38. Emmet2301

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    What's better to do a second Bachelors degree to improve UG gpa or a masters or post bac?
     
  39. Siverhideo1985

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    must have missed mine :p

    :thumbup:

    I think it would be easier to spend 4 or 5 years at your institution (especially if you are at a state university for cheap $$) and raise your undergrad GPA to a competitive level.

    If you choose between a post bac and a masters, I would always go with the masters. It might take you longer than a year and cost more, but at least you get a degree at the end for your hard work, even if it doesn't guarantee acceptance to a medical school. I got placed in a higher pay tier this year because I have an SMP degree. The masters (not an SMP but an actual M.S.) will also give you research experience & you prove that you can do grad level work.

    Why not get a degree if you are already going to put in the work?
     
  40. herbb

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    I would stay longer in undergrad, and make sure you kick ass in all of your classes. If you are not satisfied with your GPA after that, SMP's are an option but be prepared to work your ass off and maybe not even do that well. Moral of the story is to fix your problem in undergrad if possible.
     
  41. ...................
     
    #40 Deleted member 237747, Feb 17, 2009
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