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Vanessa
Jul 13, 2009
4
0
TX and PA
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi, i was just wondering if postponing graduation to improve a GPA is a good idea or not. Do medical schools look unfavorably on students who take 9 or 10 semesters to graduate instead of the traditional 8?

Specifically, my school only provides financial aid for 8 semesters, and as I have been on full need-based aid for the past 3 years, I definitely can't afford to pay for an extra year. (I go to Rice, so the tuition is about $45,000 a year) The idea that I am tossing around is whether or not it would be beneficial to take a semester off from and take classes at a less expensive school and then return to Rice for my final semester (I have one more year to go, am applying to med school right now but am trying to make back-up plans because my stats aren't great). I know I would do well at another school, because my GPA has improved over time (last semester I had a ~3.6) and I wouldn't be competing against super competitive Rice kids (I don't mean to offend anyone by this statement - I just don't personally perform well with the type of competition here)

I have been reading alot about SMP programs and certificate programs, but aside from them also being expensive, they seem really intense and they don't calculate into my undergrad GPA. I would like to have some time to get more involved in leadership roles and get better ECs.


Sorry this is so long, I just want to hear opinions from people who have done this or who are more familiar with it than I am. Do medical schools see a problem if a student has classes from another college than the one they receive their degree from? How are grades determined for repeated classes if they are from different schools?



Thanks,

Vanessa
 

Krisss17

10+ Year Member
Feb 3, 2007
721
1
In btwn here and there!
Status
Other Health Professions Student
Hi Vanessa,

First Welcome!
Now, as to your post...what kind of GPA do you have? overall? BCPM? Are you covered for school this semester?

SMP's are great options but also last resort options for medical school admissions. Cost is a big reason and if you don't do well, it can pretty much knock you out of the running.

Have you taken all of your prereqs? Have you taken your MCAT yet? I believe that if you can show a good upward trend, a good BCPM GPA and a good MCAT score, you can probably hold off going for another year.

Sorry I could answer your questions more directly. Good luck to you!
 
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vlippay

Vanessa
Jul 13, 2009
4
0
TX and PA
Status
Pre-Medical
Well the problem lies in my BCPM gpa. I currently have a 2.95, with an upward trend this past school year. My non-science GPA is a ~3.7 I think, so I don't really need to worry about that.

I am also looking into DO schools, and actually really like the pilosophy behind it, but that gpa is low for any med school, even some smp programs.

I am takign the MCAT at the end of this month, I am in a kaplan course now and my practice tests are showing 27-30 range, so hopefully I can get a few extra points in the next few weeks, putting me at an OK MCAT, but nothing to offset the sGPA.
 

pianoman511

Member
10+ Year Member
Jun 8, 2005
515
7
Buffalo, NY
Status
Attending Physician
Have you considered using that extra time to retake any of the courses you did badly in ? It may not make too much of a difference for allopathic schools but it does make a substantial difference for osteopathic schools.

On the other hand, there are academic enhancers (post bac programs) that would not be directly calculated into your undergrad GPA but if you did well would definitely show ADCOMs that you are a force to be reckoned with. This is especially true if they have a connection with a med school that you are interested in attending.


While having a high non-science GPA is good for your overall, it really doesn't mean all that much for admissions committees (sorry). It helps a great deal to have a good upward trend in general, just make sure you continue that trend.
 

SleepingJune

10+ Year Member
Jan 8, 2009
32
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi Vanessa,

When you say financial aid will only cover 8 semesters, do you mean institutional funds? Federal financial aid (grants, stafford loans (unsub and sub), work study) is available for up to 180 credit hours attempted in a 4-year degree plan (this includes all grades of W or F). Even then, that limit can be appealed for a good enough reason.

Have you been in to discuss this with your financial aid office? Best of luck with your choice.

Cheers,
June
 
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vlippay

Vanessa
Jul 13, 2009
4
0
TX and PA
Status
Pre-Medical
pianoman... I was thinking of taking that semester off to re-take the classes that I got below a B in, the way my grades are distributed now i have a couple A's, a couple B's, and then 2 or 3 in the C range, so if I could just take those 3 or 4 classes over, plus if I do well this fall semster, I should have a substantial improvement with sGPA, especially with DO schools only considering the most recent grades. I can still graduate on time, so just re-taking classes part time would be possible (I don't need the transfer credit)

Sleeping June
, I did mean that I can only get institutional financial aid for 8 semesters. I went to the office today to discuss this, and they said that I actually have one of the highest institutional financial aid packages awarded... this year I actually received 100% in grants and scholarships. Being said, my financial situation would pretty much necessitate that I take out substantial loans to cover the
~$45,000 tuition plus travel and application expenses, much more than I would prefer to do. the good news is that I am able to take a leave of absence with permission of the dean and return for my final (eighth) semester and get financial aid. And I can get probably get federal aid through the school that I take classes in.... but that is up to the temporary school (does anyone know specifics about aid for just taking classes as a non-undergraduate student)
 
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vlippay

Vanessa
Jul 13, 2009
4
0
TX and PA
Status
Pre-Medical
thanks to everyone who has replied btw... its been difficult to get answers out of the faculty at my college about this topic, even in financial aid I had to really beg the receptionist to let me see an advisor.
 

nabeel76

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 10, 2004
660
4
Status
I wouldn't sweat it. Take your courses at another 4 year college and do well.

My advice would be to finish your degree at Rice and do as well as you can on the remainder of your courses, especially the science courses. Then enroll as either a 2nd degree seeking student or a non-degree seeking student at another 4 year university and take a year of mainly science courses in which you feel you will do well in. Anihilate those courses with a near 4.0 GPA.

When you fill out your AMCAS primary application these courses will add into your cummulative undergraduate degree just the same as all your courses at rice. Another 30 or so credits, maybe more if you take summer courses, at a near 4.0 should considerably raise your science gpa (assuming you don't have than many science credit hours). This will also give you a huge upward trend.

Then depending on your cummulative GPA and other ec's you will probably have a strong shot at md schools.