Realistic to shoot for top schools with avg stats? Help!

newbie895

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I would like to apply to top-ranked schools (Yale, Columbia, Cornell, UPitt, etc), but am unsure if it's at all realistic for me. I graduated from an Ivy League school with a 3.7 overall GPA, but my science GPA is only a 3.4 :( I haven't taken the MCAT yet, and am considering taking more science classes to boost that science GPA. I'm concerned about applying with lower than average science grades, but have heard that if I do really well on the MCAT, it might not matter as much. Any advice from people who have already applied to these types of schools and/or gotten interviews? I'd appreciate any help - thanks!!
 

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Until you get your MCAT score, you can't really tell.
 

LizzyM

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newbie895 said:
I would like to apply to top-ranked schools (Yale, Columbia, Cornell, UPitt, etc), but am unsure if it's at all realistic for me. I graduated from an Ivy League school with a 3.7 overall GPA, but my science GPA is only a 3.4 :( I haven't taken the MCAT yet, and am considering taking more science classes to boost that science GPA. I'm concerned about applying with lower than average science grades, but have heard that if I do really well on the MCAT, it might not matter as much. Any advice from people who have already applied to these types of schools and/or gotten interviews? I'd appreciate any help - thanks!!
I've reviewed over a thousand med school applications at a top 20 school -- Obviously, you have better grades in the non-science courses than the sciences but a B+ average in the sciences is not too shabby at an Ivy (less shabby from some Ivies than others), particularly if you are in a very rigorous science or engineering program and if you have mostly B+ grades with no grades less than B. If it is more a case of mostly A- with a few grades of C, well, that's a different story.

I would not blink in offering an interview with someone who had a science gpa of 3.4 provided there weren't any really BAD grades on the transcript and the MCAT was at least 10, 12, 12. So, shoot for a 34 on the MCAT and be sure to have at least one LOR from someone who has seen a good performance from you in a science class.

At this point you aren't going to be able to move your science gpa up very much -- the incremental improvements aren't going to go very far if you've already taken 24 credits or more in sciences but it does help to show a nice improvement from one year to the next.
 

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LizzyM said:
I've reviewed over a thousand med school applications at a top 20 school -- Obviously, you have better grades in the non-science courses than the sciences but a B+ average in the sciences is not too shabby at an Ivy (less shabby from some Ivies than others), particularly if you are in a very rigorous science or engineering program and if you have mostly B+ grades with no grades less than B. If it is more a case of mostly A- with a few grades of C, well, that's a different story.

I would not blink in offering an interview with someone who had a science gpa of 3.4 provided there weren't any really BAD grades on the transcript and the MCAT was at least 10, 12, 12. So, shoot for a 34 on the MCAT and be sure to have at least one LOR from someone who has seen a good performance from you in a science class.

At this point you aren't going to be able to move your science gpa up very much -- the incremental improvements aren't going to go very far if you've already taken 24 credits or more in sciences but it does help to show a nice improvement from one year to the next.
Does it matter what the score distribution on the MCAT is? Is it true that gpas from top ten schools are evaluated differently?
 

tigress

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LizzyM said:
I've reviewed over a thousand med school applications at a top 20 school -- Obviously, you have better grades in the non-science courses than the sciences but a B+ average in the sciences is not too shabby at an Ivy (less shabby from some Ivies than others), particularly if you are in a very rigorous science or engineering program and if you have mostly B+ grades with no grades less than B. If it is more a case of mostly A- with a few grades of C, well, that's a different story.

I would not blink in offering an interview with someone who had a science gpa of 3.4 provided there weren't any really BAD grades on the transcript and the MCAT was at least 10, 12, 12. So, shoot for a 34 on the MCAT and be sure to have at least one LOR from someone who has seen a good performance from you in a science class.

At this point you aren't going to be able to move your science gpa up very much -- the incremental improvements aren't going to go very far if you've already taken 24 credits or more in sciences but it does help to show a nice improvement from one year to the next.
wait, so you're saying that one C and a 13, 9, 12 would keep you from interviewing somebody? :rolleyes:
 

LizzyM

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tigress said:
wait, so you're saying that one C and a 13, 9, 12 would keep you from interviewing somebody? :rolleyes:
No. But a Biological Science of 9 and a C in a biology course, particularly if the applicant was a humanities major with only a minimum of science courses would make me wonder if the applicant could manage the basic science curriculum. Then I'd look for some lab experience or other research activity and a letter from someone who knows the applicant's abilities in that regard. Also, there may be something in the personal statement or a LOR that will explain the poor grade (serious illness or other tragedy). At least where I am (don't ask), someone will spend 20-30 minutes pouring over the application - not just a "3.4 is low - out" quickie look.
 

tigress

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LizzyM said:
No. But a Biological Science of 9 and a C in a biology course, particularly if the applicant was a humanities major with only a minimum of science courses would make me wonder if the applicant could manage the basic science curriculum. Then I'd look for some lab experience or other research activity and a letter from someone who knows the applicant's abilities in that regard. Also, there may be something in the personal statement or a LOR that will explain the poor grade (serious illness or other tragedy). At least where I am (don't ask), someone will spend 20-30 minutes pouring over the application - not just a "3.4 is low - out" quickie look.
So a C in physics and a 9 in physical sciences is a big turn off? I mean, I didn't explain my C in physics on my application, but I do have an explanation. I wonder if this is why I haven't gotten interviews at the top 3 schools I applied to. hmm...

edit: This is on an application with As for all upper level biology courses and an A for second semester organic chem, so obviously I can handle the science. Not to mention that there is a lot more to an application than numbers, right?
 

TheMightyAngus

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tigress said:
So a C in physics and a 9 in physical sciences is a big turn off? I mean, I didn't explain my C in physics on my application, but I do have an explanation. I wonder if this is why I haven't gotten interviews at the top 3 schools I applied to. hmm...

edit: This is on an application with As for all upper level biology courses and an A for second semester organic chem, so obviously I can handle the science. Not to mention that there is a lot more to an application than numbers, right?
Relax. Looks like you're doing ok, 2 acceptances already!
 

tigress

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TheMightyAngus said:
Relax. Looks like you're doing ok, 2 acceptances already!
lol yeah I know. I'm still recovering from the Pitt rejection yesterday. I'm not obsessive or anything (well, not too much :p), I was just wondering.

Actually today I asked a doctor I work with where she went to med school and she said, "University of Pittsburgh. I highly recommend it." And I had to respond, "oh, well, yeah I just got rejected from there yesterday." lol

oh blah di, oh blah da...
 

thegymbum

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If I were you, I would spend the next few months really working hard on raising your gpa a bit.. a 4.0 for fall and spring semesters (assuming you're applying next fall), and possibly even summer classes could really make a difference.. as well as, of course, putting a lot of effort into MCAT prep to help improve your chanes, etc. I would say definately don't give up. Aim high now, do your best, and I think there's definately a good chance that you could at least be competitive :)
 
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newbie895

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LizzyM said:
I've reviewed over a thousand med school applications at a top 20 school -- Obviously, you have better grades in the non-science courses than the sciences but a B+ average in the sciences is not too shabby at an Ivy (less shabby from some Ivies than others), particularly if you are in a very rigorous science or engineering program and if you have mostly B+ grades with no grades less than B. If it is more a case of mostly A- with a few grades of C, well, that's a different story.

I would not blink in offering an interview with someone who had a science gpa of 3.4 provided there weren't any really BAD grades on the transcript and the MCAT was at least 10, 12, 12. So, shoot for a 34 on the MCAT and be sure to have at least one LOR from someone who has seen a good performance from you in a science class.

At this point you aren't going to be able to move your science gpa up very much -- the incremental improvements aren't going to go very far if you've already taken 24 credits or more in sciences but it does help to show a nice improvement from one year to the next.
Thanks for the advice, everyone! I don't have any undergrad grades lower than a B or B+, but the B's and B+'s are all in the science classes. Does it matter that I was a humanities major without a ton of science classes on my transcript? In regards to one of your other posts, I do have research experience and will have a publication by the time I apply.