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Hi! I have an undergraduate GPA of 3.8 overall (same for BCPM) and an MCAT score of 27 (planning on retaking next year...also, the "new MCAT" equivalent of a 27 is around a 502 on the new scale according to the SDN post from Efle's MCAT 2015 to Old MCAT Percentile Comparison/Conversion Table). I applied once before and was rejected. I'm non-traditional and have taken a couple of years off.

I'm interested in going back to school next year. I'm not sure which program type I should apply for though. From what I've been reading, it seems like the there are a couple of options: MPH/nutrition, Post-Bacc, Special Masters Program. I'm really interested in learning more physiology or molecular biology. Are there masters degree programs geared towards physiology/hard sciences for individuals who are interested in the field and who have an average GPA? What are these programs called (i.e. the category-- SMP, Post -bacc, etc.)? Thanks!!!!
 
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lol your GPA is not average. I'd kill for that gpa. Try upping your MCAT.

I'm not sure about post bacc programs, but if you can raise your MCAT slightly I think you'd be in a better position.
 

gonnif

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lol your GPA is not average. I'd kill for that gpa. Try upping your MCAT.

I'm not sure about post bacc programs, but if you can raise your MCAT slightly I think you'd be in a better position.
postbacc and SMP are a waste of time and money in your case. If you to get a degreein something go ahead butit wont have appreciable impact on you admissions chances. For that you need to retake MCAT
 
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lol your GPA is not average. I'd kill for that gpa. Try upping your MCAT.

I'm not sure about post bacc programs, but if you can raise your MCAT slightly I think you'd be in a better position.
I think it's actually better to have the MCAT be the higher one as opposed to GPA. Seems like med schools are more focused on MCAT, which makes sense given that it's standardized. I meant a 3.8 is average for matriculation-- the average GPA actually rises every a little every year if I remember correctly. But, yeah, got to focus on the MCAT!
 

JustAPhD

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As others have said, unless you really want that MS it's going to be a waste of time and money. You're GPA is not keeping you out of med school. Your MCAT is low as you said, but you might still get some love from DO schools with your current MCAT/GPA. What schools did you apply to during your first cycle? Also, how's the rest of your app looking? Your MCAT might not be the only thing to remedy, so keep that in mind.
 
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postbacc and SMP are a waste of time and money in your case. If you to get a degreein something go ahead butit wont have appreciable impact on you admissions chances. For that you need to retake MCAT
I'll be retaking MCAT because I know for certain that it was definitely a major factor in why I was originally rejected. I'm a nontraditional though so I've had time off to explore other things and basically be outside of school for a while. It's been nice and I've matured and learned a lot more about myself outside of academics, but I've actually been missing school and formal instruction for a while now. So I was hoping to return.

Is there more info on masters programs outside of SMP, post bacc, and MPH/nutrition. I'm not sure what those programs are called because it seems like most of the masters in physiology are basically a part of SMPs. Well, actually it seems like much of the talk on SDN about masters programs is geared toward SMPs or post baccs, but not necessarily a separate masters degree for individuals who may not necessarily be looking to improve their GPA (for admissions into professional school) but to learn more about the field and get involved in the research (when their GPA is fine). I've searched the SDN threads and perhaps I'm missing it, but does anyone know of more info on masters degrees when the GPA is fine and I'm looking to develop my interest in the field? Thanks!
 

JustAPhD

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You're just talking about traditional MS/MSci at this point, of which there are a plethora. Literally just google "*intended subject* + masters degree" and you should get results. If you're just missing formal education I still don't recommend paying 40K+ for it...
 
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As others have said, unless you really want that MS it's going to be a waste of time and money. You're GPA is not keeping you out of med school. Your MCAT is low as you said, but you might still get some love from DO schools with your current MCAT/GPA. What schools did you apply to during your first cycle? Also, how's the rest of your app looking? Your MCAT might not be the only thing to remedy, so keep that in mind.
I applied broadly to lower-teir med schools. The rest of my app should be fine -- nothing too flashy, but there are no major weaknesses (at least in my opnion). I did apply somewhat late though. I felt like I could do better on the MCAT because I had scored higher on practice tests (average low 30s), but it's been a while since I've been in school and I'm slowly brushing up on the material again (feels like forever ago that I learned organic chem).

I mentioned this before in the previous post, but I've been out for while. I've gained different experiences, and I've enjoyed it. Hoping to return to school.
 

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Man, you should be applying to DO school, there are plenty out there that would be happy to see your application with those numbers. That said, you can always reapply to the same med schools plus a few more. Often times they will see a reapplicant and at least interview you. That said, I got in with a 3.8 and 26 to an MD school, but I had good reasons for the 26 and killer LORs.

The other option is to start making connections with a school and spend a year or two getting to know them (volunteering, shadowing, etc). Sometimes it's just who you know, and being a doc is for life, so why not spend an extra year or two pursuing it?
 
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You're just talking about traditional MS/MSci at this point, of which there are a plethora. Literally just google "*intended subject* + masters degree" and you should get results. If you're just missing formal education I still don't recommend paying 40K+ for it...
I actually did google that, but it sends me to SMPs too. Also, I'm looking for 1 year masters, so it narrows my choices. I was actually hoping for more personalized info actually. On SDN, I search (perhaps not well though) and most of the threads don't discuss the traditional MS/MSci.

Any reason why you wouldn't recommend it?
 
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Man, you should be applying to DO school, there are plenty out there that would be happy to see your application with those numbers. That said, you can always reapply to the same med schools plus a few more. Often times they will see a reapplicant and at least interview you. That said, I got in with a 3.8 and 26 to an MD school, but I had good reasons for the 26 and killer LORs.

The other option is to start making connections with a school and spend a year or two getting to know them (volunteering, shadowing, etc). Sometimes it's just who you know, and being a doc is for life, so why not spend an extra year or two pursuing it?
That's really great. I would spend the extra time off, but the schools that I'm currently around are pretty stellar. If I don't come up with their MCAT average (which is a possibility, especially since they really are highly ranked schools), then my efforts to develop connections at that particular school would be wasted. Although I do enjoy volunteering/being in the medical environment, so I'd still be contributing/doing what I enjoy. Grad school is a little different though. Plus I could always volunteer and develop connections at the grad school I'm at provided that there's a medical school associated with it or near it.
 
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justin1390

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That's really great. I would spend the extra time off, but the schools that I'm currently around are pretty stellar. If I don't come up with their MCAT average (which is a possibility, especially since they really are highly ranked schools), then my efforts to develop connections at that particular school would be wasted. Although I do enjoy volunteering/being in the medical environment, so I'd still be contributing/doing what I enjoy. Grad school is a little different though. Plus I could always volunteer and develop connections at the grad school I'm at provided that there's a medical school associated with it or near it.
True, well you have to do what you like man! But I necessarily wouldn't give up connections because of a poor MCAT. Schools accept a standard deviation of scores. I was the 2nd or 3rd lowest in my class with an average acceptance of 30-31. I guess what I'm saying is someone is going to be at the low end of acceptance MCAT, so can't hurt putting out some feelers and getting to know folks. :)
 
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I actually really enjoy being in clinic, whether it be for shadowing, volunteer, or another activity. I've done it all before, so there's a limit to how much I can extract from the experiences without developing more knowledge (i.e. med school). But it's great to be around patients & physicians-- keeps me wanting to come back!
 

gonnif

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I'll be retaking MCAT because I know for certain that it was definitely a major factor in why I was originally rejected. I'm a nontraditional though so I've had time off to explore other things and basically be outside of school for a while. It's been nice and I've matured and learned a lot more about myself outside of academics, but I've actually been missing school and formal instruction for a while now. So I was hoping to return.

Is there more info on masters programs outside of SMP, post bacc, and MPH/nutrition. I'm not sure what those programs are called because it seems like most of the masters in physiology are basically a part of SMPs. Well, actually it seems like much of the talk on SDN about masters programs is geared toward SMPs or post baccs, but not necessarily a separate masters degree for individuals who may not necessarily be looking to improve their GPA (for admissions into professional school) but to learn more about the field and get involved in the research (when their GPA is fine). I've searched the SDN threads and perhaps I'm missing it, but does anyone know of more info on masters degrees when the GPA is fine and I'm looking to develop my interest in the field? Thanks!
A few things to keep in mind:
1) A one year masters is unlikely to get you appreciable research experience. Most thesis based biological science masters are 2 years, with second year in thesis.
2) If you start focusing on research in a masters, it may raise a question as to your commitment to medicine, especially if you are applying while still in the masters program
3) Most medical schools will want you to finish the masters before matriculating. This can be an issue if you run over the expected time in a masters.

You may be better off just taking graduate classes before formally matriculating into a masters program, especially if your ultimate goal is medical school
 
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Frogger27

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Dude if you want to be a doctor and miss going to class.... Take an MCAT prep class... delve into the material like a full time student and kill it
 
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JustAPhD

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runningpenquin00 said:
Any reason why you wouldn't recommend it?
There's just no reason to do a one year masters in your situation unless you have an affinity for needlessly spending money. As gonnif said, during a one year masters you'll be busy with classes all year. Whatever GPA you get won't help your app, and there's just not enough time to get a solid research experience.

runningpenquin00 said:
Plus I could always volunteer and develop connections at the grad school I'm at provided that there's a medical school associated with it or near it.
If this is your true thought process on going to grad school I seriously recommend you forget about it. It won't matter.
 
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A few things to keep in mind:
1) A one year masters is unlikely to get you appreciable research experience. Most thesis based biological science masters are 2 years, with second year in thesis.
2) If you start focusing on research in a masters, it may raise a question as to your commitment to medicine, especially if you are applying while still in the masters program
3) Most medical schools will want you to finish the masters before matriculating. This can be an issue if you run over the expected time in a masters.

You may be better off just taking graduate classes before formally matriculating into a masters program, especially if your ultimate goal is medical school
Still need to do a lot more research on this topic, but I view the masters as similar to MPH/nutrition. I'd assume it's more rigorous and demanding though. I know plenty of people who complete a MPH/nutrition degree in the application year right before they are accepted and matriculate. With the 1 year masters, what would make admissions committee doubt my interest in medicine?

For the graduate classes before potentially matriculating into masters program, how would this affect my application? Classes can take a bit of time on top of everything else, including the MCAT. Plus I'd be a non-student, so it would cost quite a bit. Would taking graduate classes without actually completing a degree actually add to my application?
 
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Dude if you want to be a doctor and miss going to class.... Take an MCAT prep class... delve into the material like a full time student and kill it
MCAT is challenging for me and I am/will definitely be spending my time studying for it. But I also miss formal instruction where I'm studying new material. It's a feeling that comes with being away from school for a long time. Trust me, I didn't think I'd miss school when I was in UG.
 
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There's just no reason to do a one year masters in your situation unless you have an affinity for needlessly spending money. As gonnif said, during a one year masters you'll be busy with classes all year. Whatever GPA you get won't help your app, and there's just not enough time to get a solid research experience.



If this is your true thought process on going to grad school I seriously recommend you forget about it. It won't matter.
Is the masters similar to completing a MPH/nutrition in terms of how it affects admissions (not talking about rigor-- I'm sure masters in physiology or molecular bio would be pretty intense)? Most people say that MPH/nutrition degree contribute to their application by developing their interests, giving them additional research experience, and, practically speaking, more to discuss during the admissions process. Even if they're completing the MPH/nutrition degree during the admissions year, this has been the vibe that I get. So wouldn't completing the masters also add in the same way?

Also, I have a lot more research to do on this topic. So I really am just throwing around ideas here.

The part that I am concerned about would be if I actually didn't do well in the masters in physiology or whatever I did go into. That does seem a little risky since my UG GPA is fine.

For volunteering simultaneously-- I meant volunteering for 3-4 hours a week. Is there absolutely no time for such volunteering? Practically, I need to maintain my clinical experiences to show continued interest in medicine. I can work/study for long stretches of time, but I also need outlets and volunteering has been a pretty good outlet for me.
 

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There's already great advice on what to do above. Are you thinking that a 1 year masters will 'wow' adcoms?
 
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gonnif

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Still need to do a lot more research on this topic, but I view the masters as similar to MPH/nutrition. I'd assume it's more rigorous and demanding though. I know plenty of people who complete a MPH/nutrition degree in the application year right before they are accepted and matriculate. With the 1 year masters, what would make admissions committee doubt my interest in medicine?
For the graduate classes before potentially matriculating into masters program, how would this affect my application? Classes can take a bit of time on top of everything else, including the MCAT. Plus I'd be a non-student, so it would cost quite a bit. Would taking graduate classes without actually completing a degree actually add to my application?
You make the assumption that the more demanding/rigorous a degree, that will be a linear positive impact on your application. For that matter you also make the assumption that an MPH/Nutrition is only viewed as a positive by an adcom. The question that first comes to mind is why is this applicant taking the degree?
MPH and the recent spate of expensive nutrition degrees popping up as self-identified pre-professional programs have been used heavily by weaker applicants trying to improve their academic records. MPH certainly are not viewed by medical school as enhancing an academic record and thus bring a question to any applicant who may have one.

More rigorous/traditional masters are typically research oriented and a well qualified applicant who has chosen this route raises the question is this candidate more research oriented? is he/she more suited for a PhD? Will they be committed to medical school and medicine?

In either case, neither program will add appreciably to a qualified candidate admission chances, especially prior to earning the degree.
 
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There's already great advice on what to do above. Are you thinking that a 1 year masters will 'wow' adcoms?
No, I think it will give me the opportunity to do something that interests me. Since I've seen applicants do some pretty impressive things in their time off, I don't expect it to 'wow' anyone. I was asking if it would have a positive impact on my application.
 
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You make the assumption that the more demanding/rigorous a degree, that will be a linear positive impact on your application. For that matter you also make the assumption that an MPH/Nutrition is only viewed as a positive by an adcom. The question that first comes to mind is why is this applicant taking the degree?
MPH and the recent spate of expensive nutrition degrees popping up as self-identified pre-professional programs have been used heavily by weaker applicants trying to improve their academic records. MPH certainly are not viewed by medical school as enhancing an academic record and thus bring a question to any applicant who may have one.

More rigorous/traditional masters are typically research oriented and a well qualified applicant who has chosen this route raises the question is this candidate more research oriented? is he/she more suited for a PhD? Will they be committed to medical school and medicine?

In either case, neither program will add appreciably to a qualified candidate admission chances, especially prior to earning the degree.
I agree, I do make that assumption. But it's because I do believe that MPH/nutrition degrees are viewed positively when the applicant does have an interest in the subject matter itself and knows what he/she wants to do with the degree and then actually does it. Even in cases where the applicant doesn't have a prior background in MPH/nutrition & pursues the degree while applying (and then subsequently being accepted), I do think it adds somewhat to the application, although not significantly. This is all based on cases that I've seen from my own experience.

I also see your point with the traditional masters. Research and medicine are not separate routes though. The way I see the masters is a starting point. Yes, I have the interest right now. If I continue to develop that interest through the masters, then yes it's possible I could try for the PhD down the road. But there are plenty of research scientists of medicine, and there are plenty of physicians who also pursue research with or without a masters degree. So given that I have spent a significant amount of time out of UG, explored my interests in both medicine and outside of medicine, and still come back to medicine, I think it'll be pretty clear to adcoms that I'm interested in medicine. Thank you for bringing up this perspective-- it really helps me to see how adcoms might interpret my actions, and I'll be sure to address it appropriately during the application process.
 

gyngyn

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We see a lot of Master's degree's used as filler for gap years.
If the Master's has value to you (independent of your medical school application), it's fine.
Don't do it believing it will enhance your application.