Should I do a SMP, Post-bacc. Course, or Just Take Courses Myself?

silvershine

2+ Year Member
Jun 16, 2014
7
0
Hi all,

I'd just like some advice for my situation going forward.

Right now I have a ~2.9/~3.0 sGPA and a ~3.4 cGPA. (I majored in English if you're wondering about the discrepancy.) This is definitely all on me since it was definitely me not putting in the work, but there were a few factors into this. During my first year of college, I had a pretty crippling case of depression that went undiagnosed and untreated since I hadn't thought to seek help for it––and it dealt a huge blow to my GPA. (Looking back, I should definitely have taken a gap year.) Unfortunately, that year was when I'd doubled up on physics and chemistry, and I got really terrible grades in them. I retook them and did much better, but my school doesn't have a grade replacement policy. I'd been pushed onto the pre-med track (I was never interested in the field of medicine, sorry dad) by my parents when I had been really reluctant to, so when I had to prioritize where I wanted to spend my energy and focus, the sciences were where I would most often find myself cutting corners.

If it helps, there is a definite upwards curve in my grades (for the sciences and for everything else) starting my second year of college when I started getting treatment for my depression, and regained some of my energy, motivation, and overall work ethic. I went from getting 1.7s and 2.3s to 3.0s, 3.3s, 3.7s, and a couple 4.0s.

My brother's in dental school right now and I ended up getting talked into shadowing dentists. I fell in love with it––I think the field is so amazing and interesting. Looking at the sciences from this new light has really made me do a 180 in my perspective of science and ignited a sense of passion that previously hadn't been there, but this is where my previous dismissal of the sciences comes to bite me.

Anyway, I'm trying to plan what to do going forward. I know it's going to take a lot of work to recover from this situation, but I'm prepared to do it. I haven't taken the DAT yet and plan on doing so after lots of studying. But based on my situation, would you guys recommend I go try applying to an SMP or a formal post-bacc course? Or do you guys think that rather than doing a formal post-bacc course, it would be more productive if I just took classes myself?

Thanks in advance!
 
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silvershine

2+ Year Member
Jun 16, 2014
7
0
Your cGPA is fine, but your sGPA is borderline enough to warrant a science-based postbac or even cherry-picking courses yourself. Your overall GPA isn't low enough for a masters IMO, on top of having to take out loans for grad school on top of dental school, should you end up getting into dental school.

Upward trend is definitely a plus--getting 3.5+ in your sciences in your junior and senior year are definitely positives, but some schools have a 3.0 sGPA cutoff.
Thank you for your advice! Cutting out SMP programs is super helpful. Do you have any thoughts about formal post-bacc courses vs just cherry-picking courses for myself? I know that the latter is definitely going to be cheaper, but I'm wondering if the benefits (like a committee letter) to the former are worth the price.

If it helps, I live in the Philly area so there aren't many formal post-bacc programs geared specifically for dentistry––they're mainly geared to medical schools.
 

Illumident

2+ Year Member
Jan 26, 2016
514
446
Status
Dental Student
But based on my situation, would you guys recommend I go try applying to an SMP or a formal post-bacc course? Or do you guys think that rather than doing a formal post-bacc course, it would be more productive if I just took classes myself?
Either way should work, as the end goal is you needing more science units with A's to bring up your sGPA. Going through a formal post-bacc or not depends on whether you're the type of student who needs a structured plan.

In regards to letters of recommendation, there's no difference between having in one committee letter versus individual letters from professors or a research PI.
 
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silvershine

2+ Year Member
Jun 16, 2014
7
0
Either way should work, as the end goal is you needing more science units with A's to bring up your sGPA. Going through a formal post-bacc or not depends on whether you're the type of student who needs a structured plan.

In regards to letters of recommendation, there's no difference between having in one committee letter versus individual letters from professors or a research PI.
Oh, that's super helpful to know. Thanks so much!
 

azucker10

2+ Year Member
Dec 28, 2014
129
55
Status
Dental Student
i would say if you can't graduate with above a 3.3sgpa then i would consider SMP but you really should talk to an advisor. i personally wouldn't recommend a post-bacc because most dental schools consider this option for someone who lacks basic science courses (from what you've said it doesn't sound like you do). if you can finish strong with good grades and get a 22+ on your DAT you have a chance without even doing a smp or post-bacc assuming everything else is good (ECs, shadowing hours, etc.). big benefit of a post-bacc or smp is that it can give you updated more personal LOE as well as more time to shadow, get more ECs for your app, etc.
 
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