libraryismyhome

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I am an international student who currently does not have a green card, but will be receiving one this upcoming Spring. So, I would like to apply to medical schools during the next year cycle. (My undergrad peers belong to the class of 2010.)

As the result, I would be somewhat "forced" to take 2 years off, and would definitely want to do something productive which would strengthen my application. Currently, I am taking this one non-science class for graduation, am restudying for MCAT and am doing both research and volunteering.

Once I take my MCAT on Jan, I need to figure out what to do in order to solidify my application. I am seeing that I have few As in biological science classes and feel like I should make more As in them while graduating late.


So far here are my stats.

General Stats
GPA: BCPM 3.71 and Cumulative 3.75 (3.80 upper level GPA)
MCAT: 28Q PS: 11, VR: 6, BS: 11 (will be taking it again on Jan 2011)

However, my grades in bio sciences are not very good.
well here are my grades in biological science, B+ is 3.5, B is 3.0 and C+ is 2.5, because of the previous A, B+ grading system

(2 level) Biology 1: C+ (freshman year)
(2 level) Bio 1 lab: B (freshman year)
(2 level) Biology 2: B (sophomore year)
(2 level Bio 2 lab: A (sophomore year)


Upper Level Biological science classes
(4 level) Biochemistry: B+
(3 level) Molecular Cell Biology: B+
(4 level) Vertebrate Physiology: B
(4-level) Physiological Psychology: A (PSB)
(3-level) Genetics: A (AGR)
(6-level) Advanced Physical Biochemistry: A (BCH)

I think they are terrible. :mad:

Still the BCPM is 3.71 because of physical science classes including physical chemistry, physics and 12 credits of research.


My new prehealth advisor is trying to force me to graduate. She is telling me that I cannot take any more classes, but I think that's a required lie that she has to make in order to save money for the state. I still got my registration time and date for this upcoming semester. I wonder whether I should delay my graduation and take like two upper level bio classes and get As or just take a year off for a year working as a half time CNA and half time research or doing a master in business.
 
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Jun 25, 2010
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I would definitely retake the C+ (either over the summer/winter or during the semester) and then definitely stay on for another two or three semesters to take more upper levels in the sciences. It doesn't have to be biology, but make sure to take only science courses and no "fluff" courses.

I was in a similar situation with my first year grades, but I had a steady upward trend following that, and took 24 credits of upper level sciences consistently for the next three years, going from a 3.3 first year to a 3.93 at the end of my last semester. I also retook all my grades below B+ from first year.

Not only did this help my GPA, it gave me a killer MCAT score. So I would definitely advise GPA repair. If you stay on for even another two semesters, you would be able to raise your GPA up to the >3.8 range, and at that point, the importance of GPA has largely diminishing returns. At the same time, continue with your ECs in the background, but make grades the focus for the time being. Good luck!
 
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libraryismyhome

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I would definitely retake the C+ !

Thank you for your reply, but are you saying that even if that was my first semester and bio 1, I should retake it after taking advanced cell bio, biochem and physiology? :eek:
 
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libraryismyhome

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okay, this idea of yours is something that could be strongly opposed by my premed advisers. In fact, they try to force me to graduate this semester and I think they are lying to me that I won't be able to take more courses.

Are they simply lying to me in order to spare more seats because of the overcrowded state university?
 

Avoidthetiger

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I'm confused about how you are an international student without a green card studying at a (US?) state university? It would be one thing if you are an illegal who has been in the US for awhile, but usually you wouldn't classify yourself as an "international student" then... you would just be an American without the actual paperwork. haha.

I do want to clarify that you are at a US school though? Which is good. If you are talking about a state school in another country, graduate and come to the US for a master's before applying to medical school.. to prove that you can handle US courses and can understand higher level material.

Honestly, I would graduate. Talk to your advisor about enrolling as a nondegree student or start a master's program.

I don't think you need to retake biology 1 -- just take some higher level classes.
 
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libraryismyhome

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I'm confused about how you are an international student without a green card studying at a (US?) state university?
I understand that it is confusing. My family holds H-visa and is currently at the final stage of obtaining the permanent residency. The process takes about 5 to 7 years, and we applied in 2004.

I do want to clarify that you are at a US school though? Which is good. If you are talking about a state school in another country, graduate and come to the US for a master's before applying to medical school.. to prove that you can handle US courses and can understand higher level material. Honestly, I would graduate. Talk to your advisor about enrolling as a nondegree student or start a master's program.
I go to a state school in U.S. However this school has neither postbac nor grad program. In order to do post bac in upper level bio, I must go to another school which costs $15,000. However, if I delay my graduation and take a couple of undergrad courses here, then the cost would be less than $2,000.
 

mystifire

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Okay, well first off, you should make sure you can still stay in school for more semesters. Take what the advisors are saying seriously.... at your school (it is obvious to other students which one you go to) they CAN and HAVE forced people to graduate. This may sound obvious, but you would want to finish all the pre-reqs before then. But it seems to me that you are, in fact, done with most of the requirements for the biology degree at this school.

by the way, i do not believe physiological psychology will be added into your science gpa. It is offered through the psychology department, doesn't even require bio 1 to take, and is a psychology class (granted i understand it counts for your upper level requirements but so does "Social Insects"... i could be wrong but I am pretty sure the PSBs don't make the cut)

If you still want to take requirements I would then suggest upper level CHEMISTRY classes or Biochem Lab or maybe the upper level microbiology classes: Immunology and Virology. ( CHECK with the advisors to make sure these classes count to your science gpa ). You took enough upper level Biology classes. Obviously do not retake Bio 1.

If you insist on staying in school; do not get a masters in business! Seriously? what a waste of money and time! i know it is cheap to go to grad school here but if medicine is seriously your thing you have to swallow the pill of your undergrad performance and MOVE ON... work for a year off as a CNA or EMT-B. STUDY A LOT for your MCAT and do AMAZING on it.

In our state, you CAN get into med school with your gpa and a good MCAT.
 
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libraryismyhome

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by the way, i do not believe physiological psychology will be added into your science gpa.
Actually my school has confirmed that PSB courses count toward sci gpa. Physiological Psychology is another name for Neurobiology.

If you still want to take requirements I would then suggest upper level CHEMISTRY classes or Biochem Lab or maybe the upper level microbiology classes: Immunology and Virology. ( CHECK with the advisors to make sure these classes count to your science gpa ). You took enough upper level Biology classes. Obviously do not retake Bio 1.
Well, I wish to take Immunology and Virology, but these courses have microbio and microbio lab as prereqs. And I chose to take Eukaryotic Cell bio instead of microbio. I can only choose Genetics which counts toward science gpa, vertebrate anatomy, evolution and biological anthropology. My school has two biochem courses: one based on bio dept another based on chem dept. Biochem lab goes with chem dept, and I took the bio based biochem.



If you insist on staying in school; do not get a masters in business! Seriously? what a waste of money and time! i know it is cheap to go to grad school here but if medicine is seriously your thing you have to swallow the pill of your undergrad performance and MOVE ON... work for a year off as a CNA or EMT-B. STUDY A LOT for your MCAT and do AMAZING on it.
Masters in business would give me more knowledge in private practice. CNA or EMT is a good option, but right now it is almost impossible to get a job as an EMT and I have done most of clinical exp I could gain from CNA by volunteering in virtually everywhere for 500 hours. so I don't see any practical benefit by working as a CNA.
 
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mystifire

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if you want to keep taking bio classes then take microbiology and lab (you CAN take both if you want.. i know that for a fact). And I know how the Biochem set up works at your school ( I go to your school) and the biochem lab takes EITHER Biochem class as the pre-req so you can in fact take Biochem Lab if you so choose.

And since you did so well in your PSB class and it counts towards your science GPA then why don't just take more PSB classes? Tons are offered at this school.

What I don't understand is why you want to be in undergrad longer. Your GPA is not bad! You have finished up so many science courses already.. if you don't need to take more pre-reqs then just graduate! Find something else to do while applying to med school.. take a breather. I would rather take your GPA and run with it than risk lowering it on those upper level science classes. I mean, unless you are aiming for some really prestigious medical school... but looking at your MCAT it seems to me that right now you should be worrying about raising your MCAT and anticipating graduating!

Just because you couldn't apply in the cycle you want to apply doesn't mean you need to stay in school for longer.

By the way, I HIGHLY doubt your masters degree in business will actually assist you in private practice... the earliest you would be doing any private practice would be 6-8 years after STARTING med school.. you can find time in that period to SEEK business knowledge about how to run a practice. And I mean, you won't have a private practice unless you get into med school first... Let's be real here. If med school is the priority then MAKE it.
 
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Thank you for your reply, but are you saying that even if that was my first semester and bio 1, I should retake it after taking advanced cell bio, biochem and physiology? :eek:
an A in general bio after all the upper level classes will not make you look any better.