Should I re-take some of these classes?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by Dustbunny, May 2, 2007.

  1. Dustbunny

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    These might sound like stupid questions, but after what the recruiter/alumni liaison at UNECOM told me yesterday, I'm not sure. I'm sort of a cross between a traditional and non-trad applicant. Short story: started pharmacy school, got kicked out due to bad grades.

    Been out of school for about two years, decided I wanted to go back, but not to pharmacy school. Want to do more.

    In general, my science grades are terrible. C's, mostly. Looking back, I cringe. I was one of those people who just wanted to get by with the bare minimum. Due to lots of bad things that happened during my last two years in school, my grades slipped below the cutoff point and I got kicked out.

    I have C+ in Orgo I and II.
    A- in Physics I. (Not taken Physics II)
    B- in Chem I. C+ in Chem II. (both with labs)

    I'm actually capable of being a great student, and my grades have improved tremendously in the last two terms (been taking CE courses through UMass), but none of them are science courses, so I don't know how meaningful that is to an admissions committee. I can get spectacular LORs from a dozen different pharmacists (not an exageration), but no DOs. (Gotta work on that, I know.)

    The guy at UNECOM told me that I wouldn't necessarily benefit from re-taking some of my science courses. (Which boggled my mind.) He told me that I'd be better off taking a class that built off, for instance, organic chemsitry, to demonstrate that despite my poor grades, my functional mastery of the material is more than adequate. So I'm taking Psychopharmacology this summer at my state school. (This is a grad-level class for nursing students.) I'm thinking this will show that I'm building on a weak organic foundation.*

    I'm also taking Infectious Disease which essentially builds off microbiology, also a graduate level class.

    I know I'll get A's in both classes. I'm really not worried about that. What I am worried about is that the people looking at my transcripts will immediately dismiss me because they'll see the bad organic grades and say "Hah! Yeah right..." without seeing the ID and PPharm grades.

    Figure a 33 for an MCAT score.

    * I sat in on a pharmacology class at UNECOM, and I found the material quite easy for the two hours I was there. I didn't hear much that I didn't already know, and this is the end of MSI for these students, so I expected it to be a bit more difficult.
     
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  3. spicedmanna

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    I think this is true for medical schools, from what I've gathered. What I've been told is that the material itself isn't all that difficult, it's the amount of material that is given to you that can make it hard. You know the old saying, "it's like trying to take a drink out of a firehose."
     
  4. spicedmanna

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    I think the recruiter gave you pretty sound advice; taking more advanced classes that demonstrate your mastery can be beneficial. Basically, the first things that adcoms see are your GPA and MCAT scores. For many schools, as long as these numbers are good enough to get you an interview, they will also consider your entire academic record in the admissions process. If those numbers aren't in order, take the necessary means to make them worthy.
     
  5. MaximusD

    MaximusD Anatomically Incorrect
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    Think about med school this way -- most of the information only goes to a relatively shallow level in terms of depth bc you have to learn so much about the body in such a short amount of time. Compared to some of the extremely technical classes at the 400-level of undergrad, the material may SEEM easy... that is until you have to memorize (literally) mountains of that "easy" stuff before each exam...

    I'm an MS-0 so feel free to correct me as needed!
     
  6. MJB

    MJB Senior Member
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    I'm guessing it will really depend on what your overall and science GPA's are.

    My science GPA held me back...from courses I took like 10 years ago.
     
  7. Dustbunny

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    Yeah... it's not so hot... :thumbdown:
     
  8. spicedmanna

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    Then I would work on increasing it, using all the means at your disposal. One option is to repeat classes; AACOMAS will only average in the retake into your GPA. This will help, but your old grades are still there no matter what and the schools will see them; it also doesn't demonstrate your academic prowess so much, but it does improve your overall GPA. Another, and perhaps arguably better, option would be to take additional advanced undergraduate classes, demonstrate that you can trend A's in a fulltime semester, and improve your undergraduate GPA. Heck, you can do both, if you want.
     
  9. MJB

    MJB Senior Member
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    I'm also curious how you came up with your assumed MCAT. If you actually score that well, it will help, but what are you basing that on?
     
  10. scpod

    Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    A recruiter's job is to get you to apply in whatever manner it takes to do so. You really need to take a look at a few things. First, you have a history of failing out of a professional school. You need to build a good history first and that will take a good bit of time. It's just like having bad credit-- it can be repaired, but we're talking years here. You really need a minimum of two years of fulltime classes where you make pretty darned close to all A's before anyone will seriously look at you. The recruiter is gonna sugarcote the whole process for you, but it won't really work that way.

    Let's be realistic here. With your past you need much more than that-- we're talking at least four semesters of fulltime classes before you'll be taken seriously. You have to not only prove that you are capable of being a good student, but thata you can be a good student over a long period of time AND you can handle an intense course load. You don't need to be taking a bunch of upper level courses; you just need to show that you can handle all the work.

    Where do you get this from? Have you taken it already? Most people who have C averages in their basic science courses don't make 30+ MCAT scores because they don't have a handle on the basics yet. You don't need a bunch of upper level courses; you need to build the foundation before you put on the roof. Retake those classes and show that you can make A's in them all.

    Ummm....remember that you made C's in half of your undergrad basic science classes. I'll bet you those med students didn't make tht many C's. I'm not trying to be discouraging here, but I'm trying to be realistic. You have a poor history in basic science courses and failed out of pharmacy school. So far, you don't have a lot of positives going on. Take your time, take plenty of classes to raise your GPA, and work on building extracuriculars and recommendations that will help to push you over the top. Good Luck.
     
  11. Dustbunny

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    I do extremely well on standardized tests. Always have. And I plan to actually study for this one, something I've never done before.

    For the average person, this would be true. I'm not average. You'll just have to take that at face value. I've been doing geriatric therapeutics consulting on the side for two years now.

    Uh huh. Bearing in mind what I said above, C's are not indicative of what I know, or what I am capable of. The mention that the material was easy was merely an observation, not a statement that should be taken as "Gee, MSI is going to be a walk in the park" because I don't think that at all.

    The ordinary academic rules of getting bad grades=not knowing the material do not apply to me, because I busted my ass afterwards to learn what I needed to know to be a great consultant on the side. However because I did this in an unformal, non-quantified setting, it doesn't mean anything because people have to take what I say at face value. Which is unlikely, because I fully expect you to argue this with me -- such is the nature of discussion forums.

    And if you guys don't believe me, then surely the admissions committee will not either. The only other evidence that the adcom will have that what I say is true will come from my LORs. And I really wish I could submit a dozen of them, that way they might be inclined to think that I wasn't blowing smoke up their asses.

    In any case, I'm not trying to avoid work. Personally, I think I *should* re-take organic at the very least, and I was baffled that he said it probably wasn't necessary. This is why I wanted a second opinion. :p But I also want to use my time in the most productive fashion possible, rather than wasting it plus money on something that isn't going to get me where I want to be.

    Before I met with this guy, I was planning on re-taking nearly everything: Biology II, Microbiology, Organic I and II, Biochem I and II, and take Physics II for the first time, as well as taking some advanced courses. I've got time -- I'm aiming for Fall 2008. I just want to use my resources most productively. So it's certainly not a matter of laziness. FWIW, the only course I listed here that I'm worried about *not* getting an A in is physics II. I suck at physics. Or maybe I've just had crappy profs who don't know how to teach...
     
  12. MaximusD

    MaximusD Anatomically Incorrect
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    I'm fairly sure that it's a requirement for physics professors to have absolutely no idea how to teach... Additionally, I'm certain that they have no common sense idea of how difficult test questions should be to effectively gauge your understanding of hte material.
     
  13. GreenShirt

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    AMCAS averages, AACOMAS will replace the grade....unless they're changing that this year.

    To OP, it may be true that your academic potential is greater than reflected in your grades, but adcom will need to have proof of this beyond just your word. Good MCAT, good grades in sciences courses, and a good explanation of why you didn't do well in UG or pharmacy school will be required.
     
  14. browndeo

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    sooo aacomas will average the grade just like the amcas? is this something new for the 2008 cycle?
     
  15. spicedmanna

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    Oh, you misunderstood what I was saying. What I was saying is that AACOMAS will only average the most recent grade into your GPA, but it doesn't "replace" the grade per se. It still appears on your transcript. However, the old grade isn't included in the GPA, just the new one.

    The AMCAS averages ALL of your grades, whether it is a repeat or an original class, into your GPA.

    I hope this clears things up.
     
  16. Animus

    Animus I won't deny it...
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    Spiced said the same thing you said, I think you just read it wrong?
     
  17. HemaOncoDoc

    HemaOncoDoc One Step At A Time
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    Retake any course that will help you on the MCAT and/or demonstrate your ability to handle courses that extrapolate and expand on the prerequisite BCP courses.

    The UNECOM recruiter provided information on how to get into UNE, but I don't believe the advice would apply to every DO school. Some courses may be concerned with your low GPA. If you are worried about a low GPA, retake the prereq BCP courses since the retake is factored into your GPA.
     
  18. MJB

    MJB Senior Member
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    Hmmm...

    I wish you luck, especially on the 33 MCAT. :)

    I'd probably re-take the C's in organic.

    Just fair warning, the MCAT isn't your run of the mill standardized test, especially if you haven't covered the material extensively recently.
     
  19. Dustbunny

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    I've actually signed up to retake whoreganic over the summer. (Plus Infectious Disease, a grad course.) I'm pretty excited about both classes. I'll take the MCAT at the end of the summer, and I'll study, so I'll be fine. I'm actually looking forward to that, too. :)
     
  20. MJB

    MJB Senior Member
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    Again...good luck. Love to hear updates.
     
  21. primusrocks

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    Figure a 33 for an MCAT score.

    People really need to stop saying this. Yeah we would all like to figure a certain amount, but until you take it and recieve your score, just study and leave the speculation be. :p
     

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