SMP question?

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Dec 6, 2015
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Hello Everyone,

I am trying to figure out when someone would ideally apply to an SMP for GPA reasons, if at all.
My situation: 3.2 GPA, strong clinical research (10 publications), shadowing, volunteering, good rec letters, MCAT has not been taken yet.
Would it be better to go ahead and apply to med schools assuming average MCAT (someplace in low to mid thirties) or would it be better to apply straight to an SMP and hold off on applying to med school?
I have heard that med schools tend to look more favorably on first time applicants than repeats. This is my main hesitation to taking a shot at med school (MS) applications and applying to SMPs in Jan if I don't get accepted into any MS programs, then reapplying to MS.

What does everyone think?

Thank you in advance!

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3.2 is too low for MD programs, and probably DO too likely even with an MCAT in the low/mid 30s. I would go post-bac or knockout a've really gotta nail your gpa if you do SMP though
Well you need to take the MCAT first. An SMP can remediate a low uGPA, not a low MCAT. If your MCAT isn't strong you are wasting your time taking partaking in an SMP. So take the MCAT and see how it goes before basing any decisions. IF you hit 511+, then yeah you can start thinking about SMPs.

You probably need some form of grade repair with a 3.2. Ace the MCAT and maybe some DIY post-bacc work might be enough to get into an MD program. But even at that and even if you do some good post-bacc work and raise your GPA to a 3.35, a 3.35/514+ combo is still at best a 50-50 proposition.

The single best way to remediate a 3.2 is a) Ace the MCAT b) Do well in an SMP. The latter is a risky option; if you are relatively open to the idea of the DO route, perhaps you don't want to do something as risky as an SMP. A DIY post-bacc is risky in the sense that it won't raise your GPA at a ton at a 3.2 and you can do it and still easily not get into an MD program, but that and a good MCAT score is plenty for a DO program.

If you are going to do an SMP to answer your question you gotta think about a couple things

a) What is your recent grade trend? If you were a 3.2 student in college, you are going to be competing against 3.8 students in an SMP. You are probably going to need to beat over 60% of them in their classes and they will be studying WAY more than they did in college to get that 3.8. What reason do you have to believe you can do that? If you have a recent demonstration of strong academic grades, that is one method of proof and reason to believe you might have a shot. If you've consistently been a 3.2 student, I would advise addressing the issues that have caused low grades before doing something as risky as an SMP.
b) What state do you live in and what score you end up getting. If you live in a favorable state and get a good MCAT score(514+ type esque) then yes it might be worthwhile to consider applying the same cycle as the SMP. About 50% of SMPers get into med school the same year they do the program at the top programs like Cincy or Georgetown(although this does include foreign MD and DO programs). So it is potentially doable although many of those who get in had better than a 3.2 uG GPA.
c) Ideally though, yes the best way to get into an MD program is to have an entire years worth of strong SMP grades. This and a strong MCAT score can open up a lot of potential doors.

Ultimately you have to consider a) how open you are to the DO route b) how well you do on the MCAT c) how risk adverse you are d) how fast do you want to get into med school. These answers will dictate much of what your next move should be.
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