SMPs in Texas

Discussion in 'Postbaccalaureate Programs' started by gxb, 09.22.14.

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  1. gxb

    gxb 2+ Year Member

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    According to the AAMC reference site, there are two programs in Texas:

    1- UNT M.S. in Medical Sciences, which has a strong linkage to TCOM (the DO school). However, I'm not sure how it would be viewed by other MD schools in Texas.
    2- Texas Tech M.S. in Biomedical Sciences. I don't know much about this program except that it's a two year program and the class size is really small (~5-10).

    Are there any SMP Programs in Texas other than the ones mentioned?
     
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  3. clairephillips

    clairephillips 2+ Year Member

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    A&M has a veterinary SMP style program that is open to premeds also.
     
  4. gjb07

    gjb07

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    I don't believe the linkage for UNT is as strong as you think it is. A lot of people have said that if you get a 3.5 you get a guaranteed interview, but that's just a selling point for the program in my opinion. UNT has every right to interview every student above a 3.0 and reject all of them if they wanted to. The students who did do well and get accepted to TCOM said it really helped them out, so the program isn't just fluff, it will prepare you for your acceptance. The class size has been getting larger and larger every year, so fewer and fewer SMP students will be accepted; it's just math. Look at some of the other UNT threads, there are plenty of people who have above a 3.5 along with a good enough MCAT and still not getting acceptances. As far as how other schools in Texas look at it, almost every MD school has accepted a student from the program. A&M seems to be the friendliest, right after TCOM. I'd wager that these schools will take the SMP into consideration, but what will win them over will be your EC's and your MCAT. I'd really love to hear a recent graduate weigh in, I really want to go because of the cheap tuition, but there are so many mixed reviews about it I'm worried I could be wasting my time.

    I haven't heard anything about the Texas Tech program. If the class size is that small I'm willing to bet it just started and they're trying to inflate their success numbers when it comes time to expand i.e. 1 person out of 10 doesn't get accepted boasts a 90% success rate.

    Worst case scenario, there's fresh start. That's one reason why I moved here, among others. You'll pay undergrad tuition and be back on the same level as the other pre-meds, so you won't have to play the SMP game at all.
     
  5. closetgunner19

    closetgunner19

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    I'm a current student in the MedSci program at UNTHSC. Willing to answer anyone's questions from admissions to curriculum. It is a fantastic program; it is very VERY competitive. Our class size is around 185 and while everyone is friendly, we are also hungry for the same goal and it shows.

    please, feel free to ask any questions at ALL!
     
  6. gxb

    gxb 2+ Year Member

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    Thank you all for the replies! I appreciate it!

    @gjb07 , I understand your concern about time and tuition. The fact the Texas Tech program is two years is making me hesitate to apply because there are so many one-year programs outside Texas with strong linkage to their medical schools but again, going out of state means that you have to pay a LOT more in both tuition and living expenses. Honestly, it's a hard choice to make because in involves balancing many factors into a single equation and since everyone's circumstances are different, each individual has got to come with his/her own equation that serves the desired outcome.

    @closetgunner19, Could you please tell us more about the program? Here are some questions to begin with:

    1- What are the average stats for accepted students? And what's the percentage of students who matriculated to medical schools last year? How many of them were accepted to TCOM?
    2- Is it true that the program requires students to rank TCOM #1 on the TMDSAS?
    3- Is the program MAINLY designed for students who want to improve their academic credentials? In other words, would you recommend it for someone with a decent GPA (3.7 or above) and low MCAT?
    4- Are there any research and/or volunteering opportunities for the students to improve their ECs?
    5- Do they still offer an MCAT prep course during the summer?
    6- Would you recommend this program for those who want to matriculate into an MD program in Texas and not just TCOM?
    7- Is it possible to work part-time while in the program?

    These are the questions I can think of for now. Thanks for the help! :)
     
    Last edited: 09.30.14
  7. closetgunner19

    closetgunner19

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    @gxb
    1- What are the average stats for accepted students? And what's the percentage of students who matriculated to medical schools last year? How many of them were accepted to TCOM?
    Average stats: I know the average MCAT last year was a 25 and I believe this stat increased this year. GPA is evaluated in 2 ways: cGPA and the GPA over the most recent 60 hours of college coursework. I believe the cGPA avg. is around a 3.3-3.5 and I have no clue on the last60GPA but I am assuming it's much higher like 3.7+ (many of us got off to a rough start and that is our reason for not matriculating the first time around.) Rumor has it that last year was very rough for the program in terms of matriculation due to the students and not the program itself. Historically about 70% of those that apply to medical schools matriculate either during the program or the very next year. This includes both in-state and OOS MD/DO schools. TCOM accepted about 40-50 students last year from MedSci (many students here want to to attend TCOM and feel it is easier to stay in the same city rather than move across state again).

    2- Is it true that the program requires students to rank TCOM #1 on the the TMDSAS?
    absolutely not

    3- Is the program MAINLY designed for students who want to improve their academic credentials? In other words, would you recommend it for someone with a decent GPA (3.7 or above) and low MCAT?
    I would recommend it for ANYONE that did not matriculate to med school the first time around, or anyone who is uncomfortable applying due to their stats. It is cheap and give you a MAJOR advantage over traditional MS1 students. We have students here with high MCATs+low GPA, low MCAT+high GPA, and everything in between. Regardless, this program will help you.

    4- Are there any research and/or volunteering opportunities for the students to improve their ECs?
    Tons, almost too much to handle, no more to be said here.

    5- Do they still offer an MCAT prep course during the summer?
    Yes, it is a princeton review course.

    6- Would you recommend this program for those who want to matriculate into an MD program in Texas and not just TCOM?
    Absolutely. I just received an interview to an MD school in TX after not receiving any interviews during last year's cycle. It is a HIGHLY regarded program across TX and the whole nation. Med school admission committees from A&M, UTSW, (another TX med school i forgot), and 2 OOS DO schools came and spoke to us and told us how good this program looks.

    7- Is it possible to work part-time while in the program?
    Possibly, perhaps on the weekends. The program is demanding and very time-consuming.

    I'm very pleased w/ the program so far and myself and many friends have already received interviews. I will be happy to answer any additional questions about the program, professors, or curriculum itself.
     
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  8. gxb

    gxb 2+ Year Member

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    @closetgunner19 . Thanks a lot for taking the time to provide a feedback. Here are some more questions :):

    8- Can you describe a "typical" day in the program?
    9- Is the curriculum full day (8-5) or half-day (8-12)? And how many days a week do you go to class?
    10- What's the grading system like? Are you graded with the same curve as medical students?
    11- You mentioned earlier that the program is "very VERY competitive." Could you please elaborate on this. Is it the admissions process, the program, or both?
    12- How's housing there? is it on or off campus?
    13- How many courses do you take at a time?
    14- What's the total cost of the program (tuition+ room& board) for state residents on average?
    15- How often do students drop out or fail the program, if any?
    16- Does the program endorse its students through LORs, etc..?
    17- What's the most/least challenging course you've taken so far?
    18- Is class attendance mandatory? Are lectures recorded and accessible online?
    19- What is the predominant form of learning , self or group study?
    20- What advice(s) would you give to prospective students who want to finish the program successfully (i.e. maintain a GPA >= 3.5)?

    Once again, thank you for taking the time to answer the questions.
     
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  9. gxb

    gxb 2+ Year Member

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    Another set of questions that I hope will be answered by current or former students.
     
  10. closetgunner19

    closetgunner19

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    @gxb

    8- Can you describe a "typical" day in the program?
    Class at 8am-10am(ish) every day (this would be your core class at the time, we just finished biochem and started cell/molecular biology which will last for 6 more weeks). Tuesday we have another lecture from 1p-3p about healthcare, wednesday we have epidemiology from 3pm-6pm, and thursday we have Histology from 1p-3p. So basically we always have a class from 8-10 and depending on the day we have one additional lecture. Between lectures I, personally, am in the library. After the second lecture I return to the library for a few hours. If it is a test week I usually stay in the library just about all the time I am not in a lecture or sleeping.

    9- Is the curriculum full day (8-5) or half-day (8-12)? And how many days a week do you go to class?
    Refer to above. Class is every day, attendance isn't "required" but pop quizzes are given so it's detrimental to skip class and miss a quiz.

    10- What's the grading system like? Are you graded with the same curve as medical students?
    Grading is very typical (Exams are multiple choice, 2-4 exams per class that make up 80-90%, quizzes and team exercises make up the rest). We are not related to the medical students at all in terms of class grades/curves. The only way we receive a curve is if the class mean falls below 85% at the end of the module.

    11- You mentioned earlier that the program is "very VERY competitive." Could you please elaborate on this. Is it the admissions process, the program, or both?
    Competitive in the sense of the competitive aura. Everyone is fighting for the same goal and we all know that there are limited seats in not only TCOM, but the state and nation. Admissions is competitive from what I hear but there is no real way of knowing what goes on in the selection processes.

    12- How's housing there? is it on or off campus?
    100% off campus. I live in an apartment, lots of options around here. housing isn't an issue.

    13- How many courses do you take at a time?
    We have 3 core modules this Fall. First 6 weeks is Biochem, next is Cell/molecular, next is Immuno/micro. We have epidemiology, histology, healthcare lecture once/week all year. This summer we had biostatistics three times/week and workshops to assist w/ the med school app (essay writing workshops, legitimate mock interviews with a TCOM interviewer, etc.). Next semester we take Physiology, pharmacology, gross anatomy (w/ cadaver dissection! :)), ethics, and some other courses I cant recall.

    14- What's the total cost of the program (tuition+ room& board) for state residents on average?
    Tuition is about 12k in-state for the entire year (insanely cheap!!!). room/board is something you can find out on your own....

    15- How often do students drop out or fail the program, if any?
    We have had a handful of drops and students that clearly were not meant for this program, I believe every year is different, but I doubt our class will have many more drops as most students I meet are on top of their stuff.

    16- Does the program endorse its students through LORs, etc..?
    That is up to the individual. There are no handouts or freebies, but these things can certainly be sought after.

    17- What's the most/least challenging course you've taken so far?
    We have finished biostatistics and biochemistry. I earned an A in both but worked extremely hard for those grades. Honestly both were equally difficult for me but what i've noticed is that the level of difficulty the students experience is entirely based on personal strengths/weaknesses. We are currently taking Histology, epidemiology, and cell/molecular bio and I find all of these courses do-able with hard work.

    18- Is class attendance mandatory? Are lectures recorded and accessible online?
    They are not officially recorded but many students record and post them on the group facebook page (our main form of communication), attendance is required for some courses and not for others.

    19- What is the predominant form of learning , self or group study?
    I study in a two-person group 90% of the time. We are all in the exact same courses so it works nicely. Many study alone, 1-on-1, or in large groups. You will find what works for you.

    20- What advice(s) would you give to prospective students who want to finish the program successfully (i.e. maintain a GPA >= 3.5)?
    Study a lot... Put the coursework and exams first and foremost in your life for 1 year and you will undoubtedly do well. There are no tricks or curveballs. It is a lot of information thrown at you quickly so just stay on top of it. By the way you will probably need to aim for a 3.8 if you want to finish among the top of the class to gain some recognition from TCOM if this is somewhere you would like to attend (and it should be, dont look down on the whole DO thing it just makes you look ignorant). I will be honest, a 3.5 is half As/half Bs and not very impressive for a 1 year post bacc. Be comfortable with putting the majority of your social/family life on hold and committing to this program full time. If this bothers you then dont go to medical school in the first place.

    happy to help, ill be here to answer any more questions.
     
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  11. gxb

    gxb 2+ Year Member

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    Last edited: 10.02.14

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