FutureSurgical

5+ Year Member
Jul 2, 2014
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Let me first state that this ISN'T a WAMC thread. I don't really need a school list as of yet, because I am going to take off a year or two before matriculating into medical school.

So, I ****ed up 2nd and 3rd semester of college. I had a mental illness that I didn't address right away and it affected my ability to perform well academically. My cGPA numbers are as follows:

FR: 3.43
SO: 3.21
JR: 3.29 (3.5 fall/3.81 spring)
SR: 3.48 (4.0 fall and spring)

My sGPA will be a 3.25. This is assuming I get a 4.0 this year. Looking at this in the long-term, I have determined that I am not really ready for medical school once I graduate (am not applying for this cycle anyway.) Took the MCAT this past August and my last 2 practice tests have been 511 and 512, even. Assuming I make a 510+, what should I do? (Also, lets assume I do make a 4.0 this last year to have the best upward trend I can have at this point.)
  1. Go to an SMP and hope for the best. I feel, with my stats, that this is a waste of time and I should honestly look at other options that are available to me
  2. Work in a clinical setting for a year. This honestly seems like a better option. I have decent ECs (>100 hours volunteering in a clinical setting,) but I would love to work as a surgical tech, surgical assistant, etc. I would also love ideas as to what work I could do in a clinical setting.
  3. Work in a lab. The lab I work in posts lab jobs around the country that I am qualified for and am not opposed to working there for a year or so.
FWIW, I know that some jobs in a clinical setting are real careers and aren't a stepping stone for medical school (e.g. nursing, AA, etc.) Also, I'm not opposed to applying DO, however I will only apply to MD the first cycle. Is that a smart move?
 

studentdocftw

M4
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Apr 30, 2015
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You won't get in with a 3.25 sGPA, focus on fixing that (especially since that's with an assumed 4.0). MCAT and ECs can wait.
 

BurghMed

Shaka Bra!
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Feb 3, 2013
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I'm not entirely familiar with the new MCAT, but apparently a 510 is "only" the ~83rd percentile. Your gpa, even with your assumed 4.0 gpa senior year, which is tough thing to get for most people, will not guarantee admission anywhere. You're in a tough spot.

If you think you have a legitimate chance of getting a 4.0, I would try to get your MCAT practice scores solidly above a 510. If you don't do well this year academically, I would consider an SMP. The problem is, if you get a 3.48 sgpa, and a 510, even if you do research in a lab for a year, your stats still aren't too stellar. The key is trying to work on those (MCAT and gpa) as best as you possibly can.
 

Cotterpin

Gluconeogenesis Evangelion
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Jun 18, 2015
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The MCAT practice scores are skewing low for most people over on the MCAT subforum. It kinda depends on which company's practice tests you used. Like, if you were getting 511 and 512 on Kaplan tests, you might score over 520.
 

candbgirl

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My cGPA numbers are as follows:

FR: 3.43
SO: 3.21
JR: 3.29 (3.5 fall/3.81 spring)
SR: 3.48 (4.0 fall and spring)

My sGPA will be a 3.25. This is assuming I get a 4.0 this year.
FWIW, I know that some jobs in a clinical setting are real careers and aren't a stepping stone for medical school (e.g. nursing, AA, etc.) Also, I'm not opposed to applying DO, however I will only apply to MD the first cycle. Is that a smart move?
No this isn't smart. Your GPAs are low for MD school. Even if you do really well on the MCAT you will have a hard time with MD schools. It gets more competitive each year.
During your gap years you really need to make sure you are stable medically. You've worked hard to get well and this process is brutal. So you have to be strong.
 

md-2020

The Immaculate Catch
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Jun 29, 2015
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If you attend a top school and if you achieve the 3.5/3.25 split and if you score highly on the MCAT, you are competitive for some MD schools. More so if you have solid ECs.


Very difficult though.
 

GrapesofRath

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May 5, 2015
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Focus on acing this year first. 4.0's are alot easier to project than actually do. If in fact you end up with a 3.5/3.25 you have a couple options.

a) Stay a fifth year. Keep up the upward trend. IF after those 5 years, you can have say a 3.6/3.35 breakdown with that upward trend and a good MCAT score I think you can be competitive for some lower tiers. Note there are hardly any guarantees doing this path though. There's still an uphill battle someone with a 3.35 science GPA will face to an extent even with a 510-512 MCAT score and an upward trend.
b) Do a formal post-bacc program. Again same thing; raise your GPA is the whole purpose here. Some programs have strong track records of people who do well there getting into medical school. All in all it serves the same purpose of staying a fifth year essentially.
c) Do an SMP. Note the reward here if you do well is the biggest. Attain a 3.7+ SMP GPA, beat out more the majority of first year medical students in their class, and all of a sudden with a good MCAT score you are very much in striking distance. But the risk is also far and away the biggest here. SMPs are brutal; not everyone can handle them. The classes here are going to be WAY HARDER than anything you saw in college. Hell a number of medical students if you made them do SMPs wouldn't do well; there's a reason half the class is below the class average. If you don't do well, your chances MD or DO are essentially shot. SMPs are last resort type of options; I would only really partake in one if you would be willing to risk not willing to be a doctor as opposed to having to be a DO(because you are competitive for DO programs as is).

So all in all your priorities have to be
a) Ace this year. Getting 4.0's is MUCH easier said than done .Hell, given where you are, even 3.7+ is much easier said than done.
b) Do everything possible to get a strong MCAT score. Regardless of any SMP program, if you don't get a competitive MCAT score for MD programs it won't matter. All this post-bac talk is moot without a good showing on the MCAT.
c) Start thinking about those post-bac options, be it staying a fifth year, doing an SMP etc. Really seriously think about the difference an MD will provide to you and your potential goals vs a DO. And I mean really, really think about it not just "oh I don't want to be a DO when I could have just been an MD if I worked harder" or "I don't want to live with the DO stigma my whole life". Evaluate the differences and how it plays into your life and aspirations. Too many of these anti-DO posts from middling applicants show just how clueless they are about what DO entails and the opportunities it provides and people cling to ideas such as "I won't be able to match into a top residency as a DO" which fails to show much perspective. I say all of this because you are fine for DO programs as is if you do well this year and get a 503+ on the MCAT. All these post-bac options are a) Risky(getting 4.0's in school or acing SMPs is very difficult and if you don't get it done the consequences are lethal MD or DO). b) Don't insure anything. Do well and you still could get shut out from MD programs a couple years from now when you could have just gone the DO route.

And yes to answer your final question, its foolish for an applicant with stats well below MD matriculant medians to not apply to DO schools or consider them.
 
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FutureSurgical

FutureSurgical

5+ Year Member
Jul 2, 2014
356
243
Status
Pre-Medical
Focus on acing this year first. 4.0's are alot easier to project than actually do. If in fact you end up with a 3.5/3.25 you have a couple options.

a) Stay a fifth year. Keep up the upward trend. IF after those 5 years, you can have say a 3.6/3.35 breakdown with that upward trend and a good MCAT score I think you can be competitive for some lower tiers. Note there are hardly any guarantees doing this path though. There's still an uphill battle someone with a 3.35 science GPA will face to an extent even with a 510-512 MCAT score and an upward trend.
b) Do a formal post-bacc program. Again same thing; raise your GPA is the whole purpose here. Some programs have strong track records of people who do well there getting into medical school. All in all it serves the same purpose of staying a fifth year essentially.
c) Do an SMP. Note the reward here if you do well is the biggest. Attain a 3.7+ SMP GPA, beat out more the majority of first year medical students in their class, and all of a sudden with a good MCAT score you are very much in striking distance. But the risk is also far and away the biggest here. SMPs are brutal; not everyone can handle them. The classes here are going to be WAY HARDER than anything you saw in college. Hell a number of medical students if you made them do SMPs wouldn't do well; there's a reason half the class is below the class average. If you don't do well, your chances MD or DO are essentially shot. SMPs are last resort type of options; I would only really partake in one if you would be willing to risk not willing to be a doctor as opposed to having to be a DO(because you are competitive for DO programs as is).

So all in all your priorities have to be
a) Ace this year. Getting 4.0's is MUCH easier said than done .Hell, given where you are, even 3.7+ is much easier said than done.
b) Do everything possible to get a strong MCAT score. Regardless of any SMP program, if you don't get a competitive MCAT score for MD programs it won't matter. All this post-bac talk is moot without a good showing on the MCAT.
c) Start thinking about those post-bac options, be it staying a fifth year, doing an SMP etc. Really seriously think about the difference an MD will provide to you and your potential goals vs a DO. And I mean really, really think about it not just "oh I don't want to be a DO when I could have just been an MD if I worked harder" or "I don't want to live with the DO stigma my whole life". Evaluate the differences and how it plays into your life and aspirations. Too many of these anti-DO posts from middling applicants show just how clueless they are about what DO entails and the opportunities it provides and people cling to ideas such as "I won't be able to match into a top residency as a DO" which fails to show much perspective. I say all of this because you are fine for DO programs as is if you do well this year and get a 503+ on the MCAT. All these post-bac options are a) Risky(getting 4.0's in school or acing SMPs is very difficult and if you don't get it done the consequences are lethal MD or DO). b) Don't insure anything. Do well and you still could get shut out from MD programs a couple years from now when you could have just gone the DO route.

And yes to answer your final question, its foolish for an applicant with stats well below MD matriculant medians to not apply to DO schools or consider them.
Thanks everyone for the honest replies. It did seem foolish for me to want MD only. I think the whole SDN bias has gotten to me a little. Especially how I am not vying for a top residency program (going for IM and maybe specialize in Cardio or Onco; and yes, this is very specific and I do know that can change at ANY time.) I still want to take a year off or two to work in a hospital or do research. I feel like I need a bit more maturity before doing anything like an SMP. I love school, but I need a break.

Also, I didn't mean to come across as still struggling with mental illness. I overcame that two years ago and I feel 100x healthier, mentally.

Also, I think I stated my practice tests were from Kaplan, which are known to be much harder than actual tests and tend to deflate scores. I will update you through PM, as you seem pretty knowledgeable about what steps I should take.

But last question: lets say I do a 5th year and score somewhere above 512 on the MCAT. I make a 4.0 the 5th year, will that make me competitive for MD programs (don't care about the tier)? Or would THAT be a waste of money to apply to MD programs in my state and other OOS-friendly programs?