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Sorry Guys...BUT

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by JZZZZZZZs, Jan 26, 2002.

  1. JZZZZZZZs

    JZZZZZZZs Senior Member
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    I have yet another question regarding GPA versus chances of admission to Med. school. (Oh, by the way, I just stumbled upon this website last week after a search on Yahoo. It's absolutely brilliant! I've loved reading everyone's responses, and thought it was time that I posted a note of my own.) So here it goes...I, like a "few others" on this site have a low undergrad GPA because of various internal and external reasons. My undergrad GPA was a meager 3.16. I majored in Microbiology/Molecular Genetics and also specialized in Business Administration. (Originally, I wanted to go into Biotech but that's another story.) While in college, I desperately wanted to get out into the real world, (big mistake) and overloaded myself with 16-22 units every quarter. It's a miracle that I made it out in 4 years. I wasn't really that involved in college (since I also worked part time) with only one exception. I tutored underprivledged kids for a year and enjoyed that tremendously. Eventually, I became one of the directors of the program.
    I'm planning on applying this year for the Class of 2003 and am taking the April MCAT. So my question to all of you out there is, (yes you've guessed it) DO I HAVE A CHANCE?!? Or do I need to bolster my poor GPA with more EC and possibly research experience? What about post-bac? (Is it only for non-science grads that want to pursue medicine?) I feel like the whole process is a bit hurried right now since I need to get some clinical experience quickly. (BTW, will it look bad on the application that I just started and am applying in the same year?) I need some HONEST answers. (even if it's brutal) BRING IT ON! But don't be too mean. A great BIG thanks to everyone out there for the support!!!!
    <img src="graemlins/lovey.gif" border="0" alt="[Lovey]" />
     
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  3. med student

    med student Senior Member
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    Well there are two different ways to look at this. If money is not a major issue then I would apply as planned but at the same time plan your schedule like you do not expect to get in. I realize this is hard to do but I think the odds are stacked against you for getting in now but if spending the money on applications is not an issue why not try because you never know what will happen. Now assuming you either don't apply this year or you do not get in this is what I would suggest. Your GPA is not something that can be solved with EC activities alone or research. What I would suggest is you get a masters in public health or biology of some kind. This is the single most important thing I think you can do to help your chances. You definately need some clinical experience before you apply and if you can find time do some other EC activities that will make you look unique. So if you decide to apply this year I would also apply to some graduate programs at the same time that way if you do not get in to medical school you don't have to wait another year to apply.
     
  4. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    I don't think you would be able to apply this year at all, and maybe not even next year. I would definately say get a masters in something, and study your ass off for the MCAT, but you've dug quite a hole for yourself.
     
  5. kutastha

    kutastha 2K Member
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  6. JZZZZZZZs

    JZZZZZZZs Senior Member
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    Thanks guys for your candid responses. I will heed everyone's words and bulk up on my ECs, study my a$$ off on the MCAT (And yes, kutastha, I am taking a review course, TPR to be precise.) and come up with a plan B just in case. Yet, at the same time, I will be optimistic and apply to every school that my pocket book can handle. Do you guys know of some non top-tiered or more obscure schools that might be less competitive? I don't mind going to North Dakota or even Wisconsin? Medstudent, you said I should also apply to grad. school this year. Well, would my MCAT scores be sufficient or would I have to take the GRE also to apply? Thanks again.
     
  7. kutastha

    kutastha 2K Member
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    Janet - you have to take the GRE for graduate school. Just keep your eyes on the main goal. If it comes down to choosing a Masters, ensure it has some clinical implications. And practice all the tests that TPR gives you. It pays off in spades.

    Good luck,

    Andrew
     
  8. med student

    med student Senior Member
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    My whole take on the MCAT is this it is something that can definately keep you out of medschool ie score below 27 but I feel it only helps you a little in getting in( I had a 3.35 GPA UC Berkeley, 35 MCAT). In some ways it can be bad to have a below average GPA and a very high MCAT because it will make you look like you were lazy in college. The exception to this is if you can show that you GPA was lower than you would have liked do to working and having a high unit load because school will take this into account. The problem you have right now is when you have a below average GPA you need to have something else in your application that makes unique. So if I was you I would plan on applying for the class that starts in 2004 and use the year and a half to increase your GPA and EC activities. But I want to stress that you should not lose hope because you are definately in range of where you need to be but it will take a little more work. There were many times I thought about quitting and becoming a econ major but now that I am here I know that I made the right choice. Finally the is no reason to not apply this summer but I urge you to plan your next year and a half like you will be getting in for the class of 2004. Good luck.
     
  9. med student

    med student Senior Member
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    Also when you apply there is a book published by AMCAS that lists the number of of out of state residents who apply and got in to a given school. Pick schools which take a decent percentage of their class from out of state because every year state schools that have not take an out of state resident in the last ten years get like 500 applications from out of state residents. This is a waste of your time and money.
     
  10. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member
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    as someone who was once in your same situation, janet, i am going to echo every bit of med student's advice and tell you that you must, must, MUST do something to fix your GPA. that is the single most important thing you need to do. like med student said, my impression has been that the MCAT can keep you out of med school, but it will not be what gets you in. its effect in counteracting a low GPA is not as extensive as some people believe. yes, you must do well on it with a low GPA, but it won't cancel out the GPA. that low GPA is going to follow you around for the rest of your application life, unfortunately, so you need to do something to redeem yourself and prove your ability to handle grad-level work. ECs, clinical experiences, and research aren't going to make admissions committee overlook your grades. so i really don't believe that pursuing a masters should be something you put on the back burner as a plan B or alternative strategy--you need to do it. that's the route i took (with a lower undergrad GPA than yours) and it has paid off for me, as i can now say i'll be a med student next all. alternatively there are post-bacc programs for people who need to improve their credentials, but there are fewer of them than masters programs. either way, fixing your GPA needs to be the first thing on your list to pursue.

    you'll probably stand your best chance at admission at your state school, because state residency factors in very heavily in med school admissions (at most state schools, 90% or more of the students are from that state), even more so than in college or grad school admissions. for this reason, you will stand virtually no chance of being admitted to north dakota or wisconsin unless you are from one of those states. as suggested earlier, pick up a copy of the MSAR to get admissions rates at the schools around the countries. there are a few private schools with lower standards than the top-tier schools; however, realize that most private schools have some in-state preference too, and for the ones that don't, you'll be competing with other applicants from all over the country--you won't have state residency working in your favor.

    you'll need to allow some time to improve your application. it would be a waste for you to apply at the same time that you're starting new things, because they won't hold any weight if you've been involved for like a month at the time you apply. take a year, or even two, off. if you do pursue the masters or a post-bacc program (and i can't stress how important it is for you to bring up your grades), you're going to need at least a year to generate some new grades. you may even want to wait until you finish out the program before you apply. it means that you'll start med school that much later, but you'll fare much better in the application process.

    hope this helps.
     
  11. JZZZZZZZs

    JZZZZZZZs Senior Member
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    Sandflea,
    Thank you for your thoroughness. After checking out other posts about low GPA in this forum, it looks like there's a general consensus that grades really are a bigger factor in admissions even over an outstanding MCAT score. And in having someone such as yourself, who was once in my position reiterate that point is extremely sobering. However, I am still preparing for the April MCAT and plan on taking it. I know that MCAT scores are good for up to 3 years at certain schools. Yet, I have another concern. I read on the AMCAS website that they will administer a new version next April 2003 which could be easier than the present test. Do you think that will have an effect on my chances to apply in a year or two (going up against potentially higher scores)? Or do I have it all wrong because the tests are standardized?
    As for further academic pursuits to raise my GPA. What is the real difference between a Post-Bacc. program and a Masters? And which one would you recommend? I really do appreciate you (and everyone else who's responded) taking the time out to answer my questions.
    BTW, CONGRATULATIONS on your acceptance!!!! <img src="graemlins/clappy.gif" border="0" alt="[Clappy]" />
     
  12. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member
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  13. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    One huge suggestion. Move. Sandflea makes a big point about your state school being your best bet. That's definately not true in California. Move to Texas and do your Masters there. At least there is about 5 state schools there.
     
  14. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member
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    good point--i just noticed that you're from LA, janet. that's something that could make a huge difference (i know people who have moved to increase their chances of admission) but it's a dramatic step to take. as california residents, have either of you ever considered moving, jalbrekt and kutastha?? i'm just curious.
     
  15. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    I have a good MCAT, so I wasn't to worried about getting in somewhere. I don;t think I would get into a cali school, but I think I will get into a school that's better than most state schools. Ohio would also be a good place to move.
     

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