To SMP or not to SMP? Which is the riskier path?

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Jun 2, 2018
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I'm a non-Canadian international student looking to strengthen my science GPA before applying to US med schools. I plan to apply after completing a Master's program. I have 3.51 uGPA, 3.46 sGPA from a top ten university in the US (notorious for grade deflation), and 501 MCAT (retaking). I felt unprepared for the MCAT, so I feel confident that I can raise my score significantly after a few months of studying. However, I am very concerned about my uGPA... especially since I'm international:( I have extensive research experience (2 publications), decent EC's, but need to build better relationships with faculty for good LOR's.

So far I've been accepted into Hopkins MHS (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) and am waiting on Georgetown SMP and University of Cincinnati SMP.

My premed advisor has told me that it might not be worth doing SMP, because I could end up with a mediocre GPA due to its rigor and difficulty. I basically need a 4.0 to become competitive for med school. However, I am worried that a regular Master's like Hopkins MHS might not be enough to make up for my uGPA. The MHS website doesn't show any hard data on students being accepted into medical school. Although many premeds do enroll in that program, it's not a premed program after all. And it isn't as rigorous as SMP's where you take classes alongside med school students. Basically, program difficulty seems like both a pro and a con:shrug:

If anyone has input on these programs, especially Hopkins MHS since I don't see many recent posts about it, I would love to hear it. I want to know how fruitful and productive spending one year in these programs can be. Has anyone struggled significantly in an SMP and regret doing it at all? Has anyone felt like their med school application became much stronger after completing a regular Master's? If so, how and why? Any advice is much appreciated! :)

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You don't need a 4.0 in an SMP to be competitive. 3.7+ and a higher MCAT. But with that GPA, you may save a lot of money by simply retaking the MCAT and just applying straight away. You don't necessarily need an SMP.
Looks like you want to go to MD. Your MCAT is low and gpa is just an avg. How is your rest of application? When are you planning to re-take MCAT? Why not try DO? You are good for DO.
@KYmedic33 Thanks! As an international applicant though, I believe 3.5 is not good enough for MD.

@dial1010usa I agree with you about my stats. I'm more interested in MD than DO, because I'm pretty research-driven, resonate more with the MD philosophy, and also want to keep doors open in case I end up going back to my home country to practice (which doesn't accept DO but does accept MD). I think the rest of my application is on track for the most part (need better LOR's but I hope to gain them during Master's program). Clinical volunteering: 210 hrs, non-clinical volunteering: 150, shadowing: 100 hrs. Leadership in a music ensemble I founded. 2 publications (first- and third-author). I'm taking at least 2 gap years, so I haven't scheduled my next MCAT yet.