Weak Undergrad GPA, 4.0 Post-Bacc. What are my chances?

Nov 26, 2013
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I graduated NYU in 2008 with a cumulative GPA of 2.9. Took the pre-med requirements with science GPA of 2.75. I have since been working on post-bacc credits and have a 4.0 with 76 credits (mostly science, a few math and other courses). I am scoring average 30 on the practice MCAT. I work full-time as a NYC Paramedic and have been full-time in school (as a married home-owner, this isn't easy). I've taken just about every science class I could enroll in - Cell Bio, Biochemistry, Genetics, A&P, etc. As a NYC Paramedic, I have a lot of advanced patient care experience including intubations and medication administration. I know I will be successful in Medical School but how will my application be viewed by admissions? My GPA fix attempt will only bring me up to about 3.25 when I apply. The NYC and surrounding area schools (Stony Brook, New York Medical, Albany) have a higher average entrance GPA and MCAT score than other areas. What is the consensus on a non-traditional student like myself? I am 27 years old and am not taking "no" for an answer. I will wait another year to apply if I have to but I would like to apply this Fall. Where do I stand for the next year's admissions? I can't leave the area but there are many schools for me to apply to here. Suggestions about how to market myself to be successful in admission and ideas about my chances of success?
 
Aug 6, 2011
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Medical Student (Accepted)
I graduated NYU in 2008 with a cumulative GPA of 2.9. Took the pre-med requirements with science GPA of 2.75. I have since been working on post-bacc credits and have a 4.0 with 76 credits (mostly science, a few math and other courses). I am scoring average 30 on the practice MCAT. I work full-time as a NYC Paramedic and have been full-time in school (as a married home-owner, this isn't easy). I've taken just about every science class I could enroll in - Cell Bio, Biochemistry, Genetics, A&P, etc. As a NYC Paramedic, I have a lot of advanced patient care experience including intubations and medication administration. I know I will be successful in Medical School but how will my application be viewed by admissions? My GPA fix attempt will only bring me up to about 3.25 when I apply. The NYC and surrounding area schools (Stony Brook, New York Medical, Albany) have a higher average entrance GPA and MCAT score than other areas. What is the consensus on a non-traditional student like myself? I am 27 years old and am not taking "no" for an answer. I will wait another year to apply if I have to but I would like to apply this Fall. Where do I stand for the next year's admissions? I can't leave the area but there are many schools for me to apply to here. Suggestions about how to market myself to be successful in admission and ideas about my chances of success?
Even with your awesome post bacc performance it will be difficult to get into MD schools with the 3.25 cGPA. Difficult but not impossible. A very strong performance on the MCAT will help. The NYC area MD schools tend to have average MCAT scores of 31-34 and high GPAs so a 30/3.25 is not competitive for these schools. Now I'm not saying don't apply, but I would suggest you also apply broadly to the lower tier MD schools and definitely DO schools. DO is probably your best bet but of course there are lower stat folks who get into MD schools each year so just apply broadly and early. Best of luck
 

alpinism

Give Em' the Jet Fuel
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Nov 6, 2011
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Your post bacc GPA is great and will be viewed very favorably. On the bright side, a 3.25 while still low is above the screening cutoff at nearly all med schools which means your application will get reviewed by adcoms. Most schools will focus on your most recent grades so your upward GPA trend plus medic experience should give you a big boost. At the same time, its going to be tough getting interviews with your GPA and expected MCAT (~30) if you can only apply to a few NYC area schools. Obviously the higher the better, but your best shot would be with a 32+ MCAT (about average for most NY schools).

If you can write a compelling personal statement, apply early in June, and submit secondaries ASAP you should have a decent shot a grabbing a few interviews. Stony brook and Albany are known to be more non-trad friendly and usually have 1 0r 2 medics in their classes (I used to work for LA County FD and know a couple of medics from CA and NY at SB right now).

As a backup I would recommend applying DO. With your stats and assuming a 30 MCAT you'll have a great shot at places like UMDNJ-COM (Rowan), NYCOM, and PCOM. They are all close to NYC and are some of the best DO schools out there.
 

DrMidlife

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I graduated NYU in 2008 with a cumulative GPA of 2.9. Took the pre-med requirements with science GPA of 2.75. I have since been working on post-bacc credits and have a 4.0 with 76 credits (mostly science, a few math and other courses).
Did you retake any of the prereqs? Generally you don't want to have anything lower than a C in a prereq, and retaking a C isn't a questionable decision. Those retakes don't erase the previous grade for MD schools, but if you go DO, the retakes erase the prior grade in GPA calcs (but you still have to list all coursework).

"Credits" doesn't translate well, because they vary from school to school. If you have the equivalent of 2 full time years of postbac coursework, then imho you're done with undergrad interventions for your GPA redemption.
I am scoring average 30 on the practice MCAT.
I'm very concerned about reliance on practice scores, because you will never see practice test content on the real MCAT. The practice tests use retired questions. What I'm seeing all over SDN is "surprise" low scores after good scores on practice tests. I recommend moving your focus to working a bazillion problems, such as in quizzes or in the EK 1001 books, to emphasize content mastery over practice test scores.
how will my application be viewed by admissions? My GPA fix attempt will only bring me up to about 3.25 when I apply. The NYC and surrounding area schools (Stony Brook, New York Medical, Albany) have a higher average entrance GPA and MCAT score than other areas. What is the consensus on a non-traditional student like myself?
Generally you'll be viewed no differently than normal applicants. Numbers are the gateway. Your numbers can get you through to a review that will take your life experience and your upward trend into account. In a state like NY (or CA or PA) where the competition is fierce, it can be very difficult to get a school to consider your experience and recent work. Being firm about NYC, on a GPA comeback, is a problem. Your best odds are at upstate NY schools, regardless, and you have no control over where you do residency.
I am 27 years old and am not taking "no" for an answer.
Good. The #1 trait of a successful GPA comeback is not quitting.
I will wait another year to apply if I have to but I would like to apply this Fall.
DO NOT APPLY TO MED SCHOOL IN THE "FALL". You would be wasting your money and time and damaging your future chances. You want to apply as close to June 1 as possible. If you have to wait a year to apply early, then wait a year to apply. I wrote a lengthy breakdown on common reapplicant errors that you might find useful, in order to avoid those errors.
Where do I stand for the next year's admissions? I can't leave the area but there are many schools for me to apply to here. Suggestions about how to market myself to be successful in admission and ideas about my chances of success?
Go after the admissions directors at the NY public schools, with extreme professional courtesy, humility and gratitude. Become a known entity to the admissions offices. Be unbelievably charming and an entirely lovely young man. Ask to sit down with an admissions officer for pre-application counseling. A non-officer cannot help you, because you have GPA damage, and non-officers can't give you good advice. You should start this pursuit now, and assume it'll be six months before you get any love, if you're lucky.

Start looking at the one year terminal masters programs (SMPs) that are hosted at medical schools such as Georgetown, Drexel, Boston. These programs exist for the sole purpose of getting premeds with the single deficiency of poor undergrad GPA into US MD schools. There aren't any in NYC, but you might find one a train ride away. The postbac forum has boatloads of info. A traditional masters program with pubs is also a possibility to solidify your academic profile.

You're pretty much already doing this, but be the adult in charge of whether you're in good shape for med school, and whether you're in a state where the old doctors who are between you and a med school acceptance are going to be excited about your candidacy or worried about it. Your application needs to have abundant confidence-inspiring counterexamples to your undergrad performance.

Best of luck to you.
 

Chip N Sawbones

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I had very similar stats to yours when I applied. I also had a 2.9 from undergrad and a 4.0 in postbac, for a cGPA of 3.14. It's hard to know without an MCAT, but I recommend you apply to plenty of DO schools. You can apply to some MD, but you'll want to look for schools like Tulane, Vermont and Rosalind Franklin that are somewhat more willing to look at your postbac work instead of your cGPA. I got lots of DO interview invites, though. Osteopathic schools really do look at your application holistically. Even if you haven't done grade replacement they will notice the perfect postbac grades and use them to measure your potential performance in med school.
 

Goro

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Strongly concur. There are schools out there that reward reinvention (NYMC and Albany are two schools that persons in your shoes have been successful with when combined with a good >32 MCAT score). I'd also try the SUNYs and all new MD programs.

I also agree 100% with the advice to apply as early as possible. Do NOT take the MCAT until you are fully ready to.


Even with your awesome post bacc performance it will be difficult to get into MD schools with the 3.25 cGPA. Difficult but not impossible. A very strong performance on the MCAT will help. The NYC area MD schools tend to have average MCAT scores of 31-34 and high GPAs so a 30/3.25 is not competitive for these schools. Now I'm not saying don't apply, but I would suggest you also apply broadly to the lower tier MD schools and definitely DO schools. DO is probably your best bet but of course there are lower stat folks who get into MD schools each year so just apply broadly and early. Best of luck