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what do you think my chances are?

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Sweet Tea

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Hey Y'all-- I'm getting ready to take the MCAT (13 days and counting), and I was wondering what you guys think my chances of getting into med school are. This is my first time applying. I'm worried about my GPA-- I graduated (bs biology) in '01 with a 3.1-- my freshmen and sophomore years sucked (thanks, chemistry!), but I had a 4.0 with hard classes my senior year. Since then I've re-taken organic and took another biology class and my post-bacc GPA is a 3.8. I'm taking Kaplan and have been scoring 31's on the practice tests, I work in clinical research now (ie, seeing arthritis patients), have an internship with a FP, and have been a volunteer EMT for 2 years. In undergrad I had 3 steady jobs (the joys of paying for your own education), and did lots of lab research, mostly in microbiology. As an undergrad, I was a leader in my campus ministry group and organized work trips to seattle and costa rica. I know I've got things going for me now, but I'm really worried about the effects of my undergrad GPA. What do you think my chances are?
 

mpp

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No one can tell you accurately what your chances are. Do well on the MCAT. Write a good personal statement and secondary essays. Get good letters of recommendation. Have a good interview. Perhaps you'll get accepted. Perhaps you'll have to try again. Cheers...
 
A

A. Caveman

ditto. that's about the best REAL advice you can get.

now, i have the feeling you're looking for less than that (or more, depends who's talking)---i think you want encouragement.

I will give you honest encouragement. Your 4.0 senior year and the postbac classes (sounds like you didn't take enough credits in postbac) are very good, and will show what kind of student you can be (or are now). BUT your ugrad gpa is so low that you might not even make first cuts (so nobody will even see your improving grade trend). but if they can see the improving grade trend, it still sucks because the overall is too low. what school did you go to? that will make a slight difference when it comes to forgiveness. but you have to REALLY play up your ECs in college and how you were so involved with them that you didn't have enough time to study, like you do now and will in the future (you will say). and they know it's just talk..but if they see that yeah, you were busy, and look how you're doing now..they might give you a tiny break. your MCAT score can help you make those first cuts so they can look at your improvement, and can help in making them believe you're a good student when it comes time to give out interviews. you will have to really impress them at your interviews. unless you're a URM, and got the 3.1 at an IVY...in that case you wouldn't do so bad, and with a very good mcat score you'd get into good schools. but otherwise, you'd need the highest mcat you can possibly get, and lots of luck and lots of marketing and interviewing skills to get you in. but i believe with your motivation, they'll see you're qualified.

PS. i noticed you went to UNC. i don't know anything about the school--but if it's decent, then your PBac and senior year and mcat should help give you a shot.

Apply to lots of schools--i don't recommend applying to any reach schools unless you're an underrepresented minority.
 

racergirl

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•••quote:•••Originally posted by mpp:
•No one can tell you accurately what your chances are. •••••That's true! But I know what you're really worried about is your GPA hurting you. Well, you have a solid upward trend there, good post-bach work, lots of clinical experience, and research to boot. Do well on the MCAT and apply EARLY, and I think you'll have a good shot. If you're afraid your GPA will definately keep you out, don't. It won't. Yes it's low, so you NEED to do well on the MCAT to make it over initial numbers cuts. I was admitted to several schools with a GPA slightly lower than yours. Good Luck!
 
A

A. Caveman

racergirl didn't you get a 36? and how many years of awesome grades did you have after your initial mess-up??

hope is a beautiful thing..but when we find out it's false hope, we slowly turn cold, ugly, and bitter. or so i've heard.... :p :wink: :p
 

Sweet Tea

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Thanks for the feedback! My next question is how well do y'all think Kaplan prepares you for the real MCAT (aka, the Big Ugly)? I've recently invested in some examkrackers books, and they seem to be helping (I just wish I had discovered them sooner)! :)
 

rxfudd

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•••quote:•••Originally posted by racergirl:
•Do well on the MCAT and apply EARLY•••••This is the best advice you're going to get. The better you do on the MCAT, the more they will be inclined to consider you for an interview (with a 3.1 Ugrad GPA, I'd be shooting for the golden 30 as a MINIMUM). And have everything ready to go by mid-June. You'll get your MCAT scores back around June 15th-25th, so you want to be able to apply the same week you get them back. I wouldn't apply without knowing your scores, since if for some reason you don't score competitively, you won't want to waste money applying this time around.
 

racergirl

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•••quote:•••Originally posted by A. Caveman:
•racergirl didn't you get a 36? and how many years of awesome grades did you have after your initial mess-up??

hope is a beautiful thing..but when we find out it's false hope, we slowly turn cold, ugly, and bitter. or so i've heard.... :p :wink: :p •••••I got a 37-39 on the MCAT. I have 76 semester credits (three years) at a 3.97 GPA. Those good grades got me UP to the ~3.1 GPA I applied with. So you are completely right, Caveman. It's not easy to make up for bad grades, only possible.
 

Sweet Tea

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Congrats on getting into UP, racergirl!! It's great to know it can be done, even with a rather unfortunate ugrad GPA. :) :)
 

pre-hawkdoc

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•••quote:•••Originally posted by curlyMD:
•Congrats on getting into UP, racergirl!! )•••••Um, I think you may have misunderstood racergirl's post, curly. :wink:
 

vixen

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<img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" /> that was hilarious!

the acronyms have gone to his head :)
 

racergirl

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•••quote:•••Originally posted by pre-hawkdoc:
• •••quote:•••Originally posted by curlyMD:
•Congrats on getting into UP, racergirl!! )•••••Um, I think you may have misunderstood racergirl's post, curly. :wink: •••••WHOOPS!! Yeah, curly misunderstood me--I meant "up" as in opposite of down, not UP (what school is that? U Penn?).
 

Sweet Tea

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whoops-- my bad!! thanks for clearing that one up (not to be confused with any kind of acronym)...
 
A

A. Caveman

Racergirl, where have you been accepted and how old are you?

CurlyMD, notice what Racergirl posts. because if you don't have a 37-39 (Christ!) along with three years of 4.0's, then you won't even get close to getting into the school she got into. and i'm willing to bet without knowing first, that it's not a top school. had she gotten those numbers the first time around, she'd be in Harvard, U Penn, Hopkins, Duke, etc. so you now see how hard it is to come back. get a Master's, get a PhD (kutastha has) and you STILL will barely be noticed (kutastha has a 36 (!!) MCAT also, along with that PhD, and he hasn't had as much success as those numbers would ordinarily deserve, this year (although he has gotten in). so my point to you is that you're in DEEP, DEEP trouble. i assume you won't be able to bring up your score within the next two weeks to a mid-high thirty..and you ain't got no PhD or 3 years of 4.0s. what you got is jack squat, so you need to apply to jack squat schools.

in fact (and i'm saying this because nobody else will be this real with you, and you need to hear it) you should consider applying to DO schools and/or waiting another year after improving more, to apply to MD schools. sorry. but look how much work the other two examples have put in!! you didn't think you'd squeek by with as little as you've done to amend your past mistakes. medschools are unforgiving because there's too many people out there with MUCH better numbers that don't need excuses for mistakes. you gotta put more work into your app.

You'll make it, if you keep up what you're doing!

This year, if you want, pretty much apply to really bad schools and to all your state schools. and pray.

gluck
 

ncmd

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Hi curlyMD-

I don't think your situation is dire at all. The truth is, the whole thing is a crapshoot- I can list off examples that have 3.8 at Duke with 37 MCAT that haven't gotten in anywhere and people with 27 MCAT that went to a state school undergrad that have. Overall with your ECs I think you have a good chance. Apply to a lot of places, write really good essays and you will have a solid application. I think the interviews matter more than people think, so once you get a foot in the door with an interview . . .
 

sandflea

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yes, but the question remains of whether or not curly can even get his/her foot in the door with an interview with only a 3.1, and that's doubtful. your situation is not dire, curly, but it stands to be fixed. caveman worded his last post a little strongly, but the fact is, he's right: he and i have both been there and speak from experience. this is my second time applying and i've learned a heck of a lot about what matters in this process. your ECs are great, but the bottom line is that you need solid numbers to get your foot in the door, because the initial screening of application for interviews is often entirely based on numbers, and barring some extraordinary circumstance, a 3.1 won't be enough to do it. generally speaking, subjective things like ECs and rec letters won't ever get noticed by adcoms unless your numbers are solid enough to get you to the next level of evaluation. does this mean that you can't get in anywhere at all? no, because the randomness of this process doesn't guarantee anything, good OR bad--it's just that the odds are stacked against you, and frankly i don't think it's worth it to put a heck of a lot of time, money, and emotion for something where the odds are stacked against you from day one. you need to do well on the MCAT but the fact is, it still won't cancel out your GPA, and your GPA is probably the single most important part of your application. forget what you hear about the MCAT being the 'great equalizer'--a great MCAT score can work wonders for you if and only if your GPA is decent to begin with. from watching older friends go through the process, those with high GPAs but low MCATs have done much, much better than those with high MCATs and low GPAs. depending on a lot of variables that none of us have control over, you could possibly get in with your current stats (assuming a decent score on the MCAT), but is it really worth it to take such a big gamble when chances are you *won't* get in?

but it's not hopeless! there are things we don't know about you from your first post. like, in what state do you hold residency? it's a lot easier to get into some state schools than others. and, what does the average of your undergrad and post-bacc GPAs come out to be? this is important because these are averaged together and this composite GPA is what adcoms use to evaluate you.

what i would recommend is taking at least a full year of post-bacc courses to bring up your GPA--maybe even more. you're going to need quite a few to counteract your undergrad GPA. yes, this means that you apply and start med school later in life, but wouldn't it be worth it to start off with a competitive application and possibly have options rather than having one that is decidedly mediocre from the get-go and praying that you might squeak by? and do well on the MCAT (no lower than a 30).

hope this helps.
 

racergirl

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•••quote:•••Originally posted by A. Caveman:
•Racergirl, where have you been accepted and how old are you?

CurlyMD, notice what Racergirl posts. because if you don't have a 37-39 (Christ!) along with three years of 4.0's, then you won't even get close to getting into the school she got into. and i'm willing to bet without knowing first, that it's not a top school. had she gotten those numbers the first time around, she'd be in Harvard, U Penn, Hopkins, Duke, etc. so you now see how hard it is to come back.
•••••I've been accepted to U Iowa and U of MN (my state school). I have a wait list from NW, but I gave it up already. Caveman's posts tend to be worded a bit harshly, but he's basically correct. If I hadn't had such bad grades before, I might've been competitive at top-twenty rather than top-fifty schools. But hey, I'm kind of a casual gal anyway, so maybe it's all for the best. Sometimes I forget just how hard I had to work to overcome my GPA and get into ANY school, so Caveman's cautions are reasonalbe--it is VERY HARD to come back--but it's not impossible.
 

phllystyl

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I went through something much like you....

Graduated from an Ivy with a 3.24 in 2000. There was definitly an upward trend in my grades my junior and senior year (all science courses were A's), and I took the MCAT in august of 2000. Alot of what people have said definitly rings true. I did well on the MCAT, 33, but not a super score.

my only saving grace was my letters of recommendation which were all from very respected physicians in the field I said I wanted to eventually go into and from the same city where I sent in most of my apps.

I am extremely fortunate that one allo. decided to give me a shot.

Above all though, I think the most important thing for me in all of this is what can be taken from it. Instead of dwelling on how I performed my fr. and so. years of ugrad and wishing I had done better, I have chosen to extrapolate the positives. I enjoyed myself, I became involved in some exra-curricular activities which I am still involved in heavily related to music, I've met some incredible people with some incredible stories. Most imporantly I recognize this now as a second chance of sorts, an almost clean slate to work with, and I will *NOT* let it happen again. I've wanted to do medicine most of my life, and I forgot that for two years. I'm extremely thankful someone let me prove myself.

Good luck, I wish you the best, and it can be done!

phllystyl
m1 in august =]
 
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