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Premed graduate trying to get in med school, post bacc advice?

cdamarcocdamarco Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
edited March 2011 in Pre-Med Topics

This is my first time posting here and I badly need advice. I have had a long roller coaster career as an undergrad but graduated last may with a 5 year bachelors and about 150 credits. In a nutshell, my first 2 years were fraught with personal problems and I attended a prestigious school of the sciences that was less than understanding and denied me special accomodations which resulted in poor grades in the core sciences. This is not to say I did not understand the core sciences, I took the MCAT exam 3 years later and scored straight 10's(30) without the aid of an MCAT study aid.

I attended 3 years at another school and achieved decent grades and completed all the remaining med school requirements. Unfortunately, my combined grades from both schools resulted in about a 3.0 GPA. I have what it takes for med school and have the dedication to medicine to stay motivated, but not sure where to go from here. I applied to about 8 med schools and was soundly denied, but did not apply to any osteopathic schools. Should I take an undergrad post bacc to retake all the core sciences and demonstrate my competency in the sciences or should I push harder and take a graduate postbacc? I am under the impression that undergrad GPA in the core sciences is key to admission officers but I am afraid of how they will view them seeing as how I took all those courses twice. Keep in mind my grades have clearly trended up as my college career progressed, I just have those first 2 years on my transcript that just look ugly.

Advice is greatly appreciated. :(
Post edited by cdamarco on

Replies to: Premed graduate trying to get in med school, post bacc advice?

  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 9,704 Senior Member
    I don't think you'll be doing yourself any good by retaking your undergrad core science classes. It won't erase the previous poor grades, will only add to the already high number of undergrad credits you already have, and even if you do get all As this time will still not erase doubts about your ability to succeed.

    What might serve you better is MS (in a bio/biochem/chem/neuroscience--or some other science of your choice) or a SMP.

    A science MS will serve to show medical schools that you have mastered the previous material and are prepared to do higher level work. You will need an excellent grad GPA (as close to a 4.0 as possible) to help compensate for your low undergrad GPA.

    A SMP (special masters program), if you can get accepted, would be another excellent alternative.

    You might also try applying to DO schools next cycle. They're reputed to be a bit more lenient on grade and score expectations. To apply to a DO school, you'll need to get a LOR from a DO--which means you need to cultivate an association with one so you can shadow and get the required LORs.

    BTW, post baccs are usually only for students who have NOT taken their science pre-reqs as an undergrad, not for students who have poor science grades. You will likely be wasting your time applying for a formal post-bacc program.
  • psubmbpsubmb Registered User Posts: 96 Junior Member
    What is your GPA breakdown by year?

    I agree that the undergrad postbacc is a poor option, but the choice between science MS and SMP is an important one.

    I think your best course of action might be doing a science MS you're confident you can do extremely well in and then applying broadly to both MD and DO schools just to be safe.

    The danger with a SMP is they are challenging programs and if you do poorly in them, you can take a borderline application and make things far, far worse.
  • cdamarcocdamarco Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    My GPA in those first 2 years was a 2.4, my GPA on my last 3 years was a 3.5, with my senior year GPA being a 3.7. It clearly trends up.
  • psubmbpsubmb Registered User Posts: 96 Junior Member
    I suspect you would be quite competitive for DO as-is. Whether DO is a good option depends largely on what your interests are in terms of specialties.

    Also - what were the 8 MD schools you applied to? Did you get any interviews, and if so how many of the 8 schools offered you interview invites?
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,198 Forum Champion
    Will he have to take the MCAT again? His is 3 years old.
  • psubmbpsubmb Registered User Posts: 96 Junior Member
    The MCAT "expiration dates" are school-specific but most likely yes. Especially since one major key to success with a potentially borderline app (actually, key to maximizing success for anyone, really) is applying extremely broadly and it would be silly to limit the set of schools applied to based on something like accepting an old MCAT.
  • cdamarcocdamarco Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    My mcat is not 3 yrs old yet, I took it last august.
    As for my med schools, I received no interview requests, however it should be noted I applied rather late in the process which seriously hurt my application. I applied to UPitt, temple, tcmc, UB, drexel, RWJ, PSU and albany
  • cdamarcocdamarco Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    I think I also need to point out my degree is not a premed degree, nor was I ever officially under the premed title, I started out in Pharmacy but graduated with environmental science. I have taken the premed requirements and many upper level bio courses in addition, but did not attain a formal biology or premed degree. I do have a minor in biology though, not that it matters.
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 9,704 Senior Member
    I just checked the admitted student stats for all the med schools you listed---not only is your GPA sub par, but so is your MCAT score. Your list of schools need to be seriously revised as it's full of reachy (for you) schools.

    And pre med or not--it really doesn't matter what your undergrad is in. D1 had only the minimal bio classes--not enough even for a minor. (She was a math & physics major.)
  • cdamarcocdamarco Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    I am well aware that my stats are sub par, they are sub par for most medical schools, that's why I need advice. My MCAT is not as bad as you say, at the median for most of the schools I applied.
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 9,704 Senior Member
    No, the median MCAT for accepted students at Pitt is a 34, 32 at RWj, 31 at Buffalo, Albany, Drexel, Temple, and PSU.

    TCMC is a new school for which I don't have data. (D1 has my MSAR.)

    I didn't say your MCAT was terrible--only that for those particular schools it was below the median for accepted students. Which it is.

    You need something exceptional on your resume to make schools want you despite your sub par GPA and average MCAT.

    A grad degree in science will help. Some sort of exceptional service might also help (Peace Corp or TFA).

    I still think you ought to consider SMPs. It's a risk, but if you really want med school then perhaps it's a risk you have to take.
  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Registered User Posts: 11,964 Senior Member
    ^ This is why I prefer USN to MSAR, as actually I think median of accepted students is less useful than medians (and 25ths and 75ths) of the eventual student body.

    In any case, the core point remains that the OP has an won't-hurt-him MCAT, but he also has a barely-acceptable GPA and needs something else to make up for it.
  • bluebayoubluebayou Registered User Posts: 25,542 Senior Member
    deleted post....
This discussion has been closed.