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Med School Acceptance Chances Coming from Reed College

EnginethatCouldEnginethatCould Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
Hey all,

So I'm a non-trad student attending Reed College. Reed is known as a decent school, and is great for the Graduate school circuit. They also claim to be good for med school admission, but here's the kicker: There is no grade inflation at Reed. Most exams in the professor's words are designed so that scoring above a 70-80 is impossible without outside knowledge of material. Reed says they send a letter explaining the lack of grade inflation to med schools, but the fact that the average GPA at Reed is a 3.2 has me quaking in my boots. Reed requires Jr. Oral Qualifying exams, and a senior thesis. I am hoping to complete my thesis in neuroscience, and am currently a licensed EMT-Basic, who will work this summer.

A lot of threads on here bash people with a <3.5 GPA and I'm wondering, what about people who attend schools without grade inflation? Is an original thesis, EMT work, scribe work, good interview, and a great MCAT score enough to make up for a 3.0-3.2 GPA? (After Reed I'm confident I can do well on the MCAT, classes here are brutal) I'm really worried and feeling like I should transfer again to a state school where the classes would be easier, but it seems counterintuitive in a way, because I like being challenged. But I don't want my application thrown out just because my school doesn't inflate grades. Do I stand a chance? Has anyone out there been in this position? I don't have a B average at *InsertGenericPartySchool*. Will med schools pay any attention to this? I keep getting such conflicting info from alumni and people!

Replies to: Med School Acceptance Chances Coming from Reed College

  • oniongrassoniongrass Registered User Posts: 64 Junior Member
    I don't know, but it sounds like a fantastic school. Just put Reed on the map for my sons when they are applying.
  • artloversplusartloversplus Registered User Posts: 8,342 Senior Member
    the adcoms will know course rigor of each school and will put that into consideration
  • Jweinst1Jweinst1 Registered User Posts: 382 Member
    I have never really read about Reed's grading policies, but this doesn't seem right. Normally a class of some X number of students has to have a set percentage of A's, B's, C's etc. Making it "impossible" to achieve a certain grades sounds very fishy to me. I would investigate this in closer detail if I were you.
  • GhosttGhostt Registered User Posts: 1,658 Senior Member
    1. Reed's average GPA is actually in the 3.05-3.15 range, not 3.2.

    2. Med schools are aware of Reed's grading policies, as are other graduate schools. A 3.5 from Reed might be taken as seriously as a 3.8 from another school (or it might not, depends on the adcom), but you still need to bring your grades to that level. Honestly, it's not impossible to have a GPA above 3.3 at Reed.
  • texaspgtexaspg Forum Champion Pre-Med & Medical Posts: 16,666 Forum Champion
    For most public medical schools, they count 4.0 from Harvard and directional state U the same. So I would not count on them looking deeply into GPA deflation of the college. OTOH, the private schools in the know do some adjustments based on some of the well known colleges for grade deflation and may not use the straight up GPA x10 + MCAT formula to come up with a baseline. I have heard of a Caltech student getting into Yale med couple of years ago with a 3.3 GPA but don't know his MCAT score to get a clear picture (nor his research credentials).

    You will probably not find clear cut info coming from CC members for your specific case. The best people to provide guidance are your school's premed counselors and information they have compiled over the years based on past applicants from your school. They should be able to provide some indication as to which med schools have accepted Reed students based on your type of applicant.
  • limabeanslimabeans Registered User Posts: 4,753 Senior Member
    Engine, take heart. I've read LizzyM explain that a good measure, for schools like Reed, is MCAT + (gpa x 10) + 1. You might want to choose schools that prioritize the MCAT score rather than the gpa.
  • mcat2mcat2 Registered User Posts: 5,942 Senior Member
    Hmm.. Somehow I think the LizzyM score is

    MCAT + (gpa * 10) - 1

    Who is right, WOWMom (or other newer premed "star parent", like texaspg? :)

    Also, I heard that MCAT you get is mostly due to individual's effort (but it may be affected by your peers if you tend to study only as hard as your peers.) STEP-1 score is even more likely due to individual's effort.


  • camomof3camomof3 Registered User Posts: 846 Member
    I think that was the point, most schools are -1 and Reed is +1.
  • texaspgtexaspg Forum Champion Pre-Med & Medical Posts: 16,666 Forum Champion
    The thing is that this scale actually goes up to 100 or beyond when they add recs, interview scores etc. So -1 to +1 is a swing of 2 points or 0.2 on the GPA scale. A big whoop in my opinion.

    Mcat2 - I ain't no star, just got opinions. Wowmom is lot more objective in her analysis.
  • SHolmiesSHolmies Registered User Posts: 60 Junior Member
    edited June 2014
    @EnginethatCould‌ I'm pretty sure that your final GPA at Reed includes both the grades/credits you received at Reed and the grades/credits that transferred in. So if you did very well at your previous school, that might drive up your GPA. Though difficult, it IS possible to get a 3.5 at Reed. Exams are likely designed so most (not all) students fall in the 70-80% range (like a typical bell curve), but it is certainly possible to score higher. They don't account for 100% of your grade, so you have the opportunity to raise it by other means. And it's mostly math and science classes that use quantitative tests rather than final papers anyway...

    However it's true that Reed's grading policies will decrease your GPA compared to other comparable applicants and it's an age old question of how much professional schools will take that lack of grade inflation into consideration. I think many schools are aware of it but it's still hard to know how much that affects decisions. I know Reedies regularly get accepted to med, law, and grad schools so their lower GPAs don't seem to totally destroy future opportunities. And you're right that conducting independent research and writing a substantial senior thesis, fantastic professor recommendations (since you can work closely with them and take several classes with the same profs), strong preparation for the MCAT, etc will undoutably help your chances.

    I'd talk to your professors about it. Talk to Career Services. Talk to Reed alum who went to med school. Talk to med schools themselves and ask them directly. Reed isn't the only college that doesn't practice grade inflation so it's something they must encounter with some regularity.
  • GhosttGhostt Registered User Posts: 1,658 Senior Member
    edited June 2014
    I'm pretty sure that your final GPA at Reed includes both the grades/credits you received at Reed and the grades/credits that transferred in.

    I'm afraid that's not true, at least not in the case of international and exchange program credits, which I think Reed treats the same way as transfer credits for the purposes of building your transcript. What I'm trying to say is that when you study abroad and transfer credits back to Reed, Reed puts your classes and grades on your transcript, but the grades don't factor into your Reed GPA; so they are visible, but not calculated. I think that's also how transfer credits work.

    That being said, I think med schools recalculate your GPA according to their own formula? Law schools, for example, recalculate your college GPA to include all credits you've ever received regardless of institution, so that's also a possibility for med school.

    Sorry this post is not very helpful; I realize it's based on information I have about processes analogous to the ones being discussed. But I think my inferences are correct.
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