Weight bet. GPA and Extracurriculars, etc

<p>My son just got accepted to Harvard university and he's planning to apply for medical school.
It's too early, but he's doing pretty good so far(around GPA 3.9 now)
We know that it's very hard or sometimes called almost impossible for
international student(He's Canadian) to get accepted to medical school and get scholarship in USA. That's why he has to work very hard to try get almost all "A" for 4 yrs, if possible.</p>

<p>From what I know, on top of high GPA, extra curriculars are also very important to get accepted to major medical schools.
He's doing some extra curriculars now, but it takes a lot of time and we're worry about
that it might hurt his good GPA. And also thinking about medical research maybe next semester and it will take more time so we're thinking whether he has to give up 1 or 2(in case)extracurriculars to more focus on studying to get high GPA.</p>

<p>to make it very simple,
what is your advice on bet. high GPA and extracurriculars.
a little bit less GPA, but has extra 1 or 2(in case) more extracurriculars or
little bit high GPA, but has 1 or 2(in case)less extracurriculas </p>

<p>for example
A. he has GPA 3.7 or 3.8 and has only 2 or 3 extracurriculars like orchestra and sports and other and medical research, and some hospital volunteers in summer.
B. he has GPA 3.9 and has only 1 or 2 extracurriculars like orchestra or sports and other and medical research, and some hospital volunteers in summer.</p>

<p>I know that good GPA and a lot extracurriculars are good to get accepted to medical schools, but as we have limited time and we can't do both very well.</p>

<p>so I apprecite your opinion.</p>

<p>I'd say option A is better. A 3.7 or 3.8 with 2-3 excellent EC's will be good enough because the GPA is not from any other college but Harvard.
Btw, I think your son would do fine without your help because I heard that Harvard has amazing resources for premeds. (You're such a super mom, so different from my mom who leaves everything up to me. :D)</p>

<p>any other advice ?</p>

<p>I'm a little confused. He is going to be an undergraduate at Harvard College? Seems a bit early to worry about medical school. My d is a junior at Harvard and a premed student. One of the interesting features of the typical Harvard student is the importance that most place on ec's. My d and all her roomates and friends spend tremendous amount of time on Ec's.</p>

<p>Thanks for your input. He is a freshman(2012) now and it's a bit early but, if he has American citizenship or landed immigrant status, we don't have to that much worry about getting accepted to most medical schools. To make it worse, some top schools like Johns Hopkins ask international student to deposit in an escrow account for 4yr's tuition and all expenses on or before the year of matriculation. (The current escrow amount for four years of medical education is approximately $252,000 US currency). He already decided to apply for medical school from grade 11 in high school and as an international student with such a tough admission & money issue, we want to prepare for the admissions step by step from the beginning to minimize the risk.

<p>Harvard and other ivy schools are know for grade inflation. Therefore a high GPA is not as impressive as other top schools like MIT, Duke, etc.
That being said here is what needs to be focused on....(for a top 10 medical school)
1. Keep a GPA above a 3.7 (no real difference between a 3.8 and 3.9)
2. Get an MCAT above a 34
3. Do research, get published before the application comes around
4. Get clinical experience, volunteering in the gift shop isn't going to cut it, you need to have actually patient/ doctor contact (i.e. volunteering in an emergency room can provide this).
5. Shadow a doctor so you can speak in the interview to what doctors do daily
6. Be unique and show you are a real person (med schools don't want robots who can take tests, remember being a doctor involves interacting with people, right?)</p>

<p>If you completed these activities you would have a good chance at a top med school. If you are content with any med school then obviously you could do lesser.</p>

<p>"Harvard and other ivy schools are know for grade inflation." - oh really. What's the median gpa for a premed student at Harvard?</p>

<p>What is an advantage of graduating from the top medical schools or other medical schools in the US? 80% of docs in our area graduated from local Medical school and they are doing terrific. In fact there is such a shortage of some specialties, that you have to be on a waiting list for few weeks. Some docs can afford not to work full time at all.</p>

<p><a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/pre-med-topics/213924-why-go-better-med-school.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/pre-med-topics/213924-why-go-better-med-school.html&lt;/a>
<a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/pre-med-topics/375248-does-matter-what-medical-school-you-attend.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/pre-med-topics/375248-does-matter-what-medical-school-you-attend.html&lt;/a>
<a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/pre-med-topics/213924-why-go-better-med-school-post4494738.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/pre-med-topics/213924-why-go-better-med-school-post4494738.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p><a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/pre-med-topics/377780-premed-forum-faqs-read-first.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/pre-med-topics/377780-premed-forum-faqs-read-first.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>USA Today: </p>

<p>"Grade inflation, well documented at many schools, is most pronounced in the Ivy League, according to an American Academy of Arts and Sciences 2002 study. For example, in 1966, 22% of all grades given to Harvard undergraduates were A's. That grew to 46% in 1996, the study found."</p>

<p>Princeton</a> leads in grade deflation - USATODAY.com</p>

<p>spartan89, I would dispute the quote that Harvard gives A to 46% of the class. My kid's experience told me it is around 20% and in some cases even 10%, I would love to see 46% though.</p>

<p>1996 is not 2008 - big difference</p>

<p>The Boston Globe:</p>

<p>"About 15 percent of Harvard students got a B-plus or better in 1950, according to one study. In 2007, more than half of all Harvard grades were in the A range."</p>

<p>Doesn't</a> Anybody Get a C Anymore? - The Boston Globe</p>

<p>Two issues:
1. Humanities courses are much more grade inflated than science courses. Most premeds are science majors and all premeds have to take science courses. Thus, it's hard for anyone to argue that Harvard PREMEDS are receiving 46% A's.</p>

<li>More importantly, despite the "grade inflation," it is still harder to get an A at Harvard or any other top college than at a state school. If you compare MCAT vs. GPA, you'll find that, at most top schools, a 3.5 student scores in the 30-31 range on the MCAT. This is not the case at lower tier schools and not the case even at top level publics like Berkeley or Michigan. The grade inflation somewhat balances out the difference in student quality but not fully. </li>

<p>So, are the average GPA's higher at Harvard? Yes. Is Harvard easier than other colleges? No.</p>

<p>One top school that releases the MCAT and GPA's of its applicants is Cornell University. Its avg. GPA is around 3.3-3.4, similar to Harvard. </p>

<p><a href="http://www.career.cornell.edu/downloads/AaChart2007ForWeb.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.career.cornell.edu/downloads/AaChart2007ForWeb.pdf&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>If you look at the breakdown, you see only 12 3.9+ GPA applicants but 73 35+ MCAT scorers. In fact, the median MCAT score at every GPA level is above a 30. Even the 2.8-3.4 students were scoring above a 30 on the MCAT. Nationally, a 3.4ish GPA correlates to a ~27 MCAT. </p>

<p>If you search on mdapplicants.com for high GPA (3.9+) and low MCAT (29 or below) applicants, you will find just 1 out of the 89 profiles that come up features a student from a top 20 college. If you do the reverse and search for applicants with high MCAT (35+) and low GPA's (below a 3.3), you will find that 38 out of the 91 profiles that come up feature a student from a Top 20 college. If you include schools just outside the top 20 (like Berkeley or G-town or Michigan), you have now accounted for over 50% of the profiles. I know mdapplicants is self-selective but I think the disparity is quite dramatic b/w the profiles of the high GPA/low MCAT and the low GPA/high MCAT applicants with the MCAT being the standard with which we compare applicants across colleges.</p>

<p>This argument has a value, but it does not take in a cost element. The fact is that most Med. School graduates will have substantial loan to pay. Going to Ivy's and other top schools like Michigan, will almost double the amount of loan. So, the question is what has more merit (including money considerations), to be the very top graduate at the state school, paying very little or even havng a full ride (and in combined bs/md program with option to apply out) or average graduate from Ivy / elite college? This is comparing approximately the same caliber students.</p>

<p>There's no right answer to that question since it depends on your finances, individual motivation, and, most importantly, how much you like each school. You should never do premed at a school you don't like. Premed is tough enough at a school you DO like.</p>

<p>But some considerations:
1. Top schools do not necessarily cost more. Top privates have large endowment and provide excellent FA packages, particularly if you're poor. If you make $150,000 and you don't want to contribute to your kid's college education, then, yes, your kid would be better off going to a state school.</p>

<li><p>Despite it being a little harder to get good grades, top colleges provide many advantages that presumably balance that out such as a better academic environment, better advising, more support, small classes, etc.</p></li>
<li><p>If you aspire to attend a top med school, you really should be aiming to get a high GPA at a top college. The average GPA at my med school is 3.8 (which is high) but 75% of the students attended a top 25 college. It's not a question of high GPA OR top college. It's high GPA AND top college. Obviously, there are a few state schoolers who do get in but you better walk on water.</p></li>