I was wondering if anyone has any advice for me. My GPA is not high (~3.3). I really want to get into med, so I'm trying really hard to pull my grades up. The problem is that my courses (which are manditory for my program-pharmacy) seems to be pulling my GPA down. I will be taking the MCAT in April (I've been studying like crazy so hopefully it'll pay off!). I have lots of experience (volunteer, research, work, travel, etc...). Do med schools understand that some programs are more difficult that others? Should I take some courses in the summer to pull my GPA up? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
03-14-2001, 09:39 PM
A medical school is far more likely to look at your 3.3 in Pharmacy, and discard it in favour of the Biology student with the 3.9. The reason for this is that much of the initial screening is done by computer using an artificial threshold. If you don't meet this threshold, you'll automatically receive a rejection letter, no matter what your major is, or how many extracurriculars or research experiences you have. This isn't really fair, as I've seen just how much work pharmacy students have to do, but it's the reality from my viewpoint.
As a result of learning this throughout the last couple of years, I've really been changing the advice I've been giving to people. The most important part of your application has to be your marks until you are assured of receiving an interview (ie. you must keep a high enough GPA that med schools will want to interview you). Only at that point should you add on the extra-currics like volunteering, travelling, research, etc, which are likely to give you the advantage during your interviews.
The reason is that extra-currics can be added on at any time, but once your GPA is on paper, it's very difficult to change or upgrade. As I'm sure you've already seen, once you receive 1-2 bad marks on a transcript, it's very difficult to substantially raise your GPA through good marks in the future. Unfortunately, I think that's your best course of action at this point, so I think you should really buckle down with your studies, and try to get those marks up as much as possible, and in my opinion, do that even if it means sacrificing volunteering/research, etc.
The bottom line is that without raising your GPA, I think you'll be hard-pressed to even receive an interview, and if you don't get that, all the extra-currics in the world won't help. Also, the MCAT is not as important in Canada as it is in the States. As a result, a high MCAT score won't really compensate for a low GPA; you could still be rejected on the basis of your GPA even if you had a really great MCAT score.
I'd take a look at summer courses, but I'd also caution you that some med schools won't use summer courses when calculating your usable GPA. Therefore, I'd get in contact with the ones you are interested in attending before possibly squandering a summer. I've got links to those med school web-sites in my site.
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