Apply now or wait a year?

Hi everyone,
Looks like it’s “that” time … application time! I’ve been anticipating this moment ever since I started my post-bac program. Now, I find myself half-excited and half-afraid of this moment, my palms get sweaty every time I open the AMCAS site. Am I ready, have I done enough, should I wait until next year??? So, I’m going to post my RAW numbers and ask for the honest advice I’ve always received through OPM. I hope this is not considered inappropriate, I’ve worked extremely hard to get here and am having some last minute concerns of applying now or later.
'89-'95 Under Grad (Univ Cal, school) non AMCAS GPA - 2.5
BS in Biology, took all pre-med reqs, but didn’t apply for obvious reasons
’02-'03 Post-Bac (Cal State, school) AMCAS GPA - 4.0
Will have 46 semester hours with 40 being science
No pre-reqs taken, mostly upperdivision Bio and BioChem courses
Cumulative GPA when calculated using '03 AMCAS shows 2.83
August '02 MCAT - V10, P10, B11 - writing M
Didn’t practice writing because I devoted time to refresh on all the sciences
3-4 solid academic letters of rec and 2-3 good outside letters of rec, hoping for a health professions committee letter.
1 year of volunteering at a community clinic, 2 yeas of medical office experience, and 31 years of life in figuring out that being a physician is my calling and passion.
I’ve decided to take these “numbers” and apply to about 25 schools for Fall '04. The health professions advising counselor didn’t exaclty give his support, nor did he say I didn’t have a chance (although it felt like it). There is still time to stop and consider giving it another year before I learn a $1500 lesson. Should I apply?

Thanks, and good luck to everyone applying for Fall '04

I would apply your post-bacc grades more than prove that you are capable of handling medical school. You have all the ingredients, congrats! and go get 'em!

With a bachelors degree worth of credits you are (as you are already witness to) never going to make a huge dent in you're GPA. Since everything else is looking pretty good I think that you should go for it. There's no time like the present. Good Luck!!!

Apply. Your post-bacc and your MCAT show that you can do it. Out of a large pool of schools, at least some of them are going to recognize that you are a different person now from when you first went to college.

Go For It!!!

I guess the question is - what would you realistically do (beyond what you have done) in the next year that would make your application significantly stronger than it is today? You probably have too many units to budge that GPA and your post-bacc already shows that you can do upper div science today - you've got volunteering & medical office experience – what could you really do in a year that would justify holding out one more year – you don't seem to have any gaps that are obvious - sure you could try for a higher MCAT (not that 31M is not a fine score) - but you could do that in Aug of this year if you really wanted too –

Apply. I asked myself the same question as you a year ago (and I was an August MCATer so felt I had even “less” of a chance, but now I’m in, so i’m glad I was told to just go for it). Graduated 95 same as you from UC and had the horrible science grades in undergrad and the near perfect post-bac. Of course numbers aren’t everything but I hope these are words of encouragement. Good luck!

I have the same question as the OP. I just finished calculating my gpa's as per AACOMAS instructions, and while my non-sci gpa is 3.31, my sci gpa is 2.65. It would be 2.77 if they'd let me put my math grades in with the science, but alas…anyway, my number one school has a sci gpa cutoff at 2.75. I contacted a counselor at this school, and the response was my app would not be processed because of that blasted sci gpa!!! I'm crushed! I just finished with my undergrad, and my financial aid situation allows me to take only 8 more credit hours worth of classes, just enough to push it up to 2.80 if all A's. I can't afford straight out-of-pocket tuition anywhere other than my state school that I just graduated from, where I have taken almost every advanced sci course offered in my major, bio. I am weak in chemistry, and don't even want to try P-chem, the next chem I could take. Same goes for the next physics, also brutally taught at my school. Many of the adv. level Bio courses have been cancelled until further notice due to budget woes, and those that are left are restricted to folks that need them to complete their degrees on time. There is no formal postbacc program. The counselor suggested that I make an appointment with the school to discuss my situation. I am definitely doing that. In the meantime, could anyone here offer any advice?

Hey Minawill,
You didn't state that you have taken the MCAT so I will assume you haven't taken it yet. You defineitely have to do everything that you can to get a great MCAT, up to and including scraping the 1 grand together to take an MCAT review. Also, since you mentioned AACOMAS, and since they will replace grades in their GPA calculation, how about retaking some of the pre-reqs that you have not done well on. This sounds attractive to me particularly in light of your statement that you can't really take classes anywhere outside of your current school and the fact that they are not offering upper level classes to the general student body. In view of your stated limitations, this seems like it would provide evidence that you can do well in the science classes and also boost your GPA (at least in the eyes of AACOMAS). Those are my initial thoughts on the matter. Good Luck!

Hey Minawill,
You didn't state that you have taken the MCAT so I will assume you haven't taken it yet. You defineitely have to do everything that you can to get a great MCAT, up to and including scraping the 1 grand together to take an MCAT review.

Hi there,
Yeah, I have taken the April 03 as well as the 1 grand plus review. Your idea about retaking at my school is not a bad idea. I will look into this. Thanks!

Wow-this discussion here is what I was just thinking about! As usual, OPM is amazingly relevant. smile.gif
I just reviewed my file with one of the schools that interviewed but then rejected me. I have a similar problem as above people - I went to school the first time and performed poorly, leaving me with sci grades well below 3.0, but my second time around I achieved mainly B’s and my overall GPA is 3.70. The person I spoke with told me that my AMCAS GPA is the only thing they look at and that it was just too low and reapplying now would be pretty futile because I haven’t changed much academically. Basically, she recommended post-bac work. Since it appears that people above weren’t able to raise theirs much even with straight A’s (wow!!) what hope is there?
I guess I’m just bitter right now because why the heck interview me in the first place if they weren’t going to take me. She made it sound like they only wanted to see me to “check me out in person” so I must have bombed big time. But I have been over my interviews in my mind and there doe not seem to be anything I did to appear immature, overly nervous, inappropriate, overly apologetic or anything else. In fact, my interviewer was amazing.
Now I am fresh out of college with large monthly student loan and CC debt. I am trying to decide: get a post bacc and spend another 2 years? Get a one-year master? Take one or two classes? Or, do I take heart fom the fact that one school waitlisted me, go ahead and reapply and this time broaden my scope to foreign schools as well? I’m living paycheck to paycheck right now so this decision is not a light one.
Another consideration is that I must get all A’s if I am to benefit. I study really hard and tend to get more B’s than A’s. Most depressing of all is that my last semester was terrible - I worked at a job and completed a science research project that both took up a majority of my time but officiallty enrolled in only calculus and lab. Despite my daily visits with the teacher I got C in class, A in lab. I really studied and I comprehend the theory, but application on exams got me. How can I explain this to anyone??
Thanks for listening so much - you all’s advice is always a life-saver.

Perhaps you could broaden the pool of schools to which you apply. DO schools are more willing to consider “life experience” and they calculate grades a little differently as well.
I’ve also heard that, in general, if you do poorly in a freshman class you can increase your application strength if you do really well in a related upper-level course. I’m counting on this in my situation- I got a D in the 2nd semester of freshman gen chem (contrasted with my B in 1st semester) but I then kicked proverbial butt- the more chem I took, the higher my grades got. I’d really rather not go back now (13 years later) and take gen chem again.

It seems like the fact that you got an interview is a pretty good sign but you didn't provide too many details about your situation. Was your GPA the second time around from a post-bach, second degree, completion of degree after leaving school intially? What's your cumulative GPA including all grades? What is your science GPA? How was your MCAT? How many schools did you apply to?
Like I said initially, the fact that you got an interview means like there is some combination of factors that made the adcoms want a closer look. You mentioned AMCAS but how about AACOMAS. Did you apply to any osteopathic schools? They have a slightly different focus for evaluation. My suggestion without knowing much is that you possibly think about retaking the MCAT if your score was much less than 30. Take some upper division courses, and apply to more schools (including DO schools). All are sort of general geusses/suggestions. Good luck?

Thanks Runtita, dmaes - - I was in a complete funk when I wrote that post!! Probably because I couldn’t attend the OPM conference. :frowning: :frowning: . No, I hadn’t applied to DO school - maybe I ought to strongly consider it. I am also definitely considering going to Germany next year if they will take me (I speak fluent German). In the AMCAS, my science GPA appears as 1.87 (!!!) during my “junior” year and at 2,something and 3, something other years. This is due to grades I got ten years ago (my grades now have been A’s and B’s and I retook several of the courses I bombed the first time. I was in the HONORS program for the last four years, and I took THREE GRADUATE LEVEL courses, and I presented research results at a symposium. So one would think a school would look more kindly upon me…alas.
On the bright side, I just began working as a research assistant with a psychiatrist/researcher at a major medical school which means getting paid to learn fascinating new things every day and takes my mind off things :slight_smile:
Best of luck to you, sara

Hey Saralane,
No worries! Everybody is allowed to be “funky” every once and a while smile.gif . It sounds like you have done all the right things regarding classes. You still didn’t mention what your MCAT was. Maybe that is something to think about redoing. If you get an opportunity to go to med school, that is definitely something to consider. Keep in mind the limits and barriers that are placed on foreig medical graduates that want to come and work in the states. There is a current post regarding that here on OPM. You said that you didn’t apply to DO schools. Is it because you have reservations of the DO degrees or that you just didn’t think about it as an option? Having a U.S. DO might make your life much easier to get residencies and therefore jobs when compared to a foreign MD. The quality of education received from a U.S. MD/DO vs German MD are going to probably be pretty equal.
It sounds like you definitely have choices. I would still advise applying to more MD programs and applying to DO programs at least for one more cycle.
Good Luck!