Just now realizing that a Masters may have not been the best idea. Any advice going forward would be much appreciated!

Hey everyone!

I’m a 22 year old male who is just now finishing up the first year of my Masters of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology. I was planning on applying this upcoming cycle, but as I’ve been looking for advice surrounding how to make my application better (creating good activity descriptions, personal statement, etc), I’ve been more discouraged about my chances of getting in and whether or not the Masters was a good idea. I graduated last year (2020) from my undergraduate university with a Bachelor of Arts in Exercise Science. I wasn’t totally sure whether or not I wanted to do medicine, and made the classic mistake of not trying as hard as I should have, resulting in me not doing extremely well my first 2-3 years. As I gained more clinical experience, I slowly began to realize that my grades needed to be mucH better, and it took me about another semester to learn how to study for science classes properly. I ended up with a cGPA of 3.28 and an sGPA of around 3 to 3.1 (I haven’t done the exact calculation to be honest, I just know it’s well below what it should be for a med school app). Additionally, my current MCAT score is a 509 (up from a 497 the first time I tested), and while that’s decent, I know that may not be nearly as competitive as it probably should be. As I finished up undergrad, I sought advice from a research mentor at a University in my hometown, who recommended I complete a Masters program at that university. I’ve been studying much harder and doing better in this Masters program (my GPA right now is a 3.9), but as I mentioned before, I’ve been reading that Masters GPAs are basically useless on med school apps and it has left me feeling sort of lost. I am fortunate to have a lot of hours working as an intern at a local cardiac rehab (700+ hours), research hours (200+), and leadership positions in clubs/organizations. However, I’m sort of at a loss as to whether or not my application is strong enough to apply this cycle, what I should do if I don’t apply in terms of doing more school to strengthen my application, and just generally what my steps should be going forward. Any advice is greatly appreciated and you are more than welcome to be blunt/blatantly honest with me. Thank you guys so much and sorry for the long post!

Hey! Also a fellow applicant here, so definitely NOT an expert-- I think above all you should follow your gut, but here are my thoughts:

-Your GPA, while lower than average, probably makes the cut off for many schools. Are there any classes you need to retake (anything with a C you should definitely consider a retake for to show schools you can do it, some schools say on their websites they won’t accept Cs for hard sciences, etc). For reference, I recently read a school’s website FAQ who said that a GPA (cum.) of 3.0 or lower is considered not competitive and likely won’t be considered.
-Your MCAT score is okay; would I recommend applying to Harvard? No, but your in state schools might take it. Which brings me to my third bullet point
-Your activities are great and above average.

Overall, I think if you craft a good meaningful essay and application you could have some success. It kinda depends on what you are aiming for though; are you trying to go to NYU or are you content at an in state school? Do you have good letters of recc?

If you choose to not apply this cycle, I would take the year to maybe retake some classes or do more undergrad classes to boost your GPA a bit. It’s never going to be a 3.6, but you might be able to boost it to a point where you aren’t screened out. You could retake your MCAT if you wanted, but honestly I don’t know if it is bad enough to warrant doing that.

Thank you so much! I’ve been looking for advice and really just general encouragement for awhile, so I really appreciate the time and thought you put into your reply. I have always told myself that as long as I get into a mainland med school I would be happy, so even if it’s just an in-state school, I’ll be ecstatic. While my grades may not be choice, I think they’re good enough that I am gonna give it a shot and maybe apply DO as well. Good luck on your cycle too - sending all the good karma your way :slight_smile:

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