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> Hello, I am glad to have found I site where premed students could ask
> questions! Anyway, I am a premed student at Emory University (rising
> sophomore). My first year didnt go to well as I recieved a B and B- in
> Chemistry and a B- and C in Biology. It is not that I cant understand the
> information, it was due to the fact that I made some wrong decisions my first
> year. I plan to take Orgo next year and I am sitting in on a course ahead of
> time to help me through it at Emory. I want to major in Chemistry and
> Economics, and my current GPA is 3.20. (A's in all other classes). I was
> wondering if you could give me your honest opinion if I should continue on my
> course as planned or has my debacle in the first year pushed me out of the
> premed race? Thank you so much for your time.

------ reply 06/27/00


You are definitely not out of the race! Medical schools discount poor grades
early on. Get some A's in Organic and Physics and keep doing well in your
other classes. You have time to get your GPA up, but you better start now.

Good Luck!

> Hello.
> You have a very nice page. I'm a student from Norway, and I want to study
> medicine in Pennsylvania. Are there special things I have to do as a
> foreign student? - In difference from this page you wrote.. I wonder.. That
> you can give me information about?
> If so please write to me,
> Thank you very much...
> yours sincerelly,
> --
> Ellen

------ reply 06/23/00


There really is not a lot of difference in the application process. What you
should do is get a copy of MSAR*. It has all the details you will need. You
should particularly look at the section on residency issues. This book also
indicates which schools do not accept foreign students (look at each school
individually for this information).


*MSAR info is at

> Rich, Hi, I had a question about the AMCAS application. I took the April MCAT
> and made a 20 on it because I basically messed up the numbering on one
> section. The question is do I go on and send in the AMCAS application or do I
> wait until my scores come in for the Aug. test? I didn't know whether or not
> the admission committees would look at the 20 and not wait for the new scores.
> I hope that you can help answer my question. THANKS. dkp

------ reply 07/02/00

You should include an explanation in your AMCAS application for your poor MCAT
score in the personal comments section, and send off your AMCAS application ASAP.


> Rich,
> I have a question about the importance or lack of concerning past academic
> history at schools other than the one currently being attended. Specifically,
> I dropped out of the University of Utah after the official withdrawal period
> in 1996. I took two years off of school , moved to Oregon and am currently
> attending the U of O as a Biology major. I will graduate next year , have
> taken the MCAT (11 VR, 10 PS, 10 BS) and currently have a 3.62 overall GPA and
> a 3.66 science GPA. My transcript at the U of Utah only one quarter on it with
> the grades listed as E's. I'm not sure if E's mean fail or no basis for grade.
> Do you know of any routes I could take to get this transcript obliterated or
> at least made more neutral so as to not affect my chances of getting into
> medical school? Also, do most selection commitees allow for past academic
> trangressions as long as the current record shows the necessary commitment and
> maturity? This is the one dark spot on my record that I have beeen fretting
> about. I have spoken with my pre-med advisor about it, but would like to hear
> what you have to say as well. Oh, one more thing. I did attend Southern Utah
> University for two terms ( before the Univ. of Utah) with a GPA of only 3.0.
> How will this look to selection commitees? Thanks for your reply.
> Cindy

------ reply 07/06/00

Hi Cindy,

Medical school admission committees DO make allowances as you suggest below,
but you need to make sure to address any concerns committee members may have
in the personal comments section of your AMCAS application. This should be
done in a manner which highlights the positive changes in your study habits
and commitment to a career in medicine, rather than a laundry list of
reasons for your earlier spotty academic record.

Based on your MCAT scores and recent academic performance I believe you are
a competitive candidate for medical school admission, even with the "dark
spot". If you started over at U of O without transferring any records or
credits it is possible to report only the academic work at U of O on your
AMCAS application but...


Reason 1: It would be wrong to do so.
Reason 2: In your case I believe the risks out way the benefits, but I'm not
sure. If you are not persuaded by Reason 1 you may wish to explore this
matter further.

If you do a good job on the personal comments section of your application
you should have a good shot at acceptance as long as all your other "ducks
are in order" -- letters of rec., volunteer/work experience, club
membership, extracurricular activities, etc.

Best of luck,

> Hi,
> My name is Krishnan. I am going to be a college freshman this August as a
> premed. So, I am very much interested in the Early Assurance Program that
> allows college sophomores to get an early admission into medical schools. I
> have tried to find the list of those schools that offer such program, but I
> did not have much success. If, by any chance, you have the list, could you
> please e-mail me at I really appreciate your time and
> concern. Thank you.

------ reply 07/07/00

A complete listing of all schools that have Early Decision Programs (EDP), along
with application periods and notification dates, are contained in MSAR
(See You will need to look at each school
individually. EDP information is given in the "Application and Acceptance Policies...
" sections. For additional details you should contact the schools you are interested in



Do I have an advantage to get into the same medical school that a
family member has graduated from?

------ reply 07/08/00


I am in the process of applying to medical school, and I would
like to know what kinds of information I need to include in the
personal comments section of the AMCAS application?  What kinds
of things do I need to emphasize?  What is the difference
between this section on the AMCAS application and the personal
essay section on secondary applications?

------ reply 07/08/00

The AMCAS personal comments section gives you a chance to let
admission committees know about you as a person outside the
formulated confines of the AMCAS app.  What you want to do is create a
picture of yourself which is memorable. You want to come across as a
unique individual, not just another cookie cutter premed. You want to
stress aspects of yourself and your background that make you a good
candidate for admission to medical school (hard work, dedication,
empathy etc.).

While your objectives are the same in the secondaries essays, they are
not open ended. You are asked to answer specific questions, and these
questions differ from med school to med school.

Good Luck,

I recently graduated with a B.S. I got married and am taking the
year off. I am now in the process of applying to medical school
for next year.  Does taking this time off look bad to med

------ reply 07/08/00

No, in fact under the circumstances it sounds quite sensible.

> I recently visted, and was delighted with the insightful and
> motivational information you provided. I am a rising junior at the George
> Washington University, pursuing a Bachelor's in Computer Science. I have taken
> Bio( A- & B-), General Chem(B+ & B-), Organic Chem(B+ and still taking the
> second part...should be B+ or A). I didn't do so well my freshman year(2.67)
> but I brought my self to a 3.15 my sophemore year. Now that I am more serious
> in school, I plan to graduate btwn a 3.3-3.4 After I graduate I plan on taking
> physics that summmer, and then studying for about 7 months before taking the
> April MCATS of that year. Then I will start on a 1yr program for my master's
> in public health.
> Do you think my plan is advisible and what do you think I need on my MCAT's to
> make me a strong candidate...or should I just go to the carribean for an MD
> and not waste my time with mcat's, M.P.H, application period...
> I would appreciate it if you could give me some feedback...Thank you very much
> Respectfully,
> Alexandre

------ reply 07/27/00

Hi, and thanks for your comments about The Premed Zone site.

I think going to a school in the Caribbean would probably be your last
choice due to problems with getting licensed in the U.S. (see and
with having a competitive disadvantage being admitted to residency programs,
and other disadvantages that may occur with a foreign medical degree, which
vary depending on your field of specialization and the nature of your future
medical practice.

Admission committees do make allowances for poor freshmen performance. If
you can graduate with a 3.4 GPA (overall and in science), a 33 on the MCAT
would make you a strong candidate -- this assumes you apply as an
undergraduate, taking BOTH Physics and Organic, and make a couple of A's in
these subjects. You should be aware that once you begin a graduate program
in the sciences, your undergraduate GPA will become far less important,
provided you are enrolled in a rigorous graduate program. In this case your
chances for acceptance would largely be based on your graduate record. If
you just take physics after graduating without completing any other courses
before applying to medical school, the physics grades would be looked at
along with your undergraduate record but would probably not be computed as
part of your overall and your science GPA, for this reason you may wish to
take physics as an undergraduate.

I think your best bet is to maximize your current GPA, and take Physics as
an undergraduate. Always take a full credit load, and make a serious effort
to make A's in Orgo two and in Physics. As far as your plan to spend 7
months preparing for the MCAT--that sounds like a good plan--any score above
30 will give you a fighting chance for M.D. and a great shot for D.O.


> Hi Rich I am not sure if you are still answering these medical school question
> emails but in case you are, i will give this a shot. To be honest i feel i am
> not in the greatest of situations. My first three semesters at school were a
> joke, i just figured everything would come to my naturally without real
> studying like it did in high school. I graduated in the top 2 percent of my
> class and had 1400 SAT score. Anyhow, my third semester i did something that
> i am quite ashamed off. I altered an exam and handed it back in for a regrade
> an got busted as I believe I well deserved it. I was given an unforgivable F
> in the class, sadly it happend to be ochem 1. I retook the class and received
> an A the following summer. Now, i am not proud of what i did, not do i plan
> on repeating it anytime soon, however, it did teach me something about myself
> and life. IT also set me straight with taking school seriously. Since then
> (next 3 semesters) i have maintained a 4.0 average in all the upper level bio
> courses and organic 2. This F however brought my GPA down significantly and
> doesnt actually show my real academic abilities in school. THe problem though
> is that itook the MCAT twice and receved V-9 B-9 P-8 and then V-9 B-8 P-9 (not
> proud of them)... i realized i didnt study much for either exam and regret
> this. THe average MCAT reported by my school whcich is a state school is a
> 29, however i have seen ppl get in with 24s unbelievably, actually i have seen
> no 29s yet, mainly 25 and 26s. WEll after this LONG story, what i want to ask
> you is how do you think the medical committee will perceive what i have done
> (meaning the F). And i am guaranteed an interview, so how would i go about
> explaining the situation to them. The cheating thing, its not me at all, but
> i need to somehow escape this shadow that is looming overhead. Any advise
> would be appreciated. Thanks

------ reply 7/27/00


The best bet is to be honest, express your regret over your past actions,
and mention your current more mature moral views. I am sure if you leave it
at this and do not let yourself be provoked into an extended apology, than
this will be a relatively minor problem. On the other hand, if you try too
hard to explain away this matter you could cause yourself more harm than
good. Deal with this matter as if it is something you take FULL
responsibility for, and one that is completely in the past.



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