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> Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001 18:18:29 EST
> Subject: question about admissions
> Rich,
> Hello. I have a question regarding the admissions process for MS. I will be
> receiving my M.S. in Speech Pathology in Dec of 2001,with a 4.0 GPA in
> graduate school, and 3.8 in undergraduate. I have always had an overwhelming
> desire to be in the medical field and recently decided to complete my pre-med
> requirements. Through working and coursework, I found I will have my basic
> class requirements completed by summer of 2003. However, I know the MCAT is
> offered in April and August. My question is would it hurt me to take the MCAT
> in August 2003 for admission for fall of 2004? My problem is that my last set
> of science-Organics-won't be completed until summer of '03. I know that is
> necessary for taking the MCAT. I really have no other way to set up my
> schedule unless I waited and applied for '05 admission. I would rather start
> in '04. Do you think this is feasible granted I score well on my first MCAT in
> August? Thank you so much for your help. Your site has been very helpful.
> Kristen H. in Omaha, NE

Hello Kristen,

Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. Based on the information you have
provided I see no problem with taken the MCAT in Aug 03. While there is an
advantage to taking the MCAT in April--due to rolling admissions, there is
no advantage at all if you are not fully prepared to take the exam. Doing
well on the MCAT is far more important than taking it a few months earlier.

Good Luck!

> Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2001 22:16:34 -0800 (PST)
> Rich,
> I just discovered your site and I noticed alot of people asking specific
> personal questions, so I was hoping that you could answer mine.
> I graduated from UCLA with a 3.2 (upward trend in my grades, took some hard
> engineering courses just out of interest that lowered my GPA).
> Now I'm at Columbia doing a premed postbacc. I expect to finish the program
> with about a 3.5. If I can get an MCAT score around say 32, what are my
> chances of getting into to a California state school.
> I've done community volunteering and I've done research with one of the top
> heart surgeons in the US, and publised one paper.
> Any input would be helpful!! Thanks so much
> Argun


Based on the information you have provided, I'd estimate that you have a
slightly better than even chance of being accepted to a California state


> Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2001 17:45:34 EST
> Subject: Discouraging overall/science GPAs?
> Rich,
> You have a great site going! Currently, I'm 21 years old in my junior year at
> Arizona State, majoring in molecular bioscience/biotechnology and minoring in
> philosphy. I just got finished with my first semester of organic chemistry. I
> got a 'B' in this class as well as a 'B' this semester in my last biology
> course. My overall GPA is about 3.4 and my science GPA is a little over a 3.0.
> I also got a 'C' in my 2nd general chem class. I still have two years of
> school after this one (five total) and many more science classes - including
> physics. Right now I'm feeling pretty bummed out having not received more 'A's
> so far. Do you think I'll be in good shape for med school if I pull an 'A' in
> my 2nd organic class and mostly 'A's in my future science courses? I'm trying
> to pump myself up for this and try even harder next semester - and start
> working in a hospital then (a good idea, I hope).
> Any response would certainly reduce some of my anxiety over all this! Thank
> you!
> -David

Hi David,

The answer is yes, but as you suggest you really need as many "A"'s as you
can get, especially in the sciences. Here's the problem, you want to get
your science GPA up to at least a 3.4 BEFORE you send out your application
to med school. Typically applications are sent out a year before you plan to
attend, so you may wish to postpone sending out your application until your
final year of school. This will delay your admittance by a year, but should
substantially increase your chances.

Good Luck!


Date: Sat, 22 Dec 2001 23:25:28

Hi Rich, my name is Nova. I just found out about your web. It's great and
helpful. I have some questions that I hope you could help. I did well for my
freshman and sophomore year, Getting As for my math, gen chem and physics.
But my junior year I got D for my first O chem (retook it and only get a C),
my bio classes only B, C and one 0 because I don't take the final retook it
and get a B+. It does not look great because from GPA of 3.6 now only get
3.0 with not so good grades for pre med courses. But now my grades are
improving in upper level division which are not premed courses.But I still
think it will still look very bad.

I was wandering is it possible to get to a BS/MD program even though I'm
close to getting a Bachelor? Or does that program only apply to high school
students? From reading your archives, it seems that Masters program is the
second chance. I'm really scared to take the MCAT because of messing my
grades even more. So is it better to take the master in bio related fields
or going to PA program? Because PA program has lots of hands on experience
with patients rather than research experience where normally medical schools
are not looking for?

Please respond to this. I need advice and hope. Thanks.

Hi Nova,

At this point I do not believe you have a shot at a "BS/MD program". I think
a master's in a bio related field is the way to go. You ALSO should acquire
clinical experience in medicine. The masters program, if you do well, helps
to demonstrate that you can handle the academic load of med school, while
the clinical experience demonstrates that you have an understanding and true
interest in the practice of medicine.

Good Luck,

Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2002 08:35:14 -0800

My name is Tara and I am soon starting my second semester of my
Sophomore year. And I am interested in becoming a Radiologist. I was
wondering what kind of classes for the rest of my High School years do you
think that I should take. And also what web sites would you request for me
to visit in looking for information in different school and academics. Thank
you for your time.


Hi Tara,

As far as useful classes to take, I'd stick with the standards: Biology,
Chemistry and Physics. The most useful website I know of is
Google is a very clever search engine that appears to read minds! With very
little effort you can find just about everything you might be interested in.
At this point in your academic career, rather than recommend any specific
sites, I'd suggest you do some exploring. Specific sites are listed,
however, at in the premedical resources section.


> Date: Sat, 29 Dec 2001 17:54:56 -0800 (PST)
> Subject: International student
> Hello Rich! My name is George and I'm attending the 2nd yeard of PreMed in
> Europe,more exactly in Romania. Is there any chance I can transfer/finish
> PreMed in US,so I can prepare for a MedSchool also in US? Are there any
> programs reserved by universities for PreMed international students? Thank you
> for your time. Sincerily,George.

Hi George,

There is a chance. Look at MSAR for the schools that accept transfers (See: You'll need to look at each school
individually--see "Selection Factors". If your current school is
LCME-accredited (Liaison Committee on Medical Education) you have a chance.


> Date: Sun, 06 Jan 2002 01:07:31 -0500
> Subject: Requirements
> Hi,
> I was wondering if there are any year-long programs for college graduates who
> didn't take pre-med courses in college. (a course that includes the
> requirements for applying to med school).
> Thanks so much!
> Pat

Hi Pat,

Yes, there are a number of "post bac" programs -- many are listed online.
They generally consist of 2 semesters of biology and physics (w/o calculus)
2 semesters of general chemistry and 2 semesters of organic chemistry --all
of these classes are typically taken with labs.

In truth, except that post bac programs intentional avoid scheduling
conflicts, there is no really little difference between a post bac program
and just taking these required courses over the course of a year. Some
schools provide more helpful premedical advising than others, but you can
create you own program at just about any school. If you do your homework, by
finding out about the quality of the teaching, the respect the school has in
the eyes of the admissions committees, and the type of scheduling which best
fits your lifestyle, you can create your own post bac program. I have found
that by using the search engine that it is easier to get all this
information online, than by any other means -- the learning curve is modest,
and the benefits great.

Best of luck,

> Date: Mon, 27 Jan 2003 13:39:51 -0500
> Subject: MCAT prep classes
> I was studying abroad this past semester and am planning on taking the MCAT's
> in the spring. My mother signed me up for Princeton Review courses, but I know
> a lot of people seem to be doing Kaplan and I haven't really researched the
> options. What is the difference between the Princeton Review and Kaplan MCAT
> prep courses? Thank you


The difference isn't huge, in fact it may have more to do with the
instructor who teaches your course than with anything else. Kaplan's review
materials are more accurate and thorough, but Princeton's practice tests
more closely resemble the MCAT although they tend to have a few more errors
than Kaplan's tests.

I'd recommend finding out about who will be teaching your class -- do not
accept the old "all our teachers are qualified" speech. The best bet is to
INSIST on speaking with your instructor BEFORE the class begins. If they say
that that is not possible, I'd walk. They want your business, if they
continue to come up with reasons why you can speak to your instructor I'd
advise you to be very careful about joining that class.

After the instructor, I'd pick getting a convenient class schedule as the
most important criteria in choosing a course.

Finally, Kaplan's courses tend to be stricter, and Princeton's classes tend
to be more warm and fuzzy. These stylistic differences may or may not be
important to you, depending on your personality.

Good Luck!

> Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2002 20:56:03 -0500 (EST)
> Hi there Rich!:)
> Stumbled upon your website and I think you are doing a wonderful job and
> providing a wonderful service for people like me.
> I'm a double major in Biolgy and Women's Studies, with a 3.5SciGPA, 4.0
> NonSciGPA and 3.7 Overall. I will take the MCATS in April but I've been
> scoring 13+V, 12B, 12P on my practice tests.
> My questions are:
> If I am not getting clinical experience until the spring semester of my junior
> year of college, does not make me "suspect" as a candidate for medical school?
> My interest in medicine stems from my women's studies research on health care
> for low income individuals and other underserved populations. By the time I
> decided to seriously pursue a career in medicine, it was already the start of
> my junior year. Due to commitments and what not, I have not been able to
> start gaining any clinical experience until now. I guess part two of my
> question would be, if I spent the next 7 months (Feb-Aug) volunteering at my
> school's health center, a health clinic and shadowed area physicians- would
> that convey to the admissions people my commitment to medicine and that I have
> an idea of the career I am getting into? I feel like clinical experience is
> the part where I way fall short on.
> Thanks a lot. Sorry if I wrote too much. I look forward to hearing your
> response.
> Best,
> Elke

Hi there Elke,

You can (and should) make up for your lack of clinical experience in the
manner you describe below. Furthermore, you can describe your commitment to
learning more about medicine in your personal statement, explain the
circumstances why you did not gain clinical experience earlier, and clearly
describe your future/ongoing plans in this regard. With good GPA and MCAT
scores you should get interviews, by which time you will have the needed
clinical experience.

I wouldn't sweat it. Just go ahead an make up for lost time. Your GPA is
very good, and even if you score a few points below your practice MCAT
scores, you'll still be very competitive!

Good Luck!

> Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002 11:29:53 EST


Here is a sample residency training schedule from UMass Med School:



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