Abysmal undergrad sGPA--should I bother?

Hi All, I’m a 35-year-old stay-at-home mother of three who has recently developed an interest in becoming a doctor. Health has always been an interest of mine, and over the last year, I’ve been working to start a health ministry at my husband’s church (he’s a pastor). As I’ve worked on the health ministry project, I’ve been frustrated by the limitations of the enterprise. While I understand the liability issues that limit a health ministry, I personally want to do more than encourage people to take their health seriously and visit their doctors. When I thought about what I really wanted to do, I realized, “Hey, that sounds like a doctor.” I want to do family practice and psychiatry and work in an under-served rural area. My husband is from Appalachia and wants to continue serving here, so our interests mesh well.

My husband is supportive because the truth is, I’m really not happy being a stay-at-home mom. I thought that it was what I wanted, but I’m really bored and feel like I’m doing it for the wrong reasons. The problem is my really low sGPA from undergrad. Like less than a 2.0. I went to a college known for difficult grading while having undiagnosed ADHD, no study skills, little direction, and crippling depression and social anxiety. After that first bad semester, I just kind of spiraled and never recovered enough to complete my bio major (not premed–I wanted to be an ecologist). I switched to history and graduated with a 2.77 GPA. I also have a masters in applied linguistics with a 3.86 GPA, but from what I’ve read, that won’t count for much.

I live really close to an affordable state college and have my mother-in-law at the ready for childcare if I choose to go back for a DIY postbac. I’m registered for a freshman bio course this spring and plan to ask my family physician if I can shadow him for a day once I can get the baby on a bottle. I want to make sure that I’m not romanticizing the profession and that it’s something that I could really see myself doing before I embark on more education. I’m just worried that my undergrad performance is so bad that there’s no redeeming it. Any thoughts?

Yes, you should bother if this is what you really want to do.

There are many ways you can boost your sGPA and cumulative as well. Have you thought about a second bachelor’s? or an academic booster post bacc program? These allow you to take upper level sciences and if (when :)) you do well it will strengthen both sGPA and overall. Personally, I have done my own postbacc and have been able to raise my cumulative to a 3.2 from a 2.7 and science to a 3.8 all because of a 3.98 in postbacc courses. It has taken me a while, but it can happen. Your master’s may not improve your sGPA but it will count towards your overall. Good luck.

Thanks for the encouragement. I have considered a second bachelor’s if for no other reason than possible scholarship money. Most scholarships are only available to students seeking a degree. Also if I don’t get into med school, I’d have some credential to get a job somewhere instead of a seemingly random bunch of courses. The school where I’m taking the bio this spring has a premed advising committee, and I plan to meet with them to discuss my options if I still have a strong interest after shadowing a doctor. I really hope that my doctor lets me shadow him because he has an awesome practice in the same context where I’d like to work.

I’ve come around to considering medicine through an unlikely process of elimination. After having lots of different jobs, I’ve learned what I like and dislike in a job. I know that I need a job helping people one-on-one where I am challenged and every day is different. I need a job where I can never stop learning and where I get to share that knowledge with other people. Death and illness don’t phase me; I got to be there when my father-in-law died of congestive heart failure and was amazed by the dying process. At any rate, I’m really excited to start my class this spring and so glad to have found old premeds. It’s great to have a forum of people with the same nutty, far-fetched dream :slight_smile:

You absolutely should do it if it’s in your heart. Stay positive and surround yourself with people who will support this difficult, but rewarding journey…don’t ever let someone tell you you can’t do something. The silver lining of your past is that you have a great story that will attract the readers aka admission committees into wanting to know more about you. With that said it will a lot of work, but totally doable. Doing a post-bacc program/second bachelors seems to be inevitable in order to bring your GPA up. Some undergrads also do grade forgiveness meaning if you got a D or F in the class, take the same class again, than they’ll replace the D, F with whatever new grade you got so check with your undergrad school to see if they allow that, but keep in mind that there is always stipulations and caps to grade forgiveness, so triple check with them.

You’re overall GPA will obviously go up as you do well so I think you’re goal right now is to get to at least a 3.0sGPA, and schools will take notice of upward trends in GPA combined with a excellent personal statement, volunteer service, clinical experience, etc. and a high MCAT score. If you kill the MCAT and get an awesome score that will boost your chances of getting interviews.

I just listened to Dr. Gray’s podcast The Pre-Med Years (highly encourage you to listen to it if you haven’t) about a student who had a 2.7 GPA, struggled with the MCAT and is now a medical student. I completely empathize with your position, I left college years ago with a 2.8 GPA depressed, anxious, and broken. I’ve now been back for awhile the last couple years knocking out pre reqs and I have a 3.47 with it still going up. You can totally succeed, just focus on what you can control and keep your head up. We’re all in this together!

Thanks for the advice, RagingBull. It sounds like you have a similar story and are doing well. I look forward to hearing about your progress!

My undergrad doesn’t do grade replacement, but I never expected that anyway. I think that if I can get some good extracurriculars over the next few years while doing the post-bac–serving on the board of our local pregnancy shelter, starting the health ministry, and shadowing and hospital volunteering–and ace the MCATs, I have a chance. Can’t wait for school to start in January.

The application services do not do grade replacement. Both MD and DO services now account for all coursework taken, so please keep that in mind when you’re trying to self-calculate your sGPA and cGPA.

I did read that elsewhere, Kennymac, especially in regards to the changes to DO schools earlier this year. Disappointing about the DO change but hopefully not a death knell.

I’m also a Stay at Home Mom (of 5) and am 36. I didn’t finish my first Bachelors…flunked out Junior year, also undiagnosed ADHD paired with Postpartum Depression…awesome combo! I went back to school at 34yrs old to pursue nursing, and here I am planning to finish my nursing degree with a 3.9GPA (4.0 sciences) and then complete a bio degree and take the MCAT in 2019 (eep)

Some thoughts. I too love the idea of Health care service in the church. There are opportunities for “Parrish nursing” so I’m sure “Parrish Dr.” is probably a thing as well. In these situations a Nurse or Nurse Dr. team hold clinics once or twice a month as well as visiting shut-ins for scheduled health maintenance and referrals if necessary. These are typically low cost or love offering services. A friend’s church does service in kind for people who are unable to pay the low fee. (simple tasks like folding bulletins, for elderly and disabled, up to minor repairs or building maintenance for more able persons)

Anyway…all that to say…You can do it, regardless of it God is calling you to be a Physician, or a Coordinator, or a Nurse, or a Nurse practitioner. He equips the willing. :smiley:

Wow, bunchaletters, what an amazing turnaround you’ve made! Best of luck with your applications.

I’m working with the parish nursing coordinator at our local hospital to set up the health ministry. The congregational needs assessment goes out the next two Sundays, and I can’t wait to see what it reveals.

My family doctor runs a faith-based rural family practice with OB. That’s actually how I found them, for prenatal care, and then my husband and I stuck around for our primary care. They’re a great practice, and I would love to work in a similar context.

How many people are you hoping to serve?

And yes, it’s been a big change for me that’s for sure!

The church has about 450 active members on the rolls and around 200 in weekly attendance. The current plan is to spend a few years getting the church members healthier before branching out into the community (got to walk the talk, right?) The surrounding community and church have wildly different demographics and needs, so while we work on the church during that first phase, we’ll also be working on educating the church on poverty and evangelism. The hospital has a good anti-poverty mentoring program in place, and we’re hoping to either partner with them or at least get a number of church members involved in their program. The woman who runs it spoke at church earlier this year. Our church is in a pocket of relative wealth within the poorest county in the state, and we really don’t do enough to reach out.

So how many people? As many as possible :slight_smile: I hope that we can get a core group of at least 20 to start and have it spread from there. Then there will always be folks who are passively engaged and receiving some benefit through reading material on bulletin boards, newsletters, and the church bulletin. The goal of the ministry is really to help people reframe how they think about health and to empower them with motivation and education to take responsibility for their own health.

Very Very Cool. You may want to talk with your local health department about volunteer events, or partnering up for blood pressure screenings etc. County Health Nurses LOVE community partnerships.

Have faith and pursue your dreams! I’m in a similar boat.

Thanks for the encouragement, soccer4ever. As far-fetched as the idea is, I do have a real sense of peace about it that I have never had about any other profession or course of study. That says a lot. I started my retake of intro bio this week and applied to study full-time this fall for a second major in health sciences. Just waiting to hear back from admissions and financial aid now. I’m amazed at how quickly this idea has taken on a life of its own, but it feels really right and is working out so far. One step at a time!