I am new to the site and have some questions about how stringent medical schools are in their addmissions process regarding early post HS academic records. My scenario is as follows, after graduating HS in 1995 I attended a community college for a semester. Due to excessive partying and a very immature attitude, I dropped out of school resulting in an all F transcript for the semester. Later on in life I matured and enrolled in a technical school (Computer Learning Center). I graduated with a 4.0 GPA and self studied and obtained numerous industry certifications. I have been employed as a Sr. Network Engineer for the past 5+ years. Last year I began to pursue my undergraduate degree in biology. The community college has a policy for students with negative transcripts older than 5 years called academic renewal. In this policy after 12 credit hours of courses maintaining above a 2.5 GPA they will not calculate negative courses over 5 years old with your cummulative GPA; unfortunatly the courses WILL remain on your transcripts. Over the past year I have taken about 45 credit hours towards a biology degree and plan on transferring into UVA to finish my bachelors degree next spring. I am currently holding a 4.0 GPA at the college. My question is, assuming I keep a high GPA and score well on the MCATs will schools look at my early post HS education as negative and possibly deny addmission? Any insight into this would be appreciated.
P.S. Sorry for the long post!
Fortunately for many of us, the med schools tend to look at the work that we're doing currently.
Another thing you have in your favor is that you had only one semester of all 'F' grades. By the time you add in all the courses you will have taken since then in order to obtain you bachelor's degree in biology, your overall gpa should have come up to an acceptable level. After all, you probably only had about12-15 hours, right?
So, keep up the good work! Strive for those A's, but don't panic if you get the occasional B. Study hard, do well on your MCAT, get some shadowing experience. . . . . when you're ready to apply, your application should tell a great deal about how you've matured and how capable you are of handling medical school and becoming a fine physician.
Best of luck!!
Yes, it was just one semester worth of F’s. Actually It was an ambitious semester as far as course picking goes, it was 18 credits.
P.S. As far as shadowing goes, when they students typically start to shadow? Does it affect you negatively if you haven’t done this?
It depends on the school and how much emphasis they place on shadowing, volunteering (both medical and non-medical), and other non-academic activities. Different schools emphasize things differently so buyer beware. I would highly suggest shadowing as much as you can so you have a realistic picture of what being a physician is. Of course this will just be a glimpse but it is better than nothing. If possible shadow different physicians so you can get an idea of what different specialites will entail. I shadowed an anethesiologist, family practice, general surgeon, and an oncologist. This did come up in my first interview.
Great Point! Shadowing would definately give me a better understanding regarding what type of speciality I would like to pursue. Out of curiosity what year do the majority of undergraduates start to shadow? Is this usually pre or post MCATs?
Shadowing, volunteering, and other type of altruistic pursuits need to be done as soon as possible. Some schools look not only at how many hours you volunteered but for how long you did it. Doing these things earlier will also be beneficial because you may realize that you do NOT want to pursue this career path and if you do this late you will have possibly taken courses or even the MCAT, and then you realize that it is not your cup of tea.