Advice Please - F's from the past haunting me.

Hey Everyone, I know some of you are in the same boat with bad grades in the past. Twenty seven years ago when I was 18 I took five classes that I thought I dropped or I was too immature to know that if I just did not show, they would turn into “F”'s. As you know colleges do not accept “F”'s so my GPA is around 3.8. If I calculate those “F”'s from 27 years ago, it drops my GPA to around 3.5.

My question is … Will the DO schools look back 27 years ago? I read somewhere if you retake classes they will only count the most recent grades, but these classes where just electives. I believe with the MD schools they will haunt me to my grave.

I need to know if there is a way to make those “F”’s go away, at least for the DO schools.

Advice appreciated. Thanks!


27 years is a long time ago. And while they are in your past, they are still a part of you. However, due to the date that they are from, I would not put too much worry in them at all.

As long as you are doing well in your CURRENT work then I would not even lose a scintilla of sleep over it.

Anyway to replace them with other electives or CLEP out of them?

Thomas -

As Gabe said, you need to quit worrying about them. It was 27 years ago, they were electives, and you still have a respectable GPA overall. It would be different if they were more recent or in the pre-reqs.

Honestly, those few F’s from 27 years ago are not going to keep you from being a reasonable candidate for either DO or MD schools as long as the rest of your application is strong (good MCAT, good recent grades, good BCPM grades, strong LORs, etc).

I didn’t have any F’s on my transcript, but my undergrad GPA was a whopping 2.78. I was asked a couple of times on interviews how I accounted for doing so much better, but largely, I had proven myself with my strong pre-med work and MCAT as being capable.

You would be better off taking some hard science coursework and doing well in it than worrying about replacing those electives from many years ago. A 3.5 overall GPA is not going to knock you out of contention at very many schools (including allopathic schools).

This question of repeating non-core courses from original UG that are 10 years old or more was specifically presented by me at the the recent AACOM conference. While it was somewhat suggested that repeating them would be unnecessary, the general consensus of admissions officers present from the osteopathic schools was to select your top 4 to 6 schools, send a well written, concise summary of your question along with pertinent information and contact admissions advisor at the DO school BEFORE you start going the down the path of repeating them. If fact you should contact them prior to doing redoing any work or PB.

Some of my thoughts at to your specific question:

  1. No matter if you repeat them, the original grades will still appear on your transcript along with the school-provided GPA. Repeating same course will only adjust the GPA as calculated on the AACOMAS application.

  2. Your newer post bacc grades will appear as a separate line item on your AACOMAS application so the adcoms will see your new work and GPA

  3. Even if you did repeat them, some 5 courses (15 credits) will be working against an overall UG GPA of 140-160 credits (assuming you did a regular BA and a PB). The affect will be further watered down if you have graduate work as there will be a final overall GPA.

  4. In addition to UG, PB, Graduate GPA, each is split into science and non-science so your science GPA should not be affected by your old F’s from 27 years ago.

  5. Lastly, it sounds like Rule 10: FUD Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt is creeping in. These courses have happened. Worrying about them, trying to spend time, money, and energy to wipe the past away, will come to very little as outlined in the points above. You would be much better served by spending your limited time and energy and doing well in postbacc and, most importantly, by doing well on the MCAT to show that you have the science mastered.

Thanks Gonnif … I will take your advice. That leads to another question about how to choose my top five DO schools. I will make that another post. I am sure others will want to hear this too.


Apply for an academic renewal at that college to not count the units for our GPA. Some colleges gives you a certain amount of academic renewal such as a semester, a quarter, or a set amount of units. I got f’s 10 years ago now I am mostly A’s and B’s.