Advise greatly appreciated.

I apologize in advance for the post length.

Here is my scenario:

I attended college for 1 year in 1992-1993 (I am currently 37). I had to leave (after the withdrawal date) to help with a family business and never took some of my finals. As a result my grades were horrible.

After a few careers including owning a successful business, I decided to return to school in fall 2010.

I spent 1 year at a community college where I completed 40 credit hours with a 4.0 during the 2010-2011 school year and passed CLEP exams for another 12 hours.

I have now transferred to a top tier small private university where it appears as though I will continue this semester and (hopefully) next semester with a 4.0 GPA.

Science/ Math courses I have taken:

bio 1


gen chem 1 and 2

bio 2 (in progress)

organic (in progress)

genetics(in progress)

calc (in progress)

I will be taking the balance of med pre-reqs this year and likely take the MCAT in spring unless that is a poor decision.

GPA since return to school = 4.0

also Phi Theta Kappa

1992-1993 GPA = 1.2

Although my University has my GPA at 4.0, it appears as through my AMCAAS GPA will only be 3.25 at the end of this year or 3.45 at the end of next year (best cases) as a result of these 20 year old grades.

Expected graduation spring 2013

My practice MCAT scores are solid. I expect to score above 36. I have nearly 100 hrs volunteering in my local emergency department, and my extra curriculars are substantial (professional athletic competition, philanthropies, etc.).

Can someone with some experience offer some insight to how significant an impact the old grades may play in my application, and also will they preclude me from top tier schools?

Thank you in advance!

Hi and welcome.

I don’t think you are going to have a problem. When you enter your UG grades they are summarized into different buckets (I’m Canadian and we don’t use the whole “sophmore, junior” nomenclature so I’m not sure which are which but it is essentially 1st year, 2nd year, 3rd year, 4th year). If you only messed up your “1st year” and it was a long time ago, they will see a huge upward trend. In addition, you can address the reasons behind your 1st year marks in your personal statement (don’t make excuses, just lay the facts down).

My first 2.5 years of undergrad were terrible, but that was 20 years ago. I had completed my degree, so I went back to school and did a couple of years of a DIY post bacc (2008 - 2010) and got good grades (not a 4.0, but close). My MCAT was balanced and just over 30. I got accepted at 2 DO schools, 1 med school in Ireland, and was offered an interview at another DO school which I declined.

So in a nut shell, don’t stress about your past grades. They are in the past and you can’t change them. All you can do is make sure that everything going forward is the best it can be (grades, MCAT, extracurricular, shadowing).

Hope that helps.


Thanks for the response Lynda. My pre-med advisor does not seem to be overly concerned about the old grades, but then again most of the students she advises seem to fit the traditional mold. This seems like a great forum with alot of knowledgable and friendly people.

Thanks again,


I agree with Lynda. Let your transcript and application speak for themselves. Adcoms are not going to put much weight into 20 year old grades when you have such a stellar recent performance. You’re doing great; just keep moving ahead and spend your energy on maintaining your grades and preparing for the MCAT.

Thanks for the good advice. I was hoping that a strong upward trend would minimize the old grades. I will keep concentrating on what I can do now.

I, too, agree with Lynda.