Any advice from you is appreciated.

I am a 27 year old Stanford graduate. I have a 2.4 GPA. I tried to take some pre-med courses as an undergraduate but I just drowned amidst my personal problems and failed the same chemistry class twice, while barely getting by with C’s in biology and in one calc class. I never took upper level courses, physics, or any labs. I have done some pharmaceutical research since i graduated and am now working in a local clinic to get some experience as a medical assistant. I am wondering if I should take all of my pre-reqs all over again (it’s going to be 10 years since I took basic biology) or if I should take some upper level courses and do well in them. I am also wondering if I could take the pre-reqs at a local community college (i have to work and already have loans to pay from undergrad) or if i should take them at a 4 year university, or if i should do a post-bac. I don’t know which would be best. Any advice you have for me would be greatly appreciated. I’ve been feeling like I can’t do this, but there’s a small voice in my head that tells me not to give up. Thanks so much for your support!

Fabi -

With your GPA (and the age of your pre-reqs), I’m going to say that your best option is to retake all of the pre-reqs AND do very well in them (mostly A’s). If possible, you should take them at a 4 year university.

A formal post-bacc would be something to look into. However, you may find that many post-baccs require a GPA of 3.0 or higher to get accepted into their program. Also - formal post-baccs are typically VERY expensive (more than taking classes on your own). The flexibility of scheduling courses in a formal program may not work well if you need to continue working as well.

Depending on where you are - some universities have “extension” programs where you can take the pre-reqs for cheaper than at the main campus.

You may also want to consider taking a few upper level science classes in addition to retaking the pre-reqs. Boosting your GPA is going to be tough, so anything you can do to show adcoms that you can handle tough science courses is a plus.

I agree with Amy. I would add that given the difficulties you were having as an undergrad, you probably need to take those courses over again in order to be sure that you’ve got the foundation of knowledge you need to do well in the other prereqs, upper-level courses, and in your MCAT preparation.

I also think you’ll be best served by doing your classes at a 4-year institution. Unfortunately that old 2.4 (even though it’s at Stanford) is going to weigh you down. The more good stuff you accumulate in your new future, the better off you’ll be.

Good luck! I wish you all the best.


What the others said…

Essentially, with this skeleton in your closet, you are going to have to commit - w/o faltering - to make an academic statement when you return to Ugrad world. I would definitely avoid doing your pre-reqs at a CC. Unfortunately, when battling old, shitty grades, re-doing them & even making a 4.0 at a CC would most likely be viewed as taking the easy way out - definitely NOT to your advantage.

Know this - stop expending/wasting taime & energy fretting over the past. Those grades are what they and there is nothing you can do to change them - period. Even if your state offers academic clemency - non-state schools are not required to honor the system nor are any private schools - that does not solve things. And, those grades will be averaged into any current &/or future work - no way to avoud or change that fact.

So, what are you to do? The answer is simple - when you go back to school, commit yourself to retaking those pre-reqs, possibly even doing another complete degree, and kicking academic ass. If you accomplsih this, you can remove doubts from the minds of the AdComs about your capacity to handle the rigors of med school and you can use your old shitty grades to underscore how shiny your new grades are. All of this should be explicitly described in a tight, concise manner in your personal statement.