Are B's really bad?

I met with the new advisor of my post-bacc program (who started in February), and she was concerned about 2 B’s. I am a career changer whose cum GPA is 3.6 and sci GPA is 3.5. I got A’s in all my science classes so far, aside from 2 B’s in gen chem 1 and ochem 1 lectures and a P in gen chem 2 lecture (which schools will accept). P aside, I consider B’s good grades, especially since my undergrad degree was not in a science discipline. Also, I have done/am doing well in ochem, which is no small feat as it’s a weeder course. I am really proud of my science grades since it wasn’t always my academic strength!

My outside premed advisor who is a non-trad on her school’s adcom said B’s are fine, especially with my GPA. She got into her school with a lower GPA than me and low MCAT score. Friend who got in as a 2nd time applicant didn’t say B’s were bad but that too many could lower my competitiveness. As for my friend, I don’t totally disagree and know that too many could rule out MD schools. Other than the stats I posted above, I am planning to apply primarily or even exclusively to DO schools. May apply to some MDs depending on the grades in my remaining prereqs and MCAT score. I know my GPA isn’t competitive for an Ivy League or many higher tier MD schools, but my current GPAs meet or exceed those of DO and some MD schools. I honestly don’t care where I go to school (aside from some Catholic/fundamentalist Christian med schools that I’m not planning to apply to), and plan to apply early and broadly in 2022 or 2023. My goal is just to get into A med school - it doesn’t matter where I go, just what I become in the end. As a veteran patient, I don’t care where my doctors go to school and I’ve been told patients usually don’t care where their doctor went to school.

WIth that information, should I be stressing over B’s or is this really a scare tactic by my advisor? If there are any podcasts or posts from Dr. Gray on this topic, please let me know!

I’m curious about this as well. I’m just starting my post-bacc and might end the semester with a B, A, and A-. I have a master’s degree and of the courses my current school transferred in, my cumulative GPA is 3.82. However, I had a meeting yesterday with someone at the medical school I’m interested in and he basically told me my former GPA won’t even be looked at. He said I need to take fewer classes and focus on keeping my recent/post-bacc GPA near a 4.0 or my app my not even be considered. This was the first advice I’ve heard along these lines. Most of the time I’ve seen that I should keep a rigorous schedule of classes and strive for at least a 3.5. After this meeting I’m worried that I’m already ruining my chances with a B during my first semester as a career changer.

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This is completely the opposite of what Dr Gray says. He says your bachelors education (with relevant science courses) will be looked at.

GPA of 3.87? Stop worrying man. Just keep your grades up as much as possible and you’ll be fine. That’s a stellar GPA. A single B or even multiple Bs don’t hurt.

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Congrats on starting the post-bacc! those grades are good. I don’t have a graduate degree so I might be wrong, but I think med schools look at undergrad AND grad degrees. Upward trend is important. A 3.5 each semester sounds doable. As for the concern about ruining your chances with a B during the first semester as a career changer based on what the person you met with said, get other opinions!

Glad to hear that multiple B’s aren’t a problem as long as the GPA is competitive! I responded to the first part of your post below.

It’s also about your story too. If you’re someone who is working a full-time job with a family and you’re squeezing in clinical stuff and maintaining a 3.5 through upper level classes, because this is what you really want to do; that is a whole different world than someone who has the main focus of going to school and maybe they do a work shift on Saturday or scribe twice a week.

These two situations are very different. So of course the stats SHOULD be viewed differently. I would even say, depending on your story Ivy leagues wouldn’t shy away either. They may not report you in their matriculation averages (these are self-reported), but I shot an e-mail to Stanford and Harvard and they both said they like to interview non-trads. So, who knows? I would let them say no, not just assume they’ll say no. Though I will say if you want to shoot for these beef up that MCAT.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you lose 100% of the fights you don’t show up for. Even if you have a 1% chance of getting into a school like Standford, it’s not 0%.


Great advice and thanks for your insight! I scribe part time but also have two remote volunteer projects, on top of classes. One of those volunteer projects is a research assistant in Stanford’s pediatrics division.

That’s great Stanford and Harvard like to interview non-trads! I should also clarify that I’m not interested in a research or academic career, so research is a big reason I’m shying away from Ivies or research heavy schools. However, I noticed that Dartmouth has a lot of non-trads and doesn’t require its students partake in research.

I haven’t taken the MCAT yet but that will be one factor that will determine where I apply. Based on past experiences, I anticipate my GPA will be stronger than my MCAT score. But we shall see.

I just looked up Dartmouth on the MSAR (required reading for those who are anxious). I also really wanted to add a little grounding to those who spend too much time on SDN.

Their median sGPA is a 3.7 with the 10th percentile as low as 3.2 with 3.5 being the 25th percentile. Their median MCAT is 516. That’s a pretty attainable Ivy with a great story.

It’s just not the 4.0 and 520 world everyone thinks it is. More and more stress is on your story.

In fact, looking over their admissions they don’t filter out an application till the MCAT hits 502.

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Thanks for sharing this information! I don’t use SDN, as I’ve heard some people found it depressing. That’s great Dartmouth does not filter our 502 MCATs. I’m aiming for at least a score in the low 500’s (higher if I’m able!).