Ashamed, Hopeful, and definitely in need of guidance

Hello everyone,

After much trolling and reading of others with low gpa and screwed up postbaccs (like me) that eventually made it into medical school, I’m gonna bare it all lol.

I am a 30year old female that started this med school journey 7years ago. I did not decide to start on this road until my junior year of college. And even then, the decision was based mostly on fear of being an “underachiever” (read the immigrant’s dilemma of justifying parents’ sacrifice of abandoning everything known for a better future in the land of plenty. Thus a bachelor’s degree is certainly not enough. One can, should, must do better than parents).

Unfortunately, my undergrad cum gpa was 2.96 and I graduated with a B.S. in Medical Technology (Lab Science. I’m the labrat that processes, analyzes, interpretes, and puts out data from clinical specimens. My favorite dept is microbiology). My 2006 MCAT score was 26S (11V,8B,7P). I was a lost, desperate child after my first woeful attempt at med school app (treated it like undergrad app) and jumped on the first postbacc that accepted me (the deadline had passed for others) without pausing to think.

The first year of the postbacc was great. A’s and B’s with a gpa of 3.5 but decided to go for a second year (Master’s) and further prove that I could hack it in med school (read severe inferiority complex and ignorance. I so regret this cause I feel I would have been accepted by now if I had applied with just the first year grades). Amidst the melodrama of med school apps, interviews, listening to other people, severe self-doubt, studying like my life depended on it, watching others get in while i was left behind and feeling very alone and questioning my true motivation in pursuing this medicine, I burnt out and it affected my grades. C’s and W’s. Looking back, I see this was a transformative time. But all I could feel back then was burnt out, jaded, and ashamed. I left the program, deciding that perhaps my true calling lay elsewhere.

In the meantime, I worked as a Generalist in the lab at a hospital and got acquainted with my new home on the east coast. But try as I might, that little voice would not shut up. It kept nagging and nagging lol. So, I decided to go back and retake the courses I got C’s and had withdrawn from at the SMP.

I redeemed myself in biochemistry (one of my proudest moments), got a couple of C’s but withdrew from neuroscience due to health issues that required surgery (I wasn’t taking the chance of failing a 6credit course!).

So, presently, my undergrad gpa is 2.96. Grad gpa is 2.86 and mcat score is 26S and 26P.

I am older now, wiser, less eager to leap and quite comfortable taking the baby steps needed to get where I need to. I know now where I belong. In fact, all this time has helped me figure out how passionate I am about helping folks under the lgbtqi umbrella access much-needed care and services. There is a huge need and I can’t wait to become part of the solution as a physician.

Please help me carve a plan. I am prepared to do the necessary work for however long it takes. I plan on re-taking the mcat this may/june. I’m not sure if I will be able to return to the former postbacc and complete neuro.

Should I get into another postbacc? Perhaps pursue another master’s degree to redeem my gpa and apply next year? Simply take additional grad science courses until my grad gpa passes the 3.0 mark? I await your replies.

Thank you.

Hi spiffy, welcome. I am a medical technologist and an immigrant myself. Glad to see you here. I am just about to start my postbacc so I can not offer you any advice yet but there are certainly a lot of people here who can. Good luck and keep us posted!

Hi, and welcome! Certainly do not retake the graduate school courses as little weight is given to your graduate gpa. The AMCAS application does not allow grade replacement - all grades for a course are averaged - so it is quite difficult to change the overall gpa by much. I would NOT retake the MCAT this spring. Your first two scores are very close so you will need to do something very different to change that. As well, you should take the MCAT the spring that you intend to apply to medical school. Currently, you are not ready to reapply.

You haven’t mentioned volunteer experience. Some very solid long-term volunteer experience (like a year in the Peace Corps or equivalent - is part of a compelling application. Second, if it has been more than 5 years since your did your core prereqs, you could repeat those as part of your prep for nailing the MCAT. Having those courses within a year of the MCAT, doing excellently in them, and doing a formal MCAT prep course are all things you could to to improve your application.


Hello Everyone!

I truly appreciate the responses! Kate, I never thought of going back to retake the undergrad courses. I thought I just needed to fix my grad gpa? So, as part of the first year of the postbacc, I did re-take chemistry (combo of inorganic and organic, received A and B grades) and physics (B grades both semesters). Physics is def not a strength lol. The postbacc was drexel’s MSP program where the first year is a combo of accelerated undergrad science courses, a few grad courses, and mcat prep.

As for volunteering, I have a number of years doing various things. The last time i officially volunteered in a hospital was in 2004. Would you say that is still important seeing as I’ve been working in various aspects of patient care and lab medicine for over 8 years?

I was wondering if the next thing would be to seek out research opportunities?

Thank you again for the responses. I feel less alone

I was also wondering perhaps I should actively seek out direct entry smp’s or postbaccs at this point with an mcat prep course? Thoughts?


I’m kinda in the same situation you are. I applied this past summer with a 2.9 GPA and a MCAT 23 (that was with a prep course). I’ts been very disappointing, discouraging and embarrassing. I’m not really sure where to go from here. I obviously need to take the MCAT again, but I’m struggling with trying to apply again this spring or wait till next year. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions.

I think that first you have to master the undergrad pre-req material. Re-taking the undergrad courses, perhaps piecemeal at a local university, is one way to do this. But before you do THAT, sit down and figure out what went wrong. WHY is physics not a strength, for example? Was it the math, the concepts, the formulae? Is it something you could resolve with practicing ahead, working with a tutor, doing your homework with a study group, or the dreaded “Do all the homework problems 5 times?”

It’s important to get this sequence in order: First you fix it, then you repeat it. I don’t think a direct-entry SMP will help you more at this point than somehow figuring out what your barriers are to mastering the material, and making a flexible plan for clambering over those barriers.

I hope this helps!

All of those things sound great and was exactly what I’ve been doing. I’ve worked with private tutors both for the courses and the MCAT, study groups, and lots of “do it 5 or more times”. I even went and got tested for a learning disability. The test showed that I do process information very differently than the majority of the population but it didn’t fit the definition of a disability for accommodation purposes. I’ve heard “just try harder” for 25 years. Perhaps I just don’t fit into the academic mold med schools have created.

My motivation to adding to the post was simply to let someone know I know how they feel. But thank you for the comment.

Thanks “Same…” but I have retaken the undergrad courses in my postbacc. with A’s and B’s. Physics is def not a strength but I’ve done well enough to do what i need. I have also taken some grad courses and scored very highly so it isn’t a matter of studying harder, etc. Part of it is interest and speaking to my strengths.

“Token…”, thank you for sharing your similar story. This lets me know that there are many of us that don’t fit into the mold that has been created to determine who would and would not make a great physician. Perhaps, the current system needs to expand a little in how it assesses prospective students/doctors.

Basically, at this point I need to package myself so that someone sees that I do belong in this profession regardless of my gpa. That I will succeed in med school and move on to become a conscientious, empathic, and effective physician. And that all my years of experience and knowledge in healthcare count just as strongly, if not more than my undergraduate science gpa.

I’m with you on that. Also we need to find and target those schools that are more liberal in their parameters of students they admit. I’m trying to find them, I know they are out there.

“we’re good enough and smart enough and gosh darn it people like us”


I am in a similar situation myself. As soon as I graduated from college (with a 3.1 cGPA and 2.95 sGPA) I applied to ONE post-bacc program that really impressed me (direct acceptance to the affiliated medical school) if students receive 3.0 GPA taking medical school and graduate school classes. Little that I know how much my life would be messy at the end of the program (now). I don’t know what the next step is for me. I’ve taken the mcat and I am still waiting for the score, and I’m considering going back to my undergrad university to re-take some classes I got Cs on and some more, do research, volunteer for a year, then re-apply to another post-bacc with direct linkage.

Does anybody have any suggestions? the program I am in has a second year masters program, but since I did horribly with the first year (all cs, except 2As) I literally need a 4.0 from the second year, but that’s taking a huge risk for me. Even if I decide to do the second year masters program, my GPA overall with undergrad comes out to be just above a 3.0. I want to eventually get into at least a descent school and will do what it takes to get there.

That’s why I’m considering going back to my undergraduate school - take science classes (32 credits), this summer start with (chem 1 and 2 with labs - 8 credits) and come out with 40 credits, then apply to another post-bacc program (1 year), and apply.

Please help! Please offer any advice you have for me from experience.

Thank you all in advance.

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Hi there,

I can’t help you carve a plan as I’m a newbie here, but I wanted to say that I really resonate with many parts of your story, and being an immigrant myself, I COMPLETELY understand the pressure that we can be under. Congratulations to you on realizing what YOU want, as that’s not always easy to do. Best of luck on your journey, and you sound like you have a solid idea of where you’re going.