Biochem major with 2.68 GPA. HELP?

Hello OPM community,

First and foremost, I would like to thank the OPM podcast and forum! I have always had a passion for medicine and interacting with patients but after my undergrad, I lost my motivation to try to become a physician due to my low GPA. Thanks to the OPM podcast and Dr. Ryan Gray, I am feeling hopeful.

About me, I am a 25 year old hispanic female. I am a DACA student. I graduated from UCSD with a BS in Biochemistry/Chemistry with a 2.68 GPA. I have approx 300 clinical volunteer hours, and I have loved every second I’ve worked with psych/geriatric patients! I truly feel this is my passion.

Why the low GPA? I will explain although it might sound like a pity party, I am now able to look back and understand all the pieces that played a role in my undergrad struggle.

I am the first person in my family to go to college. My parents didn’t even know the process of how to go to college. All I knew was that college came after HS and thats what I was going to do. I was an excellent student in HS, received a 4.5GPA. I didn’t even know I was any different from my friends until my parents told me I might not be able to go to college due to being an undocumented student. I saw my friends and other kids applying to college, so I did the same. I was accepted into UC schools closer to home I didn’t apply to but ultimately I chose to go to UCSD as an AB540 student. I am not even sure why I chose it because I had never gone to visit ANY college campuses, I had no idea what a major was, all I knew was that I felt that’s where I needed to go. When picking a major, I thought “pre-med” was a major. Then I found out they don’t offer THAT major and I knew I wanted to go to med school so I thought Biochem was perfect, biology AND chemistry. I had no idea it was going to be such a difficult major with very little bio and lots of chemistry. I didn’t even know I could have picked any other one and still go to med school. I went to UCSD, lived off campus all 4 years (that’s all my parents could afford because I wasn’t eligible for financial aid; and I worked my first 3 years of college). I didn’t know about pre-med advising or any type of help the school offered for students. I didn’t have any friends, partly because I was shy but also because I was embarrassed they would eventually find out I couldn’t afford to live on campus or even worse, that I was “undocumented.” This was the first time I had ever been away from my close-knit family. That along with the isolation I created for myself led to developing major depressive disorder(MDD). I would wake up wishing I could keep sleeping, I know this is usually normal but sleep became my motivation for everything. I would go to campus/class because that’s what I “had to do” but I would spend all my time thinking of when I would be able to go back to sleep. I would eat just to prevent the food my mom would send me from going bad, I had absolutely no appetite. I would cry every night. Although most days of the year in San Diego are sunny, I only remember gloomy days. I didn’t even know I had MDD ALL throughout my undergrad. It wasn’t until I graduated and I went back home that my dad noticed the weight loss, the no friends/isolation and the non-stop crying. He made an appointment for me to see a therapist and psychiatrist and I was finally diagnosed. I don’t want to use this as an excuse for my GPA but I know it did play a huge part in why I had a hard time in school and why my head always felt foggy. My personality in college also played a role in getting low GPA. I was too shy, I had low self esteem so that stopped me from asking Qs because I thought professors would think I was dumb and the 150-200+ students in a classroom didn’t make it any easier. I felt lost and alone in college. I didn’t have friends that might have been able to at least tell me there was advising or mental health help. My family couldn’t give me advice because this was all new territory for them and after all the sacrifices they were making to help pay for college, I couldn’t tell them I wanted to quit. I felt confused as to why I felt so empty if I had such a great life, (I had great health, supportive family, a roof over my head, food on the table, I was undocumented and yet I was at a 4 year university!)

Now that I have received treatment for MDD, I am an entirely new person. I am no longer “shy,” if I have a question, I ask. I now know how important friendships are in providing support for an individual and have amazing relationships with friends. I know I am not dumb or incapable, I just fell down for a while and now I am getting back up even stronger. I work full time for a pharmaceutical company, I have been promoted 2 times in the span of 2.5years. I can now tell you all the great things about me and why I would be a great physician. I am now ready to fight and not give up for my dream of becoming a physician. Having gone through depression has made me see that I want to be the doctor patients feel comfortable with/talking to, someone they see as a support.


Undergrad GPA 2.68

Using the AMCAS Grade Conversion Guide:

Freshman: 2.41

Sophomore: 2.42

Junior: 2.42

Summer: 2.70

Senior: 2.99

Post-Bacc: 3.77 [genetics (A), cancer bio (A), psych (A), gen chem (B)]

post-bacc classes taken while working full time.


Science: 2.48 (semester hours= 103.1 Quality points=255.53)

Non-science: 3.27

DIY Post Bacc classes (semester hours= 11.7 Quality points=44.1)

If I quit my job, go back to school to do a DIY post-bacc for two years re-taking all the science pre-reqs (gen chem, bio, physics, ocher and biochem) and get A’s in them, I would be able to boost my science GPA to 2.93.

Is this enough? should I completely start over and get a second bachelors? do a third year post-bacc of more upper division science courses to keep improving my GPA?

I know I have an uphill battle. I am still semi-young (25 years old) and therefore still feel somewhat optimistic. Any advice is truly appreciated.

Nothing to is going to replace your grades. They are a part of who you are and all your grades will factor into your GPA calculator. AACOM had just recently done away with grade replacement so that way to boost your GPA is no longer available.

You need to ensure that you have good grades from here on out. Getting another degree to boost your GPA may not do as much as you think. Neither will getting a Master’s degree. You would need to complete your ungergraduate coursework and apply for possibly a Special Master’s Program. These are feeders into the medical school and look to help you develop your grades and show the medical school admissions people that you can handle the higher and harder science courses. Don’t spend your money on useless degrees unless you plan on using them.

I would suggest you go to an open house at your local school or one that you are interested in and there you should be able to speak to admissions people.

Good luck