Concerns about getting into Medical School

I have been reading through a number of posts and am starting to be quite concerned about my possibilities of getting into Medical School, and am hoping someone out there can give me some advice on ways which I could “redeem” myself. I entered college immediately after finishing high school and did not do very well in my studies mostly because I was not ready for college and I did not know what I wanted to do at that point in my life, I was only 18 years of age. I was not the most responsible person then. After graduating with a b.a. in anthropology, I got married and ended up working in the computer industry. I worked in the industry for about 5 years and was not very happy there, and was blessed with getting laid off. upon leaving the industry, I decided to go through an intensive program to find out more about me and what would be the ideal work environment and career and I have been told I would be an excellent ER doctor. I’ve taken the last 2 years to think about this and I am very excited about moving forward with my plans. I am very motivated, intelligent and willing to work very hard towards my goal of becoming an ER doctor but I am concerned as to how much my past undergraduate gpa will hurt my entrance into medical school. I should also let you know that it has been some time since I have been in a classroom, I do intend on enrolling in a pre-med certificate program (2 year program) to fulfill my requirements. I am wondering if between volunteering and earning a near perfect gpa in a pre-med program enough to redeem myself from a not so great undergraduate experience.

Hi there Sandra,
Welcome to the group! I hope you will post about your experiences and let us know how you are doing.
First of all, you have set getting into medical school as a goal. The next thing that you have to do is figure out what you have to do to attain your goal. Many folks here have overcome “youthful” poor grades and have gone onto medical school. The key to this is to know HOW much you have to overcome in order to become competitive for medical school.
If you have a significant number of hours that are very low, you might have to do more hours in addition to your pre-med courses. You have to investigate how much you need. You also need to be patient! If you have to take a significant number of hours, be sure that you leave yourself plenty of time to study. If you are working and trying to take classes, be sure you don’t overload. It is far better to take your time and do quality work.
Should you be concerned about getting into medical school? Yes, but it is achievable if you are willing to take your time, set your short-term goals and work hard. Is is doable for you? Only you can decide if you are willing to sacrifice the time and the effort. Medical school is a very long term goal. Also, see Dave’s posts about how he overcame his first college experience where he majored in “Frat Life” and minored in “Partying” and almost ended up failing out.
Good luck and let us hear from you!

Hi and welcome to OPM
It is commendable that you have set your goal to become a doctor. It is a long road and has many bumps.
You can overcome a lower GPA with the rest of things in your application. Get started volunteering now and be a regular and stick to it over these 2 years. That is a great way to get a very postive letter of recommendation. Make sure it is something in a clinical nature that you can get patient contact.
Do the best you can in your classes and do well on the MCAT. Those things will help overshadow the lower GPA from your undergrad years. Write a fantastic personal essay and you should be in great shape for admission to med school.
Good luck. We are always hear to help you along the way so if you have any questions, comments or concerns, don’t hesitate to post them here.
The OPM family is awesome

Welcome Sandra! I’m glad you found OPM. Poor grades from the past can be overcome with good grades in the present. Since you can’t undo your past, all you can do is concentrate on doing your best in the “here and now.” Quite a few people are in your same situation and had poor grades in undergrad due to immaturity, etc. but were later accepted to medical school as mature adults. For a truly inspiring story, check Old Man Dave’s posts and diary. (Sorry I don’t have the link).
If you love the ER, you should try to volunteer there. Good luck!

Thank you everyone for the well wishes and the support. I am very impressed with how helpful everyone has been. I’ve been up very late at night trying to read as many of the conversation threads and frankly I cannot get the information into my mind fast enough. Some threads back, Amy B had suggested to another inquiring person about a directory of clinics in the U.S. but it appeared as if the link was no longer valid - I did some searching and found a link that would be of help to those looking to volunteer at a free clinic -
Once again thank you to all who have been such great help to me and I hope one day I will be of help to those in my shoes at this moment in life.

Perhaps I should put that link within the thread conversation of “where should I volunteer” - I think that would be a better place…

OH THANK YOU so much for that link.
That is the one I was referring to. geez, I did every ending but .net. Thank you.
That is the best site to find the free health clinic near you.

i am new to this site, but it seems to be filled with info. I am 35 yrs old and have been going to school 3 yrs, but when out of high school I did not do well in college. I took about 20 hours and had B’s and C’s- not too good. But I do have a good gpa now about a 3.8, and 3.9 science gpa. I have taken almost everthing, I need physics 1 and 2, and org 1 and 2 and Biochem. Other wise I have A’s in Calc2 Bio 1 nad 2 Chem 1. B’s in Chem 2 and Calc 1. Yesterday, i was on student doctor forum, and I became discouraged, because of my age. I have no kids and am not married, it is just me and my dream of becoming a doctor. I am crazy for pursuing this field?

Well, you may be crazy, but it’s okay. We’re all mad here. Does it cheer you up to hear that I’m 40 and won’t finish my prereqs until next year? It really sounds like you’re on your way!
Can you make it to our June conference in Denver?

“cell,” good grief, do NOT pay attention to the kids on SDN, you’ll get a very skewed view. Don’t forget if you are reading the pre-allo and pre-osteo forums, you are hearing the voices of people who are not yet in medical school. Their own insecurities and prejudices feature prominently in their posts. For more mature insights, visit the med students’ and residents’ forums on SDN if you must.
But meanwhile hang around here and find out that you’re not old at all.
If there is any way for you to swing it, you should definitely try and come to our convention next month in Denver. Since you are poised to start the application process, the convention will have a TON of useful information for you. Airfares are good, we’ve got a great hotel rate, and the convention itself is practically free - come on out and learn how to maximize your chances!

Welcome to OPM! You sound very motivated and intelligent. We have had a number of members overcome previous bad grades to get into medical school. If you are doing great in a pre-med program now, you likely have excellent chances. Read about OldManDave’s story for inspiration. There are many other as well. You will find loads of great info here and meet lots of great people. Hope to see you at the convention in Denver in June!

Hi Cellfinder, I think you have great stats…and I think you are almost there. I have to agree with Mary and caution you to take the advice you get at the SND pre-med forums is something to be taken with a grain of salt. Really, what could a 20 really know about getting into medical school at 38? It’s just not something that is there universe of experience, and certainly, not something that they could have been paying too much attention - it doesn’t really relate to them. Anyhow, you’ve made it this far and I think it will help that you finally found us! Do try to make it the OPM conference. Well, worth the airfare…it seems like you just need to feel connected and hear about the successes of those that have come before you, and share yours and the success of others that are in this with you right now! Good luck!

Cellfinder, I looked at SDN and found some usefull info but also immature and uninformed info there. I’m 40 so I guess they would tell tell me to hang it up grandpa! Look there but come here for support. We don’t care about makeing 350-500,000 a year all we care about is becomeing good practitioners…well 350,000 would be nice

smhamlin4, Well do very well now,I agree with the others you may have to take more classes to show a better GPA. volunteer ( I have read Hospice is a good place to volunteer), Shadow Docs, if possible work part time in a hospital. Read Old Man Dave’s history for inspiration among others here. Keep us posted and keep up the faith. If being a Doc is what you want you can do it!

Hi everyone,
I’m another new member. Still trying to learn my way around this site. I’m loving all of the stories, questions, and advice. I stumbled across the right place, because up to this point, I have felt so alone. Meaning, why would a 40 year old woman (ME) with a pretty okay career, want to go to medical school. For me, it’s not all about the actual degree, maybe even money, or status, but its more about the commitment, the necessity to learn FOREVER, the responsibilities of a physician, and the impact it has on people. I currently hold a Master’s Degree, and have been working as a Speech-Pathologist for the past 12 years. I’ve always wanted to be a doctor, but limited information and resources, led me to not have all the facts. I so quickly fell into believing the stereotypes of what a physician was, and who should be the blessed ones to uphold that calling. Of course, with my limited resources, I quickly told myself that I, this average student, did not fit the mold. I ignored the fact that the few A’s I did recieve, were all science related courses. I ignored the books I would pick up when going to local bookstores. I ignored the compliment from a Biology instructor, during my Freshman year in College. I can go on and on. But now, I’m here, trying to find support, direction, information, and resources, to finally put this into motion. I currently am completing my pre-reqs, as a non-degree seeking student, at a local University. My undergradate GPA was a 3.4 and my Master’s GPA was a 3.2, where I graduated in 1991. I started a few pre-req courses about 8 years ago, at that time my Science GPA was 2.5. This only includes (Gen Chem 1,2 and Phys 1,2). The Biology course I took, and made an A in is included in my undergrad GPA, which was done approximately 21 years ago. Well, believe or not I can still remember things from that course, still remember the professor, and the interest i had for the subject. So, now, I’m wanting to complete my pre-reqs, I need Organic 1,2 and maybe retake the Biologies since its been so long. I plan on taking Organic 1 this summer, and would also want to take the MCAT in August, but maybe I’m pushing it for the MCAT, being that I haven’t finished my pre-reqs. I don’t know, I’m just soooooo ready to be in medical school. I think about it daily. In terms of volunteering, as a Speech-Pathologist, I’ve worked in hospitals, nursing homes, rehab centers for over 10 years. I am currently shadowing a Family Practitioner once a week. I pretty much went into Medical Speech Pathology, because of my need to be around patients, hospitals,etc. Well, yes i still have concerns, primarily because of my GPA, and my age, however many of you are putting the age thing to rest. I hope someone can give me some peer guidance. I have to make something happen, this has been a 22 year old issue. Whether it’s to hang it up or go for it. Thanks

LMAO!! Well, I guess I am the official/unofficial poster-child for getting into medical school after a far far from ideal start. In a nutshell, as Nat points out, I majored in PARTY & minored in Frat Life (did EXTREMELY well in those subjects) but was told to withdraw from school by the Dean before he had to expel me. Yup, when I left school in fall 87, I had 90+ hours & approx a 1.2cumGPA.

Now dem’s sum stella stats I tells ya’!!

As one might imagine, I figured med school was no longer ever going to be an option. So, I did various things, including a few year as a bouncer & bartender (pouring gas onto the fire!) & then ended up going to Registered Respiratory Therapist school…been an RRT since 1990.

Long story made medium length, I loved being an RRT, but was getting bored. My wonderful wife & I discussed many career options when she made the statement, “Who are you kidding? You want to be a physician; so quit screwing around with these other choices & let’s go to med school.” So we did.

Getting there was an entire other story…cause you CANNOT undertake enough hours to offset my glorious orginal Ugrad performance!!! I enrolled at UTDallas & did an entire BS, soup to nuts, in Neuroscience - graduated magna cum laude missing summa by only a few fractions of a point. Even so, averaged altogether, I ended up with 280+ Ugrad hours, a cumGPA of ~2.6 & a cumSciGPA of ~2.9. MCAT 29 & R or S.

I was admitted to a couple of programs my first time to apply & choose The Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine to attend. To be honest, I will be eternally greatful to KCOM as they decided to take a chance on a guy who looked like absolute hell on paper.

That’s my story in a nutshell…large nutshell…& I only know of one other person who started from an even deeper hole & got in. He should have just graduated from the UCincinnati med school this year, but I have lost touch with him. His cumGPA was a smidgen lower, but he had fewer hours.

Now, I wish I could promise you that if you work hard, make good grades & write a great PS that you will get in…I used to actually claim that to be the truth. But, after many years of advising pre-meds & nontrad pre-meds, I must be totally honest with you - not everyone who wants to be a physician will become one. However, if you are truly commited and have that need burning inside of you and you are willing to do the work & make the requisite sacrifices, you can maximize your opportunities to become a physician.

Is it hard? Damn well bet’cha! Is it worth it? Absolutely! However, I caution you - medicine is a tough mistress that no matter much you give to her, she’ll always want more. YOU will have to decide how much of your essences you are willing to give to her & how much you will reserve for your “self” & your loved ones around you. These are the issues I am learning to balance every day and will continue to do so as long as I practice medicine.

Getting into medical school as well as getting out are only just beginnings.

And that sums up why we all think Dave is so great and think he is a great inspiration to so many that come here looking for encourgement not to quit.

Well, I’m a 40 yr old RN and look at it this way,
a 6yr med program Graduate at 46, residency for 3 years (FP)
49, that leaves at least 20 years of practice! Alright more than enough time! Go for it. Do what you must I think it looks like it will be well worth it for you!

There is a new Med School opening soon in Mexico. All the classes are taught in English and it’s half as much as going to med school in the US.
Check it out at
Ask me if you have questions.

Heck. I’m 46 and going to med school soon.
It helps if you know the owner.
He’s opening a school in Mexico .
Check it out.