DO counts undergrad GPA less than MD for turnaround students?

DO vs MD programs for nontrads (turnaround), is there a difference in the weight they give to total GPA vs recent GPA?


I haven’t been through the admissions process all of the way yet, but I was at the OPM conference and participated in the “You are the Admissions Committee” workshop this year. I also spoke at length to admissions people there, and some more since the conference (about my particular situation). Overall, what I learned is that shaky starts can be overcome, but schools (at least osteopathic ones for sure) want to see a continual upward trend. They don’t seem to look too favorably on “roller coaster” trends (which unfortunately I now have due to a really bad year).

Since I can only speak to my own experience to date, I will respond based on that. I was told by an admissions person that there needs to be YEARS of solid grades after a period of bad grades. In my case, I bombed at a junior college (less than a 2.0), then went on to do better at a vocational school, and for the upper div work on my bachelors (mid 3.0’s for both). I did one year as a post-bacc with a mid-range 3.0’s for that. Then in my 2nd year as a post-bacc I did poorly again (mid-range 2.0’s), because of extenuating circumstances (and being plain stubborn). I’m now being advised to go complete a masters program, and absolutely kill it, so that I can prove that the other missteps were not reflective of who I am as I student.

Don’t forget that there’s more to the equation than just grades. Solid EC’s, strong letters, and a good MCAT score all serve to reinforce your application. I keep hearing an emphasis on clinical experiences and shadowing, but that might be a function of the type of schools I’m looking at applying to.

Do medical schools “weight” bad gpa’s differently when there’s an improvement later? I wouldn’t say that they give more or less weight to either, everything is still considered from what I can tell. It seems to be a “maybe” depending on other factors on the application. I wish I had more/better info to give you. Hopefully this helps a little until someone that’s been through it completely can step in. Good luck to you!

I think that what you may be thinking of is that for DO schools, if you retake a course, they will use the most recent grade in calculating your GPA while allo schools will count both grades in your GPA. Thus, if you retake courses, you can really raise your GPA on the DO application.

While I can’t tell you what the adcoms actually look for, based on my experience:

B.S. from DeVry 1980s - 3.33 up until the last semester when I just quit trying - ended up with 3.0 overall.

A couple of attempts at an MS in computer science - wound up with about 4 F’s or so in undergrad prereqs for the MSCS taken at the graduate level. Also add one attempt at Calculus III which I just quit going to - F.

About 10 years after that, decided to change careers after being nudged that way by the downturn in engineering. Took all of my prereqs (except for physics, calculus and english which I kept from my DeVry degree) at community colleges and had a 4.0 in those…note that they were not from within the same community college system but done based on availability at the time.

I was told they liked to see 12-18 hours a semester taken for at least one semester so they could see how you handled the workload. However, they also look at mititgating factors. I was working 2 and sometimes 3 part time jobs, plus playing Daddy and husband to a family plus the prereq load. They also want to see an upward trend…which I gave them.

Now, let’s not forget the motivation. I simply called up the admissions office of my number one choice and starting talking to an admissions counselor. She walked me through every step of the process and we were almost on a first name basis by the time I was pulled off the wait-list.

I also got involved with the state osteopathic medical association. I met some of the long time people in that organization and pled my case to anyone who would listen.

And finally, let’s not forget THE most important factor. I was on my face in prayer (so was my entire family) asking God to get me in…He did - first application, one attempt at the MCAT (mediocre 25P)…it wasn’t a perfect road once I was in, but I’m out now and very grateful.

Just started residency and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for letting me be a physician. My worst day as a physician has been better than my best day of engineering…

Hope it helps. PM me if you have questions…

Here, here, Dave!

Sounds like a case of you doing what YOU had the ability to do, as well as LOTS of prayer.

Before starting post-bacc, I had 9 different people volunteer to pray for me consistently in this endeavor (I’ve got 11 now!). When a tough patch approached (organic chem tests, MCAT’s , getting secondary applications done and out), I’d send out an update and know that I was getting a lot of prayer “watts” - and reminded that it was not only up to what I could do myself. Very grateful for the grace that has me where I am!


Very inspirational! Thanks for posting your response–especially your last few paragraphs!