Hello from a Younger Older Student

Hi. My name is Stephen and I’m a 31-year-old returning college student. In 1995, I was unceremoniously, academically dismissed with a GPA of 0.818. Probably because I preferred staying out with my friends all night and staying in bed through class. During the past decade I got married too young and divorced soon after, then spent seven years driving big rigs. Now I’ve settled down and figured out what I want to be when I grow up. As a non-traditional student, I actually feel that I have an edge on younger students. In fact, three weeks into my return to higher education, I am already confident that I will run circles around the young pups.
My heaviest concern is my prior college work. I’ve talked to a pre-med advisor about what I ought to do and was advised to retake courses that I made less than a C in. That’s most of 'em, and I’ve got no problem doing that. I wonder, though, how it will look to medical schools when I apply in a few years. Will they glance at my GPA and move on, or will they check and see the ten-year gap and my current successes?

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OldManDave is now an anesthesiology resident at Dartmouth, in his third postgraduate year. There are surely other ways to go about getting into medical school than the path he chose, but I do think that his experience provides a great model for those who’ve got pretty serious academic deficiencies.
There will be no short cuts. You’re going to have to do well in everything and you’ll need to do much more than simply re-take some courses. You basically need to put together a portfolio of significant accomplishment - which clearly you can do.
The do-overs are only going to help you in applying to D.O. schools, where new grades “cancel out” old grades. For M.D. schools, both the bad old grades and the good new grades will be factored in. I am not sure I’d go through and repeat every last class you did crappy on back in your party days. Focus on what you want to accomplish in your degree program now, and build the coursework that helps you get there.
Good luck, and welcome!

Hi there Steve,
If you re-take your classes i.e. do another complete major, you will look like a guy who is determined to go to medical school. You cannot completely erase a previously poor undergraduate performance but you can start from today to do excellent work with your eye on your goals.
Sure, some medical schools are not going to be interested in you but there are plenty that will take your more mature academic performance into consideration. You can do some reseach and find out the best schools to apply to. Even better, hire a professional medical school admissions counselor (like our Judy Colwell) who can guide you every step along the way. Compared to the thousands of dollars that you will spend in tuition, having a professional counselor is money well spent if you achieve your goals.
Read Dave’s story and know that it can be done.
Good luck and welcome to the group!