Help - I think I have lost it...

Ok, so here is the deal. I am about to turn 39, I don’t have a degree. I went to University of Iowa back in 89’ and to say the least I was not too interested in going to class. So I left the U of I with 21 hours and a 1.14 GPA.

Fast forward to today. I want to be a doctor. I have the support of my wife (although she thinks I am crazy) and kids. I have been told to take my first two years at a CC and then transfer to a 4 year to finish up a Biology Major (Pre-med).

Of course, after reading on here, I am now confused. I am not sure if I can even get into a 4 year now after my stellar performance 20 years ago.

Anyway, looking for any help/advice that you can give.

Do great at c/c, raise your gpa as high as possible. Show med schools you’re serious now as an adult. Transfer to a 4 year for premed classes and do well. Rock the MCAT and you should have a shot! Your GPA is pretty bad, but at least you only took 21 hours.

Make A’s!


Agreed with the above.

You took only 21 hours. So if you get all A’s during 2 years of hard work and enough credit, your GPA will raise substantially.

Do it well, that’s the most important.

Good luck.

Thank you for your responses. That was pretty much my plan, but I am looking for some “social proof” that 2 years at a CC isn’t going to hurt my already long chances.

Also, would you recommend retaking the courses I took 20 years ago?

The CC I am looking at has a pre-med emphasis with a direct transfer to a 4 yr pre-med major.

  • tlshark Said:
Thank you for your responses. That was pretty much my plan, but I am looking for some "social proof" that 2 years at a CC isn't going to hurt my already long chances...

The CC I am looking at has a pre-med emphasis with a direct transfer to a 4 yr pre-med major

Since you have no degree and very little and very old work previously, I think that taking classes at a CC with a specific premed emphasis with transfer to 4 year will have no or little impact on your application. Your situation differs from most non-trads who typically already have degrees

  • tlshark Said:
Also, would you recommend retaking the courses I took 20 years ago?

Absolutely! I would strongly suggest that you consider it a self-imposed requirement to retake ANY math/science courses. You really need to be up on algebra/trig for chem/physics, and biology has drastically changed.

Good luck and keep is informed

Check out the “Diaries” section here on OPM – there are some OPM folks who have gotten into (and through) med school with very low undergrad GPAs. (And they have done very well for themselves!) You may find their stories encouraging. Particularly OldManDave’s.

Ok, for some reason I can’t figure out the quoting, but anyway.

As far as Biology changing…it reminds me of a story…

Professor Einstein was walking to class to administer his final. His assistant noticed that he was carrying the same final he gave the previous year. Upon asking if it was the same the professor responding it was.

His assistant asked how can you give the same final two years in a row…Professor Einstein smiled and said “Because the answers have changed.”

Anyway, thank you all for your support. I have just taken the first step at my local CC, been accepted, and will register next month.

Now it’s time to invest in some courses to get me up to speed to start school after 20 years.

Hi Tlshark,

I am in an almost identical situation as yours (read: same age, grades etc.) After much investigation I enrolled in the local CC this fall and am 1/2 through with the semester. I am taking 16 hrs and getting high A’s in all my classes. This is important for a few reasons but must important, I have evidence that I really can do the hard work well…and that is what this is all about. Doing hard work well.

Go to the CC, get all A’s, transfer, kick the MCATs ass and that GPA will no longer matter! BTW I took many more classes and have a similar GPA. I am not worried about it. As others have pointed out…the MCAT is your friend.

Feel free to read my story.


  • MileHighOldMan Said:
Hi Tlshark,

the MCAT is your friend.


Say again with me:


Sweet … Mile High! I like it.

Denver is your friend, Oh MCAT is your friend.

Good luck.


It’s never too late to begin that journey to achieve your dream. You have the support of your wife and kids. You can make it! Keep us posted. I hope to read about your acceptance to medical school in 4 or 5 years (which will be here before you know it!). Good luck!

I am 35: I have a degree but it does not help much as it is from outside of US. I have a lot of hoops to jump.

Not exactly like yours but they are there.

So, good luck to you.

Thank you all for all your support. This forum certainly has made me realize I am not to old.

So now my goal is to get myself prepared to start back to school next semester.

Need to brush up on my Math and Science. Anyone know of any good resources to help with that?

Thanks again, you guys are awesome.

I do indeed. This is the best website I have ever been to. It is entirely free and the guy makes the toughest of subjects easy. It is The guy that started it has several degrees from MIT and Harvard and was a hedge fund dude. Gave it all up to create a non-profit education website designed to give anyone anywhere a free high quality education. Bill Gates even gives this guy a plug.


Thank you, thank you, thank you! That is the best site! Just went through several of the Algebra videos, and the best part…I remembered it!

My son is struggling with Geometry right now, I am going to turn him on that as well.

I am so looking forward to this journey. I feel like I have a plan and a direction. First time in a long time.

Went to an interesting question/answer panel last night with several of the regional schools.

Someone specifically asked the panel about the MCAT, and whether they put more weight into it, or if it would help bring up previous poor performance.

The answer of the panel was generally, “it shows that you can do well on that type of test.” Also, “it represents a single day in your life, we would prefer to see several semesters of consistent good performance.” The reason being, med school is a long grind, and you have to be able to pace yourself and keep up the level of quality work.

Anyway, it was an interesting talk, and the first time I had heard the head of admissions for several schools talk this way about it.

So, while I would put some importance in the MCAT, I certainly wouldn’t count on it to pull you out of a ditch, or let my regular classes go downhill in order to study for it.

Hi Jim,

If I or others did not state so, it is presumed that we are talking about getting all A’s in addition to the MCAT.


Getting anything other than A’s is not an option for me. Besides the pressure I put on myself, my kids would NEVER let me forget getting anything less than A’s.

On to another question, the CC I will be going to has a “Wintermester” Runs from December 13th through January 7th.

Then the Spring Semester stars January 18th.

You can only take 3 credit hours during the Wintermester, the class meets for 4 hours a day 5 days a week for the month. Would you recommend taking a course during this time, as a “ramp” up to the full load starting January 18th.

Of course, getting an A would be the plan.

You could take an easy-ish class then. DO NOT take a science class. You usually need plenty of quality time at home with the homework for the concepts to sink in in a useful way. You need to do the homework, sleep on it, lather, rinse, repeat. I would hesitate to do that in a month-long class.

Was thinking along the lines of an English or maybe History class. And then go with about 16 credit hours in the spring.

Thanks again. You guys certainly give me hope.