Honest Advice Needed - BTW This Site is Awesome!

Hi all,

Brief introduction, I’m a 31 y/o father of a wonderful 4 y/o son. My loving wife is an RN and I am currently working in the corporate world as an advertising account executive. I’ve been in this field for 5 years and I’m am quite successful in it. The problem is it is not where my heart is. Every since leaving college many years ago, I regret everyday not applying myself in college and staying on the path on becoming a MD. There are many reasons for my failures in undergrad (ie working too much, unmotivated and not really having direction, never really learning to study correctly, etc). In high school, I graduated near the top of my class and had a high GPA and went on to a top 25 school. I struggled through my undergrad but ended up with my degree in physiology. Shortly after graduation I got caught up into the startup internet companies and worked there for a few years and eventually ended up where I am now.

My wife has really inspired me to pursue my dreams. She too went back to school to change careers and now has a masters in nursing. She loves her job and as tough as it is, it is very satisfying and fulfilling. She is a wonderful caretaker and has a heart for helping people.

I NEED YOUR HELP! I am willing to give it my all and apply myself to my full potential. I think I’ve read the majority of the posts on this forum and many of you have inspired me as well to pursue my dreams. The problem is, is it still possible considering my UG GPA. Here is the scoop:

CUM GPA 2.36

Science GPA around the same

Several D’s, F’s & I

Total Credit Hours: around 154

I don’t see how it is possible to raise my GPA to be competive, even if I do well on the MCAT.

Is there any hope? As I type this I feel like crying because I don’t see how it is possible.

My thoughts are to retake all the prereqs as they are over 10 years since I’ve taken them and some UD science courses. Maybe getting a second bachelors.

Please help!!


One possible thing you could do to raise your gpa is to get a 2nd bachelor’s as well as retake your sciences. A 2nd Bachelor’s in a science field would be ideal, but even if there’s something else that interests you, you could, in theory, redeem yourself.

Thanks for the input MB

Scenario: Say I do a Second Bachelor’s in Cell & Molecular Biology, do the whole program and get a high GPA 3.8-3.9, along with a good MCAT 33+. Do you think the adcomm will see past my first bachelors GPA? Is it worth doing another 3-4 yrs of undergrad? I understand all grades ever received are factored in for an overall GPA but even with a 3.8 - 3.9 in a 2nd, it will get me a cum GPA barely 3.0 I believe. I’m willing to put in the time and effort if that’s what it takes, I’m just afraid even accomplishing the above scenario won’t get me into med school.

Anyones input would be appreciated


If you can get your GPA above 3.0 and do really really well on your MCAT there are several schools you will have a shot at, MD and/or DO.

Especially if your B.S. is in Cell Bio b/c that requires a lot of higher-level bio courses and will prove you can handle the science.


Search the forum for OldManDave’s posts on his path to become a doc. I belive he had to make up for even lower GPA than yours. It’s definitelly doable!


Thanks for the input. OldManDave has definitely proved anything is possible and has certainly inspired me to move forward


Most medical schools will look at your recent coursework and give that considerable weight. You are correct in that you probably won’t be able to raise your GPA to “typical” med school acceptee numbers, but for most schools, if you have an excellent post-bacc GPA and good MCAT, you will be okay. A second bachelor’s is certainly an option - at a minimum you probably want two years of coursework before applying. As you mentioned, you will want to retake the pre-reqs and take some upper level science coursework to prove that you can hack it.

Good luck!

I am gonna second much of the already posted stuff!

You need “TIME, DISTANCE and SHIELDING” (a lot like the old “civil defense” nuclear blast self-defense) from the “bad old days” when you were “immature”, “unmotivated” yada, yada.

If you were two or three years out from graduation (even grad school) with your numbers, I would say FORGET IT (for the time being anyway).

BUT this stuff is a long time ago, I agree with those who say… give up the piece meal courses in an attempt to fix the “OLD STUFF” (trying to put lipstick on a pig)…

Start over, nothing like a BRAN NEW (well done and well graded) undergrad degree, to really “show your stuff”; to demonstrate you are willing to do what it takes (hoop jumping etc). Ad coms are interested in what you have done LATELY… however the double edge to this sword is pretty predictable… you MUST DO WELL… NO EXCUSES… more of the same will seal your NON medicine future…


Thank you all for your honesty and advice. I know what I need to do but I just needed reaffirmation from non-family members. I applied to our local 4 yr universities and hopefully I can start in January. I will keep you posted on my progress. Thanks again and Happy Thanksgiving!!

Dreams 2B MD,

also consider an SMP – a “special masters program” in medical science that is considered excellent preparation for medical school. Usually the courses are similar to first year medical school. You could take a year of preparatory courses, the usual chem-orgo-physics-bio-bio chem stuff, do really well, and then do the masters. Just an idea that might make it quicker than redoing your four year bachelors.

I second the idea of getting a MS or MA rather than a second BA. It will also give you more flexibilty in terms of other options should the med school track not work out (teaching, PhD programs etc). And it also shows a maturity and seriousness of intent. Masters programs are also generally shorter than BA programs.

Good luck!

Sigrid (aka anthrodoc)

PhD in anthropology (archaeology)

working on my science prereqs

I have two options:

(1) Do the 3-4 years necessary to complete the 2nd bachelors in Cell Bio and possibly after doing the SMP/MS if necessary. Not the ideal option but I am willing to do what it takes

(2) Redo the prerequisites at the 4 yr university that will take maybe 1-2 years and then do the SMP/MS right after.

What is the best option considering my situation. I have a low undergrad overall gpa and sciences gpa. I want to prove to the adcomm I am committed and willing to do what it takes. The problem is I have taken so many credit hours, it will be difficult to raise my GPA without taking a lot more credit hours.

Thanks to everyone for the input.

I forgot to mention that with your wife as an RN and some belt tightening, you might be in a better position than you imagine. I made enough as an AD RN to support our family (including SIX kids) comfortably so that my wife has always been able to do what she prefers, to be a homemaker and home schooler.



RATS, I am FRIED and frankly downright pissed, I had added a bunch to an “edit” on my last post… but I lingered too long (:-E) and I hit “post” and got the “time out message”, the of course the back page key revealed the whole FRIGGIN thing IS GONE … POOF, I would give the software a vasectomy without anesthesia if I knew how…

First, take a minute and review “Richard’s rules” at the following link: http://www.oldpremeds.org/fusionbb/showtopic.php?t…

The reason I wanted to make an adjustment was something I read earlier in this thread:

Terry “Ttraub” wrote:

…also consider an SMP – a "special masters program"… is considered excellent preparation for medical school… the courses are similar to first year medical school… take a year of preparatory courses, the usual chem-orgo-physics-bio-bio chem stuff, do really well, and then do the masters… [SMP] that might make it quicker than redoing your four year bachelors.

WHEW boy oh boy, I strongly disagree with Terry on this one, particularly based on what I know about the “stuff” you have posted. In your particular position even allowing the parameter “QUICKER” to enter into your planning “calculus” is VERY, VERY dangerous! One overdone semester with C’s or drops in your PRESENT incarnation and your “goose is cooked”, in a similar position I would be ferociously conservative with course selection and course load and poised to drop before “drop day” to avoid a “W” at all costs or anything else that might trip you. (TIME)

How far out from your UG degree are you? By my reckoning, based on your age of 31, I am guessing 7, 8 or possibly 9 years out right? It seems to me you could get in a bind easily. Are you ready to START off with a difficult pre-requisite science course, after all it has been at least 7 years, with the new degree you can “get in shape” for top study form with some lighter fluff courses to start. . Besides even though it is a “Special Masters” program (if I am wrong on this someone let me know) you are still required to take the GRE. Are you READY for the GRE after all this time? (TIME)

In my opinion, the temporal distance between then and now is a bit better than average, what I mean by that is if you were 23 years old and 2 years out, I would tell you that you are in real trouble, how much could one have matured and “changed ones ways” in 2 years? On the other hand, take the same person and go out 15 years from graduation, there is a lot more of “living” and life experience in ones back pocket. A person starting over 15 years out (no choice in that case) a successful NEW undergraduate degree with stellar GPA (like greater than and or equal to a 3.5) means MUCH more, there are a couple of ideas that come through LOUD and clear. First, it can be reasonably certain that the 35 year old had to learn anew most material in major. Second, you have a life which HAS BEEN disrupted and there have been sacrifices and you have rearranged your priorities and found a way to “win”. Third, demonstrated a willingness to do whatever it takes to be a physician and basically I am on for the “long haul” (TIME)

Let’s look at your stuff line by line.

CUM GPA 2.36 (with 154 hours) as I calculate this an new undergraduate degree properly designed, methodically taken and importantly with stellar but not necessarily perfect scores (something like a 3.5 or 3.6 with 150 hours) IS sufficient to brink that puppy above a 3.0. In the context of commitment to excellence as demonstrated by a sea change from what was previously… this dog might just hunt! (DISTANCE)

Science GPA “around the same… degree in physiology”

– I wish I knew how MANY hours in major (read science hours) you have, it is probably safe to say “many”. This one problem alone may be sufficient to warrant a new degree, If you were a journalism major, you would only need a half a dozen, but this is different. You need a boatload, consider a major in biology for several reasons, first almost everything you take “in major” will add to the science GPA. Second, the stand alone biology classes are definitely “doable” as far as the difficulty level and third, many can make once first two years of medical school “more better”, stuff I WISH I had taken undergrad include immunology, histology, genetics, cell biology, virology etc. The deal here is that you put stacks of good work to sort of “obscure” the “old days” (DISTANCE)

Several D’s, F’s & I- ALL of this was a heck of a long time ago and will never happen again, the trick of course is to have the admissions committee to heartily agree with you. Since we cannot fix or erase it you MUST bury it in layers of subsequent, recent, substantial and stellar academic performance! One would have to convince me that a shorter program would do the job, or would it say this is a “short cut”, with lesser numbers and demonstrated commitment? What is the nature of “Dreams2BMD’s” commitment has he cover up the past in some Tupperware or has he acquired some “iron cladding”? (SHIELDING)

I note you are from California, how close are you from one of the University of California campuses? I hope close, UC has a great reputation, there credits transfer in-between UC school easily

I agree heartily with Megboo who wrote”

“One possible thing you could do to raise your GPA is to get a 2nd bachelor’s as well as retake your sciences. A 2nd Bachelor’s in a science field would be ideal, but even if there’s something else that interests you, you could, in theory, redeem yourself.”

You wrote:

Scenario: Say I do a Second Bachelor’s in Cell & Molecular Biology, do the whole program and get a high GPA 3.8-3.9, along with a good MCAT 33+. Do you think the adcomm will see past my first bachelors GPA?

Definitely YES absolutely

Is it worth doing another 3-4 yrs of undergrad?

Only you can come up with THAT answer that will be totally unique to YOU, the only person who knows the precise weight of various inputs for your internal calculus!

I understand all grades ever received are factored in for an overall GPA but even with a 3.8 - 3.9 in a 2nd, it will get me a cumulative GPA barely 3.0 I believe.

So? In case you forgot that is a B average, additionally your AMCAS application will show all, they are not complete knuckleheads… they will simply look down the column (recent grades are listed FIRST), so during the “open records” interview, they will no doubt march down the column encountering the “good stuff”. Who knows, if it is a long day, they may not even flip to the second page, at the minimum the contrast between new and old will be stark and plain!

I’m willing to put in the time and effort if that’s what it takes, I’m just afraid even accomplishing the above scenario won’t get me into med school.

While it is true there are no guarantees, and no guarantees are “picked up” or gained in medical school proper either, it is typical to lose up to 30% of the class over the four years. One is always aware, “about a thousand things that can still go wrong with this little stunt”.

I can personally disabuse you of ANY notion of accuracy of the oft heard myth, “the hardest thing about medical school is getting in”. That said, I did do my “homework” regarding “the process”, cornered a knowledgeable advisor, plotted the path to the finish line, set up an orderly written (but flexible) plan and then just stepped off (ONE STEP AT A TIME). There were good days when I felt anything was possible and others filled with doubts, thankfully there were Mostly of the former and comparatively few for the latter!

Here I am in my senior year of MEDICAL SCHOOL, I have interviewed at three residency programs, would you believe I am still obligated to sweat it out… will I “match” in the program I want (in my case the dual residency program of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics “Med/Peds” for short)? Will I have to sell the house after only two years and take a bath? Med/Peds physicians care for critically ill children (usually we are called “pediatric intensivists” or “pediatric hospitalists” in the context of a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit or the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), this is a FOUR year residency thus I WILL be 50 when I finish, but the up side (and the down side), I will be board certified in BOTH specialties. The rub: Pediatrics is a three year residency and Internal Medicine is a three year residency. But Richard you just said it would only take four years, yes, I know, I have to learn 6 YEARS of graduate medical education in 4 years! Do I have what it takes up in the “old coconut” to pull it off? Could this be “it” the one last hurdle I cannot quite clear? About a thousand things could still go wrong with this little stunt…

Doubts will always be there, the trick is to put them into perspective and refuse to allow them to paralyse you! I have a little more optimistic outlook than many, I know what one is capable of with faith, love and support from a GREAT WIFE and kids! (I have reasons please see http://www.oldpremeds.org/fusionbb/showtopic.php?t… ). I figure that if I can manage this, even with the “painful lack of natural ability”, there is NO reason you could not do it too.

Keep me up to date on your machinations, and of course if I can be of service feel free to give a holler!



Richard, thanks so much for taking the time out in your very busy schedule to post on my thread. You are truly an asset to this board and I will certainly take your advice to heart. Reading through your 16 steps was very enlightening. I know I have a mountain to climb and in my heart I am committed to climbing it. I am just in need of the map to do it. I will follow your advice and do the second bachelors and prove not only to the adcoms that I’m a new academic student but I am serious in doing what it takes. To answer some of your questions, I am approximately 8 years out of my undergrad from UCLA. Unfortunately, the UC does not allow second bachelor students and currently I am only 15 minutes away from UC Berkeley. I am planning to do it at a local state 4 yr university, either San Francisco State or San Jose State University. At UCLA I took all the pre med requirements already being it was part of my major. I did all the physics, calculus, bio, g chem, o chem, p chem, bio chem, etc. My grades were passing but obviously not great. As you mentioned, this is another reason I just want to start fresh and show what I’m really academically made of. What really scares me is there are no guarantees but at the same time I’m willing to meet this fear head on. The reason I’m willing to do this is my biggest fear is regret and regretting I never really tried achieving my dream . 10+ years commitment in order to achieve my dream is nothing compared to a lifetime of regret. So in conclusion, I’M READY to do this. I’ll meet with the university advisor and may use the services of Judy Colwell as she is local to me.

I will keep you updated with my plans and I greatly appreciate the future help and advice you have offered. I wish you all the luck with your matching process and keep us updated as well.


Sounds good… the only way you will ever “know” how it will all come out is to DO IT




People like you, and the acknowledgment of a possibility for us with low undergrad gpa, who are willing to work hard and redeem oneself is what inspires me in my sciences classes. This has been the torn in my side, and to know that I have a shot, makes me want to work harder. Man I am already pumped for class this spring, and I still have to wait 2 more weeks before I can go in and kill it.

Thanks for the inspiration. You guys rock!!

Just an update - I was just accepted into our local 4 yr university for a post bacc second bachelors program in Molecular Cell Biology. I start in 2 weeks!

Congrats, Dreams