I need some advice - starting the pre-med journey :)

Hi everyone,

I’ve read many of the posts here and I just wanted to introduce myself. I also need some advice as I embark on my journey towards becoming a doctor.

Here is a summary of where I’m at:

1.) I graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara eight years ago with a double major in Business Economics and Communication. Unfortunately, my grades were all over the place (some personal problems, family problems and other distractions). I ended up with a very mediocre 2.71 overall GPA. I did have some good grades mixed in - an A in Calculus and an A- in Statistics.

2.) I had an eight year career in the mortgage industry and I’ve decided to go back to my original dream…Im 31 years old

3.) I’ve looked into different options as far as where to take the science classes I need. I can pretty much get into any of the California State University campuses - so my first question is - does it matter which one? (some have a somewhat better reputation than others)

4.) What can I do to “make up” for the very weak undergraduate GPA at UC Santa Barbara? (aside from the obvious which is doing extremely well in the required science classes I take at the CSU campus I end up going to and a good score on the MCAT)…

5.) I’ve noticed a requirement for “English” at many medical schools…what type of English class or classes do they require?

6.) Do I have a chance at all at getting into any of the California medical schools or should I focus on trying to get into one of the Carribean schools? (or will that undergraduate GPA pretty much destroy any chance at getting in anywhere?)


First, welcome!

I hope I can answer your questions. Others should be along soon enough to fill in anything I’ve forgotten.

Whether you go to a state school or a post-bac program, you’re right about doing your best, of course.

Caribbean schools don’t require high GPA, and some don’t even require the MCAT. There are disadvantages when becoming an IMG (international medical graduate). There’s too much to mention here. If you go to the Student Doctor Network site, you can find good information there. They have a book out, too, and this is covered. (I hope that’s okay to mention.) There may be some available here, too. I’m pretty new, also, so I don’t know. You can try doing a search. If, eventually, you absolutely cannot get accepted to either an MD or DO school, and you still want to be a physician, the caribbean option is available.

DO schools are still competitive, but they don’t require quite as high GPA and MCAT numbers. You would be a physician and learn a little something extra (osteopathic manipulative medicine).

Once you take your prereqs and the MCAT, you’ll know where you stand as far as applying. All this said, though, some MD schools have taken people with lower GPAs. It wouldn’t hurt to try, unless it’s really low.

It’s important for all premeds to get volunteer/clinical experience and research experience. Some schools aren’t as research focused, but it’s helpful to maybe have a semester’s worth of research time. If you’re suffering in your scores, it’s even more important to get clinical experience. That could make a difference. Beef up your application in any way you can.

You should try to get into the best possible school for premed classes.

Maybe you could spin the personal and family trouble to your advantage. Like, “I had some personal and family challenges at this time that limited my ability to focus on my studies. However, I have since improved my grades…”

The English classes tend to be the typical composition classes that freshman take.

Phew! I gave you a lot to read. I hope it helps.


Thank you so much for the advice and information…Im learning a lot by just reading what people are posting and the answers given

You’re quite welcome!

This is a great site. I’m learning, too, and I like helping when I can!