*Introduction* 2.3 sGPA, 2.8 cGPA -- current military with goal to be a doctor someday

Hi forum members,

Let me first start off by saying…this is a GREAT forum…with tons of inspiring postings – THANK YOU. I’ve been a lurker reading posts for a few years…finally taken the first step to start my pre-reqs this fall (more like GPA booster for now)…so, decided to celebrate my courses registration with this forum registration and my first post.

This is a start to a long journey ahead… Appreciate any feedback and advice…and of course to make “battle buddies” as well.

a Little Background:

long long long time ago…i was a perfect 4.0 highschooler. Received a full ride for college…then in my third year, complacency and foolishness set in…and decided to goof off by traveling with my then girlfriend. Because of my scholarship…i was mandated to stay “full time” credit-wise, so I couldn’t drop any classes. So, with the exceptions of a few no-brainer classes…i received “Fs” in 7 classes and many more Cs, Ds. I busted my butt in my senior year to retake/recover. I managed to still graduate college in 4 years…with a cGPA 3.2, but of course with AMCAS’s no-grade replacement calculation…my GPAs would be 2.3 sGPA, 2.8 cGPA. [DO is an option but I want to do my best to give MD a shot…since I have a bit of time]. Besides math and english…I do not have any of the pre-req courses.

What i do now:

I’m active duty Air Force – statistician and flight test engineer (heavy research and test experience). I’m 36 with 7 more years to retire. I hope to get accepted into med school the same summer i retire…I will be 43. So, until then, i need to boost GPA, take all pre-reqs, and hopefully do well on MCAT. Where I am at right now…there are no opportunities to take any pre-reqs…absolutely no night courses or weekend courses. So, I will just take some GPA booster courses at a local community college this fall. I will move to the DC area in 2 years…where i will start taking the real pre-reqs on Saturdays (the community colleges in Virginia offer everything i need on weekends as well).

My education background:

Bachelor - Mathematics (University of Guam) – yes…my home…and yes, it’s accredited :slight_smile:

MS - Operations Research (Air Force Institute of Tech) GPA 3.6

MS - Flight Test Engineering (Air Force Test Pilot School) GPA 3.7

MS - Military Operational Art (Air Command and Staff College) GPA 3.7

Game Plan:

  • Between now and then…i can bring my sGPA up to about 3.2 - 3.3…and that’s with about 80+ post-bac credits I plan to take…so, that’s about the highest i can hope for.
  • Take all the pre-reqs in person at community colleges in Virginia
  • Do volunteering/shadowing 2 years before i retire.
  • Take MCAT / apply for school the year before i retire
  • obviously no committee letter/package…but hope to have LORs from previous/future professors and also from health professionals as i volunteer/shadow.

    Sorry, this post is getting long…but any thoughts and advice would be appreciated as i begin my journey. Thank you all


Man, it sounds to me like you know what you need to do. It’s definitely going to be an uphill battle for your uGPA, but at least there’s been a long time of separation between those grades and now. I don’t think your previous grades will be overlooked, but you can show that a) you know how you screwed yourself and b) you’ve done well academically in rigorous course loads (I’ve heard TPS is a beast, had a propulsion teacher that taught there). The best you can hope to do is blow your upcoming classes out of the water and hope to find a program that values who you are now and not the mistakes you made a long time ago.

As an active duty guy that went through the pre-med process myself, I took prereqs through distance learning from a local univ and the Univ of New England. There are pro/con lists everywhere about why this is or is not a good idea. For your situation, the pro side is that you can start now and UNE is a fully accredited university and classes are taken through their college of osteopathic medicine. I was limited in where I could apply (not all schools take online credits), but at the same time, I found a lot of MD programs that did, and that number will likely go up in the future.

Because of the nature of the MCAT, I’d suggest taking it the first time the year PRIOR to the year you want to apply so your timeline of school immediately after retirement doesn’t get boned by a bad score (chance to retake). Schools generally take scores that are up to 3 years old (some more, some less I think). Things are bound to change between now and when you apply, but I’d suggest getting an online subscription to the MSAR to get a more solid idea of what specific schools are looking for. DO schools have a pdf version of their “MSAR” that you can pull from the AACOMAS or AACOM site. It might give you a better idea of how to tailor your plan.

Shoot me a private message if you want. I’m in the process of transitioning out to start school after 11 years active AF.

Welcome to the site! Kennymac gave you some great advice. I want to second what he said about taking the MCAT the year before you apply. The test has recently changed and requires a bunch more classes to learn the material that’s now on the test. I really recommend that you make sure you’ve taken a least a semester of Biochem before you take it as well. If you haven’t already, take a look at DO schools, they’re a little more forgiving with less then stellar grades/test scores. If you have any questions about DO schools feel free to PM me. Best of luck to you on this journey!

Thank you KennyM, Synch

  • TPS was indeed the hardest academic year for me…since i wasn’t even an engineer to start with. The balancing between classroom stuff, pre-flight, flight, post…left little time for anything else. They crammed about a semester worth of course material in 2 weeks. Repeat and rinse for 1 year… But it was also the best experience/time i had in the AF.

  • Great points about taking MCAT 2 years before i retire… I will do that…that means i have to speed up my course loads…potentially take more classes.

  • I did look into U of New England. I will PM you to learn more about your take/experience on U of NE.

  • DO is definitely an option, Synch. I told my family that i will give it my all from now till then…i will apply to max number of MD & DO schools out there… with DO’s grade replacement…my current sGPA (3.5) and cGPA (3.2) are much higher…and most likely i can bring both GPAs above 3.5 after all the courses i have to take (since Math isn’t part of the sGPA…and i don’t have too many other science courses…my post-bac science courses can influcence my sGPA greatly). Will certainly appreciate more thoughts on DO schools as I progress through this long journey.

    Thank you both for your insights.

I think AMCAS (MD) does count math in the BCPM (“sGPA”), so that should help. AACOMAS (DO) doesn’t but does accept grade replacement.


thank you Kenny… i was referring to DO sGPA…sorry for the confusion. i sent you a PM asking more questions on U of NE. thank you brother!