As I’m thinking more and more seriously about going for this, and knowing that I’ll need at least a year of post-bac prereqs, I just did a GPA calculation, and even if I made straight A’s on these courses for a year, my GPA would only move up to about a 3.17 (from a 2.88).
Is it even worth pursuing? I need to make an informed decision here, and I worry that based on that GPA, I won’t even be considered, and it would be like throwing a year away going back to school trying to get the prereqs when, in the end, it won’t matter.
It’s incredibly frustrating that med school acceptance hinges on the GPA from my undergraduate degree from ten years ago, and not on the things I’ve done since then.
Is this a total pipe dream?
Don’t know, but 3.17 >> 2.88
From what I have heard on here sometimes it is more important to show improvement from your first undergrad GPA, rather than cumm. GPA. i.e. a 4.0 in post bacc. work is more impressive than what your cumm looks like with that 4.0.
How advanced are the remaining pre-reqs? I would think a 4.0 through orgos, physics, and upper level biology would count more than previous mishaps. I think it would show you’re committed to you pursuit of a medical education. Give it a shot. If you don’t you’ll always wonder.
- db2103 Said:
As I'm thinking more and more seriously about going for this, and knowing that I'll need at least a year of post-bac prereqs, I just did a GPA calculation, and even if I made straight A's on these courses for a year, my GPA would only move up to about a 3.17 (from a 2.88).
Is it even worth pursuing? I need to make an informed decision here, and I worry that based on that GPA, I won't even be considered, and it would be like throwing a year away going back to school trying to get the prereqs when, in the end, it won't matter.
It's incredibly frustrating that med school acceptance hinges on the GPA from my undergraduate degree from ten years ago, and not on the things I've done since then.
Is this a total pipe dream?
Rule 1: Take a Breath
Rule 10: Beware of FUD -- Fear, uncertainty and doubt.
Investigate how the process works before you abandon all hope and perhaps you will see some glimmers on the horizon
The application for allopathic medical school (MD)slices and dices your GPA into original undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate (all split by science and non-science) along with cumulative GPA. So if you have a horrid original GPA and then 10 years later have a excellent post-bacc, a good MCAT, and the rest and you may stand a chance.
You should also note that the application mechanics of osteopathic medical schools (DO) will count only the latest grade of repeated courses towards the GPA. This allows those with baggage of old grades an opportunity to improve GPA.
Lastly, if you don't apply, your chances are zero, nada, nothing, zilch.
If you do apply, improve your GPA, do well on the MCAT, write a great application, have a super interview, you might (I said might) get accepted to medical school. Anyone who tells you otherwise is just blow sunshine up your......
Too many people get freaked out when they realize that their overall GPA will be poor (by comparison) no matter how many A’s they get in their post-bacc work. You CAN get accepted to medical school IF you do well in the pre-reqs/post-bacc, well on the MCAT, and otherwise present a strong application.
My original undergrad GPA was a 2.78. I was accepted to five allopathic medical schools, two of them ranked in US News and World Reports “Best Medical Schools”. And, I can think of at least 2-3 other people who are members of OPM who have done the same.
You can’t change the past - all you can do is do your very best from here on out. You will be pleasantly surprised at how many options you might have.
Thanks so much for all the responses.
And, Emergency, thanks for the personal success story. Great to hear.
I think I have to go for it, go all out, and give it a shot.
Only way to know.
Thank you for mentioning this. Right now I have about a GPA of 2.95 - 3.1 depending on which evaluation system I use for my grades. I am so afraid that (although I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO SCIENCE BACKGROUND) even though I do well in my Pre-reqs that I will not be able to make it into a nice American school. (I am open to attending Carib if that is what I need to do to get where I want to be.) But hearing it from real people without the whole judgment issue that I sometimes get from other forums, I feel like there is a huge amount of hope. =)
My favorite response ever to “what are important qualities to get through med school” was
“a big ass”
If you work had you should get there. This is assuming you have a reason you got poor grades before and have the capabilities to get good ones now.
Is it possible to take over 20 post-bac courses of upper science undergraduate levels to boost GPA? Will allopathic medical schools look at those that I boost my GPA from 3.16 to 3.5? Will they care? I also have a Masters in Cell Biology (3.8 GPA) and have several first author papers and attended meetings? Do they care about the C’s in my undergraduate courses? I mean I did bring the overall undergraduate GPA up?
Rule 1: Take a breath
- Most nontrads (like most regular premeds) get consumed on a single factor. You need to inventory your entire background before deciding on a course of action
- You have an masters in a hard science which will help show that you can do the work. Not too mention your papers, research, etc
- I think 20 courses is way over kill. I would speculate from the little you told me, that repeating the general chem, organic chem, and general bio (yes I said general bio) would be the start. probably general physics too. these would show your ability to do fresh undergrad work the 30 credits or so will be listed as on your application as a separate pos-bacc GPA, thus standing out.
- You also need the above courses for MCAT. A mistake that I seen several people with masters or PhD in bio or chem is their over confidence in the basics of their subject. They assume that they know what they need to for the MCAT and get destroyed. Your general bio especially organ systems is likely years ago.
- So with a poor original GPA, a great hard sciences masters, good papers, great shorten postbacc and well prepared for MCAT, makes you look much better than just the original GPA
- MaryChoi1234 Said:
Rule 1 take a breath:
1) Focusing solely on your original poor uGPA which make your head spin. You need to make a complete inventory of what you have prior to making a plan of 20 courses.
2) Your hard core science masters with research and papers will help with showing that you can do the work
3) You are likely going to need to repeat Gen Chem, Organic Chem, Gen Physics and Gen Bio (yes, I said Gen Bio) in a postbacc. Doing well in this abbreviated set of courses will come out as a separate line item on your application as a post bacc GPA and will show stark improvement
4) you will also need the above courses to he,p refresh for MCAT. I have seen several people with advanced bio or chem degrees be extremely over confident on their ability to do problems based on basic chem or bio and then get blown away by the MCAT. Last time you has general physiology or systems bio was when? A great MCAT will go a long way in your app.
5) so now instead of a just a low uGPA you have
hard core science masters with good GPA
research, papers, and great LOR
a good series of a few postbacc courses
a good MCAT.
I think putting the goal of 20 courses is going to kill you before your start.
Thanks for the feedback. I did repeat some of those general courses (most of them were B’s) and in addition I also took upper level Bio courses (undergrad) such as Neurobiology, Biology of Cancer, Microbes in Human Health, Bioinformatics, which I’ve never taken. All of them add to about 20 courses and I plan on taking more. Will allopathic medical schools care about those?
deleted - original poster posted the question almost a year ago; t/j by someone else; I did not notice the question change.
I already have great LORs from the deans and research mentors and professors from my graduate schools. They want me to finish my PhD in 3 years since the Masters already overlap with the PhD courses instead and then go onto medical school. I don’t want to waste 3 years of my life. I’m almost 26 years old and my parents want me to get married instead of having all these financial burden. They think that a husband can take care of the financial loans from my graduate which I think is ridiculous. Also I am doing this program now called the Academic Associate Program which is not exactly shadowing doctors in the ER, but following and working with the residents and diagnosing the patients’ cases. I would be writing up case reports based on my diagnoses and possibly presenting at national meetings.
- MaryChoi1234 Said:
Thanks for the feedback. I did repeat some of those general courses (most of them were B's) and in addition I also took upper level Bio courses (undergrad) such as Neurobiology, Biology of Cancer, Microbes in Human Health, Bioinformatics, which I've never taken. All of them add to about 20 courses and I plan on taking more. Will allopathic medical schools care about those?
I am not sure quite what you mean when you ask if they will care about them? They will be part of your overall GPA, your postbacc GPA as well as the science GPA. So in that sense they matter
however, every additional course you take has diminishing returns on overall GPA. If your goal is to make ur overall GPA stellar, it will not happen. You need to focus energies on things that you can make stellar, like MCAT
What I mean if they care - does the AAMC send the overall GPA/science GPA or only the undergrad GPA to medical schools? I am confused at how medical schools look at the breakdown. For instance, do allopathic medical schools look at undergrad GPA only vs. overall undergrad GPA and weigh the undergrad GPA higher than the overall?
Everything is sent.
If you barfed an “F” in some school at the barely-above-high-school level in 1979, they will see that.
Once the overall is broken out, the report has subsections:
No one can definitively state how med schools look at things; each school is individualistic in their vantage point and during their review. Likewise, no one can say definitively, how your GPA will be viewed from undergrad, postbacc, PhD.
I think, if you are that concerned, you should take your total package to a med school and ask them.
It’s what I did. “Here’s how crappy I look from 20+ years ago; here’s how I look today. Here’s my working life resume. Here’s my volunteer experience.” Then I let them tell me whether or not I was blowing smoke.
- MaryChoi1234 Said:
Don't take this the wrong way, but if you're 26 why do you still care what your parents think? You're well into adulthood and capable of making your own decisions, no? At this point in your life, you have an obligation to do what will make you happy, and not necessarily what will make your parents happy.
To clarify, they will see an undergraduate GPA that is from only up till your undergrad degree. Then they will see a “post-bacc” GPA that is all undergrad courses taken after you obtained your undergraduate degree. then there is a grad GPA. And there is an “overall” GPA that for AMCAS does NOT include graduate courses and for AACOMAS DOES include graduate courses.
Each GPA is broken down to “overall” (for that section) and science GPA (bio, chem, physics, and perhaps math ).
At this point, it sounds as though you have academic debt. My advice is, do NOT get a degree that is not your goal. Unless you want to be a PhD for teaching purposes or research, you should not expend the effort and expense to gain another degree. If you want to be a medical doctor, put your effort into that.
It might be helpful to work, try to get in a better financial footing, and work on prepping for MCAT, volunteering. Try to make a plan for when to take MCAT and start application.
Regarding marrying, I understand some cultural pressure may be there but few men or women really are eager to take on supporting a spouse thru medical school, particularly not if the “purpose” of marrying is to have help with their academic debt. Try to convey that to your parents, perhaps?