Low undergrad from a decade ago, high grad, what next?

Hello everyone! I wanted to get some advice about my stats for applying to medical school. I am a 32-year-old working in a virology lab in Boston. I received a BA in General Biology in 2008 and earned less than stellar grades. I ended up graduating with a 2.7 GPA, with no real upward trend in grades. I was working and taking too many classes, and generally clueless about how to properly study/manage time, etc. I was lucky enough to get into a Master’s program immediately after graduation in Molecular and Cell Biology (thanks to good research experience). I moved away from my family, cut out distractions, quit work and did very well in the program (all graduate science courses, 3.8 sGPA, 44 credits total). The master’s program is listed as a post-bacc in the AAMC directory, but has no linkages to it’s medical school. I always had the intention to pursue medicine and kept up with volunteering and shadowing while in school.

I was very discouraged after completing the program to find out after hearing from a pre-med advisor at my undergrad institution and reading many forum posts online that my master’s would not help me at all for applying to med school i.e. “well, everyone does well in grad school”, “it is just a glorified extracurricular activity”. I was shocked and this shook my confidence in regards to my med school dream. I decided to take some extra classes at the undergrad level that following Fall, but struggled to find courses that I had not taken previously since I had taken many classes between my undergrad and grad career. I took 11 science credits, so my post bacc undergrad sGPA is a 3.9, and 17 total credits, cumulative post bacc undergrad GPA of 3.8. This, of course, did nothing to help with my total undergrad GPA, it sits now at a 2.55 sGPA and 2.82 cumulative undergrad GPA total.

After all that, I had to put my med school dream on hold and work to pay my bills. I have been working in the same lab for several years as researcher. I have published multiple first-author manuscripts and travelled to various conferences. I enjoy bench research on some level but in my heart have always wanted to be a physician. I kept up my clinical volunteering, even though I wasn’t sure if I would even stand a chance in the application process. I feel that now is the time to apply and just bite the bullet.

My question is, will my undergrad performance haunt me forever? Do I have to earn another bachelors degree? (I have been told that by an advisor before!) or do an SMP with a linkage? I am not sure how feasible that all is since I have to support myself.

Like so many others, I feel the grades I earned at 18 should not dictate the rest of my life. I worked very hard in graduate school and feel this should count for something. I know this is a major challenge and I cannot change how medical school view grad work versus undergrad work. I have colleagues who have struggled to get into medical school with multiple “hard science” graduate degrees due to a bad undergrad standing from over ten years back. I have been working on practicing for the MCAT and earned a 515 on my last practice test, so I am in good standing with that. What else can I do?

Hi JRP86 - I’m in a similar situation as you.

My undergraduate is a 2.2 and I have started a postbac with a 3.74 cumulative in undergrad courses and had started an MBA program with a 4.0. I began my undergraduate courses, like you a while ago - 13 years.

My own feedback from the admissions committee for my school about my own journey has been that non traditional students are an asset, and the new and improved GPA must be there, but there can’t be any coherent blips - you must own your mistakes, talk about all you did to course correct them, talk about why you struggled and what you learned, and then make your lifelong passion for medicine obvious in a coherent story that blends in with your statement, EC’s, and letters.

Does the research you do tie into your reason for medicine? This would add strength. Also strong letters of recommendation from a lab leader might help.

For me, I have the opportunity and gift to decide whether or not to do a Masters out of state or wait, take non degree seeking grad courses, stay in the lab at the medical school I volunteer at, and then reapply to a Masters that is right next to the medical school in Spring that was recommended to me by the admissions staff. I didn’t get in a week ago and they want me to take graduate courses. I have an offer already for a postbac that’s at a medical school. I will make the best decision for my patients, for the people that have helped me, and after reviewing it with the admissions committee.

Let’s run our situations by the committee and we’ll help patients in the end with our willingess :slight_smile:
Excited to be on this journey with you!

Well-- I am in the same boat— kind of. I have a 2.4 cumulative and never finished my BA. I just enrolled back in college through an online school and have 30 credits to complete my BA degree. Schedule says 8 months to complete. Then going to take my pre-recs at a local community college where it is insanely cheap. Also going to keep shadowing… Hoping a combination of uptrend, solid pre-recs, and shadowing expierence gets me into Med-School so I can join to Army during medical school.

I have been shadowing an Anesthesiologist at the hospital. For sure I know I can do the job.

Good News: I still have alot of time (i.e 30 credits) to improve my gpa and also pre-recs. Bad News: Going to take a couple years to get it all done.

I already am planning to apply to Carribean med-schools in my mind and just accept it… Travel light my friends. Would love to keep in touch with you both through this journey.