My traditional school GPA is overshadowing my post bacc performance

I’m in my early thirties and have been taking courses, volunteering, and getting shadowing hours for the past few years while working FT in my current career. I felt like I was on the winning side of this journey. My post-bacc GPA is a 4.0 and the experiences I have had so far have only confirmed my belief that I want to go into medicine. I will be taking my MCAT next spring and applying to med school next spring. Now, backtrack to my undergrad from over 10 years ago. I have a bachelor’s and master’s in business. I was a decent student that got some A’s and B’s. But the summer after my freshman year, I experienced some tragic events and didn’t really have the resources to cope. I withdrew from some classes in summer semester. In the following fall and spring semester I experienced depression and simply didn’t attend my classes. I have two semesters of F’s sprinkled with a few withdrawals. I was put on academic probation/suspension for a semester, got the help I needed, and came back stronger than before, back to getting A’s and B’s, but this time more A’s.

Now, I knew that this would affect my GPA when I applied to med school but I didn’t anticipate it affecting my GPA greatly, or affecting my science GPA at all. Today I put my entire length of coursework into Mappd and I am feeling extremely discouraged. My overall GPA is 3.17, and my overall science GPA is 3.35. My science GPA was affected because one of the courses I took in my undergrad was Survey of Calculus, and this is one of the courses I withdrew from and had an F in twice during my very bad year in college. I can’t explain how discouraging this feels. When I think of being compared to other traditional students with a 3.17 - 3.35 GPA it feels unfair, because I am currently a 4.0 GPA student. I am more mature and have developed beyond my struggles, and the level of success I attained back then.

I’m unsure how to proceed. Should I delay my application by a year and take more classes to improve my GPA? I really don’t want to do this, because I am a nontrad in my thirties and want to maximize my career length as a doctor. I also did some “scenarios” in Mappd, seeing how much I could bring my GPA up with additional coursework, and the change was very minimal. It seems like I would have to take several semesters of classes to make a significant difference. Am I going to get screened out of some school automatically based on my GPA? Is there any way to avoid this through contacting ADCOMs before applying, or how do I include an explanation of my prior performance into my application? It seems like the only place for this would be my personal statement, and I don’t want to veer off of what is important to discuss this.

For some background info, I am a married female in my early thirties. My husband and I hope to have kids sometime in the near future. At this point, the plan until I get into and begin med school is for me to continue working in my current career FT in anticipation of the cost that med school will be and the fact that only one of us will be working to support us.

answered on this week’s OldPreMeds Podcast coming out Wednesday, 8/11/21!

Thanks Dr. Gray! I listened to this podcast and it was very helpful. I’m going to just keep continuing on my path. I will have 42 postbacc credits by the end of this fall so thankfully my post bacc GPA is composed of a higher number of credits. I appreciate your feedback.

Dr_Gray has a lot more experience than I do in this type of situation, but N=1 experience I ended up getting into an MD school with a cGPA < 3.0. I started with a 2.2 and ended up somewhere around 2.8. My sGPA was a lot higher though (like 3.6ish?) because I didn’t take many science classes during my bachelors.

I got immediately rejected from a lot of DO schools due to GPA cutoffs, but every MD school I applied to read through my application. I ended up getting accepted to both DO and MD schools in the 2020 cycle. I would not delay my application in hopes of getting your cGPA up to a level that competes with traditional applicants. Adcoms, in my experience, look at your recent grades more closely than older grades that don’t reflect your current abilities as a student.

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Hey! I saw your post, and a couple of your other comments. I was hoping to get some advice/info from you.

I’m almost done with my post-bacc, have maintained a 3.9 through ~60 quarter credits, but I will be juuuuust short of a 3.0 for the beginning of next cycle (had a 2.59 from 2013). Were you affected much by filters? I’m not necessarily worried about telling my stories to school, I’m just worried about never making it in front of them.

I’ve been really focused on this “3.0” number just from the perspective of digital shredders, so I thought I’d ask!

Thanks so much!

Hi! I so wish I could help you but I’m applying in the 2022 cycle so I don’t know yet how it may affect my application. :frowning: I have been assured by many people that my application will still get looked at, but some schools may filter it out. I’ve heard Dr. Gray mention that you can always call schools ahead of time and ask them about your unique circumstances and I’m considering doing that; I just don’t want to waste money applying to a certain school if my application will be filtered out. I know that an MCAT score doesn’t overcome GPA, but I am really focusing on my studying because I do think that a great MCAT score can reassure schools that my upward trend and success aren’t simply a fluke - maybe due to easy curriculum, etc.

Good luck with your journey. I’m not sure what cycle you are applying but I’m happy to come back here and update once I am mid application process and can let you know more :slight_smile:

Hi I hope all is well with you. I just found the podcast from Dr. Graves YouTube channel and was comforted by your post. I am currently finishing my last semester of undergrad with about 6 F’s on my transcript. I came to the realization that no matter what I do my undergrad GPA will never arise to what it needs to be. I would love to have your guidance. Could I have your insight on a few questions to see if I could narrow I need decision to make please. Why did you choose a post bacc first over a masters? what was your undergrad GPA total and which post bacc program did you attend please? if you could do it all over again would you choose to go to a Masters program first or your post bacc? Why did you do both a post bacc and a masters and which masters was it? Sorry for all of the questions I am in need of help and hope. Thank you so much and I wish you the best of luck future doctor!

I’m happy to answer your questions but I should preface this by saying that a lot of my choice was based on geographics and my original degree being unrelated to science; I support myself independently and wanted to start my journey down this path but was not yet able to leave my job for financial reasons. I live in a college town and there is also a Medical School in my town. When I began taking courses the college did not offer a Postbacc program so I did a “DIY postbacc program”. Now, almost two years later they have a formalized postbacc program but it would not make sense for me to enroll because the curriculum was entirely the same as what I had been doing, and I will be finished with my courses in December.

I received my undergrad degree in business accounting (and followed it with a masters in business accounting, thus the reason I went back after a masters and did undergrad courses, they were just entirely different fields) and so I had no science courses - the one course I attempted to take multiple times that botched up my science GPA was calculus since it’s a math course. After I put everything into mappd (which I recommend if you haven’t already bc I thought my grades would be fine based on my school transcripts) my overall GPA is a 3.14 and my science GPA is a 3.38. Based on my undergrad degree I never considered a masters program because it just didn’t fit my circumstances. I can say that through listening to Dr. Grey’s podcasts, he doesn’t necessarily encourage masters programs. I would consider what the final latest grade you got on your prereq courses was. If you got a lot of F’s but went back and retook and received A’s, then I don’t think it makes sense to retake those courses again (and I think that is what a formalized postbacc would have you doing). It might make more sense to just do a “DIY postbacc” which is usually cheaper and find classes to add to your knowledge base that you haven’t already taken like immunology, pharm, etc. if those weren’t a part of your undergrad curriculum. But if you got F’s in science prereq courses and went back and got C’s, then a postbacc might be worth it - I think it’s important to show you’ve mastered the material aside from just showing your overall GPA. And as Dr. Gray also says, take a look at your trends - if you started out with F’s but show strong upward performance, you may not need to take any additional classes/go into a program.

Another note is that the one drawback of perhaps not being enrolled in a formalized postbacc is not making connections. I’m now two years into courses and I’ve had the majority of my professors once, maybe twice. A lot of courses were changed to online mode due to COVID and so I just don’t feel like any of my professors know me that well and it’s become a point of anxiety for me trying to find someone to write me a science req letter - I have to imagine that might be different if I had been in a formalized program but I’m not sure.

I can’t really say yet if I would go back and do things differently but I’ll let you know based on how the application cycle goes this spring; I like to think that my application won’t get thrown aside because I did a DIY postbacc rather than a formalized program, but who knows! Good luck on your journey - I hope you are able to find the best next step that works for you, and don’t apologize for all the questions! The best advice I can give is to talk to everyone that may be able to give you insight on this, ask them for their thoughts on how you should proceed, get different opinions and figure out what will work for you.