Need advice


I’m new to OPM’s, just found this site while I was looking around (awesome by the way). Anyway, I figured this would be the perfect place to put my resume/stats etc. out there, and see if I really have a shot at getting into medical school. I’ll I’ve heard recently have been horror stories about people with 4.0’s not getting in, so I figured I better be realistic about my situation.

Anyway, on to the nitty gritty. I graduated from college a few years ago with a degree in English Literature. I was originally Molecular Biology but I did terribly in my classes (c’s and d’s). I did well in English (even ended up winning an undergradute thesis award) but obviously my grades left a lot to be desired in my science classes. I was a division 1 athlete in school and I’m sad to say this, but at the time that was all I really cared about. Since graduating I have worked in consulting for a few years and even got the chance to live and work in Africa for year doing non-profit consulting - which was AMAZING. It was there that I got interested in public health/medicine and decided to go back to school. I put together my own ad-hoc pre-med program and have been taking classes as a non-matriculated student at the University of Washington. I was only able to take (usually) 1 class per quarter because I still work a 50 hour a week job and didn’t want to take night classes at community college. Thankfully I’m almost done with my classes. I did much better this time around, and in a much more challenging academic environment than my undergraduate days. I have one quarter of o-chem left but my cumulative GPA for my other science classes at the University of Washington is a 3.65, with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0. I took the MCAT this summer and got a 37. I’ve shadowed a few doctors but not for an extended period of time, I also don’t have any research experience.

I know that on my med school applications my undergraduate science grades will look horribly and they will obviously bring down my AAMC GPA considerably. I’m hoping that schools will look past my previous grades and see that I am capable of doing quality work.

So my question is: 1) will schools be willing to look at my application long enough to see both my improvement and my better grades and 2) Are there schools that look more favorably on improved grades, maybe maturity, things of that nature.

Thanks for all your help/advice/comments,


Hi and welcome,

I’m years away from applying but from all the browsing I’ve done on this site, I think that your 3.65 postbacc, 37 MCAT, plus the one year you spent in Africa are all items that place you in a very strong position, regardless of your undergrad blunders. Others here who have actually gone through the process (or going through it right now) will be able to provide you advice on where to apply. Since it’s late in the cycle, I presume you will apply next June?

Yeah I’m going to apply next June. I was trying to figure out what I should focus on for the remainder of this academic year. Taking other “recommended” classes, maybe trying to get some research experience, shadowing physicians etc. Any suggestions on what I can do to further strengthen my application before I apply next June? Thanks again for all your comments!!!

I see you did some shadowing but do you have an clinical experience or volunteering experience?

If you do not, I would do that over research.

Dear BB, I have a very similar story to yours. I think you will be OK.

Yes, there are schools that take into account maturity/upward trends. And yes, many schools will not automatically kick you out. But I don’t think you have to worry too much about the auto-kick-out because your MCAT score brings up your “number” considerably.

One thing I did was to get the MSAR (from AAMC) and read the “selection factors” for all schools to get a sense of which ones focused on numbers and which specifically mentioned “nontraditional” and “all applications are reviewed” (i.e. no auto-screen).

I also entered all my grades into an excel calculator (search “grade estimator amcas” - should be the first result) so that I knew what my cumulative GPA would be. This undergrad GPA is your undergrad grades plus your post-bacc grades–this is what is used to created your cGPA and is typically the number used by schools that do have any kind of first cut-off (in combination with your MCAT score, which is great, and will help you get a foot in the door). Do this and let us know what your cGPA and sGPA (BCPM) are.

You have a great story and your time as an athlete/your focus on that in college will help you create a personal statement/secondary essays. Your year in Africa sounds amazing. Be glad!

I agree with dnelsen’s comment on clinical/volunteer work. Don’t worry about research unless you are seriously considering MSTP or a research MD/MS–but absolutely get in clinical time.

Also, if you are a Washington resident then I think UWash is a great and very realistic option for you with your scores. There are a number of other schools that will look past your rocky start.

Sorry this reply is not well organized.


Have you been in to chat with the admissions folks at The U, just to get an idea of what they look for in their competitive applicants?

Also, sometimes one has to help an admissions committee see the improvement from early grades to recent grades. That would be a pro-active letter after you apply.

As others have mentioned, get that clinical and community service experience under your belt. And UW is big on people with service to others.