Need some help.... med school or not?

Hi, I just graduated with my finance degree in 2008 and realized that I want nothing to do with that. I had a feeling during my degree, so I went to talk to the nursing school about their accelerated program. I knew that nursing was not really what I wanted, but it offered me more hope than the advisor in the biology department. I took the program pre-reqs, but I know now that I want to go to medical school. Even though nursing seems more reasonable. I graduated with a GPA of 3.46 and only took one bio class during the four years of my first degree. Since then I have taken the first physics, chem, and second bio. I got A’s and B’s (sadly). I can finish a biology degree in a year and a half plus complete all of my pre-reqs for med school or should I go to a post-bac school? Does anyone know how they calculate your GPA if you graduated once and then you get a second degree? Or how med schools calculate your GPA? Do they just consider the first degree or both? I am thinking that I want to do the degree because I enjoy science and I might just as well get a degree in the same amount of time right? I am very confused. I don’t know if I even have a chance to get into medical school. I just need to know if I should go for it or not (med school). In a side note, this site is really cool and has already helped me with some questions. So, any advice?

Hi Stacy, Welcome to OPM!

In reference to your question about post bacc, I really don’t think that you would need one because you are taking all of your prereqs through this second bachelors degree. I would just suggest that you make sure that during this period that you make sure to take some advanced science classes like biochem, physiology, and genetics to name a few. Of course, these already might be built into the bio degree.

Don’t freak about your B grade, it is still a good grade.

How your GPA is calculated depends on whether you are applying for an allopathic school (MD) or an osteopathic school (DO). For both you’ll have a cumulative GPA which will include all of your undergraduate classes. The MD schools will also have a bcpm gpa which includes your math along with your science classes, while the DO schools just use your science classes.

Since you finished your first degree with a 3.46, and you’ve been doing well with your second degree, you might be in good shape to just apply to medical school when you are ready. Just be careful not to take the MCAT until you are ready and until AFTER you finish your prereqs. Having a 30+ MCAT score is your goal.

Glad you came to join!

I concur with Kriss on this. Your grades and degree are good enough. Work on the MCAT (rule 6, the MCAT is your Friend), volunteer, LORs, and you will make a good candidate

I was just wondering because I have been researching this a lot recently. There are some websites that say that you have to go to a post-bacc to raise your GPA and that they do not consider your GPA in a second degree. If that is true, then I am killing myself in my second degree to raise my grades, but it does not count. That sucks.

Also if anyone could help…

I have no idea what I am doing when applying to that AMCAS thing. I feel really dumb, but it is confusing to me. I am having a hard time figuring out exactly what steps I take to apply to med schools. Any sites or suggestions would be very much appreciated.

Well, if I remember correctly (and I’m sure I’ll be corrected if I’m wrong), but while your post bacc grades will be under a different category, they will still count in your favor if you do well…if not, they wouldn’t be so popular. A lot of times what doesn’t make too much of a difference with your undergraduate GPA is a graduate degree.

The other option is to go for a second bachelors degree, and it would still be considered undergraduate.

Can anyone else chime in?

  1. Typically, a second degree is unneeded, it adds extra work for limited benefit.

  2. Post-bacc work (ie anything after your initial BA/BS whether formal, informal or for second degree) I believe does get a separate line item in your application. So if you take say 30 additional credits or another whole degree of 120 credits) it will have a broken out GPA separate from your original.

  3. you will have a total GPA score that does include ALL under-graduate level work (whether original, post-bacc, second degree, etc) so while your second degree will help your GPA, each additional class/credit will have diminishing impact in your overall GPA. This is my main reason for NOT recommending a second degree.

    4)since your BA/BS isn’t that old, getting an Undergraduate post-bacc would seem not the way to go. I would suggest one of two paths.

  4. first path would be adding additional upper division undergraduate science courses such as Biochem, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Immunology, etc and perhaps retaking a particular prereq that you did very poorly in. This will show your ability in sciences and help your undergrad GPA

  5. second path would be a masters-level “post-bacc”. I air-quote post-bacc as there are special masters designed more or less to bolster grades. Most post-bacs are designed for non-science students who have never taken the pre-reqs. An example would be Georgetown’s SMP

  6. Remember rule 6: the MCAT is your friend… prepare, prepare, prepare, and blow the MCAT away. That with 20-30 credits of VERY STRONG upper level or masters bio/biochem courses should be a path

  7. you best call/email several med schools admissions people and ask their opinion on your particular situation (rule 3: it depends). If you need to be put in touch with some, I can help with that.

  8. disclaimers: All information above is my own opinion on this. Your mileage may vary

  9. Always remember rule 1: take a breath

  • gonnif Said:

6) second path would be a masters-level "post-bacc". I air-quote post-bacc as there are special masters designed more or less to bolster grades. Most post-bacs are designed for non-science students who have never taken the pre-reqs. An example would be Georgetown's SMP

Actually, the Georgetown SMP is not a post-bacc. In order to get into the program, it is expected that you have completed the prereqs for medical school and the MCAT. Post-baccs are usually meant for those students that have received their bachelors degree but did not complete the prereqs.

For the GT SMP, you are actually in a number of classes as the first years, so you really need to know your basics.

If you want to know specifically about calculating all the relevant GPA categories for AAMC (M.D.) programs, check out this AAMC document (PDF).

Also, a kind soul at UCSF MS posted an Excel (macro) worksheet with a PDF manual that will calculate official AMCAS GPAs. Very cool.

Couldn’t get the Excel link to work, so I’m hard coding it: PA_…

Here is some additional information that I may have left out before…

During my finance degree I only took one science, bio 111 and I recieved a B. All of the other pre-reqs were taken after I graduated, which included: Phys 211, Chem 111, and Bio 211(still need lab). I was thinking of getting my BS in Biology because I get half tuition at the place I am going to school until I turn 25. The degree encompasses all of the pre-med classes. The only thing is that I am really concerned that my GPA is not competitive, I have calculated what it will be and I can bring it up to a 3.5-3.6 with extra classes. It is just going to be a lot of work and I just need to know that I have a chance, a better than slight chance, that I will make it into a medical school. I know that nobody knows and it all depends… but I just need more opinions so please more people post. I love brutal honesty, so please help… I also want to thank everyone for adding you opinions already… It really helps.

Hi Stacy,

I think that with a GPA of 3.5-3.6 and a good MCAT Score (30+) should garner you some good interest. If you have other good sections on your application including ECs (make sure you have some clinical exposure) and LORs…you should have as much opportunity as anyone.

My careless writing, thanks for correcting the info. I had meant to say Georgetown was an example of the kind of “post-bacc” you need, not a classic pre-req post-bacc. Now back to our post

  • gonnif Said:
My careless writing, thanks for correcting the info. I had meant to say Georgetown was an example of the kind of "post-bacc" you need, not a classic pre-req post-bacc. Now back to our post

No problem. But SMP's should be your last option to try for medical school. If you do great, it can help you get into med school, but if you have difficulty and don't do well (and that means better than the majorityof the actual first year med students), it could be the kiss of death. The idea behind SMP's is the opportunity to show med schools you can handle the work (and it isn't even the full load of what med schools usually require of their first years), and if you can' might be up..."you know what" creek!

The other reason why you would want to leave SMP as a last option is cost...which is very, very expensive...for GT's SMP you are looking at about $60K for the year.