I have been reading this forum for quite some time now and have been generally impressed with the level of support and encouragement that is available to all who seek it.
First, I just turned 34 and received my first B.A. in psychology in oh, circa '99. I have decided to go back to school to pursue medicine. I’m wrapping up my first semester of premed at a small health sciences only college and so far have straight A’s! Which is where my question comes in…
My first degree (from UNC-W) was not a science degree hence, the B.A. I did okay…graduated with a 3.1 overall and 3.3 in major. I transferred 51 credit hours to the school I am currently attending. My question is, is it better if I only take the pre-reqs I need for med school and do not complete the biomedical program I’m in (get the B.S.)…not sure how the G.P.A. would be calculated in this situation, or should I go ahead and get the B.S. since I have a chance of pulling off a higher G.P.A. Does it matter? Since I transferred into this program will a med school average my two final G.P.A.'s anyway? I’d really like to avoid that 3.1 biting me in the rear.
Any knowledge in this area would be greatly appreciated!
If you are attending a small, focused, health-sciences only school I imagine far and away the best advice you can get on this question would come from a pre-med adviser there. Your BS program is likely full of students much like you, isn’t it?
I’d be interested to hear what they say.
Sadly, I am by far the exception rather than the rule. Most of my peers are 18 or there-abouts. My personal advisor either is not well informed on the med school app process or feels strange in telling a 34 year old woman how to proceed. I have a very clear itinerary for my time here, but I’m wondering if I shouldn’t go ahead and complete the degree. Surely, someone else has been in a similar situation?
I do plan on speaking with the department head. He seems a little more knowledgeable about biomedical science majors at least.
How far into the program are you?
Although not an expert, my disucussions with admission folks tend to make me believe that they look favorably on degree completion. While schools don’t require a degree, they highly recommend to getting one.
I think the best would be to talk to schools you want to go to and ask.
Jeff, if you include the credits I transferred in and the semester I just completed (my first at this school), I’m at junior level standing. Since I already have a bachelor’s degree technically all I have to do to apply to med school is complete the pre-reqs I didn’t take the first time around. However, I’m just trying to figure out the best way to get the best possible gpa on that app. Since there’s a ten year gap between when I finished with a 3.1 and my current 4.0 I’m wondering if it will suffice that I have applied myself to these pre-reqs and done much better than my previous undergrad course work. Does that make sense?
I’m not sure there’s a best way in the way you’re thinking. I believe that your prior academic history will be required in total on the AMCAS application. Double-check this. (I believe your UNC-W courses will all need to be listed with their grades and units, etc…). Getting a new degree won’t change that, though it would allow you to shovel more As onto the GPA you already have if that’s your goal.
I would instead focus on hammering your current coursework and killing the MCAT while you get patient exposure by volunteering.
If your life is flexible, you might also take a look at formal MBS or other medical-school-specific and thorough post-bac programs. It sounds like you’re current school is ok, but not stellar in that regard.
IMO, it doesn’t matter whether or not you complete the second degree. Back when I was just considering med school, I talked to several different med school admissions people and they all advised that I didn’t need to do another degree - just the pre-reqs.
AMCAS calculates several different GPAs: They calculate a science/non-science/cumul ative GPA for each year of undergrad, a total undergrad - fr/soph/jr/sr/postbacc(sc ience/non-science/cum), Graduate GPA, post-bacc undergrad. So, they will combine all of your undergrad courses into a cumulative GPA. I’m not sure how they categorize them if you a 2nd degree - I don’t know if they put all of the second degree stuff under “post-bacc undegrad” or if they add them in with your original fr/soph/jr/sr grades. You can see an image of what the GPA table on your application looks like here .
In any case, I DO know that if you don’t do the second degree, all of your pre-reqs will be calculated under post-bacc undergrad which will allow med schools to see your GPA for just those courses, as well as an overall undergrad GPA that combines those with your original undergrad. Med schools WILL be able to see that you have done well in your post-bacc courses. Your overall GPA may be less than the average and this may make your application less desirable for some schools who reject based on overall GPA initially. It’s been my experience that most schools will look at the overall picture not just reject you based on your overall GPA. Don’t forget that MCAT scores and strong LORs and all of the “other” stuff (volunteering, employment, healthcare experience, research) on the application can also make a huge difference.
FWIW - on my AMCAS, my original GPA was somewhere around a 2.8, my post-bacc GPA 3.98, cumulative undergrad GPA ~3.1. Applied to 5 schools, accepted to all 5. I had an above average MCAT (although it was actually a little below OSU’s average).
Hope that helps!
Thanks, Emergency! That does help! Thank you for all of your responses. I’m going to stick with the original plan of taking the pre-reqs, taking the MCAT and then applying. If I don’t get in, I’ll finish the degree and reapply…it will only take one more semester from the time I apply so why not?
Appreciate you all.