Newbie here so please don’t flame me, just trying to figure this out and get some advice.

43 year old male with (8) years as former Marine with a EMT and cop background. I still need Organic Chem and Physics, then I will have completed all of the typical required science requirements. Already have undergrad degree. I HAVE NOT TAKEN MCAT YET.

Current cGPA is 3.25, sGPA is 3.6. My last 70 hours of my undergrad GPA was a 3.7. But because I got some really bad grades like 25 years ago, that is what is bringing my cGPA down. I have re-taken some of those classes and gotten A’s on them.

My question is this: because my cGPA is a 3.25 and my sGPA is a 3.6, not counting my other classes I need, are my chances of getting into an Allopathic program shot? Or should I be trying to get into a DO program?

Any advice or comments would be greatly appreciated and respected.


This doesn’t tend to be a very flame-y place, unlike certain other forums I can think about: “I have a 4.0 and a 40 MCAT … do you think I have a chance?!”

Aaaaanyway, welcome. Someone posted this site the other day and I found it interesting: Plug in your stats, see what others with similar ones experienced.

But that is just a piece. Marine/cop/EMT - that’s huge leadership, problem solving and serving in a pressure situations experience right there. You’re showing an upward trend with grades. If you can answer why medicine, why now in a compelling way, if you can show a passion for medicine and the people you’ll be helping, doors should open for you.

DO is becoming a lot more competitive with apps rising faster at those schools than MD, in many cases. I would just research and visit places you’re interested in and find the best fit for you. Who knows, maybe a DO program speaks to you more. Maybe not. But I think it’s better to know than to restrict yourself to just DO or MD come application time.

Thanks for the advice. I currently have (1) DO Program, and (2)MD programs all within 15 minutes of my house. I guess Im just a little worried that my grades aren’t going to rack up. But I know both of these schools avg.28.5 MCAT and like a 3.7 GPA, while the DO Program is a 28 MCAT, and a 3.6 GPA. But what I would like to know the ranges. From lowest to highest that were accepted.

Welcome! I can’t speak for sure, but I’d say a school with an average GPA of 3.6 probably takes some folks with 3.25 and probably looks at down to 3.0, from which a good (32 or greater) MCAT could really help.

The not so good news is that your gpa may not be as good as you think. If you are going by your institutionally calculated gpa, that would take into account your retaken courses. The AMCAS application process will average EVERY grade you got (so a low grade in an undergrad class AND the subsequent A you got in the class will both be included in calculating your GPA - there is no grade replacement). They calculate an overall undergrad gpa, and also a gpa for undergrad courses you took after getting your degree (post-baccalaureate gpa). Schools will see those.

The reason behind some folks applying DO who had a poorer academic background is that AACOMAS (the application service for DO schools) calculates gpa using the most recent grade in any repeated course, which results in a significantly higher gpa for some folks who did poorly in a lot of coursework but repeated it and did much better. In other words, DO schools recognize the “Do-over” more

Hope this gives you a bit more info to go on. If you don’t apply, your chance of getting in is 0%. If you prepare very well for the MCAT and get a respectable score, your chances are quite a bit above that!!!


Kate, thank you for the insight. My current GPA’s are correct taking into account how the AMCAS figures up GPA’s, etc. And yes those attempted credits whether they are bad or good are a part of the equation.

I know a school’s posted info might say that their avg GPA was 3.7 and the entering MCAT was lets say 35. I’m curious to knowing how many students that applied were outside the averages. Just because someone has the averages doesn’t mean he or she is getting in.

If I wanted to get my cGPA up, what would you suggest me doing? Or is it not worth fooling with? As I know that it takes awhile to get the GPA to rise, but it sure can slide away very fast with a few poor grades, say like from 25 years ago. I’m hoping that the schools will see maturity and a complete upward trend since then.

You did say you still lack Orgo and Physics (I’m assuming I & II for both?) At my undergrad, Orgo is a 5 credit class and Physics is the usual 4 credits. So if you rock those classes, thats 18 credits pulling your cGPA up as well.

All in all, I think adcoms look at trends. Having strong grades recently should pretty much bury those old mistakes in my opinion. A 43 yo saying that some poor marks earned when they were 18 due to immaturity is a lot more believable than a 23yo trying to explain the same thing.

Of course, I’m assuming that’s the reason (it sure is in my case :-))

Welcome to the board!

I hate to even admit it, cause it just makes me cringe but yes 25 years ago I received (3) grades of F, and (2) D’s. OUCH!!!

But just within the last year and half I have retaken all those courses except one of the D’s which was Sociology and got A’s. Three of those courses that were re-taken were science requirements.

Yeah, that sounds like me When I found out that I didn’t have to go to class if I didn’t want to (I was 18)…well guess what my choice was, haha. Racked up some less than stellar marks, was placed on academic probation, and all of that fun stuff.

Since returning to school in Spring 2011 (some part-times semesters while I worked), I’ve been able to bring up my cGPA to a 3.39 (it took a LOT of As to do that, hahaha) but it is SO satisfying to see the results of your hard work…and I’m still not done. :slight_smile:

I dropped out at 18 and went into the Marines for (8) years that seemed like a lifetime. Came out thinking I would never do that again, then after 9/11 found myself volunteering to go back to crap hole Baghdad at the age of 34.

Im just praying I get through Organic and Physics without any major issues. I hear those two are worse than Freddy and Michael coming after you.

I saw that you self-identified as a redneck in another post. Do you live in the South by chance? (I’m in Tennessee and thought you may be a Southerner as well :slight_smile:

In case you hadn’t heard by now, Khan Academy is a tremendous ancillary resource when it comes to those pre-med sciences. Not to mention other Youtube tutors as well. I wish I had that stuff my first go-round in college (91-94)

Regarding Physics, it is best to take it as soon as possible after taking pre-calculus I and II so that your math skills are still sharp. I went the algebra/trig route when I found out the MCAT physics is non-calc based. I never understood why some med schools recommend calc-based physics when the MCAT physics is non-calc based.

Yeah I’m from Missouri, but live in Kansas near Kansas city, Missouri. We have three med schools just in the KC area. So I’m really looking at those three. (2) MD programs and one DO program.

I keep hearing about this Khan Academy stuff. what is it? Almost sounds like something off of the old 1970’s show Kung Fu with David Carridene.

Ahhh, young grasshoppa…so much to learn. let Master Khan so you the ultimate way.

All of the pre-med sciences, (and math), condensed into 10-15 minute videos by a guy named Sal Khan…and all free! Seriously, check it out, click around. It’s amazing how much he distills concepts into what is needed.

All killer, no filler

I’ll check it out. See if I can snatch the pebble from this guy. LOL

As long as you don’t have any unexplainable gaps or wild fluctuations in post-bacc grades, your science gpa is pretty respectable. You’re within a couple of standard deviations of target median.

The number one predictor of how med students will do academically is still the MCAT. There is no predictor for how they will do mentally, physically, emotionally, etc, and that’s where you have a clear advantage. Your military service (twice!!) and combat experience shows maturity, good judgement, performance under stress, adaptability and teamwork – all characteristics we look for in future physicians.

I’m not on my school’s admissions committee but I do interview a few student applicants a year, and I also interview 80+ resident applicants a year so I have a little insight into how this process works. If you do well on those last two courses and knock the MCAT out on the first try, your application will be given a good consideration. Best of luck and welcome!

Thank you for the input. I’m not the smartest cow in the field but I’m the first one to get out of the rain. LOL

And trust me after doing Jungle Warfare training in the jungle where it rains for weeks at a time, the rain gets real old real fast. LOL

Hi Scott,

Thought I’d extend another welcome, and another vote for Khan Academy. It was helpful for me as I was reviewing for the MCAT this past spring. I didn’t go through every topic, but I did go through the ones that were giving me trouble. The lessons are short, easy to digest, and yet manage to pack in a lot of information.

And no, no flaming here!!!