Advice greatly appreciated.
What do you do when your grades were so bad before that you couldn’t get into anywhere?
My UG GPA was 2.36. I had no focus. I aced my LSAT and got into a horrible law school. I did very very well my first year and transferred into a decent laws school. I ended up graduating in the middle of the class.
I want to go to med school now. I don’t know how to go about it.
My UG GPA makes it so I can’t get into my local bigname STATE school (to get in as a 2nd degree student you need to meet the transfer requirements which I don’t due to GPA). I wouldn’t get into any MA programs either.
What do I do? I was thinking about CC, but I keep reading that med schools look down on that.
Advice greatly appreciated.
What would make the most sense is for you to take at least some basic classes (whatever they will allow you to take) at the CC. For you, that might be basic sciences, or that might be some humanities related courses. Just whatever will set you up to transfer. I’d probably save most of the basic sciences for the 4 year, though I would imagine it could not hurt to do the basic sciences at a CC and take more advanced sciences at a 4 year.
You have some proving to do. But start working from where you are now, and progress to the best you can move toward. The process is probably going to be a little longer for you, but if you nail the MCAT, the less than stellar academic past should be less of an issue.
The long written advice from those that have been there, done that, have been on this path a bit longer is:
don’t do CC.
There are a few exception as equally well noted on this forum however, YOU (collectively) are already outside the “norm” and you’re not that special (collectively).
YOU (collectively) are competing against people who DO NOT have weird backgrounds, low GPAs to overcome, etc etc etc. These competitors, if you will, have not gone and worked, not been out there starting families, they’ve just been plotting a course to med school since they were 18 and are now carrying a 3.5+ GPA and score a 32Q+ MCAT… from a university. These students fit nicely into the little cookie cutter mold that med schools tend to like.
Someone said, med school application/admission is a cycle of EXCLUSION not the reverse. Why would you want to give an adcom one more reason to exclude you!?
Give them a reason to include you: AWESOME GPA from a university, solid MCAT score, and knockout life to talk about. Without getting the GPA and MCAT straight, you’ll never get to talk about why you think you’re special and should be given a seat in their med school classroom.
Last (before my soapbox crumbles beneath my feet): I too thought I was special. I was the vice president of a very large, global company directly reporting to the board of directors making “more money than God” with a low GPA because my son died and I raised my living son by myself and I’ve done so much volunteering and given so much back to society and I’ve done all this really cool stuff with my life and honestly?!?!
I’m not special either
I’m just working like a dog chasing a car trying to get a solid GPA (3.7+), knock my MCAT out of the ball park, working on research opportunities through UROP, shadowing a physician, and crossing my fingers.
There are many applicants who have the perfect gpa, perfect mcat scores, a load of volunteer hours and research experience and still don’t get into medical school. On the other hand, an applicant can have a decent gpa and low mcat scores and get into medical school like one of my close friends did. You just don’t know what the medical school admissions committee are really looking for. Each school is different. My advice to you is to get a copy of ALL of your transcripts, create a resume of your work and volunteer experience, and if possible a copy of your LSAT scores. Make an appointment with an medical school admissions representative, NOT the advisor at the university; but at the medical school you are most interested in applying to. Bring all your documents and he or she will give you an general picture on your ability to be accepted applicant. Ask about gpa scores, mcat scores, classes at community colleges, anything and everything. Then you will know if medical school is the best choice for you.
- juardine Said:
Yep, I do too. He is Ugandan and didn't even have to interview. Go figure. His GPA is 3.2, MCAT 29, and he DID NOT interview but was given acceptance.
HE is the type of exception I speak of (not directly meaning minority because I'm sure there are non-minority students who get accepted as an exception too).
Juardine's advice is solid. We can give you our thoughts but I know I don't sit on an adcom, never interviewed with one, don't have an application in yet, I'm just speaking from what I've read, heard, seen, discussed, and done.
Understood, but he really seems to be in a “I cant get there from here position.” The real question is not about the importance of a 4 year institution, but rather about the issue of him not being able to get there from here and what he needs to do.
If he’s willing to quit his job and move to go full time, then yes, find a 4 year school that will admit him. Otherwise, he’s stuck in a situation where he’s being denied access to the start line at a 4 year.
He certainly needs to do whatever he needs to do to get to a 4 year school first, but obviously, it is important that he shows what he can do at a 4 year school. If that is simply taking a few humanities subjects to get to the point where he CAN transfer to his 4 year, that may be the most sensible thing. So I would really advise him to find a 4 year that he can get in to, or otherwise do the things necessary to transfer in to a 4 year.
I don’t get the understanding that he’s tried to be accepted as a transfer.
The “I can’t get there from here” mentality is common as a pre-med on this forum and also, “how do I make this easier for me”…
My ugrad is lower than his and I am fully admitted to degree seeking program for pre-reqs as a transfer student (because my degree is from a different campus) AND I’ve been told by med schools that my ugrad won’t matter as long as my current BCPM grades are good and my MCAT score is excellent (32+).
You make things very black and white. It is not a “quit your full time job to be a student at 4 year institution” as I know most of my physics peers are working full time and going to school at a top university.
Also, he already HAS a degree from the looks of it and a law degree to boot. Comes back to whether or not the effort has been put into speaking to the schools directly or surmising such based upon feedback on various forums… and people who give their op (like me) who have walked a similar path.
Understood, and I don’t dispute the need to get to a 4 year if at all possible. Sometimes this can be worked through (and in his instance it SHOULD be worked through.) It may be something as simple as him sitting down with the admissions officer at his local 4 year and working something out.
I’ve seen how difficult undergraduate admissions offices can be to deal with first hand through my brother. He transferred to Auburn from Vanderbilt, and though he had the GPA to transfer, he had not met the course requirements for transfer student admissions. They were surprisingly inflexible. Guess what he had to do. Yes, he went to a community college to meet the requirements to transfer. He’ll graduate this spring from Auburn.
This may be what the original poster has to do. He may have to just face facts that the transfer admissions process is going to deny him admission until he gets through a little bit of work at the community college. If that’s the case, he should ideally defer any prerequisites for the four year and just focus on gaining admission to the four year.
I’m very keenly aware of how things work on the other side of the university, particularly with graduate school admissions, as I have been a part of the departmental admissions decision making process myself. Sometimes it is just simply a matter of professors taking a look at a lot more than the numbers. In my department, we have had great success with non-traditional students. My first PhD graduate was ten years older than I was. And yes, finishing law school makes a very significant statement about a person that could, to at least some adcoms, speak much louder than his undergrad GPA. Not everyone is as dead set against nontrads as you might imagine. But I know that the prejudice against nontrads can be very real in med school admissions.
But what he’s going to have to do, whether either of us like it or not, is to fight a battle with the undergrad admissions officer at his local 4 year. That battle may be resolved by him agreeing to take a semester of classes (excluding premed requirements) at a CC. Who knows what an appointment with undergraduate admissions would bring about?
It is not an “I can’t get there from here” situation. It’s a situation of “I have an undergraduate admissions officer standing in my way that I have to get around before I can get to the premed start line.” It has nothing to do with taking the easy way out of things.
I’m not disputing anything you say about the importance of these credentials coming from the four year. I think the things you outlined are exactly what he needs to do. In fact, I’d call them the gold standard. In his case it’s mostly about how to get past the undergrad admissions office that is standing in his way.
If he can’t persuade the undergrad admissions office, it’s an entirely different ballgame. Maybe he can get into another nearby four year institution, but it isn’t always the case that there’s another one very close by, especially if he isn’t in a big city. At that point it truly is a question of what sacrifices he’s willing to make. The reality is that he may need to pack up and move to get to a 4 year that will accept him.
Here is what I am doing…and I am similar to you in the low undergrad GPA - but I have a BS and MS in Engineering.
I called up the Chemistry department at the local state school (4 year Univ)- and said I was interested in obtaining an MS in Chemistry (or Biology or any other core science program would do). Since I did not major in chemistry, I have to take a few courses before I actually apply to the graduate program…so I can get all of the premed stuff out of the way, and not necessarily be admitted as a master’s degree seeking student.
With that said, contact a sceince department at the local state school and try and talk your way in. Atleast at my state school, the graduate departments have free reign on who they let in as post. bac students.