Pursue diy Post-Bac? My story (long post)

Ok. I’ve introduced myself here and wanted to share in more detail what my situation is. I feel a new thread is better so I don’t add more information to the previous and confuse everyone. Moderators can delete the other if they feel necessary.

I’m 30 years old and have a bachelors in health and wellness from a fully accredited online institution. My c.gpa from this curriculum is 3.31. Spending a little over 2 years having worked on my bachelors I have previous coursework from 2 other colleges. My c.gpa with all three colleges is 2.79 and my science gpa from all phys, chem, math, and biol departments is 2.30. The vast majority of my science gpa stats come from math because I was enrolled in engineering before.

I went to school immediately after h.s. and enrolled in engineering. I was not ready to go, unfocused, depressed, and had poor social skills. Got put on academic probation for a year,went to a c.c., took classes and got grades across the board. I decided to enroll in an engineering technology program in another town that was connected to the main university at which I previously attended. My grades improved, I earned A’s and B’s. Experienced a sudden death of my mother and continued with the engineering technology program continuing to get even better grades. I decided I’d rather have an engineering degree over an engineering technology degree and transferred back into engineering curriculum at the main campus location. My grades started to drop and I began drowning after a few semesters. I left the degree program and let my last semester classes go to D’s and F’s.

I know how that sounds.

I think a lack of emotional support, clear direction, and finite goals besides finishing my degree had a lot to do with it. And I got to the point where I stopped caring about the work.

Now, not until a year or so ago had I considered medicine seriously. I come from a family of nurses and my father had planned to go into medicine. Somewhere along the way I shut down my dream of becoming a doctor. I experienced a severe impact trauma to my body as a child which made me “unique” and I feel had somewhat of a psycho-social impact as well. I stopped believing in myself and what I wanted to do. I set myself up for failure. Now, I realize that life is too short, WAAAAY too short to not do what we want and so I’ve reactivated that part of me.

I’m left still with a lot of confusion and sense of overwhelm as to what I’m going to do. My academic record is horrible. Remember that when I enrolled in college I didn’t even consider medicine or pre-med reqs or anything. If I enroll in a diy post bac, taking 32 hrs, getting all A’s, I can raise my c.gpa to 2.98 and my science gpa to 3.04. If I retake some of the initial classes I took that I let go to F then I can raise my c.gpa to 3.09 assuming I get A’s. Other classes that went to F or D’s are engineering classes like thermo, and elec. circuit/controls which I wouldn’t remember what I needed to.

I don’t have any experience in the medical field. My plan is to get and EMT-B and work in the ED if I can secure a position. Currently I’ve shadowed 1 D.O. for part of a day in private family practice which was ok but it didn’t necessarily have me doing jumping jacks on the way home. I want to line up shadow experiences in different specialties and ideally would like to shadow for a few days at a time to get a feel for that practitioners kind of work, workload, etc. I know volunteering is great as well. Right now I’m concerned with practical experience in a job setting such as in the ED as mentioned above because I need an new income source and a way get my feet wet.

So we’re looking at taking an EMT course-part time and pre-reqs half-load in the spring, finishing in summer. General chem and microbio is what I’d take which might be too heavy. Finishing the pre-reqs like fall or so of next year or later… this is where I start to get overwhelmed. Not because

of the load but because of the time commitment where I feel like I will have wasted valuable time if my plan doesn’t work.

I do not have stellar extracurriculars to show, I have some volunteer experience and some worthwhile work experiences to show but definitely not a shining career like many other non-trads will have. I start seeing a very dark cloud around me at this point.

My other idea is to go into a fast track in nursing for 1 year. The only pre-reqs required for that are anatomy and physiology, microbio, gen chem, and stat. If I get all A’s in those classes and retake 3 of my classes from years ago getting A’s I’ll be at a 3.00 c.gpa which is the cutoff for nursing admissions. The only advantage I see with becoming a nurse is that I’ll have great exposure to the field and have a sustainable income while going back to school later for my pre-req fulfillment. I worry about time though because if I spend a year before going into nursing, then do nursing school I may have shot my load and have no energy left to do pre-reqs. I’ve noticed that Time holds you far more accountable the older you get and there’s more to juggle.

So bottom line is I need more exposure, shadowing, etc. to make up my mind but I want to get the ball rolling if I’m going to take undergrad courses.

I didn’t know my c.gpa was so low until recently calculating it. I realize my chances are lowered and the track record is pretty bad although the trend for my last set of courses show remarkable improvement.

Another concern I have is my manual dexterity in one of my hands. Having oddly configured digits my dexterity is good but not great. So the fine motor skills that surgeons use isn’t doable but would that prevent me from entry into a medical school?

I’ve kind-of put it out there but following my dream is important. My life is important. Don’t scorn me too bad here. I know this forum is a little more supportive than other ones which is why I’m inspired to post. Thank you greatly for the input and for reading this long-ass post.


Simplyput -

Bear in mind that the science gpa as calculated for AMCAS (MD schools) does NOT include math.

I don’t think it sounds like your manual dexterity issue should be much/any of an imnpediment if you don’t plan on a surgical specialty.



I think Kate may be incorrect on that. Math courses are included in the BCPM https://www.aamc.org/students/download/181 694/data…

I would suggest a few things:

  1. Properly calculate your GPA. Spend the time and do an excel sheet.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&am p;q=&am…

    You can use the sheet to get an accurate idea of you GPA and input possible future classes to see how it would affect your overall gpa. This should give you an idea of how many classes you would need to take, and the grades you would have to receive to push your GPA up to where it needs to be.

  2. It seems that lack of proper guidance may have part of your issue before. Sit down with a pre-med advisor from your previous institution and get their recommendations on how to enhance your application. Let them help you make a plan and stick to it.

  3. Check out the student doctor network. There are similar stories to yours on the Low GPA forum.

  4. Consider enrolling in a formal Post Bacc for GPA enhancers. If this isn’t a possibility. Find a school you like with a Post Bacc program, and use their suggested curriculum to create your own plan.

  5. Be positive and confident in yourself if this is what you really want to do. It will take some time, dedication and hard work.

    Best of Luck to You,

  • Kate429 Said:
Simplyput -

I don't think it sounds like your manual dexterity issue should be much/any of an imnpediment if you don't plan on a surgical specialty.


Great. I'm sure I'll get real time feedback shadowing as well.
  • AndieW Said:

1) Properly calculate your GPA. Spend the time and do an excel sheet.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&am p;q=&am...

You can use the sheet to get an accurate idea of you GPA and input possible future classes to see how it would affect your overall gpa. This should give you an idea of how many classes you would need to take, and the grades you would have to receive to push your GPA up to where it needs to be.

I have an abundance of freshman/sophomore classes spread out from different colleges and I'm not sure what goes under freshman and what goes under sophomore. Do I just divide up the lower level classes equally between the freshman/sophomore academic status?

The classes grouping should be based on the assumption that each school year has a fall, spring and summer semester. For example, the current school year includes Fall 2013, Spring 2014 and Summer 2014. A new school year begins in Fall 2014. So examine your classes and group them by the semester and year they were taken. This should give you a better idea. If this isn’t possible, have a sit down with your advisor or your school’s registrar department and sort it out.

Good Luck,


Hey, simplyput. I can relate to the “uniqueness” and manual dexterity aspects of your posts. TL:DR: you will need to apply very, very widely. PM me if you would like to talk in more detail.


AndieW was right (thanks!) and I was wrong. It’s the AACOMAS grade calculator that doesn’t include math in the science gpa (for the osteopathic application) and the AMCAS one that does include math.

I had remembered it being the other way around.

Sorry about not doublechecking before posting. Here’s a link to the aacomas instructions: https://aacomas.aacom.org/survey/views/client/a aco…


Here’s my take.

Does your hand dexterity disqualify you from medical school? No, as long as you can perform your duties as a physician. Surgeons make up a portion of the doctor community.

Can you still be a surgeon?

I think you can, you judge based on what you think you can do. I shadowed a seasoned surgeon who had really shaky hands and he does just fine, can barely hold a paper still enough to read it.

Should you do the nursing program or EMT program?

It’s up to you, either will work but if you do the nursing program you will delay everything by over a year and the med school admissions may think you keep going off track by changing what you want to do. If it were me I would choose the EMT idea that you had.


Start off with volunteering here and there. Some hospitals have volunteer programs that you can apply for, some don’t. If you get an EMT job then you don’t have to worry about volunteering in a hospital as much as long as you have enough shadowing hours. Look into other programs like Kawanis, rotory club, lions club, stuff like that. Being involved in an organization that actually does something more than food drives helps, especially if you are part of the organization for the long term.

The challenge with shadowing is actually getting in touch with a physician to ask in the first place. It can be hard to get past the front desk. This is where you need to be very assertive and persistent. If you get a no about shadowing, ask if there is another physician that may be open to this. The hospital administration in my local hospital sent an email on my behalf asking for someone to allow me to shadow. The only response was from a DO in the ED, who was also a nontrad prior military like me. He was an EMT before medical school.

Now for your GPA.

Others mentioned this already, the math is not calculated by the DO system but math is calculated by the MD system. Also, some schools use a weighted GPA system where the classes you took years ago have less weight and the junior and senior classes pull more weight, this could help you or hurt you. The allopathic UWSOM in Seattle uses this and explains it on their website.

I think you will be okay if you move forward and stop looking at your old grades. I did that before and it stressed me so much that it kept me down. When I moved past it and accepted my past grades for what they were I started doing better because I was more focused. Since you were an engineering person the medical schools know that those are very hard classes. I think for now you would benefit to focus on the prereqs for med school, learn the material to understand it, not just to pass the tests, because that will help on the MCAT. Again, since you were an engineering major I assume you had less biological sciences. I think if you get the premed prereqs done and start working on more upper level biological sciences, it will help.

Lastly for GPA enhancer.

AAMC has a list of universities for post bachelor GPA enhancer programs. If you don’t have a bachelors and will complete it with a low GPA, they recommend doing graduate work in the biological sciences and get a competitive MCAT score.


Medical schools are doing better these days looking at the whole person. They’ve noticed these last several years that the best grades don’t necessarily mean the best doctors.

I hope this was informative and helpful. Don’t stress over your past grades anymore, you can’t change it. All you can do is focus on whats ahead… Again. Focus on whats ahead, your next set of classes. Eventually, you get used to the heavy science curriculum and it stops seeming so bad.

Best Regards!