Redeeming GPA

Hi, everyone… just looking for some advice.

I graduated in August 2006 with a Biology Degree and even though I considered Med School from the start I didn’t put the appropriate effort into it and got terrible grades. I mean terrible. I am now doing a Program in Cardiovascular Technology that ends in August and then I plan on working as an RCIS (Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist).

What do you guys think would be the best way to redeem myself? I already took all the pre-med classes since I was a bio major. Re-do premed courses? Masters? Another bachelors degree?

I did research while in school and work will give me plenty of clinical experience. I just really gotta make up for the bad GPA and get good MCAT scores (haven’t taken them yet). I will have to juggle work and classes and I’m thinking of applying within 2 to 3 years.

Any input will be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much!

Hi Calunga,

It’s up to you how you want to proceed. Some people do masters degrees but the usual advice is that an actual degree is not what’s needed but simply to do the coursework well.

You may want to retake the four prerequisites, then take a few upper level science courses to demonstrate that you’re capable of handling the work and to bring up your GPA. Medical schools do look at trends. If you demonstrate an upward trend that’s going to be very useful. It will also help a lot to really do well on the MCAT.

Good luck!

How bad is the GPA?

I would look at a Post Bac if I was able to get into one.

Do not worry about the MCAT yet, I would work on the GPA first.

let us know, Bill.

Bad. 2.5 bad.

I think if you did really good in a master program it would prove that you can handle hardcore science classes. However, to do well in any master program you have to have a really strong science base. Therefore it might be a good idea to retake at least some of the basic science classes, that you might find useful when studying more advanced problems.

I strongly agree with Whuds: take care of the GPA first and then think about the MCAT.

Good luck…and welcome to the forum!


Today I found out about the “Science in Evening”, which are classes I can take at the University of Maryland. They offer all the basic premed and some advanced science courses. It looks like it will be perfect for when I start working… that is if I get hired by the Hospital. Things are looking good. Thanks for the replies. Any other ideas or suggestions about schools in the DC area are more than welcome.


I have been taking classes at UMD’s SIE program for some time now. Its a great program since it is not structured like many others. You can take what you need (and more) at the pace that suits your needs. There is also no timeframe for completing your coursework. Where are trying to get hired? I work at the Washington Hospital Center in DC. Take care!


I’m hoping to get hired by the INOVA Fairfax Hospital, which is where I’m doing the program. I’ll also be applying to other hospitals in the DC area. I’m glad to hear that you like the SIE classes at UM. I’m looking forward to starting a couple of classes next semester. What do you do at the hospital?

There is a highly respected full time Special Master’s Program at Georgetown that has been very successful in getting students accepted to med school and who graduate from med schools. Your options in the area are the UMD program (not structured like Georgetown’s, but you can also work full time), American Univ. post bacc program(expensive tuition, but the pre med advisor is first rate - Dr. Fred Carson, and George Mason, actually. The advice you are getting is variable because we don’t have all the information. So here’s the bottom line:

If you have a 2.5 GPA or lower in the BCPM, no amount of individual post bacc courses will salvage your BCPM GPA - you have to take a gazillion courses and they have to be upper level. If you bite the bulet and go to graduate school and get a master’s degree in molecular biology or biochemistry or something where you actually have to take classes and not just seminars, then your GPA can be redeemed, but there are no guarantees, so you have to want to do the master’s degree with the intent to do a PhD or teach or do research. You can’t just do it to get the classes done because there is no guarantee that you can redeem a 2.5.

On the other hand, there is still the MCAT. There is no substitute for knowing the material, so if you want to be prepared for the MCAT, make sure you have taken the appropriate classes. You do not need to take a formal review course - neither KAplan or Princeton Review or any other prep school can make up for years of inattention in college - so, spend the $30 and go through a book and see what you missed. If it is not that bad, then you know where to start! Remember that the MCAT is the easiest standardized test you are going to take - you have nothing at stake. THe USMLE I, II, and III, plus written boards, oral boards (for some specialties) and written recertification exams are all ahead - so now is the time to invest in knowing the material and dispelling test anxiety. YOU CAN DO THIS!!!

But there are no short cuts. Since you are local, I would be happy to talk to you more - you can vist our school and take a tour - we are across the street from the NIH, actually. Sign up for an upcoming event -, click on Recruitment and Diversity. I would be happy to meet with you after an Open House or something like that.

With all due respect, there are some statements here that I would disagree with.

It is entirely possible to redeem a mediocre GPA, and there are many such success stories that have been published on this forum.

AACOMAS (for osteopathic medical programs) will replace old grades with new grades, so if the original poster retakes and gets a 4.0 on the four basic prereqs, then a 4.0 is what AACOMAS will report to the osteopathic medical schools. This is surely the most forgiving stance one could hope for.

AMCAS would average your 4.0 out to a 3.25 BCPM, not as generous perhaps but still good enough to be considered especially since it demonstrates a very strong upward trend.

Note that trends are almost more important than grade averages. If your MCAT is commensurate to your new, good grades, you will be a legitimate candidate. Perhaps you won’t be interviewed at Johns Hopkins or Harvard, but you will undoubtedly secure a place at some medical school, and deservedly.

I agree that there’s no easy path here but then the best things in life are not easily obtained.

Regarding Georgetown, I have heard good and bad things about their program. The good–it’s very rigorous and prestigious, and its graduates have a very high placement rate in medical schools. The bad–it’s quite expensive, grueling, and competitive–since the top few graduates are granted an automatic seat in Georgetown’s medical school, there is a competitive atmosphere there that can be unpleasantly cut-throat. This is based on a friend of a friend’s personal experience so you can take it for what it’s worth.

Good luck,


I did some research at Case Western Reserve the summer before my senior year. While I enjoyed my project for a short two months I wasn’t sure I wanted to make a career out of it. That’s why I decided to come to the INOVA Hospital and do the Cardiovascular Catheterization Program. The plan now is to work for a couple of years and pay back some loans while retaking the premed courses. Then I will analyse what route to take in order to have a chance at getting into a medical school.

UNFORTUNATELY, I am not an American citizen and I wouldn’t be eligible to apply to SOM. Not that I am not proud of being Brazilian, but this is definitely a great opportunity I can’t take advantage of.