Second Bachelor's???

Hi OPM, this is my 1st post. Here’s my story, the quick version: I’m from LA, went straight to UCLA out of HS with the pre-med route. Pre-reqs kicked my butt, I lost focus - change my major 3 times, realized I had 2 learning disabilities, including ADHD. I was dismissed from school due to my low GPA. I took some time to ‘find myself’, was eventually granted readmission to school. I barely graduated with a BS in Biology and a 2.0 overall GPA, 1.89 science . I’ve been teaching High School Biology to stay in the science field, but this med-school dream won’t die.

I’ve done a lot of research and I’m leaning toward schools that allow you to complete a second bachelor’s degree. My undergrad GPA is too low to even dream of getting into Grad school for ANY subject, let alone science. I thought about just taking classes at a local university while working (a do-it-yourself post-bac), but considering that I have to take just about everything over anyway, I might as well get another degree while I’m at it.

The only problem is I don’t know how this “fresh start” will be looked upon my med-schools. I was really immature and had some other issues at UCLA, but with one degree in Biology (which isn’t worth much, based on my GPA), and another in Biochemistry… would that work against me in any way?

I appreciate all of your words of wisdom! Thanks.


As you can see from my signature, I was a teacher before starting this journey also.

I dipped my toe in by auditing a night class in Gen Chem while still teaching to see how studying science would work out for me as my previous degree is in english lit. When I enrolled to take my pre-reqs full-time I put down that I was taking classes toward a second undergraduate degree in biology. That way I could qualify for most forms of financial aid even though I did not intend to actually finish the degree.

I am no expert on GPA reformation but if you search threads here you will get a lot of info. It may be possible to just retake your basic pre-reqs with super grades that will cancel out your previous grades in those particular classes if you apply to DO schools and show an upward/reformed trend AND do well on the MCAT test and apply then.

Think,read,plan - I know there are a lot of factors to balance out but you will be able to figure it out. Good Luck!

For financial aid reasons, I’m going to move forward with pursuing the 2nd B.S…

Thank you so much for your prompt reply. I really appreciate your words of wisdom. I read your signature, and I too am thinking about the DO route. I really love Western U, for the location, and famliy atmosphere. Any particular reason why you chose DO vs. MD??? I would actually like to open this to anyone who opted for the DO vs. MD program.

Thanks again for your time in posting replies, I know time is always an issue for us all, speaking of which… science fair projects to grade, gotta run.

Doc -

Due to your previous background and poor grades, I think a second bachelor’s may be the best option for you even ignoring the financial aid aspect. I would repeat any pre-req that you got a C or lower in OR that you feel you don’t remember enough from to do well in higher level courses. Take as many upper level science courses as you can.

As Craig mentioned, the DO application will replace old grades with new grades, usually giving people a slightly higher GPA than they would have applying for MD schools. There have been multiple threads on here about DO vs. MD and there are people on here in both pathways. Anymore, there is very little true difference in medical education between allo and DO schools, other than the OMM component of DO education. DO schools like to state that they take a different philosophy (more whole person, etc), but I really think that MD schools have moved more in that direction and there are far less differences in philosophy than one might think. Ultimately, the most important thing is that you choose a school that fits you and you will be able to do well at.

Welcome, and good luck!

Dear Doc-

You can click on my name and read my previous posts - some are quite long and they detail why I chose what I did. You will pick up ideas from this forum and being in classes that will help shape your vision.

Off to play Scrabble with wife and son! Have a good weekend!

Wow! our stories are really similar. I also started school really immature,pretty sure I have ADD, got involved in bad relationships that resulted in two great kids. Transferred schools twice, registered for and dropped classes ALOT, resigned from school more than once, finally graduated from with a BGS and a overall GPA of 2.2, science GPA 1.5

Began teaching, hated it, ended up with a herniated disk in neck and growning brain tumor (benign). Went on medical leave and decided I want to be a doctor more than anything. Starting BSN program this summer after brain surgery in April to remove tumor. Met with pre-med advisor and he told me to possibly have a chance I need a 30 on my MCAT, and because they will factor in all those Fs,Ds and Ws in my science classes I’ll need to retake all science classes and take 15-18 hrs of upper division science classes per semester. I’ll be doing this while working full-time as a singel parent. YUMMY!!

Seriously though, my advisor told to do something else, and that I probably wouldn’t get in. I told him that I would go to medical school somewhere, eventually. He told me I need to apply b/f I get out of my 30’s. I am 34 so the pressure is on. I am realizing that I will have to have a live-in nanny b/c my family will be 3 hours away. This will cost 1,000 per month. He told me there is always Mexico. Undoubtedly the University of Guadalajara has a really large entrance class. I can’t give up. I feel called to do this. I want to work in medical missions. I can’t sit by and watch people die b/c they don’t have a doctor and not try to do everything I can. Found a great statement a grandmother asked her granddaughter (think I’m quoting it right) “Who are you to tell God no to a desire he has put in your heart.”

I will keep you in my prayers. Please keep me in yours. I am assuming you are a Christian because of your screen name.

Take care and don’t give up.

The failure is a guarantee only if you quit!!

Wow! That was so encouraging and inspiring. I really appreciate your words. Yes, I am a Christian, and it’s sometimes hard to explain to people something that you feel was a desire God put in your heart - namely to be a doctor. Thank you for letting me know that despite the odds, I’m not alone! Remember always: Phil 4:13

I agree with the second degree route!

Furthermore, as one who has a “properly diagnosed” (Utah Criteria) ADHD is very treatable, and the treatmant of choice is pharmacological.

Please do not take this the wrong way (I am also a conservative Christian), but please do not fall into the “Christian Therapy” trap, you know all of your problems are a faith or prayer shortcoming.

ADHD is a favorite target, but all the behavioral adaptations and study skills etc. are useful to make up ground, but you are NOT treating ADHD, get you some Concerta and some tutoring and then GO FOR IT. You NEED to go through some new undergrad stuff even if just for you!

If you DO have TRUE ADHD (Utah criteria or similar) you NEED to learn your limits BEFORE you try Medical School. It took me like 18 months before I was able to define the “upper limit” of what I could learn and accomplish, a pretty COOL problem actually, but something I had to know.