Uncertainty...changing of majors during early portion of schooling

When I first started back to school, I had changed my major a number of times always coming back to something in the medical field which to call me. I actually thought it was too late for me to go into medicine until I came upon this website. When I graduated high school (a looonnnngggg time ago), I didn’t receive much support from my family and I guess I was also just a little to immature anyway.

Although my grades have been really good, if you look at my transcript from the community college, you’ll see a GPA of 3.95 with over 120 credits (could have gotten a bachelors degree). Also, while I have no F’s I do have a handful of W’s. A few of them are classes that I have retaken, but some are from classes that I will never re-attempt.

When is the best time to explain these when I apply? Which probably won’t be until Summer of 2009 for 2010 school year.


Pertaining to the W’s, I’ve been told not to bring undue attention to those grades. They’re in your transcripts. Don’t ignore them but don’t parade them either. A simple mention that you had difficulties should be enough. Not sure how accurate that advice is but I start my app in 12 months so I’m interested if this advice I got is correct.

If they come up in an interview. Remember, you always want to focus on the positive and never on the negative. During your PS you want want to have a sentence that you overcame an obstacle (sp) but other than that, if they don’t ask, don’t tell.

Has anyone had this come up during an interview? Do schools receive all the information on transcripts such as “W’s”?

I’ve heard rumors, that “W” = “F” in some schools. Does this apply more to allopathic schools or to both allopathic and osteopathic. Here I have a good GPA to date (the only prereqs I have to take are O.Chem and Physics), and I’m worried about being locked out of medicine because of my earlier uncertainty.


W=W not F. Don’t let anyone scare you like they did me with this. You will have to be prepared to answer for the W’s during your interview and some during a secondary.

Schools receive all the grades you send to them via AMCAS. Include everything and they will receive everything. Leave something out and that will be the kiss of death. Be honest up front and just lay the cards out on the table. Don’t point to any specific cards, just let them ask you.

BTW be leery of rumors, most of the time they’re not true.

Well I have quite a few W’s scattered around my transcripts, notably an entire semester of W’s because I basically dropped out of a graduate program for a while.

The W’s never came up in 5 out of 6 interviews and of course I didn’t mention them either–except at the 6th school where they said, reasonably enough, what’s with all these W’s? I then had to explain my reasons for withdrawing. I ended up being waitlisted at that school and accepted to all the others. Perhaps I did a crappy job of explaining.

My advice would be not to bring it up unless they do. If they consider it unimportant, great. If they want to know about it, then be prepared to explain it clearly, describe how you learned and grew from these bumps in the road, and try to move the conversation along to your strong points as quickly as possible.

Thanks, crooz and Terry, this has been bothering me.