Wee bit freaked out

Just reviewed my email from the U… noticed my overall GPA from 20+ years ago… I feel kicked in the gut. Don’t get me wrong, I knew it was bad. I own “bad GPA” all to myself. It’s .2 worse than I thought.

Reality check time. IS it possible? I think only one person on here has a lower GPA but that individual had not graduated yet and by the time commencement occurred, the GPA had risen substantially.

Yikes. Sigh.

When AMCAS amalgamates grades, my latest/greatest will get “lost”, won’t they? Will it matter that if I get 3.8+ now in the sciences and math, that 20+ years ago I really, really had a different life?

And no, I’m not interested in DO programs. If I can’t go MD, I will go PhD… just feel really, really kicked atm.

If you get a chance to search through the forums to read OldManDave’s account of where he came from, I’m sure you’ll be encouraged. I don’t know why you wouldn’t go DO if MD wasn’t possible (I’ve worked with both and there has been no discernible difference in my eyes…), but that’s beside the point. Have you visited/spoken to med schools yet?

I spoke to the University of Minnesota director of admissions a few years ago - he was in my Rotary club. He said I’d never get in there, I’ve started now with that in mind but figured there are a plethora of other schools that might.

Brief background:

  1. I partied, a lot (already described in my blog)

  2. Found out I was pregnant just before senior year of college; my parents disowned me completely

  3. Son was born mid-senior year; I worked full time at the university to pay for tuition, bills, my son

  4. Son died of SIDS beginning of 5th year

  5. Took 6 months off from school, probably should have taken years away and not graduated

    All of that was pre-1987.

    Since then, I went from BA in English technical writing to partner elect two of the Big 4 public accounting firms (big whoopee - who cares), and VP of internal audit for a global, public company (again, big whoopee, who cares). Truly, I don’t believe my career for last 15 years really matters… it is not science based.

    I talked to my physiology advisor at the U of MN and he said to just get the grades I’m capable of, and let the rest fall into place.

    But having seen my GPA this afternoon, I’m a little sick. A .2 difference should not make me feel this way - I already knew the mountain I had to climb, I think it’s just such a shocker for me.

I say you take whatever path gets you to practicing medicine. There are no second hand doctors, and just the fact that you’ve pulled your GPA up that far says mountains!

Thank you. I was an honors student when I was 18 - put in the engineering calc, chem, and biol classes. There is much discussion to the drinking age now and about lowering it.

Given my past, 26 years ago, I’m very much against lowering the drinking age. Remove the temptation. I won’t digress here on that.

That said, I took math placement test this morning and came up just short of being placed in calc. I’ve not had formalized math in 26 years and yet, I still remember a lot of it.

I took the chem placement exam and outside of thermo, I could be in orgo chem now, instead of general but am going back to the lower courses to make sure I have the basics down pat, hopefully, override any old base science classes which may help overall GPA (but not much sadly).

This just scared me a bit today. Maybe the blinders I put on to my old self and that old GPA came off, just for a second and like a horse that is suddenly “free” of tunnel vision, I spooked.

Well, I differ in opinion on the drinking age but that stems from growing up partly in Europe where alcohol is just viewed differently.

It sounds like retaking general will be a good refresher for you. Having the extra chem textbook on hand will also give you a study resource for the MCAT I assume.

I’ve just spent a bit of winter break talking with a 20 year old in my CC chem class. She wants to be an M.D. also but has severe test anxiety. A’s on all her class work but bombs the exams. I made her look at some D.O. programs because the requirements were a little more forgiving. I know you said you don’t want to go that route, and I’m not suggesting you do, but there are options to pursuing medicine. You just have to find the path that works for you and your situation.

(preaching to myself here too)


I say continue to look around. Are you going to the AMSA conference in March? I know the economy is a bit slow, but I hope the med schools show up for the med school fair on that Saturday. I’m telling you - I don’t think you’ll regret it. There were so many schools there when I went in '07, it was mind boggling (to me). That would be a way for you to have the opportunity to look at more schools all in one place. Also, I think the recent course work thing is a plus - but I haven’t applied to a school yet. I’m still having small panic attacks over my cell bio test this weekend… Oh, and I need to start working on that org chem again…

There are multiple people on here who made it and yes, there are schools (possibly quite a few) who will look at someone with an excellent recent record and poor past. I personally had a 2.76 undergrad, but a 3.9ish science postbacc 15 years later. I was accepted at five allopathic schools, two of them very competitive.

It IS possible, but you have to believe in yourself because many people won’t.

  • Emergency! Said:
It IS possible, but you have to believe in yourself because many people won’t.

Thank you. I think the placement tests give me the assurance that I'm not deep into sniffing the laughy-taffy and that I am very capable of getting solid grades but it was a shock to me to see that very old, very ugly GPA.

  • lpressley130 Said:
Are you going to the AMSA conference in March?

Unfortunately, I cannot. The timing is such that mid-terms are that same week. I sure wish I could, however. It'd be great to meet/greet and gather more information.

  • lpressley130 Said:
I'm still having small panic attacks over my cell bio test this weekend... Oh, and I need to start working on that org chem again...

Don't panic! It is what it is, just like my old GPA... can't fix, change, or control it.

Thank you for the support. I have no doubts I'm capable and motivated now, just got spooked when I saw how poorly I did (trust me, I'd be thrilled with a 2.75!)

I am totally with you. Panic is running through my veins as we speak. I have an UG gpa of 2.78 and that is after I got my act together and had a 3.97 over the last 85 credits. I start my pre-req classes next Tuesday. I plan to get a second degree by taking an additional 70 credits. Then I will do an SMP if I have to. Assuming a 4.0 through post-bacc that only leaves me with a 3.16. Competitive for allopathic, no but it should be enough to get to some “eyeballs”. I believe in my heart that I will be able to convince an ADCOM that this is what I was meant to do and the windy road that got me where I am was necessary to make me the person that I am. The fact of the matter is that for all the people that say that you can’t, there is one that says you can. Take a risk and believe in yourself. Those that work hard will be rewarded, they have to be.

If you read the forums, you see a pattern, where only the pre-meds talk badly about DO programs. All of the med students, MDs and DOs say it makes no difference.


  • LouNJ Said:
If you read the forums, you see a pattern, where only the pre-meds talk badly about DO programs. All of the med students, MDs and DOs say it makes no difference.


I think you are confused or reading something into what I wrote.

Can I ask why you wouldn’t even consider a D.O. program? I was pretty certain it was a route I would not even consider until I recently met a Board Certified (in the area I’m interested in) physician that recently came to OU to teach and work in the big hospital and he is a D.O…once I learned that he is doing exactly what I hoped to be able to do with what I foolishly looked at a “lesser” degree I quickly changed my mind and whatever it takes for them to call me doctor is what I’ll do.

I’m also confused about your decision not to pursue a DO degree. I’m particularly unclear about the decision to opt for a PhD over the DO. If you goal is to practice medicine, the DO will train you to do that, whereas the PhD will not. I am not aware of any jurisdiction that licenses PhDs to practice medicine in the same way a DO or MD would be able to practice. The PhD is first and foremost a research degree (though there are some exceptions like Clinical Psychology) and PhD preparation is focused on creating researchers and faculty members, not practitioners.

In my experience, for myself and several family members, we have had very positive experiences with our PCPs, all of whom are DOs, not MDs. Recently, we were all commenting on how DOs must be trained well in “bedside manner” versus their MD counterparts. In my doc’s practice, I can see no difference between his scope of practice and that of the MDs: It’s all the same. That they are able to practice the same regardless of the degree itself is indicative of very similar training. (As a side note, I understand that “osteopaths” in many other countries are NOT licensed physicians, so perhaps the vast training/licensing differences among non-US countries are a source of confusion?)

I am so glad there is a mechanism for people to expound on their experiences and wants/needs here. It’s amazing!

That said, my choices are mine. Nor more than I will persuade you to change your mind, you will not me either and why, when, what, where, who, is really not something I’m open to discussing.

Further, there are very successful DOs on this board and both of you, perhaps, all, have read far too much into what I said. I simply did NOT want to have my thread about something entirely else, turn into a DO vs. MD thread.

Which sadly, it now has.

Sorry for the misunderstanding. My hope was to understand (as you may have an insight I don’t) as well as communicate some of my own experiences with my misconceptions about the PhD degree. I suppose your original question hits on the core issue that many of us may be facing: How important will our “ancient” undergrad grades be? That is an important topic. I do not quite understand why adcoms would want to penalize folks for what they did many years ago when they’ve shown high levels of more recent competency. In the end, I suppose all we can do is to go for the best post-bacc results we can and leave the rest to fate. Personally, I would hope that recent performance would be rated MUCH more highly than grades earned during the folly that was our youth.

I think they were just trying to help you see that regardless of the path, there are options for you when it comes to pursuing your medical degree. I doubt it was anyone’s intention to turn it into a comparisson thread.

Best of luck in what ever path you end up taking. It’s sure to be a wild ride.


I have resurrected an ancient thread - the one where I air out my skeleton closet. While you have not divulged your GPA, I can guarantee you that it cannot be worse than mine was when I dropped out of college to avoid expulsion (~95hrs and ~1.1cumGPA) in the fall of 1987. The post I want you to read is entitled “This is OldManDave” & it is in the Medical Students forum, subforum - Introductions.

Short answer, can it be done? Yes it can - I did it. Will you be rejected by a many programs simply due to your old grades? Yes, you will. Is there is anything you can do to change what is passed? Nope, no 1 damned thing. Is there anything good that can come out of lamenting what you cannot change? Generally no - it is a waste of focus & energy. However, if you are one of those people who can take past screw-ups & morph them into motivational energy - do it.

Read that thread & let me know if you see things differently?

Perhaps I did read into something.

“And no, I’m not interested in DO programs. If I can’t go MD, I will go PhD… just feel really, really kicked…”

I thought you were saying that if you couldn’t become an MD, you would give up on a desire to practice medicine, go for a PhD, and you would not consider a DO program.

Therefore, I concluded, apparently incorrectly, that you decided that a DO does not meet your requirements for a medical education.

Sorry for the incorrect conclusion.