bgm

Jul 27, 2009
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Hey I’m new here and looking for a little guidance
I just graduated in May from a top public university with a 2.992 w/ a degree in Exercise Science. I’ll start grad school for Exercise Science this fall. I’ve been reading a lot online and it seems like if you don’t have a 3.4 or higher there is little hope in getting accepted to PA or med school. (I’ve read about the few who got in w/ low gpas but most of those people worked in the health field for several years prior)
I had a horrible sophomore year of getting all Cs and a D so my gpa severely suffered (family issues played a part). However, I made A’s and B’s the other 3 years. After my gpa took a dive, I was told to look into PT. I volunteered in several different PT settings for 3 years and HATED it. I’m thinking about going back to my original idea of med or PA school. Did my undergraduate gpa ruin me or can doing extremely well in grad school and retaking a few pre-reqs help dig me out of this hole?
I’ve received nothing but discouraging advice from my university’s advisors but I really do not want to give up so easily. I’m just trying to figure out if my plan is going to be helpful or a lost cause.:confused:
 

NTF

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Hey I’m new here and looking for a little guidance
I just graduated in May from a top public university with a 2.992 w/ a degree in Exercise Science. I’ll start grad school for Exercise Science this fall. I’ve been reading a lot online and it seems like if you don’t have a 3.4 or higher there is little hope in getting accepted to PA or med school. (I’ve read about the few who got in w/ low gpas but most of those people worked in the health field for several years prior)
I had a horrible sophomore year of getting all Cs and a D so my gpa severely suffered (family issues played a part). However, I made A’s and B’s the other 3 years. After my gpa took a dive, I was told to look into PT. I volunteered in several different PT settings for 3 years and HATED it. I’m thinking about going back to my original idea of med or PA school. Did my undergraduate gpa ruin me or can doing extremely well in grad school and retaking a few pre-reqs help dig me out of this hole?
I’ve received nothing but discouraging advice from my university’s advisors but I really do not want to give up so easily. I’m just trying to figure out if my plan is going to be helpful or a lost cause.:confused:
Unfortunately, if PA or MD/DO school is your goal, getting a master's degree (unless it's an SMP) won't be the best use of your time. You're better off doing an extended post-bacc. Take as many undergraduate upper level science courses as your can to get that GPA up. Med schools don't really put as much importance into gradGPAs and they'll do nothing to repair your mediocre ugradGPA. I'd suggest getting a patient care job at a university hospital. That way you can get tuition benefits for your post-bacc.

And don't neglect ECs. They're even more important when you're trying to mitigate past poor academic performance.

To summarize:
1) ugrad GPA repair - as many upper level science as possible and commit yourself to getting all A's.
2) ECs - volunteering, shadowing, biomedical research, patient contact
3) Kill the MCAT
4) LORs - view every class as a potential LOR. This means making yourself known to your professor through office hours, emails and class participation.
 
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bgm

Jul 27, 2009
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So should I leave my MS program or just finish it? I got a full ride for grad school w/ a stipend and already got my apt. in a new city so I basically I have to go this year. I'm thinking if I just finish the MS I'll at least have more back up options.

Also does it help if most of those Cs were in business classes my sophomore yr? The only pre-req classes I had that yr. were Chem I, Chem II and Anatomy; which I'll retake.
 

NTF

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There's nothing wrong with getting an MS. Just make sure you do well, because as bad as poor ugrad GPA hurts ya, a poor grad GPA will hurt ya even worse.

Doing well in a MS will help your app. It just doesn't help as much as one would think. Many people liken it to the same weight as an interesting extracurricular. To get the most mileage out of your MS, try to get some research done at a lab that has medical ramifications. If you can get a publication out of it (anything, paper, conference abstract, presentation at a conference) even better.

Also, just realize that the MS doesn't solve the problem of your low GPA. Only taking more ugrad classes will help that.
 

Druggernaut

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Are you married to the MD initials? If not, you should plan on applying to plenty of DO schools, as that seems like your best shot at becoming a doctor without an obscenely long application rebuilding period. Retake every one of those D's and make sure you do well in them, and strongly consider retaking the C's too.

I'm roughly estimating that your other three years of school were just under a 3.5. If you can make it so that the retakes of your bad year get up to at least that level, your osteopathic application will show a GPA that should be competitive for admission, as they only factor in your most recent grade in the course. Allopathic (MD) schools, on the other hand, will see your GPA as significantly lower.

You've posted in the nontraditional forum. Do you have any sort of life experience that you can spin as a positive for why you'd be a better doctor than the 22 year old applicant with a 3.6, or at least to partially explain your sub-par GPA?
 
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bgm

Jul 27, 2009
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Thanks for the responses
No I'm not married to the MD initials :laugh: I'm honestly open to other options in health care. So anyone feel free to suggest other ideas. I spent so much time trying to force myself to like PT (professors thought I'd be good at it due to my hobbies and personality but all the places i volunteered at were extremely boring!) that I'm only recently looking into other health care fields
And as the non-traditional life experiences: I'm new here and thought non-traditional meant anyone not going to med school straight after undergrad. I'm actually only 21, but I can explain my sub-par GPA and show that I'm capable of understanding scientific concepts from my last 2 years of college.
 

Narnian

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There are some PA programs that overlook your past grades as long as you have done really well in the last 60+ hours or so. I know that MEDEX is one of them. They have a BS degree too. They do require a 3.0 for the Masters option though. There is no minimum GPA for the BS program. I am only familiar with MEDEX though. I'm sure there are more out there, but most of them that are willing to forgive your GPA also want you to have 2000 - 4000 patient care hours. I would get a patient care job or experience through volunteering or shadowing. It will look good regardless the option you choose.
 

NTF

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but I can explain my sub-par GPA and show that I'm capable of understanding scientific concepts from my last 2 years of college.
The reality is that a <3.0 ugrad GPA is a serious hole. Average GPA for matriculants is ~3.6 and rising. While it's a surmountable hole, w/o actually raising it with additional post-bacc undergraduate coursework you need something really special (extensive impressive healthcare-related work, research, stratospheric MCAT scores, etc.) to compensate. Unfortunately, getting a MS in exercise physiology probably won't be enough w/o tons of extracurriculars and a slammin MCAT. And even then it's an up-hill climb. I'm not discouraging you from applying. I encourage you to pursue it if medicine is what you really want. But you need to know how damaging a 2.992 uGPA is to your application. Prepare yourself for potentially applying multiple times. Prepare yourself potentially needing to take additional upper level science undergraduate coursework.

While you may know you can handle science coursework, most adcoms will have serious doubts and will need some kind of reassurance that you can handle a rigorous medical school curriculum. Many of them will not find an MS in exercise physiology reassuring enough.

PS the above applies to MD/DO applications. I really don't know that much about the qualifications for PAs or NPs.
 
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bgm

Jul 27, 2009
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So when calculating my gpa I realized that I only used my grades from the university I graduate from, not my summer school classes/college classes from high school at 2 other universities closer to home. How would I calculate my overall undergraduate gpa, since my graduating college didn’t factor it in since it was transfer credit?
At one university I had 22 hours w/ a gpa of a 3.62:
Western civ: A/3 credits
English Comp: A/3 credits
English Lit: A/3 credits
Calculus 1: A/3 credits
Calculus 2: A/3 credits
Bio I: B-/4 credits
Spanish III: B/3 credits
At another university I had 8 total hours w/ a gpa of a 4.0:
Physics I: A/ 4 credits
Physics II: A/ 4 credits
Would factoring in all these classes make my 2.992 a lot better??
 

gman33

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All your classes count towards your GPA. Doesn't matter where you took them. Make up a spreadsheet with all your grades and factor in the number of credits for each class.

I can't really comment on PA admissions, but you have some work to do to become competitive.

Do the grad degree if you want, but as others have said, it will do very little to help your chances of getting into med school. Only start the program if you are sure you are going to finish it. Dropping out will hurt your med school chances.

DO schools are a good option for someone in your position. You can retake old classes and they only count the new grades. If you only had one bad year, you could fix that by retaking and doing well in those classes. Yes, you can retake non-science classes as well. Seems like a waste, but it may be the fastest way to fix your gpa.
 

NTF

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So when calculating my gpa I realized that I only used my grades from the university I graduate from, not my summer school classes/college classes from high school at 2 other universities closer to home. How would I calculate my overall undergraduate gpa, since my graduating college didn’t factor it in since it was transfer credit?
At one university I had 22 hours w/ a gpa of a 3.62:
Western civ: A/3 credits
English Comp: A/3 credits
English Lit: A/3 credits
Calculus 1: A/3 credits
Calculus 2: A/3 credits
Bio I: B-/4 credits
Spanish III: B/3 credits
At another university I had 8 total hours w/ a gpa of a 4.0:
Physics I: A/ 4 credits
Physics II: A/ 4 credits
Would factoring in all these classes make my 2.992 a lot better??
Definitely. Yes it would. But I hope you have some A's in upper level bio classes to counterbalance that B- in Bio I. Your situation is definitely better off if you factor in all those A's, especially the A's in Physics & Calculus.
 
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bgm

Jul 27, 2009
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So if I do the grad program I have an option on whether to do a thesis or a comprehensive exam. Which one should I do? One person mentioned getting publications can be a good extracurricular, but I could also be using that time to do volunteer work, shadow, and get more experience. I plan on retaking classes/volunteering during the summer sessions if I do the whole grad school thing, which it seems like I can’t really get out of grad school now if I wanted to.

Oh and if this matters: when I met w/ the grad program in April they told me even though the thesis was an option, they have never had anyone not do one