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Advice needed


New Member
10+ Year Member
Dec 17, 2008
  1. Pre-Medical
Ok, so first some background...

I've always wanted to be a doctor and I can't see myself being anything else.

I am currently a sophomore at Pitt. I really like all the science courses and am majoring in neuroscience. My gpa freshman year was 3.0 but at the end of this semester it has gone down to a 2.8. My knowledge doesn't reflect my grades though, in fact most of my friends come to me for help. So I know that I capable of getting good grades and getting into med school. But the problem is I have bad anxiety so I do poorly on tests. I've realized that I can't use that as an excuse and have to show significant improvement next semester.

Next semester I'll have 18 credits including a honors class (intro to neuro)
and I think 3.8 is the minimum i have to get to show an noticeable upward trend.

I already have some extracurricular activities : club soccer, volunteer work, lab assistant at a research institute, researcher at a community health office. andd i should have 3 or 4 more by the time I am done with college.

I am also going to get a certificate in the conceptual foundations of medicine and will retake courses this summer to hopefully improve gpa.


So I am just looking for some general advice to improve my chances of getting in...
-should I start studying for mcats now?(begin taking kaplan, buying books)
-do even more activities(maybe become a ta) to cover up my gpa?
-anything else that is helpful

I just want to make sure I still have a chance to get into MD medical school.

Thanks alot
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Staff member
10+ Year Member
Sep 30, 2008
  1. Attending Physician
Right now, your number one priority has to be getting that GPA up. Don't even think about the MCAT or adding more ECs until you get that GPA up some, because that won't matter if you can't refocus yourself on your work and bring that up. Taking extra ECs doesn't cover up a GPA as low as yours.

In fact, if I were you, I would drop some of the "fluff" ECs (soccer, maybe one of the research gigs or the volunteering if it's not medically-related) and drop down to around 15 hours. You're getting your butt handed to you with the load you've been taking, so I'd drop down to take a more managable load, and then when you succeed at that, maybe you can go back up to a more strenuous load.

Luckily, you're still pretty early in this process. A couple of stellar semesters will still let you rebound very nicely :) But you've got to take care of your grades first.
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Full Member
10+ Year Member
May 30, 2008
  1. Resident [Any Field]
OP, I agree with everything said above. I'd also say you should aiming so high that despite having anxiety problems you still do just fine. Don't aim for A's, aim for the highest grade in the class. You should especially stop thinking about "minimums" for a semester (like the "3.8" you mentioned)... You should always aim for a 4.0.

Mobius why aren't you a mod? You're a really helpful guy in this subforum as I've noticed.
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Full Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2007
Thanks Hal. Speaking of helpful, I love your School Selection Spreadsheet and use it constantly to help give advice. Any chance you could add DO schools to it, considering how often it is advisable to include them in "applying broadly"? Or is similiar data not available.
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