Advice on reapplying to med school after being out of school for 4 years

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May 5, 2008
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Hi -

I am planning to re-apply to medical school in the next year. I graduated from UCSD in 2004 as a Psychology major. I was originally a Biology major, but struggled with courses my last two years at UCSD after I transferred from a community college. I did well in my general ed. and science courses at comm. college with the following science grades:

General Zoology = A
Intro to Cellular and Molecular Biology = B
Biology of Plants = A
General Chemistry I = B
General Chemistry II = B

I transferred to UCSD for my last two years, where I majored in Biology, but switched to Psychology my senior year since I was having difficulty with my courses as a bio major. I received the following science grades at UCSD:

Physics IA = B-
Physics IB = C+
Physics IC = C+
Organic Chem = C- (lecture only)
Genetics = F

My cumulative UG GPA was a 2.733

After switching my major to Psychology, I achieved high grades in my classes, which consisted of A's and B's, and received Provost's honors during one of my quarters. I have always been fascinated with studying the brain and behavior, so I thought Psychology was a good transition for me. My life-long goal however, is to attend medical school to become a Neurologist.

Since my senior year at UCSD, I continued to volunteer as a Research Assistant in Neuropsychology after graduation in 2004. There, I gained a tremendous amount of research experience in Alzheimer's and Huntington's Disease working alongside a prominent Neuropsychologist. He offered me a full-time position to work in his lab shortly after graduation. I worked there from late 2004 - early 2007. I gained a lot of knowledge and skills in administering neuropsychological tests and conducting neuropsychological assessments on a variety of patient populations. In July 2007, I transitioned from Research into a Clinical position (Neuropsychometrist) that was offered to me by one of the staff Neuropsychologists. I now see patients on a regular basis, conduct neuropsychological assessments, and develop individual patient treatment plans with staff clinical psychologists, neurologists, and neuropsychologists. After graduating in 2004, I decided to return to school while working full-time as a Research Associate to obtain a Master's degree to enhance my academic record. I received an M.A. in Human Behavior (Psychology) in 2006 with a GPA of 3.5.

My desire is to return to school to obtain and M.D. or D.O and become a Neurologist. However, my concern is that I have been out of school for four years, and I took my science courses prior to 2004. Would it be advisable to attend a formal post-bac program which focuses on retaking all the med school prereqs (bio, chem, physics) or shall I just enroll in a community college and take the courses I am missing (Ochem) and retake the ones I earned C's in, such as Physics? Also, if I choose to go my own route and just retake courses, do you think the four years I have been out of school will affect how well I do on the MCAT? Or is more recent and rigorous preparation required? Should I enroll in a formal post-bac which provides MCAT preparation and focuses on all taking all prereq's? Or shall I just take the courses at a local college?

Just to remind you, my UG GPA was 2.733. I graduated from UCSD in 2004. I pursued a Master's Degree in Human Behavior and earned a 3.5 Graduate GPA in 2006.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for reading my post. God Bless.


Full Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2007
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No responses to your post in two weeks suggests that no one has any encouraging words to give you. Nor do I.

If you found yourself struggling with science classes four years ago, why do you think you'll do any better now? To do well on the MCAT, you need a solid grounding in the prerequisite classes. IMO, you will need to retake all those classes to have any chance at this. Further, you must get As in them to bump up your undergrad GPA. If you do, DO schools (but not allopathic) permit substitution of the most recent grade, thus improving your number more rapidly. You have a long, hard road ahead of you if you decide to pursue this route. I'd start with one or two classes (at a more difficult level than a community college) and see if you have what it takes, before looking into a formal (expensive) post-bac program, or deciding to go at it informally, full-time.


Who, me? A doctor?
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7+ Year Member
Jan 13, 2006
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The only way you can find out if you have a chance is to apply. I suggest you read the Forum FAQ (at top of the page). All of the advice I have to give is there.


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Dec 13, 2006
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Just so you know, Allopathic schools will still see your original grades even if you retake the courses. If you plan on that, you may want to look into DO schools as well since they do replace old grades with new ones if available.

All is not lost! I'd check out the non-trad forum as well since they have a lot of advice on coming back from a low GPA.