Feb 4, 2013
13
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Hello all,

This is my first post/thread and I apologize in advance if it has been answered. I was not able to find the answer to my question through a search.

A little background:

I am a 30 yr old non-traditional military veteran pre-med student. I attended college right after high school and did very poorly. I had no direction and did not care about school. My GPA from this period is a 1.4 with around 5 F's or so. This was from about 12 years ago. Fast forward to the last few years and I have an Associate's with a 3.89 and currently have a 3.81 at the four year school I am attending (Biology major). If I am able to graduate with a Bachelor's Degree in Biology with a 3.8+, I am guessing I will have an overall GPA of around a 2.8-3.1 when the older classes are factored in.

My question is if medical schools look at the whole application of every submission? Or, do some schools make a cut off and only review applications with a certain GPA and up?

For example, will some medical schools reject applications with a 2.9 GPA right away without looking through the whole application?

Thank you in advance for any help. I think this site/forum is an amazing asset.
 
Oct 31, 2012
20
0
MS1- TTUHSC
Status
Medical Student
You may want to check into it, some schools will let you toss away college credit from ten years ago as long as you retake the courses. It might be worth it to check into that so your other coursework doesn't hurt you.
 

eggs13

Lift Heavy, Get Tough
7+ Year Member
Jun 22, 2011
683
29
Believeland
Status
Medical Student
Hello all,

This is my first post/thread and I apologize in advance if it has been answered. I was not able to find the answer to my question through a search.

A little background:

I am a 30 yr old non-traditional military veteran pre-med student. I attended college right after high school and did very poorly. I had no direction and did not care about school. My GPA from this period is a 1.4 with around 5 F's or so. This was from about 12 years ago. Fast forward to the last few years and I have an Associate's with a 3.89 and currently have a 3.81 at the four year school I am attending (Biology major). If I am able to graduate with a Bachelor's Degree in Biology with a 3.8+, I am guessing I will have an overall GPA of around a 2.8-3.1 when the older classes are factored in.

My question is if medical schools look at the whole application of every submission? Or, do some schools make a cut off and only review applications with a certain GPA and up?

For example, will some medical schools reject applications with a 2.9 GPA right away without looking through the whole application?

Thank you in advance for any help. I think this site/forum is an amazing asset.
yes, some (many?) schools have automatic cut offs for GPA/MCAT. Having below a 3.0 will inevitably get you screened out of almost all schools that do have this cutoff.

I would suggest looking at DO schools who tend to be keen on nontrads and also have lower average GPA's/MCAT scores. Also, if you have retaken some of the classes recently that you did poorly in your first go around, then you can take advantage of the DO grade replacement (if you got a C the first time and an A the second time, you will only use the A to calculate your GPA, where as with MD you will have to average the 2).

Hope this is somewhat helpful, and good luck!
 
OP
C
Feb 4, 2013
13
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thank you both for your answers.

I have looked into DO schools and will definitely be applying to some of them. I guess it is just disheartening to have such old grades haunt me! I suppose I should have listened to the myriad of people telling me that doing poorly would come back to bite me....

I believe most of my bad grades have been from classes I have retaken. Do I need to do something special to have the two grades averaged or replaced by the newer grades? Or, does the med school recognize that an A in Western Civ should cover an F is History? <-- I'm assuming that is the case of course. :) Or even if the course names exactly match ( US History for US History) do I need to do something special? For example my current school has a grade replacement policy, but the student has to request a contract through the registrar first. Is there something similar with the whole med school application process?

To elaborate on my original post....I believe my science GPA should be around a 3.8. It is my non science GPA and cumulative that is going to be much lower ~ 2.9. Fortunately, I took random History and non science classes my first go at college.

It may also be worth noting that I do not have any intentions of applying to any top tier schools. I have no delusions that my situation calls for a reasonable approach to the whole process... I guess the point of this thread is to try and gain some insight on just how reasonable I need to be with my expectations.

Is it fair to assume that a 3.8 sGPA would procure a proper application review even with the other GPA being > 3.0 ?

This is another question I have been wondering about.....Would a respectable MCAT score paired with a low GPA be any good? i.e. 33 and 2.9 ?

Thanks again!
 
Last edited:

eggs13

Lift Heavy, Get Tough
7+ Year Member
Jun 22, 2011
683
29
Believeland
Status
Medical Student
Thank you both for your answers.

I have looked into DO schools and will definitely be applying to some of them. I guess it is just disheartening to have such old grades haunt me! I suppose I should have listened to the myriad of people telling me that doing poorly would come back to bite me....

I believe most of my bad grades have been from classes I have retaken. Do I need to do something special to have the two grades averaged or replaced by the newer grades? Or, does the med school recognize that an A in Western Civ should cover an F is History? <-- I'm assuming that is the case of course. :) Or even if the course names exactly match ( US History for US History) do I need to do something special? For example my current school has a grade replacement policy, but the student has to request a contract through the registrar first. Is there something similar with the whole med school application process?

To elaborate on my original post....I believe my science GPA should be around a 3.8. It is my non science GPA and cumulative that is going to be much lower ~ 2.9. Fortunately, I took random History and non science classes my first go at college.

It may also be worth noting that I do not have any intentions of applying to any top tier schools. I have no delusions that my situation calls for a reasonable approach to the whole process... I guess the point of this thread is to try and gain some insight on just how reasonable I need to be with my expectations.

Is it fair to assume that a 3.8 sGPA would procure a proper application review even with the other GPA being > 3.0 ?

This is another question I have been wondering about.....Would a respectable MCAT score paired with a low GPA be any good? i.e. 33 and 2.9 ?

Thanks again!
I am not sure about how the grade replacement works/what your responsibility as an applicant is in order to ensure the correct grade is used for GPA calculations, as I did not apply DO. I'd suggest using the search bar, as I'm sure this topic has been covered in the pre-osteopathic forum.

In my opinion, I think you do have a pretty good shot with DO schools, given your military/life experiences and current grades (and assuming you get a respectable MCAT score). DO schools tend to do a more holistic review of applicants, so that low cGPA wont necessarily get you nixed right off the bat. How does the rest of your application look? If you are lacking clinical and/or volunteer experience, I would try to sprinkle that in over the next year, in order to make your app as competitive as possible (and maybe even some research experience if that is possible).

good luck!
 
OP
C
Feb 4, 2013
13
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I will go ahead and look into the specifics of DO grade replacement.

The rest of my app is pretty weak. I will likely have 9 mos of general volunteering, 6 months of hospital volunteering, a few days of shadowing, and membership (no leadership roles) in a few school clubs, and 6 months of virtual mentorship through a student website. Also, I have tutored fellow returning veterans struggling with Math/Science.

I plan on applying this cycle, but will be taking the MCAT in July because I won't have taken any Organic Chemistry until the two summer sessions. If I do not get in anywhere, I plan on taking a gap year and working as an EMT and bolstering my volunteering, shadowing hours.

Thanks again for your replies. They are greatly appreciated.
 
Oct 4, 2012
1,318
4
Right where I belong
Status
Medical Student
I will go ahead and look into the specifics of DO grade replacement.

The rest of my app is pretty weak. I will likely have 9 mos of general volunteering, 6 months of hospital volunteering, a few days of shadowing, and membership (no leadership roles) in a few school clubs, and 6 months of virtual mentorship through a student website. Also, I have tutored fellow returning veterans struggling with Math/Science.

I plan on applying this cycle, but will be taking the MCAT in July because I won't have taken any Organic Chemistry until the two summer sessions. If I do not get in anywhere, I plan on taking a gap year and working as an EMT and bolstering my volunteering, shadowing hours.

Thanks again for your replies. They are greatly appreciated.
The grade replacement is pretty straightforward. When you enter your classes you indicate which classes are repeats. They will verify that they meet the requirement. I believe that for history they would need to be very similar so an American government for American government but not for us history, etc. the numbers do not need to be the same, just the topic.

Your ECs are not that weak. Your military training will count for a lot and it will count towards leadership too. Just keep trying to get clinical experience and shoot for about 50 shadowing hours. You may already be close to that depending on how many hours a day you out in.

Contact the school where you did poorly so long ago to see if they do academic bankruptcy. If not, just keep working hard and don't give up. Apply to DO but also look into MD programs and contact the ones you really want to go to to find out if they will pre-screen you out for those old grades.
 

kami333

10+ Year Member
Aug 15, 2007
1,454
27
Status
Medical Student
Is it fair to assume that a 3.8 sGPA would procure a proper application review even with the other GPA being > 3.0 ?
It's school dependent but I know that at least one state school both sGPA and cGPA have to be above 3.0 (specifically asked the admissions dean).


As mentioned, the repeats are pretty straightforward to enter, mine were spread across 4 schools but AACOMAS accepted all of them and counted them correctly. Just be aware that any repeat class you take has to have equal or more credit hours than the one it is replacing, otherwise it'll just be counted as another class.

And I think your ECs are fairly decent as well, just keep it up during your postbacc.
 
Jan 31, 2012
2,672
809
There are schools with cut offs and you might want to find out the details of each individual school before you apply. I think your greatest enemy will be the computer, once it makes it past the cutoff then the adcoms will recognize that your weakest grades are from 12 years ago. From what I understand, schools look at trends, so they'll notice the huge upward trend.

As for EC's, 6 months of clinical volunteering is solid and military experience really goes a long way, especially since you're still involved with helping veterans. A credible adcom on this forum even said that it's equivalent to a +5 MCAT/0.5 GPA boost on your application. I don't know, I think you have a solid application with good EC's, a nice life story, and strong recent grades.
 
OP
C
Feb 4, 2013
13
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thank you all for your answers. I enjoy how helpful this forum is. I used to google questions I had regarding pre-med issues, and frequently was directed here, but only registered as a user very recently.

So, it looks like I will need to call my old school and my potential schools as well.

I am relieved to hear my EC's are not as weak as I thought they were. It is also good to hear that the grade replacement situation is easy to use.

I can't thank you guys enough, as it has been very vexing to hear "Well, when my brother applied they said.....(insert nonsense)"
 
OP
C
Feb 4, 2013
13
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I emailed the Miller School of Medicine in Miami, and they said they do not screen for GPAs. The email said that they go through each and every application thoroughly.

I intend on getting a hold of other schools too. I am wondering if school administration openly admit that they screen for GPAs.

As a positive update, I calculated my GPA with all of my classes and it is a 3.33 with no replacements. I have not calculated it with replacing bad grades with newer better ones. I still have a good 30+ credits left, so if those grades end up being on the same trend as my last 2 years, I should be able to boost it even more.
 

xffan624

5+ Year Member
Jan 6, 2013
1,818
1,983
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Hello all,

This is my first post/thread and I apologize in advance if it has been answered. I was not able to find the answer to my question through a search.

A little background:

I am a 30 yr old non-traditional military veteran pre-med student. I attended college right after high school and did very poorly. I had no direction and did not care about school. My GPA from this period is a 1.4 with around 5 F's or so. This was from about 12 years ago. Fast forward to the last few years and I have an Associate's with a 3.89 and currently have a 3.81 at the four year school I am attending (Biology major). If I am able to graduate with a Bachelor's Degree in Biology with a 3.8+, I am guessing I will have an overall GPA of around a 2.8-3.1 when the older classes are factored in.

My question is if medical schools look at the whole application of every submission? Or, do some schools make a cut off and only review applications with a certain GPA and up?

For example, will some medical schools reject applications with a 2.9 GPA right away without looking through the whole application?

Thank you in advance for any help. I think this site/forum is an amazing asset.

OP, while my GPA was not as a low, it definitely was on the bottom end (3.34) and my sGPA was 2.99. MCAT was 34 which I definitely think opened up a couple doors that might have been closed with those low GPA's I am finishing up 5 years military service as an Army medical service corps officer. FL resident. Schools I have received interview invites at:

University of Florida
UA-COM (Tuscon)
Eastern Virginia Medical School
Virginia Tech Carillon College of Medicine
USF -SELECT

I am just one applicant but I would definitely take a hard look at those schools as they gave me a chance (and one acceptance!).
 
OP
C
Feb 4, 2013
13
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I looked into NOVA (DO School), and they require that both sGPA and cGPA be over a 3.0.

I have another question.

Do Med Schools look more favorably on applicants who are graduating from their undergraduate school? (i.e. Would Yale Med School look favorably on an applicant getting his/her Bachelor's from Yale, or does it not matter if the undergraduate work was done at a comparable school? )

I'm guessing this may be school specific just like the GPA screening. I would appreciate if anyone shared any first hand knowledge of GPA screening and/or undergrad/med school agreement favoring.

Thanks
 
Jan 31, 2013
136
2
Status
Pre-Medical
It really doesn't matter a whole lot where you went to undergrad. I've known/read of people who went to Harvard, Yale and Stanford for undergrad but didn't even get a med school interview. On the other side of the coin, I've known people who went to a small state school and got interviews at top tier schools. It's more about your application than where you went to school.
 
OP
C
Feb 4, 2013
13
0
Status
Pre-Medical
It really doesn't matter a whole lot where you went to undergrad. I've known/read of people who went to Harvard, Yale and Stanford for undergrad but didn't even get a med school interview. On the other side of the coin, I've known people who went to a small state school and got interviews at top tier schools. It's more about your application than where you went to school.
I agree with your statement. I have definitely rejected the "if you go to a tier 2 school for undergrad, you can forget med school" nonsense I have heard 1000x.

I feel like too many students get caught up in the USNews Rankings as the end all, be all of application strength, when it is just one of many factors. Ultimately, I don't think any person can speak for how a specific school views applicants anyway. There are too many variables in applications that comprise the appeal of any given student anyway.

As a personal story... I had a close friend go to the best state school in my state and he constantly bragged about how much that meant in terms of his applications. Low and behold, he got 6 rejection letters and two interviews. At the interviews he said he was humbled in the group sessions when people spoke of their Ivy League educations, and various Master's Degrees. The interviewer at one school basically harangued him the whole time about his low GPA and pretty much told him he did not believe my friend has the aptitude to cut it at the specific grad school.

As a 30 year old, I really don't have interest in this kind of petty BS anyway. It also kind of made me laugh that someone would do so much bragging about going to a state school no less. I feel like a lot of younger pre-med students I encounter are extremely immature in terms of personal development that presents itself in this "know it all" way. Whereas I find it great that many of them are super-focused and driven to achieve academically, I find that they are riddled with immaturites that will definitely present them with issues when they meet REAL challenges in the future. I hear a lot of them telling each other how the world really works, and how the whole med school (application) process really works. Admittedly, I was like this as a high school student, so I get it. It still makes me shudder though. I should mention that by no means am I downing younger traditionally aged applicants. I know I am speaking of specific individuals that I have encountered. I have also met a good deal of 18-22 yr olds who seem far more mature than some 40 yr olds I know. I really enjoy conversing with these types about the whole process, as their excitement matches my own, and they come off much more level-headed.

I apologize for the tangent I went off on....

So, aside from the rank of med school or the 'prestige' or how well known it is - I am still wondering if schools look favorably upon applicants from THEIR OWN undergrad school.

I will be applying to the med school of my undergrad school, and based on its recent class profiles, it does not seem like they give preference. Only a small percentage of the newly formed classes come from their own undergrad school. It seems as if I just answered my own question. :idea:
 
May 11, 2012
1,018
43
Status
Medical Student
I emailed the Miller School of Medicine in Miami, and they said they do not screen for GPAs. The email said that they go through each and every application thoroughly.

I intend on getting a hold of other schools too. I am wondering if school administration openly admit that they screen for GPAs.

As a positive update, I calculated my GPA with all of my classes and it is a 3.33 with no replacements. I have not calculated it with replacing bad grades with newer better ones. I still have a good 30+ credits left, so if those grades end up being on the same trend as my last 2 years, I should be able to boost it even more.
Good plan OP. You should be contacting all of the schools you will be applying to and making sure that you won't get pre-screened. Once you are past being screened out I think your application will be very successful if your GPA trend holds and you do well on the MCAT. Your status as a non-trad and transformation as a student should garner a lot of respect and I see you having a good cycle applying. DO schools might even salivate over you, many of them are extremely friendly to non-trads.

What is your state of residence?
 
OP
C
Feb 4, 2013
13
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks for the kind and reassuring words as1212559. My grades are still on the same path....mid term grades just came out, and I have; A, A+, A+, A- . 3 of those are sciences with labs.

My current state of residence is CT. However, I am relocating to FL over the summer, and transferring to a school down there to finish my bachelors.

Another member on here spoke of the 'warmer' feel of DO school interviews vs those of MD schools. I plan on applying to both types of schools, but it will be nice to encounter some that will be more accepting (appreciative if I go out on a limb) of the journey so far.
 
Oct 27, 2012
67
1
25
www.facebook.com
Status
Pre-Medical
I really wish you luck in getting in and certainly hope you do! I love to hear non-trad stories and always hope things work out for them. (Not that I don't wish the best for those matriculating and traditionals, lol, as that's what I plan on doing).

When do you plan on applying?
 
OP
C
Feb 4, 2013
13
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I intended on originally applying this cycle, but my academic advisor informed me that there was a substantial chance of not being able to fit my remaining 6-9 classes in the next two semesters due to scheduling limitations. My current school is notorious for this. Not enough sections are offered in upper level sciences so students very often take 5 years to graduate. Summer and winter sessions usually don't have upper level sciences either, and the school is very strict about not allowing these requirements to be filled at other local institutions that offer them. It definitely gives off a sense that the school cares more about tuition $$ than truly forwarding students' progression. I'm sure there are many schools like this though.

Really just means more mcat prep time for me, and more time to get some more shadowing in. Nothing wrong with that! Just hoping I can't grow a white beard by the time I eventually stary med school!
 
Last edited:
Jan 4, 2010
257
1
Status
Pre-Medical
You may want to check into it, some schools will let you toss away college credit from ten years ago as long as you retake the courses. It might be worth it to check into that so your other coursework doesn't hurt you.
I know the newer schools in MI like Oakland, Central, Western seem to have a 3.25 overall and 3.0 science cutoff.
 
OP
C
Feb 4, 2013
13
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I read a paragraph from the AMCAS page that all attempted coursework needs to be entered, regardless of a specific institution's handling of said coursework. It specifically addressed school grade replacement, academic forgiveness, and academic bankruptcy. I'll see if I can find the link and post it - I am kind of running out the door right now.

I am also going to sit down today and do one of those excel spreadsheets to know what I am actually looking at GPA wise. One of my transfer schools did one for me and they figured a 3.33 and I think this is without any kind of replacements. I have some horrendous grades from 2000-01, but I have 118 credits under my belt as of the end of this semester. Surely, all of this extra coursework I am doing will boost up those limited amount of credits littered with F's and D's.

It is pretty disheartening that the actions of 15 years ago will really impede my progression and matriculation into med school, but this is med school after all. Can't change the past though, can only learn from it and transform accordingly!