C's in prior prerequisite courses = death?

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me right round baby
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Oct 7, 2007
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How bad is it to have C's in more than one prerequisite course? My bad grades are spread out over my undergraduate career; it's not like I had a bad semester or anything, just a few bad classes that happened to be prereqs. I've used the search function but couldn't find the answer to this question.

My probable situation around application time will be:
- Overall GPA: ~3.55
- BCPM GPA: ~3.4
- Pure science GPA (minus math): ~3.23
- C+'s in Physics 1, Orgo 2, and possibly in either Biochemistry or Cell Biology.
- W in a different prereq. Did ok in the retake.

I have a good reason for the C+ in Physics. The others are my fault. I'll be taking other higher-level sciences, so my transcript should show that I'm able to handle difficult classes, but these three C's are making me nervous.

PS: I'm not asking about whether or not an acceptance would be revoked. I'm just trying to figure out how hard it will be to get an acceptance in the first place.

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Not impossible just makes the path more difficult though
Not impossible just makes the path more difficult though

The question is how much more difficult. Assuming all else is equal, am I on par with the person who has a 3.0 GPA? A little better off? A little worse? I'm trying to get an idea of where I stand so I know how much harder I need to work.

If I'm worse off than the 3.0 person then maybe I should be looking into masters degrees to prove my worth.
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Definitely makes it harder on you but it doesn't preclude you from getting accepted. There are stories of sub 3.0 applicants out there. I got in with C's in molecular bio, biochem, and ochem if it matters. :p
I had C's in Ochem I and Gchem II. My GPAs were similar to yours.
I had c's in Orgo and gen chem due to taking both at horrible community colleges. When I took my DAT I did pretty good in those two sections and at my interviews the adcom people said that as long as you've proven you can do the work on the DAT they were able to overlook the classes. Focus on the DAT's and you'll be fine.
I'm destined for a C in english this year.. yet I got a 25 in RC.. odd isnt it..

I'm hoping it won't hinder my application too much.. I'm more worried that if I have to reapply next year that this year's C in english will hurt me...
- BCPM GPA: ~3.4
- Pure science GPA (minus math): ~3.23

BTW, BCP is used for Dental Admissions (math = non-science, BCP = 3.23). BCPM is Medicine only. You wouldn't want to be confused for a Pre-Med, would ya? :p
I got B- from organic chem 1 and I thought B- = death so I retook it and got an A.
Maybe I am oversensitive but I think C = death death.
To the OP
I had 10 C's over the course of my undergraduate (maybe one or two NOT in science pre-reqs and upper div science as a Biology major) at UCLA, retook one of those C-'s only to get a C+ in Microbiology to get C number #11, and barely pulled my overall GPA to a 3.0 after the summer after my 4th year. On my AADSAS app, I have a 2.99 Science GPA and a 3.14 overall GPA after doing 3 semesters of post-bacc work.

Now I have an acceptance at Indiana! Keep working and keep improving!
I had 3 C's and a C+ (Chem and Physics) at UCLA due to personal issues which led to a bad spring quarter, which turned into a bad summer, which turned into a dropped fall quarter, which turned into dropping out of school. This gave me time to startup a rock band and play at all the major LA clubs, as well as to enlist into the Navy's Delayed Entry Program as a medical corpsman before I ended up quiting both, re-enrolling in school, and getting back on track. Today I've been accepted to USC and have two more interviews lined up.

So no, C's dont kill you, and neither does dropping a quarter, or even dropping out of school (although joining the Navy as a medical corpsman attached to a Marine batallian in Iraq might).

Btw, your grades are better than mine. I had a 3.3 overall, 3.0 science.
Not death, just a little stab. I'm kidding, you're fine. Just get awesome grades. I know many friends who had C's and got in. Keep your head up!
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what's done is done. just forget about it. do well in your classes now on and if you get the chance, retake the courses that you did the worst in. i got 2 D's in my undergrad (good reason why, but doesn't change the fact i got the D's) and probably like 4 C's or so. Just have an upward trend and compensate by either having a strong DAT or take more upper division courses (i took 5 during the summer) and doing well.

Hope that helps OP. Good Luck!
Thanks everyone! I feel a lot better now. Perspective is good.
Holy heck!
You have a pretty high GPA for 3 C's...
Don't give up! Character is much more regarded than GPA.
As long as they can believe that you're not a "C" student, then they'll probably oversee it.
You are totally fine. Rock the DAT, and you should have no trouble at all busting into dental school.

My GPA was 3.45, with C+'s in Physics II, P-Chem, Biophysical Chem, and Advanced Inorganic chem, and I'm in...
Hi OP! Best of luck! I think if you do well on the DAT and the rest of your application package is in good shape you should be fine! My GPA is a bit lower than yours, I know I got a C+ in Bio2, Org 2, and maybe something else, and I've been accepted to 3 dental schools so far.

I know it helps if you show improvement over the course of your undergrad career and maybe score some sweet A's in upper level science courses to make up for the earlier low grades.

Good luck!:luck:
yea my gpa is ~3.3 and science gpa is a lil below 3, but got a 22 on dat to make up for it lol and got accepted to my #1choice school.....if your gpa sucks, make sure to compansate it with DAT ( im sure everyone knows )
I got D's in Bio 1 and Organic 2. Retook each and got A's.

I also had a C in Organic 1, which I never retook.

My final GPA was around a 3.5 even with the bad grades averaged in.

Keep truckin and things will work out.

Definitely makes it harder on you but it doesn't preclude you from getting accepted. There are stories of sub 3.0 applicants out there. I got in with C's in molecular bio, biochem, and ochem if it matters. :p

Not to steal the thread but it looks like i'll be taking a C in biochem this semester. I got raped on the last two tests. So, tinman831, where did you get in? I'm from texas as well, should I retake biochem 1, or take biochem 2, or neither?
i had more than twice the amount of Cs in prereqs and my gpa is lower than yours and i'm not dead. you'll be okay
It really seems like scoring high on the DAT makes up for a low GPA. There are studies that point to success in years 1 and 2 of dental school depending on how well you did on the DAT....I read that in the ADEA website.

I also bought the official guide and it gave me a boost of confidence to see how many schools had accepted students with even 2.7 science GPAs! And 16 on DAT!

At the end of the day.......it's not all about the numbers, it's the whole package :cool:
OP, I was in the same boat after my first two years. I even considered changing my major and going to law school. Parents intervened and said keep trying. I did and scored pretty well on the DAT and have gotten an interview, no acceptances yet but you gotta start somewhere. Keep up the hard work, never know because they might look at that little thing called perseverance and like that characteristic! My advice would be to continue getting better grades and own the dat, but also try to find some way to set yourself apart since your grades arent gonna do it in a positive way. Find some type of research or community help that relates to dentistry that no one else will be able to add to their apps