DrPotatoHead

2+ Year Member
Mar 27, 2018
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  1. Pre-Medical
Hello all,

I am applying to medical school this coming spring and unfortunately have a downward trend in GPA. This is coming from a near 4.0 freshman year to about a 3.8, and now a 3.65. I am entering my junior year 6th semester and have been vigorously studying for the MCAT, my grades are largely inexcusable, but my mom had deteriorating health sophomore year and I was struggling among other things after she passed away early in 2020.

Again, I don't intend to use this as a way of justifying my poor grades, but this is a massive part of the reason as to why my grades took a hit; of which few my age can understand(and I hope never have to).

I plan on studying well for the MCAT and hopefully doing well(above average), I did well on standardized tests in the past. I also will be working my very best to get a 4.0 this semester and helping it boost my GPA, but my question: how will ADCOMs view this? I do not plan on just playing the sob-story card because I do not want to do that at all, but I feel like it is worth explaining as I understand that downward trends are highly frowned upon by admission committees.

This has been a considerable worry of mine lately and I am nervous. I have great extracurriculars, clinical experience, and work experience, but I feel as though the downward trend will override that. I still have a passion to do this greatly but was just hit at the wrong time with some horrible things. Now in the age of COVID, I will have a harder time because most will have a good excuse for no clinical experience.

Any advice would be great, thank you in advance.
 

CricB4Tube

2+ Year Member
Apr 9, 2018
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  1. Pre-Medical
The problem with getting a 4.0 freshman year is that your trend can't go anywhere but stay the same, or go down (good luck keeping that 4.0 in orgo/phys/calc). I don't think it's too detrimental so long as your GPA doesn't dip too low. I had a "downward" trend too (4.0 --> 3.8) but I don't think it mattered at all since it was still a good one. Just maintain mostly A's and very few B's and you should be fine.
 

Moko

Staff member
Volunteer Staff
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Sep 7, 2015
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  1. Attending Physician
Hello all,

I am applying to medical school this coming spring and unfortunately have a downward trend in GPA. This is coming from a near 4.0 freshman year to about a 3.8, and now a 3.65. I am entering my junior year 6th semester and have been vigorously studying for the MCAT, my grades are largely inexcusable, but my mom had deteriorating health sophomore year and I was struggling among other things after she passed away early in 2020.

Again, I don't intend to use this as a way of justifying my poor grades, but this is a massive part of the reason as to why my grades took a hit; of which few my age can understand(and I hope never have to).

I plan on studying well for the MCAT and hopefully doing well(above average), I did well on standardized tests in the past. I also will be working my very best to get a 4.0 this semester and helping it boost my GPA, but my question: how will ADCOMs view this? I do not plan on just playing the sob-story card because I do not want to do that at all, but I feel like it is worth explaining as I understand that downward trends are highly frowned upon by admission committees.

This has been a considerable worry of mine lately and I am nervous. I have great extracurriculars, clinical experience, and work experience, but I feel as though the downward trend will override that. I still have a passion to do this greatly but was just hit at the wrong time with some horrible things. Now in the age of COVID, I will have a harder time because most will have a good excuse for no clinical experience.

Any advice would be great, thank you in advance.
I'm sorry to hear about your mother. I suspect her health issues likely strengthened your desire to pursue medicine. If so, your personal statement would be a very appropriate place to mention her deteriorating health and death. Stick with the facts and no one will think that you are playing the sympathy card. With regards to your grades, we can put 2 and 2 together (one can only hope with so many MDs and PhDs on the committee!).

Having said that, you need to work on improving your GPA. This may mean taking a lighter semester to regain your footing and confidence. It may also mean giving yourself some time off to grieve. I worry that your grades may suffer if you are mentally not in a good place while you have overloaded your current semester with classes, MCAT studying (which is in itself a part-time job), and readying your application for submission. Without fully addressing the underlying issues for your recent downward trend, you may be inadvertently digging yourself into a deeper hole by trying to power through. So do consider whether you would be better served by applying at the end of senior year after graduation, rather than as a junior.

Lastly, we see GPA by year, so if you do get a 4.0 during this current semester, the downward trend would not be as noticeable. Just my thoughts and best of luck.
 
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DrPotatoHead

2+ Year Member
Mar 27, 2018
14
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
I'm sorry to hear about your mother. I suspect her health issues likely strengthened your desire to pursue medicine. If so, your personal statement would be a very appropriate place to mention her deteriorating health and death. Stick with the facts and no one will think that you are playing the sympathy card. With regards to your grades, we can put 2 and 2 together (one can only hope with so many MDs and PhDs on the committee!).

Having said that, you need to work on improving your GPA. This may mean taking a lighter semester to regain your footing and confidence. It may also mean giving yourself some time off to grieve. I worry that your grades may suffer if you are mentally not in a good place while you have overloaded your current semester with classes, MCAT studying (which is in itself a part-time job), and readying your application for submission. Without fully addressing the underlying issues for your recent downward trend, you may be inadvertently digging yourself into a deeper hole by trying to power through. So do consider whether you would be better served by applying at the end of senior year after graduation, rather than as a junior.

Lastly, we see GPA by year, so if you do get a 4.0 during this current semester, the downward trend would not be as noticeable. Just my thoughts and best of luck.
I definitely want to apply this cycle and want to stick with it. Also, thank you for letting me know that they look by year at the GPA, in that case, assuming I do well this semester, I will not have a downward trend; that is nice to know.

I appreciate the response, bests.
 
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