Engineer (BS 2.6 GPA, MS 4.0) - Coursework Advice For Med School Admission?

Oct 8, 2014
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Hi,

I graduated in 2010 with a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from a small liberal arts college. I didn't take my studies seriously, and graduated with a 2.6 GPA. This low GPA is mostly due to engineering classes. I earned A's in my science classes (chemistry, physics I & II) and A's/B's in my liberal arts classes. I did not take any upper level science classes (e.g. organic chemistry).

Despite my low GPA, I graduated with a job lined up and I've remained with the same company to this day. Additionally, I'm finishing up a M.S. Engineering degree this semester through Purdue University (online classes). I have a 4.0 GPA. All my courses have been math-intensive (i.e. they aren't project management). I realize that grad school grades are inflated to mostly A/B's, so a 4.0 GPA isn't anything special. FWIW, I am typically getting an A+ and exam grades in the top 10%. I'm the one losing out on grade curves. Point being, I've matured and know how to manage my time and study effectively.

I'm presently contemplating medical school. I'm not ready to commit to a full-time, post-bac program at this point. Additionally, my 2.6 GPA would present a lot of barriers to a post-bac program. I've been considering taking some online, undergrad science courses to further demonstrate my academic maturity. At this point, I would need to complete 52 credits (18, 3-credit courses) with A's to get an overall undergrad GPA of 3.0. This is a huge amount, but if I'm dedicated I could knock off 6-9 courses per year with part-time, online studies.

I'm looking for guidance as to what further education would be worthwhile to purse in order to enhance my application. I've been considering this program:
http://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/online-degrees/undergraduate/online-organic-chemistry/

Also, in terms of education, is the 3.0 cumulative undergrad GPA a hard line that I simply must cross? Or would completing 5 to 10 upper-level science courses with a 4.0 be a better goal?

Thank you.
 

DrMidlife

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DON'T DO ONLINE COURSEWORK. Why? A lot of med schools won't accept it, and those med schools that do accept online coursework don't like it. Total mistake for science coursework. Doubles down on the stain of your 2.6. Also you can't get good faculty recommendations from online work. Save CC and online coursework for things like English or humanities; use sparingly.

There are massive hordes of us on SDN who have been in your shoes, and a smaller horde of us who are now in med school. Many of us have invested completely ridiculous numbers of hours describing our experiences and providing guidance. Please look for this body of SDN work and spend a good 10 hours reading. Search SDN for "low GPA" and find the FAQs in this forum and in the postbac forum. Also review the sticky threads in the reapplicant forum, to educate yourself about common mistakes people make that result in large, untidy piles of rejection letters.

I think you already realize this, but the 4.0 in your grad program is effectively neutral. Med schools will not look at that 4.0 as a counterexample to your 2.6 undergrad record.

It's reasonable to approach your postbac as if you are producing a fresh undergrad performance, and it's possible to do that with evening coursework in a classroom over a couple of years.

If you're in Oregon, look at Portland State's postbac. It's stable and reputable, and might be possible with a part time job on the side.

Also make friends with DO so you can consider grade replacement. MD schools won't forgive any grades in GPA calcs; DO schools will.

Lastly, save your pennies and your sanity for the MCAT, because that will open/close doors for you.

Best of luck to you.
 
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DrMidlife

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Also, in terms of education, is the 3.0 cumulative undergrad GPA a hard line that I simply must cross? Or would completing 5 to 10 upper-level science courses with a 4.0 be a better goal?
There's no formula for GPA redemption, and the subjectives can kill you just as quickly as your numbers.

My guideline to get into a US MD school from way below 3.0: for each standard deviation below the MD matriculant average of 3.6, starting at 2 std devs down (around 3.3), you need one additional full time year of 3.7+ mostly upper div science. If you want to get into a competitive school you also need an SMP year, and if you want a shot at a UC or a SUNY you need to wait to apply until after you finish the SMP. You absolutely need an above average MCAT.

I've literally broken multiple keyboards describing all this repeatedly on SDN, as have others, so go find our stuff.
 
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Oct 9, 2013
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You can find online courses at some CC's that show up the same as in-person classes on your transcript.