Nov 15, 2013
Los Angeles, California
Hi there

I'm a 23 yr old grad of UCR (majored in media and communications), latina, california state resident.

I initially aimed to major in pre-med but after failing calculus, switched.

But I am now ready to target med school. I'm struggling to work out the steps to doing so.

Some background:

1750 SAT
3.0 GPA
500h + medical voluntary (red cross, hospital, first aid certification)
Completed courses: General Chemistry with lab (1 quarter)
Now based in Cambridge, MA, but willing to move

The options I've been considering:

- Post-bac programs (1 v 2 year) - Problem is, the 1 year ones require one year of chem, bio, biochem and physics (and don't teach the pre-reqs for med school)
- Extension classes to finish med school pre-reqs (and to boost GPA - is that possible? And how harmful is my GPA?)
- Military route (provides classes and funding)
- Alternatives?

Were I to take the extension classes approach would it then be worth going for Post-bac still or shooting straight for med school?

What sort of schools should I reasonably be targeting? UCSF? (I fulfill the underserved communities requirement very well...) San Diego State U, Brandeis, Cornell, Columbia, Georgetown? If I do want to target those schools, what would I need to do to get up to that level?

Thanks so much for all and any help, I really appreciate it!



5+ Year Member
Mar 17, 2011
Medical Student
Hi Carol,

I started the post-bacc thing a few years ago so I think I should be able to help you with some useful advice.

Firstly, your SAT scores don't matter other than for giving you an idea of how good you are at taking competitive test. However, while your B average 3.0 GPA might be considered "reasonable" in the non-medical field, it's a very low GPA to be applying to medical school with. The average GPA of an accepted student is a 3.7, so your GPA will make it very difficult for you to get into a US M.D. school (even if you do post-bacc work, which you'll need to do in order to have a chance at acceptance as you don't even have the pre-reqs completed).

I'm not sure if your list of schools is for a post-bacc program or for medical school. With that in mind, high tier MD schools (such as UCSF) will most likely be completely out of the question and you should instead be looking into low tier MD schools (usually private out of state schools) or consider D.O. schools. Being an underrepresented minority will help, but you face an uphill battle that will require a lot of hard work and sacrifice from you if you're to make this work. Few students are able to get into the most competitive MD programs and even fewer start with a 3.0 GPA.

For getting your required courses done, I'd recommend doing whatever is cheapest. This is an expensive process and you want to save all the money you can. Best of luck!
Nov 15, 2013
Los Angeles, California
Thanks so much for the advice - really helpful

Looking at the mdapplicants website, there are some cases of people with 3.0 getting in.

One suggestion I was given was to reapply to redo undergrad (excluding the basic requirements) under a pre-med major. Do you know if that would be possible?



Staff member
Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2011
Attending Physician
I am going to recommend that you make an appointment with the pre-health advisors at UCR. Even though you have graduated, their commitment to providing medical care to the inland empire will compel them to help you with your remediation even if it is not done at their institution. You need personalized evaluation and a more comprehensive plan than can be reasonably be gleaned here. We will still be here after you have made an outline of your plan!
Feb 26, 2013
Carol, if im being completly honest I'd say your GPA is way to low. 3.0 is on the wayyyy lower end of GPA's in medical school. It would be very difficult to get in with that GPA especially if your MCAT is not great(probably have much harder time since you have no science bckground). Considering you do not have much of a science background aside from General Chemistry it will be a long and grueling uphill battle because you have to get those required courses finished (biology/chem/ochem/physics/biochem) and then take your MCAT and do well. Although the volunteering is good it wont have as much pull if you dont have the major factors (MCAT/GPA.) The schools you have targeted might be out of your reach currently and I'd say you would have to work on that GPA in order to even be considered competitive (despite being latina etc) because there will be other latino/underserved minorities that will have much higher gpas with similar stats as you. i'd recommend talking to a pre-med advisor and take those required courses and raise that gpa up significantly.


7+ Year Member
Sep 12, 2011
Medical Student

Don't even think about "schools" to target yet. First things you need will be to:

1. Get prereqs done. (biology, organic chem, physics, etc).
2. Take the MCAT
3. Shadow some docs

Finally, are you sure this is something you want to do? The pre-medical requirements are no breeze & med school is much harder. It will be AT LEAST 2 years and TONS of work until you can realistically start med school. Getting all the pre-reqs done in a year + MCAT is possible with a Post-Bac program (a friend I know is doing her's at Bryn Mawr). After that, application cycle is ~ 1 year long ordeal. It also wouldn't hurt if you did some shadowing + research along the way.

I wouldn't even begin about worrying which schools until you have first - figured out that "Yes, medicine is what I want to do with my life and I know how much work it involves", and second - finished the above three requirements.