Help a non-trad with a few bad grades get into medical school. Thanks!!

Dec 26, 2013
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Pre-Medical
Hi All,


This is my first post so hopefully I'll get some good feedback, this definitely seems like the best place on the web to post my situation.


While doing some career searching, I recently shadowed a friend’s dad for a couple of weeks (EM) and believe that this is exactly what I want to do with my life. I want to go to medical school for the entering class of 2016/2017 and become an EM physician.


I will be 24 years old next month, and graduated with a 3.8 GPA in a BA program in Economics and International Relations including A’s in statistics and econometrics. Took absolutely no science courses in college, so I’d need to do a postbac program.


Major problem is, even though I graduated with a 3.8 (84 credit hours) (, I transferred from another 4 year university where I had a 2.7 (60 credit hours) including five “D” grades (computer science, calculus, accounting, business, and one other class). Am I totally screwed for medical school, even if I get a 3.8-4.0 in a postbac program and do decently well on the MCAT?


If it helps, I’m a Texas resident, which opens up 8 out of state shielded medical schools to me, but again I worry about my D’s from when I was a freshman/sophomore.


Say I got a good science GPA in a postbac- if I applied to all 8 Texas schools, another holistic 8 out of state schools, and another 8 D.O. schools, would I stand a decent shot at getting into 1-2 of them?

P.S. I'm only considering American schools at this point.


Thanks for the feedback!
 

prettyNURSEtoMD

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Jun 17, 2009
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Hello! I'm a Tx resident as well. I've had some low grades as well. Fortunately for you yours are not in sciences from what I'm reading correct? Except your Calculus which will count in your BCPM. Keep in mind TMDSAS does NOT do grade replacement as well as TCOM (Even though it is a DO). I have Cs from Intro to Chem and Intro to AP classes in which I have retaken from 2006. And I've done well on the other required prerequisites, O CHEM, Gen BIO etc. so what I have done since all of your grades and attempts will be counted is to take "extra" science and math classes to help "boost" my GPA. I already have 250. +/- credit hours from my two degrees so my GPA is pretty weighted so you have to be realistic on how many extra classes you will need to take and the grades you need to receive to hit your targeted GPA. I would just KILL your science grades from here on out. If you apply DO (out of state) keep in mind that your math classes are not calculated in your GPA. I think you will be fine.
 

MedWonk

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May 13, 2010
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I would say you could get in somewhere, particularly if you do well in the pre-reqs. I had a few grades on my transcript that were less than stellar, but maintained a decent GPA, did well in my post-bacc and got a solid MCAT score. End result is that I got in. It can certainly be done. Just don't be surprised when they ask about your grades, and don't BS them about the reason it happened. Show them that who you were then isn't who you are now.
 

DrMidlife

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I want to go to medical school for the entering class of 2016/2017
Too soon to have a schedule for your plan. Just get started. You need to do extremely well in classes you haven't taken yet, and you have to do well on the MCAT. See how your first term goes before you lock onto a schedule.
and become an EM physician.
Too soon to be so specific. You need a fairly broad understanding of the practice of medicine in the US, and EM is just one small part of that. Also it's generally accepted that you should wait to narrow down your specialty choice until 3rd year rotations. It's fine to have a favorite, but you need to convince a med school to make you a doctor not an EM doctor.
I will be 24 years old next month, and graduated with a 3.8 GPA in a BA program in Economics and International Relations including A’s in statistics and econometrics. Took absolutely no science courses in college, so I’d need to do a postbac program.

Major problem is, even though I graduated with a 3.8 (84 credit hours) (, I transferred from another 4 year university where I had a 2.7 (60 credit hours) including five “D” grades (computer science, calculus, accounting, business, and one other class). Am I totally screwed for medical school, even if I get a 3.8-4.0 in a postbac program and do decently well on the MCAT?
The only GPA calculations that matter in med school admissions are the calcs done by AMCAS, TMDSAS and AACOMAS. Sometimes a med school will also have additional GPA rules. GPA calculations made by your college have no standing. You will submit every transcript you ever received, and you will list every class and grade. There is no consideration for transfer credit. AMCAS and TMDSAS do not forgive old grades on a retake. AACOMAS does. No med school will ignore a class that your college chose to ignore.

Point being, you currently have a cumulative GPA of 3.34 by my calculations. This isn't good, but it's not a disaster, and the number goes up a bit if you do well in the prereqs. Bottom line, every grade you get from here out that isn't an A is a step away from med school.

Your "BCPM" GPA is also important and you are not starting fresh there. (bio, chem, physics, math.) Math & stats grades are included in science for TMDSAS and AMCAS. No math in the science GPA for AACOMAS. TMDSAS counts computer science as math. So those old D's stand for damage.

There are plenty of people who go to US MD or DO schools from where you are. What you need to do is be the adult in charge of your success in the prereqs and in your overall preparation for the admissions process and for the rigor of med school.
If it helps, I’m a Texas resident, which opens up 8 out of state shielded medical schools to me, but again I worry about my D’s from when I was a freshman/sophomore.
Texas offers academic fresh start, which others will mention, but I don't think you're damaged enough to need it.

Those shielded med schools aren't entirely shielded due to TX budget cuts. Out of state students are a source of revenue that is being used more and more. Not that this matters much for you.
Say I got a good science GPA in a postbac- if I applied to all 8 Texas schools, another holistic 8 out of state schools, and another 8 D.O. schools, would I stand a decent shot at getting into 1-2 of them?
Sure.
P.S. I'm only considering American schools at this point.
Good. Anybody who suggests your only chance at med school is in the Caribbean is completely full of crap.

Best of luck to you.
 
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Dec 26, 2013
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Attending Physician
It sounds like those grades were early in college, and you more recent grades were much better. That's good, and those D's likely won't hurt you too much. As others have stated, do your best to ace your premed courses, and you should be a competitive applicant.
 
OP
R
Dec 26, 2013
79
5
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks for the replies guys, very helpful.

I decided to check my 1st and 2nd school transcripts to get the exact grades, and the situation is a little better than I thought.

Here it is:

Total:
School 1 credits attempted: 57
School 2 credits attempted: 75

A's: 28
B's: 9
C's: 3 (one C includes Algebra and Trig I. Not sure if this counts towards science GPA?)
D: 5

D classes:

Algebra and Trig II: D (Then retook next semester and got a C)
Microeconomics: D (Then retook at next school and got A)
Accounting: D- Never Retook
Computer Science: D- Never Retook
Calculus I: D- Never Retook but Plan to Retake at Post-Bac.

So that being said, I'm guessing this at least boosts my chances more than I thought for a D.O. program and maybe an MD program?

Unless I'm mistaken, since 3 of those D's are replaced, to a D.O. committee, I really only have 2 Ds on my cumulative GPA (just accounting and comp sci, since I plan to re-take Calc in Postbac) and no D's or any bad grades yet on my science GPA.

What kind of MCAT score will I realistically need to have a shot at a D.O. or lower-tier MD?

P.S. Perhaps somebody would be kind enough to calculate my final science GPA and cumulative GPA assuming I made all A's in my postbac? (postbac= calculus and 2 semesters each of the core sciences). Big thanks by the way to Dr. Midlife for using the numbers I first gave to come up with the cumulative GPA.

Thanks guys!!!
 
Last edited:
Dec 26, 2013
31
10
Status
Attending Physician
Unless I'm mistaken, since 3 of those D's are replaced ....
Just to clarify, those D's have not been replaced. On your AMCAS application, if you took a class twice, you have to report BOTH classes. So those D's will factor into your GPA.

With 5 D's, your overall GPA likely will be less than competitive (around 3.3, based on your initial post). However, it appears they were early in your undergraduate tenure, which is good. A strong GPA in your junior and senior years, combined with a strong post-bacc GPA and a respectable MCAT score is the best way to mitigate those D's.
 
OP
R
Dec 26, 2013
79
5
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks for the clarification umcig.

Ok, so I ran the numbers, and assuming I made no mistakes:

Assumptions: 8 classes post-bacc (Calculus plus the sciences), Recieve ALL A's (possible I suppose)

AMCAS GPA:
Cumulative: 3.43
Science: 3.16 (C's and D's from freshman/soph year kill this figure)

AACOM GPA:
Cumulative : 3.53
Science: 4.0

TMDSAS (Texas): Even worse than AMCAS GPA due to "D" in Computer Science.

I hope my calculations were right. So it looks like I'm a decent chance at DO schools, and can pretty much forget MD schools with a 3.16 science gpa (still assuming I made all A's in my postbac, don't forget).

Are there are any holistic MD schools where I wouldn't get screened out with a 3.43/3.16 or should I just not bother and instead apply to every DO school?

If it matters to a holistic MD committee, I have a pretty unique story. I am a first generation American, neither of my parents attended college, I lived overseas after college in one of my parent's home countries, dropped out of a that country's air force after being selected/began F-16 pilot training due to health issues that I thought was a recurrence of my childhood asthma (tight chest) and led me on a 10 month journey in and out of doctor's offices the world over to figure out it was acid reflux all along and simple trip to Walgreens for Prilosec on the suggestion of my family doc solved it all(not joking). This got me interested in medicine.

Thanks!!
 

DrMidlife

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I hope my calculations were right.
It's a mistake to use your current GPAs to gauge your chances when you have a bunch of coursework remaining. That remaining coursework will change your cumulative GPA. You need to get supremely confident in how to calculate GPAs, including projecting what your GPAs will change to after you get more grades. Usually this means making friends with Excel or Google spreadsheets. The math is simple - you just have to care about it.
 
OP
R
Dec 26, 2013
79
5
Status
Pre-Medical
It's a mistake to use your current GPAs to gauge your chances when you have a bunch of coursework remaining. That remaining coursework will change your cumulative GPA. You need to get supremely confident in how to calculate GPAs, including projecting what your GPAs will change to after you get more grades. Usually this means making friends with Excel or Google spreadsheets. The math is simple - you just have to care about it.
What do you mean? The calculations I ran above are assuming I made all A's in 8 post-bac courses (1 calculus course, and the rest the core sciences plus or minus a class). So if I don't make all A's or I take less than 8 classes, the figures will be even less. I think my math was right...could be wrong though. Like you said its simple math, I just added/multiplied/divided.
 

DrMidlife

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What do you mean? The calculations I ran above are assuming I made all A's in 8 post-bac courses (1 calculus course, and the rest the core sciences plus or minus a class). So if I don't make all A's or I take less than 8 classes, the figures will be even less. I think my math was right...could be wrong though. Like you said its simple math, I just added/multiplied/divided.
I probably misunderstood - my apologies. Sounds like you're doing the right things. Be cautious about converting credit hours between schools. The AMCAS instructions are probably the most thorough about how to do this.

I did apps through AMCAS, TMDSAS and AACOMAS with 5 transcripts using 3 different credit hour systems in '07. My spreadsheet was insane.