How are grades from semesters abroad reported to medical schools?

Lannister

5+ Year Member
May 21, 2013
5,418
7,718
Casterly Rock
Status
Medical Student
Next fall I am studying abroad in Chile. I know that my school's policy is that credits earned while studying abroad come in as transfer credits. The grades for these courses won't appear on my transcript, and won't be figured into my GPA. However, the courses, and the credit I received from them (so long as I got a C or above), will appear on my transcript. So basically, my home institution treats these classes as pass/fail.

When I apply to medical school, will I have to submit my undergrad transcript + the transcript that I got from my program in Chile that shows the actual grades? Or since the courses appear on my undergrad transcript, will I only have to submit my undergrad transcript?

The classes I plan to take sound like a lot of work (just as hard as any I would take at my home institution), and while I of course want to learn while studying abroad, I don't want to spend all my time doing schoolwork. I do that at my home institution. I want to have time to explore and volunteer and have fun. The courses are also taught in Spanish, which I am proficient at but not fluent.

So another question: if I do have to submit the transcript showing my grades from study abroad, how much weight will med schools put on these grades, knowing that the courses were taught in Spanish? None of them will be science classes, all language and internship/service learning classes. Would it be okay to get mostly Bs and a few As? Obviously I will try my best to get good grades but I know it will be very challenging to do so.
 
OP
Lannister

Lannister

5+ Year Member
May 21, 2013
5,418
7,718
Casterly Rock
Status
Medical Student
So a little more to add. I'm looking at the AMCAS website and it says transcripts are not required from, "Foreign college outside of the U.S., U.S. Territories, and Canada".
I'm not sure if this technically applies to me. I'm not directly enrolling at a Chilean university, I'm taking classes through a study abroad program. But that program is not run by any US institution.
 

Lya

5+ Year Member
May 13, 2013
1,231
290
NY
Status
Medical Student
My impression is that as long as the credits, course titles, and grades are shown on your transcript, you are all set. You just put them verbatim on your AMCAS primary as shown on your transcript from your home institution. My guess is that you don't necessarily need to provide Chile transcript, since they are already on your original transcript, but this might be something you need to call AMCAS for a definitive answer.

For the second question, I highly doubt that medical schools will care to recognize that difference. Bs and As are fine. GPA and final grades are what ultimately matters, no matter how difficult they are. In your interviews, you can clarify the difficulty level and other details. In your secondary essays, you might be able to discuss briefly about this, but I don't think it will be that much effective in the end.
 
OP
Lannister

Lannister

5+ Year Member
May 21, 2013
5,418
7,718
Casterly Rock
Status
Medical Student
@xiwang
So on the link you gave me (which is very helpful by the way, thanks a ton), it keeps referring to "the sponsoring US institution". That means my home institution, right?
 
OP
Lannister

Lannister

5+ Year Member
May 21, 2013
5,418
7,718
Casterly Rock
Status
Medical Student
According to that document, my program (IES) is on a list of programs that AMCAS doesn't accept transcripts from, so I won't have to provide a transcript. And if my home institution doesn't report the grades on my transcript, then I don't have to report the grades as anything other than pass/fail on my AMCAS app.

Also, sorry, another question. That document seems to imply there is a limit on the number of pass/fail classes you can take. Does anyone know what that limit is? I'd be taking 5-6 classes pass/fail and none of them would be pre-reqs.
 

jeghaber

5+ Year Member
Feb 25, 2013
1,338
629
Status
Medical Student
According to that document, my program (IES) is on a list of programs that AMCAS doesn't accept transcripts from, so I won't have to provide a transcript. And if my home institution doesn't report the grades on my transcript, then I don't have to report the grades as anything other than pass/fail on my AMCAS app.

Also, sorry, another question. That document seems to imply there is a limit on the number of pass/fail classes you can take. Does anyone know what that limit is? I'd be taking 5-6 classes pass/fail and none of them would be pre-reqs.
I had several mandatory P/F courses on my transcript in addition to my semester abroad, which were, as you've figured out by now, all translated to P/F. There is no official AMCAS mandated limit to how many P/F courses you can take. Generally, taking pre-reqs P/F is frowned upon by medical school admissions and taking major requirements P/F may be frowned upon by your school/department, but there are no hard rules for any other courses as long as you're not "abusing" the system. That being said, your specific school might have its own limit for how many courses you can take P/F.
 
OP
Lannister

Lannister

5+ Year Member
May 21, 2013
5,418
7,718
Casterly Rock
Status
Medical Student
I had several mandatory P/F courses on my transcript in addition to my semester abroad, which were, as you've figured out by now, all translated to P/F. There is no official AMCAS mandated limit to how many P/F courses you can take. Generally, taking pre-reqs P/F is frowned upon by medical school admissions and taking major requirements P/F may be frowned upon by your school/department, but there are no hard rules for any other courses as long as you're not "abusing" the system. That being said, your specific school might have its own limit for how many courses you can take P/F.
Excellent, thank you! I will ask if there is an institutional limit on pass/fail courses when I talk to my study abroad advisor next week.