I F'd up my freshman year, do I still have a chance?

Jul 27, 2017
7
2
Hey everyone, I know there's lots of threads like this, but I was wondering if I could get some specific input, any thoughts are welcome!

So, as you might expect, typical sob story about adjusting to college life, etc. and not doing well freshman year. First semester, I took 14 credits and ended up with a 2.857 GPA, including a B+ in general chemistry and a C- in general chemistry lab. Horrible, I know, I need to turn things around. Second semester, I took 17 credits and got a 3.706 GPA (average of 3.323 for both semesters) which is slightly better, lowest grade a B+ in multivar calculus. The thing is, I calculated that if I get a 4.0 for every semester until end of junior year (best scenario possible, not assuming I will) I will still end up with something around 3.75 which isn't exactly top notch. Is it worth retaking anything to try to boost my GPA or should I just focus on future classes?

One of my dream schools is WashU St. Louis, is there a chance I could still be considered if I really step things up for the rest of my undergraduate career? There or at other schools of similar selectivity. It's really discouraging that the median accepted GPA is a 3.9, crying. I know what I did wrong last year and I just wish I could go back, but I can't.

I'm a biomed engineering major and I have a pretty heavy course load this year (lin al, dif eq, statics) but I still have hope. It's just been a burning question whether or not I can still get into a very competitive school given my past grades and I'd like some advice on what to do. Thanks for reading!
 
Aug 16, 2017
7
7
Status
Pre-Medical
Hey everyone, I know there's lots of threads like this, but I was wondering if I could get some specific input, any thoughts are welcome!

So, as you might expect, typical sob story about adjusting to college life, etc. and not doing well freshman year. First semester, I took 14 credits and ended up with a 2.857 GPA, including a B+ in general chemistry and a C- in general chemistry lab. Horrible, I know, I need to turn things around. Second semester, I took 17 credits and got a 3.706 GPA (average of 3.323 for both semesters) which is slightly better, lowest grade a B+ in multivar calculus. The thing is, I calculated that if I get a 4.0 for every semester until end of junior year (best scenario possible, not assuming I will) I will still end up with something around 3.75 which isn't exactly top notch. Is it worth retaking anything to try to boost my GPA or should I just focus on future classes?

One of my dream schools is WashU St. Louis, is there a chance I could still be considered if I really step things up for the rest of my undergraduate career? There or at other schools of similar selectivity. It's really discouraging that the median accepted GPA is a 3.9, crying. I know what I did wrong last year and I just wish I could go back, but I can't.

I'm a biomed engineering major and I have a pretty heavy course load this year (lin al, dif eq, statics) but I still have hope. It's just been a burning question whether or not I can still get into a very competitive school given my past grades and I'd like some advice on what to do. Thanks for reading!
I am obviously no expert, but your turnaround is pretty impressive. Not exactly sure why you're so locked in to "a very competitive school" mind-set. My guess is if you do everything correctly from this point forward you will be in a strong enough position to be accepted into a program suited to your abilities and talents.
 

Princeton Medical Student

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Jul 4, 2016
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Med school isnt about getting into a high ranking, top amazing school. Extremely few benefit from such a mindset and you best forget it. Your end goal is to become a physician. Forget about freshman year and move on. DO NOT retake classes in which you have earned at least a C. If you earn good grades from here on out, not even HMS is off limits.
 
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AttemptingScholar

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Good advice from everyone above. To make it clear, retaking classes WILL NOT HELP YOU. The application services will get your grades and use them to calculate your GPA according to their guidelines. This GPA does not allow for replacement grades. If you retake GenChem Lab and get an A, it will be the equivalent of a lab of C- and a lab of A, regardless of if your school replaces grades.
 
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GodComplex

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Apr 24, 2012
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OP, I was in a similar situation as you several years ago and can tell you that yes, you still have a shot at top programs, but this also assumes the rest of you application is that of a top contender as well. I sabotaged my GPA early on and then got a 4.0 in everything, leaving me with around a 3.75 overall GPA when I applied. I still got invites to ~15 programs, several of which were top 20. Full disclosure: I also had a 99th percentile MCAT.

Best of luck going forward. It certainly can be done. Just focus on future classes and don't worry about the retakes for the moment.
 
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Blanky

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Drop the biomed unless it is your one true love. Pick a major you will enjoy and life will be better.
Btw great job turning you situation around i'm sure you will do well in the future.
 

21Rush12

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You can certainly turn it around; many have come back from much worse without needing SMP or other extensive repair (myself included). Forget the top school nonsense and focus on getting into any school by preparing yourself well as an undergrad.


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holdthemayo

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Do you want to go to Wash U or do you want to become a doctor? One bad semester will not keep you from becoming a doctor. Many people, me included, have come back from much worse starts than your's. Don't worry about where you might get in and focus on actually getting in somewhere. Good work turning things around, it really is impressive.
 
OP
deceased
Jul 27, 2017
7
2
Hey everyone, thanks for your input! It's good to set goals, but you all are right, no point in being so fixated on going to a competitive med school. I now understand why it's not worth it to retake any of those courses, contrary to what my academic advisor half-assedly suggested. I have to stay on top of my game and get everything else (EC's, MCAT, etc.) in order, but this is super encouraging.

I'd drop biomed for a little bit of an easier time, but I was surprised to find that I loved my engineering courses and actually had a lot of fun! Granted I enjoy chemistry but math not so much, but maybe it's worth suffering a little more just for a couple of semesters in order to get through. I was thinking about doing a PhD in biomedical engineering while getting my MD (this is an opportunity at Wash U) but of course still need to grow as a person and do more research before I figure out what I really want.

You can certainly turn it around; many have come back from much worse without needing SMP or other extensive repair (myself included). Forget the top school nonsense and focus on getting into any school by preparing yourself well as an undergrad.


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On an unrelated note, I think this was your 666th post, 21Rush12 :p
 
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md-2020

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WashU is pretty much the worst/most depressing program in the country to be comparing stats to....
 
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chemdoctor

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I'm not an expert by any means and there are probably people on here that could give you better advice. However, as mentioned above, the way you turned it around is still really impressive. Also, yeah a 4.0 every semester is best case scenario so prepare for it not to happen. But that's okay!! Maybe explain why you F'ed up freshman year. Also, study hard and certainly retake some of the gen Chem courses later. Also maybe if you can, take some easy A courses just to help the GPA. do well in your EC's, take the MCAT and do well and you should be fine. Idk about your dream school but certainly having a GPA above 3.7ish is around average for applicants. Another thing is that, you still have a strong chance if you show that you REBOUNDED from your failures and LEARNED FROM YOUR MISTAKES NOT MAKING EXCUSES. Own up to it, accept and improve! I think if you do those things, you should be good because, your turnaround is really impressive so you've already shown that you CAN do well, and that bad semester was just a little fluke.

Now, idk about your dream school because it's a really competitive one. If you're dead set on that, then you may wanna look into a post bacc because realistically your cumulative will be around a 3.68/3.72ish which is fine for other med schools but not that one. So if you're dead set on that, (I know how that feels) then you gotta do a post bacc and find your way to get there.
 
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flasheroonie

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May 24, 2010
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Hey everyone, I know there's lots of threads like this, but I was wondering if I could get some specific input, any thoughts are welcome!

So, as you might expect, typical sob story about adjusting to college life, etc. and not doing well freshman year. First semester, I took 14 credits and ended up with a 2.857 GPA, including a B+ in general chemistry and a C- in general chemistry lab. Horrible, I know, I need to turn things around. Second semester, I took 17 credits and got a 3.706 GPA (average of 3.323 for both semesters) which is slightly better, lowest grade a B+ in multivar calculus. The thing is, I calculated that if I get a 4.0 for every semester until end of junior year (best scenario possible, not assuming I will) I will still end up with something around 3.75 which isn't exactly top notch. Is it worth retaking anything to try to boost my GPA or should I just focus on future classes?

One of my dream schools is WashU St. Louis, is there a chance I could still be considered if I really step things up for the rest of my undergraduate career? There or at other schools of similar selectivity. It's really discouraging that the median accepted GPA is a 3.9, crying. I know what I did wrong last year and I just wish I could go back, but I can't.

I'm a biomed engineering major and I have a pretty heavy course load this year (lin al, dif eq, statics) but I still have hope. It's just been a burning question whether or not I can still get into a very competitive school given my past grades and I'd like some advice on what to do. Thanks for reading!
You can turn your experience into a story about how your experience helped you to learn how to learn. One of the most sought-after qualities of a med student is when one has figured out how to properly teach himself and learn something on his own. Don't retake anything, as every single course gets calculated into your AMCAS application, even those you've retaken. Just keep going and keep up the good work.
 
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Welshman

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No matter how much you like it I'd advise dropping BME. All you're doing is setting the difficulty to max and attempting the hardest level when you barely even know the game.

You also might be tickled to find out that medical schools don't care about what you majored in, only that you do well (this is an incredibly common misconception in my experience).

So if you're betting the farm on being a BME to get into the BME MD PHD program at the most stat competitive schools in the country, i'd really consider the odds.

You've already messed up freshman fall and even with that fire under your ass you only got a 3.7. Now considering the fact that things generally get harder as your progress... I wouldn't count on a 4.0 as a BME.

It's like getting into the ring with Mayweather and your not MacGregor or Pacquiao
 
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chemdoctor

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No matter how much you like it I'd advise dropping BME. All you're doing is setting the difficulty to max and attempting the hardest level when you barely even know the game.

You also might be tickled to find out that medical schools don't care about what you majored in, only that you do well (this is an incredibly common misconception in my experience).

So if you're betting the farm on being a BME to get into the BME MD PHD program at the most stat competitive schools in the country, i'd really consider the odds.

You've already messed up freshman fall and even with that fire under your ass you only got a 3.7. Now considering the fact that things generally get harder as your progress... I wouldn't count on a 4.0 as a BME.

It's like getting into the ring with Mayweather and your not MacGregor or Pacquiao
Lol nice little simile at the end after last nights fight xP
 
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PreMedMissteps

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but you all are right, no point in being so fixated on going to a competitive med school.
Congrats on the turn-around. I think you do have to retake the lab with the C-. I don't think MD med schools will accept that, but check.

As for being fixated on going to a competitive med school. While it's right not to focus on any particular med school, I'm assuming that you're talking about MD med schools in the US...correct? If so, please understand that there aren't any that aren't competitive. They're all competitive.
 

AttemptingScholar

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If you love engineering, then do it! However, from what I've heard (which admittedly isn't a lot, maybe others can back me up on this), BME is a bad type. If you don't get into medical school, there is less to do with that degree than other engineering degrees. Have you considered other programs, like chemical engineering? Food for thought.
 
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OP
deceased
Jul 27, 2017
7
2
Thanks for the kind words and solid advice everyone! :)

If you love engineering, then do it! However, from what I've heard (which admittedly isn't a lot, maybe others can back me up on this), BME is a bad type. If you don't get into medical school, there is less to do with that degree than other engineering degrees. Have you considered other programs, like chemical engineering? Food for thought.
Sadly, my school does not offer chemical engineering (which does have much higher avg starting salaries and more opportunities). In the event that I don't get in, I will like continue through the fast track program and get my BME masters in the following year before applying once again. That way, my senior year grades will be factored into the application. In the event that I decide fast track isn't for me, I can always spend that year volunteering as an EMT (possibly overseas), working as a scribe, or as a research assistant, right?

I know that major doesn't affect how med schools' decisions, but I wouldn't feel very good about it myself if I chose some 'easier' major just to get a higher GPA, especially if I didn't enjoy it. This might come off a bit arrogant, but I'm fairly certain that if I bust my ass (which I certainly did not last year) I can make a 4.0 while maintaining EC's, research, work, etc. Maybe I won't, we'll see. I've planned out the rest of the degree, and I think there are only a few objectively difficult engineering classes remaining, notably thermodynamics and physical chemistry, advanced engineering mathematics, engineering physiology, and maybe a couple more.

Obviously all med schools are competitive, but some are more so than others. I was under the impression that the majority of med schools will recalculate GPA and not take into account pluses and minuses, is this true? Therefore my C- in lab would become a C and be (marginally acceptable)? Can someone confirm please and thanks.
 

Welshman

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Obviously all med schools are competitive, but some are more so than others. I was under the impression that the majority of med schools will recalculate GPA and not take into account pluses and minuses, is this true? Therefore my C- in lab would become a C and be (marginally acceptable)? Can someone confirm please and thanks.
This is 100% not true. Everything gets calculated as it appears on your transcript and all schools on AMCAS calculate it the same way, so if your school gave you a plus or minus itll be there.

One thing to consider is if a C- in a lab still counts as passing for your degree, I know at my school it doesn't if its a major class. Also look into if it counts for medical schools as mentioned above.

In college I knew a lot of BMEs(gf was one), over the course of 4 years I saw BME as essentially a self-fulfilling prophecy. Essentially they did BME because they liked it during their freshman year (or liked the idea of it) or wanted a back up for if they didn't get into medical school. BME took most of their time so they couldn't do the full range of ECs they wanted to, get the grades they wanted to, or have as much fun as they wanted to. Eventually, by senior year they take a look at themselves and are faced with two choices: Apply to medical school with an app they think is sub par, to a profession everyone throughout college has tried to convince them not to do and to 4 more years of intense school harder than what they just finished. OR they can apply to an eng job right out of college, a much higher starting salary, skip 4 years of added school, and what not.

All but one of the people I knew opted for the latter...

But then again, if you want to do BME "Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string."
 
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deomnibusdubitandum

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If you love engineering, then do it! However, from what I've heard (which admittedly isn't a lot, maybe others can back me up on this), BME is a bad type. If you don't get into medical school, there is less to do with that degree than other engineering degrees. Have you considered other programs, like chemical engineering? Food for thought.
This isn't even remotely true. ChemE has a projected growth of around 3% whereas BME is 23%. Biomedical is a hot field to be in currently, without a doubt.

Biomedical Engineers : Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
 
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OP
deceased
Jul 27, 2017
7
2
One thing to consider is if a C- in a lab still counts as passing for your degree, I know at my school it doesn't if its a major class. Also look into if it counts for medical schools as mentioned above.

In college I knew a lot of BMEs(gf was one), over the course of 4 years I saw BME as essentially a self-fulfilling prophecy. Essentially they did BME because they liked it during their freshman year (or liked the idea of it) or wanted a back up for if they didn't get into medical school. BME took most of their time so they couldn't do the full range of ECs they wanted to, get the grades they wanted to, or have as much fun as they wanted to. Eventually, by senior year they take a look at themselves and are faced with two choices: Apply to medical school with an app they think is sub par, to a profession everyone throughout college has tried to convince them not to do and to 4 more years of intense school harder than what they just finished. OR they can apply to an eng job right out of college, a much higher starting salary, skip 4 years of added school, and what not.

All but one of the people I knew opted for the latter...

But then again, if you want to do BME "Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string."
Okay I'm confused now. A C- is passing for my degree here. Also, it's only a 1 credit hour lab. My question is if medical schools will accept a C- in a prereq (this one specifically)? I searched all over the net and couldn't come to a consensus, there was far too much disagreement with little or no credibility. I think I'll be okay with ECs, but the GPA is a concern. One of my BME premed friends has a 3.9 so I'm pretty sure it's just me being a lazy bum for the past year, it's definitely doable.

All in all, I'm an extremely stubborn person and all, which I probs come off as.
 
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