resilience123

5+ Year Member
Apr 10, 2013
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I keep hearing about upward trends over and over when I speak with advisers and other pre-med friends. I want to know if it really does make an impact. For example, I did terrible the first few years in school and started becoming a serious student two years ago (this was when I realized I actually wanted to go into medicine). Anyways in those two years my GPA is - 3.59 and science GPA is - 3.6 BUT cumulative GPA and cumulative science GPA is 3.0.

Sometimes it feels like it sounds too good to be true and that I'm hanging up all my dreams on this "upward trend" reasoning because obviously there are other students that have a much better GPA without needing to go through an upward trend phenomenon.
 

The_Bird

OvO
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Jun 26, 2011
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An upward trend shows that you can change your ways and move from being a mediocre or good student, to an excellent one. This is what adcoms are going to see when they look at an app that shows improvement over time. But your overall GPAs matter. They need to be high and you need to have performed well in your prerequisite courses (bio, chem, ochem, physics, etc) or, at least, done well in upper division science coursework.

You can look at it in terms of individual course categories, as well. Say that you get a C in ochems I&II, but you make As in biochems I&II. It doesn't erase prior poor performance, but it shows that your study skills, time management skills and drive have matured.

Bottom line, an upward trend makes you look really good if you can pull your GPAs out of the hole (to a 3.5-3.6+) and it can save your app.
 

Dr. Trenb

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Dec 30, 2014
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It's subjective. In other words, it's up to adcom/committee to decide how much of an impact your trend has.
 
OP
resilience123

resilience123

5+ Year Member
Apr 10, 2013
37
5
Status
Pre-Medical
An upward trend shows that you can change your ways and move from being a mediocre or good student, to an excellent one. This is what adcoms are going to see when they look at an app that shows improvement over time. But your overall GPAs matter. They need to be high and you need to have performed well in your prerequisite courses (bio, chem, ochem, physics, etc) or, at least, done well in upper division science coursework.

You can look at it in terms of individual course categories, as well. Say that you get a C in ochems I&II, but you make As in biochems I&II. It doesn't erase prior poor performance, but it shows that your study skills, time management skills and drive have matured.

Bottom line, an upward trend makes you look really good if you can pull your GPAs out of the hole (to a 3.5-3.6+) and it can save your app.
In that case it seems like there isn't really any reason to take upper level science classes unless it will significantly impact your GPA. I've accumulated too many credits so there's no way my GPA will be budging to the 3.4 or 3.5 range by getting a few A's. I've done what I can to increase it from a 2.8 to 3.0 - it's probably not going to go up any more than that.

Just another question: are post-bac GPAs calculated separately on the application or is a student's entire GPA calculated together?
 
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resilience123

resilience123

5+ Year Member
Apr 10, 2013
37
5
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Pre-Medical
You can look at it in terms of individual course categories, as well. Say that you get a C in ochems I&II, but you make As in biochems I&II. It doesn't erase prior poor performance, but it shows that your study skills, time management skills and drive have matured.
That is sort of what I did do in those two years. Prior to the last two years I had only taken 3 terms each of: general biology, general chemistry, and A&P. I did really bad in those classes. So in the last two years I did the following:
  • I decided to retake general biology and ended up acing.
  • Decided to not retake general chemistry and instead took three terms of Ochem with straight A's.
  • Retook A&P (got straight B's in it)
  • Took Genetics, Biochem, and Molecular Bio - aced all of those.
  • Took Physics got B+, B, and A+.
Coupled with my terrible cumulative GPA, I wasn't sure if those two years would make much of a difference to the adcom.
 

summergirl

7+ Year Member
Feb 28, 2012
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When people say upward trends matter, they usually mean when the upward trend ends with a 3.75+. Ending with a 3.6 as the upper limit of your upward trend doesn't seem that impressive at all.
 
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resilience123

resilience123

5+ Year Member
Apr 10, 2013
37
5
Status
Pre-Medical
When people say upward trends matter, they usually mean when the upward trend ends with a 3.75+. Ending with a 3.6 as the upper limit of your upward trend doesn't seem that impressive at all.
Well that's good to know. Do you have any advice as to what I can do from hereon, besides focusing on the MCAT (I'm studying that in October).
 

The_Bird

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That is sort of what I did do in those two years. Prior to the last two years I had only taken 3 terms each of: general biology, general chemistry, and A&P. I did really bad in those classes. So in the last two years I did the following:
  • I decided to retake general biology and ended up acing.
  • Decided to not retake general chemistry and instead took three terms of Ochem with straight A's.
  • Retook A&P (got straight B's in it)
  • Took Genetics, Biochem, and Molecular Bio - aced all of those.
  • Took Physics got B+, B, and A+.
Coupled with my terrible cumulative GPA, I wasn't sure if those two years would make much of a difference to the adcom.
You ought to calculate your GPAs taking counting retakes only and see how much that bumps them up. DO schools count only retakes, so your GPAs for osteopathic applications may be much higher than your previously calculated GPAs, thus making you competitive.
 

Goro

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Jun 10, 2010
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Rising trends are always helpful...but it all depends upon how steep that rising trend is. Successful reinventors tend to do much better than 3.5/3.6...more like 3.8+.

DO schools and your state MD schools will probably be your best chances.


I keep hearing about upward trends over and over when I speak with advisers and other pre-med friends. I want to know if it really does make an impact. For example, I did terrible the first few years in school and started becoming a serious student two years ago (this was when I realized I actually wanted to go into medicine). Anyways in those two years my GPA is - 3.59 and science GPA is - 3.6 BUT cumulative GPA and cumulative science GPA is 3.0.

Sometimes it feels like it sounds too good to be true and that I'm hanging up all my dreams on this "upward trend" reasoning because obviously there are other students that have a much better GPA without needing to go through an upward trend phenomenon.