Need REAL advice for turning a 2.2 UG GPA into Med. School acceptance!

Jul 24, 2009
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Hello All,

This is my first time on SDN. I was referred here by a friend who say's you guys/gals give honest straight-forward advice. And I could really use some of that right about now. Ok, so here it goes...

I am a 32 year old male who completed a UG in Political Science in 2001. My UG GPA was and still is 2.2. I want to re-focus my career into medicine, which was always my true love.

So please know that I will, and am determined to get into medical school. This point is not up for debate... :)

With all this said, what is my best plan to "repair" my gpa in order to get into medical school:
A) Take the core med. school entrance courses and do well on them + plus taking some other UG classes to boost my UG GPA
B) Get a MS with a high GPA
C) Both 'A' and 'B'
D) Something else like...?

I would really like appreciate some realistic advice from you. Thx!

Jamik
 

beanbean

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I had a 2.5 UG GPA when I graduated in '90. Worked as an engineer, was a stay-at-home mom, etc for about 12 years. Started taking undergrad science classes independently part-time and then transitioned to full-time. Maintained a 4.0 gpa. Shadowed at a hospital; I already had an extensive volunteer EMS background. Took Kaplan and got a 33 on my MCAT (11,11,11) Accepted to and competed UConn post-bacc program with a 4.0. Accepted to med school and graduated in 2007. Now completing my last year of residency.
 

BennieBlanco

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I had a 2.5 UG GPA when I graduated in '90. Worked as an engineer, was a stay-at-home mom, etc for about 12 years. Started taking undergrad science classes independently part-time and then transitioned to full-time. Maintained a 4.0 gpa. Shadowed at a hospital; I already had an extensive volunteer EMS background. Took Kaplan and got a 33 on my MCAT (11,11,11) Accepted to and competed UConn post-bacc program with a 4.0. Accepted to med school and graduated in 2007. Now completing my last year of residency.
Congrats on your success story! Inspiring. :)
 

Narnian

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and I was worried about my 2.8 uGPA... I am pretty much doing the same thing, I was never awarded any degree though :D I just have a lot of credits. May I ask what kept your determination up against all the naysayers and the odds?
 

NTF

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1) I'd be inclined to tell you to skip the MS and just do an extended post-bacc where you accept nothing less than all A's from yourself. An adcom will be much more likely to give you a chance if he/she sees a long string of A's at the end of your transcript. Commit yourself now. Nothing but A's. Realistically you're looking at a 2-4 year GPA repair project. Possibly a second bachelor's. You're going to have to get that GPA up to at least 2.75 to avoid most auto-rejects and hopefully a 3.00.

2)Kill the MCAT. Do not take it until you are consistently getting mid-30s on every TIMED PRACTICE TEST.

3)Get a job that maximizes your patient exposure. EMT. Patient care associate at a hospital. Try a university hospital. You can get tuition benefits for your post-bacc.

4) Move to a state with lots of friendly instate schools and establish residency - Best States are TX, FL, and OH. Avoid CA & NY.

5)Go DO. Read about them. Cleanse yourself of the prejudice and add them to your application process.

6)Build ECs. Volunteering. Shadowing. Biomedical Research. Pick at least a couple things you love to do long term during your GPA repair. Many interviewers commented on how they appreciated that I had long relationships with my volunteer positions (2+ years each)

7)Avoid rushing the process and potentially taking on too much and digging yourself another hole. That is the surest way to kill your journey. Given how low your GPA is, you don't have a lot more room for slip-ups. MANTRA: ALL A's. ALL A's. Clear your plate. Remove all distractions. Prioritize. You're committing to 7-10 years of medical training and then a 20+ year career. Don't let trying to shave a year now torpedo the whole endeavor.

8)Seriously consider options like CNA, PA, and NP. They're not for everyone, but take a good long hard at what they do and your own motivations for medicine. Many people choose medicine out of vanity when in reality if it were just about the work & money, they'd be very happy as mid-level providers. Spend some time shadowing these types of providers as well as doctors.
 

beanbean

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My success was based on some hard work and a lot of luck. Why did UCONN accept me and surely reject others with better numbers? There are other factors besides your gpa and MCAT, but what is that "something" that got me past an initial numbers screen and eventually accepted?

What I believed helped me...
It had been over 12 years since my original UG work and I had health issues back then which had contributed to my low gpa. Enough time had passed that when I demonstrated that I could maintain a 4.0 GPA, much less emphasis was placed on my old gpa.
While applying for the formala post-bacc program I independently took the same classes as the other post-bacc students. A 4.0 gpa with a full courseload of 5 core science classes and labs means more than getting "A's" a couple of classes at a time.
I had excellent LORs from physicians I had worked with as an engineer including one from the Director of the department of medicine at one of the main teaching hospitals affiliated with UCONN.
I had almost 20 years of volunteer EMS experience including teaching EMS.
I worked to establish a relationship and obtain advice from the admissions department at UCONN. This ensured I was not just a name on a piece of paper and the advice I received was invaluable.
 
Jun 10, 2009
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hi, :)

just wanted to find out what is the difference, if any between a 2nd Bachelors Degree and a Post Bacc Degree...:confused:

i live in a state with many undergraduate schools, but no real Post Bacc Pre-med programs especially in my current city (actually NONE)...so...:eek:

would a 2nd BS in Biology with a high GPA from a reputable school work the same as a Post Bacc Pre-Med program? :confused:

Just as an FYI, my 1st Degree is a BBA in CIS...and since i am currently unemployed, I am focusing my job search in the health field

thanks...
EHC_MD
 

punkiedad

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I had a 2.5 UG GPA when I graduated in '90. Worked as an engineer, was a stay-at-home mom, etc for about 12 years. Started taking undergrad science classes independently part-time and then transitioned to full-time. Maintained a 4.0 gpa. Shadowed at a hospital; I already had an extensive volunteer EMS background. Took Kaplan and got a 33 on my MCAT (11,11,11) Accepted to and competed UConn post-bacc program with a 4.0. Accepted to med school and graduated in 2007. Now completing my last year of residency.
WOW. Hold out for big bucks selling the movie rights to this one........Congrats.
 
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gman33

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OP - Starting with a gpa that low, DO schools are your best bet.
The reason is that they allow you to retake old courses and only count the new grade. My guess is that you have a number of D's and maybe F's in that transcript. Replacing a few of them with A's will do wonders for your GPA. Now it may seem crazy to retake Political Science courses to get ready for med school, but it's all part of the admissions game. One idea would be to retake one of these non-science courses each semester while doing the prereqs.

If for some reason, you don't want to go to DO schools, this plan won't work. MD schools don't replace old grades, so this would be a waste of time.
 

EccentricPharmD

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Jan 5, 2009
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I had a 2.5 UG GPA when I graduated in '90. Worked as an engineer, was a stay-at-home mom, etc for about 12 years. Started taking undergrad science classes independently part-time and then transitioned to full-time. Maintained a 4.0 gpa. Shadowed at a hospital; I already had an extensive volunteer EMS background. Took Kaplan and got a 33 on my MCAT (11,11,11) Accepted to and competed UConn post-bacc program with a 4.0. Accepted to med school and graduated in 2007. Now completing my last year of residency.
Wow! great story! Do you mind me asking what your UG GPA was when you put in your application?
 
OP
J
Jul 24, 2009
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I had a 2.5 UG GPA when I graduated in '90. Worked as an engineer, was a stay-at-home mom, etc for about 12 years. Started taking undergrad science classes independently part-time and then transitioned to full-time. Maintained a 4.0 gpa. Shadowed at a hospital; I already had an extensive volunteer EMS background. Took Kaplan and got a 33 on my MCAT (11,11,11) Accepted to and competed UConn post-bacc program with a 4.0. Accepted to med school and graduated in 2007. Now completing my last year of residency.
beanbean, thank you for submitting your story. All I can say is wow! Your are truley an inspiration. The honest/realistic responses I got from you, and the members on this thread were invaluable. I know have a "plan of attack", and fortified motivation to got get what I want. Thank you!
 
OP
J
Jul 24, 2009
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Non-Student
1) I'd be inclined to tell you to skip the MS and just do an extended post-bacc where you accept nothing less than all A's from yourself. An adcom will be much more likely to give you a chance if he/she sees a long string of A's at the end of your transcript. Commit yourself now. Nothing but A's. Realistically you're looking at a 2-4 year GPA repair project. Possibly a second bachelor's. You're going to have to get that GPA up to at least 2.75 to avoid most auto-rejects and hopefully a 3.00.

2)Kill the MCAT. Do not take it until you are consistently getting mid-30s on every TIMED PRACTICE TEST.

3)Get a job that maximizes your patient exposure. EMT. Patient care associate at a hospital. Try a university hospital. You can get tuition benefits for your post-bacc.

4) Move to a state with lots of friendly instate schools and establish residency - Best States are TX, FL, and OH. Avoid CA & NY.

5)Go DO. Read about them. Cleanse yourself of the prejudice and add them to your application process.

6)Build ECs. Volunteering. Shadowing. Biomedical Research. Pick at least a couple things you love to do long term during your GPA repair. Many interviewers commented on how they appreciated that I had long relationships with my volunteer positions (2+ years each)

7)Avoid rushing the process and potentially taking on too much and digging yourself another hole. That is the surest way to kill your journey. Given how low your GPA is, you don't have a lot more room for slip-ups. MANTRA: ALL A's. ALL A's. Clear your plate. Remove all distractions. Prioritize. You're committing to 7-10 years of medical training and then a 20+ year career. Don't let trying to shave a year now torpedo the whole endeavor.

8)Seriously consider options like CNA, PA, and NP. They're not for everyone, but take a good long hard at what they do and your own motivations for medicine. Many people choose medicine out of vanity when in reality if it were just about the work & money, they'd be very happy as mid-level providers. Spend some time shadowing these types of providers as well as doctors.

nontradfogie, I have been looking for brutally honest advice like this since I decided to re-focus my career to medicine two weeks ago. You really got my attention, and helped me to put together a "plan of attack" to achieve my goal. I assure you I will explore all 8 points you took the time to suggest to me. I will take my time, and do this right. Once again, thank you!
 
OP
J
Jul 24, 2009
6
0
Status
Non-Student
1) I'd be inclined to tell you to skip the MS and just do an extended post-bacc where you accept nothing less than all A's from yourself. An adcom will be much more likely to give you a chance if he/she sees a long string of A's at the end of your transcript. Commit yourself now. Nothing but A's. Realistically you're looking at a 2-4 year GPA repair project. Possibly a second bachelor's. You're going to have to get that GPA up to at least 2.75 to avoid most auto-rejects and hopefully a 3.00.

2)Kill the MCAT. Do not take it until you are consistently getting mid-30s on every TIMED PRACTICE TEST.

3)Get a job that maximizes your patient exposure. EMT. Patient care associate at a hospital. Try a university hospital. You can get tuition benefits for your post-bacc.

4) Move to a state with lots of friendly instate schools and establish residency - Best States are TX, FL, and OH. Avoid CA & NY.

5)Go DO. Read about them. Cleanse yourself of the prejudice and add them to your application process.

6)Build ECs. Volunteering. Shadowing. Biomedical Research. Pick at least a couple things you love to do long term during your GPA repair. Many interviewers commented on how they appreciated that I had long relationships with my volunteer positions (2+ years each)

7)Avoid rushing the process and potentially taking on too much and digging yourself another hole. That is the surest way to kill your journey. Given how low your GPA is, you don't have a lot more room for slip-ups. MANTRA: ALL A's. ALL A's. Clear your plate. Remove all distractions. Prioritize. You're committing to 7-10 years of medical training and then a 20+ year career. Don't let trying to shave a year now torpedo the whole endeavor.

8)Seriously consider options like CNA, PA, and NP. They're not for everyone, but take a good long hard at what they do and your own motivations for medicine. Many people choose medicine out of vanity when in reality if it were just about the work & money, they'd be very happy as mid-level providers. Spend some time shadowing these types of providers as well as doctors.
nontradfogie, I have been looking for brutally honest advice like this since I decided to re-focus my career to medicine two weeks ago. You really got my attention, and helped me to put together a "plan of attack" to achieve my goal. I assure you I will explore all 8 points you took the time to suggest to me. I will take my time, and do this right. Once again, thank you!
 
OP
J
Jul 24, 2009
6
0
Status
Non-Student
I had a 2.5 UG GPA when I graduated in '90. Worked as an engineer, was a stay-at-home mom, etc for about 12 years. Started taking undergrad science classes independently part-time and then transitioned to full-time. Maintained a 4.0 gpa. Shadowed at a hospital; I already had an extensive volunteer EMS background. Took Kaplan and got a 33 on my MCAT (11,11,11) Accepted to and competed UConn post-bacc program with a 4.0. Accepted to med school and graduated in 2007. Now completing my last year of residency.
beanbean, I'm a little confused (btw, which is easy for me) now that I have had time to digest your post. Are you saying that you got a second UG degree with 4.0 gpa, then enrolled in a post-bacc program? If so, may I ask what your second UG degree was in? Or did you maintain a 4.0 by taking the 5 core sciences only? If so, how did you get into a Post-bacc when you already had taken the core classes. I thought a post-bacc was for peolpe who hadn't previously taken core science classes.

As you can see, I'm confused, but would like for you to provide some clarify to a 'wet-behind-the-ears-novice", as I would like to emulate your impressive method for success!

Once again, thank you!
 

NontradICUdoc

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Is it possible? Yes
Will it be easy? No

You have to take this whole process like a marathon and NOT a sprint. Your goal is to get into medical school, in order to do that with your GPA you need to show the adcoms that not only are you not the same person that you were when you got the 2.4, but that you can do upper level science course work.

It took me 10 years to get into medical school. I graduated in 1997 with a 2.56 UG. I thought that the whole thing was done for. Over the course of my science career I wound up working for a hospital that paid 100% tuition for my Master's degree. However, since I was working full time I was only able to take 1 class per semester to start with AND I had to take the GRE. Once I was accepted and came to the conclusion that I wanted to try to get into medical school I took 2 classes at a time and graduated with an MS in 2007 (started in 2001) with a 3.78 GPA and a thesis. During this time, I had to reteach myself all of the basic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics that I did not have to do since the mid 90's in order to take the MCAT.

When I finally did take the test, I scored a 22. And while I was devastated over the score, I was told by the adcom at my school that after not having the material for over 10 years, a 22 is not that bad but that I need to retake it. I realized that the problem was not the material but not practicing enough timed exams causing me to guess at the last 20 questions of each section. 9 Months later I retook the MCAT and went up to a 29 and was accepted at multiple schools.

The point is that all of this took time. And while I really wanted to rush into it and get it over with, that would not have been a wise choice.

You have to accept that you have a 2.4GPA. It is a part of you and there is nothing you can do about it. However, you need to show that you are not the same person and you can do the work now at the level needed to succeed. You can do this with either a formal post bacc program or a do it yourself post bacc program. In addition, there are medical school admissions consultants out there that can also be of use. If you would like, PM me and I can give you the name of a very good one. She used to be the associate director of admissions at Stanford Medical School and she is focusing her business on Non Traditional Students.

The only person that can limit how far in the marathon you will go is YOU.

Good luck.
 

beanbean

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I got my Bachelor's degree in Biomedical Engineering from BU in 1990. My gpa was 2.5.
Worked as a clinical engineer for 6 years.
Left work to be a stay at home mom.
Returned to school on my own in 2001 and retook old prereqs at UConn. Started out slow and then went full time.
Applied to the post bacc program at UConn and was rejected.
Shadowed and studied for the MCAT while taking full-time classes at UConn.
MCAT 33 in Aug 2002.
Accepted to the UConn post-bacc program.
Maintained a 4.0 gpa in all classes I took on my own and all of my post-bacc classes.
No second bachelors - just my engineering degree and my own post-bacc plus formal post-bacc.
I was accepted to the post bacc even though I had just completed my prereqs because the UConn program has an option for advanced science classes for people who already have the basic prereqs.

There are quite a few success stories out there.
Those that mentioned the analogy to running a marathon speak the truth. You need to set a long range plan with specific goals. One "A" at a time, one shadowing opportunity at a time, one LOR at a time, one practice test for the MCAT at a time....each step will get you one step closer to your goal of med school. Then the real work begins....
 
OP
J
Jul 24, 2009
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Non-Student
I got my Bachelor's degree in Biomedical Engineering from BU in 1990. My gpa was 2.5.
Worked as a clinical engineer for 6 years.
Left work to be a stay at home mom.
Returned to school on my own in 2001 and retook old prereqs at UConn. Started out slow and then went full time.
Applied to the post bacc program at UConn and was rejected.
Shadowed and studied for the MCAT while taking full-time classes at UConn.
MCAT 33 in Aug 2002.
Accepted to the UConn post-bacc program.
Maintained a 4.0 gpa in all classes I took on my own and all of my post-bacc classes.
No second bachelors - just my engineering degree and my own post-bacc plus formal post-bacc.
I was accepted to the post bacc even though I had just completed my prereqs because the UConn program has an option for advanced science classes for people who already have the basic prereqs.

There are quite a few success stories out there.
Those that mentioned the analogy to running a marathon speak the truth. You need to set a long range plan with specific goals. One "A" at a time, one shadowing opportunity at a time, one LOR at a time, one practice test for the MCAT at a time....each step will get you one step closer to your goal of med school. Then the real work begins....
Hi beanbean! Excellent, now I understand. Thanks for clearing that up for me. It really helped. I have an appointment next Tuesday with the chair of the pre-bacc program at the university in my area. I'll take your advice into my meeting and run with it. Ooops, this is a marathon, maybe I'll jog:)
 

lawyerdoc2b

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May 11, 2009
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Hello All,

This is my first time on SDN. I was referred here by a friend who say's you guys/gals give honest straight-forward advice. And I could really use some of that right about now. Ok, so here it goes...

I am a 32 year old male who completed a UG in Political Science in 2001. My UG GPA was and still is 2.2. I want to re-focus my career into medicine, which was always my true love.

So please know that I will, and am determined to get into medical school. This point is not up for debate... :)

With all this said, what is my best plan to "repair" my gpa in order to get into medical school:
A) Take the core med. school entrance courses and do well on them + plus taking some other UG classes to boost my UG GPA
B) Get a MS with a high GPA
C) Both 'A' and 'B'
D) Something else like...?

I would really like appreciate some realistic advice from you. Thx!

Jamik
Forget the MS route. Graduate school grades don't count in the GPA calculation. Presuming that you are starting from scratch on the science prerequisites, you will need at least 32 more semester hours of science courses to gain admission: 8 hours of Biology, Physics, General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry. Consider D.O. schools. If any of your science courses are retakes, the higher grade substitutes for the earlier low grade when AACOMAS figures your GPA. If you made all "A" grades in 32 hours of science courses average in with 120 semester hours already taken, theoretically you would raise your GPA to about 2.58. This woud be very low but perhaps a medical school would look at your tremendous turnaround. Good luck.
 

CogitoA1

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Mar 14, 2009
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OP,

Well... have you taken the pre-reqs for medical school? If not, enroll in the most difficult post-bac you can find, and kill it. If you don't think that's feasible, enroll in the most difficult post-bac, recognizable as such, in which you do think you can make excellent grades.

Assuming you've made somewhere close to 4.0 after two years, your options will begin to branch:

1) IF you do extremely well on the MCATs, can demonstrate distance between yourself now and your college years (are there achievements between the two?), have good extras, THEN it may be worth applying to medical schools at that point. You'll have to apply broadly--and your score on the MCATs is going to have to be quite good.

2) IF you don't do extremely well on the MCATs, then I think it will be very difficult to gain entry. At that point, a special master's program might be the best route.

3) A graduate degree can be helpful, I believe, but you're going to have to demonstrate that the undergraduate grades are no longer reflective--by taking undergraduate science courses.

Now, another issue is whether all this is worth it.