Labkid

5+ Year Member
Dec 4, 2013
94
42
Status
Medical Student
Hello my name is__ and I am currently a Senior at ___, normally I wouldn't post such public information on a forum but I feel this place is not too dangerous to put up such things.

Anyway I've been looking for some advice lately about going to Medical School, I've talked to plenty of physicians in different fields, they all know my current GPA and all say the same thing "Just see if you can bring it up".

What I haven't gotten is any answer of what to do if that isn't working, let me explain.

Right now I am a Double Major in Marketing/Entrepreneurship with a directed study in Pre-med (in order to get my pre-reqs) and I am struggling to make B's lately. I don't know when this started happening and my GPA used to be a 3.33, but one semester I made two C's in some of my business courses and it dropped it to it's current level of 3.14. I realize neither of those are strong for applying and thinking I can make a strong MCAT to make up for it is unrealistic especially since on of my weaknesses is test taking.

I don't know exactly what to do though, I already spend a good amount of time in the library (around 6-7 hours a day) and usually I get home around midnight. Even though I spend this much time studying something seems to fall through the cracks or I make stupid mistakes on test and it costs me dearly.

A good example is just today I got back my 3rd exam for Organic Chemistry, the 2nd exam I got an 89.5, this third one I studied much more for and only managed a 78. The projected final grade for my class is a low B which would just bring my GPA even lower down.

I've done some research of my own, I've seen many people say you must have a 3.4 at least or don't expect to get accepted at any schools, and I've heard other stories where people had as low as 3.0's and somehow managed to make it (although I don't know the quality of the schools they made it to and most of them seemed to be 30+ with loads of work experience).


I've heard of "postbacc" programs, but I have no clue if my GPA is too far gone to make that difference, with already 108 credit hours in I doubt it will be easy, if even possible, to get my GPA to even a 3.4 (which from what I have seen is barley passable for acceptance). I know they look at your whole progress as a student, but even then they'd see me get my GPA to an average level (3.33) then it drop way down my junior, which no doubt raises red flags.

Can anyone give me some advice on what I should start considering? If I should talk to my Med School advisor on whether postbacc is worth it or if I should start considering a different career? I love medicine no doubt and I'd do anything to get there, I just have no clue if there really is a point where you've run out of options.


Thank you reading and I hope my concerns aren't too redundant on this board.
 
Last edited:

theseeker4

PGY 3
7+ Year Member
Apr 20, 2011
3,502
758
Suburban Detroit, MI
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Hello my name is Francesco and I am currently a Senior at USC, normally I wouldn't post such public information on a forum but I feel this place is not too dangerous to put up such things.

Anyway I've been looking for some advice lately about going to Medical School, I've talked to plenty of physicians in different fields, they all know my current GPA and all say the same thing "Just see if you can bring it up".

What I haven't gotten is any answer of what to do if that isn't working, let me explain.

Right now I am a Double Major in Marketing/Entrepreneurship with a directed study in Pre-med (in order to get my pre-reqs) and I am struggling to make B's lately. I don't know when this started happening and my GPA used to be a 3.33, but one semester I made two C's in some of my business courses and it dropped it to it's current level of 3.14. I realize neither of those are strong for applying and thinking I can make a strong MCAT to make up for it is unrealistic especially since on of my weaknesses is test taking.

I don't know exactly what to do though, I already spend a good amount of time in the library (around 6-7 hours a day) and usually I get home around midnight. Even though I spend this much time studying something seems to fall through the cracks or I make stupid mistakes on test and it costs me dearly.

A good example is just today I got back my 3rd exam for Organic Chemistry, the 2nd exam I got an 89.5, this third one I studied much more for and only managed a 78. The projected final grade for my class is a low B which would just bring my GPA even lower down.

I've done some research of my own, I've seen many people say you must have a 3.4 at least or don't expect to get accepted at any schools, and I've heard other stories where people had as low as 3.0's and somehow managed to make it (although I don't know the quality of the schools they made it to and most of them seemed to be 30+ with loads of work experience).

I've heard of "postbacc" programs, but I have no clue if my GPA is too far gone to make that difference, with already 108 credit hours in I doubt it will be easy, if even possible, to get my GPA to even a 3.4 (which from what I have seen is barley passable for acceptance). I know they look at your whole progress as a student, but even then they'd see me get my GPA to an average level (3.33) then it drop way down my junior, which no doubt raises red flags.

Can anyone give me some advice on what I should start considering? If I should talk to my Med School advisor on whether postbacc is worth it or if I should start considering a different career? I love medicine no doubt and I'd do anything to get there, I just have no clue if there really is a point where you've run out of options.

Thank you reading and I hope my concerns aren't too redundant on this board.
First, you have an up-hill battle. It is not impossible, but your GPA puts you behind a bit and you will HAVE to improve it.

Second, why are you struggling to make Bs? Too heavy a workload? Outside commitments taking time away? Simply don't understand the material? Bad test taking? You need to figure this out, NOW, if you want a realistic chance at med school. By that I mean, if you can still drop your classes that you won't get As in and get Ws instead of letter grades, do that. If not, try your hardest to get as high as possible, and then take a break; take no classes next semester, or as few as you can and stay enrolled. Figure out what you need to do to get the As. Nothing less is going to do it for you. If you are taking too many classes, stop loading your semesters up so heavily. If you are working or doing too many ECs, either cut back on them or cut back on your course work.

If you are struggling to understand the material, what resources have you tried to use to improve? Tutoring? Online tutorials/lectures like Khan academy? Visiting the professors during office hours to discuss what you have problems with?

If you have poor test-taking, why? Do you run out of time? Do you have severe anxiety? Either way, you need to talk with counselors or your "academic success" center about how to improve. Test-taking is a VITAL skill for any med student, so you need to improve the skills now before you get into med school to be successful.

How are you studying? Studying for Orgo is very different from studying for Bio which is very different from studying for physics etc.. If you studied successfully for bio by reading chapters, taking notes on lectures, and reviewing everything, you can't necessarily apply that to Orgo. You will need to UNDERSTAND everything in orgo, and do many practice problems, to be guaranteed a good grade. This is just one example, but the point is learning good study habits is a class-to-class process, and you need to be ready and able to adapt if you aren't successful. Obviously, there is something wrong with your studying if you are spending several hours every day just studying and not getting As. This is not a criticism of you, it is simply a fact, and something you need to figure out. Assuming you get in, you will have to spend several hours a day in med school just to keep up with the information, let alone master it to a level that guarantees you will pass the med school classes, and this is coming from someone who rarely spent more than an hour a week per class studying in undergrad.

You don't have to give up if this is truly what you want. What you HAVE to do is stop the damage before it IS too late. It is too early to look at post-bacs, SMPs, or anything else post-degree at this point. What you NEED to do is stop getting anything less than As. If this means you change your major, change your major. If this means you take an extra year to graduate, take an extra year (or two, or three, to improve your GPA). If this means you don't do any ECs for med school, stop the ECs. At this point, your GPA is the ONLY thing that matters, so improve that. First, figure out what you need to do to fix it. Then start doing that and get straight As. Anything less than a 4.0 is hurting you from now on. Get your GPA up to the 3.5 range and you will have a decent shot at MD schools with a strong MCAT. But first step, before you take ANY more classes, is figure out what is going wrong, and fix it, using whatever resources you can. Good luck.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Being
OP
L

Labkid

5+ Year Member
Dec 4, 2013
94
42
Status
Medical Student
So I have taken your advice and first of all talked to many of my advisors and the main problem has been being in a major I really disliked. As such many of the subjects/classes I took were incredibly hard for me to study for and I found are the main reason for my low GPA.

I switched to a major I know I will like, Biology. I would've graduated on time but now it will be until next December (possibly later depending on how many hours I feel comfortable with). At least now I will be doing science based classes which is where I have always excelled.

As far as test-taking we have an ACE program which I am going to attend very start of next semester. I find I make many stupid mistakes on tests, on things that I fully know and comprehend. I don't know the full reasoning for this but I personally believe it is due to habit of going to quickly through a test. Sometimes even though I fully know the information for whatever reason I'll do one of two things: Describe it perfectly in my head and write it down wrong or Write it down correctly but describe the process wrong. Hopefully they'll be able to help me find out what the reason for this is as it has been one for most of my college career.

I have indeed used Kahn academy, tutoring, I visit all my professors at least twice a week either after class or in office. It helps me stay ontop of my game and I become very knowledgeable about the subject but like I said before for some reason I have weak test-taking skills so ACE will hopefully relieve that some.

As it stands right now I have two cumulatives tomorrow, one for organic chemistry and the other for international financial management. Needless to say they have nothing to do with each other so I am doing my absolute best to do well on these tests. I'll update this if I have to in order for further advice, thank you for taking all the time you have to reply to me and help me out.
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
52,547
76,171
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
As a rule of thumb, anyone getting accpeted into an MD program when their GPA is <10th %ile of the acceptees has done soemthing spectacular (like having a 4.0 post-bac/SMP, but thier UG GPA was so low that it avg'd out to 3.1, say), was aURM, or was a "special"...someone who was a relative/firend of the dean, Faculty or a major donor.

I've done some research of my own, I've seen many people say you must have a 3.4 at least or don't expect to get accepted at any schools, and I've heard other stories where people had as low as 3.0's and somehow managed to make it (although I don't know the quality of the schools they made it to and most of them seemed to be 30+ with loads of work experience).

There are MD schools that beleive in re-invention. Combine a strong post-bac/.SMP and a good MCAT, and schools like NYMC, Rosy Franklin or BU will take you. These programs are a dime-a-dozen.


I've heard of "postbacc" programs, but I have no clue if my GPA is too far gone to make that difference, with already 108 credit hours in I doubt it will be easy, if even possible, to get my GPA to even a 3.4 (which from what I have seen is barley passable for acceptance). I know they look at your whole progress as a student, but even then they'd see me get my GPA to an average level (3.33) then it drop way down my junior, which no doubt raises red flags.

It's always good to have a backup plan. It's a sign of maturity. Your easiest path is also via DO schools. The avg GPA for acceptees is ~3.3/3.4 and an MCAT of ~26. these vary widely and you might be more competetive than you think. Just re-take any F/D/C science coursework. Only the higher grades will count.

Can anyone give me some advice on what I should start considering? If I should talk to my Med School advisor on whether postbacc is worth it or if I should start considering a different career? I love medicine no doubt and I'd do anything to get there, I just have no clue if there really is a point where you've run out of options.
 
OP
L

Labkid

5+ Year Member
Dec 4, 2013
94
42
Status
Medical Student
Hey guys just an update I got my major changed to BIO and classes are much easier for me, even the coursework problems and homework assigned are much easier than anything I was trying to do in business. This is definitely because my interest is peaked in the subjects I am learning (besides plant physiology).

I do have a few more questions though:

How many shadowing hours/ volunteer hours do they usually look for? I've shadowed about 3 different physicians (Gastro, Pediatric surgeon, and a Resident) but not for any length of time due to school constraints. I was wondering if it'd be a good idea to spend a month shadowing just one physician to get a good recommendation or if I should do volunteering more (of which I have very few hours).
 

theseeker4

PGY 3
7+ Year Member
Apr 20, 2011
3,502
758
Suburban Detroit, MI
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Hey guys just an update I got my major changed to BIO and classes are much easier for me, even the coursework problems and homework assigned are much easier than anything I was trying to do in business. This is definitely because my interest is peaked in the subjects I am learning (besides plant physiology).

I do have a few more questions though:

How many shadowing hours/ volunteer hours do they usually look for? I've shadowed about 3 different physicians (Gastro, Pediatric surgeon, and a Resident) but not for any length of time due to school constraints. I was wondering if it'd be a good idea to spend a month shadowing just one physician to get a good recommendation or if I should do volunteering more (of which I have very few hours).
If schools you are interested in require a physician LOR, go ahead and try to get one, but if not (most MD schools don't, most (many?) DO schools want a DO LOR) there is no real advantage to having one. Regarding LORs, make sure you are building relationships with professors now, both in science and non-science courses, so you have people to ask for LORs when the time comes.

You should have some primary care shadowing, such as a family medicine physician, but other than that hours don't mean much for shadowing. Adding on the volunteering hours would be more important, but remember it is more important to have experiences you can discuss in an interview in a meaningful way than it is to simply have x hours. Glad to hear you are doing better with your classes!
 
OP
L

Labkid

5+ Year Member
Dec 4, 2013
94
42
Status
Medical Student
If schools you are interested in require a physician LOR, go ahead and try to get one, but if not (most MD schools don't, most (many?) DO schools want a DO LOR) there is no real advantage to having one. Regarding LORs, make sure you are building relationships with professors now, both in science and non-science courses, so you have people to ask for LORs when the time comes.

You should have some primary care shadowing, such as a family medicine physician, but other than that hours don't mean much for shadowing. Adding on the volunteering hours would be more important, but remember it is more important to have experiences you can discuss in an interview in a meaningful way than it is to simply have x hours. Glad to hear you are doing better with your classes!


Ahh okay that makes a lot more sense then just "doing hours" to get hours. I know several family medicine physicians I can definitely shadow no problem so that's a good thing there. Volunteering is a bit harder to find but I'm sure I can get something out there, for now I've only found places outside of my state there's not much in the state yet but I've heard of some coming up.

Just so I know, when they say volunteer hours do they mean anything involving volunteering at the hospital? (So far right now I've only found volunteering in which I help out at the front desk but not much more.)
 
OP
L

Labkid

5+ Year Member
Dec 4, 2013
94
42
Status
Medical Student
(Deleted, info wasn't useful)
 
Last edited: