May 7, 2012
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Hey guys,

I'm new to SDN and was wondering if you could address a couple of questions for me. I would really appreciate it.

So, I'm a freshman at Duke (actually just got done with freshman year) and I have had some pretty disastrous science grades as of this early stage in the med school application process. Frankly, I don't even have any legitimate excuses for doing badly. I was just complacent and lazy, and I know that has to change. I am also very reluctant to ask for help, which again is a concern that I seek to address.

So lets get down to it. As of now I have a 3.0 freshman GPA (with two classes still to be counted both of which I should have done pretty well in).

So my first semester was about average or slightly below (I was told it was average by my dean). I had a 3.175 with a C+ in Calc 1 (took it in spite of having math credit, and I kinda regret that) and a B in general chem. I also had A minuses in a mandatory writing class, and a political science class.

Second semester, I got an A in my foreign language class, and my Biology seminar and evolutionary anthropology class are still being graded (I am cautiously optimistic). However, the BIG problem is my D+ in orgo 1. I just did not apply myself at all. Having done a non trivial amount of orgo in high school (I didn't do particularly well then either but it was not a significant portion of my chem grade) I thought I would be able to just breeze through the class, and I even did pretty well on the 1st test. Unfortunately, it all went south from there. I tried to withdraw but it was past the deadline. I am retaking the class this semester and am shooting for an A (will try to make optimum use of the resources at my disposal) but I am just really worried that having these poor freshman grades on my transcript is going to be very very detrimental to my application. To compound matters, I am an international (although I will manage to procure the money to attend med school from my home country) and I am told that that makes it significantly harder to be admitted to med school. If I do well when I retake orgo this semester, do you think that will go a long way in mitigating the damage that this grade has caused? Will med schools view it as a mere anomaly if I start to really hit the books and do well? Its not like I cant comprehend the matter, I am pretty good at grasping concepts (2350 SAT without studying, I'm not boasting just putting things in perspective), the problems arise because I am inordinately lazy! I am doing my best to remedy my shortcomings and rectify the situation, but I would really appreciate some advice, or even just some moral support.

Thanks so much.
 
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medicalman123

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If you can get a 2350 on your SATs, you can get into med school. Fact
 
Dec 3, 2011
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Don't worry about the A- grades...those are fine. Bs your freshman year are generally okay-ish too. But yeah you're definitely going to have to re-take Orgo I. It's generally rare for freshmen to take orgo I, as far as I know. Laziness is not an excuse to do poorly; much of medical is pure hard work, not just breezing by on natural intelligence. Will that D+ be a detriment on your application? Yes. You're going to have to explain that. But if you do better the second time around, you should be alright, but you cannot afford to be lazy in this line of work. At all. And from sophomore year on, keep your grades as high as you can make them.

Being an international student attending a non-US university does make it more difficult to get into a US medical school. Getting accepted into a US medical as an international student currently attending a US university shouldn't be as difficult...but I don't know a whole lot about the issue. I don't know your home country, but I'd imagine that since your'e going to Duke right now, going through the legalities of living in/going to school in the US isn't a huge deal. I would not worry about this factor too much right now. Just keep your grades and other things up.
 

FattySlug

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Aug 31, 2010
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Your biggest issue is not grades, it's the international thing. I was international so I know how much it sucks. If you really want to give yourself a fair shot try to take care of that immigration status first. You have to be pretty stellar to get in med school applying as international student.
 
May 29, 2011
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Pre-Medical
Hey guys,

I'm new to SDN and was wondering if you could address a couple of questions for me. I would really appreciate it.

So, I'm a freshman at Duke
I gave up on you here.


Kidding, sort of. But really you'll be fine. If you really want to get into med school you're going to have focus on school and make sure you consistently get A's and B's. Might think about retaking Ochem 1 before jumping into Ochem 2.

Long story short, it's no big deal, work hard from now on.
 

Morsetlis

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May 7, 2012
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Wow, thanks for the prompt replies guys. I understand that I need a complete overhaul when it comes to my work habits, and I am willing to do that. As of now it seems as though getting a good orgo grade the second time around is a priority (obviously), and the consensus seems to be that a much improved performance would bode well for the future. This forum is so much more welcoming than some of its younger siblings (think college confidential), I guess it's a function of catering to a more mature audience. Also, keep the opinions (and the Duke jokes) coming, they are being throughly appreciated.
 
May 7, 2012
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Psychologist
Hi,im new in here too :)
can i ask some question?
I just read the entry requirement for bachelor of medicine,can you explain me about:

Internationally recognized degree of upper second or first class honours in a relevant discipline from this university or any other university recognised by the University Senate.

what does this means? because i dont really understand,i hope you can reply as soon as possible :) thanks
 

911 Turbo

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Hi,im new in here too :)
can i ask some question?
I just read the entry requirement for bachelor of medicine,can you explain me about:

Internationally recognized degree of upper second or first class honours in a relevant discipline from this university or any other university recognised by the University Senate.

what does this means? because i dont really understand,i hope you can reply as soon as possible :) thanks
Clarify... what school are you talking about? Are you talking about a US medical school?
 

youmed

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Jul 17, 2011
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Just learn to manage your time. Furthermore, I am not saying you are not intelligent but I suggest you discard the mentality that you can get As without much efforts. I also am a freshman in college right now and I've seen some of my college friends overestimate their "smartness" and end up getting their asses kicked.
 

WellWornLad

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Not sure exactly what the question is, but you are certainly not out of the running for medical school yet. A 3.0 after your first year is very different than a 3.0 after getting your degree - that average is still very pliable with so few courses on your transcript.

However, all is not sunshine and roses. Here's what medical schools are looking for: people who either get it right the first time, or can identify and correct their own problems and move forward. Medical school moves at its own pace, and you just have to keep up with it. Retaking a class isn't a big deal for an undergrad, but its a nightmare in med school and could lead to repeating an entire year if you end up failing more than a couple tests, which is a huge deal to residencies...it just goes on and on.

So when you tell me that you got a D+ in orgo - having taken the subject in high school - for no good reason, that's a big red flag. An adcom member is going to want to know 2 things - 1) the reason for the D+, and 2) whether the problem was corrected. Obviously you're not going to tell an interviewer that you were just lazy (right?). If it were your first semester, you can graciously play the "so overwhelmed to be at college" card. Not very original, but plausible. That wears thin after 2 semesters, however.

So dig deep and think a little harder about why your grades are mediocre. Lazy is an excuse that masks the reality of the situation. Apparently you're not lacking intelligence. Are you having way too much fun outside of class? Are you just not interested in the classes? Having no interest in the prereqs is a dealbreaker in my experience. Almost everyone I know in med school has an inherent interest in science (and other fields) that made studying more than just a chore or hoop to jump through. There are 1 or 2 unique souls who, through force of will alone, pushed themselves to study these courses they absolutely hated and got into med school. Of course, once they got to med school they realized that they had many more subjects to learn which they just hated. Needless to say, these people can be pretty miserable.
 
OP
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May 7, 2012
4
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Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hey Wellwornlad,

If I do end up being asked about my dismal organic chemistry grade even after retaking it and doing well the second time around (hopefully). Wouldn't it be more prudent to level with the adcoms by saying that I lost focus and didn't work as hard as I should have? Assuming that I do get back on track, wouldn't they appreciate this sort of an approach to the orgo grade? I think it demonstrates the ability to take responsibility for your actions, which is obviously one of the most vital components of being a doctor. Am I wrong in making such an assumption?
 

WellWornLad

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You can say whatever you wish to explain a bad grade if you're asked, but "lost focus" is a little vague in my opinion. If you walk the walk and bring your grades (dramatically) up, it probably won't matter. However, if you end up with a transcript dotted with the occasional C-/D+ all through college, it looks like there's a festering problem that you are not identifying and dealing with. That's really my point, not so much how you're going to explain the grades but how are you going to improve going forward. If you don't think concretely about what you could be doing better, you're in big trouble of repeating the past.

That said, you're a freshman. If you're not enjoying or thriving on the premed curriculum it's not the end of the world to think about doing something else. I know that's heresy on SDN, and only here would I have to explain that I'm not saying that to insult you or discourage you. I have no idea if medicine is right for you or not. I just want to point out that college is a time for experimentation, and medicine is not some kind of paradise that everyone should aspire to unquestioningly.
 
OP
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May 7, 2012
4
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Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Ok so I have an update, I got straight As in both the other classes. My cumulative GPA for freshman year has been bolstered to a 3.25. Hopefully, I can carry some of this new found momentum into the next semester, and avoid going to medical school in the Caribbean. :p