Mar 15, 2021
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Hello! Sorry, this is just another "low GPA, what can I do about it" post.

I graduated in 2016 with a BS in biology, then a BSN in 2018. cGPA 3.4, sGPA 3.15. Unfortunately, from my undergrad I had the wrong trajectory. I was diagnosed with a serious health condition and spent a lot of time in the hospital, so my freshman/soph GPA was ~3.6 and was around 3.0 for subsequent semesters for my first BS. I received a 4.0 in my 2 year BSN program after that, though I know that is not particularly helpful. Over the last 8 months I have so far retaken or am retaking every pre-req course with less than a B and am working on a schedule to retake all of physics, o chem, and biochem before retaking the MCAT next year. So far, I have received all A/A+ grades on the 20 credit hours of hard science classes I've taken.

I am working full time as an RN in a high acuity ICU, so this is a slow process (I am only retaking 10-12 hours a semester to ensure all As). I am active in quality improvement initiatives and have been published in a few critical care journals articles alongside our physicians, who are happy write my rec letters. As a non-trad student, I am wondering if what I am doing to improve my GPA is enough. My #1 choice is the allopathic state school that is affiliated with my hospital. I am a legacy, and my husband graduated from that program, so I am committed to trying my chances there if able. 40% of IS applicants at this school matriculate, and 100% get interviews. I did take the MCAT in undergrad and got a 517--hopefully when I retake it I can achieve similar results, though I know a good MCAT doesn't compensate for a really bad GPA. Additionally, the 10th percentile of GPAs for my goal school is 3.5, though despite working hard, I am having difficulty raising my GPA to even get there due to my first undergrad record.

TLDR: I am retaking all of my prereqs to get As. Not looking for excuses or ways to explain my way out of a poor undergrad performance. I hope to show that while working full time, I can achieve good grades in difficult courses. Is my DIY post-bacc enough? Do I need to retake non-prereq science courses that I performed poorly in? Is this even possible?
 
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KnightDoc

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My #1 choice is the allopathic state school that is affiliated with my hospital. I am a legacy, and my husband graduated from that program, so I am committed to trying my chances there if able. 40% of IS applicants at this school matriculate, and 100% get interviews. I did take the MCAT in undergrad and got a 517--hopefully when I retake it I can achieve similar results, though I know a good MCAT doesn't compensate for a really bad GPA. Additionally, the 10th percentile of GPAs for my goal school is 3.5, though despite working hard, I am having difficulty raising my GPA to even get there due to my first undergrad record.

TLDR: I am retaking all of my prereqs to get As. Not looking for excuses or ways to explain my way out of a poor undergrad performance. I hope to show that while working full time, I can achieve good grades in difficult courses. Is my DIY post-bacc enough? Do I need to retake non-prereq science courses that I performed poorly in? Is this even possible?
I don't mean to put you on the spot or ask you to out yourself, but something doesn't sound right. Is there really any school in the country that interviews 100% of its IS applicants?????? If so, I'd love to know what it is, so I can more there and at least have one guaranteed II! :)

To answer your question, even though I'm not an adcom, it seems to me as though you'd get more traction by taking upper level science courses and doing well in them, rather than retaking prereqs. It's nice to see you are getting As, but isn't that expected when you are retaking a class? How is getting As on retakes any more impressive than getting As in a 2 year BSN program? JMHO.
 

middchild6

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I would not retake prereqs just to get A’s unless you got a C- or below. Take higher level science classes and try your best in them. I think you’ll be OK with everything you have so far!
 
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Goro

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Hello! Sorry, this is just another "low GPA, what can I do about it" post.

I graduated in 2016 with a BS in biology, then a BSN in 2018. cGPA 3.4, sGPA 3.15. Unfortunately, from my undergrad I had the wrong trajectory. I was diagnosed with a serious health condition and spent a lot of time in the hospital, so my freshman/soph GPA was ~3.6 and was around 3.0 for subsequent semesters for my first BS. I received a 4.0 in my 2 year BSN program after that, though I know that is not particularly helpful. Over the last 8 months I have so far retaken or am retaking every pre-req course with less than a B and am working on a schedule to retake all of physics, o chem, and biochem before retaking the MCAT next year. So far, I have received all A/A+ grades on the 20 credit hours of hard science classes I've taken.

I am working full time as an RN in a high acuity ICU, so this is a slow process (I am only retaking 10-12 hours a semester to ensure all As). I am active in quality improvement initiatives and have been published in a few critical care journals articles alongside our physicians, who are happy write my rec letters. As a non-trad student, I am wondering if what I am doing to improve my GPA is enough. My #1 choice is the allopathic state school that is affiliated with my hospital. I am a legacy, and my husband graduated from that program, so I am committed to trying my chances there if able. 40% of IS applicants at this school matriculate, and 100% get interviews. I did take the MCAT in undergrad and got a 517--hopefully when I retake it I can achieve similar results, though I know a good MCAT doesn't compensate for a really bad GPA. Additionally, the 10th percentile of GPAs for my goal school is 3.5, though despite working hard, I am having difficulty raising my GPA to even get there due to my first undergrad record.

TLDR: I am retaking all of my prereqs to get As. Not looking for excuses or ways to explain my way out of a poor undergrad performance. I hope to show that while working full time, I can achieve good grades in difficult courses. Is my DIY post-bacc enough? Do I need to retake non-prereq science courses that I performed poorly in? Is this even possible?
Read my post on reinvention for pre-meds
 
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I don't mean to put you on the spot or ask you to out yourself, but something doesn't sound right. Is there really any school in the country that interviews 100% of its IS applicants?????? If so, I'd love to know what it is, so I can more there and at least have one guaranteed II! :)

To answer your question, even though I'm not an adcom, it seems to me as though you'd get more traction by taking upper level science courses and doing well in them, rather than retaking prereqs. It's nice to see you are getting As, but isn't that expected when you are retaking a class? How is getting As on retakes any more impressive than getting As in a 2 year BSN program? JMHO.
Sorry, should have clarified. That does look suspicious lol. 100% of IS applicants get interviews if they have a GPA above 3.3 :) And yeah, you're right, I *should* be getting A's! And I suppose that I want to compensate for my lower grade pre-reqs, because I am assuming that adcoms don't give a you-know-what about the fact that I got As in nursing school. Thank you for your advice. I am going to finish retaking pre-reqs for the MCAT this summer to get myself a good score, then try to get in some immunology/virology/neuroscience classes at my university. I am hoping to avoid an SMP, since this would force me to quit my job, but I am able to take some of those classes as a visiting student.
 
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Read my post on reinvention for pre-meds
Thank you, this inspired me to start taking upper level classes. I’ve tentatively made a schedule of about 25-30 credits of 400 (grad) level science classes over the next year.

Random question, not sure if you know the answer. I had a lot of ECs in undergrad, but it’s been several years. I am heavily involved in several committees at my hospital now in addition to an appointment on a statewide health care committee. I’ve volunteered for almost 100 hours as a covid vaccine nurse in the last few months. As a non-trad, is there anything else an adcom wants to see from an EC standpoint? Clinical hours are not an issue (I have almost 6000 through work) and have had plenty of documented shadowing opportunities, but wondering if I need to diversify my resume.
 

Shotapp

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Thank you, this inspired me to start taking upper level classes. I’ve tentatively made a schedule of about 25-30 credits of 400 (grad) level science classes over the next year.

Random question, not sure if you know the answer. I had a lot of ECs in undergrad, but it’s been several years. I am heavily involved in several committees at my hospital now in addition to an appointment on a statewide health care committee. I’ve volunteered for almost 100 hours as a covid vaccine nurse in the last few months. As a non-trad, is there anything else an adcom wants to see from an EC standpoint? Clinical hours are not an issue (I have almost 6000 through work) and have had plenty of documented shadowing opportunities, but wondering if I need to diversify my resume.
You need to take undergrad level science classes. Not grad level. Graduate courses won't factor into your undergrad GPA.
 
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Goro

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Thank you, this inspired me to start taking upper level classes. I’ve tentatively made a schedule of about 25-30 credits of 400 (grad) level science classes over the next year.

Random question, not sure if you know the answer. I had a lot of ECs in undergrad, but it’s been several years. I am heavily involved in several committees at my hospital now in addition to an appointment on a statewide health care committee. I’ve volunteered for almost 100 hours as a covid vaccine nurse in the last few months. As a non-trad, is there anything else an adcom wants to see from an EC standpoint? Clinical hours are not an issue (I have almost 6000 through work) and have had plenty of documented shadowing opportunities, but wondering if I need to diversify my resume.
Service to others less fortunate than yourself is always good
 
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Mar 15, 2021
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You need to take undergrad level science classes. Not grad level. Graduate courses won't factor into your undergrad GPA.
Yep, at my university you can take 400 level courses as undergrad or graduate. I’ll be taking them as undergrad courses, but they’re grad level if that makes sense. Thanks for clarifying!
 

Arsartium

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Hey @mobitzII I would agree that unless you think that you need to retake pre-req courses in preparation for the MCAT, then it might be best to devote your time (and money) elsewhere. With a previous MCAT score of 517, I suspect that you could self-study or take an MCAT course instead and do exceedingly well. As others have mentioned, upper level science courses can be useful to your "reinvention" but at this point your cumulative GPA is not the point. As long as you've shown you can do well in the last 32 credits or so, retaking your MCAT is the last hurdle. Score at or above your previous score and you will likely stand a chance at not only your state school but several other allopathic medical schools. Your clinical experience puts you in a different category altogether. Take it from someone with a < 3.0 uGPA who had >10,000 clinical hours. Do well on the MCAT and craft the right story and not only can you get into medical school, you could get a full-tuition scholarship at a "Top 20." FWIW, your job is your "EC" as far medical school applications go. I wouldn't worry too much about adding anything else.
 
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gramnegative

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Your background is pretty similar to mine, though your sGPA is a little lower. I did ~32 credits of a DIY PB while also working as an ICU RN. Do well on your MCAT, craft a compelling narrative thread for your primary and secondaries, and communicate 'why' medicine and not AP, and apply broadly. Make sure that you can communicate that your past health care will be an asset and that you will be humble and teachable. In every interview I had, my critical-care background was seen as very positive. Let me know if you have any other questions while applying as an RN.
 
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