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Nursing student -> MD but with low sGPA

sajeunesse

RN -> PreMed
Mar 25, 2020
18
3
1
Boston, MA
  1. Other Health Professions Student
Hello all,
I will not bore you with the reasons, but I am entering my last year of BSc. Nursing at McGill University, and have realized I would much rather be a MD due to wanting to be the final say in treatment plans and care. I am American and plan on returning to NYC to practice as a nurse after graduation. During university, I took Stats, Org Chem 1, Bio 1, Gen Chem 1+2, Physics 1+2, Calculus 1+2, and will be taking two semesters of English. My cGPA is 3.00, I am earning all As in my nursing courses for the past 2 years. Without going into too much detail, my poor grades first year was due to anxiety and a sexual assault.

However, my sGPA is 2.23. I failed one course (Cal 2, it's listed as Absent in my transcript due to various reasons) and earned one D (Org Chem 1), and mostly Cs/B-/Bs in the others. I retook OrgChem 1 and got a B, and then retook Cal 2 and received a A-. I got an A in Stats.
However, I cannot retake the other poor grades at McGill, and an F stays on your transcript even if you retake the class. Am I even allowed to retake the science courses (as I believe I have to also take Bio 2 and Org Chem 2) to improve the sGPA?

I have some research experience (both clinical and non-clinical), extensive leadership experience, lots of extracurrciulars and work as a CNA currently. I will plan to do shadowing and volunteering as I work as a RN.

I've been reading other posts but I'm lost on what to do in my situation. Do I retake all my prereqs since I have to take some more anyway? Do I do a MPH (which I wanted to do anyway) and just take the prereqs I'm missing?

Thank you for your advice.
 
Last edited:

jhmmd

supernatural
Apr 28, 2020
1,928
1,481
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desert highway
sajeunesse said:
Hello all,
I will not bore you with the reasons, but I am entering my last year of BSc. Nursing at McGill University, and have realized I would much rather be a MD due to wanting to be the final say in treatment plans and care. I am American and plan on returning to NYC to practice as a nurse after graduation. During university, I took Stats, Org Chem 1, Bio 1, Gen Chem 1+2, Physics 1+2, Calculus 1+2, and will be taking two semesters of English. My cGPA is 3.00, I am earning all As in my nursing courses for the past 2 years. Without going into too much detail, my poor grades first year was due to anxiety and a sexual assault.

However, my sGPA is 2.23. I failed one course (Cal 2, it's listed as Absent in my transcript due to various reasons) and earned one D (Org Chem 1), and mostly Cs/B-/Bs in the others. I retook OrgChem 1 and got a B, and then retook Cal 2 and received a A-. I got an A in Stats.
However, I cannot retake the other poor grades at McGill, and an F stays on your transcript even if you retake the class. Am I even allowed to retake the science courses (as I believe I have to also take Bio 2 and Org Chem 2) to improve the sGPA?

I have some research experience (both clinical and non-clinical), extensive leadership experience, lots of extracurrciulars and work as a CNA currently. I will plan to do shadowing and volunteering as I work as a RN.

I've been reading other posts but I'm lost on what to do in my situation. Do I retake all my prereqs since I have to take some more anyway? Do I do a MPH (which I wanted to do anyway) and just take the prereqs I'm missing?

Thank you for your advice.
You might need a post-bacc to raise your cum GPA. Your science GPA is not as important as your cum GPA (at least not for most schools). Look into improving your time mgmt skills, if this is what is keeping you from making As. Focus on the academic aspects of your application and prioritize them. I assume you haven't taken the MCAT yet--try to take a prep course if you can; it can only help. Agree w/the post above as well. Good luck!
 
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GreenDuck12

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2014
2,107
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You are allowed to retake classes but this has a limited ROI due to the grades being averaged. As the poster above mentioned, retake classes that you either 1. received a C or less in or 2. you want to retake in order to do better in the second semester (there are few courses where this may be recommended).

In the US, many nursing track classes do not could as prereqs for medical school due to differences in the material that is covered. You may need to look into this. If this is the case, you may need to compensate by taking the typical premed classes.

An MPH isn't going to compensate for your low undergraduate GPA as graduate grades tend to be inflated. If you are interested in earning an MPH, but all means, earn one, but keep in mind that it will likely only be viewed as a soft factor in your application.

You will need to take postbac classes to raise your cGPA and sGPA. Your stats are low for MD programs and likely will remain low for MD after a postbac as the median matriculant GPA for MD programs is 3.78 +/- 0.02. This isn't to say that MD programs are completely out of reach but that you may need to apply to DO programs as well. Aim for cGPA and sGPA above a 3.0.
 
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sajeunesse

RN -> PreMed
Mar 25, 2020
18
3
1
Boston, MA
  1. Other Health Professions Student
You are allowed to retake classes but this has a limited ROI due to the grades being averaged. As the poster above mentioned, retake classes that you either 1. received a C or less in or 2. you want to retake in order to do better in the second semester (there are few courses where this may be recommended).

In the US, many nursing track classes do not could as prereqs for medical school due to differences in the material that is covered. You may need to look into this. If this is the case, you may need to compensate by taking the typical premed classes.

An MPH isn't going to compensate for your low undergraduate GPA as graduate grades tend to be inflated. If you are interested in earning an MPH, but all means, earn one, but keep in mind that it will likely only be viewed as a soft factor in your application.

You will need to take postbac classes to raise your cGPA and sGPA. Your stats are low for MD programs and likely will remain low for MD after a postbac as the median matriculant GPA for MD programs is 3.78 +/- 0.02. This isn't to say that MD programs are completely out of reach but that you may need to apply to DO programs as well. Aim for cGPA and sGPA above a 3.0.

Thanks for your response, I apologize as I just saw this. Yes, I realize my stats are quite low for either program. Also, I see your point about nursing track classes but actually, my biology, calculus, stats, english, chemistry, physics classes were all regular Faculty of Science courses I took along with all my Science friends.
I will keep your point in mind about the MPH. Honestly, while I have interest in completing it, I only have so much money, and considering I have to retake courses anyway, might not be a possibility. Thank you very much for the advice!
I also wanted to ask what you mean by "retake in order to do better in the second semester"? Do you mean for example, biology and org (because I only took one semester of each)?
 

sajeunesse

RN -> PreMed
Mar 25, 2020
18
3
1
Boston, MA
  1. Other Health Professions Student
You might need a post-bacc to raise your cum GPA. Your science GPA is not as important as your cum GPA (at least not for most schools). Look into improving your time mgmt skills, if this is what is keeping you from making As. Focus on the academic aspects of your application and prioritize them. I assume you haven't taken the MCAT yet--try to take a prep course if you can; it can only help. Agree w/the post above as well. Good luck!
Apologies for the late response. From advice from others and reading around SDN, I will definitely be doing a post-bacc. Yes, I think in first year time management issues were an issue along with my own personal issues, but now I am making As with no problem. Thank you very much for the advice, I will definitely be doing all I can to improve my academic portion of my application as well as MCAT.
 
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sajeunesse

RN -> PreMed
Mar 25, 2020
18
3
1
Boston, MA
  1. Other Health Professions Student
No to the MPH.

Do not retake prereqs unless you failed. Finish your remaining prereqs.

You will have to show a longer period of sustained excellence. Read this guide: Goro's advice for pre-meds who need reinvention
Thank you for your response. From reading the other comments and around the forum, MPH will be a waste of time in terms of ROI. I will work on doing a post-bacc and improving excellence. I have gotten advice from others that I should retake courses I have gotten Cs in - I retook all the courses I failed already.
For a DIY postbacc, I will really only be completing two courses. Referencing what I stated above, if I DO retake my C-grade-prereqs, that seems fine in terms of courseload. But If I don't retake the prereqs, is it worth it to add higher level science courses to show abilities?
 

Isoval

Year four and still haven't failed out yet, cool.
2+ Year Member
Jul 5, 2017
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126
Texas
  1. Medical Student
Thank you for your response. From reading the other comments and around the forum, MPH will be a waste of time in terms of ROI. I will work on doing a post-bacc and improving excellence. I have gotten advice from others that I should retake courses I have gotten Cs in - I retook all the courses I failed already.
For a DIY postbacc, I will really only be completing two courses. Referencing what I stated above, if I DO retake my C-grade-prereqs, that seems fine in terms of courseload. But If I don't retake the prereqs, is it worth it to add higher level science courses to show abilities?

Don't retake a C unless it's a C-.
 
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GreenDuck12

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2014
2,107
2,270
226
  1. Medical Student
Thanks for your response, I apologize as I just saw this. Yes, I realize my stats are quite low for either program. Also, I see your point about nursing track classes but actually, my biology, calculus, stats, english, chemistry, physics classes were all regular Faculty of Science courses I took along with all my Science friends.
I will keep your point in mind about the MPH. Honestly, while I have interest in completing it, I only have so much money, and considering I have to retake courses anyway, might not be a possibility. Thank you very much for the advice!
I also wanted to ask what you mean by "retake in order to do better in the second semester"? Do you mean for example, biology and org (because I only took one semester of each)?

Again, I’m not familiar with how nursing classes are classified in Canadian universities or if medical schools will accept coursework completed in Canada. Just something to look out for.

What I meant by retaking a course in order to do better in the second semester would be like repeating orgo 1 in order to perform well in orgo 2. This kind of strategy would really only work with a small number of prereqs as the second semester of many courses like biology, physics, and chemistry tend to be fairly distinct from the first semester.
 

sajeunesse

RN -> PreMed
Mar 25, 2020
18
3
1
Boston, MA
  1. Other Health Professions Student
Again, I’m not familiar with how nursing classes are classified in Canadian universities or if medical schools will accept coursework completed in Canada. Just something to look out for.

What I meant by retaking a course in order to do better in the second semester would be like repeating orgo 1 in order to perform well in orgo 2. This kind of strategy would really only work with a small number of prereqs as the second semester of many courses like biology, physics, and chemistry tend to be fairly distinct from the first semester.

Understandable! Not to beat a dead horse but yeah, they weren't nursing courses at all. Anyway, in terms of how medical schools look at Canadian coursework, that is something I can't do anything about, but I will look for schools accepting Canadian coursework when the application time comes.

And yes! I completely agree with what you are saying. I might repeat bio as the second semester of biology is distinct from the first.
Anyway, thanks for all the advice. It is much appreciated!
 

jhmmd

supernatural
Apr 28, 2020
1,928
1,481
76
desert highway
sajeunesse said:
Apologies for the late response. From advice from others and reading around SDN, I will definitely be doing a post-bacc. Yes, I think in first year time management issues were an issue along with my own personal issues, but now I am making As with no problem. Thank you very much for the advice, I will definitely be doing all I can to improve my academic portion of my application as well as MCAT.
No problem, and just a friendly reminder: do NOT forget to study hard for the MCAT. It can make or break your application just as much as your GPA. Remember, in the first round of the screening process, schools are looking at MCAT as well as GPA. They send secondaries to about half of those who apply (not nec. half of those w/qualifying stats). Then about half of those who receive secondaries get invited to interviews. Half of those who receive interviews are accepted. So this is where the 1/4 figure comes from (not everyone who receives a secondary is qualified to interview). What I mean by that is that ~25-33% of those who apply to med school eventually matriculate. Though this got off topic I hope it helps. :) Good luck!
 

sajeunesse

RN -> PreMed
Mar 25, 2020
18
3
1
Boston, MA
  1. Other Health Professions Student
No problem, and just a friendly reminder: do NOT forget to study hard for the MCAT. It can make or break your application just as much as your GPA. Remember, in the first round of the screening process, schools are looking at MCAT as well as GPA. They send secondaries to about half of those who apply (not nec. half of those w/qualifying stats). Then about half of those who receive secondaries get invited to interviews. Half of those who receive interviews are accepted. So this is where the 1/4 figure comes from (not everyone who receives a secondary is qualified to interview). What I mean by that is that ~25-33% of those who apply to med school eventually matriculate. Though this got off topic I hope it helps. :) Good luck!
Hahha never off topic when considering admissions. Thanks for the stats and the advice!
 
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