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pre-pharm GPA confusion

Discussion in 'Pre-Pharmacy' started by puggmc, May 8, 2008.

  1. puggmc


    May 8, 2008
    hi everyone, im a recent pre-pharm (decided last week) and have lurked here ever since. i decided to look into pharm school, and i've COMBED through this entire forum learning the most i can about the application process.

    ill give a lil bit of my own background info later, but for now, lets get to the question thats been bugging me....

    the topic of low-GPAs has been asked many times before, but please bear with me on this one..

    so im having trouble understanding how cum. gpa/science gpa/prereq gpa's fit in to the admission process.

    I understand that many of us pre-pharm readers out there come from many backgrounds. and from the past two days of my lurking/combing through every thread of this forum, i gather that these are the two general backgrounds:

    1.) Bio/Chem/BioChem/Pre-Pharm/Pre-Med undergrads. these folks have SOME of the pre-reqs taken care of while they were in undergrad.

    2.) "non-traditionals" i.e. undergrads with Engineering, CS, business, underwater basketweaving. etc. these folks have absolutely NONE of the pre-reqs taken care of while in undergrad.

    assumptions: applicant A has a ~2.8 GPA from Category 1, and applicant B has a ~2.6 from category 2.

    it seems to me that applicant B will have an advantage in the pre-req/science GPA's, sicne they will essentially be starting "fresh" when they take city college courses to fulfull prereqs. (is this correct?)

    and applicant A, will have to endure the crap of re-taking courses to "cover-up" blemishes in their transcripts. since, most of the grades that B recieved where classes that are NOT in the pre-req list, adcomms might overlook those low grades since they have no relation to the material covered in the pharm curriculum. although low grades do give some indication of an applicant's overall ability to handle a rigorous courseload.

    am i correct? partially correct? totally wrong?! any clarification/input would be greatly appreciated!

    now, to the boring stuff (feel free to skip, but worth a read for those who might be coming from similar situations...)

    -UC Irvine BS in CS (2.6 cum gpa). im obviously a "category 2"
    -none of my classes in undergrad (except for calculus and english) can be applied towards my pre-reqs.

    ive always hated programming. i only stuck it out til graduation because i made the dumb mistake of not "broadening" my options while i was still in school. ill spare you the reading and save my reasons for going to Pharm for my personal statement...

    i will have to drop out of work, apply to CVS, volunteer at a hospital, take 4-5 classes a semester at a CC for two years. essentially, "starting over." except im not quite sure how my cum. GPA will affect this "starting over" process (if at all)

    been working for the past 3 years in IT making a decent not secure about dropping a decent salary for two years, putting a minor dent in my career temporarily, if my crappy gpa will hold me back by the time acceptance/reject letters come around.

    my girlfriend is a USC PharmD c/o 2012 , her sister is a recent UCSF pharmd c/o 2008. so you can see where i got the influence to make this huge step. but, they're stellar applicants with gpa's in the sky, and tons of experience, so they can't relate too much to my situation.

    ive talked to about 4-5 grads at the UCSF graduation, being that it was a positive event, most of the input i got from them is the expected "you should totally do it!!!" of course, it is easier said than done...

    </end boring crap>
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  3. stylerprodigy

    stylerprodigy Gator Pharmacy Student 5+ Year Member

    Mar 9, 2006
    I was in category B, but I did not finish the engineering degree and my GPA at the time was lower than a 2.6. I switched majors and aced all pre-reqs and all upper level molecular biology, microbiology and biochemistry classes and electives a total of 90 credits after my major switch. I got into University of Florida which is a very good school. So if you do well in your pre-reqs as someone in category B, you are better off than someone in category A. This is just my experience.
  4. Luol Deng Fan

    Luol Deng Fan 2+ Year Member

    Mar 16, 2008
    Im in category b if i understand your scenario right. I have a 3.15 gpa and a Biochem major at UIC. Would an A in biochem cancel out like a C in orgo?? I'm sure the answer is a no, but you never know.
  5. pharmgrl5

    pharmgrl5 2+ Year Member

    Jan 31, 2008
    cGPA: this is important and many schools have limits to what they'll even look at, some are 3.0, some are lower. To be competitive though you'll need something much higher, 3.5 or higher even.
    sGPA: this is also important because it shows how well you do in science classes which is obviously a huge part of pharmacy school.
    prereqGPA: they look at this also as an indicator of how well you'll do in pharm school.

    As for your category A and B thing... it depends really on how many credits someone has. Someone in category A might have a 2.8 but let's just say they only have 40 credits. And someone in category B with the 2.6 has 120 credits. In this situation the person in category A does have the upper hand because it'll take less credits to raise their GPA than the person in B. It could also be flipped the other way around. Assuming though that both have a B.A. or B.S. or something comparable then yes it's likely that person in category B would have the better chance since they wouldn't be retaking and averaging credits.

    If you hate computer programming then it doesn't matter how much they are paying you. Someone who's unhappy in their job will eventually get sick of it and look elsewhere. So my suggestion is to look long and hard at pharmacy, read up for yourself on the job outlooks, opportunities, requirements, etc. You need to love it for what it is, not just what it pays. I'm not saying that's the case with you but it's worth pointing out that no matter how much a job pays if a person is unhappy they will stay unhappy. So be sure you know exactly what you want before heading back to school.
    Good luck!
  6. FLPharm2Be

    FLPharm2Be 5+ Year Member

    Sep 10, 2007
    I am also an Category B person, I graduated with my engineering degree a few years ago and worked as an engineer and was miserable. I never regret the day I resigned to take pharmacy prereqs. I will have to agree with some of what you said about how I pretty much got to start from scratch to receive the highest grades in pre-pharm courese, however, all those engineering courses are still considered "science" courses that are calculated into that pharmcas math/science gpa. Regardless, I was accepted to one of the schools I applied to (NSU) and have an interview at my other school (UF) next week.
  7. dnguyen1969

    dnguyen1969 5+ Year Member

    Apr 19, 2008

    I am in your other shoe. Got my BS in Computer Science years ago and make a great living, but something was missing. This year I decide to quit my job and start prepharm. To me this is the perfect time to go back to school. My English is a lot better than before. It was the main reason my GPA suffer. But now, I am at the top of the class, even with the two worst professor for bio and chem. I didn't know there was such a website as I have a better value of my time and also have to totally new goal.
  8. rxfordummies


    Sep 7, 2009
    Looks like there are quite a few people with the same background as mine in this forum. I love programming though, was darn passionate the first 5 years, getting burned out the next 5 years, beat up so bad by the economy and held more jobs than I can remember or want to talk about :) I think that's enough for my IT career. I still can make a decent living, but it's not worth it when you have to watch the clock if you're on a short term contract, or constantly worry if you'll get laid off when you're on a permanent job, and if you're senior enough at 1 position, your everyday job would be to prove to everyone else that you're super stellar and some day you can manage all those young geeks who sleep in their office for a living (I slept in my office while pregnant with my second child)...that is a lot of pressure. This time I'm venturing off into pharm, hoping I can make it, provided that I was once good in Calculus and OK in Chem. The one concern I have is my age. I'm 33 now w/ 2 kids. 10 plus years ago I barely studied in college but I got out w/ a so so GPA, now I'm a lot more focused. At this age, I know once I make a career switch, there's no way back, but a pharm career is a lot more worthwhile I think, you can work well into your 70's, while you can only code until you're 50 then have to resort to management or a non technical role. Well ...enough blah blah, I feel I'm not alone seeing other "non traditional" CS majors here.
  9. Passion4Sci

    Passion4Sci LML Moderator Emeritus 2+ Year Member

    Mar 18, 2009
    Palo Alto, CA
    I definitely just skimmed this post in deference to time so forgive me if this has been covered but OP, have you considered going at a program like USN's that offers Academic Forgiveness? AF would allow you to essentially "black out" the coursework that is >5 years in age, giving you what amounts to a blank slate with which to apply to their pharmacy school. That seems ideal for your "category 2" applicant and from what I saw so far on here, no one's mentioned AF. Apologies if someone has.

    Def. look into it!! And don't worry, a large number of us here on SDN and in pharmacy in general are non-trad. applicants.

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