Question for people in here with a GPA below a 3.2

frosted_flake

waaahmbulance attendant
Oct 27, 2012
1,151
737
Los Angeles
Status
Pre-Medical
Mine (2.91:thumbdown:) is that low because of a botany class (D) and general chemistry (C-, retaking in spring 2014). I had an awful semester after I injured my knee and was unable to go to class for a week (fell behind quick) and it was difficult to catch up. After that I took a semester off, gathered my thoughts, myself and my goals for the future and decided that I would work my butt off to reach my goal of going to medical school. I know that ECs don't save an applicant from a crappy GPA, but I feel confident in my ECs (thinking maybe I could use these to my advantage and/or slow down a little and devote even more time to class/studying). I am a volunteer pharmacy tech (80 hours), EMT (2000+ hours) nursing home volunteer (200+ hours) Alzheimer's unit 'buddy' (150 hours). As far as shadowing I have seen many C-sections (usually talk with the anesthesiologist, I find that much more interesting), an interventional cardiologist in the cath lab and his office and quite a few ER doctors. Hopefully the MCAT doesn't kick me too hard. :yeahright:

I wanted to ask though (and perhaps it will really help my GPA)... At my previous school, the lecture was a part of the lab, therefore it was the same grade. At the school I am at now, the lab and lecture are separate. Does this mean if I get an A in both lab and lecture that will be 'two' As on my transcript? I feel silly asking, but I am just not aware of how exactly that works. If that is the case though, that is awesome :)
 

BlueLabel

5+ Year Member
May 6, 2012
1,679
658
Texas
Status
Medical Student
I wanted to ask though (and perhaps it will really help my GPA)... At my previous school, the lecture was a part of the lab, therefore it was the same grade. At the school I am at now, the lab and lecture are separate. Does this mean if I get an A in both lab and lecture that will be 'two' As on my transcript? I feel silly asking, but I am just not aware of how exactly that works. If that is the case though, that is awesome :)
Yeah there will be 2 As on your transcript. The lab will likely be a 1 hour class while the lecture will probably be 3 hours. This is typically a good thing because a poor performance in lab can't tank a good semester in lecture. Of course you do want to try to do as well as possible in both.

Notice that this doesn't really "help" your GPR in any meaningful way because I'm sure at the other school the lecture+lab course was 4 hours or the equivalent. So an A in that course would have the same impact on your grades as an A in each of the separated lecture and lab. You might find that this isn't school-wide and depends on the course/department you're taking; at my university I took both integrated and separate versions of different classes.
 
Apr 12, 2012
1,081
472
Earth
Status
Non-Student
Mine (2.91:thumbdown:) is that low because of a botany class (D) and general chemistry (C-, retaking in spring 2014). I had an awful semester after I injured my knee and was unable to go to class for a week (fell behind quick) and it was difficult to catch up.
I wonder if that would be enough for a medical withdrawal from the courses and whether this could be done retroactively at your institution. How far along are you in your undergraduate curriculum?
 

LostinLift

5+ Year Member
Jan 24, 2013
851
721
Status
Medical Student
How did it get that low and what is your outlook for the future now?
I graduated with a 3.0. I was not pre-med, I was only aiming for B's, I had 40-80 hours of non-academic commitments every week.

I did an internship at a med school, post-bacc for 4 semesters with mostly As, got a clinical job, TA job, service job, and research. Brought GPA up to ~3.2, 36 mcat, and got dope letters of rec for my committee letter which described my turn-around.

Complete "late" in September and October. Sitting on 4 interviews, waiting to hear back from 15 other schools where I expect at least 1 additional interview, if not more.
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
52,556
76,184
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
Some of the reasons I've seen for poor student perfromance in the UG years are:

Immaturity (Dr Goro's own problem at age 18-20!)
Too much partying/social activity/sports activity, or other distractions
Illness, either to the student, or a family member (I include undiagnosed ADHD in here)
Injury, as above
Death of a family member, close friend, or significant other
Realtionship issues
Depression
Poor time mgt
Being a non-science major or non-premed, and thus being unware how important GPA is.
Poor choice making, which combines one of the above, and not having enough brain power to drop a course(s) when something really bad is happening, but trying to bull it through.

How did it get that low and what is your outlook for the future now?
 
  • Like
Reactions: ClrkKnt

mehc012

Big Damn Hero
7+ Year Member
Jul 9, 2012
9,323
8,330
The Black
Status
Medical Student
Some of the reasons I've seen for poor student perfromance in the UG years are:

Immaturity (Dr Goro's own problem at age 18-20!)
Too much partying/social activity/sports activity, or other distractions
Illness, either to the student, or a family member (I include undiagnosed ADHD in here)
Injury, as above
Death of a family member, close friend, or significant other
Realtionship issues
Depression
Poor time mgt
Being a non-science major or non-premed, and thus being unware how important GPA is.
Poor choice making, which combines one of the above, and not having enough brain power to drop a course(s) when something really bad is happening, but trying to bull it through.
Hmmm...I'll take a #1, a #4, about 6 helpings of #7, a generous portion of #8, and a #9 on the side. Throw in a #6 if you include non-SOs (aka family and friend drama llamas), and maybe a dash of #3 for flavor. Do you have any combo specials going on?!?

Just out of curiosity, do any of those strike you (from the admissions standpoint) better than the others? My current strategy is to leave out the drama and excuses (aka illness, injury, relationship things), avoid the HELL out of any mental-health related things (I spent ~3d working in the ED before I decided I would never discuss any such matters with anyone in the healthcare industry), and focus on "I had no intention of applying to med school and had poor time management. In the past 2yrs, after deciding to go for med, I've loaded my schedule to the gills and kicked ass at it, clearly demonstrating that I've fixed that problem".

As far as I'm concerned, if you have good time management skills, you should be able to barely pull off your goals EVEN WHEN ish hits the fan (relationships, injuries, illness, etc). I had poor time management, so when nothing came up I did great, but when it did, I bombed. Now I'm juggling 80+hr weeks and doing better than I did in UG with only 18 credit hours and a sports team.
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
52,556
76,184
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
Any time one can overcome adverse events, that's viewed positively. Unfortunately, there are so many qualified applicants that med schools can afford to ignore tons of them. It's a seller's market. However, there are still ways to GPA repair. Post-bac or SMP, killer ECs plus killer MCAT may get a second look at those schools that reward reinvention, say, like BU or NYMC.

But without that, I suspect that AdComs will shy away from poor choice makers, or the still-immature.

Just out of curiosity, do any of those strike you (from the admissions standpoint) better than the others? My current strategy is to leave out the drama and excuses (aka illness, injury, relationship things), avoid the HELL out of any mental-health related things (I spent ~3d working in the ED before I decided I would never discuss any such matters with anyone in the healthcare industry), and focus on "I had no intention of applying to med school and had poor time management. In the past 2yrs, after deciding to go for med, I've loaded my schedule to the gills and kicked ass at it, clearly demonstrating that I've fixed that problem".

As far as I'm concerned, if you have good time management skills, you should be able to barely pull off your goals EVEN WHEN ish hits the fan (relationships, injuries, illness, etc). I had poor time management, so when nothing came up I did great, but when it did, I bombed. Now I'm juggling 80+hr weeks and doing better than I did in UG with only 18 credit hours and a sports team.[/quote]
 

frosted_flake

waaahmbulance attendant
Oct 27, 2012
1,151
737
Los Angeles
Status
Pre-Medical
Problem being you can't use immaturity or any of those as excuses when you apply for med school though.
Exactly, and completely understandable (before you read this long 'rant,' I am simply trying to figure out how to put the injury behind me). I learned from my mistake/crappy semester. I was injured a year and a half ago as of September, and I have put off surgery. The injury has gotten progressively worse despite other therapies and treatments, and so they are talking a total replacement (and that they are hesitant of since I am only 20, and they said it is only getting worse the longer I wait). It is terrifying to say the least, and I want the issue solved. However with a surgery like that, I know I am going to need time to heal but I am maxed out every semester until I go to medical school (hopefully I will be entering in the fall of 2016.) Basically, I have no idea what to do or how to approach this. I know I can't have another semester where everything just 'goes bad' (already did that) and I don't want to push my classes back a semester either. SO in my eyes, my options are surgery during a break and slow start to the semester or over the summer when I am taking molecular and general chemistry 2.
 

mehc012

Big Damn Hero
7+ Year Member
Jul 9, 2012
9,323
8,330
The Black
Status
Medical Student
Any time one can overcome adverse events, that's viewed positively. Unfortunately, there are so many qualified applicants that med schools can afford to ignore tons of them. It's a seller's market. However, there are still ways to GPA repair. Post-bac or SMP, killer ECs plus killer MCAT may get a second look at those schools that reward reinvention, say, like BU or NYMC.

But without that, I suspect that AdComs will shy away from poor choice makers, or the still-immature.

Just out of curiosity, do any of those strike you (from the admissions standpoint) better than the others? My current strategy is to leave out the drama and excuses (aka illness, injury, relationship things), avoid the HELL out of any mental-health related things (I spent ~3d working in the ED before I decided I would never discuss any such matters with anyone in the healthcare industry), and focus on "I had no intention of applying to med school and had poor time management. In the past 2yrs, after deciding to go for med, I've loaded my schedule to the gills and kicked ass at it, clearly demonstrating that I've fixed that problem".

As far as I'm concerned, if you have good time management skills, you should be able to barely pull off your goals EVEN WHEN ish hits the fan (relationships, injuries, illness, etc). I had poor time management, so when nothing came up I did great, but when it did, I bombed. Now I'm juggling 80+hr weeks and doing better than I did in UG with only 18 credit hours and a sports team.
[/quote]
No, I know about GPA repair...I'll have come up by .2 or so by the time I apply. That wasn't my question at all. I'm asking about the framing.
I'm taking 2 yrs after my post-graduation decision to go med to beef up ECs, fix my GPA, and generally just work my @$$ off with an 80+hr week to show that I can manage my time now. I can't think of any way to alter my actual current plans for better results (other than just moving to TX to take advantage of their low costs and nice admit stats), but it's all in the presentation. I was asking for your perspective on that aspect; I can do the other legwork myself but I can't research adcom perspectives without asking adcoms what their perspective is!
 
Apr 12, 2012
1,081
472
Earth
Status
Non-Student
I am a sophomore, and if that could work that is a damn good idea.
I would work on it ASAP. Note that many schools are more resistant to permitting a medical withdrawal after the final course grade has posted because of a fear that students might try to "game" the system, but depending on the institution, it can and does happen. The sooner you try the better. Make sure that you obtain copies of your medical records to corroborate your argument. It may also help if you had strong grades before the injury, but as always with these types of things YMMV. There really is no downside (if you are unsuccessful, you are not in a situation less favorable) and the upside is fairly large. If the disposition is unfavorable, see if there is an appeals process. I would not give up on those courses until all remedies had been exhausted.

Even if you are unsuccessful, you have plenty of time to work on your course work for medical school. I would definitely suggest summer school. While I did fine in my coursework during the year, I found it easier in the summer because I could pour all of my energy/work into one class (even granted that it is taught at a faster pace). It may also open up some room for advanced division work, which is always a plus and can afford additional opportunities to work on your science GPA.
 

frosted_flake

waaahmbulance attendant
Oct 27, 2012
1,151
737
Los Angeles
Status
Pre-Medical
I would work on it ASAP. Note that many schools are more resistant to permitting a medical withdrawal after the final course grade has posted because of a fear that students might try to "game" the system, but depending on the institution, it can and does happen. The sooner you try the better. Make sure that you obtain copies of your medical records to corroborate your argument. It may also help if you had strong grades before the injury, but as always with these types of things YMMV. There really is no downside (if you are unsuccessful, you are not in a situation less favorable) and the upside is fairly large. If the disposition is unfavorable, see if there is an appeals process. I would not give up on those courses until all remedies had been exhausted.

Even if you are unsuccessful, you have plenty of time to work on your course work for medical school. I would definitely suggest summer school. While I did fine in my coursework during the year, I found it easier in the summer because I could poor all of my work into one class (even granted that it is taught at a faster pace). It may also open up some room for advanced division work, which is always a plus and can afford additional opportunities to work on your science GPA.
I was talking with a friend and I had an idea... If the teacher does not allow me to do this, I wonder if it would be possible to retake the course as perhaps an audit, and whatever grade I get in there could he change my current grade to the new one? I don't want to retake the class, because that poop stain of a D will still be on there. Also, helps BIG TIME that I have all of the old exams, notes, etc. :)
 
Apr 12, 2012
1,081
472
Earth
Status
Non-Student
I was talking with a friend and I had an idea... If the teacher does not allow me to do this, I wonder if it would be possible to retake the course as perhaps an audit, and whatever grade I get in there could he change my current grade to the new one? I don't want to retake the class, because that poop stain of a D will still be on there. Also, helps BIG TIME that I have all of the old exams, notes, etc. :)
I think your suggestion would be problematic, and in many cases, a professor has very limited power to change grades after submission to the registrar (such as a calculation error, etc.). Moreover, I wouldn't bother retaking botany personally unless you are not granted a medical withdrawal and you decide to go the osteopathic medicine route (where grade replacement would make a difference in the GPA).

Edited to add: The medical withdrawal question would be one better addressed to your dean. Your could talk to your professor, but I find it likely he is going to refer you to your dean as well.
 

darklabel

PGWhy
7+ Year Member
Jan 11, 2012
2,386
912
Status
Resident [Any Field]
How did it get that low and what is your outlook for the future now?
Retook classes that I had to. Also have the MCAT so scoring higher than the average can definitely get some ad com's attention. SMPs or a science heavy masters program helps.

Outlook is fantastic, had multiple MD and DO interviews and so far 3 MD acceptances and 3 DO. Granted, none of them are ranked high enough to be worth bragging on SDN, but I rebuilt myself from a solid 2.6 and I have the opportunity to start fresh without those grades holding me back anymore (Heck, before Step 1 we all have a chance for matching Derm :laugh:). Looking at the panic thread and other's stories, I do feel pretty blessed to be where I am. My biggest advice is don't lose hope, peruse this forum for great information :prof: and don't listen to naysayers (including this forum :nono:). So long as you know what is expected (A's here on out in you Post-Bacc and SMP) and getting the best MCAT you can, there always a chance!

Also, APPLY BROADLY! Unless you live in Texas, FL or one of those states, it's difficult to bank on staying instate with low stats. Always be open to the idea of DO school as well since in the end all we want to be are competent physicians.

tl;dr - Study these forums for strategies, buckle down, ignore nay-sayers, be smart about applying broadly

Good luck! :thumbup:
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
52,556
76,184
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
If you asking "is this a reasonable explanation for poor UG performance", yeah, it's reasonable. Your plans are sound.

""I had no intention of applying to med school and had poor time management. In the past 2yrs, after deciding to go for med, I've loaded my schedule to the gills and kicked ass at it, clearly demonstrating that I've fixed that problem". "
 
Aug 8, 2013
1,395
903
Michigan
Status
Medical Student
Exactly, and completely understandable (before you read this long 'rant,' I am simply trying to figure out how to put the injury behind me). I learned from my mistake/crappy semester. I was injured a year and a half ago as of September, and I have put off surgery. The injury has gotten progressively worse despite other therapies and treatments, and so they are talking a total replacement (and that they are hesitant of since I am only 20, and they said it is only getting worse the longer I wait). It is terrifying to say the least, and I want the issue solved. However with a surgery like that, I know I am going to need time to heal but I am maxed out every semester until I go to medical school (hopefully I will be entering in the fall of 2016.) Basically, I have no idea what to do or how to approach this. I know I can't have another semester where everything just 'goes bad' (already did that) and I don't want to push my classes back a semester either. SO in my eyes, my options are surgery during a break and slow start to the semester or over the summer when I am taking molecular and general chemistry 2.
Seems like you ought to drop out for a semester and come back strong after you've healed up. Move your MD plans to 2017....who knows what will happen during those tough semesters and then you won't be able to undo that record.
 

frosted_flake

waaahmbulance attendant
Oct 27, 2012
1,151
737
Los Angeles
Status
Pre-Medical
Seems like you ought to drop out for a semester and come back strong after you've healed up. Move your MD plans to 2017....who knows what will happen during those tough semesters and then you won't be able to undo that record.
Do you think they would look poorly upon that since I have already taken a semester off?
Thanks for your reply!
 
Apr 12, 2012
1,081
472
Earth
Status
Non-Student
Do you think they would look poorly upon that since I have already taken a semester off?
Thanks for your reply!
If you take this route, do something productive such as building up ECs if you are able to, and I think you'll be okay. Is research an option?

Edited to add: I didn't see the part about surgery and things getting worse. Your health comes first.
 
Last edited: