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rough start, is medical school still attainable?

collegedays

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Apr 18, 2012
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  1. Pre-Medical
    This past week I've been going through a reality check which has got me thinking whether I should stick with my pre-med career path. I am currently a sophomore, I attended a state school last year and transferred over to another school this year. My freshman year I had a GPA of 3.7, and did well in my science classes. However, upon transferring my classes aren't going so well here. I have had two quarters of organic chemistry and each quarter I've barely passed (C's). I'm taking another quarter right now which isn't looking much better. My focus on orgo has taken away from my focus on biology and I've gotten two C's in my biology classes. My school is recognized arguably for having very difficult orgo classes. My current GPA at my new school is a 2.7. I feel so hopeless since I know I need to be in the 3.5 range. I'm currently getting involved in research and hope to shadow and do a lot of volunteering this summer. Is there still a chance for me in terms of a decent medical school? I feel like it'd be a good direction for me, but despite being determined, I don't know whether to read my failure to perform well as a sign that I might not be successful in this field. Thoughts? Your replies are very appreciated.
     

    sliceofbread136

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    10+ Year Member
    Nov 5, 2011
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      Yes, but if you don't make the effort to identify why you're having problems and make an effort to change, you likely won't raise your gpa back up :(

      Change your study habits, maybe start seeing tutors, go to office hours, do more practice problems. Just start trying new things and be proactive.
       

      Pattycake25

      Full Member
      7+ Year Member
      Aug 3, 2011
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      1. Medical Student
        This past week I've been going through a reality check which has got me thinking whether I should stick with my pre-med career path. I am currently a sophomore, I attended a state school last year and transferred over to another school this year. My freshman year I had a GPA of 3.7, and did well in my science classes. However, upon transferring my classes aren't going so well here. I have had two quarters of organic chemistry and each quarter I've barely passed (C's). I'm taking another quarter right now which isn't looking much better. My focus on orgo has taken away from my focus on biology and I've gotten two C's in my biology classes. My school is recognized arguably for having very difficult orgo classes. My current GPA at my new school is a 2.7. I feel so hopeless since I know I need to be in the 3.5 range. I'm currently getting involved in research and hope to shadow and do a lot of volunteering this summer. Is there still a chance for me in terms of a decent medical school? I feel like it'd be a good direction for me, but despite being determined, I don't know whether to read my failure to perform well as a sign that I might not be successful in this field. Thoughts? Your replies are very appreciated.

        First things first, you are down, but definitely not out. I had a protracted period of depression while at undergrad that wrecked my GPA, and I still got in. If you really want to do medicine, there is no reason to give up hope so early, especially if your current troubles stem from a notoriously challenging class as you state.

        However, ECs should not be a priority right now. Even though it will delay your matriculation at med school, there is nothing wrong with a gap year or two in which you bulk them up. Obviously it's better to do them while completing undergrad, but not if they come at the expense of your grades, and frankly, it sounds like you're struggling plenty as it is. I would be wary of even the summer ECs, since I think you might need the summer to recover academically. Prioritize.

        As for Bio, there is simply no way around the fact that you will need to complete decent upper-level coursework in the field to atone for the Cs (and bolster your argument that it's all orgo's fault anyway). I am NOT talking about postbacs or SMPs or postgrad work in any way - just take some 300 and 400-level classes and ace them, explain when asked what happened in Gen. Bio, and I think you'll wrap that up neatly. If you feel as though your comprehension of even the basics has truly suffered, you should look into review materials and tutors to utilize while taking the courses - additional low grades will just make the road ahead even more difficult.

        As for Orgo, I'm not sure what to recommend. If the MCAT changes weren't coming down the pipeline, I would without doubt suggest extensive work to bring your orgo up to scratch, although maybe not retaking the courses. However, depending on the tentative timeline we are talking about, that may be a waste of time, and it may be far better to just make the rest of your application good enough to outshine the Orgo performance (which won't be much more than is usually expected of a med school aspirant - a LOT of people have pitfalls, so they will frequently "forgive" some blemishes on an otherwise-great record).

        So, in a nutshell: you have a bad spell. While it must be addressed, there is minimal reason to seriously worry about your med school chances at this point. It's still relatively early in the game for you, so work on your shortcomings, and you should still be fine. Don't give up. =)
         

        collegedays

        Full Member
        5+ Year Member
        Apr 18, 2012
        37
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        1. Pre-Medical
          Thanks for your replies. I'm definitely changing my study habits and trying to adjust to address my weaknesses.

          Pattycake25- When you say summer to recover academically, do you think I should retake orgo and/or bio? Financially, it is a little strenuous because I'd have to take it at my school since community college classes wouldn't be accepted, but if it'll really change the position I'm in, it'd be an investment to absolutely consider. Also, as part of the Honors concentration and with AP test scores I was able to take most of general bio my freshman year, so I only took one quarter here of the general bio sequence and my second C was in an upper level 300 class. (The only reason I got a C was because my orgo and bio finals were on the same day and I couldn't prepare as well for bio which cost me a letter grade and a half). Thank you all of your advice in general. Do medical schools usually allow you to explain any academic bumps during interviews?
           
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