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Rough Start, Making Progress...

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MidnightSun

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Hi there!

I am relatively new to this forum, although I have been lurking for some time.
I am hoping that some of you can help me with my situation. I started out taking Business courses at an online university. I realized quickly that business was not my forte. That, coupled with the fact that online/distance courses clashed with my learning style, made my GPA suffer dramatically. :scared:
I have an Certificate in Medical Assisting and worked for a general sergeon for 2 years, where I discovered my love for medicine. I strayed away for a year for personal reasons, but my love for medicine and science is back with a vengence. The only thing that has me worried is my poor performance at that online university. I have since transferred to a state university (I live in Alaska so I have only one option when it comes to universities), and started over pursuing a BS in Biological Sciences with a minor in Social Work. My GPA has increased significantly (it's currently at a 3.25, but with 3 summer courses I hope to improve on that a little bit) and I'm hoping with really good EC's and a good MCAT, I can redeem myself even further. Is this possible? Or am I wasting my time. I really want to qualify for the WWAMI program that my university participates in, but I'm afraid with my previous grades, this is a far reach considering only 20 people are chosen each year.
I still have 2.5 years to go before I graduate, so I hope I still have time to make up for my shortcomings.
Any advice on what would make me competitive for MD programs would be greatly appreciated!!
 
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aSagacious

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Wow, impressive turnaround. Could you explain further your grade trends? (1. Online GPA, 2. Associate GPA, 3. Current 4-year undergrad GPA)

Since much of your early academic career was unrelated to science, you will be able to start working on pre-reqs with minimal prior damage to your science GPA. Simply treat your 4-year university as a clean slate and show the AdComs that you're now taking your studies seriously.

I'm sure you're well aware of the general recommendations for pre-meds (volunteer, shadow, research, etc). Like you said you've still got 2.5 years so take your time, beef up those ECs, and don't worry about the MCAT quite yet (since you can't do much about it yet).
 

MidnightSun

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Hi there! Thanks for the response.
My associate GPA was 3.95, and I graduated with the Acheivement of Excellence award (although I'm not sure how much standing, if any, that would have on a med school application).
My GPA with the online program was 1.9 (yes, that bad). I really can't explain that poor of a GPA, other than the reasons I gave above. I failed a few classes.. The only thing that kept my GPA that high was that the classes I didn't fail, I passed with A's. I just hope adcoms don't totally dismiss me from the get-go because I did poorly. I'm really hoping my GPA turnaround will benefit me in some way. What should I look at for EC's, and shaddowing? Would having excellent EC's and lots of shaddowing hours help me make up for my shortcomings? If I continue to keep my GPA strong will they disregard my previous performance?
Oh, and my current GPA is 3.8. I'm on the deans list and I'm hoping to eventually get into the honor society (if they allow me to).
 
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aSagacious

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If I continue to keep my GPA strong will they disregard my previous performance?
I am personally biased against online colleges to begin with. That said, if I saw a person who failed during a stint at an online program, then proceeded to ace their 2-year and 4-year programs, I would readily dismiss the online history (though of course it will still contribute to your cumulative GPA).

Achievement of Excellence award...although I'm not sure how much standing, if any, that would have on a med school application.
Sure couldn't hurt.

What should I look at for EC's, and shadowing?
As far as ECs, my general rule of thumb: do something that you enjoy. Of course mix in a few semesters volunteering at a hospital, but too often applicants participate in activities that they end up hating because they think it will look good on an application. As long as you demonstrate consistent commitment to an activity you will be fine. For shadowing, the average is around 50 hours amongst 2-3 doctors of varying specialties (at least one of which is a GP).

Would having excellent EC's and lots of shaddowing hours help me make up for my shortcomings?
Short answer, no. They are certainly important to an application when the AdComs are making their final decisions between groups of similar applicants. However, if your GPA and MCAT are not competitive, you will be disregarded before anyone sees the rest of your file. My advice to you would be to keep up your grades and make the MCAT your top priority in the year before you apply.
 
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agh2415

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I am personally biased against online colleges to begin with. That said, if I saw a person who failed during a stint at an online program, then proceeded to ace their 2-year and 4-year programs, I would readily dismiss the online history (though of course it will still contribute to your cumulative GPA).


Sure couldn't hurt.


As far as ECs, my general rule of thumb: do something that you enjoy. Of course mix in a few semesters volunteering at a hospital, but too often applicants participate in activities that they end up hating because they think it will look good on an application. As long as you demonstrate consistent commitment to an activity you will be fine. For shadowing, the average is around 50 hours amongst 2-3 doctors of varying specialties (at least one of which is a GP).



Short answer, no. They are certainly important to an application when the AdComs are making their final decisions between groups of similar applicants. However, if your GPA and MCAT are not competitive, you will be disregarded before anyone sees the rest of your file. My advice to you would be to keep up your grades and make the MCAT your top priority in the year before you apply.

This is excellent advice. Choose a couple causes that you enjoy then do them very well and consistently.
 

MidnightSun

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Thank you for all the advice and helpful links! I calculated my cGPA and figure that if I maintain the grades that I've been getting (I know, easier said than done), I should have a decent GPA by graduation. If I need to, I will look into Post-Bac programs, but I'm really hoping to be ready to apply to med-school by the time I graduate. :xf:

Also, the classes I failed were business classes (accounting, business management, etc). If I were to look at DO schools, would they want me to retake those classes even though they don't pertain to my current degree?

Thanks again for all your help! :D
 
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