dlouis

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My first semester at school I had an extremely horrible allergic reaction and had serum sickness, joint pain, being extremely tired all the time. I was worried I had something much worse. I ended up missing a week of classes and missed many more due to not being able to move my arms and legs due to joint pain, and being to tired to get up all day. It was horrible.

From all of this, i really did bad. I had a 2.6 GPA at the end of the semester. Then due to personal reasons I transferred all the way across the country to New Mexico State University. I was still undecided and eventually found my way to where I am now, a junior with a microbiology major with a 3.64 GPA doing intense research, i'll be a TA next year, i'm working in the ER and a few other things.

When I transferred schools my GPA got erased so that was a blessing and allowed me to get it to the 3.64.

When I apply to med schools next fall is there anything I can do to tell them the reasons for the horrible first semester I had? I want them to know i wasn't out smoking pot and getting plastered every night. I thought I was going to die and I dont want it stopping me from getting into med school
 

Mobius1985

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Apr 4, 2007
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I expect you are aware that when you apply to med schools through AMCAS, your first semester original transcript with a 2.6 will have to be submitted as well. By my rough figures (making some assumptions), your combined GPA from both schools is about 3.38 after four semesters.

Many schools' secondary applications have a space where you can explain unusual circumstances in your academic journey. But having a good explanation will not excuse you from needing to redeem your low GPA (mean GPA for acceptees is 3.65). If you pull a 4.0 for this semester and next, your GPA will be ~3.58. If, instead, this year averages another 3.64, your GPA will be only ~3.47 and you might want to consider waiting an additional year before applying so you have more time to improve your GPA (unless you get a high MCAT score).

You could also work your medical situation into your Personal Statement, particularly if it impacted your decision to go into medicine.
 
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dlouis

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Ok that's good to know..kind of discouraging but what can I do. The 2 good things are that some schools weight the first year or 2 and also, I took no science classes my first semester at school so my science gpa will be higher than the average that you calculated. I know I haven't taken the MCATs yet but I'm hoping I can get around a 33-35 which should help my case. Either way, I'm terrified :(
 
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dlouis

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Another thought. Since I was only at that school for one semester, if i retook the majority of those classes and got A's AND addressed the reason for my poor first semester, would that kind of take care of it? Thanks again. I'm trying to think of all the ways I can help overcome this obstacle. Thanks again
 

Mobius1985

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Try to downgrade your "terror" to "anxious." Lots of folks have a bad first semester, and you've already compensated to a fair extent. You are in a much better position than many who've got the same problem.

I'd suggest you only retake any classes that were prerequisites, like English and Calculus. You don't need to retake if you took a higher level class in the same sequence and got an A, eg Calc I=C-, but Calc II=A. (Some schools require behavioral science and biochem, or statistics.) It sounds like all your science grades are high, happily.

Another way to get over this GPA "obstacle", is to craft a Personal Statement that demonstrates all you learned during your illness, like patience, endurance, determination, empathy for others who suffer, and (I hope) appreciation for having a doctor who cared about you, etc. Med schools want students who've learned these lessons a lot more than they want someone with a perfect GPA, because they'll make you a better doctor.
 
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dlouis

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thank you so much mobius! That is exactly what I decided to do yesterday as well. I dropped my public speaking class next semester and signed up for general psychology because I'm pretty sure I got a C my first semester. The only other thing that I am worried about is general chem 2. The first time i took it i withdrew after a few weeks beacuse I was doing 19 credits and it was tough for me to handle. The second time I took it over the summer (1 month class) and it was just so much harder due to learning everything in 4 weeks. I ended up with a C in that and it's the only C i've gotten in a science class. Should i retake it again next fall and show on my transcript that I'm not giving up and want to do better or should i just let it go cause it's only 1 C. Thanks again! you calmed me down haha :)
 

Mobius1985

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I think retaking Gen Chem II is a good idea. You need to understand the material well when you take the MCAT.

I'm only aware of two schools requiring behavioral science, though I haven't really researched to look for others. One is University of Illinois, and the other is in Puerto Rico. Don't feel it's essential to repeat Psych unless a school you really love requires it. On the other hand, I personally feel it's beneficial to understand the subject well since behavioral sciences are studied in med school too.
 
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dlouis

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okay chem 2 sounds like a smarter idea. Do you think if i took it next semester with ochem2 that would be a stupid idea? It's either that or next fall when I need to take biochem so i'm in a lose lose situation there.
 

chiz2kul

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Its things like this that make sdn awesome :thumbup:
 

Mobius1985

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okay chem 2 sounds like a smarter idea. Do you think if i took it next semester with ochem2 that would be a stupid idea? It's either that or next fall when I need to take biochem so i'm in a lose lose situation there.
Orgo II will be hard, but retaking Chem II shouldn't be too difficult since you've already seen and learned much of the coursework. That material should be more of a review, so I think your plan is doable.