Sep 29, 2010
5
0
Detroit.
Status
Pre-Medical
I started out strong in college, and transferred to a 4 year college with a 3.8 and a 4.0 in the sciences. Since my transfer my grades have slipped dramatically. 3.3 in physiology, 3.2 in biochemistry, and a 2.7 in anatomy. However, this semester was especially hard given my family circumstances. I work 40+ hours a week as a respite care-giver for a child with cerebral palsy, and my dad has been very sick (he's been diagnosed with stage 4 cirrhosis, and we had a very drawn out cancer scare on top of the fact that he has been steadily losing his vision and is now completely without sight, has systemic sclerosis, and COPD :( ).

My overall GPA is now closer to 3.5, and my science GPA looks bad. Assuming a decent/good MCAT score (I can't afford the prep courses which makes me nervous); what are my best options for making myself more competitive? If I'm not even given an interview will I have a chance to explain the decline in grades?

Additional info; I am shadowing a D.O., plan to shadow an M.D., have excellent letters of reference from all of Owen's therapist (SLP's, PT's, OT's).
 

Catalystik

The Gimlet Eye
10+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2006
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Camp SDN: The Place for Summer Fun
The slip in grade might also suggest to adcomms that the rigor of your previous coursework wasn't sufficient. I'd suggest that you should not apply with a downward grade trend. If there's no chance of your grades improving in spring semester, then consider taking time off from college until your other stressors are manageable so as to not further imperil your GPA. Spending more time with your dad would maybe be good for both of you anyway. If necessary, wait a year to apply, to permit additional GPA improvement, if your primary goal is an MD school.

Many Secondary essays give one a chance to explain a decline in grades.
 
OP
A
Sep 29, 2010
5
0
Detroit.
Status
Pre-Medical
I've reduced my hours to part time (30 hours), and my dad's health seems improved (plus, we've found out that he may be a transplant candidate!), so I'm hoping the next semester goes a bit better. I'm already studying for the physics and organic chem classes, and have enlisted a tutor for both. I'm also getting married in Jamaica during the next semester...I'm a mess, aren't I? :oops:

Should I retake the anatomy course? I honestly feel that I understand the material, and that I just didn't test well.

I'm not set on allopathic schools, and in fact have been really happy shadowing my DO. (MSU Osteopathic would be close to home as well, because I'm 10 minutes out of Detroit.) What would my chance be at an osteopathic school if I can pull my grades to at least a 3.5 next semester?
 

Catalystik

The Gimlet Eye
10+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2006
32,308
11,905
Camp SDN: The Place for Summer Fun
1) I'm a mess, aren't I?

2) Should I retake the anatomy course? I honestly feel that I understand the material, and that I just didn't test well.

3) I'm not set on allopathic schools, and in fact have been really happy shadowing my DO. (MSU Osteopathic would be close to home as well, because I'm 10 minutes out of Detroit.) What would my chance be at an osteopathic school if I can pull my grades to at least a 3.5 next semester?
1) It's probably amazing that you are not a mess considering all the stress you're under.

2) No. I think that a B- is a decent enough grade.

3) Probably pretty good, but considering how selective MSU Osteopathic is, the higher the better, naturally. I don't suppose that your DO is a grad from there (in which case his LOR might give bonus points)? If the GPA damage is limited to just one (very-explainable) semester and your subsequent GPA pops back up, I think you'll be fine getting in somewhere, hopefully including your school of choice so you'll be close to home.
 
OP
A
Sep 29, 2010
5
0
Detroit.
Status
Pre-Medical
Thank you so much for your help! Dr. Marcus isn't an MSU alumnus, but I am supposed to start shadowing a PM&R who is, and he's one of my charges doc's, so I've actually seen him a few times a year for 4 years. Hopefully that will help.

If I thought for even a second that I only understood 70% of my anatomy class, I'd either retake it or seriously reconsider my choice of careers :) But if it isn't necessary, I'll keep my tuition money for physics II.