Very poor student 13 years ago (W's and F's), great student now! Chances?

Nov 8, 2010
3
0
Washington
Status
Pre-Medical
I know this is a long post, but I'm really hurting for some advice here, please read through it if you have the time. Thanks!

After graduating high school, I attended a local community college even though I didn't really want to, because I had no direction in life, so I wasted my parent's money to go hang out with my girlfriend. Transcript reflects that poor judgment and looks like this:

27 classes total
5 A's
6 B's
3 C's
3 F's
10 W's

Also unfortunately got 4 more W's while in the military about 6 years ago due to a short notice deployment. The same thing got me two more W's about 4 years ago.

So yeah, that's a total of 16 W's, which is why I'm making this thread. I was a horrible student in the beginning, and have only recently found my way, but even then Uncle Sam has thrown a wrench or two in my gears recently as well. I've lurked a long time on this forum, and I see people posting, worried about their ONE W, or maybe 2 or 3 at the worst. So obviously, I'm concerned.

Now, for the good parts. My undergraduate GPA at my school now is excellent. I've got a 3.72 with only a few classes left to get my degree (BS in Psych). I did very well in all of the prereqs, my science GPA is a 3.81. My overall GPA including the old classes would be about a 3.4, not too much lower. I scored a 30 (10's across the board) on the MCAT. I've got 9 years in the military, 6 of that being supervisory roles, have done excellent volunteer work (building third world orphanages and such), shadowed two DO's and can get excellent LOR's from both of them, volunteered at a hospital for about 250 hours, and worked as an EMT-B for about 500 hours.

So, I'm obviously showing an extreme upward trend (except for those damn recent W's that I have an incompetent deployment manager to thank for) but is it enough?

What can I do to improve my chances? I've got plenty of cash saved up, I've checked, and I can still retake about 70% of the courses I got F's and W's in (even though none are pre-reqs) which have the same course number and same credits. I know DO schools will only count the new grade so that would bring up my overall GPA slightly, but will it be worth it?

Are they going to look at all my ancient F's and W's and instantly drop my application in the shredder? Should I apply for one of those one year pre-med Master's programs that I've seen linked with some of the schools? Would I even have a chance at getting accepted into that?

Is medical school completely out of reach for me? Should I be looking at other career options? I don't want to, and I know this is exactly what I want to do with my life now, but if my ignorant youth screwed it up too badly for me, I guess I have no other choice.

Thanks for your time!
 
Last edited:

Superman1978

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 14, 2009
64
0
Status
Medical Student
I was in almost the exact same position you are in. I was a very poor student (coincidentally 13 years ago) and got mediocre grades a lot of withdrawals (~9). I was in the Army for 10 years and had to withdraw a couple of times due to deployments/lack of support from CO. Since getting out of the Army, I went back full time and achieved a solid GPA and a 31 MCAT. The good news is that I got in to several schools. The bad news is that I did have to apply broadly and every single interview focused on my past poor performance. You're looking similar to mine own app so I'd say you're pretty solid. If you have any questions about what I did, etc then IM me. Good luck!!
 
OP
U
Nov 8, 2010
3
0
Washington
Status
Pre-Medical
I was in almost the exact same position you are in. I was a very poor student (coincidentally 13 years ago) and got mediocre grades a lot of withdrawals (~9). I was in the Army for 10 years and had to withdraw a couple of times due to deployments/lack of support from CO. Since getting out of the Army, I went back full time and achieved a solid GPA and a 31 MCAT. The good news is that I got in to several schools. The bad news is that I did have to apply broadly and every single interview focused on my past poor performance. You're looking similar to mine own app so I'd say you're pretty solid. If you have any questions about what I did, etc then IM me. Good luck!!
Wow! :)

I knew this site was going to be helpful, but I wasn't expecting an almost instant answer from someone in a very similar situation to myself. I am interested in what you did. I'll send you a PM later today, I have to get going right now. Thank you though for the quick and spot-on response!
 

Drrrrrr. Celty

Osteo Dullahan
7+ Year Member
Nov 10, 2009
16,100
5,351
Status
Medical Student
The question is what is your cum gpa of all your classes. 10 W's from a mediocre past can be forgiven and if you retook a few of them you'll without a doubt be fine.
 
Nov 1, 2010
163
0
MN
Status
Pre-Medical
It'll come up, but I think you'll be fine. Obviously you've matured/decided what you want out of life, and it's reflected in your history (joining the military, strong upward trend in grades). Any competent person reviewing your application can see this.
 

Catalystik

The Gimlet Eye
10+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2006
32,369
11,977
Camp SDN: The Place for Summer Fun
Besides knowing your current cumulative GPA including all most-recent grades (meaning, using the grade replacement policy) earned, what would your cGPA be if you retook those three Fs?

If you don't have one, here's a DO GPA calculation spreadsheet that can help you figure your application GPA under various scenarios: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=450050
 

SFO-IST

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 24, 2008
522
3
Status
Medical Student
let them focus on your grades. you can use the discussion to show your strength - that you are also disappointed with the old scores, because they don't reflect where you are now. not everyone decides that they want to become a physician before they begin college. the life experience you gained by taking a different route will surely add to the diversity of the entering class - and your capabilities when given a seat at an elite educational institution! Good luck.
 

seap3

7+ Year Member
Jan 31, 2010
631
72
Midwest
Status
Attending Physician
I have a similar dark past and have been invited to interview at 4 schools(withdrew from 1), accepted at 2, & WL at 1. I did not even apply broadly - only 6 schools total, and 1 hasn't even started handing out interview invites yet and the other one I withdrew from.

Here's my horrible record, from 13-17yrs ago:
11 Ws
4 Fs (never bothered withdrawing)
1 D (again, never bothered withdrawing)
2 Cs
I also had a several As and a handful of Bs, but it still brought my gpa to just under 3.0.

I returned to school and had 96 credits of 4.0. NSU made a big deal about my past, DMU mentioned it a little, and AZCOM had no idea since the interview was semi closed and didn't know my numbers.

I think you have an excellent chance of being accepted if you continue with your upward trend. Your clinical experience will help too. And retaking your Fs will do more than just bring up your GPA slightly - replacing those with As will probably make a big difference.

Good luck. :)
 
OP
U
Nov 8, 2010
3
0
Washington
Status
Pre-Medical
Thank you everyone for the advice and personal stories. It really makes me feel more confident about this whole process.

I appreciate the help, I'm still a little ways off, but I'll be sure to update this thread in a couple years, haha.