Medical Will a subpar GPA freshman year hurt my chances?

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Goro

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I'm a freshman at a T-20 school and based on the trajectory of my grades this semester I'll be ending the semester with a 3.5-3.7 GPA (low-high estimates, but more likely on the lower side) with little chance of something above this. While this seems like a not-so-horrible GPA, I'd think, considering how competitive my school is, I will be starting my life as a college student outside of the top 25% of my class and I'll be severely disadvantaged when being considered for jobs, positions, internships, programs, etc. when compared to my peers. Online learning has been super tough for me and I've been going through a sort of rough patch so I'm hoping that I'll be able to pull myself together for the future when things return to normal, but then again I'm worried about the fact that things will only be harder from here on out. In the main class that's pulling me down (a 200-level science class, to give you a basic idea of the difficulty and subject), there have been rampant allegations of cheating because the (otherwise amazing) professor has been unwilling to institute measures to curtail potential cheaters and has even doubled the time we get on exams (which make up our entire grade) because of the online nature, although of course these are only unproven allegations and he won't adjust grades or anything on such a basis even though the curves on the tests have been absolutely outrageous.

My questions are: 1) How screwed am I to be disadvantaged like this this early? 2) Is it worth trying to angle for an upwards trend, and how well do those work? I'm hoping for a T-10 medical school but I don't know how worse off my chances will be. 3) Does a starting GPA that's not super low (or maybe mine is, I have no clue what is "super low" in terms of my situation) even constitute an upwards trend or will it come off wrong if I try explaining how online learning affected me and all when I'm not even starting off in too horrible of a spot? 4) Is there anything I can do about the likelihood that my GPA is suffering due to potential cheaters? It seems like I'm trying to shift blame which is not my intention and I don't think this would be something that should be brought up when explaining my low starting GPA anyways but at the same time it'd be nice to have some acknowledgement that my GPA may not have been this low had circumstances been normal. Also, I don't want to annoy my professor with emails asking about the potential for cheating because I need a good LOR for a summer program I've had my eye on for which I'm anyways disadvantaged going in as a cause of my GPA. 5) Is there any way for me to avoid the disadvantages of having a lower GPA than my competitors for internships and other positions?

I hope I don't come off as snobby or annoying or complaintive or anything because that's not my intention, even though I can see how I'd come across as such. I don't understand medical school applications too well as a freshman, but I'm just going off of what I know that it's best to have a high GPA (at my school at least the top 25% have a 4.0 after the first semester from what I can find) and that GPA is very important for medical school applications, and especially the GPA in science classes specifically, which is why I'm so worried.

Thank you in advance, and thanks for bearing with me.
1) How screwed am I to be disadvantaged like this this early?

Not screwed at all


2) Is it worth trying to angle for an upwards trend, and how well do those work?
Rising GPA trends are always good. You appear to be laboring under the delusion that one needs a 4.0 to get into med school. One doesn't.



I'm hoping for a T-10 medical school but I don't know how worse off my chances will be.
Stop thinking like this. Your goal is to get into A med school. What if your only accept is to Albany or U CO?


3) Does a starting GPA that's not super low (or maybe mine is, I have no clue what is "super low" in terms of my situation) even constitute an upwards trend or will it come off wrong if I try explaining how online learning affected me and all when I'm not even starting off in too horrible of a spot?

There are several different kindsof GPA trends. One is a linear upslope. Another is a U- or V-shaped trend. All are very common.


4) Is there anything I can do about the likelihood that my GPA is suffering due to potential cheaters?
Well, this is a novel one. Your GPA is your responsibility, and it's not due to someone cheating. BTW, the MCAT is a the great leveling force in admissions.


It seems like I'm trying to shift blame which is not my intention and I don't think this would be something that should be brought up when explaining my low starting GPA anyways but at the same time it'd be nice to have some acknowledgement that my GPA may not have been this low had circumstances been normal. Also, I don't want to annoy my professor with emails asking about the potential for cheating because I need a good LOR for a summer program I've had my eye on for which I'm anyways disadvantaged going in as a cause of my GPA.

And you know people are cheating exactly how?



5) Is there any way for me to avoid the disadvantages of having a lower GPA than my competitors for internships and other positions?
You're still a freshman, but you're behaving like you're all ready to apply to med school. You're light years away, so just learn how to learn, develop better coping skills and start engaging in ECs.



I hope I don't come off as snobby or annoying or complaintive or anything because that's not my intention, even though I can see how I'd come across as such.

I can't sugar coat this OP, you're coming off as dangerously neurotic.


I don't understand medical school applications too well as a freshman, but I'm just going off of what I know that it's best to have a high GPA (at my school at least the top 25% have a 4.0 after the first semester from what I can find) and that GPA is very important for medical school applications, and especially the GPA in science classes specifically, which is why I'm so worried.

Read this please:
Med School Rx: Getting In, Getting Through, and Getting On with Doctoring Original Edition by Walter Hartwig
ISBN-13: 978-1607140627

ISBN-10: 1607140624
 

TheBoneDoctah

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Woah woah woah. Take a step back or you are gonna burn out quick.

You are 100% fine. You have taken a few courses and have a 3.5+ GPA. You have a billion courses still to take. Study hard and do well. Also, although it is good to aim high, your goal should always be to get into medical school, period. The infatuation with top medical schools runs rampant on SDN.
 

Mr.Smile12

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Adding on.

1) How screwed am I to be disadvantaged like this this early?
Not screwed at all
If you haven't been placed on academic probation, you're good.

2) Is it worth trying to angle for an upwards trend, and how well do those work?
Rising GPA trends are always good. You appear to be laboring under the delusion that one needs a 4.0 to get into med school. One doesn't.
Yes. Pretty well.

I'm hoping for a T-10 medical school but I don't know how worse off my chances will be.
Stop thinking like this. Your goal is to get into A med school. What if your only accept is to Albany or U CO?
Why? You are coming off as neurotic or privileged, and it will just get worse. There are 180 medical schools in the United States, and to narrow down to the top 10 is an entitlement mindset that can result in very dangerous anxiety and personal/mental stress if you are not realistic. Seriously, what if medicine isn't right for you at all?

3) Does a starting GPA that's not super low (or maybe mine is, I have no clue what is "super low" in terms of my situation) even constitute an upwards trend or will it come off wrong if I try explaining how online learning affected me and all when I'm not even starting off in too horrible of a spot?
There are several different kinds of GPA trends. One is a linear upslope. Another is a U- or V-shaped trend. All are very common.
Grades are important but only one part of the package. The others include documented a commitment to service to your community, self-management under pressure or duress, ability to navigate through ambivalence or hardship, a sense of equity, and a network of sincere friends, mentors, and champions who can help you get through the challenges of a health care career.

4) Is there anything I can do about the likelihood that my GPA is suffering due to potential cheaters?
Well, this is a novel one. Your GPA is your responsibility, and it's not due to someone cheating. BTW, the MCAT is a the great leveling force in admissions.
You can't control this. If you believe that 50% of your classmates are cheating (which has been the number thrown around in anonymous surveys), then actively join your student conduct board. Talk to your professors about how they curtail cheating and highlight technologies how your peers are circumventing traditional cheating detection methods.

Also, I don't want to annoy my professor with emails asking about the potential for cheating because I need a good LOR for a summer program I've had my eye on for which I'm anyways disadvantaged going in as a cause of my GPA.
If you take the time to establish a true relationship with a professor, he/she will write you a strong letter in spite of your GPA. I can tell you dozens of freshmen and sophomores have done this, and after talking with them about their goals and reasons to attend certain summer programs (even suggesting a few they haven't thought about), I wrote them their LOR's on time as long as they gave me advanced notice (at least a month before the deadline), and talked with me about how this program will supplement their education. The more often the student talked with me during office hours even BEFORE making the ask for a LOR, the easier it was for me to write a strong letter of support, regardless of how many students I would see during the fall semester (back when I was teaching undergraduates).

Have you done this?


5) Is there any way for me to avoid the disadvantages of having a lower GPA than my competitors for internships and other positions?
You're still a freshman, but you're behaving like you're all ready to apply to med school. You're light years away, so just learn how to learn, develop better coping skills and start engaging in ECs.
Work harder. Not everyone is going for the same internships you are thinking about when you are. Network with students and medical schools early because your higher-GPA peers are all not thinking about the advantages of establishing networks; they may realize that a top-10 (or whatever) school really is NOT what they're looking for. Stop worrying about how deficient you are and start working on building yourself up. If necessary, seek counseling.

I hope I don't come off as snobby or annoying or complaintive or anything because that's not my intention, even though I can see how I'd come across as such.
I can't sugar coat this OP, you're coming off as dangerously neurotic.
See my comments about "privileged."

I don't understand medical school applications too well as a freshman, but I'm just going off of what I know that it's best to have a high GPA (at my school at least the top 25% have a 4.0 after the first semester from what I can find) and that GPA is very important for medical school applications, and especially the GPA in science classes specifically, which is why I'm so worried.

Read this please:
Med School Rx: Getting In, Getting Through, and Getting On with Doctoring Original Edition by Walter Hartwig
ISBN-13: 978-1607140627
ISBN-10: 1607140624

Meet your prehealth advisors, go to prehealth clubs, read SDN articles (be appropriately skeptical with the open forums), go to recruitment events held by the schools (mine is holding a virtual open house, and I think we just hit capacity with a few weeks left), sign up for newsletters from the AAMC regarding AMCAS and the MCAT, and gain critical thinking skills to know what advice you should follow and what advice is not appropriate for you.
 

tantacles

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1. You are not screwed. Your GPA is good for MD school, but T10 is likely out of reach unless your MCAT hits the moon and your extracurriculars are exemplary OR you end up in that 3.7 range and your MCAT is excellent.

2. It is always worth it to do as well as you can.

3. hard to answer this question but just do your best in your courses. Realize that other students have the same obstacles re: online learning that you do.

4. Yes: Do your best in every course. Continue not to cheat.

5. Most internships and jobs won't care too much about your GPA.
 
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