Will my GPA from ten years ago haunt me when I apply, even if I have turned things around completely

Aug 3, 2016
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I am an extremely non-traditional student who originally went to undergrad in 2006. I was very immature, had no guidance from family, and came from an underperforming high school. That being said, I stuck around and floundered for 3 years, and I eventually left with a final GPA of 1.85. I did not graduate, but it should be noted that these were all business classes and I attempted no science courses.

After coming home and reevaluating my life, I became an EMT. I went to work full-time for a busy urban EMS agency, enrolled in the local community college and graduated with an Associate's degree in Emergency Medical Science. I continued to work as a paramedic, did very well, and eventually moved up the ranks to become a critical care flight paramedic with a large research based teaching hospital. In this position I have trained staff, written protocols, participated in research, and I have also taught ACLS, PALS, and BLS/CPR in the hospital's life support education department.

I made the decision to return to school and get a bachelor's degree two years ago. I finished my B.S. with a 3.6 and have a science GPA of 3.8 including all of the medical school pre-reqs, all while continuing to work full time. My question is this: is it worth a shot to apply to med-school now, given my extreme character change? Or will my mistakes as a 20 year old keep medical school out of reach?
 

bears1992

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Jan 5, 2017
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How does your GPA break down for Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior year?
What is your total GPA and sGPA from ALL coursework?
What is your state of residence?
Are you a URM?
Are you planning on applying this year or next?
When do you plan on taking the MCAT?
 
OP
F
Aug 3, 2016
3
0
Status
Pre-Medical
How does your GPA break down for Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior year?
What is your total GPA and sGPA from ALL coursework?
What is your state of residence?
Are you a URM?
Are you planning on applying this year or next?
When do you plan on taking the MCAT?

Not a URM, reside in NC, planning to apply very early in the next cycle, and will be taking the MCAT in January.

As I tried to indicate in the above post, my first trip to college is one large streak of dismal grades--so there's really no trend during that period. Since returning to school my GPA has trended upward, initially around 3.3 and finishing with several semesters of 3.9-4.0. My science GPA is currently 3.78 and I am continuing to take classes through next Spring so I expect that to increase as well. I have not averaged my GPA from ten years ago with my current one, but we may safely assume that to do so would result in a rather low GPA, likely under 3.0. Not taking those years into account, my cumulative GPA would be roughly 3.7.
 
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bears1992

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Jan 5, 2017
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With a great MCAT (510)+ and a cGPA above a 3.0, you could have a shot at some MD schools if you cast a wide enough net. With a sub 3.0, your app will get screened out before anyone can take a deeper look into your grade trend. Work on getting your cGPA above a 3.0 and your academics should be good for 85% of DO and maybe a few MD schools. A January MCAT is a good target. You can push it back as late as April 1st and you will still be able to apply on the first day. As for schools, my guess would be 20 DO and 10 MD. Don't apply to DO or MD if you don't hit a 500 MCAT.

Good Luck!
 
OP
F
Aug 3, 2016
3
0
Status
Pre-Medical
With a great MCAT (510)+ and a cGPA above a 3.0, you could have a shot at some MD schools if you cast a wide enough net. With a sub 3.0, your app will get screened out before anyone can take a deeper look into your grade trend. Work on getting your cGPA above a 3.0 and your academics should be good for 85% of DO and maybe a few MD schools. A January MCAT is a good target. You can push it back as late as April 1st and you will still be able to apply on the first day. As for schools, my guess would be 20 DO and 10 MD. Don't apply to DO or MD if you don't hit a 500 MCAT.

Good Luck!

Thanks! I really appreciate the feedback, but it sounds like what you're telling me is that my old grades will continue to haunt me, and that the dramatic turnaround is not a factor. Is this correct?
 

Hkhan

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Jun 29, 2017
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Thanks! I really appreciate the feedback, but it sounds like what you're telling me is that my old grades will continue to haunt me, and that the dramatic turnaround is not a factor. Is this correct?
He's saying in order for your trend to be noticed, you need to first prevent yourself from getting auto screened, then med schools can take a better look at what you've done since then (2006)


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bears1992

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Exactly what Hkhan said. I imagine that a majority of MD schools will not be able to get over your 3.0 cGPA and reject you, but there are MD schools that put more emphasis on recent coursework. Those are your target schools, but unfortunately, there is really no way of knowing which schools actually weigh recent coursework more than your overall GPA (they all say holistic review but common) so you really need to cast a wide net with MD. DO schools seem to be more likely to look past overall stats in favor of recent coursework.

If you are looking to do primary care, emergency medicine or become a hospitalist, DO can get you there. If you are looking to specialize, DO will make that road tougher. If you are looking to specialize, you might want to take a year or two after your degree to raise your GPA to get into MD. With a 3.0 cGPA, even with a strong upward trend, you'd need to apply to 30+ MD schools to have a 50-50 shot with a 510 MCAT.
 

Goro

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I am an extremely non-traditional student who originally went to undergrad in 2006. I was very immature, had no guidance from family, and came from an underperforming high school. That being said, I stuck around and floundered for 3 years, and I eventually left with a final GPA of 1.85. I did not graduate, but it should be noted that these were all business classes and I attempted no science courses.

After coming home and reevaluating my life, I became an EMT. I went to work full-time for a busy urban EMS agency, enrolled in the local community college and graduated with an Associate's degree in Emergency Medical Science. I continued to work as a paramedic, did very well, and eventually moved up the ranks to become a critical care flight paramedic with a large research based teaching hospital. In this position I have trained staff, written protocols, participated in research, and I have also taught ACLS, PALS, and BLS/CPR in the hospital's life support education department.

I made the decision to return to school and get a bachelor's degree two years ago. I finished my B.S. with a 3.6 and have a science GPA of 3.8 including all of the medical school pre-reqs, all while continuing to work full time. My question is this: is it worth a shot to apply to med-school now, given my extreme character change? Or will my mistakes as a 20 year old keep medical school out of reach?
There are a number of MD schools (and all DO) that reward reinvention. Chances best with your state school.
 

Hkhan

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Exactly what Hkhan said. I imagine that a majority of MD schools will not be able to get over your 3.0 cGPA and reject you, but there are MD schools that put more emphasis on recent coursework. Those are your target schools, but unfortunately, there is really no way of knowing which schools actually weigh recent coursework more than your overall GPA (they all say holistic review but common) so you really need to cast a wide net with MD. DO schools seem to be more likely to look past overall stats in favor of recent coursework.

If you are looking to do primary care, emergency medicine or become a hospitalist, DO can get you there. If you are looking to specialize, DO will make that road tougher. If you are looking to specialize, you might want to take a year or two after your degree to raise your GPA to get into MD. With a 3.0 cGPA, even with a strong upward trend, you'd need to apply to 30+ MD schools to have a 50-50 shot with a 510 MCAT.
Yeah, DOs still seem to reward reinvention, even with AACOMAS getting rid of grade replacement (which I imagine could have helped you quite a bit).

Since you'll be past 2020 merger, I agree that it will definitely be harder to specialize, but it can be done as a DO.


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Inspired Chaos

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May 12, 2015
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Calculate your cGPA including all courses taken and see where you stand. I had to send AMCAS a transcript with a semester of all Fs from 10 years ago that brought my cGPA from 3.9 to 3.5. Just one bad semester a decade ago. I know how frustrating it is.
 
Jan 17, 2018
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I’m in a similar boat. My first career did not require a higher gpa and I thought the person of college was to enjoy it so now I’m back in school many many years later.

Ever heard of a fresh start program in Texas? Other states might have it too, but it means that you can do away with all old courses ten years or older. It’s an all or nothing deal and you don’t get to choose with courses you want to keep but all old courses go away and by state law the school turns a blind eye. The degree of course, won’t be thrown away and you can use that. It can be used at all Texas graduate schools. I considered doing the same, but am afraid of organic chemistry and how old I will, but I think of it often when I’m around future doctors.

Currently I’m thinking of being a nurse practitioner and how to get plus loans and if I’d be satisfied with that like my cousin and aunt and want to be a doctor and do more research. I’m doing my prequisites now and have a 4.0, but not a huge cushion to keep that and organic chemistry might scare me off though I love chemistry. Anyway, there are some schools of nursing that look at just the prequisites gpa and those are mostly the accelerated courses for people who already have bachelor degrees. I’d prefer to do the traditional route to keep a safer pace so I keep a high score to be safe on the job and for nurse practitioner school, but most traditional pathways look at minimum culmative gpa’s for 3.0 unless you do the start over program in Texas and then for a high prequisites gpa, which is set at 3.0, but the seats are so few that the average is around 3.7, but that is here and they have only 24 seats per year and I found that out after moving and researching and most people at orientation didn’t know that. Some schools also figure in your experience and how certified you are as a CPA or a medic or paramedic or a HESI for your favor, but Texas. Many of those medical schools in Texas at the public universities are relatively cheap for what its rumored to cost.
 
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