Yay or Nay? Wondering if I'm cut out for Medical School.

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by Torrent of Water, Aug 19, 2015.

  1. Torrent of Water

    Aug 19, 2015
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    I'm currently approaching my senior year at UW.

    While I'm not the first and definitely not the last, I was one of few high school students who decided to take Running Start. For those of you unfamiliar with the program, it means you can take a set amount of classes at your high school, and on top of that, attend a local community college to start working on your Bachelors/Associates.
    I'm in a little bit of a sticky situation, and it's mostly due to my rashness.
    You see, during Junior and senior years of high school, I hammered away at college credits via Running Start like crazy. I got my Associates, which roughly translates as Freshman and Sophomore year of college.
    The problem? I finished all my "non-science" credits while in high school. Now that I'm in university, I have a (excuse the French) **** ton of science classes to take, most of which are finished by now.
    My typical year so far at UW has been strewn with outrageous course loads, simply because I have nothing but science/math courses left.
    For example, this quarter my schedule was as follows: Differential Equations, Organic Chemistry II, Calculus III, and Organic Chemistry Lab I. It's summer quarter (9 weeks), and it's a ton of work for me in such a period of time.
    As a result, my University GPA has suffered greatly, down to a 2.75 (see note at the bottom). Back in High school, when I was taking 3 High school courses, worked a part time job, and took 3 college courses, I was doing fine, mostly 4.0s. I got a 5 on my AP Physics Calculus Exam. I was good.
    But man, these science courses are kicking my ass and I'm worried that it's hindering my ability to get into medical school, and more specifically, the MD/PhD program I dream of.
    I know, I know. I could always take it slow. But taking it slow and steady never impressed a medical school admissions office either. If you've ever aspired to get into medical school, you know taking one science course per quarter is something in your heart of hearts you don't want to do, because you're almost there, especially toward senior year. I have an MCAT planned for next year and about 300 hours of shadowing before I apply.
    What are my chances at PhD/MD? MD alone? Is my situation understandable enough to forgive a low GPA? Or am I just not cut out for it?

    Edit: PLEASE NOTE. The 2.75 GPA is from all the science courses, and does not include my other courses. My actual GPA is closer to 3.1.
    #1 Torrent of Water, Aug 19, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2015
  2. ratherbefishing

    ratherbefishing Name says it all.
    5+ Year Member

    Apr 3, 2013
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    Resident [Any Field]
    The data indicate it is better to take it slow with a better GPA than do it hard/fast with a lower one.
    KillCancer, Neuronix and Mad Jack like this.
  3. Maebea

    Maebea Member
    15+ Year Member

    Sep 10, 2003
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    The science GPA is going to be difficult to overcome. The fact that you are exclusively taking science courses does not entirely mitigate it. We see applicants from Canadian universities who take nothing but science courses for 4 years, and still have a 3.9 GPA. You need to crush the MCAT (>520) and have very strong research experience to have much of a chance.
    gbwillner, RustBeltOnc and Mad Jack like this.
  4. Mad Jack

    Mad Jack Critically Caring
    Physician Classifieds Approved 5+ Year Member

    Jul 27, 2013
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    You'll be autoscreened, particularly out of MD/PhD programs. At this juncture, you need to do your best to get your GPA up, likely via a SMP.
    RustBeltOnc likes this.
  5. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
    Administrator Physician PhD Faculty SDN Advisor Verified Expert 10+ Year Member

    Mar 14, 2002
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    Attending Physician
    You are correct. Your poor GPA is strongly hindering your ability.

    This is poor logic. GPA is far more important than courseload. Courseload is often not considered, unless your undergrad experience was especially lengthy. It doesn't matter what you courseload looked like with a 3.1 GPA/2.75 sGPA. Probably every MD and MD/PhD program in the USA will auto-screen out a GPA that low.

    Essentially zero at MD/PhD. MD alone would be quite a stretch at this point. Your situation does not in any way forgive that GPA.

    I had no idea if *you* are cut out for it. Your GPA does not make the case for you.

    If you really want to turn things around, here is what you need to do. If it's not too late to drop some of your summer courseload, I would do that. A few Ws on your transcript are not going to hurt you any more.

    You need to get As from here on out--even if that means going down to one course this summer. If you need to delay the MCAT a year, that seems like a good idea. If you rush into your MCAT and bomb that too, you're also not helping yourself.

    Depending on the scenario, I think you're going to need an extra year, either as an SMP or cheaper equivalent, to re-take your worst science courses. You can then apply MD and DO with a high MCAT and with a sGPA and cGPA that are both over 3.0. Grade replacement will help your chances at DO. I don't know what your plan B is. With a sGPA that poor, even grad school programs in the sciences will not be eager to admit you.
    RustBeltOnc likes this.
  6. ConfusedChemist

    2+ Year Member

    Aug 5, 2014
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    Medical Student
    Exactly this. My (Canadian) school requires calc, phys+lab, chem+lab, bio+lab,and 1 yearlong elective for all first year BSc students. The second year of my program has 5 science courses per term, 2 labs, and zero electives. Taking all sciences courses alone can't be blamed for a bad GPA...
    I mean, what do you think you'll be doing in med school? This seems like a problem with study habits, which of course can be fixed with proper focus, rather than some situation beyond your control
    (I don't mean to be rude, I'm telling you its easily fixable on the contrary)

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