I Have 7 College Transcripts. What Will Med Schools Think?


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ADG 134: I Have 7 College Transcripts. What Will Med Schools Think?

Session 134

With 7 college transcripts, she is worried that medical schools would look down on her app and GPA. However, that’s not what she should have been worried about.

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

The episodes in this podcast are recordings of our Facebook Live that we do at 3 pm Eastern on most weekdays. Check out our Facebook page and like the page to be notified. Also, listen to our other podcasts on MedEd Media. If you have any questions, call me at 617-410-6747.

[00:22] Question of the Day

“I had a very interesting start to my academic undergraduate learning. First, I want to begin with high school. So in my high school, we didn’t have AP courses. We actually had college and high school courses and we received transcripts from the universities based on the classes that we signed up for. 

However, that necessarily didn’t mean that I went to the University, and I was actually taught by those professors. For me, I was taught by my high school teachers in using a college book. I received college credit, however, I have seven university transcripts. It’s very expensive. 

Poor Grades

In some of the classes I didn’t do well, like statistics, and calculus. I was not ready as a sophomore or as a senior in high school to be taking those classes. And so, there was nothing that I could do. I received a D in statistics, and I received an F in calculus. Smart college people would withdraw and all that kind of stuff, but I didn’t have that option.

Going into undergrad, I didn’t really take statistics for my major. So that was fine. I received a better grade in statistics. I did not need to take calculus for my major. So I never have retaken calculus. 

Another thing was, I didn’t do well in a four-credit nursing class, because I was originally a nursing major. It also resulted in my program going on probation because people couldn’t pass the class. Not only did I not receive a good grade, but the program went on probation. 

Switching Majors

However, in undergrad, I switched my major over. I loved my major. I did very well. I was a bio behavioral health major. I have a very holistic way of looking at health because we follow the bio psycho social model. I took my sciences and I have a very extreme upward trend after the semester of switching over. I was a constant Dean’s list. I had a 4.0 for a couple of semesters. 

My undergraduate GPA from where I actually received my degree went from a 2.1 to a 3.43. 

I did apply to medical school once, and hopefully, I’m going to apply again this cycle. But what I did was I made my undergraduate story my challenge story. I didn’t necessarily include the prior transcripts. I talked about overcoming my undergraduate GPA and I didn’t necessarily touch on the transcripts.

[04:24] What Schools Really Care About

'Your GPA is your GPA. It doesn't matter that you went to seven schools.'Click To Tweet

She had good grades and bad grades, as well as an upward trend – period – end of story. She has to remove the narrative that she went to a lot of schools, changed majors, and all this fun stuff.

And so our student explains that she called the schools to explain her transcripts – why there are so many schools and where she received her degree. And I think she was so hung up on this. But the schools don’t care.

Schools only care about whether you have the classes you need such as the prereqs, what your GPA looks like and what the trend looks like.

Our student’s last 40 credits are close to a 4.0 and her calculated AMCAS GPA is around 3.10. It’s lower because of the multiple transcripts. Her calculated science GPA is a 3.3. Then she talks about taking most of her science classes at the place where she earned her degree.

Again, where you earned a degree has nothing to do with anything. So stop complicating your narrative with that.

At the end of the day, this student’s GPA probably won’t be an issue.

[07:34] Her First Application Experience

Our student says she applied back in 2019 thinking she was ready and that she had this strong upward trend and GPA. She has also been working for two years. She had patient care hours working as a nurse’s aide. She worked in oncology clinical research and had volunteer services.

She did get two interviews. She called the schools to ask what she can do and they all advised her to take a master’s program to raise her GPA and MCAT score. Now, this is the stereotypical advice for a lower GPA. Although with 40 credits close to a 4.0 GPA, I probably wouldn’t have given that advice.

And so, she did get her master’s in biomedical sciences from the University of Pittsburgh and she says she’s doing well and she hopes to get a 4.0 GPA.

Her MCAT was a 497. And when she applied to schools, she looked within the 10th percentile and within the accepted rate. And so, her MCAT was the reason she didn’t get into school. It wasn’t her GPA. 

[10:31] The Problem with the Advice Many Schools Give

Here’s the problem with the advice schools give. Schools are part of the academic institution. And so, their general answer is to keep going through the academic institution.

From an academic standpoint, you would have proven yourself with 40 credit hours at close to a 4.0. And getting a master’s degree and getting close to maybe 3.7 next time isn’t evidence that you can do well in classes. She had 40 credits, which is probably more than her master’s degree, at close to 4.0.

Her MCAT score sucks and that’s what she needed to fix, not a master’s degree. And so, it can be really super frustrating when that type of advice is given. She needed a better MCAT score, period.

[11:44] How’s Her MCAT Prep?

Our student adds she was working a full-time job with an hour commute each direction. So she was getting home around 4 pm and waking up at 5 am. Then she was studying from 4 pm to 10 pm at night.

And so now in the master’s program, she’s dedicating all her time and energy into the MCAT. She did go through Next Step Test Prep (now Blueprint MCAT). And the program she’s in now is Kaplan. She’s also doing a lot of AAMC passages at this point. 

'It's almost never the content. Unless you're getting like a 485. It's almost never the content. It's almost always test skills, and specifically MCAT test skills, unfortunately.'Click To Tweet

She says she didn’t know anyone else that was taking the MCAT the first time. But now she’s at a class where people are also taking the MCAT. And so, this aspect has also helped her too.

Her only concern, however, is that she hasn’t seen any improvement. She’s afraid she’s getting stuck in her head. And so, this has definitely been an issue as well as getting the reading comprehension down. To date, she has only taken four full-lengths, and they’re all in the same area of 496-497.

She admits that when taking those, she was never slowing down or pausing or doing it on timed tests. She took the advice of her tutor to not time herself and to just take a passage however long it takes her.

I advised her to try to include Blueprint MCAT in her prep since students can have the option to time their tests however they need. They’re also the first one to do COVID length exams. They also have the analytics on the back end. This is important as they give you that feedback.

Are you changing your answers from right to wrong because you’re second guessing yourself? What types of subjects are you struggling with? They basically give you a lot of great back-end knowledge.

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