Recovering From a Low GPA, What Are My Chances?

Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

ADG 246: Recovering From a Low GPA, What Are My Chances?

Session 246

This student was concerned about their GPA and whether it would be competitive enough for medical school applications. They also wanted advice on how to highlight their interest in pediatrics in their applications.

Ask Dr. Gray: Premed Q&A is brought to you by Blueprint MCAT. 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.

Question of the Day:

I have been insecure about my GPA for a long time, making it difficult for me to discuss. However, I want to be transparent with you. I am planning on applying this cycle and my goal is to improve my GPA. 

Currently, I am taking 10 science units this semester, and next semester I plan on taking anywhere from 14 to 16 units, depending on how this semester goes. Here’s a breakdown of my previous academic performance: In my freshman year, I took 16 science units and achieved a GPA of 2.08. Last year, during my sophomore year, I took 28 science units and earned a GPA of 3.52. 

This year, I am aiming for a B+ in the science class I am currently taking. If I take 14 units next semester, my GPA would be 3.9. However, if I receive a B, which is more likely, my GPA would be around 3.87.”

Follow the trend.

Now, this student is a classic example of a fantastic upward trend. He struggled early, and then figured it out. And so, I have no issues with his GPA. He just has to continue that trend.

Passion for Pediatrics in Medical School Applications

This student goes on to say:

“I dedicated a year to applying for ER tech jobs and faced challenges along the way. However, I eventually secured a position at a children’s hospital nearby. This experience has solidified my passion for pediatrics, which directly relates to my questions about medical schools and the NHSC scholarship (National Health Service Corps).

During my time at the children’s hospital, I had the opportunity to shadow internal medicine and peds ortho. It became clear to me that orthopedics was not the right fit, but I thrived in adult medicine, particularly in the realm of consultation. However, working with children has been incredibly fulfilling, surpassing my expectations. As an ER tech in the busy beverage department, I have gained extensive hands-on clinical care experience, far beyond what I initially anticipated.

It is evident to me that my future lies in pediatrics. To demonstrate this commitment to admissions committees at three med schools or when applying for the scholarship, I am seeking advice on how to effectively convey my passion. I want to ensure I include any relevant news or information that would strengthen my application.

There are three medical schools that lead directly into pediatric residency. How does that process differ for what are they looking for?”

Understanding the Application Process for Direct Pathway Programs in Medical Schools

Some schools, like NYU, offer three-year direct programs leading to various residency programs. The application process generally involves applying to the medical school first.

Once accepted, you can express your interest in a specific direct pathway program for a particular residency program. The exact process may vary, but essentially, you secure admission to the medical school and then apply for residency shortly after.

The upfront application process doesn’t differ significantly from other medical school applicants, as you still go through normal application services and procedures. Upon acceptance, you can indicate your interest in the specialized program.

Writing Your Most Impactful Experiences

One of the most impactful experiences for the student was when they worked as a camp counselor at a Muslim youth camp. While their main responsibility was as a counselor, as the highest trained medical person at the camp, they had to step in on a few occasions when kids got hurt and the regular medical staff had left for the night.

The student found this experience very formative, as it showed them that they could see themselves providing medical care to help others for their career.

“When it comes to extracurricular activity descriptions, there are no rules… just show your impact, highlight what you want to highlight, and go from there.”

When it comes to extracurricular activity descriptions, there are no rules. Just show your impact, highlight what you want to highlight, and go from there. The whole goal with those 15 activities is to not highlight every single thing that you’ve done in your life. But you’re going to highlight the 15 that you want to highlight.



MedEd Media

Medical School HQ Facebook page

Medical School HQ YouTube channel

Instagram @MedicalSchoolHQ

Join the Application Academy!

The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Personal Statement

The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Application Process

The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Interview

Blueprint MCAT