Our poster today is wondering if she can get into medical school after starting her undergrad poorly. What should you do if you have a low science GPA?
Questions answered here on this podcast are taken directly from the Nontrad Premed Forums over at Medical School HQ. Check it to join our collaborative community and ask away!
[01:10] OldPreMeds Question of the Week
“I’m a 35-year-old other stay-at-home mother of three who has recently developed an interest in becoming a doctor. Health has always been an interest of mine and over the last year, I’ve been working to start a health ministry at my husband’s church. He’s a pastor.
As I’ve worked on the health ministry project, I’ve been frustrated about the limitations of the enterprise. While I understand the liability issues that limit a health ministry, I personally want to do more than encourage people to take their health seriously and visit their doctors. When I thought about what I really wanted to do, I realized it sounds like a doctor. I want to do family practice and psychiatry and work in an underserved rural area. My husband is from Appalachia, and wants to continue serving here. So our interest mesh well.
My husband is supportive because the truth is I’m really not happy being a stay-at-home mom. I thought that is what I wanted but I’m really bored and feel like I’m doing it for the wrong reasons. The problem is my really low science GPA from undergrad, like less than a 2.0. I went to a college known for difficult grading while having undiagnosed ADHD, no stay skills, little direction, and crippling depression and social anxiety. After that first bad semester, I just kind of spiraled and never recovered enough to complete my bio major.
Not premed, I wanted to be an ecologist. I switched to History and graduated with a 2.77 GPA. I also have a Master’s in Applied Linguistics with a 3.86 GPA. But from what I’ve read, that won’t count too much.
I live really close to an affordable state college and have my mother-in-law at the ready for child care if I choose to go back for a do-it-yourself postbac. I’m registered for a freshman bio course this Spring and plan to ask my family physician if I can shadow him for a day once I can get the baby on a bottle.
I want to make sure that I’m not romanticizing the profession and that is something that I can really see myself doing when i embark on more education. I’m just worried that my undergraduate performance is so bad that there’s no redeeming it.”
[03:20] Redeeming Yourself!
Yes, you can redeem yourself. But having graduated from History, that may mean you didn’t have that much science credits. Looking at that, it’s not a lot so if you were to do a do-it-yourself postbac or a formal postbac, you’re strictly going to take science classes. That’s the whole point – to show that you can handle science.
When you take those science courses, your denominator is going to grow. Hopefully, you’re getting great grades so your credits and the score you get from those credits are going to go up as well.
This is very different than a student who completed a biology degree with a 2.0. A lot of their classes are going to count towards their science GPA. And it’s going to take much more work to move the needle for that science GPA.
[05:10] Looking at an Upward Trend
You started off poorly with a science GPA and then you finish as high as possible with a 4.0 GPA. That strong upward trend is very powerful. There are some schools that said they look at the last 20 hours of science to see if they’re academically qualified to come to their medical school.
So if you take 20 hours of science credits and you get a 4.0, that one medical school now sees you as a 4.0 student.
Again, it’s redeemable 100%. I’ve talked with Chad on The Premed Years Podcast. He’s a student who did poorly in undergrad and in a postbac. Finally, he realized what was causing his problems and then went to a special master’s program and crushed it. He’s now a medical student.
So anything is redeemable. I also talked Cain on The Premed Years Podcast. He started off school with a low GPA and was academically dismissed from his undergrad. Several years later, he realized he wanted to go to medical school. He started again at a community college and worked his way up to a four-year university. And he is now a medical student.
[06:50] Is Medicine Right for You?
The fact you’re asking that question and shadowing a physician to see if you’re romanticizing this is huge. Some students do this sort of inquiry and reflection. They think it’s cool and they jump head in first.
Moving forward, your goal is to get as much support as you can from the in-laws, from your husband. Go back to school and get A’s. Get some shadowing and clinical experience. Get A’s. Do well on the MCAT. Get A’s. Then apply to medical school. Put your story together and a great personal statement.
Check out personalstatementbook.com which is available for preorder and it will be released in August 2018. The eBook should be out in April 2018. Check out the site to get notified as to when it’s ready for sale.
Again, get the right extracurriculars. Interview well. This is very doable. If this is what you want, just put your mind to it.
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