I Didn’t Get into Medical School. What Should I Do Next?

Session 130

When you don’t get into medical school, you may feel like your journey is over. It’s not. The question is what to do next, and that’s what we talk about today.

Here on the OldPreMeds Podcast, the weekly questions are taken from the Nontrad Premed Forum. If you have any questions, register for an account and ask away!

[01:58] Old PreMeds Question of the Week:

“I applied to med school last cycle and got rejected by all of the schools that I applied to. When I asked the schools directly how to improve my app for next time I apply, I was given generic information. I visited a premed advisor from my alumni, and I was suggested to either apply to Caribbean schools or choose another path.

The problem with my app is the averaging of my grades made my GPA low for the app report when it calculates my undergrad and graduate GPAs. So the med schools would screen me out because they cannot see that my current GPA for grad school is a lot better than the past.

I cannot go to a Carribean medical school because it does not line up with my plan to join the military to help pay for school, as I’m financially responsible for my mother who is disabled. I do not want to choose another path, either. I’ve come too far.

I graduated undergrad with a 3.0 GPA, went to grad school and didn’t do well due to family issues at home. I re-enrolled in a different grad school and now have a 3.8 GPA. I should not be judged by my mistakes in the past. That’s what I feel is happening with my app. I’ve done volunteer work, worked in a hospital, took a course to get a license as an EMT, and have even done medical scribing and shadowing.

I should not be judged by my mistakes in the past. That's what I feel is happening with my app.Click To Tweet

I’m getting information on how to become an RN and medical assistant in the meantime. However, I do not want to give up my dream of being a doctor. That is the end goal. I’m not sure what else to do to make my app stand out. The premed advisors stated to me that retaking any courses from the past from undergrad is just a waste of money that would not help much with my app. So any advice on how to improve would be greatly appreciated.

I should add to my prior post that I had already applied to a postbac program and another master’s program that has a linkage with med schools where, if you do well in the program, you’re guaranteed an interview. I’m currently waiting for news of acceptance along with registering for a few courses to apply for the accelerated PSM program near me. I’m also considering to retake my core BCPM classes from ten years ago. However, I have to look at my financials and see what I’m able to do.”

[04:38] Should You Be Taking More Classes?

If you’ve had issues with poor grades in the past, then it just makes sense to take more classes to show that you’ve overcome those issues and to show to the admissions committee that you can handle the coursework.

For your premed advisors to tell you not to take any more classes, doesn’t logically make sense. Because there’s no other way to show to the admissions committee that you’re not what you used to be.

[06:11] Undergrad vs. Graduate GPAs

A 3.0 GPA is not terrible. But try to look at the trend because this is important. What is the science GPA?

Then grad school was mentioned. Was this immediately after undergrad or five years after undergrad? How did “starting poorly” look like? How long was the process? The norm is that most schools are going to look at your undergrad and graduate grades separately.

Most medical schools are going to look at your undergraduate and graduate grades separately.Click To Tweet

The assumption is you’re doing a master’s program for a reason, whether you’re just passionate about the subjects or you’re trying to fix your past mistakes. And these are going to be looked at differently. To not be judged for past mistakes—that’s what grad school is for. But you also stumbled in grad school, so how do you overcome that?

You Need to Take the Hard Sciences

Another thing to factor in here is what your graduate degree is in.  If you have a poor science GPA, and then you’re doing graduate-level coursework to show them you can handle it, but then your master’s degree is in public health, that’s not proving to them that you can handle the hard sciences. You need to take hard sciences.

To show medical schools that you can handle rigorous coursework in the hard sciences, you have to take the hard sciences. Your high GPA in public health courses won't help you.Click To Tweet

[09:50] Undergrad Classes from 10 Years Ago

Remember you’re not just one part of your application. You’re not just your GPA. You’re not just your MCAT score. You’re not your GPA and your MCAT score. Your application has to be complete. Maybe your personal statement was bad or you had a bad interview, assuming you got to that point. So there’s so many other factors.

You're not just your GPA. You're not just your MCAT score.Click To Tweet

But at this point, the discussion has to be around redoing the coursework, whether that’s a formal postbac or a do-it-yourself postbac. Get that upward trend in your grades to show to the admissions committees that you can handle the coursework.

[Related episode: Your GPA and MCAT Score Don’t Matter as Much as You Think]

Recovering from a Low GPA as a Premed

You shouldn’t be getting any less than a 4.0 from this point forward. If you’ve applied and you didn’t get in, if grades are your issue, you need to be getting as close as you can to a 4.0. That doesn’t mean that if you slip, you will never be able to get in. But you should be shooting for that grade.

If you've been rejected from medical school and your grades were the issue, you need to retake more coursework with as close to a 4.0 as possible.Click To Tweet

The only way to move forward is taking more classes to prove to yourself and to the admissions committee that you can handle the coursework for this process.

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