Losing Confidence to Apply Even with Great Grades

Session 137

What happens if you screw up your undergrad GPA and lack the confidence to apply to med school, even with a great masters GPA? That’s what we talk about today.

Join the community at the Nontrad Premed Forum and post your questions there as well. Also, don’t forget to check out all our other podcasts on MedEd Media.

[01:05] OldPreMeds Question of the Week:

“I wanted to get some advice about my stats for applying to medical school. I’m a 32-year-old working in a Virology lab in Boston. I received a BA in General Biology in 2008 and earned less than stellar grades. I ended up graduating with a 2.7 GPA with no real upward trend in grades. I was working and taking too many classes, and generally clueless about how to properly study, manage time, etc.

I was lucky enough to get into a Master’s program immediately after graduation, in Molecular and Cell Biology thanks to good research experience. I moved away from my family, cut out distractions, quit work and did very well in the program. All graduate courses, 3.8 Science GPA, 44 total credits.

The Master’s program is listed as a postbac in the AAMC directory but has no linkages to its medical school. I always had the intention to pursue medicine and kept up the volunteering and shadowing while in school.

I was very discouraged after completing the program to find out after hearing from a premed advisor in my undergraduate institution, and reading many forum posts online, that my Master’s would not help me at all for applying to medical school. i.e. – “Everyone does well in grad school.” “It is just a glorified extracurricular activity.” I was shocked and this shook my confidence in regards to my med school dream.

I started to take some extra classes at the undergrad that following Fall but struggled to find courses that I have not taken previously since I’d taken many classes between my undergrad and grad career. I took 11 science credits so my postbac science GPA is a 3.9 and 17 total credits. This did nothing to help with my total undergrad GPA since it’s now at 2.55 Science GPA and 2.82 cumulative undergrad GPA total.

After all of that, I have to put my med school dream on hold and work to pay my bills. I’ve been working in the same lab for several years as a researcher. I have published multiple first author manuscripts and traveled to various conferences.  I enjoy bench research on some level but in my heart, I have always wanted to be a physician. I kept up my clinical volunteering even though I wasn’t sure I would even stand the chance in the application process. I feel that now is the time to apply and just bite the bullet.

Will my undergrad performance haunt me forever? Do I have to earn another bachelor’s degree? I have been told that by my advisor before or do an SMP with a linkage. I’m not sure how feasible that all is since I have to support myself. Like so many others, I feel like the grades I earned at 18 should not dictate the rest of my life. I worked very hard in graduate school and feel this should be counted for something.

I know this is a major challenge and I cannot change how medical school views grad work versus undergrad work. I have colleagues who have struggled to get into medical school with multiple hard science degrees due to bad undergrad standing from over 10 years back. I have been working and practicing for the MCAT and earned a 515 on my last practice test. What else can I do?”

[04:25] Should You Apply to Med School?

This poster should have applied to medical school a long time ago. Who cares if somebody says you can’t do it or that it’s just glorified extracurricular activity?

Your undergrad grades will haunt you until you get into medical school. That’s a fact. But you made up for it with your Master’s GPA. Not everyone does well in grad school. And to listen to people saying that everyone does well in grad school means you’re confidence is shaking to the core. This being said, you have to ignore what other people are saying. You have to move on and apply to medical school. Take the MCAT and do this.

[06:18] When Should You Do It?

You don’t have to apply this year as it would be a little late. Depending on when you take the MCAT, the score won’t come back for another month. Your secondaries have to be verified too. Applying late with that undergrad GPA is going to hurt you. You could still do it though as DO schools have a later cycle for interviews and acceptances. They’re a little more lenient with the application timelines.

[07:40] Final Thoughts

Stop listening to what other people are saying. Stop listening to everybody else and apply to medical school. There are going to be plenty of people who will try to knock you down on this journey especially if you didn’t do very well as you started out but then figured it out, did well and continues to do well, but is still being told no by people who don’t make the decisions. So apply. Put your best foot forward. And course correct as needed.

Links:

Nontrad Premed Forum

MedEd Media

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