Can I Recover From a Bad GPA to Get Into Med School?

Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

Session 145

This week, we have a very common dilemma for a student who struggled early but found a way to turn it around but is now wondering if she can still get in.

Every week, I take questions from the Nontrad Premed Forum. If you haven’t yet, please register for free and be part of our collaborative community. Also, check out all our other podcasts on MedEd Media Network.

[01:05] OldPreMeds Question of the Week

“I recently graduated with a BS in Biology with a minor in Applied Statistics with a very low GPA. Honestly, I did not build up study skills that were actually helpful to me until towards the end of my undergraduate career. At some point, I became too focused on building my ECs rather than my GPA. (*This is actually one of the biggest mistakes students make.)

In terms of my GPA trend, I have an upward trend throughout my last two years of my undergraduate studies. My cumulative GPA 2.71, Science GPA 2.69. As of right now, I’m planning to take some classes at the local community college to boost up my GPA to around 2.75-2.8 to apply to a formal postbac or SMPs in 2019, looking at Anatomy, Physiology series, and any additional classes I think might be helpful.

My general plan is to take APE part 1 of 3 in Sociology, Anatomy and Physiology Part 2 of 3, Anatomy and Physiology 3 of 3, with an additional class each of those semesters; apply to postbacs in January 2019 through June 2019; work on ECs, volunteering at local clinic and community center. I’m kind of starting from scratch because I moved back home after graduation. What does that upward trend look like?

In terms of GPA, study upward trend during the last two years that went from a 2.5-2.76. That’s overall GPA. Is it a discrepancy on my transcript compared to AMCAS? Because I’ve taken some general education classes at a local community college. During my last two quarters, I ended up with a 3.5 and a 3.9 GPA for each quarter. Can I recover from this?

[03:25] Can You Recover From This?

Of course, you can recover from this. You’ve already recovered as far as GPA is concerned or moving forward, taking more classes and doing well in them since you’ve learned how you need to study. That’s the most important part of the situation.

[Tweet “”Understand how you study, understand how to do well.””]

[03:55] What’s Next?

It sounds like you have a general plan in place, taking some classes at a community college. It may or may not look favorably, considering you were doing poorly at your university and you ended up taking classes at a community college. A lot of students do that and that’s okay. Just understand that some schools may not really like that, but that’s okay. Why? You’re going to follow it up with a postbac or an SMP. I always prefer postbacs depending on the situation because it helps with your undergraduate GPA. You’re going to be pretaking a lot of the classes you’ve taken. You’re going to need to do a record-enhancing postbac for students who have taken science courses but just need to prove you can handle that coursework.

Some of those record-enhancing programs have minimum GPAs so you may need to take some of those classes at a community college to even get in. Some of those will require an MCAT score. But this poster is on the right track.

You could still potentially mess up in your postbac and have another shot later but you obviously want to do as well as you can in your postbac especially with your struggles in your undergrad classes. Now is the time to prove to medical schools that you can handle the coursework.

As long as you get a good year or two under your belt of solid classes as close to As and all of your classes as possible, you’re setting yourself up for success. This is one part of your application.

[05:48] MCAT Score

Your MCAT score is going to be another part of your application as well as your extracurriculars. But what got you into trouble in the first place is getting too many extracurriculars. Those are going to be important to show consistency – with volunteering, clinical experience, and shadowing.

[Tweet “”Consistency is going to be very, very important as you go through this process.””]

[06:20] Final Thoughts

Can you recover? Absolutely. Students need to hear that they can screw up and still get into medical school. Your grades do not define you. Your grades do not define how you’re going to be as a physician in the future. They’re just grades and are a reflection of how prepared you were entering college and how mature you were during college – to ask for help, structure, or some guidance. At some point, you figure that out.

[Tweet “”Your grades do not define you. Your grades do not define how you’re going to be as a physician in the future.””]


Nontrad Premed Forum

Send me an email at

MedEd Media Network