My Advice to a 37-Year-Old Premed With a 2.13 Science GPA

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OPM 252: My Advice to a 37-Year-Old Premed With a 2.13 Science GPA

Session 252

This premed mom has a 2.13 science GPA and minimal to no shadowing or volunteering. Hear my feedback on whether she should realistically apply next year!

Questions answered here on the podcast are taken directly from the Nontrad Premed Forum over at Please go ahead and register for an account, ask your question, and have fun with the community.

Also, please be sure to check out all our other podcasts on Meded Media as we try to bring you as many resources as you need on this journey.

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

[01:35] OldPreMeds Question of the Week

“Hello!  I am a 37-year-old wife, mom, and manager at an AMC.  Both my undergrad and grad school GPA are a 3.2.  My science GPA is 2.13.  Minimal to no volunteering or shadowing because of 2 toddlers, a husband, and a full-time management job.  Preparing to study for the MCAT.  Would like to apply next year for the 2022 class.  What should I do to improve my chances of going forward? Appreciate any advice.  Thank you and be well during this time!”

[02:13] Stats Matter

There are really big obstacles here to overcome an undergrad and grad school GPA of 3.2. Now, if you’ve listened to my podcast for a while, you know that I don’t know what a 3.2 is. I don’t know if there’s an upward trend or a downward trend. I don’t know if it’s flat. So we need to know what that trend is. Because that’s very important when giving advice to students about what to do with their GPA.

The bigger thing though is that 2.13 GPA. It doesn’t really matter what that trend is because a 2.13 GPA tells me that the trends weren’t big enough to really move the needle. And that is going to be a huge obstacle to overcome.

And so in my mind, what this student needs to do is put off applying to medical school, for many reasons. Number one GPA – you have to have the academic ability and the academic stats to show medical schools you can handle medical school.

I may downplay stats most of the time but I’m not naive to the fact that stats matter, they matter. So I don’t want you to ignore stats, because they matter. They are there to show medical schools that you are not going to fail medical school and that you are going to hopefully pass your boards.

“Stats matter. They are there to show medical schools you’re not going to fail medical school.”Click To Tweet

Medical schools are looking for students who can do well. So when a student applies with a science GPA of 2.13, that is not showing the school they can do well. So at this point, what this student needs to do is a postbac and fix those grades.

The student already mentioned having a grad school GPA. And so I don’t know what the graduate school was, I don’t know if it was a science grad, graduate school, nonscience, graduate school. Whatever it was, this student needs to do a postbac and what I would recommend is an undergraduate level postbac. 

The problem is those are very expensive. And to do it right, this student may need to go full-time. And this could mean stepping away from a job or stepping away from income, or from childcare. And maybe the husband has to do a little bit more.

[05:15] Improve Your GPA

Step one is to improve that GPA. Stop studying for the MCAT because your GPA tells me you’re not going to do well on the MCAT. It’s very unlikely that your study habits and the foundation that you have based on your GPA are going to set you up for success on the MCAT.

It’s not impossible to crush the MCAT with a 2.13 science GPA. But it’s highly unlikely and a 528 MCAT score isn’t going to help overcome that 2.13 science GPA. Stop studying for the MCAT and do a postbac.

[06:02] Shadowing and Volunteering

The other big red flag here is minimal to no volunteering or shadowing. How do you know you want to be a doctor if you don’t have any volunteering or shadowing? It’s common that students mix up those two words.

There’s no clinical experience and shadowing, or very little, yet you’re applying to medical school saying you want to be a doctor. Especially with the COVID-19 situation, go check out

There are just so many things working against this student, that will likely mean failure, or rejection when it comes to applying to medical school. So for this student, I don’t think there’s anything to improve chances for the 2021-2022 application cycle.

In my mind, you should not apply this coming year. As you’re watching this, whatever you hear this coming year in 2021, do not apply to medical school. Instead, apply for a postbac. Get a Master’s or not a Masters. Get a postbac.  Do 30 to 50 credits in a postbac program, which is a lot. But your age also tells me that you’ve probably been out of school for a long time too. So you have some time to get back into being a student and prove that you have overcome that now.

During your postbac, get your clinical experience and the shadowing, obviously assuming COVID is over, or you get a job where you are potentially putting yourself at a little bit of risk working in a clinical environment during this time.

[08:59] Going to the Caribbean

'It's very common for nontraditional students to rush an application because the proverbial clock is ticking.'Click To Tweet

You have to prove that you can get in and actually succeed in medical school. And it’s a very common trap for students who are on this journey. They get to this point in their life and they don’t want any more time to “waste” to do a postbac. So they’re going to go to a Caribbean school thinking they’d be accepted. Then they take the MCAT and do well enough. They are confident medical schools will accept them with their poor GPA given the lack of clinical experience or shadowing.

And what happens is a student fails in a Caribbean medical school because Caribbean medical schools are not easy. They’re harder. You have to do better. So you don’t want a student in this situation to run to the Caribbean because they think that is the faster path. But it has a lot of potential issues doing that.

The Caribbean is a valid option for a lot of people. But you still have to prove that you can handle Caribbean coursework.


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