2 Undergrad Degrees. 2 Different GPAs. Which One Counts?

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OPM 270: 2 Undergrad Degrees. 2 Different GPAs. Which One Counts?

Session 270

A common thing that happens with nontrads is you go to a lot of schools, and you have lots of different GPAs. The question is, does one matter more than another? This nontrad has two different undergraduate degrees earned 10+ years apart. Would only the recent GPA be counted towards the med school application?

Questions answered here on the podcast are taken directly from the Nontrad Premed Forum over at premedforums.com. 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.

[00:23] The MCAT Minute

If you’re planning on taking the MCAT, the question is when should you take it? Let’s look at the medical school application timeline. You submit on June 1 through the end of May.

The first wave of applications goes out three weeks into June or so to AMCAS, midway June for AACOMAS, and immediately for TMDSAS. Then you get your secondary essays back and turn those around.

Now, you’re looking at mid-July before applications are really starting to be complete and secondaries, as well as letters of recommendations, are turned in.

So if you can keep those dates in mind to have your MCAT score back by somewhere around there, then mid-July is a good ground zero for application completion. Every week after that, your application will be delayed by a week or two or three weeks, assuming you have turned in your primary application to be verified early on.

So keep that in mind as you’re going through your MCAT prep. And if you need some help on your MCAT prep, specifically with practice tests, because we all know that that’s how you get better on all your tests, specifically, the MCAT.

The MCAT minute sponsored by Blueprint MCAT. They have an amazing set of full-length exams for you to use and get the first one for free by signing up for a free account.

[03:16] OldPreMeds Question of the Week

“Hi, I’m a nontraditional student with two undergrad degrees achieved 10 years apart. The first was a BA in psychology at a big-time state school where I graduated with a 2.6-2.7 GPA at 2. And the other with a BS in nuclear medicine technology with a 3.75-3.8 GPA at 32. 

Oddly enough, only one class that I’ve taken in my previous alma mater counts towards med school prereqs, whereas my first degree has absolutely none whatsoever. I have yet to complete my science prereqs and that will produce the overwhelming component of my science GPA. Will my 2 undergrad GPAs average together and possibly disqualify me from even being considered for admissions?”

[04:10] The Numbers Don’t Tell Anything

Fortunately, they’re not going to disqualify you. All three application services will require you to submit courses from every medical or every undergraduate institution you’ve been to and every class you’ve taken. 

Even though you have a second bachelor’s degree, you still have to put it in there. That also includes random classes you’ve taken at a community college that have nothing to do with your degree. So you have to put everything in there.

So what they will do is to get the average of your GPAs. In your case, you could get around 3.175, which doesn’t look great. But the number doesn’t tell anything. And so, this is the perfect example of what is the story behind the numbers. 

And the story behind the numbers tells me that the college student early on wasn’t really dedicated to being a good student. They did very poorly who then figured something else out in the meantime. But hopefully will do well on those prereqs to prove they’re academically capable of doing well in medical school.

[06:39] It’s More Than the Numbers

Therefore, continue to put in the hard work to get good grades and a good MCAT score. Get your clinical experiences and your shadowing as well as good letters of recommendations and all of that stuff.

'The application is a complete package and not just here's my GPA, here's my MCAT.'Click To Tweet

So keep working hard and you are definitely on your way to medical school. No matter what has happened in the past, you can overcome it as long as you put in the work as this student did.


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