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Huge News for Nontrads: No More Grade Replacement

Huge News for Nontrads: No More Grade Replacement

Session 56

In this episode, I break from our normal format of answering questions from the Nontrad Premed Forum. Instead, I talk about a huge announcement from the AACOM that affects nontraditional premed students more than traditional students. The announcement by AACOM is that they are discontinuing the practice of grade replacement.

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

What Was Grade Replacement at DO Schools?

As a nontrad, you may have struggled in the past and did poorly in undergrad or at a community college. You may have given up on your dream, only to find that passion again and want to try to fulfill that dream and become a physician.

Osteopathic medical schools are more favorable to nontraditional students.Click To Tweet

You’ve probably heard that as a nontrad applicant with poor grades in the past, applying to DO schools would be beneficial to you. Historically, that has been the case.

The AACOMAS application (used by DO schools) had a grade replacement policy for repeat coursework. If you repeated a class, your initial grade would be removed from the calculation, and only your new grade would be counted in your GPA.

[Related post: MD vs DO: What Are the Differences (and Similarities)?]

No More Grade Replacement

However, effective May 1, 2017 (applying in 2017 to start school in 2018), AACOMAS will no longer replace your old grade with your new grade.

As per AACOM.org:

Effective May 1, 2017, AACOMAS will include all course attempts in the GPA calculation. This change applies to students matriculating into the 2018-2019 academic year. In the event of multiple attempts of the same course, AACOMAS will no longer drop initial course attempts from the GPA calculation.”

Read full notice on AACOM.org

This Change Will Hurt Many Nontrads

This change will affect a lot of you who are currently in school retaking classes because you were going to rely on this grade replacement policy.

The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) did you wrong. If they were planning this policy change, they should have given you a transition period, so students currently in school and in the process of repeating classes would have 2-3 years to apply and use grade replacement before it changed.

AACOM should have given a transition period to allow students currently repeating classes to have 2-3 years to use grade replacement before it changed.Click To Tweet

If you applied in 2016 to start in 2017 but you didn’t get into medical school, when you reapply this next year, your GPA will change according to the new policy (assuming you had repeated coursework). This is going to be a big barrier for some students.

[Related episode: If I Can’t Get a 3.0, What Should I Do Next?]

The Silver Lining

Individual osteopathic medical schools may continue recalculating your GPA per established admissions practices.

Problem: This puts the work onto each of the medical schools, which have a lot of work to do already. They usually have filters in place to filter out applications based on a GPA cutoff or MCAT cutoff. If you’re a student whose GPA is going to drop from, say, 3.6 to 2.6, you can bet that your 2.6 is going to be filtered out by most schools.

Solution: Advocate for yourself, speak out to the medical schools and ask them to consider taking a look at your application specifically.

[Related episode: Should I Meet with Admissions Committees Before I Apply?]

Major Takeaway from This Episode

If this change is going to affect you, keep your head up. Just keep doing well. Advocate for yourself. If becoming a physician is truly what you want to do, you’ll make it work.

If becoming a physician is truly what you want to do, you'll make it work.Click To Tweet

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