Advice to a Premed Postbac Student with Bad Grades

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Advice to a Premed Postbac Student with Bad Grades

Struggling with Bad Grades Even in Your Postbac Program?

The premed path is long and daunting. But what should you do if you’re so committed to becoming a doctor and yet you’re not able to translate that into having good grades?

Our poster this week has struggled big time. Unfortunately, he still hasn’t found a way to straighten out his grades.

If you haven’t already, please sign up for an account at the and feel free to post some questions so we can have them answered here on the podcast.

[01:10] OldPreMeds Question of the Week

“I’m currently in a postbac program as my ‘second chance’ attempt. I graduated from my undergraduate program with a Biology degree but did horrible. I was not focused and my extracurricular activities were my priority. I ended up graduating with a 2.6 GPA.

I know it would be a good idea for me to apply to a postbac program to show med schools that I actually can succeed in higher-level science classes. Unfortunately, this was not the case.

I always have something going on at home with family or I’m working a lot. I think I’ve been living where I am for so long that I just need a fresh start somewhere else with no distractions. And I only work because it’s the only way I can provide for myself but it definitely takes away from my studies.

I feel like I’m just a complete failure once again. I earned three C’s, a D in the postbac program, which I know looks bad on my transcript but I’m taking the class over I got a D in. I’m most likely not even going to boost my undergraduate GPA over a 3.0 like I thought it would. I’ve faced the facts that my undergrad GPA will just not be competitive.

Being a doctor is still my dream and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get there even if I have to take a billion more steps than the average but is all hope lost for me? If not, what next steps could I take?

Would doing a Master’s program be smart? I know it will be difficult convincing any school of my capabilities, but I’m ready to put in the work. Any suggestions would be amazing.”

[02:57] Fix Your Study Habits So You Can Fix Your Grades

Let’s face the facts here. You have shown time and time again that you were not a good student. I’m not sure if taking a Master’s coursework is going to fix that for you. What you need to fix is yourself.

As you’ve mentioned, maybe you just need a fresh start somewhere and get rid of distractions. But you have to really ask yourself if that’s going to give you the fresh start. Listen to Episode 230 of The Premed Years Podcast where I talked with Chad who was recently accepted to two medical schools.

Chad was a lot like you who always had something going on and was never able to focus on coursework. He did terrible and didn’t do well in his undergrad. He didn’t do well in postbac and he got rejected from Caribbean medical schools. I even joked in that podcast that I didn’t even know Caribbean schools rejected people but apparently, they do.

Special Master’s Program

Chad eventually went on to do a Special Master’s Program (SMP), which is basically a Master’s postbac. He did well and was accepted to the medical school associated with that SMP and was also accepted at another school.

You could look into something like an SMP. But based on your track record, I’m not sure what’s going to change. Perhaps you need to continue taking some undergraduate classes and make sure you’re ready to commit to an SMP, which is going to be another $20,000 to $40,000. Don’t take that next step unless you know you’re ready and unless you have fixed yourself.

[05:14] Focus on Being a Student, Whatever It Takes

In Episode 230 of The Premed Years Podcast, Chad said that he had to quit working then he actually found work that was flexible enough for him to go and do what he needed to do. But for the most part, he got rid of all his commitments and focused on being a student.

He lived on food stamps and on different public assistance programs. And this is something for you to think about. What lengths can you go to so you can make sure you have food and shelter but also have time to study?

[06:00] Dedicate Yourself to Fixing Your Grades and Look into an SMP

Fix those things. Make sure you’re dedicated to being a student. Make sure you’re just not a bad student and are making other excuses. Get rid of distractions. Take some classes. Do well in them and prove to yourself that you’re ready for that next step. Then take that next step.

Lastly, look into a Special Master’s Program (SMP) which is the only Master’s program I would look out for you. Do not do MPH and any other Master’s program. Just go to an SMP if you can get into one.


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Premed Years Podcast Session 230: Rejected from the Caribbean! Now with a US Acceptance!