Today’s question is a very common one for nontraditional students especially one who has had a lot of struggles going through the process. This student is worried about a few B grades in Orgo and Biochem during his postbac and is wondering how it will affect his chances for medical school.
[01:15] OldPreMeds Question of the Week:
“I’m a 39-year-old married male with a two-year-old and three-year-old. I currently work about 60 hours a week as an elementary school teacher. My wife saw that I was burning out as a teacher and asked what I really wanted to do with my life. I had always wanted to be a doctor. She said go for it.
In 2000, as a BS in Government and Minor in Music, it’s 3.42 GPA and 3.15 BCPM. I went to law school after graduating undergrad. My mother committed suicide the morning of my second first semester exam, witnessed it, gave permission to harvest organs, planned the funeral, etc. “
“For MD schools, it’s BCPM. For DO schools, they do not count Math as a science class and a science course so it’s not included in your Science GPA.”
“I eventually took a hardship withdrawal and pursued teaching to support myself. My father took the life insurance money for himself and moved across the continent with his new wife. Law school GPA was not good. But I don’t think that counts for AMCAS GPA. I’ve been told there is a place to talk about this on the application. I took some graduate courses in education for continuing ed, credits for my teaching certificate. All A’s. I have a master’s in education. It was pass-fail and online. I don’t think these are accounted for AMCAS GPA either. Postbac GPA so far is 3.77.
I retook my science courses because they were so old. What worries me is I have A’s in everything except for Orgo I and Biochem. I’m likely to get a B in Orgo 2 I’m currently taking. I should be researching in the fall with my old biochem professor but I am not sure if that will count towards my GPA. I withdrew three times during my postbac – once, when the father-in-law passed away, when I had my first child, and when I transferred from a community college to a four-year university. I volunteer at a hospital four hours a week. I should have about 160 hours by now and I’ve shadowed a general practice MD four hours, pediatrician 12 hours, and possibly a dermatologist soon as well.
I took the MCAT in May and voided my score. I thought I would have more time to prepare but being a parent took some of that time away. I will take it again in either the spring or early summer 2018. I could definitely see what I needed to work on. I am most concerned about the Biochem and Orgo grades affecting my ability to get in.
- Should I take more science courses after Orgo 2? I have not had any Psychology yet and could take it but many people I have talked to said I just need Khan Academy or the Kaplan or Examkrackers books.
- I am pretty sure I need a high MCAT score to balance the Organic grades. Is this thinking rationally?
- Anything else I should be considering?”
Here are my thoughts:
[04:50] Thinking Too Micro
For this student worried about a B in Organic 1 & 2 and Biochemistry with an overall postbac GPA at 3.77, assuming it’s all science GPA. It’s a great GPA!'This is a very common problem for students, they think too micro and they need to look more macro. Look at that bigger picture.'Click To Tweet
When an admissions committee is looking at GPA’s or when they’re looking at your overall application, they’re looking macro. They’re going to start macro and they’re going to see 3.77, which is a great GPA. So don’t think too micro. Don’t worry about a B or two B’s or three. Those are okay. Do well in the rest of your classes. It’s okay to have B’s. You don’t have to be perfect.
Your undergrad GPA is decent. You BCPM isn’t great at 3.15 but I assume there’s not a lot of credits there that are part of that grade being a major in government and minor in music. So I assume there are not a lot of science courses in there. But the 3.7 postbac GPA is going to have a huge effect on the overall undergrad science GPA because I’m assuming there’s not a lot of science GPA credits there so the denominator is going to be much smaller.'Stop worrying about the micro, worry about the macro.'Click To Tweet
Look at the overall picture, your overall grades. Yes, trends are important to look at but the micro of having a B or C in one class is not that important. So don’t worry about that as those grades are okay.
[07:35] MCAT Score and Science Courses
The question about needing a high MCAT score to balance the orgo grade is not rational thinking. Again, getting a couple of B’s is not important in this situation. Get rid of that thinking. Of course, you would want to have a good MCAT score.'Don't worry about using your MCAT score to balance out something else.'Click To Tweet
Whether you should take more science courses after Orgo 2, I don’t think so. You may take a Psychology course if you want. If you listened to The MCAT Podcast, Bryan, the head honcho of Next Step Test Prep recommends taking Psychology and Sociology as he finds them very important for the MCAT. In fact, he recommends a year of Psychology for the MCAT. You could learn it by yourself but if you can take a course and not interfere with you studying for the MCAT or with any other classes or your ability to be a dad and husband, then go ahead.
[09:00] Clinical Experience and Telling Your Story
Clinical experience is always number one as well as shadowing. Make sure you continue to do clinical experience and shadowing.
Another big thing is your ability to tell your story. Make sure you can tell your story. Especially for nontrads out there, you need to be able to tell the story about why you are leaving your current career and why you’re going into medicine. Most students frame it around why they don’t want to do x and not enough why he want to do medicine.
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