Our poster today is an Active Duty Navy sailor and is worried about his GPA and taking online courses and how that will affect him.
Check out our whole network of podcast at MedEd Media including one of our newest podcasts, The Short Coat Podcast put on by the Iowa Carver College of Medicine. Their newest episode talks all about why you should not sacrifice everything as a medical student.
We take questions directly from the forums over at OldPreMeds.org. If you haven’t already, please sign up for an account there and ask away.
[01:46] OldPreMeds Question of the Week:
“I’ve been a lurker for a long time and I always enjoy listening to the podcast. I felt like I should finally introduce myself and ask for some advice. I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Health Sciences in 2012. I spent some time working as a personal trainor until I joined the Navy in 2015. My service has opened my eyes and showed me that I want to become a physician and serve others. I am hoping to get some advice from you guys.
I have three years left on my enlistment. I completed most of the prerequisites when I completed my degree in 2012. The classes are almost five years old. I still need to take organic chemistry and physics. My GPA is 2.96 from undergrad and my science GPA is 2.7. I also have an associates for my medical lab tech that I received for my training in Navy. My GPA for that is 3.3. I received this from George Washington University. I haven’t taken the MCAT yet but I’m planning on taking it in the next year and a half after studying and preparing for it correctly. I know some people have gotten into med school have grades that are much older than mine according to the podcast. Since I already have a Bachelor’s, I won’t be able to get tuition assistance to pay for the classes I need, so I will be using the GI Bill or taking our private loans. My question is, should I just take OChem and Physics and apply if I do well in those classes and get A’s. My Science GPA should rise to a 3.1. As long as I do well on the MCAT, do you guys think I have a good chance of getting in? Or should I just start retaking all the prereqs again? I know the update of grade replacement for AACOMAS won’t help me much. I was hoping to use the GI Bill towards medical school doing HPSP/USCIS. My current work schedule doesn’t allow me more time to take classes so I was looking at UNE Online but that wouldn’t allow me to USCIS.
I’ve spoken to about fifteen schools that say they would accept the online prerequisites if I took them that way. I’m not ruling out my classes either, but that would be very difficult because the nearest school is about an hour drive from my location. If you guys need more info, let me know. Any advice will help.”
Here are my thoughts:
[04:00] Retaking Courses
With a GPA of 2.96 overall and a science GPA of 2.7 and if you can get A’s for OChem and physics and get up to a 3.1 for science, I don’t know how that works math-wise. I would double check the math on that unless some of your medical lab tech classes are counting towards that science GPA as well.
Whether to just take OChem and physics or retake a lot of those prereqs, I would probably go somewhere in between.
My goal would be to get as high of a GPA as possible.
Take OChem and physics and as many prereqs as you can get to raise the GPA and to start prepping for the MCAT. Retake those classes. Do well in those and this is going to provide you with a solid foundation for your MCAT prep.
[05:25] Taking Online Classes
If taking the online credits is the best option for you at this moment, look at that. There are a couple different options you could do. You can do the online option and apply to those fifteen schools or so that are okay with online classes. I would dig in and look around for more schools that are going to accept online courses. And for those schools where their public stance is to not accept online courses, email them and talk to them about your situation.
It never hurts to ask. Go a little bit deeper than what you can find online.
Another option is to just wait until you get out of your Active Duty commitment and then take your courses whenever you want. Do whatever you want and then apply to medical school. It will delay things a little bit but that is another option.
[06:43] Chances of Getting In
Can you get in with a 3.1 GPA? Of course, you can. Do well on the MCAT. Have great letters of recommendations. Write a killer personal statement. Have good extracurricular activities.
I actually got an email today from the wife of a former service member who was taking classes. He got out and applied to medical school with a 3.0 GPA. He had a good MCAT score. And he got two acceptances to medical school. So of course you can get in with a lower GPA.
Your application is more than just your MCAT and GPA. So you need everything else as well.
Being a former service member or current at this point (but former when you start medical school) can give you a leg up on the competition. Having that military background gives you a ton of experiences that 99% of the population don’t have.
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