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Failing classes as a pre med student

Christopher JamesChristopher James Registered User Posts: 19 Junior Member
So I’m a sophomore and my major is psychology. I do plan on going Pre med. I transferred to my new school this semester and as the semester is winding down I’m realizing how poorly I have done. I have had a whole bunch of unfortunate events this semester and out of the 5 classes I’m in , I’m expecting to get a b- in calculus and Italian and either a c- or lower in bio psychology and statistics. I have no clue what to do at this point. Should I forget about being Pre med ? Should I retake the courses? I’m already not going to graduate on time and this semester will be my first GPA at this new school. I’m not this kind of student but I’m going to be a junior and my grades this semester are going to bring everything down.

Replies to: Failing classes as a pre med student

  • katliamomkatliamom Registered User Posts: 12,459 Senior Member
    As you know, getting into med school is almost ALL about your grades and MCAT scores.You need to think about why you got the grades you got -- if it's because you found the material hard (it is!) and the competition tough (common in pre-med) odds are you may struggle for those necessary As in the remaining pre-med requirements. Obviously if you continue to get B- and C grades, med school will be out of reach. OTOH, if you do very well from now on, you can redeem yourself in terms of GPA. Will it be enough for med school? Tough to say. I always advise premed students to keep re-evaluating their goals since it is so difficult to get into medical school. That's the bad thing -- the good thing is that there are so many careers in the medical field that are slightly easier to get into: nursing, therapy, physician assistant, etc. This is something you should be looking into as a back up, in addition to maybe exploring tutoring options at your school and re-evaluating your study habits. Good luck!
  • UndercrackersUndercrackers Registered User Posts: 749 Member
    @katliamom Well said. Between the MCAT and your GPA, med schools want to see that 1) you are intelligent and 2) can demonstrate that intelligence in a measurable way. You have to really want it, because med school is going to be no joke (nor should it be). That being said, if you really, really feel this is the path for you, you will need to figure out how you got to where you got this semester and don't make it a repeat.
  • gallentjillgallentjill Registered User Posts: 1,879 Senior Member
    Can I ask why you want medicine? It is an incredibly difficult road and although people see it as a secure career, there are other, easier ways of making a good living. More than that, the changing state of health care in this country is making the job increasingly difficult. I think its a wonderful profession for people who are truly passionate about it, but if it is just something you think would be secure and well respected, you might think about alternatives. On the other hand, if you have a true passion for it and can't see yourself doing anything else, that is another story entirely.
  • Christopher JamesChristopher James Registered User Posts: 19 Junior Member
    I want to pursue medicine because i want to be able to find breakthroughs in the field. I’ve always wanted to pursue dermatology because my family has a history of dermatology issues and not because able to get things cured effectively. Becoming a dermatologist will allow me to work in a field where I can research skin disease and help develop treatment. Making someone healthier and more confident is what I want to be able to do. I’ve just had a bad semester . It’s been hard for me to adjust to a brand new school and family problems this semester has made it even worse. I’m trying to move on this semester and do well from here on out. Does anyone here think I should retake my bio and psyc course ?
  • katliamomkatliamom Registered User Posts: 12,459 Senior Member
    Your last question is something you need to ask your school. It's your school's policies that will determine whether or not you're even ABLE to retake these classes. (At many universities you need to fail a course to be able to retake it. C- isn't failing.)
  • Jugulator20Jugulator20 Registered User Posts: 1,475 Senior Member
    repost your question in PreMed Topics; ask @WayOutWestMom
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 9,860 Senior Member
    edited April 2018
    I want to pursue medicine because i want to be able to find breakthroughs in the field.

    You don't need to be a physician to do this. Most medical breakthroughs are made by PhDs or MD/PhDs, not your everyday physician.
    I’ve always wanted to pursue dermatology because my family has a history of dermatology issues

    While I am sorry to hear about your family's difficulties, this is a terrible reason to pursue med school.

    You should also know that derm is one of the most competitive specialties in medicine. The likelihood of you matching into derm is quite small. (Less than 1% of med students match into derm.) Unless you would be happy as primary care provider (family medicine, geriatrics, pediatrics, general internal medicine), don't go to med school.

    Does anyone here think I should retake my bio and psyc course ?

    You need to plan to retake stats, psych and bio--even if your college does not allow retakes for classes you've passed. These are pre-reqs for med school and any grade below a C is not acceptable for fulfill pre med requirements. (Or for PA or nursing programs either.) Maybe at a local CC during the summer?


    Can I make a suggestion? would you consider taking some time off from school to sort out your family problems? If these issues are messing with your ability to be a successful student, then you need to settle them first--then go back to college and improve your academics.


    There are lots of alternative healthcare careers that are fulfilling and are not as competitive for admission as medicine.

    Explore Health Careers

    Have you consider being a PA or a NP? Both can specialize in derm. (in fact, my "dermatologist" is actually a derm PA. There is such a shortage of dermatologists locally that unless you have skin cancer, you will have great difficulty getting a derm appointment and even then you'll wait an average of 4-6 months.)

  • Christopher JamesChristopher James Registered User Posts: 19 Junior Member
    Thank you for the impute. I have considered taking some time off from school and i will probably be taking one semester off. I have never considered PA or NP just because i heard from many that its also very competitive and not that much of a shorter root then med school. Maybe ill take it into consideration now but i have never given it much thought. Ive just always dreamed of becoming a doctor and i didn't want to give up just because of one bad semester. D.O. schools are less competitive so i was looking into that as well.
  • Christopher JamesChristopher James Registered User Posts: 19 Junior Member
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 9,860 Senior Member
    Both PA and NP are a much shorter haul than med school. Both take about half the time a MD or DO requires.

    PA is 6 years. 4 years undergrad + 2 years of PA school

    DNP is also ~ 6 years. 4 years BSN + (1 or more years of floor nurse experience) + 2 year NP program. (You can often work while earning your DNP which is big plus if money is an issue.)

    MD is 11-15 years. 4 years undergrad + 4 years medical school + 3-7 years of residency. Derm has a 4 year residency so 12 years for derm.

    PA and NP are competitive--though not as competitive as med school. You don't need to take the MCAT for PA or NP. You'll take the GRE.


    DO programs have lower stats than MD programs (3.5 GPA + 503 MCAT vs 3.7 GPA + 511 MCAT) but are no less competitive for admission. On a per seat basis, DO schools are actually more competitive than MD schools (31% acceptance rate vs. 40% acceptance rate).

    But, DO means you're pretty much going to have to go into a primary care field (FM, peds, IM, geriatrics or psych)--derm will be out of reach.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 10,172 Senior Member
    Many young people want to become doctors and, no offense, often when they gain a little more knowledge of the many options for careers, whether in medicine or elsewhere, become a little more flexible about their goals.

    You can major in anything and go to med school. Maybe you should major in something you find easier and then do a post baccalaureate program (look up Goucher's for example) to take care of prerequisists if you still really want to go to med school.

    Your stated reason for pursuing medicine and research is, as others have said, really not a good one, though it shows you care about your family. And yes there are other paths to research.

    Many people have family, health or other problems and still do well in classes. If family problems are affecting you to the extent you say, you should definitely take a leave and preserve your transcript.

    Why do you think this is only one bad semester? Are things better?

    Please consider NOT focusing on med school during college if that eases stress. You really can deal with it later. Study what most interests you and what you are good at and try to enjoy life if you can, once the current obstacles are eased (If possible).
  • Christopher JamesChristopher James Registered User Posts: 19 Junior Member
    @compmom yes things are better now and thats why i said one bad semester. research isn't the main reason why i want to become a doctor but i just find it fascinating that being a doctor you can have a full time job treating people with illness and making their quality of life better and also conduct research and possibly even become a med school educator. I just feel that becoming a doctor opens up so many different opportunities even though the path to get there is tough.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 10,172 Senior Member
    I think you need to explore the many options in the work world, including those in the medical field. Somehow your reasons for being a doctor just don't reflect a lot of knowledge of what being a doctor really entails. You are very idealistic, which is good at your age.

    An elderly family member was just in the hospital, after a med change by her doctor caused kidney failure. In the hospital, the medical provider did not put her on IV's in time and she got very sick. These doctors are good people but extremely stressed by the system and they are sometimes, well, less than helpful. Think about the responsibility amidst the pressures of a system that requires you to see patients for 15 minutes or, in the hospital, even less.

    There are many books out written by doctors or by interns or residents about their life in medicine. Have you read any of them? I think that might be helpful.
  • suzyQ7suzyQ7 Registered User Posts: 3,730 Senior Member
    What was your GPA before this semester? How did you do on the SAT or ACT in high school? I'm trying to determine if this semester was an anomaly or no
This discussion has been closed.