We are getting the annual raft of two kinds of threads
1) from current first-years:
Am I a deadman walking because of my first year GPA?
2) from the HS'ers:
Here's my pre-med schedule.
Listen to cranky old Uncle Curmudgeon, plan the work. Work the plan.
You are not the first set of kids to come through here. We've seen the same threads for years. Regardless of what your parents have told you.....you are just not that special. People have been where you are before. Lots of people. Lots of times. You don't have to re-invent the wheel. Just do what works.
Everybody has struggles. Everybody has issues transitioning. Everybody has things that don't go according to plan. Plan for that. Give yourself some headroom. Some wiggle room, through-out college but especially in your first year.
Don't over-load with too many hours or too difficult a course-load.
Don't skip a lower level class because you think it makes you look better to med schools. It doesn't. Take the lower level and ace it.
Don't over-commit to EC's. Classes come first. For a pre-med they have to come first. Before EC's, Sorry. Sucks, don't it?
Don't skip classes.
Don't get behind.
Don't get drunk and lose your car for weeks at a time...oh, wait. That was one was me..
Keep a balanced life. Eat right. Exercize. Socialize.
If a personal issue develops (death in the family, illness, depression) that renders you incapable of doing the work, recognize that. Admit it. Don't use it as an excuse to sleep in during a test or not turn in a paper. March yourself quick-time to the Dean of Students and tell somebody. There are people there who might can help. It's part of their job. Yeah. It might be tough to do, but it's a lot better than 17 hours of F.
If it's not a personal issue but a work issue.....get to the writing center, get to the prof's office hours, talk to older students who have succeeded in the class. Get there early and often. Take advantage of every modality the school makes available to you. It is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of "smarts". Even if you are doing well, take advantage of these resources. Maybe you'll do even better.
All this was to get to this point:
It is much easier to keep a high GPA than it is to pull one up. If you start with a 2.5 first semester , just calculate what it will take for you to bring that up to a 3.7 by application time. Just do the math. (Here. I'll help. 1 semester of 2.5 + 5 semesters of X divided by 6 = 3.7)
Did ya do it? See what I mean?
Start fast. Find the "pace" of college work. Then adjust.