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Premed & Math Major at NYU

hkrmashkrmas 2 replies2 threads New Member
I am a third year undergrad student pursuing a degree in math and am also on the prehealth track. This last semester was really rough for me and dropped my gpa from a 3.6 to 3.4. I took Organic Chemistry 2, Linear Algebra, and Calculus 3. I got a C in Orgo 2, B in Calc 3, and am expecting to receive a B or B- in Linear Algebra. I feel pretty stressed at the moment that my gpa is really low and am worried about if I even have a chance at medical school anymore. I also know that the math classes are only going to get harder and I'm taking Analysis next semester, so I'm worried my gpa will drop even more. I'm not sure what to do at this point. I only have Biochem and Physics to complete the prehealth curriculum. Should I continue with premed and the Math major or should I shift my focus somewhere else?
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Replies to: Premed & Math Major at NYU

  • coolguy40coolguy40 2621 replies6 threads Senior Member
    Well, it seems that transferring to somewhere more expensive would only complicate things. You're going to lose at least a year of credits, and you're going to a school that costs $70k a year. It's not worth it.

    I think the best thing to do is to retake the class that brought down your GPA. Then finish strong your last few semesters.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 3272 replies62 threads Senior Member
    @WayOutWestMom should be able to give you some guidance
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  • CottonTalesCottonTales 1387 replies21 threads Senior Member
    @coolguy40. Even if the OP retakes any course, the original grade has to be reported on the med school application and will be counted in their GPA.
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2621 replies6 threads Senior Member
    @CottonTales (A + C) /2 = B. It can definitely help.
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  • CottonTalesCottonTales 1387 replies21 threads Senior Member
    It is only recomended to retake only if the person is absolutely sure they can get an A.
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10434 replies218 threads Senior Member
    edited January 3
    Both my daughters were math majors who went to medical school.

    The C in Ochem hurts, but you passed it and that's what matters. You need to ace biochem.

    The general recommendation is NOT to retake any class where you've earned a C or better, but to move on to the next higher level class and ace it. Adcomms strongly prefer applicants who have show they can succeed despite setbacks. (It's called resilience.)

    There are 3 reasons not to re-take a class you've passed--
    1) adcomms expect an A grade on any retake. Any grade lower than an A on a retake will hurt your application
    2) both the retake AND the original grade are used when computing GPAs. One 4 credit C + one 4 credit A = 8 credits of B (which isn't all that helpful for raising your GPA)
    3) retakes of classes you passed looks like GPA fluffing/grade grubbing to adcomms--and they don't look favorably on people who do that.

    Your GPA is not yet out of bounds for medical school. It's in range for osteopathic schools right now. Plus you still need to take additional science credits to complete both your major and your pre-med requirements so you have time to raise your GPAs if you're jonesing for a MD.

    It's critical that you excel in your remaining science/math coursework to improve your sGPA. (In some ways, it's good thing you're a math major because all those math classes you need to take will be included in your sGPA. Doing well in those will automatically raise your sGPA. If you were a non-science major, raising your sGPA would be much tougher.)

    One suggestion--if you are just now taking linear analysis as junior, you have a LOT of math classes to go in order to complete your math BS/BA. Is there any way you can decelerate? Take an extra year to graduate? Take fewer than 3-4 math/science classes/semester so you can spread out your workload? Taking biochem, physics plus 2 math classes all at once is possible, but probably not wise.

    If you can't decelerate for whatever reason (including FA issues), finish your math degree. It's a very employable degree. Drop the pre-med for now. After graduation, once you're stable in your new job, THEN take your remaining pre-reqs classes part-time as a non-degree seeking student at a nearby 4 year college. If you need to raise your GPA still more, continue taking upper level BIO classes part-time until your sGPA is where you want it to be. This will take longer, but med school isn't going anywhere. It will still be there when you're ready.
    edited January 3
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  • hkrmashkrmas 2 replies2 threads New Member
    Thank you! I definitely think my grades could have been better if I took 2 math/science classes per semester. You're right, I still have a long way to go to finish the math major and I was trying to cram the classes in to graduate on time. I'll consider taking longer to graduate. I'm thinking I should just finish premed right now because I only have physics and biochem left, and they said physics can count towards the math major if you're premed.
    For the sGPA and GPA in general, does it make a difference where you earned that GPA from? Because I think it would be harder to get a certain GPA at Harvard compared to say a state school. So is the GPA curved or anything?
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 5966 replies1 threads Senior Member
    The obvious question is whether you are getting better grades in the premed/biology classes or better grades in math classes.

    One option is to focus on math and forget about premed and medical school. Another option is to switch to a different major and focus on medical school, forgetting about math. However, which would be more likely to work is going to depend on which classes you are doing best in. Of course if you do forget about math and focus on premed, then you will need a plan B since medical school is not guaranteed to happen at this point.

    I was a math major. For me Calculus was the easiest math class that I ever took in university, and Linear Algebra was the only one that was even close. I am concerned that math just gets significantly more difficult from here on. I did not like Analysis at all.
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  • AndorvwAndorvw 366 replies9 threads Member
    First of all, your school (NYU?) is not Harvard. Second, even Harvard GPA won't save you if your GPA is below 3.5 (probably 3.7 these days).

    What grade did you get in Orgo1? Biochem is going to be harder, do you know why you got C in Orgo2?

    Maybe you should try statistics major instead of pure math. Stats is easier and more marketable (data science?) these days in NY financial sector.

    What state of residence are you?
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  • hkrmashkrmas 2 replies2 threads New Member
    @Andorvw Thanks for the response. I know I don't go to Harvard, I was just using it as an example of a school people generally consider more difficult to get a good gpa at.

    I got a B in Orgo 1. Orgo 2 is obviously harder and on top of that my schedule was a lot more difficult this semester and I personally had a really hard time with the teacher's teaching style. I think it was a little beyond my capacity to handle. I'm concerned Biochemistry will be more difficult but I'm putting it off for another semester to have time to prepare for it.
    My state of residence is Washington. Unfortunately my college doesn't offer a Statistics major so I'm doing a Mathematics major. Do you think that the Mathematics major would have fewer opportunities?
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  • AndorvwAndorvw 366 replies9 threads Member
    edited January 7
    Washington state is actually pretty good for med school admission since there are couple WA-favored schools (at least WA is way better than CA residency).

    So B in Orgo1, C in Orgo2, you seem to have pretty weak background in organic chem. Your approach to get A in Orgo/Biochem should include really good private tutor, not just relying on the professor/campus tutoring office. Professors won't offer much help since orgo/biochem are "weeder" classes. See if you can find some grad students in NYU chem dept as your tutor, you can start with group-based campus tutors and ask if they/their friends can do private lessons.

    "my schedule was a lot more difficult this semester" this is common mistake for pre-med. NEVER never take a heavy course load while you're taking orgo & biochem because they are time-consuming and purposely made harsh being "weeder".

    If med school is your ultimate goal, stick with easier major is the rule of thumb.
    edited January 7
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