Bad GPA freshman year at Northwestern

<p>I am finishing this quarter with a C in General Chemistry, C in Calculus, and B in my freshman seminar.
I feel like an idiot because I AM trying so so so hard. I'm not used to this pressure and how hard all these classes are. I came from a public school where it took no effort to get an A but am competing with kids who know sooo much more then me who went to prep schools and are used to this stress and workload.</p>

<p>My fall quarter grades make me feel like an absolute failure.
I worked so hard to get into Northwestern..but I am wishing now that I went to a lower school because my ultimate goal is medical school.
Doing great at Northwestern looks better then doing great at a state school..but doing mediocre at Northwestern looks worse then doing great at a state school.</p>

<p>I'm so discouraged. I consistently pull B's or C's in all of my tests (relative to the curve) and have gotten maybe one A- on a paper. I'm just not used to this...but I am working SO HARD. And there are so many people here who don't even care and don't work nearly as hard as I do but they get better grades then me..there are so many insanely smart people here.</p>

<p>I'm premed..is there still hope? I just want to get into SOME medical school. It doesn't have to be a top medical school at all, a state medical school would be wonderful too. ANY medical school is hard to get into.</p>

<p>Do you think once I get used to this, I'll perform better?
I'm just so stressed out and miserable and discouraged because I am trying SO much without ANY motivation because I never get rewarded for my hard work thus far at Northwestern.</p>

<p>Words of advice??</p>

<p>It's often not about working harder but rather working smarter. You need to examine the way you study and see if there is anything you can change.</p>

<p>That said, not everyone's meant to be a doctor. And there's no shame in that. If after giving it your all, it's still not good enough for med school, then maybe you were meant to excel at something else.</p>

<p>You can do it!!!!</p>

<p>Just keep at it, and work harder. DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED. BECAUSE IF YOU DO, YOU ARE SCREWED FOR SURE. However if you try and keep at it, there is a good chance that you can come out on top (or at least achieving your goal). </p>

<p>I go to a top 20 school, and my first semester of college was an embarrassing 3.3. I worked incredibly hard my first semester. Like norcalguy said that it is not how hard you work, but how smart you work. The winter break b/w my first and second semester, I did A LOT of introspection and changed my studying habits. My second semester in college was a solid 3.8. Currently I am sitting on a solid 3.7.</p>

<p>Good luck, change your studying habits and keep at it. Don't worry about your competition JUST KEEP AT IT.</p>

<p>Piggy backing off what the others said, here are some examples of working smarter not harder (I think it's a tough concept to wrap your head around when for so long (in high school), working more meant better results).</p>

<p>A classic example is a student who studies hard by reading the text book, when the professor stressed that most of the test material will come from the lectures (ie, he uses the book as a supplement, but not as a major source of material). The student who spends 20h reading the text book might do worse on the exam than the student who spent 5h reviewing lectures, even though the first student put in 15h more. Point: study the correct material.</p>

<p>Another example would be a student who slacks off on assignments but does great on exams when the cumulative "weight" of the assignments is similar to the weight of the exams (or, conversely, when a student only focuses on papers but the majority of the grade is tests). Putting all your time/effort/etc resources into the wrong type of assignments is not an effective way to approach a class because it will probably not result in better understanding or better grades. A good way to avoid problems like these are to carefully read the syllabus at the beginning of the semester and begin and maintain relationships with your professors so you know who to turn to if you have questions. Point: allocate your resources of time/effort/energy to those academic activities which will be the most likely to improve/maintain your grade.</p>

<p>Additionally, for some courses, it makes much more sense to study in small chunks rather than cram--especially if the classes are conceptual or involve a considerable volume of material to cover (many upper level classes fall into this category). Staying "caught up" is so much easier to manage than "catching up" for courses like these, so a good strategy is to spend a little time each day (1-2h?) reviewing notes, preparing for class, browsing through the text book, etc. (Cramming for exams like these is often ineffective.) One way to "force yourself" to stay caught up is to build your schedule so you have some of those "awkward breaks" of like, an hour or so between classes (ie, not enough time to go home and take a nap, but too much time to just mill around), which you can then fill with productive studying time. Point: determine as early as possible an effective strategy for each class you're taking, and try to be flexible with your study habits.</p>

<p>1 quarter of bad work is absolutely not enough to sink your med school application. Keep your head up, figure out how to revise your study skills/habits for next quarter, and do your best to improve. Good luck!</p>

<p>You all have been SO helpful and encouraging. Thank you, I really appreciate it. GREAT advice!</p>

<p>If you are in classes with students who did not take AP credit for classes they took in high school, but are repeating them for a higher grade (as do many premed majors), then there are students who came into class much, much better prepared than you, who have already taken intro calculus and chemistry and biology. After this first year, you will be on more of an even keel with them, and you will have had experience in working really hard, which you say you have not done in high school. </p>

<p>As for advice, hang in there, go to office hours, and ask your professors/TA's about things you don't understand. As for premed vs non-premed, every premed needs a back-up plan.</p>

<p>You need to turn this around and absolutely crush your classes from here on out.</p>

<p>If you do that, here's all you have to say</p>

<p>"I was a freshman. In high school I was never really challenged, so I never really developed strong study skills. When I got to Northwestern, I was really surprised by the difficulty of the courses, so I had to develop those skills in the fly. It took some time, but as you can see, I managed to turn it around and show what I'm capable with the grades I earned later."</p>

<p>Keep your head up! You're right getting into med school is no joke and we will all encounter people much smarter than us that even when we have a work ethic twice as hard as theirs, we still won't be able to get better grades than them. But don't let this discourage you. If you work your butt off like you're describing, then trust me your hard work will pay off! You got into northwestern which is saying a lot about what you are capable! Don't put yourself down. Just act like you are starting off with a clean slate and continue working hard! Good luck!</p>

<p>Did you get help when you did not understand some concept? Calc and Gen Chem are the most conceptual classes, all you need is to understand every single one of them. If you do, you will have all A's. When you do not, go to prof's office, sit thru SI session, study in group, help is widely available in UG, more so in classes that do not require so much of just to sit down and memorize on your own.</p>

<p>DD1 went to NU, already having decided to pursue medicine, giving up a 7-year prog that she felt wasn't "prestigious". We had assumed that NU is a "great premed school" and any student there will get a huge boost in their applications, and they have great connections, and counselors will help chart a course with their experience. All of this we feel is patently untrue - for those who aren't in a guaranteed program, big factors are GPA (and science GPA) without any consideration to NU's alleged superiority, MCAT scores, race, the competitiveness in your home state, and perhaps connections developed by the student. We've been very unimpressed by the general support and guidance that DD received at NU in her endeavors - it's completely up to what the student does, and we know she would have fared better at one of our state or local schools where many of her comparable HS classmates found success.</p>

<p>In your case, check what credentials med schools in your home state need (often the easiest to get into), and see if you're on track with your GPA. Would you be happy going to an Osteopathic school that gives a DO degree, and if so, look them up and see if your grades are adequate. If not, your biggest challenges are to get a great MCAT score (35+), get help to get better science grades, take enough of the courses you're good at to move up your overall GPA, or transfer out of NU, or pursue a post-NU education in a masters program that hands out easy As, as some of DD's seniors have done.</p>

<p>This gives you an idea of GPA/MCAT acceptance by race go give you a rough idea of where you stand:
<a href="https://www.aamc.org/download/157958/data/table25-w-mcatgpa-grid-white-0810.pdf.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;https://www.aamc.org/download/157958/data/table25-w-mcatgpa-grid-white-0810.pdf.pdf&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>@v72724 - I'm actually in the same boat right now. My GPA is currently a 2.96 after my first quarter at UW. I'm terribly bummed about it and don't know if I can even make it into med school anymore. However, reading this thread that you started has encouraged me to do better in school and provided me hope for ultimately reaching my goal of attending med school. I wish you good luck in your future endeavors.</p>

<p>*I came from a public school where it took no effort to get an A but am competing with kids who know sooo much more then me who went to prep schools and are used to this stress and workload.
*</p>

<p>I think this happens a lot. Too many publics just feed kids what will be on each test. Tests only deal with things that were discussed in class or on a study guide. Kids hardly have to crack a book. Study skills are often sorely lacking.</p>

<p>It's often not about working harder but rather working smarter. You need to examine the way you study and see if there is anything you can change.</p>

<p>Exactly. Sounds like you're not studying in a correct fashion. You may be focusing mostly on your notes or what the prof talked about in lecture. You may need to start a study group and copy how they study.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I came from a public school where it took no effort to get an A but am competing with kids who know sooo much more then me who went to prep schools and are used to this stress and workload.

[/quote]

A selected few (about 2) public high schools in our area are competitive enough in most subjects (probably with the exception of foreign language) that the students there are still stress-tested enough while in high school.</p>

<p>The medical school interview at some public medical schools in our sate was almost like a mini high school reunion for many (not all) of the top 10 students from DS's high school graduating class, because most of the top 10 students (out of 600 in a class) seem to have no problem in getting into a medical school in their state no matter which college they went to. In a sense, the "race" really starts from high school (or even middle school.)</p>

<p>Many students from prep schools are indeed quite competitive. However, it seems to me that a higher percentage of them may not want to pursue the medicine career, in DS's experience. The majority of participants in the "premed competion game" are those who were graduated from competitive high schools in the suburban area (i.e., upper-middle income area) from major cities (and whose parents are professionals.)</p>