Pre-Med Advice with Low GPA

Hello! So I am a current undergraduate student at CSULA with a Biology major and planning on graduating in the Spring 2019. I want to go to medical school, I know that I might not be the best student out there but do I have a chance? Here are my stats:

  1. My current GPA is 3.1 and if I were to have straight A’s (hypothetically) in my last two semesters then my GPA would be 3.3 --> so my advisor told me I should do a post bacc program to improve my GPA. She already calculated if I were to get straight A’s in the post bacc then I can have a GPA of 3.4

  2. I was planning on taking the MCAT in April 13, 2018 but after talking with her about the post bacc, I am thinking of doing the post bacc then take the MCAT and applying the next cycle.

  3. EC: I have been volunteering at the ER for two years (~360 hours, and still counting)
    I have a phlebotomy license and currently looking for a job
    I am an officer of the premed club at my school
    I have research (1 1/2 years, and still continuing)
    missing shadowing, community service

I am Vietnamese btw

I know my chances are very, very, very, slim but should I still try shooting for it? I really want to become a doctor and I have tried my best, I know that I am not that smart but I have been doing everything I can in trying to be a competitive student. I go to all the pre-med conferences and talk to the admissions. I think that a post bacc would help me but money is also the problem. And also, do medical schools look at you lowly or differently because you did a post bacc?

Thank you so much!!

With a high MCAT a DO medical school maybe. Perhaps Caribbean MD medical school.

Are you a US citizen or green card holder? If not then even less of a chance.

My advisor said that even if I get a high Mcat, I will not have a chance for DO schools. I am a US citizen.

I don’t know how CSULA works in terms of prehealth advising, but if your advisor is telling you that it doesn’t look good that is important information. You will need a committee letter/packet from your school, so if one is not forthcoming, it will be difficult to gain acceptance anywhere, post-Bacc or not. Further you state that money is an issue for post-Bacc, so paying for medical school would be as well.

I am certain that you can find a fulfilling career in healthcare, please work with your school’s prehealth and regular advising offices to help you target opportunities that may be a better fit. Good luck.

GPA is going to be too low to have a realistic shot at medical school right now. Take a year of graduate school, then reapply next year. Graduate level courses hold a lot more weight.

@coolguy40 and @BellaHuynh713

Graduate coursework is not more heavily weighted by allopathic medical schools than undergrad performance unless that coursework taken through a SMP.

Grad GPAs and undergrad GPAs are listed separately on AMCAS. Med schools use only the undergrad GPA to do the initial screening of applicants-- even if an applicant has earned advanced degrees. Thus, a grad GPA has no effect on an applicant’s chances of getting past the the first round of screening.

A few allopathic med schools will consider an applicant’s grad coursework (e.g. Wayne State which only considers an applicant’s last 90 earned credits regardless of the level), but most will ignore an positive grad GPA trend. (Grad coursework is known to suffer from widespread grade inflation.) A weak grad GPA, however, is always considered a red flag on an application.

The other reason why grad coursework is usually discounted by allopathic admissions offices is that adcomm members like to do direct comparisons among applicants. Since few applicants have graduate GPAs or coursework, both are ignored during the review process.

Applicants from SMPs are reviewed and considered separately from other applicants and significant weigh is given to their performance in those programs. However, most non-thesis-based MS degrees are not given any consideration at all.

Osteopathic med schools differ from allopathic programs in that DO program do include all grad coursework in all GPA calculations.

I don’t think the cost of an SMP is worth it in your situation.
What’s your Plan B?
Can you take a bunch of statistics and biostatistics classes to increase your professional odds?

What is Plan B?

Not all colleges do committee letters, but CSULA does, so whether the OP can get one is an indicator of how confident or not the CSULA pre-health advising committee is of the OP’s chance of getting into medical school.

http://www.calstatela.edu/healthcareers/committee-letter

Plan B is an alternate career plan should a pre-med not get an acceptance to med school, or should a pre-med not have a competitive application for medical school.

Every pre-med needs a Plan B because most pre-meds will not get a med school acceptance.

Based on my observation in sdn and other forums, for CSU student to be competitive in med school application, you need to be close to 4.0 GPA combined with a good Mcat.

Your GPA is no where close to be competitive. The only redeeming value you might be able to get competitive in a med school application is get a decent Mcat and get a killer grade in SMP, post graduate. Perhaps a DO SMP is less demanding, you might have a better chance. A few DO school will accept some one with a 3.x GPA in their own SMP program.

It looks as if some PA programs could be within reach, especially if you succeed in raising your GPA over the coming year. This might be a more realistic goal in your situation. There more and more rewarding opportunities out there for PA’s, as MD’s are increasingly pressured to delegate responsibilities. https://www.thepalife.com/applying-to-pa-school-with-a-low-gpa-admissions-directors-answer-your-questions/

Let me be blunt–your current GPA is lethal for ANY medical school admission–MD or DO.

IF you can raise your GPA to 3.4 by earning all As (no Bs and definitely no Cs) in your post-bacc AND score 510 or better on the MCAT, you may have a chance.

BUT you will need to be willing to apply broadly AND apply to mostly to osteopathic medical schools. (A DO school will be you best chance for an acceptance with a 3.4 GPA and 510 MCAT–both of which are well below the median for MD matriculants.)

If you don’t know what a osteopathic doctor is–go shadow one or two. Most DO schools require a LOR from a practicing DO physician anyway.

But to succeed, you must accomplish both parts of the equations–raise your GPA to 3.4+ in a post-bacc AND score 510 or better on the MCAT.

So you have a chance, but your path to success is narrow and does not allow any missteps. Any Bs in your post-bacc will ruin your chances.


Med schools are not especially interested in any explanations for poor grades. Adcomms want to see a track record of academic excellence because they want to enroll students who will succeed in med school. More Bs than As say that you are not academically ready for the challenge med school represents and are at very high risk of failing out. So you need only As in your post-bacc.

If finances are an issue, you need to get a job and take your post-bacc coursework part-time as you can afford classes. You don’t need to enroll in a formal post-bacc program to do GPA repair.

Find two, or even three, part-time service jobs with flexible hours to pay the rent while taking one or two classes/semester at your nearest state U. (D1 did this, so it’s definitely possible to do so.)

Another possibility would be to get a job working for a college or university. Most jobs–even janitorial or secretarial jobs–come with tuition benefits that will allow you to take 1 class/semester for free.

Sure, this will take you longer than you’d like, but med school isn’t going anywhere and this will likely be your only chance for gaining an acceptance.

Hello! So I am a current undergraduate student at CSULA with a Biology major and planning on graduating in the Spring 2019. I want to go to medical school, and I am open to DO and MDI know that I might not be the best student out there but do I have a chance? Here are my stats:

  1. My current GPA is 3.2 and if I were to have straight A’s (hypothetically) in my last two semesters then my GPA would be 3.3 --> so my advisor told me I should do a post bacc program to improve my GPA. She already calculated if I were to get straight A’s in the post bacc then I can have a GPA of 3.4

  2. I was planning on taking the MCAT in April 13, 2018 and I have already enrolled in the Princeton review MCAT prep and have both the Princeton books and Kaplan Books

  3. EC:
    I have been volunteering at the ER for two years (~360 hours, and still counting)
    I volunteered at the Physical Therapy Outpatient Clinic (3 months during summer, ~50 hours)
    I volunteered at the Women’s Center (3 months during the summer, ~50 hours)
    I have a phlebotomy license and currently looking for a job
    I am an officer of the premed club at my school
    I have research (1 1/2 years, and still continuing)
    I teach English to underserved/orphaned children between the ages 10-13 in Vietnam over Skype every week (just started and still ongoing)
    missing shadowing

I never failed my classes but it is just that I had more B’s than A’s. In total I have 14 A’s, 16 B’s, and 6 C’s

*I forgot to add some things in my first thread so this might be similar to it.

Let’s say I get a 510 (+, if possible) on my MCAT (I know this might be highly unlikely) and I can explain why my GPA, do I have a chance? I am a Vietnamese-American. I am the first to go to college also. My counselor told me that people with those GPA and a 510 on the MCAT, about ~35% can get in. I would love to do a postbacc but money is the problem