Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Post for the Pre-Meds: Low GPA? Low MCAT? There’s Still Hope!

A couple of people recently contacted me freaking out about the new AACOM Repeat Policy Coursework change that was recently announced, and it prompted me to write this post. I’ve always been transparent about the fact that I had extremely low undergraduate GPA and MCAT scores when applying to medical school, but outside of the MCAT, I never actually revealed how low my actual GPA was. I think now would probably be a good time to reveal those scores and explain why I think this new policy change is something that really shouldn’t be stressed about in the grand scheme of everything, especially when it comes to applying to osteopathic medical schools.


I graduated from my undergraduate institution with a 2.2 GPA and over 150 hours. No amount of retakes was going to raise my GPA above the 3-point-whatever GPA that everyone thinks you absolutely need to have when applying to medical school. Additionally, my school had a rule that you could not retake a course that you received a C or higher in, and the main reason for my low GPA was the fact that I made a lot of C’s in my courses. It was an absolute requirement to retake any course with a grade of a D or lower, and I will admit that I did have a few retakes in there. Additionally, I entered into college with a low GPA to start because I attended a full-time joint enrollment honors program at a university during my senior year of high school, didn’t take it seriously, and later found out that any and all college coursework would be included in my application. As you can see above, I barely scored above a 2.5 on my AACOMAS application with the retakes included, and my AMCAS GPA was absolutely abysmal! My graduate GPA was a huge saving grace for me (my GPA was higher when I graduated, but at the point of my application it was as listed), but even with that included, my AACOMAS GPA only went as high as a 2.7.

With that being said, I was still able to gain an acceptance into medical school, so it just goes to show that some schools really do more than just screen based on numbers. There are both MD and DO schools that will look at the last 30 or so hours of your coursework and only focus on that as your cumulative GPA which will still give an advantage to students taking post-bacc or graduate coursework. If you have been retaking courses and were counting on the DO grade replacement policy to help you get an acceptance, I wouldn’t give up hope. As stated on the AACOM website: “Osteopathic medical schools may continue recalculating and weighing applicant GPAs per their established admissions practices. The scope of this policy change is limited to the AACOMAS verified GPA calculation.” To me, this pretty much means schools will continue to look at applications in the same way as before, although now they might have to make a few adjustments. Just focus on continuing to improve both your GPA and overall application, and everything will work out the way it should in the end. Also, if you are applying to DO schools, keep in mind that the majority of them tend to focus on the entire applicant and not just the stats, which is a major reason why I applied. If every other part of your application is stellar, but your GPA and MCAT scores are lacking, just be able to explain it and prove that you would be able to excel in medical school despite your shortcomings.

My MCAT Scores

Speaking of the MCAT, this post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t throw that in here as well. I know there is a new MCAT with a completely different scoring system than there was when I took it, but as you can see (and also as I previously mentioned HERE) my scores were even low with that! I was seriously a true underdog when it came to applying to medical school, but my passion wouldn’t let that stop me from pursuing my dreams.

To those of you applying to medical school, I think it is extremely important to avoid the negativity and continue to push hard and work towards achieving your dreams. I remember reading posts on SDN that said someone with my stats (and especially a single mother) would never make it through the first year of medical school or pass their board exams, and now I am sitting here as a third year medical student who not only made it through my first two years without any major issues, but managed to pass the first part of both my MD and DO board exams, and to date, I have not received less than an honors evaluation (with some final grades as high passes after the shelf exams LOL) on any of my clinical rotations. I say this not to brag, but to be a source of encouragement and inspiration for those of you who have the dream of becoming a physician, but do not think it’s possible. I still have another year and a half to go, along with more upcoming board exams (please pray for me!), but even I have the faith that if I continue to do my best, keep the faith, and push through, everything will fall into place as it should. I’ll end here, but I truly hope this post helped motivate, inspire, and put some of you at ease.

"Go confidently in the direction of your dream and live the life you've imagined" - Henry David Thoreau

Monday, January 9, 2017

SNMA January 2017 NLI Recap – Dallas, Texas

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Student National Medical Association’s National Leadership Institute (NLI) and Third Quarterly Board of Directors meeting which took place in Dallas, Texas. It was sponsored by the American College of Emergency Physicians, and like every NLI, it was a very productive and enjoyable experience.

One thing I was not expecting was for Dallas to be so cold! It was actually 24 degrees and snowing when I landed on Friday, which was way colder than Atlanta was that day. Despite the freezing temperatures, the trip started off with a reception and evening meetings not too long after I landed. The next day was filled with guest speakers with topics ranging from understanding your personal brand to setting S.M.A.R.T. goals and developing leadership skills. We also attended a discussion on “setting a vision that others can follow” with Dr. Stuart Flynn, the dean of Texas Christian University School of Medicine (accepting its first class in 2018), and it was interesting getting his take on board exams and effective learning environments for medical students.

For me, the best part of this NLI was having the opportunity to present my 2017-2018 executive agenda to the SNMA Board of Directors. This has been something I have been working extremely hard on over the last few months, and I was excited to unveil it and receive great feedback. I’ll be equally excited when I get the chance to present it to the general SNMA membership at our annual medical education conference that will take place April 12-16, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia (registration is now open for all those interested!).

But to keep things short, I really enjoyed myself this past weekend, and it has me completely ecstatic for the year to come. SNMA leadership works very hard to make sure all of our membership is supported, and it is always nice when we are able to come together and discuss our progress and goals. If you are a pre-medical or medical student who has not joined SNMA, then I suggest you do by clicking HERE, because it is an amazing organization! That pretty much sums up my weekend though, so I hope everyone reading this has an awesome week :-)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...