A student’s GPA is one of the key metrics considered during the med school admission process. But a low grade point average does not automatically disqualify a student from being accepted.
How Big of a Deal Is GPA?
There is no going around the fact that medical school admission boards will be looking at your GPA as part of your application. Normally, a school will break down an applicant’s grades into the following categories:
- the grade point average for each year
- GPA for classes related to science
- Overall GPA
They will not just look at the raw numbers presented by your grades but they will be looking at trends. For example, you might have a good overall GPA but your grades for science-related classes are lower when compared to others, that is not a good indication. Generally, they want to see an upward trend when it comes to grades.
What to Do If You Have Low GPA
The good news is that medical schools are now trying to broaden the competencies of candidates which they are checking for admission. They are considering other factors that are less tangible like leadership, performance during interviews, and volunteer work.
There are certain things which you can do in order to improve your chances of getting into a medical school even if you have a low GPA.
1. Post-Baccalaureate Programs
If you want to improve your chances of being accepted into medical school and you have already finished college then you can go for a post-baccalaureate program. There are two kinds of post-baccalaureate programs that you can try and those are:
- Career changes
- Academic record enhancers
Career changer programs are meant for those who have finished college but did not finish the prerequisite courses needed in medical schools. Academic record enhancers are meant for those who have gone through the required science courses to improve their academic records. This is a chance for you to redeem yourself if you did not do well in college.
Because the classes are undergraduate, the grades on post-bac will be factored as undergraduate grades.
2. Special Master’s Programs
Another way to improve your standing is to take up a special master’s program (SMP). The courses under an SMP will be at the graduate level and are designed to give the student a chance to build their science background.
SMPs are meant for those entering the health profession, mainly medical schools. There are even cases where SMP students take classes with actual medical students.
3. Other Factors
Don’t forget that there are other factors which medical schools are now considering. Saint James School of Medicine (SJSM) for example has a very holistic approach when it comes to the admission process. At SJSM, the entire application of a student is considered and weighed and not just the grades.
Of course, GPA is important because it somehow measures the academic potential of students. At the same time, we look at things like background, narrative, and volunteer work.
If it’s your dream to get into medical school then you have to work for it. It is not something that will come easy. While getting a high GPA would be ideal, a low one would not necessarily mean the end of your medical school dreams.
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