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How to Get into Medical School with a Low GPA

How do I get into med school with a low GPA?

A question we get all the time; how do I get into med school if my G.P.A. isn’t as high as the schools want it to be or if I have a low G.P.A.? You know that for medical school, G.P.A. and MCAT play an important role; in fact, they’re probably the two most important things any pre-med can do in order to improve their chances of admission.

G.P.A. vs. MCAT

So let’s say you are finishing with a less than 4.0 G.P.A., something more in the range of 3.3-3.4, that’s not too bad, but for medical school it’s definitely on the lower end. So how do you get in? The first is obviously have an awesome MCAT score. A low G.P.A. can be balanced out by a really great MCAT score. Now, that does not raise the G.P.A., particularly if there are constantly low science grades. Med Schools are going to want to see that you can still handle science curriculum and then had a great day at the MCAT, but it goes a long way to show them that you can do that if you did well in the MCAT.

So, for those of you out there with a low G.P.A., maximizing your MCAT score is huge.

Trending Upward

If you have a low G.P.A. which started out really low. Let’s say your first couple years in college you just didn’t do well at all. You got a bunch of Cs, you got a bunch of D’s because you were having trouble adjusting. But by your sophomore, junior, senior year, you were getting better and better grades and you graduated your senior year at a 4.0. That’s called a significant uptrend and that makes a huge difference in how schools evaluate your application. If schools see that uptrend, that really shows them that there was a light bulb moment or something that clicked for you and those original grades weren’t reflective of who you are as a student today. So for those you who have an uptrend, you may actually be in a really good situation even though your overall G.P.A. is lower than average.

Build it up going forward

Something to consider if you don’t have an uptrend or your G.P.A. has been consistently on the low end of the spectrum for medical school, but you feel like you can do much better, is a post-bacc program or special master’s program. Remember special masters programs are programs that are designed specifically for pre-health students. They help you maximize your G.P.A. by taking courses in medical school. In fact, with a lot of post-bacc programs and a lot of US SMP programs, you actually take a first year medical school curriculum.

So if you can show a medical school that, “I did awesome in physiology, anatomy, biochemistry and microbiology; all the same courses that your first year students were taking in medical school” Then obviously, the admissions committee can say, “this person has what it takes. Their low G.P.A. was a thing of the past and they’ve done so well in the special masters program, we can take them in.”

These are some of the ways to think about for raising your chances of admission if your G.P.A. is on the lower side.

Sahil Mehta

Sahil Mehta M.D. is an attending physician in the Department of Radiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Founder of MedSchoolCoach. Dr Mehta is one of the world’s experts on medical school admissions having founded MedSchoolCoach in 2007. MedSchoolCoach provides admissions consulting to premedical students in the form of interview preparation, essay editing and general advising. In the past 10 years, he has had a hand in over a thousand acceptances to medical school.

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