Jump to content
mrenee10

Advice for retaking science courses/improving GPA

Recommended Posts

So while the jury is still out for this application cycle, I was denied an interview at my preferred school and I will need to register for spring classes very soon if I'm going to work on improving my GPA to attempt the next cycle. I have been working as an RN for over 4 years, a majority of my pre-reqs are from prior to nursing school (so next cycle, some may need to be retaken just because they're too old) and I've got a couple C's in my older sciences. Most recent sciences have been almost all A's (including O-chem) so I think I've demonstrated much improved study habits.

 

All in all I feel pretty certain on what I need to do to make myself a better candidate and improve my chances, mainly improve GPA, cast a wider net and stay well ahead of my deadlines. I also plan to take the GRE which will greatly expand my options. My question is, would it be more beneficial for me to, for example, retake my Chem 1 with a grade of C a long time ago or take a more advanced science like O-chem II? I'll only have spring and summer next year to take classes before I reapply so I want to make the most of that time.

 

Also, first time using this forum which would have likely helped me during this cycle but hoping to get it right this time. ;)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think your first decision is whether or not your past low academic performance merits an explanation in the app materials. If you had difficult circumstances that led to poor grades the pro advice is generally to address that in your personal statement- briefly, taking responsibility, and explaining how you overcame to have a great career as a nurse and make stellar grades later etc. Some schools will even have a special place in supplemental app materials to explain Fs or academic bankruptcy. On the other hand if it's just a couple of Cs in a long ago freshman or sophomore year owing to immature study habits, I think that story tells itself on your transcript and shouldn't be belabored. Let your recent academic performance do the talking.

 

As for your other decision, my instinct would be to take more junior, senior, or even grad level sciences to demonstrate that you're ready for PA school. If you make As in those courses it will boost your GPA and show that you can perform academically at the next level. That seems a wiser use of your time and $. Consider- if you retake gen chem and get an A you've only proved to me that you can make an A in gen chem. But if you make an A in Org or biochem, then I know that you could have made an A in gen chem, and that the reason you didn't was prob because you didn't study enough in your freshman year of college. But then you have also shown that you can learn difficult material as an adult, while balancing non-academic responsibilities. It tells a better maturity story IMO.

 

Finally it might also pay to look at the GPA breakdown that your target programs are concerned with. Some will look at the most recent 30-60 hours while others may look specifically at a prereq GPA or both. And if you still have questions you can always ask adcomm staff or faculty, by contacting directly or at open house, what the most effective demonstration of your qualifications would be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Generally I was leaning towards that being the case but some schools say that Gen Chem 1 for example is specifically required as a prereq and I know I applied to one this cycle that required it be within the last 8 years. Next cycle that course will be outside of that time frame. I'm guessing I can get specific approval from the school to accept the credits from a higher level course as I'm sure they would prefer that to retaking the lower level, like you said.

 

Thank you so much for your response, it was very helpful. Definitely overwhelming trying to fulfill the various requirements of different programs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If this is your only low grade and they'll accept a higher course as a substitute don't retake and take a higher level course closer to the difficulty level of PA school. Many schools will say something like "no more than 2 Cs in pre-reqs are accepted". I've got 2 Cs in chemistry (Chem 1 and Orgo 1) and a D in genetics (which is the only course I did retake to get an A, but the D's still on the transcript). But I didn't bother retaking the chemistry classes and still got plenty of interviews and accepted, doing well in Biochem probably helped.

 

Otherwise the course expiration would be the only reason I'd think you'd want to retake it and I'd only do that if you really think it's going to expire before you get accepted, so you could always retake it during the cycle if you're thinking during next cycle you may have to do this a third time. But I hope for your sake you won't reach that point!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.




  • Similar Content

    • By feistymango
      Recently, I decided to pursue the PA route and need to take Anatomy/Physiology 1 and 2 with lab and Microbiology with lab. One of the schools require Immunology/Virology too (Did anyone need to take this class for their prerequisites?). I graduated with my bachelor's and currently working full time. I am having difficulty finding a class I can take that fits with my work schedule. I was able to sign up for Anatomy/Physiology 1 at a local community college, but unable to sign up for the rest due to time conflict or not available at other community colleges. Can anyone suggest alternatives in how I can compete these pre-requisites? Not sure if courses meant for "Health Science Majors" or "Allied Health Majors" are the same for science majors which is required for the schools I plan to apply for. Thanks in advance!!
    • By mly3025
      Hi everyone. I am currently applying this cycle with these stats.
      According to my calculations:
      cGPA = 3.12
      sGPA = 3.23
      These grades are the combined total of all my classes, including undergraduate (cGPA 2.88 and sGPA 2.96). I took post-bac classes (53 credits) and received A's in all them, which include major pre reqs required by most PA schools. For one year, I worked full time while taking courses. 
      GRE = 309 total. 154 Quant (55th percentile) 155 Verbal (69th percentile) and 5.0 writing (93rd percentile) 
      Total PCE ~ 4057 hours for about 2 years of working full time + per diem. I am continuing to work full time so this number will increase.  
      Total HCE/Volunteer  ~ 100 hours at a senior center 
      Shadowing ~ 585 hours (480 of which was during work hours where I would directly work with a PA throughout my shift) 
      Leadership role as a board member of a student association group and extra curricular's involving dance choreographer during my time as an undergraduate student. I may also be TA-ing microbology or anatomy this spring. 
      I feel strong in my letters of recommendations and am currently in the process of trimming and editing my personal statement draft. I am continuing to shadow PA's after work now that my school semester is over, but I do not think its a good idea for me to continue taking courses since it would require a bunch of other classes to bump my GPA up even higher. Besides this, what can I do to stand out more and make myself a better applicant to offset my low GPA?
       
    • By Habb31719
      I wanted to know if anyone could add any input on this; 
      I had requested a PA for a letter of evaluation. He was happy to agree to give one. I also had sent him a copy of my resume just because I thought that was the appropriate thing to do. 
      last week at work him had mentioned two things... he had brought it up to me that I didn't have my GPA posted on my resume and asked if if I was planning to put it on my resume. he also started asking me things like "do you want me to just not address GPA at all then?". So, for the copy of the resume I had sent to her, I didn't put my GPA in because I didn't think it was going to be helpful (my undergrad is a 3.35 which is not competitive) The whole purpose of sending him a 1 page resume was so that he could know a little more of what I have done in undergrad; like, have a little more amount of information of who I am outside of scribing. (I've been a scribe for about 9 months; about 5 of those months have been heavily involved with this particular PA, so although we haven't had many conversations personally its not like I am a stranger to him 
      The other thing that he requested is if I had personal statement finished. I will sincerely admit, I am quite behind on the application process as my personal statement still has work to do; I told him it's still being written. He asked if she should have a summary of it or something like that so he has more details to flesh out his evaluation letter. 
      I told her I would email her about the GPA issue and the personal statement summary because he was asking out loud in front of the other doctors and employees in the nurses station and I was a little shy to answer. I don't know why, but I wasn't expecting him to ask those questions.
      So here is what I was asking: 
      1. Should I have 3.35 on my resume at all? (I was a public health major)
      2. Is giving a personal statement/summary super necessary for you LOR evaluators? Because I really have alot more to do on my PS so I'm not sure how I can make a good summary in a short amount of time to give him; as well as the other evaluators.
    • By aking129
      I am feeling unsure as to whether or not I will get into PA school. I have a bachelor's degree in Public Health Science. My cumulative gpa is a 3.92 and my science gpa is a 3.8 with 61 science course credits. I have 1,000 hours of patient contact currently from working as a physical therapy aide during undergrad. I am taking a gap year and working 36 hours per week as a medical assistant and also taking weekend shifts as a physical therapy aid to reach approximately 3,000 hours when I apply next year. I also have about 200 hours of other related experience through working as a medical receptionist and volunteering and have 100 hours from shadowing. I have about 500 hours of volunteer experience from a service trip for income equity, a social justice student group, volunteering with a group that works to fix low-income health disparities, an LGBTQ+ community health clinic, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the philanthropy committee for my sorority. I am doing research with a nearby medical school and will have about 300 hours of research experience at the time I apply (this is a volunteer position). I was a teaching assistant for anatomy and physiology II for two years. I served as the president of a student organization and the vice president of the same organization, a program lead for a social justice organization, and I was the chair of philanthropy for my sorority. Other extracurricular involvements included Students Engaged in Public Health,  Sigma Kappa Sorority, Maryland Public Interest Research Group, Maryland Leadership Education and Development, and Ballet Company M. I am mostly concerned that I have not taken enough science credits and do not have enough patient contact. Are there other things I should work on to strengthen my profile? Should I take more science classes? Should I consider a master's in a science field? I studied public health because I am truly passionate about approaching patient care from this perspective and want to work in health administration health policy in addition to patient care, and I plan to explain this in my personal statement.
    • By PerspiringPA
      I have completed my bachelor's degree in Biology, but since I was pre-med back then, I didn't complete the anatomy and physiology course and now have to complete it at a community college. I also have a full time job and was hoping to take anatomy and physiology in a hybrid setting (online lecture with in person lab). Is this a good idea? I've been looking at schools websites and some don't care, some said "considered on an individual basis," and some won't accept it. Am I limiting my chances too much? I want to apply mostly west coast and surrounding states.  I also have to take statistics and I hope to apply for Fall 2020.
      Thanks!
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to the Physician Assistant Forum! This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn More