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Low undergrad GPA still haunting me 5 years later


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Hello All,

I am relatively new to the pre-PA profession but after a lot of soul searching, I am going to apply again to schools this year. Last year, I only applied to 5 schools. I need help deciding what to do between now and application time. I know there's only a few months left before CASPA opens, but any help is appreciated. Here are some stats about me:

Undergrad GPA 

Overall: 2.5

Science: 2.4 

MPH GPA

Overall: 3.8 

Science classes (2): 4.0 

Post-bacc GPA (1 year): 

Overal: 3.85

Science: 4.0 (got a B in calculus) 

Misc

Took sociology online (A), anatomy and physio for my masters online (A), and taking psychology this semester online (hopefully get an A).

Critique my plan please:

I had no luck last cycle, a 310 composite GPA and a 6/6 on the writing portion, 1000+ PCE, working in biotech now (pays well so not sure if I need to switch jobs for more PCE, would rather work on weekends in PCE if possible), 2000+ HCE 

Plan: 

  • Apply earlier this time for sure. Applied in October last time
  • My undergrad gpa had so many credits from me not passing classes, hence the MPH (which I love the subject but quickly found it is not a lucrative career to pay back student loans) and post bacc 
    • Retaking psychology online 
    • Hopefully taking micro online for the first time 
    • Maybe taking ochem/biochem online again 
  • Stats for pre reqs: Gen chem (A), bio (A), ochem (C), anatomy/physio (A), sociology (A), psychology (C), stats (A), english (A) 
  • Should I just retake the pre reqs? Should I fill in some science classes? I think I redid how long it will take me to bring up my GPA to above a 3.0 for both and it's another year of full time classes MAYBE to get a 3.0 
  • I have no shadowing, so planning to shadow a PA (I've shadowed an MD and DO) 
  • applying to MA jobs (I was an MA without the certification) 
  • targeting schools that emphasize the last 60 units 
  • calling/emailing schools to ask if they will take my app if below a 3.0

Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated! I work full time in biotech right now and would love to stay working if possible. I know my GPA is a low point hence me trying to fix it. Thank you!

 

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Guest blee100

From what i learned from the forum. Your personal statement truly matters. I think you need to discuss briefly your undergrad gpa. Like did a family member pass away or were you simply not mentally ready for the course load? Whatever it is was just make sure you bring it up and go into how this has allowed you to grow as a student.  All together i think your plan is great. Good luck with getting those hours!

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  • Administrator

Gonna rant a bit here, but not at you personally, OP.  Understand that you're not the only offender, just the one who triggered this advice:

STOP pretending you have a Postbacc GPA: there is barely such a thing in CASPA, and it's as meaningless as your Sophomore GPA. There are pretty much only two GPAs that matter:

- Your undergraduate GPA, which is ALL courses at ALL institutions that aren't graduate.  Your graduate GPA doesn't matter.

- Your BCP (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) GPA.  Yes, the Science GPA is important, but of the two, BCP is the more stringent ("rocks for jocks" and "astronomy for a new millennium" are both 'science' courses)

Don't post, calculate, or even think about any other GPAs, because you're wasting your time and ours.

Sure, trends are important, too many W's can be bad, longer ago bad grades don't really hurt as much... but those are all school-by-school value judgments.  The first cut will be the cruelest, and that's the one that will take you out if you don't have a 3.0 no matter what.  A 3.0 what?  Cumulative undergraduate GPA, of course, because I didn't say BCP and there are ONLY TWO GPAs that matter.

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8 minutes ago, rev ronin said:

Gonna rant a bit here, but not at you personally, OP.  Understand that you're not the only offender, just the one who triggered this advice:

STOP pretending you have a Postbacc GPA: there is barely such a thing in CASPA, and it's as meaningless as your Sophomore GPA. There are pretty much only two GPAs that matter:

- Your undergraduate GPA, which is ALL courses at ALL institutions that aren't graduate.  Your graduate GPA doesn't matter.

- Your BCP (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) GPA.  Yes, the Science GPA is important, but of the two, BCP is the more stringent ("rocks for jocks" and "astronomy for a new millennium" are both 'science' courses)

Don't post, calculate, or even think about any other GPAs, because you're wasting your time and ours.

Sure, trends are important, too many W's can be bad, longer ago bad grades don't really hurt as much... but those are all school-by-school value judgments.  The first cut will be the cruelest, and that's the one that will take you out if you don't have a 3.0 no matter what.  A 3.0 what?  Cumulative undergraduate GPA, of course, because I didn't say BCP and there are ONLY TWO GPAs that matter.

Thanks for your help! I guess I just wanted to show that I did do something since my undergrad to make up for it (and put post bacc because that's what my program was called, a pre-professional post bacc). I learned the hard way though that only your science and undergrad really matter (although on the pre-pa platform video I thought cumulative and science GPA really matter??)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6eIpfYU9KE&t=2103s

 

That is the video that I learned from! She has given a lot of good advice I think. 

In any case, I won't be making that "first cut" as you mentioned for schools with a hard 3.0 cutoff, and if you have any other suggestions for how I can improve I would greatly appreciate it :)

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15 minutes ago, blee100 said:

From what i learned from the forum. Your personal statement truly matters. I think you need to discuss briefly your undergrad gpa. Like did a family member pass away or were you simply not mentally ready for the course load? Whatever it is was just make sure you bring it up and go into how this has allowed you to grow as a student.  All together i think your plan is great. Good luck with getting those hours!

Thank you! I will consider getting my personal statement read by more eyes and hopefully a PA. Time to find more PA's to shadow and to mentor me.

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  • Administrator

Once you put all your undergraduate work into one GPA "pile", then you can start to see what you need to do to bring it above the hard minimum cutoffs.  One of the things I've been known to highlight around here is that "HCE accumulates, but GPA averages"--that is, never work in getting HCE/PCE beyond the pace you can sustain and get a 4.0 (or close to it) in every class you take.  So, figure out how many credits of 4.0, break them down by term--e.g., six semester hours plus 40h/week PCE and still keep a 4.0--and you can start to see HOW LONG it will take to get your GPA up.  Then, start plotting the courses you can take  to fit in there.  Also, be mindful of prerequisites timing out, but the good news on that is that those should be easy A's, and actually directly help for PA school.

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2 minutes ago, rev ronin said:

Once you put all your undergraduate work into one GPA "pile", then you can start to see what you need to do to bring it above the hard minimum cutoffs.  One of the things I've been known to highlight around here is that "HCE accumulates, but GPA averages"--that is, never work in getting HCE/PCE beyond the pace you can sustain and get a 4.0 (or close to it) in every class you take.  So, figure out how many credits of 4.0, break them down by term--e.g., six semester hours plus 40h/week PCE and still keep a 4.0--and you can start to see HOW LONG it will take to get your GPA up.  Then, start plotting the courses you can take  to fit in there.  Also, be mindful of prerequisites timing out, but the good news on that is that those should be easy A's, and actually directly help for PA school.

Thank you so much for your help! I really appreciate it. I will definitely try and take these classes before I apply and while I work. Thank you for showing me how things are run around here! 

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