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Where should I go from here?


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I'm currently PrePA and my science/prereq gpa is around 2.661 if I've calculated it correctly. Right now I am finishing up Orgo 2, Anatomy and Physiology 2, and plan on taking biochemistry and possibly genetics next year. I've already taken Bio 1 and 2 with labs, Gen chem 1 and 2 with labs, Microbiology, Anatomy &Phys 1, Psych, Soc, and Orgo 1 with lab. I thought about retaking the 2 classes I got C-s in but I've also been thinking about just pushing forward and trying to do better in upper level classes. But at this point I'm not sure if it will be possible to raise my science gpa up to a 3.0 by retaking or just pushing through. What do you think? I'm also graduating next year if that makes a difference. Also, if you know of any PA programs that look for upward trends let me know!

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No one can speak in certainty, but I don't think you will have much of a chance with a science GPA that low. I can't tell how far along in school you are, but it looks like you must be quite far along. It gets tough to increase your GPA the more classes you have in the rear-view mirror and CASPA will average your grades so, at best, your Cs would become Bs.

If you have a 2.66, you probably have more than 2 Cs pulling your average down or very few As. Some schools look at trends, but not all and you need to establish a trend of getting As in science courses to prove you can go through the gauntlet of PA school. 

Nothing wrong with taking upper division courses to prove you can be successful (successful = A), but if you've stumbled on some lower level courses, you may not have the background to do this.

I'd whip out an Excel spreadsheet to calculate grades and play around. Is there a path that would get you to 3.25 or above?

 

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Thanks for your response! As far as grades I actually got:
B in anatomy 1
A- in microbiology
A in Psychology
A in Sociology
C in Bio 1
B in Bio 2
My weak area happens to be chemistry. I got a very low grade in gen chem 1, retook it and got a B. A C- in gen chem 2 and a c- in orgo 1. I'm still working on finishing anatomy and physiology 2 and orgo 2. As far as a 3.25 I'm honestly not sure. With so many classes already done and no grade replacement in caspa, I'm not sure which path would be better. I know there are schools that do their own gpa calculations but it's hard to find out which ones have this policy.
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I graduated with a 2.5 sGPA so it certainly is possible to get in if you are motivated to put in the work! :) I had a few C's, lots of B's (+ and -), and NO A's in my undergrad science courses. I combated this by taking 8 science courses in my post-bacc year at a CC, while gaining PCE. I managed to get 7 A's and 1 B, which brought my sGPA up to a 3.1.

 

Assuming you're not obtaining a science-heavy degree, you could have an easier time digging yourself out of this hole. What I did was take essentially EVERY science pre-req offered by my CC. But before doing even that, I calculated what my GPA would rise to if I got an A in every single science class I'd take. If you do this and your calculations reach a 3.0, that should be all the motivation you need to ace all your classes. :)

So yes, retake your C's for that extra bump and take a couple more classes. If you can save money by doing it at a CC, do that. And, another important note, since this is your app's weakness, BUILD UP AND STRENGTHEN the rest of your app so that it's your only weakness. Have a strong personal statement, PCE, volunteer track record, GRE score, leadership experiences, and LORs. And apply early!

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I am going to echo LadyNichiavelli here.  

I would go to CASPA and look up what is a science course or not and then calculate from there using one of these online GPA calculators.  I did this and my sGPA was 2.91 around May-July 2016.  Calculated what I needed to get at least a 3.0 and that was 8 credits of As.  Took two courses in a months time, got the credit hours and started a new job because I only had scribe HCE, but was rejected from the 3-4 schools I applied to.

I went back to the GPA calculator, I needed more to pull sGPA up to the 3.2 area, at least 15 classes.  So, I retook General Chemistry I and Organic Chemistry I and II and got As.  I also took 5 other science courses and a medical terminology course, got As.  I wanted to take more but I missed class sign up window for some classes.

Applied with sGPA at a 3.15 with 3 outstanding courses (but not required), Organic Chemistry I and II and Lifespan Psychology.  So sGPA likely a little higher now.  I think the picture is painted here though.

I know it is easier said than done, but try to get only As from here on out.  I thought of A's as a way to "cancel out" a C to make a B.  In the end you want more As than the Cs that were canceled out to also pull up grades in the B- and B range.  

There are classes that are easy As; Lifespan Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Nutrition and Pathology.  These are considered science courses, I think CASPA lumps the Health related courses into the science GPA and those are easy As and can help you fill out classes for a potential associates (have to look this up at the CC level).  These can be taken to get the sGPA up without causing too much stress while working full-time.

3 hours ago, LadyNichiavelli said:

BUILD UP AND STRENGTHEN the rest of your app so that it's your only weakness.

Key point made here.  My work experience was what set me apart I thought and with neat experiences comes stories and those make good conversation at interviews.  Also they make good personal statements and secondary application essays.  Work hard and people may offer to write you LOR, I had most of the LOR I used offered to me with about 3 others that were offered that I did not utilize in preparation for a possible 3rd cycle.  

Also, even after you apply and are "waiting around" or even have interviews, keep doing classes and keep working.  I am always surprised on how people will only do additional work until after they are rejected or waitlisted.  Mistake, because then it is too late to make any real changes.   

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1 hour ago, BlackCatWhiteCat said:

Thanks guys! I'll look into a few science classes offered by my school and the closest colleges to home. I have around 150 hours of hce right now and plan to get more this summer. Also, what are you opinions on postbac programs?

I personally think that they're a waste of money for PA school purposes. Just take individual CC courses. :)

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  • 1 month later...

Alright I have an update!

orgo 2

anatomy & physiology

I used a calculator on gpacalculator.net and to raise my science gpa up to a 3.0 I would need XX credits of As. I graduate this upcoming year and am currently debating on whether or not I should even take biochemistry or genetics (these classes are known to be EXTREMELY difficult at my school and I don’t know if I should risk it). I’m kind of lost on what I should do again. I’m also confused about how some of the “Other Science” courses should be entered into Caspa.  For example, I have my CPR certification from Red Cross  but how would that be entered? I don’t plan on applying until next year (hopefully) but I figured I would ask sooner rather than later.

Edited by BlackCatWhiteCat
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12 hours ago, BlackCatWhiteCat said:

I have my CPR certification from Red Cross

I think classes like CPR training if done at a CC where there is a grade scale can be entered into CASPA.  I don't know about how the Red Cross does that as far as grade scaling or how that can be entered without a transcript.  

12 hours ago, BlackCatWhiteCat said:

I graduate this upcoming year and am currently debating on whether or not I should even take biochemistry or genetics (these classes are known to be EXTREMELY difficult at my school and I don’t know if I should risk it).

Those classes are usually difficult at every school where they are taught at the science major level.  If you feel that they are not then you can take at a CC and test the waters, you can save some money I guess.  Will say that I was always surprised at all the university students taking Organic Chemistry 1 and 2 at my CC but got creamed by the exams thinking they were going to be a breeze.  

12 hours ago, BlackCatWhiteCat said:

I used a calculator on gpacalculator.net and to raise my science gpa up to a 3.05 I would need 25 credits of As.

CASPA shows all of the classes they consider science classes, take a look at that list and find classes that match.  For example.  higher level health courses are considered science courses and are pretty easy.  You are going to have to show these admissions people you can handle harder course work, like was mentioned above.

Don't forget other aspects of your application during process of improving your academic side.

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