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Second Undergrad Degree and Med School


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A friend of mine currently in her fourth year wants to go into med school but her science and overall GPA's are both less than 3.0. This is because she lacked motivation to do well and didn't really know the path she wants to take. She definitely has the potential to do much better. She also has absolutely no medical-related EC's because she never thought about going into medicine until recently.


If an applicant has two bachelor's degrees, some Canadian med schools like Queens only count GPA of second degree in evaluating the applicant, even though records for both the first and the second degree may be presented. So my friend is thinking of taking another 3-4 years to complete a second bachelor's degree probably in bio or biochem, earn a competitive GPA and EC's and then apply to such med schools. By the time she finishes her second degree and applies to med school, she'll be 26~28 years old.


Please don't tell me she should do a post-bac. It would make a little difference because her first degree's undergrad GPA is very low.


I'm interested in successful stories of ones who managed to enter med school with a bad first degree record and bad EC's but a stellar second degree GPA and good EC's.



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I am aware of some members in this forum that have been successful after completing (or doing 2-3 years) of 2nd undergrad. But again a stellar GPA alone doesn't guarantee an interview let alone admission. I am in the same boat as your friend but it is important to have back up plans and utilize the second undergrad if need be.


ps: Thanks for the reply to my post-earlier. I am still hoping other members put in some feedback.


Peace :cool:

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I'm interested in successful stories of ones who managed to enter med school with a bad first degree record and bad EC's but a stellar second degree GPA and good EC's.


I'm not in med school yet, but I do have three interviews this year. My overall GPA is less than 3.0 - and that's counting two years at 3.78.


To put it bluntly, I did horribly at university when I was 17-20 years old. I didn't put in any effort, and skipped numerous classes and even exams. I left university to do the paramedic program at college. I have been working full time as a paramedic for 9 years, the last 2 years as a supervisor.


I went back to university, first part time (because the university would only allow me to return part time until I earned my way off probation) and then full time. Since being back at university, I earned a 3.78 average. I took 3.0 courses and then 7.0 courses during 2002-03 and 2003-04, in order to apply to med school. During this time, I was still working full time, as well as completing my advanced care paramedic certification.


I finally had the marks to apply; however, after writing the MCAT three times and getting marks in the mid-high 20s (high enough for some schools, but not for the schools where they only look at your best/most recent 2 years), I stopped pursuing medical school.


About a year ago, my manager convinced me to give med school another try. I decided that without a stronger MCAT (at least 30), there was no point in doing anything else. Thus, I studied for and wrote the MCAT last May (love the CBT rather than the 8.5 hr exam!) and got a 32R. I still remember how I felt when I opened up that screen to see my mark. I actually re-checked an hour later to be sure that I had seen my mark correctly. After all, a 32R plus my two strong years meant that med school might be a possibility after all - something I don't think I thought would ever happen.


After carefully researching the requirements of each of the schools, as well as how each school calculated their GPA, I decided to apply to Queen's, Western and Dalhousie. I went back to university this year as a post-degree student in order to have another year of full time studies above 3.7. Both Queen's and Dalhousie counted my year of 3.0 courses as full time; however, Western required another year.


My first invite was from Dal. I was shocked! I'm still in a bit of disbelief that I could actually get an invite to a med school for September. After flying through high school in 3.5 years (at a time where it took most people 5 years) getting high marks, and then sinking to horrible marks in university, I thought my chances were over. Thus, I pursued a job that I do enjoy, and have advanced in this job. I am starting to believe, though, that my ultimate dream may come true after all!


As far as ECs - obviously working as a paramedic/supervisor is one big one. As well, I do volunteer work helping to coordinate disaster exercises for one of the colleges plus teach there part time. I have been involved in the Youth Science Foundation Canada for 13 years, at various levels of the organization. I currently sit on the Board. There are other miscellaneous activities I'm involved in, but those are the main ones.


I believe that there is always hope for someone who is determined to get into med school. Certain doors will be closed due to an initial poor start to university, so it may be more difficult to get in. However, it isn't impossible.


Best wishes!


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My buddy was in computer engineering at uwaterloo for 3.5(!!!) years. He realized that comp eng wasn't for him and decided to pursue medicine. He dropped out of comp eng and started a whole new undergrad in science. His comp eng GPA was around 75% (good for eng but not good enough for med) but he is now in his 2nd year in science with a 3.90+ GPA. The thing to take note is that he's one of the smartest people I know. He's going to write the mcat this summer and will surely rape.


I myself started a new undergrad program in science after 1.5 years in bioinformatics. I completed undergrad this past winter and I have 3 interviews thanks to my grades in science.


edit: kudos to your friend for biting the bullet and deciding to do what it takes to get into medicine. I've read posts from a lot of people who won't do another undergrad because it's somehow "backwards" and feel somewhat ashamed to do so. In my mind, doing what is necessary to get into medicine is never backwards.

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