5 ways to still be competitive with a low GPA

 5 ways to still be competitive with a low GPA

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Having a good GPA is an essential component to any good medical school application. But not everyone has a 3.8+ GPA, so what can you do when you have a low GPA? Should you just give up on getting into medical school?

The short answer is NO! Don’t give up hope yet on your dream to become a doctor! You can still get into medical school even with a low GPA! GPA is only one component of many that makes a strong application. There are still many other factors that go into whether you get into medical school. So still believe in yourself! You can do this! People get into medical school all the time with a low GPA.


So how can you still get into medical school with a bad GPA?


You are going to have to polish up other parts of your application to compensate for your GPA. Medical schools care about having a well rounded applicant that shows a strong interest in medicine. GPA is used as a gauge to see if you can handle the rigor of medical school. But GPA is not an indicator of much you care about helping other people or pursuing a career in medicine. Yes, GPA does matter. And you do want to always try to make good grades.But there are other things that medical schools look for in an applicant, so you have to use these to your advantage if your GPA is not high enough.

Another thing to note is that medical schools look at your GPA trend. That means if you started off getting bad grades, but Junior and Senior year you made all A+ then that actually looks good to most med schools.

If you are only a freshman or sophomore, and you have a low GPA then the best thing you can do is try to actually improve your GPA. Start getting those A’s now! Like I said earlier, if you show an upward trend in your grades then med schools like that. Check out my other articles on how to improve your grades! (Proven method to improve your grades!)

If you are not in a position to improve your GPA , then you will have to focus on improving other aspects of your application.


5 things you need to start focusing on if you have a low GPA:


1. Do a ton of volunteering


2. Get lots of experience in clinical settings


3. Do research


4. Get involved in clubs and obtain leadership positions


5. Do something particularly noteworthy



Do a ton of volunteering: Volunteering is huge to medical schools. Medical schools use volunteering as a way to see how much a premed wants to help out his community, something every doctor should have the desire to do. Volunteering is suppose to show your personal qualities that would make you a good physician. Also medical schools LOVE to ask about volunteer experience during interviews, so you want to be prepared when they do! So even if you have a bad GPA, if you have alot of volunteer experience you can make up for it. (Click here for our volunteer opportunities page)



Get lots of experience in clinical settings: This is important because med schools want to see that you know what its like to work in medicine. They want to make sure you are excited about medicine and will be comfortable having a job in it. Shadowing is the best way for you to find out if you really want to be a doctor. So if you can spend many hours shadowing different doctors, then med schools know that you won’t be scared by it. Many people go shadowing once, and then decide medicine isn’t the path for them. Thats the whole point of clinical experience, to let you know if this is something you want to do. So by having lots of experience in clinical settings, you show the medical colleges that you are serious about a career in medicine. And that is a definite plus for your application! Check out our article on how to find shadowing opportunities. And click here to learn about becoming a scribe.




Do research: Doing research is not something required by most medical schools but it is something which can enhance your application. Research is also a great way to get a recommendation letter. Research indicates a strong interest in science and a desire to understand, qualities which would benefit any doctor. Research is actually amazing in many other ways, so make sure to check out my other articles about that! Click here for our premed research opportunities page



Get involved in clubs and obtain leadership positions: Getting involved in clubs shows that you are involved in your school and make your school an even better place. This is something that medical schools value because they want their students to be involved with faculty and other students. This is something they are looking for in every premed applicant. Obtaining leadership positions in those clubs is even more valuable because this a great way to demonstrate to the medical school you are applying that you are a leader. Being a leader is absolutely essential to being a good doctor. As a doctor, other people rely on you constantly so you will need to be comfortable with the pressure of leading everyone. Check out this article for a great way to do that.



Doing something particularly noteworthy: Now this might sound obvious, but doing something noteworthy might actually have med schools taking special note of you! This is a great way to make yourself stand out from the other applicants (For more ways to make your application stand out, check out this free E-book (3 ways to make your med school application stand out) and grab the attention of the admissions team. Some examples of noteworthy things you can do are: Create a club at your school, publish in a science journal for your research, etc.



Remember, medical schools look at you as an applicant as a whole. Not just your GPA. They want to see a well-rounded applicant, and you can do just that if you focus on these aspects of your medical school application. Other people get in all the time without having a 4.0 GPA and you can too!

Tell us what you think by leaving a comment down below! And for more pre-med tips and advice, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebooktwitter, and pinterest!


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Good day pre-med students! I'm Wil, the founder of this website and part of the class of 2022 at the Medical College of Georgia. I remember the difficulty of getting into medical school and want to help as many pre-medical students as I can! Feel free to follow my Instagram and ask me questions! Instagram: @medstudentwil

One thought on “5 ways to still be competitive with a low GPA

  • Wil
    August 30, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Thanks for reading!
    Do you have any more tips to help out someone who has a low GPA? Let us know in the comments down below!

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