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How to Get Into Medical School With a Low GPA

September 12, 2022
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What is Considered a Low GPA for Medical School?How to Get Into Med School With a Low GPAMedical Schools That Accept Low GPAFAQs: How to Get Into Medical School With a Low GPA

”Akhil

Reviewed by:

Akhil Katakam

Third-Year Medical Student, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Reviewed: 5/13/22

If you have a lower GPA but still have dreams of getting into med school, don’t fret! This article will cover some tips on how to get into medical school with a low GPA.

With college already being some of the more hectic periods of a student’s life, some who have hopes of pursuing higher education such as law or medicine may find themselves with a bit more on their plate that makes attaining a great GPA a bit more challenging. 

If you’re an aspiring med school student with a lower GPA than you had originally aimed for, you might begin to feel a bit of stress when it comes to meeting medical school admissions requirements. Luckily, there are many other aspects of your application that come into play when it comes to getting admitted into your medical school of choice.

This article will cover how you can get into medical school with a low GPA–from what counts as a low GPA for med school, tips on how to get into medical school with a low GPA, to medical schools that accept low GPAs. We will also be answering some frequently asked questions surrounding the topic, with the goal of helping you get into medical school with a low GPA.

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What is Considered a Low GPA for Medical School?

To get to the bottom of what a low GPA for med school is, we must first look at what makes a good med school GPA. According to US News, aspiring med school students should aim for a 3.5 GPA or higher to be considered for the top medical schools in the country. 

While you don’t have to have a perfect GPA to get into med school, striving for a competitive score is always in your best interest. With this said, a low med school GPA is considered anything below a 3.5.

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How to Get Into Med School With a Low GPA

While having a competitive GPA is a great way to boost your application, it’s important to consider that your college GPA is not the only thing that determines whether you’re a good fit for medical school. In this section, we’ll break down different aspects of your application that you should be focusing on if you find that your GPA is beyond saving. 

Extracurricular Activities 

If your GPA is on the lower end, it could be a good idea to capitalize on your extracurriculars on your med school application. While your extracurricular activities can be anything from sports, arts clubs, or volunteering, there are some activities that look especially appealing to med schools. 

Some examples of extracurriculars that can boost your application include volunteering, clinical experience, research, teaching, and community service. Having some hobbies that you genuinely enjoy can also show the admissions team that you’re a well-rounded individual, which is ultimately what medical schools are looking for.  

Personal Statement

Another aspect that you can focus on is your personal statement. During the application process, you’ll be asked to submit a personal statement, which will give you the opportunity to tell your story. This is your chance to talk about why you think you’d make an excellent candidate for medical school. 

Writing a stellar personal statement can heavily weigh on the strength of your application, so make sure you take your time and really think about how you want to approach this part of your application. 

Your MCAT Score

Getting an exceptional MCAT score is arguably one of the best ways you can balance out a low GPA. Since the MCAT is designed to test your probability for success during your time at med school, it can be what makes or breaks the success of your application. 

If your GPA is on the lower end, you’ll want to aim for an MCAT score on the higher range. While you don’t necessarily have to aim for a perfect MCAT score, aiming for a score that falls into the 99th percentile of test-takers might just exponentially increase your chances of getting into medical school with a low GPA.

Letters of Recommendation 

In addition to all the essential aspects of your med school application, it is absolutely crucial that you’re able to get strong letters of recommendation. Remember to carefully choose who you ask when it comes to these letters, and ensure that they know you well enough to speak on your potential, dedication, and capability to excel in med school. 

Secondary Application

Once you’ve nailed the aspects of your primary application, you’ll then receive secondary applications directly from your schools of choice. These applications differ from school to school, so make sure you pay keen attention to detail during this process. 

While it might seem like a lot of work, tailoring your responses to each school is essential, as sending generic responses often weaken your overall application. So, make sure to take your time to sincerely talk about your experience and why you would make a great medical school candidate.

Getting into medical school is a challenging feat. Ultimately, elevating all other aspects of your application can make your application highly impactful to admissions officers–despite having a below-average GPA. If you don’t succeed straight out of college, you can also consider taking time off to pursue a postgraduate degree or gaining work experience before re-applying. 

Applying to med school as an older student can give you a larger breadth of experience and the maturity to tackle medical school. Taking some time off to reflect can also make you a more competitive candidate.

Medical Schools That Accept Low GPA

Regardless of what medical school you apply to, you’ll find that admissions will be competitive across the board–though there are some schools that are a bit easier to get into. Based on acceptance rate and average GPA. Below is a list of some of the easiest medical schools to get into.

Medical school acceptance rates and average GPAs
Source: UAMS, Sanford School of Medicine, University of Nevada, East Carolina University, Mercer University, Augusta University, University of Mississippi, University of North Dakota

While some of the GPA averages for these medical schools are on the higher end, their acceptance rates are less competitive than most schools. Applying to one of the schools on the list might give you a better shot at getting into medical school with a low GPA.

FAQs: How to Get Into Medical School With a Low GPA

Now that we’ve covered everything you need to know about applying for medical school with a low GPA, take a look at these FAQs to help free your mind of any other burning questions you may have. 

1. Can I Get Into Medical School With a 2.3 GPA?

While it will be challenging to get into med school with a 2.3 GPA, it’s not impossible. You’ll likely have to work overtime perfecting the other aspects of your application and exceed the MCAT score expectations of your school of choice. 

Another way you can get into medical school with a 2.3 GPA is by taking a break and gaining work experience in fields related to medicine or taking on a post-graduate program before applying.

2. Can You Become a Doctor With a Low GPA?

You can absolutely achieve your dreams of being a doctor with a low GPA. It may take more time to achieve if you don’t get into med school right out of college. 

3. Can You Get Into Medical School With Less Than a 3.0 GPA?

Yes, you can get into medical school with less than a 3.0 college GPA. Just make sure you do well on your MCAT and provide a stellar application. 

4 Is a 3.5 GPA Too Low for Medical School?

Though a 3.5 GPA is not particularly competitive for medical school, you still have a chance at getting into a good medical school given that you pay keen attention to the rest of your med school application.

Final Thoughts

While getting admitted into medical school with a low GPA can be more challenging, there are many things you can do to increase your chances of getting into a decent medical school. You can also choose to take a break and gain work experience, and apply to med school as an older student.

While the chances of getting into a top medical school right after college might be slim, whatever medical college you choose will surely equip you for a bright career in medicine.

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