This is a question I am frequently asked and the answer is not that simple. The main goal as an undergraduate is to earn the highest grade point average (GPA) possible while taking challenging courses – both overall GPA as well as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics (BCPM) GPA. Some undergraduate colleges have outstanding academic reputations, but earning a high GPA at them is very difficult. Other colleges, in contrast, may not have the greatest academic reputations, but it’s easy to earn a high GPA. The key is to attend an undergraduate college that has a solid academic reputation and where earning a high GPA won’t be impossible. I have worked with many applicants who have gone to undergraduate institutions ranked as outstanding by US News & World Report but had a tough time earning a strong GPA and therefore found it difficult, or impossible, to gain admission to medical school in the United States. Remember, many medical schools won’t even review your application if your GPA falls below a certain threshold so they will never know if the low GPA you earned was at one of the best undergraduate institutions in the country or not.
This blog entry is based on content from The MedEdits Guide to Medical School Admissions, a book that helps applicants prepare for the medical admissions process. If you want help preparing for medical school interviews or the 2014/2015 application season, contact MedEdits.
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