Successful Medical School Applicants Are Not Perfect
A common misconception among students who aspire to go to medical school is that successful medical school applicants have impeccable grades. Although there are certainly many medical students who had an illustrious undergraduate career, many more struggled with one or more classes. While they may not readily admit it, many medical students received a C or lower in at least one undergraduate class. Therefore, if you are having difficulty with an undergraduate course, do not give up hope of attending medical school. If you have a plan, you can mitigate the damage of a poor grade. This article will discuss tips successful medical school applicants have used to survive difficult undergraduate courses.
Identify Problems Early
Perhaps the best way to avoid academic problems is to identify potential issues before they become unmanageable. If you are vigilant, you should know by the first two assignments if a class is likely to be difficult for you. If you receive a low grade on the first assignment in a class, that you make you take notice. It is too soon to panic; however, you should take time to evaluate why you scored poorly so that you can correct it the next time. If after the second assignment, you still are performing below your expectations, it is time to do some serious re-evaluation. Make an appointment with your professor to see if they have any suggestions for improving your performance. In addition, you should consider seeking a tutor or joining a study group. In many cases, with a bit of additional help, you will find that you are able to overcome your initial deficiencies.
Evaluate Your Shortcomings
If you are not doing well in a class, it is important to determine why. You should objectively look at what is going wrong in the class. Is it because you do not understand the material? Do you lack time for adequate study? Perhaps you are focusing your study on the wrong material? Once you have identified the reason that you are not performing well, you will have a better chance of remedying it. Ignore the urge to blame yourself or feel discouraged. Remember, many successful medical school applicants have difficulty with one or more courses. Medical schools will not reject you because of your performance in a single course. However, if you do have an unsuccessful course on your record, it is very important that you have planned and executed a corrective strategy. The vast majority of medical schools will forgive a poor grade if an applicant shows that they have corrected the errors that lead to their academic difficulties.
In some cases, it may be a wise decision to withdraw from a class rather than receive a failing grade. If you have determined that your problems with a course are unlikely to be remedied with additional study and tutoring, withdrawing may be a prudent idea. Before considering withdrawal, you should ensure that you are able to do so without the class appearing as an incomplete on your transcript. If withdrawing from a course will result in an incomplete, it may be a better idea to tough out the semester and retake the class again in the future.
Retake the Class
Ultimately, successful medical school applicants who experience academic difficulties show that they are able to recover from their missteps. In nearly every case, this means retaking a course that you did not perform well in. However, it is extremely important that you earn a strong grade the second time around. Therefore, it is vital to understand what went wrong when you initially took the course. In addition, you should try to schedule your retake class during a relatively easy semester. You do not want other difficult classes to distract you. In some cases, it may be possible to take your class during the summer semester at a less demanding institution and have the credits transferred to you regular school.
A single academic transgression should not end your dreams of attending medical school. Many successful medical school applicants have less than perfect undergraduate grades. The entire application is taken into consideration when medical schools decide on whether or not to admit an applicant. Therefore, if you are concerned about your grades, you should compensate in other areas of your application. Doctors are humans too- it is expected that future doctors may make errors. The important thing is how you manage and correct these errors.
An excellent way to strengthen your application is with a strong personal statement.