Are you a transfer student looking to get into medical or dental schools? All grades count!
I began my academic career at San Francisco State University as a transfer student from City College of San Francisco. At City, I struggled to find an academic path that was right for me. I was aimless and found myself wandering in and out of classes. Sometimes, not even bothering to drop them which in the end earned me a less than stellar G.P.A; Therefore, before submitting my application to S.F.S.U. I utilized something known as academic renewal. This process allows a student to remove any D’s or F’s from their academic transcript so your G.P.A. bumps up before applying to four-year universities.
When I started school at S.F.S.U. I had one goal in mind: To go dental school. However, I knew that my incoming G.P.A. of 2.77 would probably not get me there; Therefore, for the two and half years I spent as an undergrad I relentlessly worked to raise my G.P.A. to a cumulative of 3.11. Not great but not bad either. I hoped my academic rise over the past five semesters combined with my dental experience would be enough to get my application at least looked at.
I was mistaken. What I did not know going into the application process was that if you are one of those students like myself who carried out academic renewal, the cumulative G.P.A being reflected in your transcript will not be the same as the one calculated by medical or dental schools. They will be looking at every grade earned. All of them, even the ones you thought had been expunged. Hence, because many schools have a minimum G.P.A requirement, my application was not even reviewed by most of the programs I applied to.
So, what can you do if you find yourself in a similar situation? First, before any application steps are taken, speak candidly with an academic counselor about your entire academic history, that way they can provide advice tailored to your specific situation. Second, expand your horizons a bit, definitely look into doing scientific research. Pursuing a masters in science or engineering is a very viable options if your G.P.A is lower than a 3.0., and you still plan on applying to dental or medical schools.
However, if your G.P.A. is above a 3.0 but still not competitive enough, definitely look into post-baccalaureate programs. A one-year post-bac will help improve your academic record by retaking some prerequisites and upper-division science electives. This will raise your G.P.A and show prospective schools that you are ready for the workload ahead of you. Above all it is important to remember that you always have options, it all comes down to being informed.