Dear Mentor:

My biology GPA is low; how do I become a doctor?

What should I do after my college graduation? I am a Biology major, with a 3.0 GPA [Grade Point Average] and I have already taken the MCAT [Medical College Admission Test]. I have been told that my GPA is low for medical schools. What else could I do to help me complete my goal of becoming a medical doctor?

Monumental Challenge, Washington ,DC, US

Dear Monumental Challenge:

You probably know better than most that getting admitted to medical schools in the US is fiercely competitive. A vast majority of the aspirants have their hopes and dreams dashed every year. In fact, extreme competition for education in medicine is not just a US phenomenon. Such is the case in all countries for a legitimate education in medicine. The only exception is the off-shore degree-mills, which grant you a degree that is not worth the piece of paper it is printed on. We would certainly advise you against it in the strongest possible terms.

How we wish we had a magic solution for you! We don't. You have rather limited choices for medical education. Your GPA is what it is. Pursuing an MS may help, but we are not quite sure. Grades in the MS program are inflated and schools recognize that. The primary reason for grade inflation in the MS is that only A and B grades are considered acceptable. Typically a cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required to graduate. A C grade in the MS is considered similar to a D grade in the undergraduate program.

You basically have two choices: Take the MCAT again and do extra-ordinarily well, or pursue an MS and hope that your GPA in the MS is 4.0. Anything short of either or both and you may have to get over the setback and look for opportunities elsewhere.

We are taking no pleasure in dealing with this difficult issue for you in this manner. But, we are being honest and realistic. There are times in life when we don't get when we want. Life is not about how you fell down; it is about how you got up. You night have to face the fact, despite your greatest reluctance, that you may not be able to pursue medical education. That is not the end of life; it is the first day of the rest of your life, as the saying goes. Be honest with yourself and be realistic, no matter how difficult.

What else you can do, besides pursuing medicine, depends on your ambitions, goals, and interests. One possibility to consider is a career in the medicine-related field of biology. Securing a well-paying job is a bit challenging with a BS in Biology or other fields of pure sciences. Your other alternative is to pursue the MS in Biology or in a related field. For this path, you may have to pursue a doctoral degree to a find a financially attractive job.

You are eligible to get an MBA; however, the competition for top-tier MBA programs is extremely fierce. It would be difficult to enter at least the top 30 MBA programs with your GPA. You would also have to do extra-ordinarily well on the GMAT (Graduate Management Aptitude Test). Top-tier business schools prefer candidates with 2 to 5 years of work experience, although this preference is not always explicitly stated.

You can also enter an MS in computer science, provided you have the knowledge of the fundamentals of computer science. If you do not have this knowledge, you can start taking courses to fulfill this requirement.

It is your decision. We outlined just some of your potential choices. You should use some objective criteria that address what it is you want to do as well as what it is you are qualified to do. Good luck!

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