Our admissions experts share their 7 failproof tips for how to get into medical school with a low GPA. Even if you’re applying to the easiest medical schools to get into, you still need to impress. We are here to guide you on how to do just that. 

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Article Contents
5 min read

Tip #1: Increase your GPA if you still have time. Tip #2: Maximize your MCAT score. Tip #3: Select schools carefully when applying. Tip #4: Make your applications stand out. Tip #5: Ace your CASPer test and interviews. Tip #6: Apply to post-baccs, DO schools, and Caribbean medical schools as a backup. Tip #7: If all fails, consider doing another undergraduate degree. FAQs

Tip #1: Increase your GPA if you still have time.

The best strategy to increase your GPA while you’re still in college is to follow your passion:

“The #1 piece of advice would be taking courses you genuinely enjoy… When you are doing something that you enjoy, you automatically end up going the extra mile, which shows in both the quality of your work as well as the results.” – Dr. Neel Mistry, MD

Major in a discipline you excel in. Take courses you actually like instead of doing what is traditionally considered the “premed path”. If you are a science major getting Bs, then maybe it’s not the right path for you. Play to your strengths. For example, getting As in humanities or social sciences courses is extremely hard if you aren’t a good writer. Consider these things as you choose your major.

Lastly, don’t rush to switch majors if you didn’t actually try that hard. Change your attitude and work harder.

Tip #2: Maximize your MCAT score.

Many medical schools in Canada and the US look at GPA and MCAT in tandem. So if you are trying to get into medical school with a low GPA, strive to get the highest MCAT score possible. Take a look at this chart that outlines medical school acceptance rates based on GPA and MCAT scores of applicants. And remember:

“MCAT and GPA are important as screening tools. They won’t be the end all for you to get in or be rejected from a school, but they are often that first look.” – Dr. Monica Taneja, MD, University of Maryland School of Medicine

While some students can study for the MCAT on their own and get a high score, do not be afraid to research MCAT prep courses and MCAT tutors who can maximize your chances of success. 

Tip #3: Select schools carefully when applying.

Using MSAR, research medical school GPA requirements for the schools you are interested in and apply to schools where you meet and exceed the requirements. Hot tip: aim to exceed the average accepted GPA of the latest cohort set in the previous year. Do not simply look at the minimum official requirement – it’s usually significantly lower than what schools actually expect.

If your GPA is so low that you do not qualify for any medical schools in the US or Canada, jump to tips #6 and #7.

Tip #4: Make your applications stand out.

Assess your applicant profile and find ways to make you medical school application stand out. Every student is unique, so what makes your journey to becoming a doctor memorable? Is it your non-traditional background? Is it the fact that you are an accomplished athlete? Is it your personal experiences such as immigration? Identify what makes you unique and find ways to tell a captivating story of your journey in your medical school personal statement, your work and activities sections, or your secondary essays.

Remember, GPA is only the beginning of your application review – it’s a screening tool. You can compensate a low GPA by using essays and other qualifying components of the application to impress the admissions committee.

Hot tip: Remember, they read thousands of essays every year, so make sure to do something that grabs their attention. Our admissions expert Dr. Jaime Cazes shares his experience being on the admissions board of his alma mater, the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine:

“It is very easy to make the “cookie cutter” personal statement. “Hello my name is Steven, and I am a 4th year…...” There are probably hundreds of letters that start like this. To a reviewer who is reading tens of these at a time it can become quite boring.” – Dr. Jaime Cazes, MD, the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine

Tip #5: Ace your CASPer test and interviews.

If you’re applying to medical schools that require CASPer or AAMC PREview, or some other situational judgement test (SJT), make sure to prepare. Do not believe the widely spread myth that all you need to score well is to “be yourself”. It’s simply not true. These tests are designed to test learned professional behaviors, not your “nature”.

Your CASPer score and other application materials will have a significant effect on whether you get invited to an interview. If you impress the admissions committee with the rest of your application, despite the low GPA, you will have a stellar chance to demonstrate why you belong in their school during the interview. So be sure to actually prepare for the interview. Find out what format they use (traditional? MMI? Panel?) and practice with relevant questions. Some medical school interview questions such as “tell me about yourself” or “why do you want to be a doctor?” can be used as MMI questions as well as traditional questions, so there is a lot of overlap there.

Hot tip: make sure to practice with realistic mock interviews. There is really no other way to get a feel of what your medical school interview will look like. Trust us!

Tip #6: Apply to post-baccs, DO schools, and Caribbean medical schools as a backup.

If you were rejected the fist time you applied or if you want to increase your GPA despite having graduated from college, take a gap year before medical school and enrol in a post-baccalaureate program for medical school. There are programs that specifically focus on increasing your GPA. If that’s your only goal, then special master’s programs should be avoided as they are more research focused and serve a slightly different purpose. Find a designated post-bacc that helps you improve your GPA.

Do not forget to check out DO schools’ GPA requirements. Osteopathic medical schools can be slightly less demanding when it comes to GPA than traditional allopathic schools, so you may have a higher chance of getting accepted there.

Another option to keep in mind is Caribbean medical schools. They typically have very low GPA and MCAT requirements, so students who have lower statistics have more chances of getting accepted there than in the US or Canada.

Keep in mind that if you attend one of these schools but plan to practice in the US or Canada, you will need to do some extra work while you’re a med student! For example, make sure to gain some clinical experience in the US or Canada and secure at least one residency recommendation letter from a US or Canadian referee. This will show residency directors that you took the necessary steps to prepare yourself for residency training on the mainland. 

Tip #7: If all fails, consider doing another undergraduate degree.

Ultimately, if your GPA is too low for MD, DO, Caribbean schools and even post-baccs, then you might want to re-enrol in a new undergrad program. This is a radical decision, and it will take you a lot longer to become a doctor, but this time you will know exactly what you will need to do to keep your GPA high. Plus, you will have more time to strengthen your application! Participate in strong extracurriculars, gain more quality clinical experiences, and take your time to prepare for the MCAT. This option can sometimes be a blessing in disguise! 


1. What is a low GPA for medical school?

Different medical schools have different GPA targets for applicants, but anything below 3.3 is usually considered low.

2. Can I apply to schools with GPA thresholds higher than my results?

Most schools weed out applicants with lower GPA and MCAT scores at the initial stages of the admissions process. You need to meet the minimum thresholds to be a competitive applicant.

3. Which medical schools should I apply to with my GPA?

Apply to medical schools where you meet the minimum GPA requirements. Check out the MSAR database to see how your GPA compares with the average entering GPA of the schools you’re interested in.

4. Will medical schools still accept me with a low GPA?

While your GPA is an important factor, it is not the only factor. To improve your application overall, you need to score well on the MCAT (if required by your school of choice), and make sure your application stands out.

5. How do I address a low GPA in applications/interviews?

It is important to assure the admissions committee or interviewer that you have learned from your experiences and have addressed the challenges of your low GPA. Emphasize how you have developed better habits, or how you committed yourself to self-improvement and solved the issues that were holding you back.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting 

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