Protect Your PreMed GPA!
Use your drop/add deadlines strategically!
Let’s talk strategy! You’re premed or pre-dental. Your GPA matters. And you have a hidden power that you can wield in times of need! If a course in your semester turns south on you unexpectedly, drop it! Drop it like a hot potato and save yourself and your GPA!
With all awesome powers come great responsibilities and know-how to use. So let’s hit the basics!
Empower Your Success!
You can’t use what you don’t know, so read your school’s handbook and understand the drop/add policy.
Mark your calendar with the last date to drop/add without receiving a W – and give yourself a 5 day advance warning as well. Understand that depending on your school’s policy, AMCAS may treat W’s as F’s. Otherwise known as ZEROES! And those will kill your GPA! Therefore, Withdrawals not done well – meaning before the last day to drop without a W – can be the death of your GPA. So don’t do that to yourself!
Make Informed Decisions!
Mark your calendar with your test, paper, and project schedule and check to ensure you will have taken some kind of performance assessment and received your grade back BEFORE the drop/add deadline. Assess your progress in the class – does your learning style match the teaching and testing style of your professor, and are you passing? Will you be able to earn a competitive grade?
If not, drop the class, and if necessary – to keep you full-time – add another class.
Assess what wasn’t working to determine how you can proceed successfully in the future:
- Take the class later with a different professor
- Improve your study skills and knowledge base to match the skill level necessary to take the class successfully
- Find a course more in line with your interests and aptitude
Own Your Education
Empowered, Proactive, Informed, Strategic, = Protected!
Okay, with that, now that we are here, how are you doing? How are your classes? How are you adjusting to the workload? How are your profs?
Have you been able to take an exam yet? Have you written a paper yet? Completed a project?
How have you done? If you didn’t get a 100%, do you know why, and do you know what you need to do to address the weakness or challenge you faced? You need to use these performance examinations to objectively review your progress thus far … AND use them to judge your professors.
You want to get 2 basic things out of this review and judgement.
One – let’s think of a single class at a time – how was your prof? Did s/he ask questions and/or test you on material that was taught and/or expected? Did s/he go beyond the material and surprise you? Did your prof come out of left field and shock the jelly beans out of you?
And as far as your performance (our second basic thing to review), did you study well? Enough? Do you need to improve your approach? Can you improve by the next exam? What has the test taught you about your study habits?
When to use the drop/add deadline strategically, IMHO, is when you’ve studied your brains into oblivion, know you can’t do any more or any better, and/or your prof is off his/her rocker by asking you unpredictable, unexpected, WTH-are-you-talking-about kinds of questions.
If you and the professor are not on the same page, and you feel that there is no hope of it happening … DROP the course. Find something else to ADD if you need to replace it to maintain your full-time status. But if you’ve gone to office hours, and you’ve given it your all, and you don’t see how in the world you’re ever going to understand this particular prof, then strategically re-plan your semester, find another professor, … do something.
This is your academic journey … make it work for you!!!
If you feel your prof was fair and asked good, but hard questions, and that you need to find better ways to study, consider going to your prof’s office hours and asking questions … lots of questions. They are amazing people … and guess what … they know what they are going to ask you. They can help you assess your understanding of the content to know where your comprehension weaknesses are. This is very helpful insight!!!
Also, consider a study buddy who wants to ace exams like you. Consider a tutor. Consider learning new study skills and techniques. Seek help from the TA. Go to recitation. If your school offers learning assistance centers, go! Get help!!!
In my years teaching, tutoring, mentoring, and coaching, one of the biggest problems I find my students have is that they don’t actually know how to tackle the material effectively. They study hard, but not effectively. Happily, study skills are easily learned and adopted, so if you are having troubles, don’t jeopardize your GPA, … just get awesome help! Learn better ways! Dig in and own your education!!!
Be empowered! Be proactive! Get informed! Be strategic! Protect yourself and your GPA, so you can make your dream of becoming a healthcare practitioner come true!!! Invest in you!!! You are worth it!!!
As ever and always, my best wishes to you for your success and happiness!
Mary Kate :0)