This part of the medical school application can be time consuming since you will have to enter in the title, units, and grade as well as classification for every college level class you’ve ever taken. It’s easy to make mistakes here since there are so many to list. Besides entering in the basic information about each class, you’ll need to specify whether it is a BCPM or AO course. BCPM stands for Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Math while AO, means All Other. Medical schools calculate a cumulative, science and “all other” GPA that they use in review of your application.
What Not to Do:
1. Leave out courses that were taken for college credit during high school
Even if the class does not appear on your high school transcript, if you received college credit for a class you took in high school, list it in the coursework section of your medical school application. It can make your application look even better, if you got started on your Bachelor’s Degree before you even graduated from high school. Otherwise, it could look like you’re trying to hide something if you do not share all the information as accurately as possible. These things have a way of turning up.
2. Exclude courses taken abroad since they already appear on the official transcript
Even if you took classes at another school as part of an exchange program at your school, list the university where you took the class and received the course credit. Don’t take any shortcuts. If you do everything right the first time, there won’t be any issues.
3. Enter all coursework in at one time
If you try to complete this section in one sitting, it is easy to make silly mistakes. Have patience. Give yourself time to double check your work before adding new information. Plan to complete this section in multiple sessions.
4. Rely on memory
Using your own handwritten notes or an old unofficial copy of your transcripts can be dangerous. Order an official copy of your transcripts to make sure that you are up to date on the status of all of your coursework and grades. It’s better to correct mistakes or have grades updated before you mail out transcripts.
5. List classes as BCPM without careful consideration
If you’re not sure whether you should list a class as BCPM or not, read the course description. If you’re still confused, talk to an academic or premed advisor. If all else fails, you can always contact the AAMC.
6. Guesstimate the unit translation
Be precise. Follow instructions on how to convert your units to hours. Take your time to learn how to do it correctly. Ask for help if you have questions.
While this may not seem like an important part of the application, the cumulative and science GPA’s that are calculated using the information you share will play a major role in how the selection committee views your application. Make sure that all classes that should be considered BCPM are and that you double check dates and grades. I’ve gotten numerous phone calls over the years with students in a panic over what they accidentally entered. Take your time!
For more assistance, you are welcome to contact me or one of my colleagues at Accepted.
Alicia McNease Nimonkar is an Accepted advisor and editor specializing in healthcare admissions. Prior to joining Accepted, Alicia worked for five years as Student Advisor at UC Davis’ postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and related programs.