“How important are grades?”
There is a “holistic review” in medical school admissions, in which an applicant is considered not only based on academic performance but also experiences and attributes. Although it is true that there has been a recent effort to look at other components of the medical school application, the numbers matter.
Typically, grade point average (GPA) and score on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) get your application on the desk to even be considered, and then the other parts of your application become a focus. Therefore, look at your academic measures carefully, and then make realistic considerations for an action plan.
In order to be completely transparent, I have listed my statistics from my first and only medical school application cycle (2017-2018) below.
GRE: 150 Verbal, 156 Quantitative, 3.5 Writing
Undergraduate Institution: Pennsylvania State University
Undergraduate Cumulative GPA: 3.72
Undergraduate Science GPA: 3.59
Graduate Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Graduate GPA: 3.92
1st MCAT: 18 (15th percentile)
2nd MCAT: 509 (80th percentile)
Schools Applied To: 34
Interview Offers: 16
Interviews Accepted: 13
Acceptance Offers: 9
Matriculated: Rutgers New Jersey Medical School
While the numbers are a significant part of the application, do not let them deter you. It is important to look at the specific statistics for each medical school and make appropriate judgements based on that. Work on the other areas of your application in order to compensate and to show your resilience and dedication to medicine. It will happen!