When you are on the pre-med track, the letters “GPA” are always in the back of your mind. Will yours be good enough to get you into medical school?

No question about it—as Linda Abraham (@Accepted), a leading med school admissions consultant, notes in 4 Ways to Get Accepted With a Low GPA—a good score inevitably plays an important role in med school admissions. But that’s not entirely because the GPA itself says something meaningful about you. Rather, it’s because the med school admissions process is so out of balance—too many qualified students seeking too few openings. Using the GPA as a cutoff is an easy way for the admissions committee to reduce its workload.

Abraham provides a set of helpful strategies for making sure that your GPA score does not define you in the eyes of admissions directors. According to Abraham, there are two essential strategies: showing that you have overcome whatever flaws led to the low GPA in the first place, while also providing positive reasons for a school to be excited about accepting you now.

Chris Cebula, director of admissions at Saba, echoes these sentiments. “The GPA is never the whole story. When we look at a student we dig deeper. Was it a poor performance early in your freshman year? What is your GPA since then? How have you done in your pre-med oriented courses? We are very selective—because we accept just 80-90 students per semester, we have to be. To find the students that will be successful we look less for a specific score and more for evidence that you have the discipline, the study skills and the commitment to learning that will get you to your residency.” For more about Saba’s admissions policies, go to https://www.saba.edu/admissions