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Postbac or not, plz reply.

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by SyrianHero, 04.29.12.

  1. SyrianHero

    SyrianHero

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    Here's the deal:

    I'm 21 years old and I'm graduating in Spring of 2013 with a degree in Computer Science and Engineering. I have recently decided to pursue medicine after I finish my degree. I don't have most of my premed classes done so I was thinking of doing a postbac after graduation, but I'm not sure if I'd be accepted into any :confused:

    Here are my stats:

    cGPA 3.04,sGPA (prob a little lower)
    volunteered at the hospital and in a homeless shelter
    Had a couple of internships in the Engineering field.

    What do you think I should do? I am 100% determined to become a doctor but since I have a horrible gpa (I wasn't passionate about Engineering) and I have taken 200 credits, I don't know where to go from here. Any advise would be much appreciated! (If you think I can get into a postbac, please list which ones) :D
  2. notbobtrustme

    notbobtrustme Crux Terminatus

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    oof, 200 credits? That basically kills any chance of post-bac rehab IMO. You simply won't be able to make a sizable dent in your GPA, even with straight As. If an adcom does see your application, then you have a good chance to make an impression with a post-bac, but the problem is that you have a long history of mediocre grades in comp science. You could look into an SMP, which can almost override your undergraduate GPA. You can also explore DO retakes, which lets you retake classes you did poorly in and replace those grades with higher ones. It's not unheard of going from a 3.0 to a 3.6+ with this strategy, but it does mean you'll have to retake those classes you weren't interested in in the first place.

    Also, I would absolutely try to kill the MCAT, shoot for a 34+, so that adcoms can lay human eyes on your application.
  3. SyrianHero

    SyrianHero

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    interesting, but I want to add that I'm at Ohio State and we are making the switch into the Semester system so they're going to multiply the amount of credits I have by 2/3 so my credits will be 133 semester credits instead of 200 quarter credits. Also, since I haven't taken most of my premed classes, I would like to get into a postbac for career changers, rather than the enhancers. Also, I'm interested in being an MD, not a DO. I know I'm in a bad spot, but I would appreciate honest advise.
  4. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion Gold Donor

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    First, get straight A's this spring term. By which I mean: get straight A's. Also: get straight A's. Every grade you get, from now on, that isn't an A, is a step away from med school.

    Second, stop thinking of a postbac as a fix for your situation. If you get into med school, you will do so on a GPA comeback, where you do multiple extra years of undergrad, including the prereqs, getting mostly A's, in the hardest classes you've ever taken. A "postbac" is jumping the gun, because you don't have the "bac" part yet.

    You don't have the options that the liberal arts 4.0s have (structured premed programs with med school linkages). You aren't a career changer because you've had no career. You are 3-4 years into undergrad and you haven't shown the academic prowess that you have to show to get into med school. Getting the prereqs done is a subset of what you have to do now.

    My recommendation is to change your major and/or transfer schools now. Continuing to take CS/E classes does nothing to help your situation. The degree you are granted or the major you study isn't the point here: the point is to figure out how to get your hands on multiple additional years of undergrad, including the prereqs, at the lowest cost, with the most A's. You can start those multiple years next fall, or you can start those multiple years after you finish your current program. Look into moving to a school where you're more likely to get A's (Do you need smaller class sizes? Do you need to be closer to or farther from your parents? Do you need access to part time jobs? Whatever it is, figure it out.) Look into changing your major to biochem or microbiology or anything that will require you to spend an extra year before you graduate.

    If you're able to figure out how to get mostly A's (hint: it doesn't come for the asking), and if you're able to spend another 2 years in undergrad before you graduate, and if you sufficiently master the content in the prereqs and dedicate yourself to months of rigorous test prep such that you get an above average MCAT score (31+), then you are doing a GPA comeback correctly and you have reason to believe you can get into a US MD school, despite the cuGPA of 3.3 or 3.4 that you will have. After all that, you might still need to do an SMP to get into a US MD school, particularly if you're in California.

    On the other hand, if you decide to complete your CS/E degree and then move onto a postbac (plenty of programs will take your money), you'll arrive in limboland, where you have maximized your undergrad debt but you don't have the academic goods to get into med school. Six months before student loan payments are due, enjoy!

    Best of luck to you.
  5. ShoTyme

    ShoTyme We're going STREAKING!!!

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    This needs to be saved and copied and pasted multiple times... Or stickied. Very solid advice. :thumbup:
  6. SyrianHero

    SyrianHero

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    So a structured postbac is not a good option for me?
  7. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion Gold Donor

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    Your unstated premise is that you would graduate with your CS/E degree and then go on to a structured postbac. What is it you need a CS/E degree for, if you have decided you're going to med school? What is it that you mean by "structured postbac", exactly?

    If you want to visit the low GPA thread in the postbac forum, you can review the other ~12,947 times my colleagues and I have had this discussion with people in exactly your situation. 435,000 views and counting.

    Best of luck to you.
  8. SyrianHero

    SyrianHero

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    I want to finish my degree in CSE cuz I'm close to finishing it and it would be nice to have an Engineering degree. Then I want to get in a postbac to take premed classes, isn't thAt a good idea? If so, what good programs would accept me with my GPA? I just want a path to be an MD. Advise is appreciated
  9. Rexasaurus83

    Rexasaurus83

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    Dr. Midlife gave you the best advice to get to where you want to go. There really isn't anything to add to what she said. If you want to be on the path become a physician, then follow that plan.

    It sounds like you're in a rush to get this going. I can tell you from my own experience that you cannot do this quickly. You are realistically going to need to put in a few years of a lot of effort before you will be ready to put in your applications. An engineering degree isn't going to help you get into med school. Your primary concern needs to be improving your GPA and I think changing your major to get some more time to get straight As (as Dr. Midlife suggested) is a great way to start. Good luck.
  10. ShoTyme

    ShoTyme We're going STREAKING!!!

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    It seems like you are looking to agree that the plan you already have set in your mind is a good one. Truth is, it may work. But chances are doing it your way, you will accrue a massive amount of debt above any you have already incurred and still not get in. A better way to go is the path laid out by Dr. Midlife. But to each their own. It seems you are pretty dead set on your path so good luck.
  11. FutureSunnyDoc

    FutureSunnyDoc like a room without a roof Bronze Donor

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    :thumbup: Great reminder. Considering taping this to my mirror.
  12. SyrianHero

    SyrianHero

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    I'm not dead set on anything, but from reading different forms in sdn, the consensus seems to be that if you can get into a good postbac after graduation then do it. That's y I'm a bit confused why u guys think it's not the best idea. Thanks for all your advise and please keep them coming!
  13. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion Gold Donor

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    In all seriousness, a good way to get oriented, fairly quickly, to what you need to do to prepare to apply to med school is to spend some time in the reapplicants forum. That's where med school application myths go when they die.

    In general, with a 3.0-ish GPA, you can't follow mainstream advice. It simply doesn't apply.

    Best of luck to you.
  14. Equestrian

    Equestrian

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    Even though all of the advice you need has already been given, I'm going to go ahead and post here because I think you're missing something key: there are two categories of postbac programs, and you do not fit either one.

    For career-changers:
    If you had already finished your degree in Computer Science and Engineering and spent a couple of years working in that field, then a career-changer postbac would be a good option for you. These are generally designed for people who had strong grades in UG, but didn't take any (or only a few) of the prereqs. These programs do not address GPA repair. Admission is very competitive, and typically requires a minimum GPA above 3.3

    For pre-meds needing to strengthen their applications:
    If you had already finished UG with a science major, but with non-competitive BCPM grades and cGPA, then a grade repair postbac would be for you. My understanding is that these programs are typically designed for those who were pre-med during UG, but didn't quite make the cut for med school. These programs assume you have already taken all of the pre-reqs and require MCAT scores for admission.

    You do not fit into either of these categories! You are looking to both boost your GPA AND take all of the prereqs. There aren't really any postbac programs designed for doing BOTH. This is something you have to customize for your situation, and Dr. Midlife has given you the advice to do so! But as ShoTyme observed, it doesn't seem to be what you want to hear... Why are you trying to make this even more complicated than it already is?

    In fact, you are very lucky! You have not yet finished your degree - you are coming to this realization while you are still in UG! You still have another year of UG, so you have the advantage of being able to address these issues now - before finishing your degree. As noted above, planning to do a postbac would only lengthen the process and make it more expensive. You have the luxury of not needing to plan on a postbac!

    If you switch majors now, you can continue to take classes at your current UG institution. This gives you the opportunity to take the prereqs, show an upward trend with your grades, and improve your cumulative GPA all at the same time!

    You could probably still complete the requirements for your computer science and engineering majors as well as adding on a more pre-med friendly major (you'll have to check with your academic adviser)...

    But, the point of switching majors is to buy you enough time in UG to repair your GPA and take all of the prereqs. Also, doing so will show adcoms that you are serious about a career in medicine. If you do all of that and you still aren't competitive for an MD acceptance - THEN you apply to a GPA repair postbac. I hope this is helpful!
    Last edited: 04.30.12
  15. NuttyEngDude

    NuttyEngDude Red-Flagville Gold Donor

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    something that may not have been said or stated. 200 hours to me sounds like it's a quarter system, not a semester system, so it isnt as dire as it sounds. but... 200 quarter hours rougly equals 120 semester hours, so take that into account. why? because 200 semester hours is EXTREMELY difficult to move, GPA wise. if i were in your shoes, i'd just switch w/o graduating, and start getting the grades (smaller courseload maybe?), i know it's easier said than done, but it must be done, no getting around it.
  16. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion Gold Donor

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    This post is not aimed at the OP. It's to correct some common misperceptions about postbacs. Nobody is recommending the OP should think about postbacs.
    Lots more than two, actually. Any additional undergrad (or, arguably, grad) after receiving a degree fits the definition.
    Two things:
    1. there's no such thing as grade repair for MD schools, except in Texas academic fresh start.
    2. the programs you're referring to are more commonly called SMPs (special masters programs) where you do most of the first year of med school as an audition for med school.
    Yes there are. Berkeley Extension, Harvard Extension, Penn Special Sciences, UT Dallas, etc.

    See the postbac forum for more info.
  17. SyrianHero

    SyrianHero

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    Thank you guys so much for all your responses. I was getting convinced with not doing a postbac after finishing my degree until I saw the last post lol now I'm curious again about the programs that he mentioned
  18. Equestrian

    Equestrian

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    Thanks for the clarifications; I know that my post was not all-encompassing - it was not aimed at anyone who has already completed UG... I was just trying to help OP see why staying at Ohio State and changing majors is a better option for him/her at this point than planning to continue with current major (presumably not taking any of the prereqs for med school) and then planning to do a postbac after graduating next year.
    Last edited: 05.01.12
  19. theseeker4

    theseeker4 MS 3

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    You are missing a very important point about postbacs, that being, there is VERY limited loan money available compared to degree-seeking programs. THAT is why you want to transfer and change majors, so you have another couple years of courses to fulfill your degree requirements before your funding is cut off. Going to a post-bac will drop the money you will be eligible to receive by a lot, and you will run out of money before you get your GPA up to a level that will keep your app out of the circular file.
  20. abumblingbee

    abumblingbee bumbling along

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    Dr. Midlife gave some really great advice, but let me offer a dissenting opinion. Quick disclaimer: My advice will be biased because it will be based on the decisions I made when I was in your situation and how those worked out for me.

    In senior year of UG in mech. eng. I decided I wanted to be a doctor and asked myself the same questions you did. I nearly switched majors, which would have taken an extra 3-4 semesters for me to graduate (and I don't know about your school, but financial aid drops precipitously at mine after your 9th semester -- so that would have been a bad idea). Fall semester senior year I took 2 pre-reqs and did relatively poorly, so I took a step back.

    I decided to graduate with my original degree, and finished with around a 2.8 GPA (I went to a tough school, so it's not a total wash). I then went to work in industry, which I did for 2.5 yrs while researching post-bac programs and preparing my apps (and paying down student loans, saving for tuition & gaining great work experience). I applied to 3 post bac programs with good reputations and was accepted to 2.

    My last post-bac semester is now winding down, and I just got my MCAT results last week (rocked it!). I've already interviewed at the med school I applied to through my program's linkage agreement, and if all goes well (*fingers crossed*) will be starting this fall!

    Here's what I think in retrospect:

    1. I am SOOO glad I finished my original college degree. That is an accomplishment that can never be taken away from me, and I will always have it to fall back on should the worst happen. An engineering degree is nothing to sneeze at, and also helps to distinguish you from the hoardes of Bio and Chem majors.

    2. Working for a couple years was probably my best decision. I took the first job offer I got after graduation, but ended up with more responsibility than I ever anticipated. Those experiences really strengthened my application because I was challenged in ways that no undergrad ever is. I'm not saying it's the best call for you, but it benefitted me in more ways than I can describe. Plus it gave me the chance to get over what I couldn't recognize at the time was burnout from undergrad.

    3. A structured post bac program is great, and I got some really good advising in mine, but if I could do it over again I might trade the structure for cheaper tuition and do something like Harvard Extension. Because when all is said and done, it's going to be YOU that has to jump through all the hoops and get the good grades, and all the hand-holding that comes with structured programs is not going to acheive that for you.

    Good luck at school, and good luck filtering all our advice to make your own decisions!
  21. SyrianHero

    SyrianHero

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    Great info, could you tell me what postbacs u applied to and which ones accepted u?
  22. abumblingbee

    abumblingbee bumbling along

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  23. SyrianHero

    SyrianHero

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    So I guess Harvard extension is the way to go, is it competitive to get into?
  24. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion Gold Donor

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    Oh, the vast quantities of relevant info in the postbac forum, such vast, vast quantities.
  25. SyrianHero

    SyrianHero

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    I'm so confused on wat to do :(
  26. theseeker4

    theseeker4 MS 3

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    Everyone here has given you lots of advice... what else are you hoping to get?
  27. Prncssbuttercup

    Prncssbuttercup Established Member -- OMSIII

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    I am with DrMidlife, but I usually am. Postpone graduation, change majors and get straight As from here out... If I had known that I could delay graduation, retake classes and have it mean something (as with DO schools), and go straight into med school from college, or close to it, I would have. Now I'm starting med school a week before my 36th birthday... This forum has an incalculable amount of information, USE IT. It didn't exist when I was 22. Doing a formal postbacc is a waste of money, and you can do it yourself at the school you're attending...
  28. Shalashaska

    Shalashaska

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    I completely agree, unless the formal post-bacc has a linkage agreement with an affiliated medical school or is renowned for placing it's students in medical schools, it's always a financial risk. Best to do more undergrad in the form of a second bachelors, which will get you that priority registration as well as many of the resources available to undergrads.
  29. SyrianHero

    SyrianHero

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    The problem is that I can't figure out which postbac is best for me based on my stats
  30. ShoTyme

    ShoTyme We're going STREAKING!!!

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    Really? Did you get nothing from the information provided to you?
  31. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion Gold Donor

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    Yeah, this is a tough situation. Lots of data pointing to no specific perfect answer. Multiple opinions. No set recipe to follow. Lots of directions you could take, some are more expensive, some are less risky, some will get you healthy-I-mean-into-med-school faster. And you are in charge of making the best possible choice, with your health-I-mean-future on the line.

    Hmm, what does that job description remind me of...hmm.
  32. SyrianHero

    SyrianHero

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    Not sure what you're trying to say lol
  33. ShoTyme

    ShoTyme We're going STREAKING!!!

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    Unfortunately some patients are terminal.
  34. SyrianHero

    SyrianHero

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    Haha I know I'm overthinking it. Here's my plan: I'm gonna apply to post bacs WITH linkages, but if I'm not accepted then I'm going to do a new major to improve GPA
  35. SyrianHero

    SyrianHero

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    Anyone agree?
  36. ShoTyme

    ShoTyme We're going STREAKING!!!

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  37. SyrianHero

    SyrianHero

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    I would like to thank all of you for the useful information. Eventhough it seems like I haven't learned anything, I can assure you that wat u said helped a lot. I've been just trying to drag it out to get more and more ppl to comment and participate. Thx a lot
  38. Jamie561

    Jamie561

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    I vote Not

    Sent from my HTC Sensation Z710e using Tapatalk
  39. SyrianHero

    SyrianHero

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    Why not?

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