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UC Berkeley has a new post-bac program

Discussion in 'Postbaccalaureate Programs' started by Lizzi, Feb 10, 2007.

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  1. Lizzi

    Lizzi Guest

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    It's an extension program, but a great alternative for students in the bay area (Nor-Cal).

    www.unex.berkeley.edu/sciences
  2. DOC G.

    DOC G. Member

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    I was wondering what is the acceptance rate to medical school after the program? Or is it to early to tell. Sounds like a good program
  3. thewendster

    thewendster Senior Member

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    I attended the UC Berkeley extension program open house a few weeks ago and was not impressed. There are no statistics on med acceptance rates because the program is only in its second semester this spring.. so no one in the program has gone on to medical school as of yet. The schedule they offer is great for working people, as labs and lectures can be broken up separately.. which means, for example, biology lab can be taken stand alone, which only require about 3 hours a week of your time on Saturdays. They will write you a composite letter of rec, like most other post bacs. However, the LOR will not be written if you do not complete their degree program (which requires taking X many classes through them within 3 years). The program is not officially affiliated with UC Berkeley and none of the classes are held at UC Berkeley or taught by any of the UC Berkeley faculty. Instead the classes are held at the local community colleges and taught by those professors. However instead of paying $100 for a chemistry class (like you would for a community college class), you pay $750 for the lab and $750 for the lecture.. Which is a lot of money considering you're getting a community college education. The classes are only available in the evenings and weekends. There are none held during the day.

    The acceptance rate, as far as I can tell, is nearly 100% as long as you make their basic GPA requirements. There is no linkage offering. Extension programs hosted by a university are pretty lax. For example, I know that Harvard extension is very open in their enrollment policy. I attended NYU as an undergrad and know that ANYONE with money could take extension classes there. I think going through a reputable post bac program like Scripps or Goucher means a lot more. However the UC Berkeley name stands out more than a no-name community college.


    Even though I live in Berkeley, I am opting to do my post bac elsewhere. If I am not accepted by any of the post bacs I applied to, I may take a class or two through extension because their classes are most accommodating to us working stiffs.. however my plan is to go to a formal post bac like Scripps.
  4. DOC G.

    DOC G. Member

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    Will the medical school admission comm. know that it is at a community college? I thought medical school didn't like upper level sciences taken at community college level!! How is this suppost to help?
  5. thewendster

    thewendster Senior Member

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    the classes will be listed as uc berkeley extension classes, so i don't think admissions people would know unless uc berkeley extension develops a known reputation for farming their classes out..
  6. Lizzi

    Lizzi Guest

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    I spoke with the director of the program and was told that this program is new. General Biology is offered on campus, as is Biochemistry, and General Chemistry and several others. It looks like some of the labs are offered off campus. I figure, the program can only be as good as the students who attend and the faculty who teach. I am a damn good student so my grades and MCAT score will speak for themselves. As long as it is accessible, location isn't that big of a deal to me.
    I think people are too wrapped up in the whole name gig. If you spend too much time worrying about that you will have less time to focus on getting decent grades. I don't care where you go, a 4.0 in the sciences and a 35+ MCAT looks damn good. Wherever you go, do your best.

    See course details and descriptions:
    http://www.unex.berkeley.edu/profseq/premed.html#courses
  7. dtg5677

    dtg5677

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    I have been looking at post bacs all over the country...with much frustration. I couldn't decide were to apply. I am a recent grad of Reed College in Portland Oregon. Reed is a PhD factory. I graduated with a degree in psych, and then went into biomedical research, treading water until I could figure out how to make my dreams of osteopathic medicine come true. I've been working in a neuroscience lab; I got a publication, but knew all along that research wasn't for me. My post bac decision came about gradually over the last few months. As I learned that Osteopathy was more for me than allopathy, I had just visited Scripps College...great program...small, selective, with a hell of a track record. For me it was great because Western Univ. is right there in Pomona, but it was a little late in the game to apply, plus they wanted a GRE score, and that meant delaying my start date a whole year. So I sent my resume and thesis to the director at UCB. We spoke at length, and he actually read my thesis, whereas tufts said when you apply don't even send your thesis. The personal attention I received coupled with the impressive and growing course offerings at UCB, gave me pause to apply. I will be starting the program in the fall. For me it feels pretty special getting involved in something at ground zero. Every program has to start somewhere. To assuage any fears: all classes and Profs are approved by the Berkeley senate, and not by the extension school. If any currently enrolled students happen to read this, please post to the thread. We should be communicating!
  8. blindkutha

    blindkutha

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    Trust me guys, you dont want to take any of your premed classes at Berkeley itself. This place is damn competitive and unforgiving. Going premed at Berkeley is the worst decision of my life. If you can take your classes at a local JC and have them show up as UC Berkeley classes than thats a good deal I guess, since most med school adcomms know how ridiculous this place is. I have seen midterms from many other schools, ie UCLA, UCI, USC, and their tests are complete jokes compared to ours... The sad thing is that med school admissions is just a numbers game and we dont really get enough compensation for how competitive this place is.

    However, it seems in this program, participants are NOT enrolled in the same classes with the same profs we take as UGs at Cal so it should be easier. Im not sure if thats a good thing because most of our profs are considered experts in their fields and its pretty crazy when you learn about something in class that a prof at Cal discovered. Someone should research the curves that they are going to put on the classes. That being said, there are a lot of positives going to school here; such as the abundance of public/community health opportunities, UCSF across the bay, Berkeley Review MCAT prep (these guys are ballers and take them for sure), and a lot of other opportunities to differentiate yourself from other med school applicants.
  9. Lizzi

    Lizzi Guest

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    If someone can't survive the post-bac classes at Berkeley, how is he/she going to make it in medical school? I'm going in fall, regardless of anyone else's own insecurities.
  10. granted

    granted aspiring brain sleuth

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    I'm currently debating whether to attend this program or take classes a la carte at San Francisco State. My best friend is in the program right now and she likes it academically, but we're both a little skeptical about how medical schools might view the community college angle.

    She wrote to UCSF and they told her that they scrutinize each class an applicant has taken - I know UCSF is crazy selective, but regardless, it seems it'd be difficult to skate the whole community college aspect by the average adcom.

    On the other hand, I'm working fulltime during the day and I don't know where else to find classes that fit into my schedule. And judging from my friend's experience, the program is small and quite supportive.

    Has anyone specifically discussed the community college issue with the program directors? I'll probably be e-mailing them sometime in the next couple of weeks.
  11. dtg5677

    dtg5677

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    The PBPM certificate program is an absolute nightmare. I just want to put this out there. I have numerous examples of why this program or lack there of should be avoided at all costs! I don't want any other post bacs to make the mistake I have. The short list of short comings:
    1) Not Berkeley affiliated
    2) No real Berkeley profs (contract profs that teach typically for one semester)
    3) Inexperienced instructors
    4) Poor quality instruction
    5) Evening and weekend classes
    6) Unethical money grubbing admin
    7) Over enrollment of classes
    8) NON TRANSFERABLE BASIC SCIENCE CREDIT (some courses will not transfer to local state schools)
    To be more specific, after over enrollment of our chem course and the unwillingness of the admin to provide a TA our exams became all multiple choice. Thats right multiple choice chem exams. True the MCAT is multiple choice, but it sure is nice to solve problems and get feedback when you're first learning. Immunology: industry scientist would spend up to 1 hr of our three-hour lecture talking and having us vote on class logistics. This course was also over enrolled and the exams became multiple choice. Not a black and white science, but we were given a black and white exam format. We're covering about half of the material on the syllabus, but we're held accountable for things not covered. Power point slides are incorrect or neglected all together. Class average on the first midterm was a 67, and the instructor will not address this issue. Despite these problems I'm doing well in the courses. Many of us got a petition together to present to the admin, we did this especially after we heard that a few students received refunds for the immunology course. I was pulled into an office and told that I should stop causing trouble and not to go back to class. I was offered a refund on all the courses I'm taking, but I was denied the refund on the only course that I requested one for. Like I said I'm doing fine (an A and a B), so why wouldn't I want to keep those grades right? Basically I was singled out for being a whistle blower on the quality of their "program". I have made arrangements to transfer to a state informal program, and interestingly enough...the chem I'm taking will not transfer!!!!! What Berkeley extension is calling general chemistry is the equivalent to survey/intro or chem for nursing at the state school. The physiology I'm taking is a joke too, hardly a step above an online course. Berkeley extension is not Berkeley! Stay away. I can give more specifics if anyone needs them.
  12. loveandpeace

    loveandpeace

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    I was considering signing up for this program (UC Berkeley Extension) but after having read all these bad reviews, I am thinking twice. Please tell me as much as you can regarding the program... ANY help is appreciated. Thanks
  13. loveandpeace

    loveandpeace

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    How is the program going for you at UCB Extension so far? May you please let me know the pros and cons. Thanks
  14. Oh2051

    Oh2051

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    I wonder if other extension programs have similar problems. No one seems to have much negative to say about the Harvard Extension . . . but what about the others?

    Has anyone had a bad experience at the School of Continuing Studies at Northwestern University?
  15. Snake Doctor

    Snake Doctor 24

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    I've seen tests from Cal and your tests aren't that much different than UCLA's. It depends on the professor and some of our exams are tougher than yours or even MIT. (Okay, I have to admit that the Chem 14 series is easier although I didn't take that one but the 20/30 series here is wayyy harder). Some of your exams are tougher than ours. Try our biochem exams and see for yourself. Plus a semester system is a joke compare to the quarter system. Regardless, I totally agree with you that going to a top UC to be a pre-med is not a wise move, esp when your grade is dependent upon your classmates, who happens to be some of the brightest in the country.
    I hear UCLA Extension grades on a curve too and some people there are super competitive.
    Anyways, it seems that most extension programs prefers making money rather than providing a solid education. A formal post bac program at a CSU is worth looking into.
  16. boon5

    boon5

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    I'm currently enrolled in the post-bac at ucb extension and I have nothing bad to say about it. My classes range from 7-20 students and my experiences with my professors have been positive and worthwhile so far.

    Also, I am NOT repeating any courses from my undergraduate biology degree.

    It's much more affordable than most of the SMP's out there (roughly $6500 tuition for 24 credits to complete) and you can do it easily while working, which is the biggest plus! Better yet, the students want to be in class, learn, and do well. The competitiveness is lost. Everyone wants to help each other do well in class in hopes of gaining acceptance to med/dental school. Nothing like the undergraduate struggle at UCB that I hear from others...

    I recommend!
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009
  17. kingbing2929

    kingbing2929

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    I am an undergrad at Johns Hopkins right now, and am looking to have a crack at pre med since it was way too competitive here. Having majored in psychology I think psychiatry might be my calling...

    Anyway, what is the admission rate for this? Does anyone know? I'd love to go west, and this would be perfect if it works out. The only requirements GPA wise were above a 3...which I should pull off...

    A friend of my dad said that this program is quite competitive and that many kids who do it use it as a reinforcement having already done pre-med?

    Thanks!
  18. boon5

    boon5

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    People are getting into medical school. No official stats because its a new program but I've been hearing from the advisor of acceptances...
  19. sn1pb0r

    sn1pb0r

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    I called the admissions office at the Stanford School of Medicine today, and the person I spoke to said the committee makes no distinction between premed courses taken at UCB Extension and courses taken at UCB itself. Sounds like the program's 'reputation' is a non-issue, at least from the admissions committee's point of view.
  20. panthera

    panthera the big cat

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    I'd like to know a lot more about this program from students that are currently in it or have finished it.
  21. ButAtYourBest

    ButAtYourBest

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    what about rec letters?

    do you think UC Berk. Ext. faculty are a good source for rec letters?

    on one hand, the classes are smaller, so you may have more one-on-one contact with them, so they can get to know you better. but on the other hand, classes meet just once a week. also, i don't know if the faculty hired are well known or anything.

    my current post-bac pre-med program has an advisory committee, and that is something that I would "forfeit" if I did Berk. Ext. Do you think this is a major loss?

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