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5th year undergrad or post-bacc?

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paintbucketgreen

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~CA resident

I'm currently a 4th year at a UC and I'm going to be graduating with a cGPA of 3.43 and sGPA of 3.49. I initially planned to do a post-bacc program after graduation to try and raise my GPA for med school applications. Do you think it would be a better idea/stand out more if instead of post-bacc I took a 5th year of undergrad and continued to take upper div science courses? (if i chose this route I would also most likely pursue a minor in business or philosophy as well).

Correct me if I'm wrong but I've heard that post-bacc programs are usually considered to be more rigorous...would this look more impressive to med schools? Also, does anyone know if med schools look at what university you took the post-bacc program at? I understand some programs may be harder to get into than others, but all in all if I chose one that was less expensive/a little more accessible (CSU East Bay perhaps) would it really be that different compared to if I did it through UC San Diego?

P.S. Although the cost of the program is definitely important, I am kind of weighing that as last on the list at the moment in terms of choosing between post-bacc programs.

Any feedback is appreciated :)
 

Mwooster

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~CA resident

I'm currently a 4th year at a UC and I'm going to be graduating with a cGPA of 3.43 and sGPA of 3.49. I initially planned to do a post-bacc program after graduation to try and raise my GPA for med school applications. Do you think it would be a better idea/stand out more if instead of post-bacc I took a 5th year of undergrad and continued to take upper div science courses? (if i chose this route I would also most likely pursue a minor in business or philosophy as well).

Correct me if I'm wrong but I've heard that post-bacc programs are usually considered to be more rigorous...would this look more impressive to med schools? Also, does anyone know if med schools look at what university you took the post-bacc program at? I understand some programs may be harder to get into than others, but all in all if I chose one that was less expensive/a little more accessible (CSU East Bay perhaps) would it really be that different compared to if I did it through UC San Diego?

P.S. Although the cost of the program is definitely important, I am kind of weighing that as last on the list at the moment in terms of choosing between post-bacc programs.

Any feedback is appreciated :)

Given your cGPA and sGPA, earning good grades in even an extra semester of additional undergrad classes will most likely get you over the magical 3.5 thresholds.

You're probably confusing a post-bac vs an SMP. Staying at your UG for an extra year or a semester is basically a DIY post-bac. Many, if not most, people do their post-bac at other places other than their alma mater (or soon-to-be alma mater).

An SMP is a special master's program like the ones at Georgetown or Temple. One would take classes at the graduate level, often along with med students. Very expensive

My recommendation: take additional undergrad upper division science courses and do well to get over the 3.5 threshold
 
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coramDeo

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Given your cGPA and sGPA, earning good grades in even an extra semester of additional undergrad classes will most likely get you over the magical 3.5 thresholds.



My recommendation: take additional undergrad upper division science courses and do well to get over the 3.5 threshold

What do you mean by the "magical 3.5 thresholds"?
 

calivianya

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It doesn't really matter whether you do a formal post bacc or just take classes to get your grades up. Just stay the extra year - especially if it's cheaper.
 

Lucca

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In my opinion it’s better to put off graduation than to do a Postbacc. Possibly having to move, the additional costs associated with that, potentially inflated tuition, cutting off your ties to undergrad ECs, professors, friends, and societies, etc etc etc is just more hassle than it’s worth when you have the option of just taking an extra semester to get your GPA up.

Don’t underestimate the benefits of being in a familiar evnvironment.
 

gonnif

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Given your cGPA and sGPA, earning good grades in even an extra semester of additional undergrad classes will most likely get you over the magical 3.5 thresholds.

You're probably confusing a post-bac vs an SMP. Staying at your UG for an extra year or a semester is basically a DIY post-bac. Many, if not most, people do their post-bac at other places other than their alma mater (or soon-to-be alma mater).

An SMP is a special master's program like the ones at Georgetown or Temple. One would take classes at the graduate level, often along with med students. Very expensive

My recommendation: take additional undergrad upper division science courses and do well to get over the 3.5 threshold

On the other hand, graduating and then adding a year of DIY postbacc will directly stand out on the AMCAS application. This is for two reasons. When listing GPA by year on AMCAS, anything from 4th year is calculated and listed together. For example if someone has a 3.3 4th year and then adds a 5th year at 3.9, the two together will show only a 3.6 on the "senior" year. The second reason follows directly as any undergraduate courses taken after a degree has been earned will both show up as a separate line item as well as be calculated into the overall UG GPA. Going back to my initial example, on AMCAS the senior year would show as a 3.3 while PB would show up as 3.9, making the upward trend standout on the application.

I tend to advise applicants finish the degree and then take additional coursework for the above reasons. I find too many students focus on the single GPA number without knowing how the underlying AMCAS GPA Grid will appear to an adcom. all applicants should be familiar with this Grid.
https://aamc-orange.global.ssl.fast...140d8acb35af/amcas_grade_conversion_guide.pdf
 
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DameJulie

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n AMCAS the senior year would show as a 3.3 while PB would show up as 3.9, making the upward trend standout on the application.

This is a true wisdom. thank you for pointing that out!
 

doc05

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how about the rest of your application? Are you otherwise competitive? An extra year in school won't magically make you a better applicant.
 

paintbucketgreen

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On the other hand, graduating and then adding a year of DIY postbacc will directly stand out on the AMCAS application. This is for two reasons. When listing GPA by year on AMCAS, anything from 4th year is calculated and listed together. For example if someone has a 3.3 4th year and then adds a 5th year at 3.9, the two together will show only a 3.6 on the "senior" year. The second reason follows directly as any undergraduate courses taken after a degree has been earned will both show up as a separate line item as well as be calculated into the overall UG GPA. Going back to my initial example, on AMCAS the senior year would show as a 3.3 while PB would show up as 3.9, making the upward trend standout on the application.

I tend to advise applicants finish the degree and then take additional coursework for the above reasons. I find too many students focus on the single GPA number without knowing how the underlying AMCAS GPA Grid will appear to an adcom. all applicants should be familiar with this Grid.


Thank you!! I will likely do the graduation-->post bacc program plan because I definitely wouldn't want my fourth and fifth year GPA's to be averaged. And @doc05 yes my application is competitive otherwise. My GPA is my weakest point, so all I really have to "redeem" myself would be to show a steep upward trend. I think separate post-bacc program would be perfect for this. @gonnif thank you for pointing this out. do you think which program I choose would matter?
 

gonnif

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Thank you!! I will likely do the graduation-->post bacc program plan because I definitely wouldn't want my fourth and fifth year GPA's to be averaged. And @doc05 yes my application is competitive otherwise. My GPA is my weakest point, so all I really have to "redeem" myself would be to show a steep upward trend. I think separate post-bacc program would be perfect for this. @gonnif thank you for pointing this out. do you think which program I choose would matter?
Doing well matters much much more than a particular program.
 
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