KCT15

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Anyone with a degree not go back and do a post-bacc? I graduated 7 yrs ago and with my previous degree I met most of the pre-med requirements...so I have been taking the remaining pre-reqs at a community college in the area. One adcom member told me at a health fair that I need to "prove myself" in an academic environment again. I was wondering if anyone has had luck just completing the minimum requirements at a community college? I have a 29 MCAT (evenly distributed) and a 3.65 gpa (science and overall), ChemE major. I don't want to spend $30k on a post-bacc program and lose a year or more salary if I really don't need to. If I really need to do this, then I will.
 

melissainsd

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Some schools will not accept pre-reqs completed X number of years ago. I think it really depends on what schools you are looking at. You could easily compensate for a mediocre GPA or long-ago degree with a high MCAT, but your score is slightly below average for most medical schools. Do you have really good ECs and LORs? In my opinion (please feel free to disregard it), a post bac program may be good for you. You can boost your GPA and a good post bac can really help get into an even better medical school. Good luck!:luck:
 
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Beau Geste

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I'm taking my pre-reqs at a CC, too. But I have a graduate degree and some research/university teaching under my belt, too.

If I fail miserably in this cycle then I might consider taking some more upper-level bio courses but otherwise I've been told my the med schools I'm interested in that my course of action is appropriate and acceptable pending a good MCAT score, good being defined as 28 minimum by the IL state schools, more for private med schools.
 

Jejton

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I graduated from my undergrad in 03 with a bio degree ( didnt take orgo ) but for whatever reason my grades were terrible. After a hiatus of about a year I started taking sciences - gchem again and then advanced sciences including orgo - on my own part time at City College ( CUNY ) which is a pretty rigorous city school, though not undergrad. I managed to improve tremendously. It took me two years but I managed to get married, keep a job, take 36 credits and study for and do well on the MCAT's. I dont think I would have been able to support a family if I took an official post-bacc program, not to mention the cost of the program itself. If you are motivated, and self-directed ( for lack of a better word ) then save the money and do it on your own, just not at a community college.
 

KCT15

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Jejton: Did you get into any schools? If so what were your stats?

Megboo: Did you talk with all the IL schools? Those are the only one's I applied to this cycle. I can't relocate until my husband has been in his role for 3 yrs so if I have to apply for the 3rd time in '07 then I will finally be able to apply widely.
 

Beau Geste

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Megboo: Did you talk with all the IL schools? Those are the only one's I applied to this cycle. I can't relocate until my husband has been in his role for 3 yrs so if I have to apply for the 3rd time in '07 then I will finally be able to apply widely.

Yes. I talked with adcoms over the phone with SIU and UIUC and met with Pritzker in person. The rest I talked to at the Illinois Medical School Admissions Seminar last March at CCOM.
 

Doctor Bagel

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Some schools will not accept pre-reqs completed X number of years ago. I think it really depends on what schools you are looking at. You could easily compensate for a mediocre GPA or long-ago degree with a high MCAT, but your score is slightly below average for most medical schools. Do you have really good ECs and LORs? In my opinion (please feel free to disregard it), a post bac program may be good for you. You can boost your GPA and a good post bac can really help get into an even better medical school. Good luck!:luck:

I'm not seeing anything wrong with the op's gpa. A 3.6 won't keep you out of med school, and a 3.6 in engineering is actually really good. Provided the op is doing well in the classes he/she is taking now, grades will be a non-issue, imo.

As for the formal postbacc, I didn't do one either. I took the remaining classes that I needed at a local university and luckily had good grades from when I was in ugrad the first go-round. No one needs to do a formal postbacc unless their prior academic record is poor to mediocre.

As for the rest, I agree. I think the op's numbers are fine. If the ec's and lor's are good, too, I think odds of admission are pretty good. Of course, follow the usual sdn advice and apply broadly. :)
 

tiredmom

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I didn't do a formal post-bac either - took classes at both the local university and the community college depending on whose schedule worked better for me - I was still working full time as a nurse. Got asked on one interview (at UT-SW) about the CC - "I've never interviewed anyone with a junior college on their transcript" sort of thing - I guess she doesn't get out much!

As far as the GPA goes - mine was 3.58 for undergrad - all A's + 1 b in organic lab for post bac, 32 MCAT (12 VR, 10,10) - and I got interviews at all of the 7 schools I applied to and got in the first time around.
 

KCT15

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I didn't do a formal post-bac either - took classes at both the local university and the community college depending on whose schedule worked better for me - I was still working full time as a nurse. Got asked on one interview (at UT-SW) about the CC - "I've never interviewed anyone with a junior college on their transcript" sort of thing - I guess she doesn't get out much!

As far as the GPA goes - mine was 3.58 for undergrad - all A's + 1 b in organic lab for post bac, 32 MCAT (12 VR, 10,10) - and I got interviews at all of the 7 schools I applied to and got in the first time around.

What was the big selling point in your application. Obviously your MCAT is better than mine. My UG gpa was a 3.65. My AMCAS GPAs were slightly higher due to the additional classes at CC. I think one of my weaknesses is not enough clinical experience, I only had volunteer experience in the ER. But I was also on the launch team for 2 new drugs recently approved by the FDA. I also was new to the process and did not apply early though I took the April MCAT. I am signed up to volunteer at a health clinic where I will actually work in triage and do blood draws once I get trained. Sometimes I feel like I am so close to being competitive and other times it just seems like this dream is so far away...especially if I do a post-bacc.
 

soonereng

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No formal bost bacc for me; just finishing the minimum required pre-reqs that weren't in my undergrad engineering curriculum, but I'm doing it at a univ rather than CC. I looked at some CCs for pre-reqs, but the scheduling didn't work out. Either way, I don't feel like I have had to prove to anyone that I am still academically capable, however I have a really good GPA and not a bad MCAT either (not that those accurately predict how one will do in medical school, but adcoms do love numbers).

I would suggest going with Megboo's route and inquiring at your schools of interest as to what their take on things is.
 
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aero

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I may be an extreme case. I took physics and the first two of three quarters of chemistry (no labs) 10+ years ago. I have an engineering undergrad and masters. I took organic (no labs) last year and then took the MCAT in August scoring a 35. My UG GPA was 3.8. I'm taking biology and chem labs this year.

I called several schools and was told that the old classes would be fine. I interviewed at several schools and got into the one I wanted (still waiting to hear back from a few - hoping for the blue one in NC!). I probably could have gotten into some "better" schools if I had completed all of the undergraduate requirements but it wasn't worth the extra year delay for me.

I think this is an example that if you can put together a good picture with good scores then some of the other stuff can fall off.
 

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There's no need to do an official post-bacc. You could just take some classes at a local public undergrad, especially if you're doing it to 'brush up' on your sciences and/or to bump your GPA. Many nontrads do not do post-bacc, especially if it won't significantly improve their sciGPA. And while there are some post-baccs with linkage programs, others do not, so I don't see the advantage of doing postbacc over taking selected classes if there's no linkage program.

However, some med schools want to see recent coursework, especially in upper level science courses, so maybe taking a few of those in the evening won't hurt.
 

Skelfie

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I didn't do a formal post-bac either - took classes at both the local university and the community college depending on whose schedule worked better for me - I was still working full time as a nurse. Got asked on one interview (at UT-SW) about the CC - "I've never interviewed anyone with a junior college on their transcript" sort of thing - I guess she doesn't get out much!

I did the same thing as tiredmom, except the working as a nurse part (I taught classes and worked in a lab instead). Nobody asked me about my community college classes in any of the five interviews I attended. One person did ask me why my MCAT was so low (I got a 30 but I didn't think it was THAT bad, geez!). Nevertheless, I've had a successful cycle. :)
 

Lshapley

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Some schools will not accept pre-reqs completed X number of years ago. I think it really depends on what schools you are looking at.

This is generally not true, but you should call the specific schools you are interested in to confirm. I completed my pre-reqs 12 years ago and all the northeastern schools I called had no problem with it, they just wanted recent coursework so show that I still had a functioning brain. Duke is the only school I know of at the moment that requires you to retake a pre-req after 5 years. Just call everywhere you are applying to make sure.

I would also call about the cc thing, before wasting money on the application fee to a school. Your gpa and MCAT are about average for admission (average = great in this case!), just do some research beforehand to make sure you apply wisely.
 

tiredmom

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I guess the thing that I got asked about the most was "why medicine, why leave nursing?". I think my clinical experience helped a lot - I've seen the craziness of a wild L&D unit (birthing babies in the ER driveway, the recovery room, etc) and still want to do this. My original plans for delaying medical school was a family situation (my son was born my first year of college and was diagnosed with autism during my 3rd year of college), so it seemed pretty impossible at the time to go on to med school. I remember a lot of comments about having a family + working 50-60 hours per week + post bac courses. I don't think there was one thing that stood out - it all added up together.
 

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I'm not doing an official "post bacc". I'm just taking undergrad classes at a local uni.

Same here. Including O-Chem and Bio I at a CC, because of my work schedule. Nobody gave me flak about it at interviews.
 

juleswinfield

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Yeah, you should be ok without a full post bac. Your GPA is pretty good at a 3.6. Mine was ****e at a 3.1 overall and 2.8 BCMP. But my MCAT was higher at a 33.

I decided to go with classes at my local uni because I didn't want to "waste" $30k on a structured post-bac program as well as forgo my salary from my ChemE job. I went down to 30 hours/week and 75% salary while I was taking classes. I should've done a CC instead as the uni was still wicked expensive.
And in hindsight, I should've worked at 3/4 time for my whole career because having 2 days off every week was pretty awesome.


My words of advice:
1) Apply early - shoot to have your AMCAS done and confirmed as close to June 1 as you can. That way you are at the top of the list of candidates that the schools will look through. A mediocre student will look a lot better when there are only five other apps on the table, as opposed to the 5000 others that will be there if you apply near the end of the cycle.

2)Get good recommendation letters from your current science instructors. They'll really go to bat for you if you show interest in their class, especially at a community college where 90% of the people there are not taking anything seriously. This will provide the proof of your academic motivation.

3) Apply widely. I didn't but I lucked out.

4) Apply to Tulane. They seem to like non-trads.

5) Get solid volunteer experience. I called my local hospital, which happens to have a level one trauma center and a med school attached to it, and asked for a spot in the ER or trauma OR on a weekend. I worked Sunday nights 6-11p in the trauma OR. I saw amazing stuff and it made up my mind for my career change decision. It also gave me great stuff to talk about in essays and interviews.

6) Raise your MCAT. With a 29 and 3.6, you should be ok for many places. A score over 30 and a gpa over 3.5 should get you in at most places except harvard and stanford.
 

KCT15

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Thanks everyone for your advise.

If I have to reapply next cycle I will be sure to apply early. I did not realize the importance of doing that. I am meeting with someone extremely involved in admissions at one of the med schools near me and going to get some feedback on how to improve my application. I'm going to be volunteering at a local health clinic where I will actually get to work in triage and draw blood! I'm very excited.

One adcom person told me that a 29 MCAT is adequate and did not recommend retaking. I'm going to wait and see, I'm on the fence about this one. Unfortunately I cannot apply widely because I've got a husband and 2 kids that I am not willing to move at this point. We just moved 6 months ago and I can't ask them to do it again. If I apply a 3rd time for the class of 2013 (gosh that sounds to far away!) then I will apply semi-widely. We still have to stay where there are chemical plants so that my husband can continue in his career.

Thanks everyone! Best of luck to you all!
 
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