Columbia

Discussion in 'Postbaccalaureate Programs' started by jeantm, Apr 21, 2004.

  1. jeantm

    jeantm Member
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    Hi Everyone!

    I would sincerely appreciate it if some of you might be able to provide a little info (from personal experiences, friends, etc) about the Columbia post bac program. I was recently accepted to the progam and haven't been able to find much up to date information about it (how hard once there -rumor or truth 40% dro out, TRUE acceptance rate into medical school, etc). I have heard so many mixed reviews about it that I am a bit concerned. I also just interviewed at Bryn Mawr but they said we shouldn't hear till June (since I applied late according to their standards--I was shocked since it was so soon before the deadline ..opps)!

    I've read all the past posts about it and that has only left me torn even more......any help so much appreciated

    Thanks,
    Past Lurker
     
  2. ExistentialistPhilosopher

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    From what I could gauge, Columbia is a very difficult program, and I think the 40% attrition rate is accurate (I had read it on their website somewhere). Since you're essentially taking classes with the undergrads and being graded on their curve, it seems like it would be hard for many people to do very well, unless they were of similar academic caliber as the undergrads. As someone else mentioned, a lot of good people in the Columbia program might get chewed up in the process. It's also a very big program, and I have not heard positive things about their personal advising. That's why I chose to apply to Bryn Mawr and Goucher instead, because they were smaller and more intimate, and it seemed these programs really want their postbacs to succeed (both have very small attrition rates).

    In terms of deadlines, I had applied to both programs in late November of last year, interviewed in January, and accepted to both in February. Although I was one of the earliest applicants, a lot of people were beginning to apply and interview around the same time I had interviewed, so it seems that people tend to apply extremely early to these programs regardless of the deadline, b/c of the advantage conferred by the rolling admissions process.
     
  3. lolli

    lolli Member
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    Hey there,
    I finished the post-bac program last year, and have been applying this year. No one knows for sure what the acceptance rate is, or the attrition rate for that matter. They really try to keep that info under wraps. The program is really big, and the students are spread out with all of the other Columbia undergrad pre-meds. This can be really good, or really bad, depending on your situation, background and what you want from a post-bac program.
    The Columbia program has undergone a massive turnover as far as administration goes, and I think that it is really for the better. The negative things you might have heard about Columbia in the past probably don't apply now, since all of the staff is new and totally helpful, unlike two years ago when I left the office crying everytime I went in for advice.
    One thing to think about with Columbia is the linkage schools. If there are schools that Columbia links to that you would be psyched to go to, then Columbia is great. But it is also very competative to get one of those linkage spots, and you have to make the decision to apply to link the December before you would normally take the MCAT. So you have to be on the ball, and know what you want.
    Also, how much pre-med stuff have you done already?
    I came into the program with ABSOLUTELY no science or math. I am really glad that I came here, but it was a GRUELING 2 years. I had to start from the bottom, and I was in classes with the striver super-nerdy science-head Columbia Undergrads. It was really tough, but it gave me a solid foundation. And now I am a fully assimilated striver, super nerdy, science-head too.
    In a way it was nice to be with all of the Columbia Undergrads - I felt that I was not being taught specifically for the MCAT, but that I got a really solid science foundation. I am not sure if it would have been better to do a one year, post-bac only program. It would have been nice to have a close community of other post-bacs, but at the same time, I think it might have been more competative. It all depends on who is there with you, while at Columbia, the program is so huge, and you are part of the big university, so you can always find a niche.
    To sum up:
    Columbia is really hard, and competative, but you will come out stronger from it. I know of 4 people who dropped out, and about 4 others who postponed the MCAT and finishing their coursework.
    Good luck. You will end up in the right place no matter what.
     
  4. LoneCoyote

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    my friend dropped out of the columbia program after 1 year. she felt it was a very competitive, cut-throat environment, that the averages on tests were very high, and that she was not doing well enough or getting enough individual attention to justify spending the $ to go there. she ended up finishing the prereqs at one of the cuny schools and had a much better time and got better grades. that is just one person's experience though so take it for what it is worth. good luck with your decision :)
     
  5. jeantm

    jeantm Member
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    Hey thanks for all the replies all ready!

    Lolli : I have taken a year of bio, genetics, pre calc, pre chem, lots of psych classes. My greatest concern with the Columbia program is the bad things I have heard about advising (not getting letters out on time, inability to get a committee letter etc) What is your take on this ...any advisor you would recommend to avoid such a problem or one in particular to stay away from etc? Does it seem to you that people are getting into med school after finishing the program? I like the idea of a challenge so I am willing to work extra hard. I would sincerely appreciate and advice you might be willing to offer and good luck with your own admissions process

    ExistentialistPhilosopher; Thanks for the input and I was wondering what you thought of the Bryn Mawr interview...I loved the day but didn't really enjoy the interview very much, and was turned off by taking orgo over the summer..the one year thing doesn't appeal as much to me either, but the program does seem amazing (although I have a hard time not questioning stats)....good luck to you
     
  6. lolli

    lolli Member
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    Columbia's Post-bac administrative team really did do a complete overhaul last year. No joke. There are no advisors from the scary days left. Really. Only three very nice, very competent, very knowledgable advisors and one sweet admin assistant. I had a great experience with my advisor, Mr. Sunshine. He wrote me a 6 page letter of rec that was commented on at EVERY med school interview I had. I think that the Columbia Post-Bac program came under a lot of heat two years ago (I heard rumors of a lawsuit that was won in favor of the students - I don't know much about it though) and the administrative overhaul seems like it was the result of those bad times. Things really really do seem better at Columbia these days - a dramatic change from my first year.
    It sounds like you have had a strong preparation for the program. Be ready to forgo any social life while you are at Columbia. You will work your ass off, but it will be worth it. One thing to think about though is the time - it will be a solid two years for you, plus the "lag year" while you apply. If you went to Bryn Mawr it would only be one and a half, right? Can you dig three years? I didn't realize how LONG three years would be. I am SOOO ready to be in med school now.
    BTW, I am doing an MPH at Columbia this year, while I am applying. It has been really great, and I would highly recommend it as an option for the "lag year" if you are interested in Public Health at all. You can start in the summers of the post-bac, I think, and that way be done by the time med school starts. Public health rocks, and gives you such a good, well rounded perspective on medicine. The public health school is also way more laid back than the post-bac program, and much more grounded in every day, real life health care related work.
    I have been kind of out of touch with a lot of the other post-bac students this year, and everyone is a little hush-hush about whether or not they have gotten into med school yet, so I am not sure what the acceptance rate is like this year from Columbia. Of my closer friends from the program, everyone has gotten in somewhere, if not their first choice. But there is still a whole month left before the May 15 shakedown. A lot changes in this time.
    If you want specific info on profs etc. I can help you out too. I think COlumbia is a great option for the post-bac.
    Good Luck.
    Lolli
     
  7. ExistentialistPhilosopher

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    Jeantm, in terms of the interview for Bryn Mawr, I thought I did badly at both the BM interview and Goucher's, especially Bryn Mawr's, because of an unresponsive interviewer. But then the current students in the postbac programs said that a lot of others had thought they had bombed the interview and had gotten in anyway. I honestly think it's normal for the interviewer to be a little tough and brusque. It definitely doesn't preclude the possibility of you from getting in, though. :)

    Also, you might not have to take a summer orgo class next year if you take general chemistry this summer at a local college before entering the postbac. One of Bryn Mawr's advisors had suggested that to me as a possibility, because I'd be graduating from college this year, and she felt it might be too stressful and harried for me to make the move right after graduation. Although I decided to start in May anyway, it might still be an option you could take.

    It sounds like there's a tough decision to make for you. Lolli seems to have the inner scoop on what's going on with Columbia, and the changes seem very positive. Both schools have similar linkages, according to their websites. And if you feel you need more time to spread out the coursework, then Columbia might be more flexible in that regard. Either way, if you do well and get to know your profs and advisors, you should get into med school with very little problems.
     
  8. jeantm

    jeantm Member
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    lolli: Can I say that you just made my week!!! My biggest concern with the Columbia program was all that I heard about the advisors (not getting letters done on time etc...). THANK you so much! I like that the program is three years versus the shorter programs (the shorter ones actually end up being two if you don't do linkage). And even more exciting was what you said about the MPH, because I jsut spent spring break externing in a public health department and think the MPH sounds like an awesome way to spend the year in between. Oh and I am assuming I won't have much of a life while doing the post bac, so it won't be a shocker.....I am going to be doing research in NYC over the summer, would you recommend I do any thing in particular to get ready for the start of classes in the fall? Any advice on which professors to take, stay away from, etc would be much appreciated. I am assuming I will be taking Chem and Physics in the fall (maybe calc since I have only had baby calc before). Thank you so much again for any advice you have.

    ExistentialistPhilosopher: Thanks for the info about the interview ...feel mcuh better now. I do think spreading out the work might be better for me personally. I did really like the program and especially the atmosphere among students, but I am still leaning more towards CU. I hope you love the program and do very well...thanks again
     
  9. Halcyon440

    Halcyon440 On the fence
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    I too am at the Columbia Postbacc. I just started this semester. Am currently taking Physics 1. It started out ok but I am now stressing out about the final!! I'll be taking Physics 2 in the summer and General Chemistry over the course of next year.

    My situation is a bit unique compared to traditional postbaccs who are going full time. I plan to continue working full-time as long as I can and I may also have to take a year off at some point if we decide to start a family soon. I've been told that at some point I HAVE to go full-time for at least a year (the Orgo/Bio year) otherwise I won't get the committee letter.

    I went to Columbia undergrad and actually took everything but Bio many years ago. So I am very used to the ruthless environment. It definitely has less of an intimidating effect on me now that I'm older, but it's still there nonetheless. Depending on how I do in Physics I will decide whether to rough it out at Columbia or go to a CUNY. As much as I love my alma mater, I am at a stressful time in my life right now with much to put into place before I can go to med school. So not sure if I need the extra stress from the competition. We'll see.

    I was born and bred in the city and until recently lived in the neighborhood of Columbia's med school (Washington Heights). So again, I am literally at home in the Columbia environment.

    Another thing is that my husband works for Columbia so I get tuition exemption. Columbia's program is very expensive and I definitely would NOT be there if I had to pay for it.

    As already mentioned the postbaccs are indeed lumped into classes with the undergrads. I am glad they had the long, formal orientation day because I was able to meet a lot of postbaccs there and we all look out for each other in class. We signed up for Physics Lab together and sit together during lecture. The comaraderie has been very nice. Such a breath of fresh air compared to the corporate culture I work in.

    If you are going to be full-time then you might consider taking the day sections of your classes. The professors are supposed to be better (though I actually really like the one teaching night physics). Also the curve tends to be a bit more favorable in the day sections which are mostly undergrads. Supposedly us postbaccs drive the night section curves higher. The mean on our second Physics test was nearly an 80 so I wouldn't be surprised if this is true!

    I have been struggling with my decision to go to medical school since my undergrad days (1992-1996) and continue to do so. I have been in contact with Columbia's postbacc program since 1998 or so, but for one reason or another never made the move to apply until now. I have a vague recollection of the prior administration. The program seemed very disorganized back then. When I started the program in January I had no idea of what had happened to the administration. The only things I had hear were some negative comments here on SDN. I was kind of scared going in, even though all the correspondance I was getting was very encouraging. When I met my advisor she seemed very knowledgeable and helpful. It did turn out that this is a new batch of advisors. As mentioned, they actually seem really good. I guess there's no official track record on them yet since they haven't been there long, but I suspect things are changing for the better.

    For now, I am happy in the program. If you're going to be full-time that's even better because you can take advantage of all the activities and opportunities they offer.

    Feel free to contact me if you want to talk about it more.
     
  10. jeantm

    jeantm Member
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    Halcyon440: Hey thanks for the reply, I plan on going full time in the fall (unless I decide not to go to CU, but I am sending in the deposit today so I am almost positive about going). I was accepted to Bryn Mawr yesterday after interviewing on Monday, which was really exciting but like I said before I am leaning more towards CU program...shame they don't make the admissions stats to med school public.

    Do you recommend or warn against any specific day section teachers? Is there any way to check course evaluations etc.? The website seems pretty old so I am not sure of much more up to date info...do you know about how much it costs to attend the program or any other strange details I should know? You are quite lucky your husband works for CU must be saving a ton of cash b/c of it!!!Workign full time and physics ekkk, but worth it in the end.....that is annoying about having to go full time to get the comittee letter..sorry to hear it is a bit complicated for you.


    Thanks again for any info!!!!
     
  11. kittieruby

    kittieruby Member
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    Hi,

    I also had some questions about CU's program. I think that I have definitely decided to go, and have to start this summer. Ugh, I graduate from USC May 14th and start PreMed at CU May 24th!!! I'm definitely a "professional student" :) , but I want to get started ASAP down this long road. Nonetheless, for those who have completed the program, do you know anything about the housing situation? They sent me some information, and I was wondering if it's worth living there or not? Also I'm not AMAZING at math and science and have to work really hard to get good grades, which is fine, but are the prof's willing to help, are they friendly? Also...I looked on the website and it said it can take three years to complete the program, is this typical of how long it takes? I plan to go straight through, including summers, and am hoping it takes only a max of two years, because if it's three years I'll be 25 when I apply to med school!!! :( (No offense to older applicants, I just should have been pre-med in college and am now upset with myself for this extra added expense and time) And one more Q. I am OBSESSED with completing my MD at Columbia, and am wondering if they are open to admitting students from the pre-med program. For those who have completed it, have some students been admitted to CU? I realize admission is dependent on many factors, but overall are at least post-bacs from CU admitted?

    Any answers would really help me out. Thanks!!!
     
  12. lolli

    lolli Member
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    Hey all you future Columbia Post-Bacs,
    There are a couple of topics that could be helpful to you - things I did that really boosted my performance there, and things I wish I had known before I started:
    1. Get any kind of academic preparation that you can *before* you get there. If this means auditing a G Chem, physics, calc or O Chem class over the summer before you get there, DO IT. It wil help you so much just to hear the information before you actually ahve to work for grades. Pick you weakest subject and get some extra help before you start. I did this with both calc and O chem, and I seriously wish I had done it for G chem and physics too. Ususally profs are really nice about letting you audit like that - don't try to go through the administrtion because they will most likely say no. I sat in on clsses at the state school in my home state (CA) which was great since it was slower and more basic - I really had a chance to make sure I had a strong foundation in a couple subjects. Community colleges are great for this too.
    2. Once you are there - seek out and use ALL of the resources available to you. The profs are excellent if you go and speak with them during office hours. Don't be shy, it is their job to teach you. If you don't understand something, ask for help. Grad students are great too - especially in Columbia's Chem dept. Make a nuisance of yourself, go to all of their open hours, go to multiple sections, get the info you need. Find the T.A. who teaches in the style that works for you, and attach yurself to their section, or their office hours, even if you aren't officially one of their students. It is totally ok to jump between discussion sections and go to review sessions with other TA's. I have some strong opinions about specific profs, so take them for whatever you want to take them for:
    Physics: I LOVED prof. Tuts. He is excellent, thoughtful, clear and concise. His office hours can be scary because he asks you to work out problems in front of everyone - but he will guide you through it if you don't understand. Besides being a wonderful teache, he is at the top of his field and working on some groundbreaking stuff. Once you find out who he is, you might be a little star-struck. He usually teaches the day section of gen. physics.
    GChem: Prof. Fine did not do it for me at all. This was my LEAST favorite class, and I think about 75% had to do with Prof. Fine's teaching. I highly recommend taking another section if you can. I think that he is pretty burned out on teaching.
    Calc: Prof Simring is excellent, enthusiastic and a wonderful teacher. He will make you love math, like you never knew possible. He is totally dedicated to teaching, and will be there for you with any struggles you have. Just don't expect to sitthrough class and passively learn - he will make you partiocipate, which is the best way to learn, I think.
    Biology: Dr. Mowshowitz is an amazing woman, and her class is wonderful. She has been teaching for quite a while, and really knows how to make the material accessible to you. She was one of my all time favorites. I went to her office hours all the time and it was soooo worth it. You can sit in on both her day lecture and evening one (she gives the same one twice each day the class meets) If repetition does it for you, this is a great way to learn. Hear the lecture first, read the chapters, then go back to hear the lecture a second time to make sure you got it right. I looved her class, it really made me excited for med school, since all of the first yea stuff is so abstract. You are actually talking about human bodies. So much more interesting than physics and g chem.
    Orgo: Prof. Virginia Cornish wins hands down for me. She was the best teacher I have ever had, including undergrad and MPH. She is an incredible teacher. she has a way of pushing you to learn and supporting you at the same time. Sometimes she uses the socratic method, which can be scary, but is also kind of exciting. Her office hours are great, she will meet with you privately if you want. Come prepared, do the work, be a dillegent student, and you will get so much from her class. Organic Chem is really a new language, once it clicks, it clicks. It really was my favorite class. And a good 90% of the was because of the wonderful Dr. Cornish.
    Also, a lot of people talk about how competative Columbia is - this is true. A lot of it has to do with the tone set by the Columbia Undergrads. They are all totally gunners, and have made it to the top, ivy league education because of this. they are really really good talented students. But they are also really young, and they don't know what camaraderie can do for them. This is where the post-bac smarts come in for you. Your fellow post-bacs are your greatest resources. Make friends, make study groups, share information. YOu shouldn't feel competative with them, they are your allies, your supporters. If they do well you should be happy for them, and ask for their help on things you don't understand, help them out too. There are so many stusents at Columbia. Helping eachother out is not going to make the curve harder, or bring your scores down. It will be worth it to make a strong network. Feel the love. yeah. I'll get off the soapbox now.
    Ok, as far as housing goes, I was lucky enough to get a fabulous deal through columbia - but it was becaus I moved with my woman, and we qualify as a couple, even though we aren't allowed to get legally married (yet). SO, it was really worth it, for a beutiful, spacious, affordable columbia married student apartment. If you have a partner, move with him/her. Otherwise, you are taking a chance of getting stuck with bad roommates, unles you geta a studio. Columbia's housing system is a little funky, and you might not get to meet your housemates before you move in. which can make things hard. The columbia apartments vary widely - I've seen crappy ones, and beautiful ones. It all depends. There are some good deals in the neighborhood, so you might just want to look for a place on your own. also the other post-bac's often have rooms in their apartments that they post notices about.
    I would highly recommend taking a couple of weeks off, if you can. You will run the risk of getting burned out by the time you make it throughb the first semester. It is a really hard program, and you need a little reserve of rest, calm and inner peace to draw upon.
    This brings me to my next point: I really really really recommend taking up yoga while you are a post-bac. It saved me. There is a great studio on 106th and Broadway called Life in Motion. They sometimes have student deals for class cards. I really do think that I would have gone crazy if I hadn't have had some sense of balance in my life through yogs. You need somewhere to go to to escape the stress and pressure of the program. Yoga, dance, running, any kind of physical excersize that works for you. Just make sure it is part of your daily routine. I can't tell you what a difference it makes. You absolutely HAVE to make some time to take care of yourself and your body during the program, so that you can make it through. The stress is really hard on your body, and will effect your ability to learn and retain information if you don't take care of yourself.
    Also, about money. Expect the application process to cost A LOT. There is no help either. You, and your parents have to be below the poverty level to get a fee waiver. Each application costs between $150-$250. Then, if you have to travel for your interviews, you have plane tickets, transportation and hotels to deal with. So just plan on it for the future.
    Get involved with a project that is inetersting for you. Do it early on, so that you can actually have some responsibility by the time your applications are going out, and you can get letters of rec. Volunteering in the ER is nice and all, but there are some really phenomenal research projects going on, some great community clinics, and wonderful priovate practices that take post-bacs as volunteers, or even for paid part time workers. It is a really good thing to be working on a project you are about, so that you have some link to the outside world and the medical field during your post-bac years. Making the time for volunteering will really be worth it
    Last, but not least, believe in yourself and the reasons you are doing this. Stay in toch with what drives you, what motivates you, what you are passionate about. Be confidant, be human. Don't let the fact that you decided to go to med school later in life psych you out. Doubtless, you have learned a lot from your past experiences, and it will make you a better physician in the future.
    Good luck to all.
    Lolli
     
  13. kittieruby

    kittieruby Member
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    Wow thanks Lolli for all of that info! I am going to print out your response so use a resource while at CU.

    I just had two more qs...
    1. CU doesn't post anything about where the post-bacs end up for medical school. Since you've completed the program, from what you know, what was the general acceptance rate like? And what kinds of schools did people end up in? Top schools?

    2. Does the program really take 3 years to complete? It says so online, and I'm hoping that's not the case?

    Thanks for your time and answering these qs! You've been so helpful! :laugh:
     
  14. lolli

    lolli Member
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    Hey again,
    Columbia Post-Bac acceptance rate to med school is a bit of a tricky issue. A lot of people drop out mid-way. I think that there is a thread somewhere on SDN about this. Check older posts. I personally know a couple of Columbia post-bacs who haven't gotten in yet, and a couple who dropped out to finish up at other schools, or to move on to other fields. That doesn't really say anything though. As far as specifics about schools - another tricky issue. People don't really like to talk about it at this point in the game - which makes me sad, since we are all in it together, and all have felt the dissapointment of being rejected by at least one school, if not twenty. My friends and I have been offered acceptances at a very wide range of schools - basically schools that fit us as individuals. It hasn't had much to do with being a Columbia Post-bac. Friends who have gotten into the ivy league med schools got there bcause their MCATs were AMAZING, and their grades rocked. I got into CA schools because I am a CA resident, and I also have a lot of experience working in diverse CA communities, and I have solid grades and scores. It's all about your scores and your personal experience. Only the linkage schools care about what post-bac program you come from. Also, you won't have any extra edge at Columbia P&S by being a Columbia post-bac. Sadly, don't even think about applying to Columbia P&S if you have lower than a 32 MCAT. They won't even look at you application unless you have an extremely compelling story, or great MCATs.
    The program really will take three years in total if you haven't done any of the pre-med classes. The only way to cut a year out is to apply to link to one of the linkage schools. You will have to make this decision in November or December of your Orgo/Bio year (2nd year), and if chosen to link you will start med school the following fall. You can only apply to link to one school, so it will have to be one you would be psyched to go to, and forgo your chance of getting into other schools. Check the website for the linkage schools. I didn't want to do this because I wanted to go home to CA, and also, my grades from the first year of post-bac weren't that hot. It's really competative to apply to link, and your grades in the first year count for a lot on the linkage application. So if you really want to cut a year out, start thinking about linking.
    You basically have to do your Orgo/Bio classes together, which takes one ful year. You have to have done G Chem to get to Orgo and Bio, so unless you can do this over the summer, you won't be able to jump right into Orgo/Bio year. Also, you have to take the MCAT the April before you apply, and you have to have physics for the MCAT. You could do physics over your second summer and take the August MCAT, but this would be a bad idea for a lot of reasons. Mostly, your applications would get in really late. So really, the curriculum that Columbia lays out for you is the best plan if you haven't done any of the pre-med courses yet. You might want to think about a different program (like Goucher, Scripps or Bryn Mawr) if you are set on taking 2 years. They are good too, but very different.
    Good luck with everything.
     
  15. saucysocks

    saucysocks Junior Member
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    wow it's been fun reading this discussion... i am a Columbia post-bac grad as well and I had a great experience there! i dont really have much to add. it seems everything important has been said. I was there from 1999 to 2002 and I'm not sure if that was during the dread days of bad advisors. I actually had a fine experience with my advisor so who knows.
    I do know one girl who did the program in a year and a half... she had taken bio as an undergrad, did G-chem/physics during the school year then did orgo over the summer and took the Aug MCAT. She got into school too. I would never recommend this though. plus which, she missed out on Dr. Moschowitz's bio and, without a doubt, that had been a class that carried me far. I was well prepared for med school thanks to her. I had Dr. Cornish too and honestly, I had a really hard time in her class. I didn't realize how much I got out of it though until 2nd semester (taught by who? I cant remember...) and all those in Dr. Cornish's class had already covered all the material on the first exam. We were so far ahead!
    I chose Columbia b/c it was competitive, both in the day to day and in the whole application process. It might sound silly but I felt like I kinda needed the Columbia name in order for med schools to take me seriously (i really messed up as an undergrad and needed to redeem myself). The academic environment actually inspired me. It's the place for you if you thrive on challenge, for sure.
    ANYWAY, good luck! I think it was a great experience and I definitely got what I wanted out of it. go tinto med school and got to live in NYC for a couple years.
    The only thing hanging over my head is the debt... oh well
     
  16. kittieruby

    kittieruby Member
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    Wow thanks you guys for the info! I looked online at the linkage programs, and I guess I would love to try for Brown! It's interesting that it's not top ten, I never knew that, considering its Ivy Leage standing.

    I looked at Bryn Mawr's post-bac program, but do you know, to start in the summer, it's probably too late to apply now right? Ideally, I'd like a shorter program, if only for the expense as factor as well. But I'm sending in my deposit to CU and am definitely going to start there this summer if it's too late for Bryn Mawr. I have to start with all of those intro courses into chem and calc. Ugh, they don't even count in the long run, but I don't want to get killed come fall, no matter what post-bac I end up committing too.

    Well thanks again! :D
     
  17. jeantm

    jeantm Member
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    saucysocks: glad to hear you too had a great experience at Columbia. I was wondering about what the average debt load is after 3yrs (no parental contribution etc all on one's own)? Just out of curiosity were you able to have any life while in the program? Did you live in college housing or on your own, take any classes before taking them at CU (audit at community college etc)? I really appreciate any advice you can offer...

    lolli; I noticed the med school admissions stats on their website but they were from 1997-1998, and was a tiny bit concerned about the # going only to link schools or NY schools (I am a NJ resident). I was wondering if you know if students become NY residents while in the program (I am legally independent so I would technically be moving to NY for next three years)? YOu mentioned that CU is very different from Bryn Mawr..how would you compare the two (other than the difference in time which doens't mean much to me)--- I appreciate absolutely any insight you have! Also how much time did you have for volunteering etc while in the program, and what is in my opinion really important how much time did you have with your partner????...was she able to live in couples housing w/you b/c she too went to CU or is that not necessary...how was the environment in terms of accepatence etc, (also if you don't mind was the rent per person or a monthly total you two split....aka is it cheaper to live in CU housing or not (expense wighed out by convenience)...also was it extra to stay in the summer and winter breaks? Thank you for all the info on profs I am keeping it for future reference next year! much luck hearing from med schools


    Again thank you so very much for all your helpful responses
     
  18. lolli

    lolli Member
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    Columbia housing is great if you can get in as a couple. You pay rent on the whole apartment - it's up to you if you split it etc. Our finances are completely shared, so we didn't think about it like that. But it could be feasible for you to get together with a friend and claim to be a couple if you really thought it would be worth it - in my experience, it would be worth it if you didn't mind jumping through some hoops. They have some pretty strict guidelines for determining if you are domestic parnters though - shared bank account, shared lease on an apartment, shared bills - so this would only work if you really did have someone you had lived with for a while. Hey, if you plan ahead, it could work. There is no rule that you have to actually be romantically involved! My partner was/is not affiliated wth Columbia in any way - we got housing becasue I was a student. It was definately cheaper to live in married student housing, by far. We paid $1050 for a gigantic one bedroom. People crapped in their pants when they came to visit, they couldn't believe it. Housing in NY is VERY expensive, and hard to find. It was really really really convenient to live around the corner from campus. Don't underestimate how draining it is to commute on the subway everyday. I do it now, and it really sucks. I'd say, get Columbia housing by any means possible.
    As far as acceptance goes, I am assuming you mean lack of homophobia? It IS New York, so anything goes. People are used to seeing everything here. The only thing that sucks is street harassment - I think that it just comes with the territory of just being a woman on the streets of New York though. You get hassled all the time, especially when it is warm out. (What is UP with that?!!) And if you happen to be two attractive, feminine women, obviously a couple, you get hassled even more. Sometimes men will say really funny things, and you have to just laugh i utter disbelief. You can thank the L Word for feeding into straight men's fantasies about lesbians, and being in the middle! I have never felt unsafe on the streets of New York though, as a woman, as a lesbian. There are so many people out all the time. You just get your asskicking attitude on, and people leave you alone. As far as campus acceptance goes, it was never an issue. There is not so much queer visibility at CU, but I wasn't there for that, so I didn't miss it. Really, I was just there to study, and I made friends with people who embraced their inner nerd, and spent all their time in the library like I did. It was great.
    As far as debt goes, expect a lot. Columbia is not cheap, and there is no financial aid. I did it all on loans, including living expenses, no parental contribution, and it put me back about $60,000. AND, you can only get stafford loans your first year, if you took them out in undergrad, so you will be taking out a considerable amount in private loans, which sucks because you can't consolidate them with the gov't loans.
    One of the nice things about doing an MPH at Columbia during your lag year is that you will be able to defer your loans while you are still in school. AND the Public health school has great financial aid. Something to consider if you are interested in public health at all. You should make yourself a budget and be realistic about how much it is going to cost. Check the fin. aid website for their estimates of student budgets. Or call Skip Bailey at the School of General Studies. He's a great resource.
    As far as residency goes, it all depends on where you want to go to school. Becoming a NY resident is a good idea if you will be applying to NY state schools, especailly because there are so many. But it is not so bad to be from NJ, since UMDNJ only takes NJ residents. You will have a great shot at getting in there from Columbia Post-bac. You should base your decision on where you want to go to med school. The more you have decided about all of this before you start, the better off you will be at making it all work for you.
    I don't know too much about Bryn Mawr, except that you are with only post bacs. This really affects the tone of the program, for better or for worse. I suppose it depends on who is there with you. It is also much more compressed, and stressful right, since you do it all in one and a half years? I have a friend wo went to Goucher's program, and she said it was totally crazy, the whole time!
    I'm happy to answer any other questions about Columbia that you might have later. I know how mysterious and confusing it all seems.
    Lolli
     
  19. lolli

    lolli Member
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    Sorry, I forgot to answer one of your questions!
    Re: Time with girlfriend - hardly any at all. We basically spent one morning a week together, not counting coming home at night and waking up in the morning! We wouldn't have made it through if we hadn't have had a really strong, supportive relationship of 3 years before I started the post-bac. It was really tough. We had to make a real effort to find time together, and to let go of everything else for the couple of hours we had together each week. Most of my friends, actually all of them in the program who were in relationships in the beginning split up by the end. It put too much strain on their relationships - your focus really does have to be on school, and unless you have a partner who can handle this, and a very open, communicative relationship, it will not be easy.
    That said, a lot of people had great flings, and dated not so seriously. New York is great for dating - so many young, beautiful, smart people around! It's hard to build a serious relationionship when you are so consumed with school though. I was/am really really lucky to have the partner that I have. The support, grounding, and utter love that she gave me was what really got me through the program. :love:
     
  20. saucysocks

    saucysocks Junior Member
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    Hi again,
    yeah debt is the big issue with the Columbia program. I did it all on loans as well and came out with about $60,000 as well :( BUT, I'm in med school and loving the decision I made to go the Columbia! My loans are through Citibank and so far I've had great experiences with them... both in getting forebearence during my lag-year abd in-school deferrments thru med school. They're rumored to be good with deferrment through residency too.
    As far as living arrangements go, I lived in a non-Columbia apartment (1 bedroom) on the upper East side with my then boyfriend (now husband... see he stuck it out!). we paid 1200 for our place but it was SMALL.
    As far as time with the significant other, I found enough. Actually plenty. It seems so luxurious now that I'm in second year finals and, sheesh, haven't seen my husband in a couple days except in passing. But do be ready to give up most, but not all, of your weekends. You will get to know the Columbia library well, though I personally liked to study in the Architecture library...

    Oh, and last thing on residency issues... I was in the same boat. I actually had lived away from my home state for six years (college plus post-bac) and really wanted to go home for med school (I am also financially independent from my parents) and I worked it out so that I could keep state residency because technically I was a student the whole time, kept my home state driver's license and voted there (did away ballots)... they seemed to accept that as proof.
    good luck!
     
  21. jeantm

    jeantm Member
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    lolli: Thank you so much for all your amazing responses (I had two exams this week so I apologize for the lack of response on my part). Congrats on staying together w/your girlfriend through it all...my partner is planning to relocate to NYC as well next year...so hopefully we can work housing out I imagine the commute will be a burden though my first year (sending the deposit in today!! harded decision since I am turning down a position in a neuroscience phd program and bryn mawr....but gotta follow your dreams to be happy so they say). That lack of time together sounds so hard to handle, and I was wondering if you don't mind answering but was your partner also a student (basically I am getting at do you think you would have had more time had she been a student and you could study together...or other way around and she was a student making it even more difficult in your opinion?). I am without looking forward to the change of environment from where I am (small liberal arts colllege...extremely close minded etc) to NYC....I'm definitley not picking CU for the social scene so not too worried about their student population etc..

    $60,000 in debt sounds to be the consensus, how much did you two borrow for living expenses (I actually have to go to Columbia to get them to approve my independent status, my undergrad already did but have to go through it again I suppose ..complicated etc) so I am a bit anxious about finances and how easy it is to get loans etc.

    saucysocks: congrats and you and your husband surviving and thanks for the info about how much free time you had. Glad to hear you made it to med school, b/c they don't post much about how people in the program fair in terms of med school admissions. I am excited to start the program and really glad you had a good experience with it to share! anything else you think I shoudl know would be much appreciated.

    Also I was wondering if either of you think I would have to take calculus in order to do well in physics ? I wanted to take a little lighter load the first semester to get used to the transition.... Also how about volunteering any tips...do many students hold jobs at the same time? So many questions I know, thank you again so much! take care jeantm
     
  22. lolli

    lolli Member
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    hey jeantm,
    my partner was a grad student through all of my post-bac years. I think that this made it a LOT easier for both of us, since we were both toally absorbed with what we were doing, and both had a lot on our plates. I think that it would have been a lot harder to have one of us in school and the other working. Life is just so different when you are in school, and neither of us felt let down when the other one had a hot date with her books in the library.
    Re: borrowing for living expenses - I definately borrowed more than they alloted for living expenses. I actually had my budget increased in order to do this. I don't remember how much I had it increased, but it was a considerable amount.
    Also, depending on how much and how recently you have studied math, calculus might not be necessary for physics, although i would suggest taking calc as soon as possible to get it out of the way. it just gets complicated later as far as scheduling goes. physics requires a lot of algebra, and it is nice to be in the mathmatical mindframe when you get rolling with spacial relationships.
    good luck with your partner moving to NY. It is really really a good thing to have support through the post-bac program.
     
  23. LilyMD

    LilyMD Senior Member
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    :confused: I heard the Columbia program is shifting to 3 years now? I can't imagine that this will affect anyone who applies now or before a shift, but I really would like to know if anyone knows if this is true? And if it is true, why this shift? :confused:
     
  24. postbaccer

    postbaccer Junior Member

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    Hi. Sorry, this isn't really a reply to your question, but since you all seem to have gotten into the program, I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about the admissions process. How competitive is it to get in? I'm planning on applying to Columbia within the next three weeks, and would like to start there in the Fall. What are their acceptance rates like? Is it really late in the process to apply? What are the most important factors? Thanks!
     
  25. starkid

    starkid Member
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    in addition to the post above, has anyone heard back from the columbia summer admissions people? i sent my application in about a week before the deadline which was 5/1.
     
  26. jeantm

    jeantm Member
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    postbaccer: I don't think it is very hard to get into, and I heard within three weeks of submitting my application. Try a search on this board, that is where I found tons of information about the CU program.


    LilyMD; I was under the impression that it is and has been a 3 year program if you don't opt for linkage. Since it is 2 years of classes then the 3rd year is for the glide year when you are applying..............please correct me if I am mistaken
     
  27. LilyMD

    LilyMD Senior Member
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    Jean, I don't think program usually factor in the glide year when computing how long they are. For example, if you don't opt for the glide year at Bryn Mawr or Goucher, it would be a two-year program, but they specifically describe themselves as one-year programs. Plus, I don't think you can define a glide year as part of the program. I would think part of the program includes classes and requirements that are part and parcel of the program. A glide year is just a fact-of-life for non-traditional premeds who don't have the luxury of linkages. I heard that the program would be shifting to a 3-year program - in that the program itself and classes associated with the program would be spread out over 3 years.
     
  28. starkid

    starkid Member
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    does anyone know how columbia sends their acceptance letters? i remember reading somewhere that someone received their letter FedEx. I called them and they said the decision was made yesterday... I was just wondering how long i had to wait. do they send their acceptance letters overnight or priorty mail? or just the regular ground?

    i figure the length of time the letter gets back to me will let me know their decision. thanks.
     
  29. jeantm

    jeantm Member
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    starkid: i got my decision by fedex, and by the way if you get in would you mind posting when (dates) summer PPS is being held (if you get in they should give you dates for a program planning session). Good luck!!! hopefully you have fantastic news coming any day.
     
  30. starkid

    starkid Member
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    hey again. do you know if it was fedex express or ground? i'm so anxious to know the decision i feel like i'm going to explode. :(

    i should've sent off the form weeks before i did. errrrrrrrr
     
  31. jeantm

    jeantm Member
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    I think it was fedex express, hopefully you have a package waiting for you today or tomorrow!
     
  32. quartertone

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    Hi all,
    If you are referring to the Columbia post-bacc program starting this summer, you should have already received your decisions. The PPS was, in fact this past Thursday (I was there! Anybody else from this forum?) I think there is another, more complete, "orientation" in late August for both the summer post-baccs and those starting in the Fall. I did meet one Fall-starting post-bacc who attended thurshay's PPS, so I'm not sure if everyone was meant to attend it, and if all the decisions went out.

    starkid: if you haven't already, you should probably give the Post-bacc admissions office a call and simply ask if you've been admitted. There's really no harm in doing so.. if you've been admitted, they can't decide to reject you for being too nosy/pushy, and if you've not been accepted, then there's nothing to lose!

    cheers,
    Q
     
  33. postbaccer

    postbaccer Junior Member

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    Thanks, jeantm!

    Another question, for anyone who knows: Do postbacc programs and medical schools expect you to be working part-time while taking classes? It seems as if you would have some extra time taking only two classes (e.g. chem and physics) a semester. It would be nice to have that extra time to study, but of course, extra money would be nice too. Another consideration, also, is whether med schools would think your load was too easy? Or maybe because you're taking chem AND physics together, that's heavy enough? I have no idea how time consuming these classes are, really. Any thoughts? Thanks!
     
  34. quartertone

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    Postbaccer: As I understand it, they don't exactly expect you to be working. Rather, they expect or at least recommend that you participate in a medical volunteer program. Depending on your class schedule and how much free time you want to give up, you may be able to squeeze in a part-time job. I haven't started the program yet (start next week), so i don't know about what the workload might feel like.

    As far as the medical schools' perspective of the workload, I think that if they generally expect to see you do well academically while participating in a volunteer program.

    But that's probably something your advisor would be better equipped to answer.

    cheers
    q
     
  35. starkid

    starkid Member
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    i still haven't received my decision letter.. but i called them on thursday and they told me that they made a decision the day before. (I applied 3 days before the 5/1 deadline and my material was received by them on 5/3.) when i tracked my application online the once blank "application document requirement tracking" under "financial aid" had material on the page. it says that "FAFSA" and "Planned Enrollment Form" are missing. Does anyone have this on their tracking page? do they make everyone fill out the FAFSA form or only admitted students? Does anyone know about the "Planned Enrollment Form"? Thanks.
     

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