Jan 16, 2010
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Hi everyone,

I think I'm stuck in between a rock and a hard place. I really want to go to medical school, but I'm about 6 years post graduating college. My undergrad curriculum was pretty rigorous and in engineering, and I did well. I have since excelled in my career and have a well paying job that I like, but that I don't believe is my calling.

I have been admitted to Columbia's post bacc program, and have been taking a class at University of Maryland's Science in the Evening program, and have been doing relatively well. I'm also considering attempting a do-it-yourself type program through Georgetown (if I can figure out how).

I would love to live in NYC for a little while, and Columbia has such a good reputation. I have a friend who recently finished the program and has some very good things to say about it. But I am severely concerned about moving to NY, quitting my job (or taking a lengthy leave of absence), and trying to pay my mortgage in DC.

But Georgetown's postbacc program requires a student to take 24 credit hours, which I do not need. But I really would prefer having a high ranking name next to my coursework. I'm not finding UMD's coursework particularly challenging, but it's so time consuming that it is definitely affecting my work performance. I know have some leeway with my bosses about hours. And I really have to find some time to do volunteer work. All of this makes me feel as if I should consider just leaving my job and focusing on school and volunteer and just taking out loans to do all of this.

I really need some advice, as my time frame for making a decision is becoming smaller and smaller.

Thanks so much!
 

drizzt3117

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Columbia's program isn't great as formal postbacs go, to be totally honest. There are a lot of better programs out there. I'd just as soon do a DIY postbac at maryland or go to harvard extension which would be cheaper and better.
 
Mar 11, 2010
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Postbac is nothing to uproot yourself over, especially not with mortgage and other commitments. Not for Harvard Extension School, or Penn, or Bryn Mawr.

Make the postbac work around your constraints.
 
Jan 16, 2010
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Thanks for your thoughts! I really appreciate them!

I desperately need some more advice though. I like UMD's SIE program so far, and the coursework fits my work schedule. But I'm also exhausted doing both, and have yet to add volunteering/shadowing to my schedule. I also have yet to meet anyone who completed UMD's program and gone on to some top tier med schools successfully.

I looked at doing Georgetown classes on my own, but even with that program, as with Columbia, I don't see how I could do it and work at my current job. Both are expensive, but if they're worth it and will ultimately help me get into a better med school over UMD's program, I'd be willing to go for it. I only have 2 semesters of school (the orgo/bio series) and Chem II that I need to take. What I do like about Columbia' program is that Chem I and II labs, and Bio I/II and Orgo I/II labs are rolled into one. So it's less total classes (although just about as many credit hours). I also like the plethora of volunteer opportunities in that area.

But of course, I fear the costs, and having to rent out my place in DC.

Please I'd like some advice. I'm feeling very lonely right now.
 

drizzt3117

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Honestly, I would skip Columbia's program, especially since it sounds like it places a pretty big burden on you. They have a really high attrition rate anyways. I think if you did well at Maryland you'd be just fine applying to med schools.

Thanks for your thoughts! I really appreciate them!

I desperately need some more advice though. I like UMD's SIE program so far, and the coursework fits my work schedule. But I'm also exhausted doing both, and have yet to add volunteering/shadowing to my schedule. I also have yet to meet anyone who completed UMD's program and gone on to some top tier med schools successfully.

I looked at doing Georgetown classes on my own, but even with that program, as with Columbia, I don't see how I could do it and work at my current job. Both are expensive, but if they're worth it and will ultimately help me get into a better med school over UMD's program, I'd be willing to go for it. I only have 2 semesters of school (the orgo/bio series) and Chem II that I need to take. What I do like about Columbia' program is that Chem I and II labs, and Bio I/II and Orgo I/II labs are rolled into one. So it's less total classes (although just about as many credit hours). I also like the plethora of volunteer opportunities in that area.

But of course, I fear the costs, and having to rent out my place in DC.

Please I'd like some advice. I'm feeling very lonely right now.
 

mooshika

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Jan 13, 2010
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I was in the same position where I needed less credits than the post bacs offered in a formal program. It depends on what your needs are - more credits are good if you really need to raise your GPA. Otherwise do what I did - enroll in classes as an extension student at a nearby university with a good rep and profs that do research and can also write credible letters of recommendation, keep your job or don't. I enrolled in classes in summer school and took two classes each semester plus one lab each semester - that is a bear since the classes meet daily and a 12 week semester is crunched into five weeks - I took ochem and physics and gen chem - it was wild but I did well cause I didn't work at all for ten weeks and spent every waking moment doing chemistry till it was over. It was sort of fun in a perverted kind of way. A group of us formed and we studied together a lot and supported each other - all pre-med and pre-vet.

Then I jumped in the pool for two weeks till school started again! Make friends with your profs and go to office hours and make sure they get to know you - you have to step out to do this - to get good letters. I now tutor for two of my profs and they wrote me stellar letters.

Then I was a full time student in the fall - finishing a fast track accelerated BSN/MSN program, and I took my last semester of gen chem and basic biology and 3 labs while I finished the nursing program, then studied for the MCAT after I graduated and took it at the end of the summer after taking the EK prep course. That was last year, and I only applied to 2 schools cause I was not sure how I would do on the MCAT and I didn't want a poor score making the rounds. I got my scores back at the end of the September and interviewed at both schools, making the wait list at one.

My plan is to apply very broadly this year and I am getting ready to start the AMCAS app and finishing a new PS right now. I have good scores and I am fairly confident that I will be successful this year. I also started a new job at a Crisis and Assessment Center - kind of like an ED for Psych and substance abuse. I am interested in community medicine, psych, peds and possibly family medicine as long as I can get into a school that can offer decent financial assistance so I can actually afford to do these jobs!

I believe that the committees see that as proof (I also got a 3.95 GPA and A+'s in most of the classes) of my ability to do well academically under pressure - I was told as much in an interview several times.

As long as you can get involved in the college's pre-med committee/career advising office and get a committee letter, that is more important than having gone to a "formal" post bac program. I have a very good advisor and committee program where I took my post-bac classes. It has been a career saver. They also have a list serve and connect up to loads of volunteer and service opportunities.

In the end, it took me as long and almost as much money to get everything finished as it would have if I went to a Bryn Mar or Columbia type program. But I absolutely CANNOT see moving cities for a post bac program. Just not worth it. Its the committee letter that makes the difference. Having the backing of the university on your application is very important.

One thing I am doing this year is making a clear timeline of my academic and service schedule with grades for the past three years. It is difficult to put it all together by just looking at my transcripts and the AMCAS app. So for interviews I have a neat little packet I will bring with me - I think this makes a difference because you can really see what I accomplished in three years - a lot of hard work.

good luck!

m.


Thanks for your thoughts! I really appreciate them!

I desperately need some more advice though. I like UMD's SIE program so far, and the coursework fits my work schedule. But I'm also exhausted doing both, and have yet to add volunteering/shadowing to my schedule. I also have yet to meet anyone who completed UMD's program and gone on to some top tier med schools successfully.

I looked at doing Georgetown classes on my own, but even with that program, as with Columbia, I don't see how I could do it and work at my current job. Both are expensive, but if they're worth it and will ultimately help me get into a better med school over UMD's program, I'd be willing to go for it. I only have 2 semesters of school (the orgo/bio series) and Chem II that I need to take. What I do like about Columbia' program is that Chem I and II labs, and Bio I/II and Orgo I/II labs are rolled into one. So it's less total classes (although just about as many credit hours). I also like the plethora of volunteer opportunities in that area.

But of course, I fear the costs, and having to rent out my place in DC.

Please I'd like some advice. I'm feeling very lonely right now.
 

NTF

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The big name isn't worth the hassle. Getting A's at UMD will do the same job as A's at Columbia or Georgetown.
 

MacVA

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OP,

I was looking at UMD Science in the Evening Program when I used to live in DC. You should check out the posting history for RiceGrad05; he did his postbacc work in the same program and based on his history, he is clearly tearing up on the application/acceptance front.

Good Luck.
 

ArkansasRanger

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Feb 9, 2009
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If you can, keep your job, keep your house, and go to night school and take the classes you need. I would but can't so I'm having to quit mine and return to school for 14 months. That isn't good because I've got a good thing going on, and it would be extremely hard (read: damn near impossible) to return to my current position / rank. However, after two years of introspection I've come to terms with it. I would love, love, love for some college around here to offer a night class in organic chemistry and physics, but none do because of their size so it's off to my alma mater. I have to take four classes, but will likely take eight including electives and gen. chem. retakes (been nine years).