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TheHand

New Member
10+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2007
2
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Hey everyone, this is my first posting on SDN, so forgive me if its a little long and complicated.

Alright, so here's my current situation: I'll be graduating in about a month from a state school here in CA w/ a BA in philosophy and haven't taken any of the prereqs for med school yet. I realize that I was late in deciding to pursue a career in medicine but nevertheless, after about a year and a half of soul searching and learning as much about the profession and requirements for med school as I can, I still want to become a physician.

I've met with the premed advisor on campus a few times, and she's told me that with my somewhat underwhelming overall gpa of 3.34 (will be slightly higher after I graduate), and with almost no science classes under my belt (none of the prereqs anyway), dreams of matriculating into an allopathic school sometime in the next couple of years, aren't complete fantasies, and she reaffirmed my decision to apply to postbaccs this coming fall or the next. She seemed to think it unlikely though, with the exception of maybe SFSU, that I get in anywhere except the really costly, really selective private programs, like Scripps or Mills, and that even these would be a stretch for me. I would like to get a sense for how accurate this info is though, so I just have a few general questions about these programs, and about premed stuff in general, that I would really appreciate getting feedback on, especially from students who are already enrolled at either Scripps, Mills, or SFSU.

1) How difficult is it to fund programs like these? What's the best way to do so? Will I be eligible for federal loans as a postbacc?
2) Just how selective are these programs? What do they look for in a candidate; that is, besides the obvious things like gpa, test scores, and relevant experience, what do they want to see, and how much do admissions officers weigh these factors individually? Based on my gpa, what kind of a chance am I looking at for getting into programs like Scripps or Mills or SFSU?
3) Finally, what's the quality of these programs like compared to one another? If it came down to it, and say I was accepted into all three, which one would be the best, why?
4)W/regards to SFSU. I've seen and heard different things about whether to do the formal program or the 2nd bacc option. What's the debate on this? Which one is the better option?
5)Also, I wanted to know what the general opinion about taking prereqs at community college is. I know that it would possibly disadvantage me to take all of the prereqs at a community college, but what about just taking gen chem I and II, and calculus at a community college before matriculating into a postbacc? would this hurt my chances when it comes time to apply to med school?

I know that this is a lot to ask, but I really appreciate any answers and/or advice that anyone is willing to give me. Thanks everyone!
 

NewmansOwn

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Dec 21, 2007
805
38
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
Hey everyone, this is my first posting on SDN, so forgive me if its a little long and complicated.

Alright, so here's my current situation: I'll be graduating in about a month from a state school here in CA w/ a BA in philosophy and haven't taken any of the prereqs for med school yet. I realize that I was late in deciding to pursue a career in medicine but nevertheless, after about a year and a half of soul searching and learning as much about the profession and requirements for med school as I can, I still want to become a physician.

I've met with the premed advisor on campus a few times, and she's told me that with my somewhat underwhelming overall gpa of 3.34 (will be slightly higher after I graduate), and with almost no science classes under my belt (none of the prereqs anyway), dreams of matriculating into an allopathic school sometime in the next couple of years, aren't complete fantasies, and she reaffirmed my decision to apply to postbaccs this coming fall or the next. She seemed to think it unlikely though, with the exception of maybe SFSU, that I get in anywhere except the really costly, really selective private programs, like Scripps or Mills, and that even these would be a stretch for me. I would like to get a sense for how accurate this info is though, so I just have a few general questions about these programs, and about premed stuff in general, that I would really appreciate getting feedback on, especially from students who are already enrolled at either Scripps, Mills, or SFSU.

1) How difficult is it to fund programs like these? What's the best way to do so? Will I be eligible for federal loans as a postbacc?
2) Just how selective are these programs? What do they look for in a candidate; that is, besides the obvious things like gpa, test scores, and relevant experience, what do they want to see, and how much do admissions officers weigh these factors individually? Based on my gpa, what kind of a chance am I looking at for getting into programs like Scripps or Mills or SFSU?
3) Finally, what's the quality of these programs like compared to one another? If it came down to it, and say I was accepted into all three, which one would be the best, why?
4)W/regards to SFSU. I've seen and heard different things about whether to do the formal program or the 2nd bacc option. What's the debate on this? Which one is the better option?
5)Also, I wanted to know what the general opinion about taking prereqs at community college is. I know that it would possibly disadvantage me to take all of the prereqs at a community college, but what about just taking gen chem I and II, and calculus at a community college before matriculating into a postbacc? would this hurt my chances when it comes time to apply to med school?

I know that this is a lot to ask, but I really appreciate any answers and/or advice that anyone is willing to give me. Thanks everyone!

I'm at Bryn Mawr, so I can't speak to the west coast specifically, but your GPA would probably keep you out of BM/Goucher and I'm imagining Scripps is no less competitive. 'Julietcf14' is a great person to talk to; she went to Scripps last year, but I haven't seen her on here in a while.

Funding is tricky. You can apply for Stafford loans as a '5th year undergraduate,' but you'll only get 10,500 for the year if you're independent and 5,500 if you're dependent -- the elite private programs cost about 20-25k, tuition-wise.

The quality difference between good and bad postbacs is stark. The good ones take care of you and offer some wonderful things like conditional med school acceptance, early linkage agreements and personalized advising and MCAT tutoring, as well as boasting near-100% acceptance rates to medical school. The bad ones are little more than a website and a contact person who will just throw you into the system and have you take the classes on your own. There's nothing wrong with this approach, except that it shouldn't be billed as a postbac program.

With your GPA, I'd say you'll need some impressive 'other' qualifications. Many postbacs look at your SAT score to determine if you're good at standardized test taking. Do you have an outstanding score? You'll need really impressive extracurriculars. Consider doing a lot of volunteering (preferrably with a clinical bent) and perhaps some research (in any field, really). If you interview well and can write something other than a boring, trite, self-indulgent, cliched personal statement...you'll have a chance.

I've have harsh words with people on SDN over the community college issue. The general consensus is that a few community college prereqs are fine so long as you legitimately didn't have the option to do them at a four-year college. That being said, a few medical schools will flat-out state on their websites that community college courses should be avoided. Nevertheless, students who did community college prereqs matriculate into medical school every year.

With regards to your specific California questions, I'm afraid I can't help you. There are plenty of Westcoasters here who can, however. Another good resource might be 'notdeadyet;' he's a new med school student (and mod here on SDN) who lives in California and took some community college prereqs.
 
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