bipolardoc

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Jun 24, 2008
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I was wondering how do students afford post baccs. They are so expensive and you cant work if you want to do really good in them so you need to consider cost of living, I mean that can total to 30k+ plus per year. How do non trads afford this, all loans or what? What types of loans are out there for post baccs and does it cover all expenses?

Dont you guys think it is a big gamble taking expensive post baccs. ex: Columbia, Harvard Ext. without knowing if you will even get in? Doesnt this eat out your med school loan money if you take out federal loans due do the stafford max limit?

And finally, what have post baccs who didnt get in first time around do in between applying? What type of jobs? How do employers see this (ex: absence for professional work to go get a non-degree with the focus of getting you into medical school.

Thanks guys :thumbup:
 

ruraldr

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Oct 19, 2007
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Have you considered taking your classes as a 5th year student at a local state school?

I applied to both the formal post-bacc programs and my local state school (in an informal post-bacc to be able to take classes as a 5th year). I got into all of the programs and decided that the cost of the formal programs wasn't worth it for me.

I have taken my pre-reqs at my state school. The price has been low enough that I haven't had to take loans and I was able to continue doing my full time job while taking 8-12 credits a quarter. It was busy and at times exhausting, but allowed me to continue to support myself and get the classes I needed done.

Although formal post-bacc programs probably have nicer advising opportunities and more students in the same boat as you, I relied on my undergraduate school's med advising (and of course SDN)... and found very friendly undergrads to study with.

Now that I'm done with classes until med school and in the midst of the application process I can't say that I regret the choice I made...
 

nontrdgsbuiucmd

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Mar 28, 2008
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too much uncertainty for me to consider one of those "pricey" programs, + no way I'd risk losing residency in my home state for public med school pricing purposes. Decided to go the public school route instead, many of my classmates did this while working part time, I did it fulltime, fast, rather than part time + work fultime.

I disagree with the adcomm sentiment that premeds with less than stellar gpa (which seems to be those under 3.75 or so) and less than stellar mcats, etc should attend a formal postbacc and compete against M1s. What's tough to say is if there is enough competition that is well funded and can afford to do what I wouldn't do -- if I'm competing against a candidate w/similar stats who also completed a formal postbacc, rec'd additional counseling, gained lots more clinical hours, I'd guess I'm at a disadvantage of some sort. But for me, there IS a finite dollar limit to this investment (prior to being accepted).
 

fireflygirl

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Before I went into my post-bac, I was an investment banker so I spent a year before I went to my program saving up money through my company's match program. In addition, I was fortuante to get a loan from my parents but I know many people that were on financial aid or had taken out loans while in the post bac. In addition, because I was near some major hospitals that were affiliated with my program, I started working full time and used the tuition reimbursement philosophy to the max. It took me longer than I wanted to get through but at least I hardly owed anything to my parents at the end of it. It can be done! I would consider looking at a 401K if you have one as many of your retirement funds can be used towards your education - just make sure you work through with an accountant or financial planner so you know exactly what loopholes you can get through with such things. Also, explore the possibilities the school where your post bac is going to be has for students in need of financial assistance and finally check out if you can gain valuable clinical experience on the side and have them pay for your post bac simultaneously.
 

chocolaterie

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Oct 31, 2008
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hmm.. finding a job at the school to qualify for free tuition? at least that's what I did... but i'm not doing a full course load.
 

Ishiguro

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Aug 20, 2008
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This is an interesting topic. I am applying to a handful of formal programs, but I have also set up a phone conversation with the pre-med adviser at my state university (I didn't go there undergrad) to talk about whether it would be possible to complete the requirements in 12-15 months there instead. For someone with a strong undergrad GPA (i.e., I'm not trying to fix a low GPA, just trying to really ace the pre-med sequence) and a lot of self-motivation, does it make ANY sense to do a formal program? I love the idea of learning with a community of non-traditional students (I'm 26 years old with a human rights background), but if I can continue to do meaningful volunteer work and maybe also get in on research on my own, what would the purpose of a formal program be? I don't have debt now, and I would like to put that off as long as possible.

Working at a university and taking advantage of tuition remission is a great idea, if you have two years to do the requirements and can find a meaningful job. I wish I knew I wanted to do this while I was working at a university-affiliated think tank! That said, you do pay tax on tuition benefits. The math is complicated, but it really adds up if you take classes at a private university, so look carefully at that option. University benefits are often pretty good, though, so it could be a great move.
 

sunny1

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Jan 13, 2007
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Ditto to pps - I wouldn't personally consider a formal postbacc program due to the cost, so instead I did informal postbacc. Took classes bit by bit. Old job would reimburse up to a certain amount per year (the rest I paid out of pocket, though you can do loans). Current job is at the university, so I get 75% tuition reduction - sweet!

The largest tradeoff imo is that with full-time work (what I've done the whole time) you obviously don't have as much time to dedicate to your studies, which really should be #1 priority at this point.

So I'd recommend part-time work + part-time studies as an ideal match in my situation; I just never followed my own advice. I didn't have enough classes left to complete that I would ever have needed to attend school FT.
 

gman33

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Aug 18, 2007
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To answer the money question, you can get $10500 in federal loans as a postbacc student. A lot of schools have private loans on top of that if you need more money. If you enroll as a second degree student, you have other options as well.

For formal vs informal program, it's really up to you. Med schools won't care. Go where you think you will do best and where you can afford.
 

ChairmanMao

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Jun 25, 2008
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Savings and loans. You can work hard and save up for the rainy days (like right now) and you can also borrow a couple of thousand dollars for post-bac. I recommend using savings to pay off post-bac tuition if you only have a couple of pre-req classes and using loans if you plan on enrolling in a formal post-bac.
 

Kate6058

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Apr 13, 2007
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Dont you guys think it is a big gamble taking expensive post baccs. ex: Columbia, Harvard Ext. without knowing if you will even get in? Doesnt this eat out your med school loan money if you take out federal loans due do the stafford max limit?
Just so you know, the Harvard Extension program is actually quite cheap ($900 for a course w/lab right now) and you can take a max of like $6K a semester in loans up to a year (of course this can be spread out to cover expenses). Cost of living in Boston isn't cheap, but it's still nowhere near the expense of Columbia or some of the other big name programs.
 

wepio

10+ Year Member
Jul 19, 2008
238
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Status
Pre-Medical
I was wondering how do students afford post baccs. They are so expensive and you cant work if you want to do really good in them so you need to consider cost of living, I mean that can total to 30k+ plus per year. How do non trads afford this, all loans or what? What types of loans are out there for post baccs and does it cover all expenses?

Dont you guys think it is a big gamble taking expensive post baccs. ex: Columbia, Harvard Ext. without knowing if you will even get in? Doesnt this eat out your med school loan money if you take out federal loans due do the stafford max limit?

And finally, what have post baccs who didnt get in first time around do in between applying? What type of jobs? How do employers see this (ex: absence for professional work to go get a non-degree with the focus of getting you into medical school.

Thanks guys :thumbup:
I'm an engineer right now and when I first went back to school, I had to move cities and my last boss let me do little projects from home. This helped because all of my 1st year pre-req's (biology and chemistry) were in the morning and after noon, four days a week. After that first year, I started working at a firm in the summer and started saving some money. Fortunately, nearly all of my classes since have been at night. It's not easy, but that's what it takes - work all day, class in the evening, and studying all night and through the weekend. When I couldn't get a certain class at night, I was able to schedule it during my lunch hour so that I can still work. My work doesn't know about it because I'm afraid I'll get canned if they find out. Most employers understand that you have a life outside of the office and are flexible as long as your work isn't compromised. This may mean a lot of "making up" on the weekends to meet deadlines. My employers only know that I'm taking classes for personal fulfillment.

As for the formal program, I read that it can be good or bad. It's nice because it's a strutured program, but you're absolutely right in that they're expensive and you're not guaranteed anything except a bill for tuition. I think it's just as good to take a "heavy" course load while working full-time and knocking out the grade. Heavy doesn't have to mean 15-credits. Because you're probably working fullitme, the adcoms are understanding and see that taking a couple of 4-cr upper div. sciences classes (ie. biochem and orgo I or II) and working all day is a jam-packed schedule.

BUT, I'm not an adcom, nor am I a typical SDN superstar. I'm just your average non-trad applicant who's learning all of this as he goes along. You certainly want to place yourself in the most competitive position as possible, but keep in mind there is a point of diminshing returns. We're not UG's anymore and can't afford the same luxuries we took for granted the first time around (ie. only going to school, racking up huge student debt, etc.)

Sorry if none of this is helpful, I hope at least a small amount of my rambling makes sense.