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How should I approach a DIY Post-bacc?

ChemTeachGuy

New Member
Jan 18, 2019
9
0
1
So I am currently about to enter my fourth year of teaching (entered through TFA) in North Carolina.
ECs in college: Leadership in college band (led 400+), worked as an EMT during the summers, Medical honor societies.
Post college: Teach for America: High School Science, HOSA Club advisor, school leadership positions, medical volunteer.

ECs are pretty good, so I am mainly worried about my GPA (particularly my sGPA). I am also worried about getting science faculty letters as it has been a while since I talked to my professors. Normal recommendation letters are no problem at all.

I graduated in 2017 with a degree in Biochemistry.
GPA: 3.59(9) that third 9 hurt when I saw it.
sGPA: 3.28

I got mostly A's and B's in science and math except for:
Calc 2 - C
OChem 2 - C+
Biochem 2 - C+
Physiology - C+ (don't ask)

I have yet to take the MCAT but, as I am teaching, plan to take it around January. Aiming for a 513+ (based on Goro's advice).

A four year college near me has a non-specific post-bacc that allows you to take both undergraduate and graduate level courses. What classes should I focus on? Undergraduate only? Graduate only?

They also have graduate certificates (12-15 credit hours each) in things like Bioinformatics: Applications (Genome) or Applied Ethics. Would these be worth my time?

I want to apply to just MD schools, but at least one of my state schools (UNC) is obviously out of reach.
 

akg0119

Full Member
Apr 29, 2020
248
459
66
  1. Pre-Medical
@ChemTeachGuy Two years ago I was in very similar shoes! I would recommend reading @Goro's "Guide to Reinvention", which is a great roadmap for what your next steps should be.

If you want to do a DIY postbac, you should take undergrad-level classes at your local four year college. (If the grad courses would be counted in your undergrad GPA, those would also work, but just make sure it's not counted as a separate graduate program.)
I do not believe the graduate certificates would help you at all.

From what I've learned from these forums: your sGPA right now is prohibitive for MD. How many courses would you need to take to bump that up? You may also want to consider a "Special Masters Program" (SMP). This is a high stakes "audition" for med school. It's a grad-level program that either gives you a certificate or a masters degree where you take medical school-level courses. Your SMP GPA is considered separately from your undergrad GPAs. Some SMPs also have linkages directly to their associated school (a linkage = either a guaranteed interview or potentially even an acceptance, if you clear a certain GPA and MCAT barrier).
 
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ChemTeachGuy

New Member
Jan 18, 2019
9
0
1
@ChemTeachGuy Two years ago I was in very similar shoes! I would recommend reading @Goro's "Guide to Reinvention", which is a great roadmap for what your next steps should be.

If you want to do a DIY postbac, you should take undergrad-level classes at your local four year college. (If the grad courses would be counted in your undergrad GPA, those would also work, but just make sure it's not counted as a separate graduate program.)
I do not believe the graduate certificates would help you at all.

From what I've learned from these forums: your sGPA right now is prohibitive for MD. How many courses would you need to take to bump that up? You may also want to consider a "Special Masters Program" (SMP). This is a high stakes "audition" for med school. It's a grad-level program that either gives you a certificate or a masters degree where you take medical school-level courses. Your SMP GPA is considered separately from your undergrad GPAs. Some SMPs also have linkages directly to their associated school (a linkage = either a guaranteed interview or potentially even an acceptance, if you clear a certain GPA and MCAT barrier).

Raising sGPA to a 3.4 would, assuming all A's, take 20 credit hours.
Up to a 3.5 would take 32 credits.
Up to a 3.6 would take 60, so out of reach.

Would a 3.4 put me in range of MD schools?
I could try for 3.5 but I will also be teaching full time so classes will be harder to register for.
Would taking 24 credits over the next year, while teaching full time, be enough to convince MD Schools? Or would my sGPA cause an algorithm to knock me off the list?

I do not know of any SMP programs around me in NC (Greater Charlotte area). My wife also teaches so money and moving is difficult.

Sad to hear the bioinformatics certificate would not help; seemed very interesting.
 
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akg0119

Full Member
Apr 29, 2020
248
459
66
  1. Pre-Medical
I think a 3.4 is still too low for MD, although it probably depends on your overall GPA trend. What are your GPAs for each year of undergrad? Defaulting to @Goro @gonnif on this.

I would also recommend being extremely careful with taking a full course-load AND teaching full time. You do not want to waste time or money on earning less than top grades, and at this point, it's very important to demonstrate your ability to medical schools. As Goro says, it's a marathon now, not a sprint!

Just rough calculations, I think what you would pay per credit for 32 credits would already equal the same amount you would spend for a SMP. If possible, it may be a good idea for you to take a year to focus either on a DIY postbacc or a SMP, without working full-time. I'm not sure if you would take a year off this fall - because of COVID, some SMPs are doing "hybrid" programs where you can do all the coursework remotely and live at home. I'm not sure if this would be the case next year too, but even if not, you may be able to find something within commuting distance. But if you have to work full-time at the same time as your coursework, I'm not sure I would recommend a SMP, it's too risky.
 
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Jun 11, 2010
66,993
2
102,984
276
Somewhere west of St. Louis
  1. Non-Student
So I am currently about to enter my fourth year of teaching (entered through TFA) in North Carolina.
ECs in college: Leadership in college band (led 400+), worked as an EMT during the summers, Medical honor societies.
Post college: Teach for America: High School Science, HOSA Club advisor, school leadership positions, medical volunteer.

ECs are pretty good, so I am mainly worried about my GPA (particularly my sGPA). I am also worried about getting science faculty letters as it has been a while since I talked to my professors. Normal recommendation letters are no problem at all.

I graduated in 2017 with a degree in Biochemistry.
GPA: 3.59(9) that third 9 hurt when I saw it.
sGPA: 3.28

I got mostly A's and B's in science and math except for:
Calc 2 - C
OChem 2 - C+
Biochem 2 - C+
Physiology - C+ (don't ask)

I have yet to take the MCAT but, as I am teaching, plan to take it around January. Aiming for a 513+ (based on Goro's advice).

A four year college near me has a non-specific post-bacc that allows you to take both undergraduate and graduate level courses. What classes should I focus on? Undergraduate only? Graduate only?

They also have graduate certificates (12-15 credit hours each) in things like Bioinformatics: Applications (Genome) or Applied Ethics. Would these be worth my time?

I want to apply to just MD schools, but at least one of my state schools (UNC) is obviously out of reach.
Your sGPAS is lethal for MD. Fine for most DO; beggars can't be choosy.

Read this:
 

ChemTeachGuy

New Member
Jan 18, 2019
9
0
1
Your sGPAS is lethal for MD. Fine for most DO; beggars can't be choosy.

Read this:
I read through your guide but, based on your "lethal" statement, have three questions:

My goal is a NC or SC schools, excluding UNC for obvious reasons. I went to the University of South Carolina. However, am willing to apply to as many as need be and anywhere (applying for all three branches HPSP scholarships, so tuition hopefully wont be an issue)

Would just a SMP give me a chance at an MD school? (low-mid tier)

It has been three years, soon to be 4 since I have taken any courses. Would a normal post-bacc program be best at this point instead of a SMP?

Or are you saying give up and apply DO only?

Also thanks for your honest advice.
 
Jun 11, 2010
66,993
2
102,984
276
Somewhere west of St. Louis
  1. Non-Student
I read through your guide but, based on your "lethal" statement, have three questions:

My goal is a NC or SC schools, excluding UNC for obvious reasons. I went to the University of South Carolina. However, am willing to apply to as many as need be and anywhere (applying for all three branches HPSP scholarships, so tuition hopefully wont be an issue)

Would just a SMP give me a chance at an MD school? (low-mid tier)

It has been three years, soon to be 4 since I have taken any courses. Would a normal post-bacc program be best at this point instead of a SMP?

Or are you saying give up and apply DO only?

Also thanks for your honest advice.
There are MD schools that reward reinvention. Chances for them will always be best with your state schools.

Given the relatively short time that has elapsed since you last took coursework, I lean away from a post-bac program. You could try dipping your toes back in the water by (re)taking some of the course subjects you feel weakest in. If you do poorly, you can stop there. If you do well, then consider knocking off the MCAT and then go for the SMP
 

ChemTeachGuy

New Member
Jan 18, 2019
9
0
1
There are MD schools that reward reinvention. Chances for them will always be best with your state schools.

Given the relatively short time that has elapsed since you last took coursework, I lean away from a post-bac program. You could try dipping your toes back in the water by (re)taking some of the course subjects you feel weakest in. If you do poorly, you can stop there. If you do well, then consider knocking off the MCAT and then go for the SMP

I shall start searching for those schools then, and take the steps you mentioned. Thanks so much for the advice!
 
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