Is doing my post-bacc in another country frowned upon?

Dec 18, 2020
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doing my diy post-bacc (upper level BPC classes) outside the US be a problem/look weird? I don't want to wait an extra few years to apply by doing the post-bacc work once I return home, but I also dont want to put myself in a worse situation GPA-wise by assuming schools will accept/acknowledge international transcripts (especially schools that do not accept international students - they might not even have a process for scale conversions). Again, I completed all the required/recommended courses in the US. This is purely additional work to show competence in undergrad science courses.

I am aware that foreign transcripts will not be used to calculate any of my gpas, so will not officially enter my stats

Someone suggested also calling some admissions offices to see what they say.

Any other advice?
 
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LizzyM

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As far as I know, US medical schools will NOT look at transcripts from abroad. Full stop. If it is not on a transcript from the US or Canada, it won't show up on your application at all. Save your money. Medical schools aren't going anywhere. If you still want to pursue an MD after you return to the States, a SMP might be the quickest way to qualify but it is an expensive gamble. If you do well, you may be admitted to medical school. If you do poorly, you have just sealed your fate and won't be moving on to medical school.
 
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YCAGA

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Hi!

My undergrad GPA slipped a lot due to some extreme circumstances (which is actually how I specified my interest in medicine!). But it's bad: across all undergrad transcripts c3.2, s2.9, but graduate 3.75 (MSc in NZ - converted from 9.0 scale using WES). I know graduate level stuff is calculated/weighted separately, and somewhat unprioritized.

I did all my required coursework in my undergrad days in the US. However, I'm looking to do a "diy post-bacc" purely to show an upward trend/improve my "absolute cumulative undergrad level GPA". Said extreme circumstances have been mainly sorted and I have every confidence in my ability to get high stats in my courses now and when I take the mcat. However, I'm still in NZ. And thanks to covid, I will be for some time. I'm doing other things (clinical, volunteering, virtual shadowing, etc.), but I have ample time to knock out some undergrad courses also.

My question is, will doing my diy post-bacc (upper level BPC classes) in NZ instead of the US be a problem/look weird or bad? NZ education is rated similarly to the US, but it's still 'not the US/what admissions knows well'. I don't want to wait an extra few years to apply by doing the post-bacc work once I return home, but I also dont want to put myself in a worse situation GPA-wise by assuming schools will accept/acknowledge international transcripts (especially schools that do not accept international students - they might not even have a process for scale conversions). Again, I completed all the required/recommended courses in the US. This is purely additional work to show competence in undergrad science courses.

I am aware that foreign transcripts will not be used to calculate any of my gpas, so will not officially enter my stats. Should that be enough to not consider doing this, given my stats? I'm also now worried they won't even look highly on my MSc/grad grades.

Someone suggested also calling some admissions offices to see what they say.

Any other advice?
Do you have permanent residency or, even better, citizenship in NZ? If so, do medical school in Australia. Australia is a better place to be a doctor than the US in basically every way. You might be extremely lucky to be one of the tiny fraction of people who can be a part of their system.

To answer your main question, you need to do a post-bacc in the US with such a low sGPA, and even then you probably are in DO SMP with linkage territory. Post-baccs are more for people with like a 3.3-3.5 sGPA. 2.9 is at the level of being barely recoverable for a DO school. This is all assuming you get 510+ on the MCAT. I am assuming you are not an URM, but if you are, that would change the advice.
 
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Do you have permanent residency or, even better, citizenship in NZ? If so, do medical school in Australia. Australia is a better place to be a doctor than the US in basically every way. You might be extremely lucky to be one of the tiny fraction of people who can be a part of their system.

To answer your main question, you need to do a post-bacc in the US with such a low sGPA, and even then you probably are in DO SMP with linkage territory. Post-baccs are more for people with like a 3.3-3.5 sGPA. 2.9 is at the level of being barely recoverable for a DO school. This is all assuming you get 510+ on the MCAT. I am assuming you are not an URM, but if you are, that would change the advice.
Hi! Thanks for your reply. Would you mind clarifying "DO SMP with linkage territory". Are SMPs for DO and MD different? Also not sure what you mean by linkage.
I am really trying to do MD, since DO is only considered a medical degree in the US.
 

YCAGA

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Hi! Thanks for your reply. Would you mind clarifying "DO SMP with linkage territory". Are SMPs for DO and MD different? Also not sure what you mean by linkage.
I am really trying to do MD, since DO is only considered a medical degree in the US.
Why can’t you go to medical school in Australia?
 

YCAGA

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Hi! Thanks for your reply. Would you mind clarifying "DO SMP with linkage territory". Are SMPs for DO and MD different? Also not sure what you mean by linkage.
I am really trying to do MD, since DO is only considered a medical degree in the US.
DO vs MD SMP just means what type of medical school the SMP is at, since an SMP takes medical school classes...that is what makes it "Special." MD is going to be a very difficult path if you can't get at least 515 on the MCAT and a near 4.0 in one of the top SMP's. Even then, it is a gamble. If you want to practice in NZ or AUS, I would look into Irish or Italian schools...just make sure they recognized in AUS and NZ. Also make sure that you are still high on the priority list for residency positions if you go to a foreign school, but have AUS/NZ PR or citizenship.

We really need to know where you want to practice though to give better advice. It sounds like not the US if you are worried about DO degrees not being recognized abroad (which actually is not always the case).
 
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Goro

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Hi! Thanks for your reply. Would you mind clarifying "DO SMP with linkage territory". Are SMPs for DO and MD different? Also not sure what you mean by linkage.
I am really trying to do MD, since DO is only considered a medical degree in the US.
I have a DO colleague in practice in NZ. Hasn't been an issue there.
 
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Banco

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As far as I know, US medical schools will NOT look at transcripts from abroad. Full stop. If it is not on a transcript from the US or Canada, it won't show up on your application at all. Save your money. Medical schools aren't going anywhere. If you still want to pursue an MD after you return to the States, a SMP might be the quickest way to qualify but it is an expensive gamble. If you do well, you may be admitted to medical school. If you do poorly, you have just sealed your fate and won't be moving on to medical school.
Purely out of curiosity, what about famous schools such as Oxford, Cambridge, Heidelberg etc. ?

You would really not trust that a student who excelled in a bachelors there would do well in medical school?

They would still be required to re-do the pre-req courses, even if it is at any rinky-dink university as long as it’s in the USA?
 

LizzyM

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Purely out of curiosity, what about famous schools such as Oxford, Cambridge, Heidelberg etc. ?

You would really not trust that a student who excelled in a bachelors there would do well in medical school?

They would still be required to re-do the pre-req courses, even if it is at any rinky-dink university as long as it’s in the USA?

A graduate of any university outside of the US would need to earn 90 credits either in undergraduate or graduate work in the US to be admitted to medical school in the US. I recall a Eastern European applicant with a PhD in biochem earned in the US or something like that... I'm not saying it makes sense, just that it is the way it is.
 
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YCAGA

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Who told you that?
It is a pretty common misconception. I know it especially is a misconception in some European countries where osteopaths are much more similar to chiropractors in terms of training and scope of practice, so European osteopaths definitely are not on the same level as physicians. The UN made their big decision on DO's practicing internationally in 2018, and I am not sure what the landscape was like before that. I got to an MD school so I am not very familiar with DO stuff.
 
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YCAGA

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Huh?
What makes you say that?
  • Very high pay as attendings/consultants
  • Very high pay as residents/registrars
  • Family/parental leave
  • Amazing work hours as residents/registrars
  • Lots of vacation as residents/registrars/consultants
  • Little to no nights as a consultant in specialities like EM and anesthesia which are normally hit pretty hard with call/nights
  • Low student debt to income ratio
  • All patients have insurance
  • You all actually controlled Covid fairly well
  • No mid-level threat
  • Functioning primary care system
  • Half your population isn’t anti-science
  • Plenty of money around for research and technology
I might have forgot a few, but all of those things are things that Australia has better than the US, or equal to the US. And in many categories like technology, salary, and working conditions, Australia beats almost every country in the world. The countries that debatably beat Australia in some categories make up <1% of the global population when combined.

My thinking is that if someone isn’t happy as a doctor in Australia, they probably won’t be happy as a doctor anywhere.
 
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gyngyn

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Hi!

My undergrad GPA slipped a lot due to some extreme circumstances (which is actually how I specified my interest in medicine!). But it's bad: across all undergrad transcripts c3.2, s2.9, but graduate 3.75 (MSc in NZ - converted from 9.0 scale using WES). I know graduate level stuff is calculated/weighted separately, and somewhat unprioritized.

I did all my required coursework in my undergrad days in the US. However, I'm looking to do a "diy post-bacc" purely to show an upward trend/improve my "absolute cumulative undergrad level GPA". Said extreme circumstances have been mainly sorted and I have every confidence in my ability to get high stats in my courses now and when I take the mcat. However, I'm still in NZ. And thanks to covid, I will be for some time. I'm doing other things (clinical, volunteering, virtual shadowing, etc.), but I have ample time to knock out some undergrad courses also.

My question is, will doing my diy post-bacc (upper level BPC classes) in NZ instead of the US be a problem/look weird or bad? NZ education is rated similarly to the US, but it's still 'not the US/what admissions knows well'. I don't want to wait an extra few years to apply by doing the post-bacc work once I return home, but I also dont want to put myself in a worse situation GPA-wise by assuming schools will accept/acknowledge international transcripts (especially schools that do not accept international students - they might not even have a process for scale conversions). Again, I completed all the required/recommended courses in the US. This is purely additional work to show competence in undergrad science courses.

I am aware that foreign transcripts will not be used to calculate any of my gpas, so will not officially enter my stats. Should that be enough to not consider doing this, given my stats? I'm also now worried they won't even look highly on my MSc/grad grades.

Someone suggested also calling some admissions offices to see what they say.

Any other advice?
A post bac outside the US will not be frowned upon. It will not be considered (in the US) at all.
 
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RJ McReady

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  • Very high pay as attendings/consultants
  • Very high pay as residents/registrars
  • Family/parental leave
  • Amazing work hours as residents/registrars
  • Lots of vacation as residents/registrars/consultants
  • Little to no nights as a consultant in specialities like EM and anesthesia which are normally hit pretty hard with call/nights
  • Low student debt to income ratio
  • All patients have insurance
  • You all actually controlled Covid fairly well
  • No mid-level threat
  • Functioning primary care system
  • Half your population isn’t anti-science
  • Plenty of money around for research and technology
I might have forgot a few, but all of those things are things that Australia has better than the US, or equal to the US. And in many categories like technology, salary, and working conditions, Australia beats almost every country in the world. The countries that debatably beat Australia in some categories make up <1% of the global population when combined.

My thinking is that if someone isn’t happy as a doctor in Australia, they probably won’t be happy as a doctor anywhere.
Idk if I buy all of those reasons.
The pay in the USA especially for surgical subspecialties is much higher than it is in Australia. Obviously an oversimplification but, why are US students going to Australia for medical school and no Australian students are coming to the US? Given a choice I’d much rather practice in the US than Australia.
 
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YCAGA

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z
Idk if I buy all of those reasons.
The pay in the USA especially for surgical subspecialties is much higher than it is in Australia. Obviously an oversimplification but, why are US students going to Australia for medical school and no Australian students are coming to the US? Given a choice I’d much rather practice in the US than Australia.
It really isn’t that much higher. Especially when you account for the lost hours/years during an American surgical residency. US students go to Australia for medical school because they will let almost anyone in if you pay huge fees. Australian students don’t come to the US because even DO schools aren’t “pay to play” in the US. All their domestic schools are cheaper and just as good. US students don’t stay in Australia because they don’t have ties to Oz and/or it is almost impossible to get a residency spot in Oz without perm residency, which you can’t get while in medical school.
 
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RJ McReady

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All their domestic schools are cheaper and just as good
Cheaper, yes.
Just as good? I disagree. How do you determine that?
If you are basing it on academic productivity, the US far, far exceeds Australia in the quality and quantity of research produced.
And why would Australian med schools admit US students just to make a few bucks if so many Australians are clamoring to become physicians? If I were Australian and qualified to attend med school there, I’d be upset if my spot were given to someone from another country simply because they could afford to pay whatever price was asked...
 
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Banco

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Idk if I buy all of those reasons.
The pay in the USA especially for surgical subspecialties is much higher than it is in Australia. Obviously an oversimplification but, why are US students going to Australia for medical school and no Australian students are coming to the US? Given a choice I’d much rather practice in the US than Australia.
It might be surprising to you, but work hour and lifestyle considerations are leagues better for residents and doctors in many of our peer nations - Australia, Germany are some good examples.

You don’t have to “buy” what he’s saying, many of those are just factual things. The thing is, though medical training in the USA is indeed great, other countries do it just as well (and in many ways better).

Thinking that medical education couldn’t be “just as good” in our peer nations is myopic.
 

celtic6643

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As far as I know, US medical schools will NOT look at transcripts from abroad. Full stop. If it is not on a transcript from the US or Canada, it won't show up on your application at all. Save your money. Medical schools aren't going anywhere. If you still want to pursue an MD after you return to the States, a SMP might be the quickest way to qualify but it is an expensive gamble. If you do well, you may be admitted to medical school. If you do poorly, you have just sealed your fate and won't be moving on to medical school.
As someone who just did an SMP it is a gamble for sure and very challenging usually not to mention expensive (mine cost $47k with scholarships). While it paid off for me (got an MD acceptance this cycle and WL at another MD program) it did not for many others. So while I would recommend I would say make sure you’re motivated.
 
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RJ McReady

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My point is that Australia is a developed country like the UK and Germany. If they were close to the US in compensation they would have been on the list-is that not obvious?
 
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I have Australian cousins and friends currently in medical school at the moment, so I asked them about this thread. Here's what one of them, currently a student in Queensland, had to say regarding the bullet points in one of the above posts:

"Covid wasn't handled the best in the states that were actually affected. The only reason the majority was spared was cause majority of ppl don’t fly to cities that aren't Sydney/Melbourne
You might not be rostered for a long shift but everyone ends up having to do heaps of overtime
Pay only really starts getting high in the speciality programs
You definitely get heaps of night shifts even as a consultant
Population isn't anti-science isn't true (Queensland, where she lives, is especially conservative)
The things that are probably right is the low student debt to income ratio"

She wants to add that there isn't a streamlined process for specializing, and you don't get much of a say in where you start out- the government assigns you to a hospital for internship and you have to go. The residency system works differently- you do rotations in the fields you want after medical school, often moving from hospital to hospital, and you might need to do an additional master's or phd program after graduation to be competitive. You'll have to complete at least 1-3 years of residency before applying to specialized programs like surgery or anesthesia, which could add up to another 3-7+ years.

She is happy in her field and the socialized healthcare system is definitely a plus, but wants to say that there are downsides of the Australian medical system that aren't addressed in the post above.

I don't mean to derail the thread even further and I have no skin in this game, but I thought it might be valuable to share an Australian med student's perspective on the Australian healthcare system.
 
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