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Aug 30, 2010
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I graduated from UCSD this past fall with cgpa of 2.9, majored in Biochemistry/Chemistry. No clinical/research experience of any kind, but I have shadowed a doctor (sort of) as a receptionist at a family practice for a few months. No MCAT. I feel like I need post-bacc to help me gain help in some of these areas that I lack. I was reading up on some of the post-bacc programs and I'm really confused about a few things.

-Some ask for SAT scores. Really? I don't even know how I can retrieve those information. Is that really useful information (I took it literally 5 years ago)?
-I thought post-bacc was for people with low GPA. I've been reading some threads here of people who have 3.6+ GPA who're trying to get into post-bacc. Why?!
-I didn't take all the required courses to be eligible to apply to medical school (such as human bio, physiology) because my major was strictly in chemistry department. I have some bio knowledge (took a few bio classes, but not all). What's the best option for me right now?
-I was told to RETAKE some classes but I don't know what that means. I already graduated so I cannot go back to UCSD and retake those classes. Specifically, I did poorly in physical chemistry. I don't know where I could possibly go to take the equivalent course in for that specific physical chemistry.
-I want to do post-bacc in California for various reasons. With my stats, what's the most logical places to apply for?
-Wait... are SMP more or less the same thing as a post-bacc..?

Thanks- Any help will be appreciated!
 
Last edited:

DrArete

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Apr 3, 2010
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I think this is a troll, but whatever, here's a reply:

1. Change your profile name. Marijuana is still not legal, and even when it is in the near future, most probably won't want their doctors to glorify it. This isn't just about marijuana anyway, I would question the judgement of someone who made their profile name JackDaniels. Also, be careful what you post here in terms of "off color" commentary. People post enough school specific and personal info that it is not too hard to figure out who people are.

2. There are two types of post baccs really. One for people with science (special masters programs) and one for people with little or no science (post bac pre med).

3. Getting your SAT is easy, contact the testing service or your high school. Expect to have all of your academic information and test scores available, starting with high school.

In general, your best option is going to be an SMP if you decide to do a formal program.

If you want to do it yourself, you should sign up for both the classes you need to retake and the classes you never took at whatever local accredited college is convenient and cheap for you.

Here's my general advice - before you go too far down this path, make sure it is the right one for you:
1. Get some clinical experience in different settings, shadow a surgeon, volunteer at a health or drug rehab clinic, etc.
2. Use the alumni database of your undergraduate institution to set up lunches or coffees with current medical students, residents, or attending physicians. You will get invaluable info, and you may even find some wise person to mentor you and eventually provide a great recommendation.
 

DrMidlife

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Oct 30, 2006
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I graduated from UCSD this past fall with cgpa of 2.9, majored in Biochemistry/Chemistry.
The average matriculant in US MD schools has a 3.6 GPA. In California, it's higher. The odds of you getting into a UC or other California med school are quite low; I estimate 2-3 more years of school, and a very high MCAT, before you'd have a chance in CA.

Also, find out what a DO is and whether you want to go in that direction.
No clinical/research experience of any kind, but I have shadowed a doctor (sort of) as a receptionist at a family practice for a few months.
Front office isn't shadowing. If you're serious about medicine, get a volunteer gig in a clinical setting as soon as possible (this week would be good). How to find one: go to a hospital website and search for "volunteer".
No MCAT. I feel like I need post-bacc to help me gain help in some of these areas that I lack. I was reading up on some of the post-bacc programs and I'm really confused about a few things.
If by "some of these areas" you mean your GPA, then you're on the right track. It would not be wise to expect a postbac to help you with anything other than GPA.

And your GPA (because of the "A") can't go up very much. If you do two more years, fulltime, at a 4.0, you'll have about a 3.25, which is still very low. I encourage you to verify this math.
-Some ask for SAT scores. Really? I don't even know how I can retrieve those information. Is that really useful information (I took it literally 5 years ago)?
Postbacs that want SAT scores are competitive programs such as Bryn Mawr or Scripps, where the student is a very high achieving student who has taken no science yet. This isn't you. I seriously doubt that you'll find a program that's appropriate for you that requires SAT.
-I thought post-bacc was for people with low GPA. I've been reading some threads here of people who have 3.6+ GPA who're trying to get into post-bacc. Why?!
"Postbac" means any undergrad coursework taken after receiving an undergrad degree. Includes 2nd bachelors. Includes formal premed programs for non-science majors. Includes informal ad hoc taking of classes at night at a CC (which I don't recommend). Includes studying Spanish or the piano. Isn't a very useful term.

Thus "postbac" isn't the most helpful adjective for programs you're looking for. "Academic enhancer" or "GPA improvement" or "credential improvement" is what you're looking for.

In California, the best example of these is the UC postbacs, which are aimed at disadvantaged students, and are competitive. See the "GPA enhancement" sticky at the top of this forum for links if you can't find them in google.
-I didn't take all the required courses to be eligible to apply to medical school (such as human bio, physiology) because my major was strictly in chemistry department. I have some bio knowledge (took a few bio classes, but not all). What's the best option for me right now?
"Human bio & physio" are not med school prereqs. The usual prereqs are one year each, with labs, of genchem, ochem, bio & physics. You undoubtedly have already taken the correct genchem/ochem coursework (if not I don't understand how you'd avoid them with a biochem degree). The bio year you need is the bio major course. Physics doesn't have to be calculus-based.

Every med school can vary requirements, so make sure to do some research to see if you also need a large quantity of humanities, or some genetics or cell bio. Which you should take now anyway.
-I was told to RETAKE some classes but I don't know what that means. I already graduated so I cannot go back to UCSD and retake those classes. Specifically, I did poorly in physical chemistry. I don't know where I could possibly go to take the equivalent course in for that specific physical chemistry.
Retakes are appropriate in a GPA comeback if:
1. you got lower than a C (arguably lower than a B) in a prereq (the year each, with labs, of genchem/ochem/bio/physics)
2. you didn't learn the material that will be tested on the MCAT (the prereqs)
You are under no obligation to repeat pchem. You do not have to do repeats at the same school.
-I want to do post-bacc in California for various reasons. With my stats, what's the most logical places to apply for?
Please search the forum for "UC" or "USC" or "California" etc.

Keep in mind that your chances of getting into a CA med school are very low, because CA is the most competitive state for med school. So you can stay put while you're getting ready to apply, but then you're likely to have to leave if you get in.
-Wait... are SMP more or less the same thing as a post-bacc..?
SMP: Special Masters Program. Aka Medical Masters. The good SMPs put you through the first year of med school, graded on the med student curve, in class with med students, as an audition for med school. With a very low GPA, programs that don't meet this description are not likely to get you into med school.

To get into a good SMP you need to have everything done for your med school app, including a competitive MCAT score, and you use the SMP to address a sub-competitive GPA. People argue that you can start an SMP with a sub-3.0 and expect to get into med school, but I think this is not good planning.
1. Change your profile name. Marijuana is still not legal, and even when it is in the near future, most probably won't want their doctors to glorify it. This isn't just about marijuana anyway, I would question the judgement of someone who made their profile name JackDaniels. Also, be careful what you post here in terms of "off color" commentary. People post enough school specific and personal info that it is not too hard to figure out who people are.
:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup: 420=2.9, hello.
2. There are two types of post baccs really. One for people with science (special masters programs) and one for people with little or no science (post bac pre med).
Way more than 2, and an SMP isn't a postbac. There are structured programs for:
1. people who did great in a non-science undergrad degree (Bryn Mawr, Goucher, Scripps, Mills, Bennington etc)
2. people who did poorly in a non-science undergrad degree (non-degree enrollment to complete prereqs and improve GPA, or 2nd bachelors in science, anywhere you can, UT Dallas is an example)
3. people who did poorly in a science undergrad degree (non-degree enrollment to improve GPA, or 2nd bachelors, anywhere you can, UT Dallas is an example)
4. Underserved postbacs (UCs, Wake Forest, Creighton etc)
As DrArete said elsewhere, you don't have to do a structured program - you can take more undergrad coursework at any school that will let you.

Once the prereqs and MCAT are done, if you still need more academics to get into med school, then you can do an SMP. With a very low GPA, other types of grad work (such as a traditional masters degree) will not counteract undergrad GPA.
In general, your best option is going to be an SMP if you decide to do a formal program.
The OP needs to complete prereqs & take the MCAT before an SMP is appropriate. With a very solid MCAT (32+) you could arguably start an SMP with a 2.9, but I think it's a mistake to proceed with a sub-3.0.
Here's my general advice - before you go too far down this path, make sure it is the right one for you:
1. Get some clinical experience in different settings, shadow a surgeon, volunteer at a health or drug rehab clinic, etc.
2. Use the alumni database of your undergraduate institution to set up lunches or coffees with current medical students, residents, or attending physicians. You will get invaluable info, and you may even find some wise person to mentor you and eventually provide a great recommendation.
:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

Best of luck to you.
 
OP
4

420

Aug 30, 2010
26
0
Status
Non-Student
wow thank you drarte and drmidlife for a detailed response. i really appreciate it. btw, my login is 420 because I was born on april 20th and I thought it would be clever (i guess, due to its association with marijuana).

anyway, it seems pretty clear from the response that I absolutely need to take an SMP program before I can even start thinking about med school. It also seems that I'm not anywhere near ready to even apply to an SMP program.

i'm discouraged to hear that taking classes for 2 years at 4.0 can only do so much (raise my GPA to 3.2). Is this what you guys would do if you were in my case?

I was looking at a program from Touro University (http://www.tu.edu/departments.php?id=48&page=1377) and was wondering if this was what an SMP program would be. I was also looking at CSU East Bay's academic enhancer program (http://www.ce.csueastbay.edu/certificate/PreHealth/) and I'm wondering if this is the most beneficial program for me, at this point.

I have been trying to get some clinical experience: volunteer at local hospitals, but have been unsuccessful. Some were non-responsive and one replied saying they don't need any volunteers right now. It seems right now, it's hard even to just become a volunteer (who doesn't want free help!?). What else can I be doing, that is clinical experience?