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Live/Work in NYC - where should I take my prereqs?

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munusen2008

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Hi - I am new to this site, but so far I have found the posts very helpful.

background: I did my undergrad at Cornell U. in Computer Science and received a BS with a 3.7 GPA. I have been working at the same financial services company for the last 5 years as a software engineer. I can't see myself doing this type of job in the future and have always wanted to become a doctor since I was young and want to pursue that dream now. I have a lot of physics credits (AP & college courses), math credits (AP & calc) and I have a college level Chemistry class. However, I don't have any biology or organic chemistry.

question: I live & work in New York City and was wondering if anyone has advice for where I should apply to take my prereqs.

Thanks for your help!
- Munu
 

student1799

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question: I live & work in New York City and was wondering if anyone has advice for where I should apply to take my prereqs.

One word: Hunter. Don't listen to anyone who tells you to go anywhere else. I mean it.

I didn't go there, but wish I did. I know a few people who did, and they had a great experience and got into med school. There's no competition to get in: you just register as a non-degree student and get going. Plus it's WAY cheaper than that famous private school on the Upper West Side (the one I went to, which charges $1200 per credit).

Even more important, I get the impression that Hunter has a MUCH more positive culture than The Other Place. The students--who are generally older than the postbaccs at the rival institution--actually go out of their way to HELP each other. (At my school, it was so competitive that they barely said hello to each other.) The students even created their own group on Yahoo: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PreHealthPostBacc/ (This is a members-only group, but they'll let you in if you email the moderator and explain that you're a prospective student.)

Hunter even has a special program that practically nobody knows about: a linkage with Cornell med school (this is the only linkage Cornell has with any postbacc program). If you have a 3.8 average after your first year, you can apply, and if they take you (they accept 1-2 students per year), you get to do a special research internship at Cornell and are guaranteed admission to Cornell right after graduation. Pretty sweet.

So take my advice and just do this. (Do your volunteer work at NY Hospital on 68th and York, only a few blocks away.)

You can imagine how I feel about the place where I did postbacc, if I'm telling everyone to go to Hunter instead.

Good luck.
 

ChairmanMao

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One word: Hunter. Don't listen to anyone who tells you to go anywhere else. I mean it.

I didn't go there, but wish I did. I know a few people who did, and they had a great experience and got into med school. There's no competition to get in: you just register as a non-degree student and get going. Plus it's WAY cheaper than that famous private school on the Upper West Side (the one I went to, which charges $1200 per credit).

Even more important, I get the impression that Hunter has a MUCH more positive culture than The Other Place. The students--who are generally older than the postbaccs at the rival institution--actually go out of their way to HELP each other. (At my school, it was so competitive that they barely said hello to each other.) The students even created their own group on Yahoo: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PreHealthPostBacc/ (This is a members-only group, but they'll let you in if you email the moderator and explain that you're a prospective student.)

Hunter even has a special program that practically nobody knows about: a linkage with Cornell med school (this is the only linkage Cornell has with any postbacc program). If you have a 3.8 average after your first year, you can apply, and if they take you (they accept 1-2 students per year), you get to do a special research internship at Cornell and are guaranteed admission to Cornell right after graduation. Pretty sweet.

So take my advice and just do this. (Do your volunteer work at NY Hospital on 68th and York, only a few blocks away.)

You can imagine how I feel about the place where I did postbacc, if I'm telling everyone to go to Hunter instead.

Good luck.

Let me guess, you had Mowshowitz for Bio and either Cornish or Nuckolls for Orgo... I wouldn't necessarily agree that Hunter should be the only post-bac program that the OP should consider. There are so many fine colleges in NYC with decent post-bac programs that have a fairly good placement record. I think that older post-bac students enjoy a higher success rate than traditional simply because they're more driven and have more experiences to impress medical schools with.

That being, the type of post-bac program that you enroll in should still be decided by your own situation OP. If your financial consideration and competitiveness is a problem, then Hunter is obviously a good idea (although I've also heard postitive things about CUNY on 137th street). As for the famous private school on the Upper West Side that everyone seems to talk about, it's got a good program though it might not be for everyone. I got the impression that most of the post-bacs who were in it already knew most of what was being taught (this is why the average on the bio exams always seem to be above 80). And while it is very competitive, they seem to have a good placement record for putting students in Columbia, NYU, Mt Sinai, Cornell and other medical schools in and around NYC.

Since you said you have a 3.7 from Cornell, I think that you would be able to handle the curriculum pretty well. I do think that the type of school that the OP chooses to do his post-bac at will be a factor if he wants to go to one of the more select private medical schools in NY. The Columbia Post-bac program has linkage with their own medical school and the other ivy league schools. But if the OP is weak at Bio or Orgo, I'd think that he would probably have an easier time at Hunter or CUNY.
 

student1799

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Let me guess, you had Mowshowitz for Bio and either Cornish or Nuckolls for Orgo... I wouldn't necessarily agree that Hunter should be the only post-bac program that the OP should consider. There are so many fine colleges in NYC with decent post-bac programs that have a fairly good placement record. I think that older post-bac students enjoy a higher success rate than traditional simply because they're more driven and have more experiences to impress medical schools with.

That being, the type of post-bac program that you enroll in should still be decided by your own situation OP. If your financial consideration and competitiveness is a problem, then Hunter is obviously a good idea (although I've also heard postitive things about CUNY on 137th street). As for the famous private school on the Upper West Side that everyone seems to talk about, it's got a good program though it might not be for everyone. I got the impression that most of the post-bacs who were in it already knew most of what was being taught (this is why the average on the bio exams always seem to be above 80). And while it is very competitive, they seem to have a good placement record for putting students in Columbia, NYU, Mt Sinai, Cornell and other medical schools in and around NYC.

Bingo--I had Moshowitz and Cornish. Both of them are notoriously tough graders, but so are all the other orgo professors--and EVERYONE has Mowshowitz, because she's the only option. Many a postbacc student (like me) has come out of year 1 with a really high GPA, only to meet their match with the year 2 crowd. My 3.98 turned into a 3.62 by the time I was done--and I had to bust my tail to get it too. (In year 2, I was studying around 90 hours a week, on top of class and volunteer work.) And I was by no means a "remedial" science student: I went to a different Ivy league school for undergrad, and I spent 10 years working in health-care investing on Wall Street.

My point is that it doesn't make a lot of sense for the OP to spend $60K and work like a dog for a 3.62 or even a 3.8, when they could go to Hunter and get a 4.0 or close to it--and at a fraction of the cost. I'm not saying Hunter is a slouch school, because it isn't (my mother and sister both got their BA's there), but it's just not as sadistic as Columbia. Med schools are so grade-obsessed that even though Hunter's rep is slightly less prestigious than Columbia's (and it is only slightly, because Hunter is quite well regarded), the difference in GPA will more than offset that.

As for the other schools, I'd respectfully submit that Hunter and Columbia are really the only game in town. CCNY used to have a good rep due to a dynamite premed adviser, but she was hired away by Hunter a couple of years ago. And NYU is not even on the radar. (The ony person I've ever encountered from there didn't get into a single school, and was doing a master's in an effort to help his application.)
 

munusen2008

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Thank you for your advice, much appreciated!

Regarding Hunter - is there anyone out there who went? It would be awesome to get your first hand advice.

Also, is there any option of transferring to Columbia from Hunter?
 

student1799

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Thank you for your advice, much appreciated!

Regarding Hunter - is there anyone out there who went? It would be awesome to get your first hand advice.

Also, is there any option of transferring to Columbia from Hunter?

You really wouldn't want to change postbacc programs in the middle. Reason: a big reason to be in a program (as opposed to taking the courses on your own) is to get a "committee letter" from the postbacc program, and you might not be able to get one as a transfer student.

A committee letter is a recommendation which is written on your behalf by the premed committee of your program, which sums up your strengths as an applicant, quotes from your other recommendation letters, and may comment on how you stack up vs. other applicants in your program. These letters are the norm for trads who apply to med school (most colleges have premed committees), and they are seen as very important even for nontrads, if you attend a program which writes them. (Both Columbia and Hunter do.) However, each school has specific rules which determine whether you are eligible to get a committee letter at that school. I don't know what Hunter's rules are, but Columbia definitely has a rule that if you did more than half of your postbacc coursework outside Columbia, you cannot get a letter from them. (They expect you to ask your previous institution for one, but if you transferred out of that institution, THEY might not want to give you one either.) You could very well get stuck in a Catch-22 situation where neither your former program nor your current one will give you a committee letter, which would defeat the purpose of being in an organized postbacc program in the first place.

Besides, if you thought Hunter was a good place to start out at, why wouldn't you want to finish there? As far as I can tell, it's just as good as Columbia, with the added benefits of vastly lower cost and the potential to earn a slightly higher GPA.

If you want to find out more about Hunter, I have two suggestions for you.

1. There is a separate forum on SDN (not part of pre-allo) for postbacc and SMP students. Try going over there and searching for threads containing "Hunter"--I'm sure you'll come across quite a few. (When I was researching postbacc programs myself in early 2006, I stumbled on SDN during a web search, and I remember reading a lot of positive comments about Hunter then.)

2. Use the URL I provided in my first post to go to the Hunter postbacc student group, join, and post on their site as a prospective student. Ask the current students (nicely, of course) to tell you what they like and don't like about their program. I'm sure you'll get at least a couple of responses, and the information is bound to be valuable because it will come straight from the source (actual students).

Good luck in your premed quest.

P.S. Just realized something important: Columbia might not even let you in, because you've already done a lot of your prereqs at Cornell. Similar to the rule I mentioned above about committee letter eligbility, Columbia only accepts students who have done either none or very few of their prereqs already (they want people who will do the whole 2 years with them, not just come to finish up one or two courses). Judging by your first post, you've probably done the whole first year of Columbia's program (1st year is chem, physics and math; 2nd year is orgo and bio). So Hunter might very well be your only option anyway.
 
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snulma1

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I'm a current post-bacc at Hunter, if you have some questions you'd like answered, PM me with them and i'll be happy to answer.
 

mdwannab

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Hello to everyone, don't mean to interrupt the conversation, but also am new to this site and also am considering applying to Hunter's post-bac pre-med program. My question is to Snulma1: Is it possible to get in to this program without any volunteering background in health care industry? Would it make sense for me to apply now for a Spring semester or should I spend a year volunteering in a hospital? Although, I don't really want to waste a year and apply to the program ASAP. I would appreciate any tips you can give me. Thanks
 

FtrDoc

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Hi everyone. I'm in the Hunter postbacc program now and can speak to its excellent preparation for all the basic sciences. I've done very well in all of my courses, but it's a lot of work. It would be a mistake to think that somehow you would learn more going to the school on the UWS vs. Hunter. The professors in Bio and Orgo are fantastic. Physics and Gen. Chem professors tend to be adjuncts, but if you study hard you'll be fine on your MCAT. Regarding whether or not someone should volunteer for a year before starting at Hunter, NO, start right away if you know this is what you want to do. You can volunteer as you go through your prereqs. It will take you 2 years or more to finish your general sciences and the road to medical school and then subsequent training is LOONNNGG. If you want this, then start chipping away at those prereqs now and you can volunteer simultaneously.
 

BORNagainSTDENT

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I am interested in going to hunter. I will have my bachelors at the end of this semester in business management but my gpa is just passing. I do not have any of the sciences yet, Iwould like to take them at hunter and turn my grades around.
Can I still take science courses at hunter if my Bachelors is under a 2.3. Do I have to take classes at brooklyn college and then transfer once my gpa is higher?

question 2 is if I hypothetically get straight A's for a long could I get into the post bacc Program?

When looking at the website it seemed as thou transfer students into post bacc needed as well as undergrad need a 2.3, but I'm not sure about non degree ect.
I have all A's and B's this semester but sadly, I am not sure my Gpa will even be that high.
 
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