My Best fit for a Post-bacc? Requirments? Benefits? Funding?

May 16, 2012
4
0
Status
Non-Student
Hello,

I am a recent graduate from UCLA and have made the decision to return to my studies and strengthen my science background. I would like to attend a "career changer" post-bacc program, but am not sure which programs might be a good fit for me.

I do not have a strong science background, if any. I do volunteer regularly within the bio-behavioral/ psychiatric realm and have clinical research experience, but with only a 3.6 and poor grades in the "physics for poets" type courses that I did take as an undergrad, I am afraid that some of the more prestigious post-bacc's may be out of reach.

I believe that a formal post bacc may be my best option as I do best within a highly structured environment. As the programs are terribly expensive, I was wondering if anyone might know of some funding resources available for someone in my situation.

I would greatly appreciate any advice you might offer on how I can strengthen my application, where I might apply, and/or how one goes about receiving funding for such a program.

Thank you very much for your time and any feedback.

Best of luck to you all on your endeavors,
Shmia
 

Chemistry Cat 3.0

Cylon Model 21
7+ Year Member
Mar 3, 2011
269
20
Status
Pre-Medical
Hello,

I am a recent graduate from UCLA and have made the decision to return to my studies and strengthen my science background. I would like to attend a "career changer" post-bacc program, but am not sure which programs might be a good fit for me.

I do not have a strong science background, if any. I do volunteer regularly within the bio-behavioral/ psychiatric realm and have clinical research experience, but with only a 3.6 and poor grades in the "physics for poets" type courses that I did take as an undergrad, I am afraid that some of the more prestigious post-bacc's may be out of reach.

I believe that a formal post bacc may be my best option as I do best within a highly structured environment. As the programs are terribly expensive, I was wondering if anyone might know of some funding resources available for someone in my situation.

I would greatly appreciate any advice you might offer on how I can strengthen my application, where I might apply, and/or how one goes about receiving funding for such a program.

Thank you very much for your time and any feedback.

Best of luck to you all on your endeavors,
Shmia
You could try to get into a research and thesis-based master program (2 or 3 years) in biological or physical science. They usually offer some sort of assistantships to their students. This would be an excellent way to boost your science background, gain research experience and get strong letters of recommendation. :)
 

prolixity29

7+ Year Member
Dec 18, 2009
78
0
Status
Medical Student
Your GPA is not that bad, ~3.6 is a respectable GPA. I went to a competitive structured post-bacc and a few students, including at least one who successfully linked into medical school, had your GPA. You honestly sound like you're the right age, right academic background, right GPA for a competitive structured post-bacc.
 
OP
S
May 16, 2012
4
0
Status
Non-Student
Your GPA is not that bad, ~3.6 is a respectable GPA. I went to a competitive structured post-bacc and a few students, including at least one who successfully linked into medical school, had your GPA. You honestly sound like you're the right age, right academic background, right GPA for a competitive structured post-bacc.
Thank you very much for your response. I am overwhelmed by the different post-bacc and not quite sure how to go about selecting a program to apply to. I am also unsure of how many programs to apply to... any suggestions on how to go about selecting programs to apply to?

Do you happen to have any insight regarding the types of funding available to students in formal post bacc programs? If I cannot find funding, I believe I will need to attend an informal program (perhaps go to SMCC here in the LA area). I am afraid this will not be competitive come time to apply to MD/ MSTP programs. Thoughts?

Speaking to individuals that work in the lab I volunteer in, I have gathered that I need: a good MCAT score, good grades in my pre-req's, clinical experience, shadowing experience, and research experience. Is there anything they may be missing? None of them are non-traditional students...

Thank you once again for your time and guidance. I truly appreciate your feedback.

Sincerest regards,
Shmia
 
OP
S
May 16, 2012
4
0
Status
Non-Student
You could try to get into a research and thesis-based master program (2 or 3 years) in biological or physical science. They usually offer some sort of assistantships to their students. This would be an excellent way to boost your science background, gain research experience and get strong letters of recommendation. :)
Thank you very much for your response. Unfortunately, I believe a masters to be out of my grasp at the moment, financially. Also, it seems many of these programs require a stream of courses similar to the pre-med pre-reqs for admission and accordingly do not provide the courses I need. Again, thank you for you time! I may need to go in a different direction, though.

Kindly,
Shmia
 

phltz

7+ Year Member
May 13, 2010
889
30
Status
Medical Student
Hello,

I am a recent graduate from UCLA and have made the decision to return to my studies and strengthen my science background. I would like to attend a "career changer" post-bacc program, but am not sure which programs might be a good fit for me.

I do not have a strong science background, if any. I do volunteer regularly within the bio-behavioral/ psychiatric realm and have clinical research experience, but with only a 3.6 and poor grades in the "physics for poets" type courses that I did take as an undergrad, I am afraid that some of the more prestigious post-bacc's may be out of reach.

I believe that a formal post bacc may be my best option as I do best within a highly structured environment. As the programs are terribly expensive, I was wondering if anyone might know of some funding resources available for someone in my situation.

I would greatly appreciate any advice you might offer on how I can strengthen my application, where I might apply, and/or how one goes about receiving funding for such a program.

Thank you very much for your time and any feedback.

Best of luck to you all on your endeavors,
Shmia
3.6 is not a bad GPA. It shouldn't keep you out of a formal postbac. Funding for postbacs usually consists of either students paying themselves or else loans. There's typically not much in the way of other financial aid available.

You mention wanting to do an MSTP program. What kind of research have you been involved in, and for how long? Is this the sort of thing you want to do with your life? MSTP programs are usually looking for students with several years of strong research experience, and a demonstrated commitment to, and talent for, a research based career.

If you really won't be able to secure funding, and can't or won't take out loans for a postbac, you might consider getting a job at an academic medical institution. There's a pretty high need for young people to work as clinical coordinators, lab techs, etc. This usually comes with an ability to take a class or so per semester for free. With the right position, it will also give you more medical experience, an opportunity to shadow doctors in the hospital, and good contacts. Taking one class at a time means it'll probably take you three or more years to finish your prereqs, but it may be your best bet if you really have no money and don't want loans.

Where is the lab you're volunteering with now? Is there any possibility of turning that into a proper job?
 
OP
S
May 16, 2012
4
0
Status
Non-Student
3.6 is not a bad GPA. It shouldn't keep you out of a formal postbac. Funding for postbacs usually consists of either students paying themselves or else loans. There's typically not much in the way of other financial aid available.

You mention wanting to do an MSTP program. What kind of research have you been involved in, and for how long? Is this the sort of thing you want to do with your life? MSTP programs are usually looking for students with several years of strong research experience, and a demonstrated commitment to, and talent for, a research based career.

If you really won't be able to secure funding, and can't or won't take out loans for a postbac, you might consider getting a job at an academic medical institution. There's a pretty high need for young people to work as clinical coordinators, lab techs, etc. This usually comes with an ability to take a class or so per semester for free. With the right position, it will also give you more medical experience, an opportunity to shadow doctors in the hospital, and good contacts. Taking one class at a time means it'll probably take you three or more years to finish your prereqs, but it may be your best bet if you really have no money and don't want loans.

Where is the lab you're volunteering with now? Is there any possibility of turning that into a proper job?
Hello phltz,

Thank you for your thoughtful response! I am currently working in a Neuropsychiatric laboratory at UCLA. I have been here for about six months, but I volunteered in other NPI labs for a cumulative 9 months- all sorts of different areas within psychology. In my current lab, I have learned to use Unix, how to analyze fMRI's and definitely have refined my research skills. I now am allowed to proctor CDISC evaluations and am beginning to learn some graph theory. The very basics, of course.

That said, I am in the midst of volunteering for a proper position within an extension of my current lab (today actually!). In addition, I am in the process of interviewing at UCSF as well. I was hoping that a benefit of working for a university would be reduced rate or free courses. I am learning, however, that not all universities provide them but instead allow staff members to attend their extension programs.

Do you happen to know how programs view extension courses vs. formal post bacc programs? I appreciate your guidance.

I am also hoping to get a position with one of the aforementioned universities to do what you stated: get the all inclusive research/clinical experience. Many brains to pick and experiences to be exposed to...

Thank you once again and I hope to hear from you!

Sincerely,
Shmia

P.S. the real question, is mstp the right fit for my ambitions? and...is it jumping the gun to fulfill my pre-reqs if I am still questioning whether to attend a md, mstp, or a phd program? I don't think so, but admittedly I can be rather naive about these things. I really just want to understand the basics of chem, o chem, physics, math and bio so that I can have a more holistic understanding of the things that interest me. I hope that in the future my research can be based on more than observation and perceived correlatives, but on physical evidence. I love human development, behavioral neuroscience, and genetics. Dare to dream...
 
Jul 31, 2012
12
25
Status
Pre-Dental
Hey Shmia,

So I've got great news for you! UCLA, USC, and Loma Linda all have a structured post-bacc program that is free!! Here's the catch though, you have to be from a "disadvantaged" background either financially or socially. They don't advertise it openly or else they would get thousands of applications but somehow I found out about it a few months ago, applied, and thankfully got in!! Because they fund your education for the entire one year, they can only accept a few students so it's pretty competitive. If you feel like you fit the criteria, just google ucla medical post-bacc application and see if you can find the obscure application somewhere in cyberspace. Hope this helps! :):thumbup: