Need Advice: Post-Bacc while working full-time (Long Island, NY)

jsingh11

7+ Year Member
Mar 18, 2010
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New York
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Pre-Medical
Dear Student Doc Community,

I'm 36, fairly well established in the corporate world as a director making a comfortable living but unfulfilled by the work. I feel like I am wasting away my life and not living up to my true potential. I have a strong desire to pursue an MD/DO and make an impact in people's lives each and everyday. For over a decade my dream has been to pursue a career in medicine. I started the Harvard Post-Bacc program in 2010 (when I was 26!), completed a year of Chem (Grade: A) but had to pull out of the program due to my father becoming ill (I had to run the family business to support the family). Father eventually passed away, and the responsibility to take care of my disabled mother (multiple sclerosis) and my sister fell to me - so I wasn't able to go back to harvard and finish the post-bacc. Having lived through the struggle and seeing first-hand how certain conditions can affect life has only fueled my desire to go into medicine. I trained as an EMT-B, volunteered, shadowed, cert. personal trainer (interested in physiology, biomechanics) etc.

Need your advice:
  • I am working full-time and my hours can be very long depending on the week, what post-bacc program can I take that allows evenings/weekends? I commute from long island to purchase, NY for work FYI. Ideally would be a school in long island or near westchester/purchase
  • Will my MBA from a prestigious school help me get into a good MD/DO program? my graduate GPA was 3.84. (completed a triple major in business, minor in economics in undergrad also from a good school but GPA only ~3.1...improving grades going into junior/senior years)
  • I'm 36, how difficult will it be to gain admission to an american MD/DO program? is my age an advantage or disadvantage? how can I increase my odds? Does a successful business career help? (selective MBA, leadership rotation program, senior level positions, etc).
  • Is it worth the sacrifice? for those that have crossed over to post-residency, was it worth it? I would be risking a lot and throwing away a fairly successful corporate career (250k+ income) for a chance at MD/DO. what would you recommend? I also want to get married soon and start a family.
Thank you in advance!

Regards,
J
 
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Cornfed101

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Need your advice:
  • I am working full-time and my hours can be very long depending on the week, what post-bacc program can I take that allows evenings/weekends? I commute from long island to purchase, NY for work FYI. Ideally would be a school in long island or near westchester/purchase
  • Will my MBA from a prestigious school help me get into a good MD/DO program? my graduate GPA was 3.84. (completed a triple major in business, minor in economics in undergrad also from a good school but GPA only ~3.1...improving grades going into junior/senior years)
  • I'm 36, how difficult will it be to gain admission to an american MD/DO program? is my age an advantage or disadvantage? how can I increase my odds? Does a successful business career help? (selective MBA, leadership rotation program, senior level positions, etc).
  • Is it worth the sacrifice? for those that have crossed over to post-residency, was it worth it? I would be risking a lot and throwing away a fairly successful corporate career (250k+ income) for a chance at MD/DO. what would you recommend? I also want to get married soon and start a family.
  • I am not from the area and can not offer advice on specific post-bacc programs near you. I know that some people are able to maintain a full-time job while taking a class or two, but it is very difficult. I had to quit a well-paying job and move to another state to get the classes I needed. I am working full time again now. My suggestion would be to go part-time at your current job if you can, and if you can't, I would quit and get a part-time job to pay the bills until you get into school. Before you say, "that's not possible", it is. You just have to sacrifice a lot. It may not be easy, but it is definitely possible. I did it with 2 kids.
  • It is different, but it won't give you a huge advantage. Graduate GPAs are not given very much weight because they are not normalized between schools. You will need to do well in your post-bacc with your lower undergraduate GPA.
  • At 36 you will have unique life experiences that help to establish a greater story. From my experience, this is valuable but doesn't make up for other areas of your application that are lacking. Improving your GPA, doing well on the MCAT, being involved in long term volunteering and clinical work are things that can improve your odds. Leadership is always good.
  • I can't answer your last question yet, but really only you can answer that. Will you be miserable for the rest of your life if you don't pursue this? Are you only doing it for the prestige, money, etc.?
 
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I'm just starting this journey myself, so I don't have any sage advice unfortunately, but I am so impressed and amazed by all that you've done to take care of your family. It also sounds like you have the experience necessary to know medicine is for you and to make this decision. I also would be leaving a successful career and am terrified, but in my case, I need more shadowing and clinical volunteering before pulling the trigger. I don't know about post-bacc programs in your geographic area specifically, but what I did is just googled all of them in my area and then looked at whether the schedules would work for me. If you don’t find any that work, you can look at enrolling in your local universities as seeking a second bachelors degree, or, if they don’t allow that, through their equivalent of open university. Finally, especially if you have some money saved up, you could always just bite the bullet and do a full-time formal program and knock it out in a year or two, especially considering that you’ve been wanting this for so long already.
 

Goro

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bump. thoughts? anyone...?
being from LI, I advise:
Getting a job closer to home
Moving to closer to purchase.

Your plans are not conducive to academic success given the time sinks you have in work and commuting. As an aside, I have seen full time students in my SMP tank their GPAs in our program from having long commutes. Mind you, full time students!

I suggest that you save up your money until you can go to school full time.

Your MBA will not count as any evidence that you can handle a med school curriculum. DO schools will accept the GPA, but you wouldn't be taken seriously by me as a candidate. MD schools will not accept the MBA GPA.

Age is just a number. Some of my all time best students have been in their 30s and 40s. I graduated a stellar one at age 50 and she's now an attending.

Is it worth the sacrifice? Only you can answer that. For most people, Medicine is a calling, like being a fireman or a priest.
 
Jan 17, 2020
6
20
Status
Pre-Medical
Consider it like this: wether or not we like to admit, your age will be a slight factor (however, not a deterrent). Experience aside, your schools are going to want to know that you can handle the rigors of full-time, intense coursework. The academic measures that are used to judge each potential student (GPA and MCAT) are, to some degree, strong indicators of how you will perform in med school and on board exams. In a sense, you have to prove yourself to them so why would you want to work full-time while doing this? If you perform poorly, you'll have to do an SMP or perhaps go Caribbean....I started my post-bacc at 34, was the oldest in my cohort and quit my job, sold my possessions, and crushed it. Alternatively, there was a student in my cohort who refused to give up their part-time job and finished the program in the very low 3's. You will not do yourself any favors by trying to keep working. I know that it makes financial sense to you know (because you can pay for your program), but it won't make financial sense if you have to pay for more classes or an SMP AGAIN because you didn't give it your all the first time around. Just my unsolicited 2 cents.....


Also: do NOT do this for the money. This has to be the thing that pulls you out of bed everyday because you love the work. The ones that say they don't think it was worth it, don't love the work. You will have your entire life to make money but you may not have your entire life to spend it do the things that you love or that matter to you. Just an additional unsolicited 2 cents...
 

neurologist

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Aug 26, 2003
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Dear Student Doc Community,

I'm 36, fairly well established in the corporate world as a director making a comfortable living but unfulfilled by the work. I feel like I am wasting away my life and not living up to my true potential. I have a strong desire to pursue an MD/DO and make an impact in people's lives each and everyday. For over a decade my dream has been to pursue a career in medicine. I started the Harvard Post-Bacc program in 2010 (when I was 26!), completed a year of Chem (Grade: A) but had to pull out of the program due to my father becoming ill (I had to run the family business to support the family). Father eventually passed away, and the responsibility to take care of my disabled mother (multiple sclerosis) and my sister fell to me - so I wasn't able to go back to harvard and finish the post-bacc. Having lived through the struggle and seeing first-hand how certain conditions can affect life has only fueled my desire to go into medicine. I trained as an EMT-B, volunteered, shadowed, cert. personal trainer (interested in physiology, biomechanics) etc.

Need your advice:
  • I am working full-time and my hours can be very long depending on the week, what post-bacc program can I take that allows evenings/weekends? I commute from long island to purchase, NY for work FYI. Ideally would be a school in long island or near westchester/purchase
  • Will my MBA from a prestigious school help me get into a good MD/DO program? my graduate GPA was 3.84. (completed a triple major in business, minor in economics in undergrad also from a good school but GPA only ~3.1...improving grades going into junior/senior years)
  • I'm 36, how difficult will it be to gain admission to an american MD/DO program? is my age an advantage or disadvantage? how can I increase my odds? Does a successful business career help? (selective MBA, leadership rotation program, senior level positions, etc).
  • Is it worth the sacrifice? for those that have crossed over to post-residency, was it worth it? I would be risking a lot and throwing away a fairly successful corporate career (250k+ income) for a chance at MD/DO. what would you recommend? I also want to get married soon and start a family.
Thank you in advance!

Regards,
J
bump. thoughts? anyone...?
Question: Are you still caring for your mother? If not, or if other arrangements for her can be made, you are insane to be commuting (daily?) from LI to Purchase. That alone must eat up about 1/3 of your life.
My 2 cents: Move to Purchase area, cut commute time, continue to work, get into SUNY Purchase post-bacc program and go from there.
 
Jun 13, 2018
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...If you perform poorly, you'll have to do an SMP or perhaps go Caribbean....I started my post-bacc at 34, was the oldest in my cohort and quit my job, sold my possessions, and crushed it. Alternatively, there was a student in my cohort who refused to give up their part-time job and finished the program in the very low 3's. You will not do yourself any favors by trying to keep working.....
I think this depends on how demanding the job is. If you're in a corporate high stress situation, yes I agree you'll have trouble balancing both. However, I worked full time as an engineer in a relaxed setting and took 1-2 classes and did very well, and I know a few who've done the same. Taking classes and working full time can show that you are good at time management.

Also: do NOT do this for the money. This has to be the thing that pulls you out of bed everyday because you love the work.
Agreed, this should be general advice for anyone. Financial security is important but excess is not. The world needs more idealists, not mercenaries.
 
Jan 17, 2020
6
20
Status
Pre-Medical
I think this depends on how demanding the job is. If you're in a corporate high stress situation, yes I agree you'll have trouble balancing both. However, I worked full time as an engineer in a relaxed setting and took 1-2 classes and did very well, and I know a few who've done the same. Taking classes and working full time can show that you are good at time management.

I understand your point. Adding a couple of classes onto your full-time job can be more than manageable. However, and specifically with non-trad/career changer types, admissions committees are not going to be impressed with the time management skills that are predominated by work responsibilities. They want to know that you can handle a full stack of intense, complex science coursework because that is what medical school is. In fact, a post-bacc, with all of it's intensity and challenge, is but a fraction of the intensity of medical school. Anything you do to dilute that intensity prior to applying will not really be helpful to an applicant.
 
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Jun 13, 2018
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I understand your point. Adding a couple of classes onto your full-time job can be more than manageable. However, and specifically with non-trad/career changer types, admissions committees are not going to be impressed with the time management skills that are predominated by work responsibilities. They want to know that you can handle a full stack of intense, complex science coursework because that is what medical school is. In fact, a post-bacc, with all of it's intensity and challenge, is but a fraction of the intensity of medical school. Anything you do to dilute that intensity prior to applying will not really be helpful to an applicant.
I highly doubt this. Students who major in humanities while taking the bare minimum science prereqs can get in straight out of college. They might take 1 science class a semester. There's no way that's more rigorous than taking 2 classes with a full time job, and they aren't questioned by admissions. Do 1-2 classes while working full time, ace the mcat and no one is going to question you. I've seen that formula have remarkable success at my postbac.
 

Cornfed101

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I highly doubt this. Students who major in humanities while taking the bare minimum science prereqs can get in straight out of college. They might take 1 science class a semester. There's no way that's more rigorous than taking 2 classes with a full time job, and they aren't questioned by admissions. Do 1-2 classes while working full time, ace the mcat and no one is going to question you. I've seen that formula have remarkable success at my postbac.
but how was your GPA? OPs uGPA is bad, that’s why the recommendation is to do school full time
 
Jan 24, 2020
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I assume this relies upon on how stressful the job is. If you're in a company high stress situation, sure I agree you may have problem balancing each. However, I labored full time as an engineer in a relaxed putting andsewingtook 1-2 lessons and did very well, and I recognise a few who have completed the same. Taking instructions and running full time can display which you are appropriate at time control.
 
Jun 13, 2018
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but how was your GPA? OPs uGPA is bad, that’s why the recommendation is to do school full time
Sure, my uGPA before the postbac was not bad, but I think that's irrelevant. We're trying to answer the question of whether taking 1-2 classes while working full time is equivalent to take 3-4 classes alone. Having done both (and when I was an undergrad, I did intense engineering classes mind you), I can say that working FT and taking GPA pressured classes were a lot more stressful. I'd rather take 1-2 science classes with 1-2 fluffy humanities classes (what most undergrads do, btw) than do that while working FT. When you work, your role might depend on people and people might depend on your work--that adds a different level of stress and rigor. Also, context switching between class and work is intense. I personally think adcoms do not (or should not) view that as less rigorous, especially when we have a bunch of undergrads who take 1 science class occasionally.
I've seen a lot of people have success taking science classes slowly while balancing life and other obligations and doing well on the MCAT.
 

Cornfed101

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I personally think adcoms do not (or should not) view that as less rigorous, especially when we have a bunch of undergrads who take 1 science class occasionally.
I've seen a lot of people have success taking science classes slowly while balancing life and other obligations and doing well on the MCAT.
If you are taking 1 class in a post bacc after doing poorly in undergrad that doesn’t show that you can handle multiple difficult courses concurrently, which is what OP needs to prove. It might not be rational, but that is the reality. I also worked all the way through undergrad (and my post bacc) and schools didn’t give me a pass for poor grades. I worked part time during my post bacc so I could take full time classes and did well on my MCAT and it clearly proved that I could handle it.

YMMV but it might be harder to convince adcoms that you can handle med school when you’re taking 1 class at a time. Working holds weight, but not as much as you think.
 
Jan 17, 2020
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Status
Pre-Medical
I highly doubt this. Students who major in humanities while taking the bare minimum science prereqs can get in straight out of college. They might take 1 science class a semester. There's no way that's more rigorous than taking 2 classes with a full time job, and they aren't questioned by admissions. Do 1-2 classes while working full time, ace the mcat and no one is going to question you. I've seen that formula have remarkable success at my postbac.
You are correct. UNDERGRAD students who major in humanities and take the bare minimum (but all the required) prereqs can absolutely get in out of college. Here, however, we are talking about someone who has already graduated (likely 10-15 years ago). Sadly, they have more to prove. Yes, they offer incredibly valuable life experiences, professional experiences, etc. but they do not show a lot of commitment to this path by taking 1-2 classes per semester over the course of a few years. I am literally speaking from experience on this. Not saying it's impossible, but it's not putting your absolute best foot forward.

And I will take slight offense to your reference to "fluffy" humanities classes. I have a humanities undergraduate degree and they are only seem fluffy to the students who don't immerse themselves in them. They require very intense study and significant time commitments. They are not technically/scientifically rigorous, sure. But they are demanding and I believe students coming from the humanities make up a significant portion of medical school students these days so those "fluffy" courses might just be more rigorous than you think ;)
 
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jsingh11

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Mar 18, 2010
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New York
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Question: Are you still caring for your mother? If not, or if other arrangements for her can be made, you are insane to be commuting (daily?) from LI to Purchase. That alone must eat up about 1/3 of your life.
My 2 cents: Move to Purchase area, cut commute time, continue to work, get into SUNY Purchase post-bacc program and go from there.
Yes and continuing to pay the bills (mortgage, etc), I don't see how it's possible at the moment to leave a full-time job and immerse myself fully into a post-bacc. The family is relying on only one income, mine. Unless I have an earning life partner that could take care of the immediate responsibilities, I will have to look for options to work + 2 classes per semester. Unfortunately the job is demanding and sometimes requires travel (this one is a killer), but certain weeks I can work from home 1-2 days a week. It really depends on the month.
 
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