Oct 16, 2020
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I've decided that I want to become a psychiatrist, but I'd never planned on attending medical school so I don't have the necessary pre-reqs. Since graduating in 2017 I've been working for a healthcare IT company on the the insurance side of things, so I don't have clinical experience, but technically I work in the industry and have a lot of exposure to hospital administration. My parents are both doctors so I've had exposure to medicine/healthcare my whole life. I also think they have enough connections that I'd be able to get some clinical experience in over the next year.

I graduated with honors with a double major in Economics and Math from a top 30 school (the level right below Ivy leagues), with a 3.79 GPA. Since I don't have any pre-reqs except calculus I need to go back to school, and I'm trying to determine if I should do a formal post-bacc or a DIY. I think I'd be able to get into a formal post-bacc, but they're expensive so I'm not sure the value is there. I'm trying to determine what a DIY post-bacc would look like for me so I can make an educated decision on the matter.


For the DIY method:

Realistically, I'd most likely start classes this spring or summer, and take the MCAT spring/summer of 2022. If it's somehow possible (not sure if it is) then I'd like to be able to get my pre-reqs in this coming Spring and Summer and take the MCAT in September.

My question is- how do I do all my pre-reqs in the shortest time possible, assuming I quit my job (I have ~50k in liquid savings)? I can't find good info on actually planning out a full-time DIY postbacc.

I'd need:
Chem 1 and 2 with lab
Physics 2 with lab (depending on whether schools will accept AP credit for Physics 1)
Organic chemistry 1 and 2 with labb
Bio chem (can be taken after MCAT/applying if needed)

The schedule I'm sort of thinking of would be:
Spring 21
Chem 1+lab, bio 1 + lab, physics 2 + lab

Summer session 1
chem 2 + lab, orgo 1 + lab

Summer session 2
orgo 2 + lab, bio chem (lecture), MCAT Prep


For schools, I would like to do UW Madison (since I live in the area), or UC Berkeley summer sessions (since my parents live around there). Does anyone have experience doing post-bacc classes as a career changer there?

Or should I just do a formal post-bacc?

Thanks in advance for the help!
 
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jamaica jan sun princess

Future Pediatric Cardio-Oncologist Neurosurgeon
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Apr 2, 2018
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I did a DIY post-bacc. I wouldn't recommend taking 16 hard science hours over the Summer. If you start in Spring 2021, you have plenty of time to finish the prerequisites before taking the MCAT in Spring/Summer of 2022. You might want to take physics 1 if it has been a while since you took the AP class. Plus it would allow you to apply to more programs.

Spring 2021: chemistry 1, biology 1, physics 1
Summer 2021: chemistry 2, biology 2
Fall 2021: organic chemistry 1, physics 2
Spring 2022: biochemistry, organic chemistry 2, MCAT prep
Summer 2022: Finish prep and take MCAT, primary application, prewrite secondaries

Don't forget about the volunteering, shadowing, and extracurricular requirements.

Formal post-baccs can be worth the additional cost if they have a strong linkage to a medical school.
 
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Oct 16, 2020
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I did a DIY post-bacc. I wouldn't recommend taking 16 hard science hours over the Summer. If you start in Spring 2021, you have plenty of time to finish the prerequisites before taking the MCAT in Spring/Summer of 2022. You might want to take physics 1 if it has been a while since you took the AP class. Plus it would allow you to apply to more programs.

Spring 2021: chemistry 1, biology 1, physics 1
Summer 2021: chemistry 2, biology 2
Fall 2021: organic chemistry 1, physics 2
Spring 2022: biochemistry, organic chemistry 2, MCAT prep
Summer 2022: Finish prep and take MCAT, primary application, prewrite secondaries

Don't forget about the volunteering, shadowing, and extracurricular requirements.

Formal post-baccs can be worth the additional cost if they have a strong linkage to a medical school.


Where did you take your classes? Was it a 4-year institution or community college?

My question really is- how did you figure out where to take classes/organize a program for yourself?
 
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deleted1075353

Hey I was in the same position as you a year and a half ago! I started my DIY postbac Spring 2019 and got my first MD acceptance this week, so 1.5 yrs total.

You have a great undergrad record so I wouldn't think about a formal program. Take your classes at a 4-year institution, not a community college (but name/prestige doesn't matter, especially since your degree is T30)

You will have to figure out the classes yourself though and consult your school advisers for any idiosyncrasies at your university.

Since you are quitting your job I would recommend taking full course loads (12-18 hrs) Spring 2021-Summer 2022 while doing lots of shadowing/volunteering/research. You should take some higher level courses in addition to the prereqs. Take the MCAT Spring 2022 and apply Summer 2022 (do not underestimate the MCAT or the App; both are freaking brutal). Then you can go back to work during your application year or something more fun if you still have any of that 50k left!
 

jamaica jan sun princess

Future Pediatric Cardio-Oncologist Neurosurgeon
Bronze Donor
Apr 2, 2018
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Where did you take your classes? Was it a 4-year institution or community college?

My question really is- how did you figure out where to take classes/organize a program for yourself?

I took mine at both a community college and a 4-year university.

I chose the community college because it was 1/3 the cost of a 4-year university and they offered general chemistry I and II in Summer mini-semester. This allowed me to complete the 8 prerequisites you need plus physics 2 in 12 months. Realistically, it might be better to take two years to allow more time for extracurriculars though.
 
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Jun 6, 2017
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I took mine at both a community college and a 4-year university.

I chose the community college because it was 1/3 the cost of a 4-year university and they offered general chemistry I and II in Summer mini-semester. This allowed me to complete the 8 prerequisites you need plus physics 2 in 12 months. Realistically, it might be better to take two years to allow more time for extracurriculars though.
Same thing I did. If you have a good degree and GPA then going to a CC is fine because it doesn't look like you're avoiding academic rigor. CCs are cheaper and more flexible.

If you're smart enough to major in econ and math then you're smart enough to accelerate your education a little bit as well. You can easily take Chem 1 and Chem 2 in 6-8 week courses; this is just basic atomic structure and equation balancing. I'd also throw a genetics class in there close to the end since that is higher level subject that can be tested on the MCAT.

As for clinical volunteering and shadowing that's going to be VERY hard to achieve until COVID dies down. I'm not sure how medical schools are going to deal with that over the next few years but I expect it will be less significant. The point is that you need to have some sort of volunteering and a realistic expectation of what it's like to be a doctor.
 

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