Mar 5, 2010
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Pre-Medical
So, I'm a 26 year-old former history student with GPAs of 3.4 overall and 3.7 in my major. I wasn't too concerned about maintaining a ridiculously high GPA at the time, since I thought I'd never need it again. That said, those grades are from the University of Chicago, so they're considered pretty good, and I got honors.

I've bounced around a bit since I graduated, did two years in PR, tried an MA program for medieval history (did well, hated it) and left after a semester to move to Europe (husband's job). I worked in PR there, and now I'm back, unemployed and have decided to finally get my ass in gear and apply for postbaccs before something else gets in my way. I started thinking about med school about 2 years ago, but then with the move...anyway. Point being, I volunteered as a vet tech for a while before the MA and loved it, but that's not exactly the same as volunteering in a hospital or for a doctor's office, or what have you. Seeing all of the people with great GPAs and lots of experience as volunteer EMTs and so forth on these boards who are stressing about not getting into a postbacc program is beginning to get to me.

I've applied to CUNY-Hunter, Columbia, and Northeastern, and I'm just waiting for recs from an old prof and a former boss so I can apply to Tufts and BU. Do you think I have a shot at any program other than Columbia? I'd rather not pay through the nose for the premed stuff. I'm also worried that my spotty track record might make getting into med school difficult. I've heard good and bad things about each of the programs, so I have no idea which one I'd be most likely to choose. Thoughts? Reassurance? Words of warning? :confused:
 

jslo85

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Jan 27, 2010
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So, I'm a 26 year-old former history student with GPAs of 3.4 overall and 3.7 in my major. I wasn't too concerned about maintaining a ridiculously high GPA at the time, since I thought I'd never need it again. That said, those grades are from the University of Chicago, so they're considered pretty good, and I got honors.

I've bounced around a bit since I graduated, did two years in PR, tried an MA program for medieval history (did well, hated it) and left after a semester to move to Europe (husband's job). I worked in PR there, and now I'm back, unemployed and have decided to finally get my ass in gear and apply for postbaccs before something else gets in my way. I started thinking about med school about 2 years ago, but then with the move...anyway. Point being, I volunteered as a vet tech for a while before the MA and loved it, but that's not exactly the same as volunteering in a hospital or for a doctor's office, or what have you. Seeing all of the people with great GPAs and lots of experience as volunteer EMTs and so forth on these boards who are stressing about not getting into a postbacc program is beginning to get to me.

I've applied to CUNY-Hunter, Columbia, and Northeastern, and I'm just waiting for recs from an old prof and a former boss so I can apply to Tufts and BU. Do you think I have a shot at any program other than Columbia? I'd rather not pay through the nose for the premed stuff. I'm also worried that my spotty track record might make getting into med school difficult. I've heard good and bad things about each of the programs, so I have no idea which one I'd be most likely to choose. Thoughts? Reassurance? Words of warning? :confused:

Hi and welcome to SDN. I was slightly confused with your post and was hoping that you could clarify before I expand on things further. You're a previous history major that just decided to change career directions and follow medicine right? If this is correct you should have no medical pre-reqs and along those same lines, if you haven't taken those classes why would you apply to Tufts or BU with those being SMPs? Please correct me if I'm wrong.
 
Mar 5, 2010
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Pre-Medical
You're correct. I have absolutely no science background (didn't even take calc in college, much to my chagrin). I guess now I'm a little confused, too. BU and Tufts present themselves as programs that would work for people like me and people with previous course experience. Am I wrong?
 

jslo85

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You're correct. I have absolutely no science background (didn't even take calc in college, much to my chagrin). I guess now I'm a little confused, too. BU and Tufts present themselves as programs that would work for people like me and people with previous course experience. Am I wrong?
You are wrong if the BU and Tufts programs you applied to are the Master of Arts in Biomedical Sciences and Masters of Biomedical Science programs respectively for either school.

If you're talking about the Boston University post-bacc certificate for pre-health studies in their extension program then that is fine for you but I would wonder why you would choose to to move to Boston to do so.

Anything with a Masters in it is unsuitable for you at this moment. You haven't even taken the pre-reqs and if you are looking at formal programs (assuming you are since you cited Hunter and Columbia) those two are suitable for a non-traditional/career changer like yourself. Other schools that fall under that category but would not be in the East Coast would be Mills, Scripps, Goucher, Bryn Mawr etc. The concept of these programs are to provide a competitive environment to complete their pre-reqs for medical school in an intense and concise fashion within 2 years and have a great name in getting them from there to the next step in medical school due to their reputation and linkages.

Tufts and BU (SMP programs) are catered towards students who have taken their pre-reqs and require a program that provides them with advanced level coursework or medical school equivalent classes to boost their credentials prior to applying.

There aren't too many programs that encompass both types of students, UT Dallas is one of the few that I know that would. Another would be SFSU or perhaps the UC/Harvard extensions.
 
Mar 5, 2010
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You are wrong if the BU and Tufts programs you applied to are the Master of Arts in Biomedical Sciences and Masters of Biomedical Science programs respectively for either school.

If you're talking about the Boston University post-bacc certificate for pre-health studies in their extension program then that is fine for you but I would wonder why you would choose to to move to Boston to do so.
No, no. I'm just looking at the certificates, not the MA programs. I know I'm not qualified for those. :) As for moving to Boston, it's primarily a personal decision. My husband just got a job there. We've done the commuting thing before, and I'm just not too keen on it this time around. That said, if it turned out that the Hunter program was going to be massively better than, say Northeastern (which is, of the Boston schools, currently my top choice), then I would stay here.
 

Xcited392

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Well, as someone who went to BU for undergrad, I can give you my opinion of their pre-med classes and the environment.

First, science classes (particularly pre-med courses) will be difficult no matter where you go. However, I must say that the classes at BU were very challenging. Also, BU is known for grade deflation, as most exam scores were pretty low. I may sound biased, since I didn't have the best grades there, but here's a sampling: of all my friends in those classes, I only knew 1-2 people who got A's. Most of my friends ended up dropping the pre-med career track and pursued something else. Another thing, the classes were HUGE, ranging from 300-500 students, so take that into consideration. I personally didn't like the huge classes, but it might not be an issue for you.

If you want to be in Boston, have you considered going to Harvard Extension School? Many people have said good things about HES. I think the classes are still big, but I've heard the learning environment allows you to compete with yourself, not with fellow classmates.

So, if I were you, and you wanted to stay in the Boston area, I'd do the Harvard HCP program.

Good luck.
 
Mar 5, 2010
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Thanks for the intel about BU, Xcited. I would prefer not to have mammoth classes, if I can avoid it, so that's good to know. And I'm prepared to have the science kick my a** a little, but I would rather not have grade deflation. I'd like to have half a chance of getting an A.

I'll take a closer look at Harvard. I'd discounted it because, being Harvard, I assumed it would be a big excuse to take my money and slap a giant red - sorry, crimson - seal on things, but perhaps it's worth a second look. I've see on other threads that it's cheaper than Northeastern, and I'm not sure I believe that, but who knows.

And thanks for the luck. I'll need it. :)
 

Xcited392

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Thanks for the intel about BU, Xcited. I would prefer not to have mammoth classes, if I can avoid it, so that's good to know. And I'm prepared to have the science kick my a** a little, but I would rather not have grade deflation. I'd like to have half a chance of getting an A.

I'll take a closer look at Harvard. I'd discounted it because, being Harvard, I assumed it would be a big excuse to take my money and slap a giant red - sorry, crimson - seal on things, but perhaps it's worth a second look. I've see on other threads that it's cheaper than Northeastern, and I'm not sure I believe that, but who knows.

And thanks for the luck. I'll need it. :)
I don't know Northeastern's tuition rates, but at HES, I think it's about $800-900 per course--which is a pretty good deal. Classes are all in the evenings.

But yeah, take a look at the Harvard threads. The advising there seems to be top-notch.

Northeastern might be a good option, but I don't know much about the school. I would think that classes there might not be as challenging as Harvard, but I really don't know.
 
Jan 12, 2010
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I'd like to second HES. I'm from the Boston area and I'm about to start taking classes there in the fall. I'm taking an English class right now and I'm enjoying it very much. I did a little bit of research before I started and I'm pretty sure that it is the cheapest Boston option, that is one of the main reasons why I'm doing my post-bacc at HES. Don't be put-off by the Harvard name, it is harvard EXTENSION school after all, the classes are open to anybody with a college degree. Courses are $900 for non-lab, and $1100 for lab courses.

Check out the Harvard thread on this forum if you're interested!

Edit:
Also, since you mentioned that you have no volunteer experience, Boston has tons of great hospitals to volunteer in. There are also tons of students in this town, so the hospitals have very well-organized volunteer departments for the many student volunteers. I don't know much about the NY area so I can't say anything about it. But I do know that it is much cheaper to live in Boston than in NYC. Good luck with your decision!
 
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Mar 5, 2010
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I'm a current Postbacc student at Columbia, this is my opinion on it (I can only comment on Columbia's Postbacc program - I have no knowledge of Boston or others).

Columbia's program is pretty much designed for a person in your position - you don't really need any science courses/volunteer work when you enter. It is designed for people with no science background to take the courses you need to get into med. school. They require that you put in a significant amount of volunteer work over your 2 years to make you a better applicant regardless.

It is slightly pricey, but the ends *can* justify the means. The classes are difficult - you take classes with Ivy League undergrads who ARE science majors. If you put some effort into your studies, you'll do fine though. Med. school admissions officers know of all the Postbacc programs, which also helps Columbia Postbacc students - the acceptance rate of people who finish the program is in the mid-upper 90%.

Columbia also offers linkages to a bunch of schools in the Tri-State area.