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please help me choose a good post-bac premed program!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by chef, Feb 18, 2002.

  1. chef

    chef Senior Member
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    It's not for me, but for a good friend of mine. He will graduate from college this May (non-science major, didn't take any premed courses), but after some twist in fate and his new interest in medicine, he REALLy wants to become a MD now. The problem is, his preparation is nil - he will have to attend post-bac premed program, take mcat, get lor's, etc.

    Now, are there better post-bac programs out there? is it better for him to apply to "name" schools like columbia (is it true that once u get accepted at columbia you're guaranteed a spot at a med school?), hopkins? or is it better for him to go to an easy program and get straight As? He's looking at columbia, penn state, and a few others.

    Also, what will be his ideal timeline? Are postbac's 1 or 2 yrs long? he's going to start studying for mcat this spring/summer for maybe 8/02 or 4/03 mcat. Can he apply to med school next year? (after the upcoming cycle), or is he better off applying in 2 yrs, for entrance in 3 yrs?

    thanks for any help! I'd love to help him in any way, he's a good guy... I wish I could give him one of my acceptances!!! :D
     
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  3. mma

    mma Senior Member
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    For post bacc programs, people will tell you all different information. Personally, I believe in the structured program because the advising you get out of it is better than if your friend is in a loose program or taking courses on your own. Plus, the committee letter of recommendation from a committee that knows him most recently is more effective than one from college.

    In terms of choosing a program, I would go for the best program I could afford. Look at stats regarding placement into medical school. I went to Tufts and the program there has a 90% acceptance rate to med school. The program is rigorous, but worth it. (I have been accepted to my top choice school--Baylor--and am waiting to hear from several top 10 schools.) It took me one year, but I had some courses under my belt. Typically the program takes 2 years: part-time classes with part-time work in a health-related field. (Post bacc programs usually help people find these jobs.) Programs in the East that are considered to be among the best are Bryn Mawr, Tufts, and Columbia.

    You have to apply to structured programs. Your friend should probably do some substantial volunteer work or work in a medical area that has patient contact--these programs tend to be reluctant to accept people who are interested in medicine, but show no prior experience that indicates their commitment.

    Wish him luck for me!

    mma
     
  4. goldie

    goldie Senior Member
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    I would HIGHLY recommend the Harvard Health Careers Program. The quality is high, the social aspect is great and it's far less expensive than the Columbia or Bryn Mawr programs. Each 4-credit class is $660! Plus, there's some grant money available.

    The Health Careers office also has a sponsorship program, and if you qualify, you get a terrific letter along with your recommendations.

    Boston is also a great environment to learn in. The Harvard classes are at night, so there's plenty of time to take a day job at one of the many hospitals or research institutes.

    Consider it!
     
  5. Astrid

    Astrid Member
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    I just finished the Columbia post-bacc this past May and thought it was a pretty good experience. I mean, I've been accepted to medical school which was the goal right? It was a two year program and, if your friend has no medical experience like me, i'd suggest doing it that way b/c the above poster is right... you need to take the time to work/volunteer/do research in order to be the best applicant you can be (Columbia was good about helping you get jobs).
    As far as the Columbia program's success rate, i think it's around 90% as well. BUT, it's incredibly expensive and I'm constantly questioning if going to Columbia was worth it (the price of living is really high as well). to late though! Wish I'd known about the Harvard program!
     
  6. goldie

    goldie Senior Member
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    Astrid:

    I TA'ed at the Columbia program, and found the curriculum thorough (at least the gen chem lab was!). Great campus, too.

    Yeah, the Harvard deal was amazing.

    Congrats on getting into school..."mature students" unite! :)
     
  7. Elysium

    Elysium Not Really An Old Beaver
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    I really thought about the Harvard, Tufts, and Columbia programs, (especially since I was living in Boston), but in the end I decided to come back to TX and do my pre-reqs in a loose enviornment. I decided to do this for 2 reasons:
    1) I couldn't really justify spending that much money on tuition/cost of living for an endeavor that's not a sure thing (getting into med school)
    2) I wanted to re-establish my TX residency, because we have 8 med schools, most of which are kind to older non-trads (UTSA, UTMB)

    Of course now, looking back on it, I sort of regret not doing the Harvard thing. It would have been much more impressive/competitive to do my post-bacc work at some of the above mentioned schools instead of the no-name school I'm currently attending. For me, it just came down to money...which is not always the best way to make a decision...
     
  8. locitamd

    locitamd Senior Member
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    Don't forget about the University of Pennsylvania and NYU post-bacc programs.
     
  9. chef

    chef Senior Member
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    hey guys, thanks to all of you for great help! It sounds like there are several here who took the post-bacc route. Nice.

    My concern is, my friend is not the 4.0GPA, 1500SAT guy. His major was either econ or business admin., and his gPA is 3.4-3.5 ish. He never took orgo or cell bio. If he gets into those bigname programs such as Harvard, Tufts, columbia (that's a big IF first of all), I'm concerned whether he'll even survive and get decent grades. I got an impression that straight A's from a community college postbacc program would get you into a med school easier than avg grades from schools above. What's the real deal?

    How many students are enrolled in harvard, columbia, tufts? Is it hard to get into those programs? Once in, are students super-competitive, and materials really rigorous, and As given out to certain percentages? There's no question my friend understands that he's gonna have to work extremely hard to get into a medical school, but if he's competing with MSs, PhDs, etc he'll have a hard time. At this point, it would be nice to get into a well-known med school, but he just wants to make sure he'll get in somewhere.

    Thanks!
     
  10. Wednesday

    Wednesday Senior Member
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    Chef,

    I took some classes through the Columbia program and then finished up on the west coast. Columbia is VERY expensive and the advisors are good, but I always found them busy and difficult to talk to. The thing about Columbia is that many people end up dropping out, which is part of the reason (I think) they have such a high acceptance rate. Also, post-baccs have a pretty high acceptance rate overall. With a 3.4, he should definitly get into Columbia, they seem to have a cut-off of about 3.0 (because they don't think that someone with a lower GPA than that has as much of a chance of getting accepted to med school). And he should do just fine with a business major.

    The Columbia program takes two years if you don't have any science classes, the advisors don't like you to take summer classes. He should look into Bryn Mawr too. I think it is the highest rated post-bacc program in the country and only takes one year (if you already have calculus). Both programs have linkage programs with some great med schools which allow you to eliminate the application "lag" year. Although having extra time to volunteer and do research is pretty important.

    The good thing about post-bacc programs at these private schools is that you get all your classes (unlike at some large state schools) and you have advisors and fellow post-bacc students to help you through the process. Plus the school reputation probably helps a little. I don't think community college classes are that much easier, the material is all the same. Adcoms just don't look at them the same way.

    I think columbia has about 300 students in their program at any one time (they basically take anyone with above a 3.0). I didn't find the students super competitive, maybe that's a function of an older group of students. I didn't know any PhDs, mostly just English majors who worked for a while and decided to be physicians. The curve at Columbia is very generous. It is an ivy afterall. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> So basically your friend should do just fine if he's ready to work hard. LOTS of people do this.

    Now, if he just wants to get into med school somewhere , I would suggest moving to Vermont. Getting residency in a state like Vermont, where there aren't that many applicants from the state, seems to work for a lot of people. Look in the MSAR to find the states with a small number of applicants AND their own med school. This also might save a lot of money in living expenses.

    BTW--I don't know where this rumor came from (I've seen it numerous times on thie board) but if you go through the Columbia program you are NOT guaranteed admission to P&S. A lot of people do end up getting in though.

    Wow! That was a long post! Good luck to you and your friend!!!
     
    YXVBX likes this.

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