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post bac programs

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by mintleaf, Aug 2, 2001.

  1. mintleaf

    mintleaf New Member

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    hey people....what can you guys tell me about postbac programs? I heard conflicting things, and some ppl tell me that acceptance into one of these programs is like guaranteed acceptance into a med school. Is that true, and if so, tell me more about it! :cool:
     
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  3. Georgey

    Georgey Senior Member

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    I attended the postbac program at Columbia University. I am not sure of other programs but I can share some thougts about Columbia. First, the program is tough. The rate of attrition is 40% or higher. All three of my roommates quit after the first year. It is somewhat demoralizing. On the flip side, if you attend a postbac program at a school like Columbia or UPenn, and are able to successfully complete the coursework (Columbia requires you to maintain a 3.0 while enrolled; this is harder than it seems given the fact that all classes are on a curve and the median grade is usually a B-). In the end, I'm glad I did it. I only had a 3.15 at Columbia, but I was able to learn enough to score a 33 on the MCAT. The advisors at Columbia, which are very helpful BTW, say that based on their experience my chances for admission are greater than 95%. I tend to believe them since I have never met or heard of a postabac from Columbia that did not eventually get in. Hope this helps.
     
  4. Georgey

    Georgey Senior Member

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    I meant to say after the parentheses that: you stand a very good chance of being accepted to medical school.
     
  5. mintleaf

    mintleaf New Member

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    Georgey, how hard is it to get into one of these programs? Like what kind of GPA did you have when you applied to Columbia's postbac program? I feel like I would be able to handle it, even though the programs sound hard, b/c I go to UC Berkeley and their standard is very high. Even though my GPA is low, I'm studying for the MCAT right now, and I'm doing quite well. So, it's a question of whether I would be accepted into the program or not. Also, is it true that you are GUARANTEED acceptance into a med school (that's what I heard)?
     
  6. E'01

    E'01 1K Member

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    I did the Harvard Extension post-bac program. It was excellent. My pre-med advisor was realistic yet was very supportive. The tuition was only roughly $550 per four-credit science course (unfortunately, the cost of living in Boston is high) and the student body was great. Apparently, the attrition rate is quite high - it seemed that a lot of people go on to do an MPH or other non-science professions. The coursework is tough but can be done (weekly study groups are essential). Most people work while taking classes and at the end (depending on your undergrad GPA), you can get a committee letter from the Director of the post-bac program. When looking at post-bac programs that might be a factor to consider since most medical schools prefer committee letters rather than individual letters of recommendations. You can email me if you have any more questions...good luck!
     
  7. Georgey

    Georgey Senior Member

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    Your situation does not seem to fit what Columbia's program intends. They pretty much only admit people who need to take a substantial portion of their premedical prereqs. Most of my classmates where liberal art majors during undergrad, but not all. With that said, if you have a GPA of 3.0 or higher in undergrad and come from a somewhat competitive undergrad school (sounds like you have that more than covered coming from UCB--I did my undergrad at UT-Austin so you shouldn't worry about it) you should get in. If you have taken all of your prereqs though I would look at another program. I know UPENN has a program for people that didn't do all that well in undergrad but need to improve their grades with upper division science classes. If you do decide to look closer at Columbia's postbac program, has it's own website. Go to www.columbia.edu and follow the links to the School of General Studies. In so far as your ability to do well at Columbia, since you go to Berkely you probably have what it takes to make it in Columbia's program. Its generally not a matter of intellect there as it is determination. One of my roommates had a PhD in Nuclear Eng from MIT and quit the program because he said it was too stressful. And then another friend of mine went to Vassar (major in Russian)completed the program with mostly Bs and got into Wash U. In a phrase, at Columbia's program it all comes down to how much you want to go to medical school. They really don't mess around, and they are very unforgiving.
     
  8. Georgey

    Georgey Senior Member

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    Mintleaf...forgot to add that none of true postbac programs (not medipath programs) I have ever heard of actually guarantee acceptance to med school. Most of the postbac programs should be able to give you an acceptance (to med school)rate. Columbia's is 90%. It is sad to say, but most of the ten percent that do not get in are people that are over 40 years of age. I strongly disagree with med schools rejecting these people based on their age (and that's because of my age; I'm 26) but I suppose med schools are looking at the years of service these people will put into their practices. To sum up, if you complete Columbia's program, you will almost definitely get into at least one med school.
     
  9. mintleaf

    mintleaf New Member

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    hey guys...thanks for all the info so far...I have a couple more questions. What if I have pretty much finished all my pre-reqs and have done a lot of upper div science courses, would any postbac programs still accept me? I understand that the point of the program is to prepare the person for med school, and that I would only be taking classes that I've already taken, but if I'm willing to, would they let me? The problem is my GPA...even though it's above 3.0, I still don't think that it's high enough, b/c I've heard MANY stories about students at Berkeley with GPA's of up to 3.3 and pretty good MCATs (at least low 30s), not getting accepted, despite the school's name. I'm afraid I won't get accepted at all, and I'd rather prepare really well for the application process and have good letters of rec and more volunteer hrs, etc., etc. I guess that I just want another chance at it. Do you guys think that this program is right for me, or should I ditch the idea and try something else?? Thanks again for all the advice.
     
  10. booie00

    booie00 Junior Member

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    I have two friends who recently went through post-bac programs. One was at Columbia while the other was at UPenn. The posters above me pretty much covered what I know about the program at Columbia. In addition, Columbia has special "alliances" to three med schools - SUNY Stony Brook, Jefferson Med, I forgot the last one - in which certain post-bac students who do well on their studies and MCATs are granted early acceptances.

    The program at UPenn has two different post-bac pre-med programs. One is geared towards the non-sci majors who need to take the pre-requisites; the other is for the pre-med students who need to improve their GPAs and/or gain more medical-related experiences. My friend was at the latter post-bac program. Students in this program took upper-level science courses at night while during the day they worked. Most students worked and/or volunteered at HUP or CHOP, both excellent places to do clinical research or volunteer. He said the support system was great for the post-bac students. Also the acceptance rate was about 85%.

    On the side, although post-bac grades are calculated into the undergrad GPA - which usually do not raise the GPA that much - , most adcoms view them separately. My friend had a mediocre undergrad GPA (~3.2). Although he did exceptionally well at the post-bac program (4.0), it only raised his GPA by about 0.1. However he received many interviews and was pretty much commended for his post-bac performance by interviewers (ultimately he had multiple-accpetance as well).

    So I think doing a post-bac program is not a bad idea if you are willing to commit a year or two and have the resources (no financial aid is given). Each schools should have websites outlining the programs so check them out. Good luck~~
     
  11. Georgey

    Georgey Senior Member

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    If you have taken all of the prereqs don't bother with Columbia. Sounds like UPENN is a better bet. Also, check out Med College of Penn's medipath program. That is for students like you that need to improve their college records before applying.

    Just to correct the last post: Columbia has linkage agreements with seven medical schools. Linkage basically means that highly qualified students are able to skip the lag year and avoid applying to medical school through amcas and go directly into to med school upon graduation. Columbia has linkage programs with: Temple, SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Brooklyn, Trinity U (in Ireland), Jefferson, Medical College of Penn, Brown U. Also, quite a few (always greater than ten) student go to Columbia Univ College of Physicians and Surgeons every year out the postbac program.
     
  12. Georgey

    Georgey Senior Member

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    I don't mean to be anal but booie's post is not entirely accurate with regard to postbac programs and financial aid. Half of my tuition for Columbia's programs was on scholarship (need/merit based) and the other was from Staffords. I think just about any accredited program in the country will allow you to use Staffords if need be.
     
  13. booie00

    booie00 Junior Member

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    I stand corrected Georgey. ;)
     
  14. Mintleaf, I sensed that your GPA is somewhere around 3.1 to 3.2, right? I have known quite a few people with that GPA from Berkeley who didn't apply in their junior year. Although Berkeley is competitive but many in BMB, Genetics and Immunology obtain GPA around 3.4-3.5 nonetheless, and if you are neurobiology, developmental biology, pulling a 3.7 is not too difficult. The odds are not too favorably, realistically speaking, that is, if you are not a URM.

    You have four options: 1)attend the post-bacc programs like people said. 2)attend a MPH program at a reputable school. 3)apply to grad school first (but it is a gamble since god knows what can happen in grad school). 4)Get over 33 on your MCAT and go to Peace Corp for two years.

    I know one guy who had a 3.45 GPA in MCB-BMB and a 31 MCAT with plenty of research and volunteer. He applied to med schools three to four times. The first time, in junior year, all to no avail. Second time in Senior year, all to no avail. Then he worked in a biotech company for three years and got a first author publication in a clinical journal, and he applied last year, and got a few interviews and got into a school in the Northeast. Now he is somewhere in the Caribean before school starts.
     
  15. Georgey, University of Texas at Austin is a reputable school... I didn't think UT Austin is too far off from Berkeley and Virginia. What is your view about MPH versus post-bacc programs?
     
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  17. Georgey

    Georgey Senior Member

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    First, thanks for the vote of confidence about UT. I hope the admission officers reviewing my file will share that sentiment. To answer your question... I am assuming you are speaking of people who have already completed all the prereqs and need to improve upon their academic record. With that said, I would have to say that MPH vs. postbac programs is going to be entirely dependent upon the person's academic record and MCAT scores at the time the decision is to be made. My research has led me to believe that most med schools are more interested is sciencific achievement within the context of broad educational framework (e.g. humanities, social sciences, etc) than anything else. I think that is why postbac students do so well: that context is already built in and they can focus solely on the science courses in front of them. If I was an applicant from a top fifty school such as an Ivy, UVA, Rice, Swarthmore, etc. and had a GPA of 3.2 or greater and a MCAT score that broke thirty I would probably go to MPH school (incidentally I have buddy who did that: he went to Harvard with roughly those numbers-- MCATs were pretty hig--and then used his MPH to enhance his application and he ended up at Hopkins) if I didn't get in the first time. If however I had those numbers at a small relatively unknown state school I would probably try to go to one of the more prestigous postbac programs (e.g. UPENN) and do the best I could. Everybody is different though. I feel rather confident that Columbia will get me into med school. Not because I think I'm all that great an applicant, but because I'm a Texas resident. With the exception of UT-Dallas and Baylor, the MD schools in Texas (there are 7) have a combined MCAT average of 27.2. And there just are that many nationally recognized schools in Texas for UT to compete, save for Rice and A&M. So in the end I think everyone would have to do what's best for their particular situation.
     
  18. Thanks for sharing, I think your opinion matched mine very well... I have to agree that post-bacc are designed for non-bioscience majors. But the stats you mentioned about Columbia post-bacc are really enticing... I hope you do well this year, because if so and I didn't get in anywhere, I probably will enroll in the Columbia post-bacc myself. Good luck to you.
     
  19. Georgey

    Georgey Senior Member

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    Best of luck to you too.
     
  20. kris

    kris Senior Member

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    I don't know anything about official "postbacc programs" for students wanting to go to med school.

    I was wondering what the advantage is of being in one of those special programs vs. just continuing to take science courses at a university as a postbacc.

    I did the latter and no one seemed to flinch, but I don't think I have the full picture here.

    Can anyone fill me in?

    --kris
     
  21. gower

    gower 1K Member

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    Many formal postbac programs have arrangements with several medical schools to accept their students; you have access to a premedical advisor and all the services you will need.

    Most postbac programs are for students who had few or none of the prerequisites. Harvard Extension, Columbia, Penn are first class, but demanding. The advisors there are very experienced, well known to, and respected, by medical schools. There are others.

    For postbac programs and details, go to:

    www-hl.syr.edu/hpap

    Prerequisites, or additional courses to improve a record can be taken almost anywhere, but not all of anywhere will get you to where you want to go.
     
  22. vixen

    vixen I like members

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    Hunter (In NYC) has a postbacc that is for improving your gpa...it also has linkages to 2 or 3 med schools (Cornell, Mt. Sinai--can't remember if there's a 3rd). It's cheaper than Penn or Columbia...I'll be at Hunter in the fall...maybe I'll see ya there!!!
     
  23. kris

    kris Senior Member

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    Thanks, Gower.

    I thought I was the only one up at 4am this morning! Intriguing.

    --kris
     
  24. mintleaf

    mintleaf New Member

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    thanks for all the advice, guys...so, from all the posts, it seems to me that if I already have taken all the upper div sci classes, then it would be better for me to get an MPH rather than a postbacc or even MS in bio - is that pretty much where you guys are leaning towards? Do you think that I could even get accepted into a postbacc program, considering all the science classes I've already taken?

    also, to retro-i'm not a URM, but how much leeway do you think that med schools or even postbacc programs would give for a disadvantaged socioeconomic background. I can make a very good case for why I did so poorly (relatively) in my classes due to my prior educational background, but I haven't heard much in regards to that.
     
  25. Georgey

    Georgey Senior Member

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    Mintleaf, check out Medical College of Pennsylvania's website. I've heard they have a program for people who have already taken a lot of science courses but still need to improve their academic record before they apply to medical school. I think you need to have at least a 27 on the MCAT to get in but I'm not sure.
     
  26. Georgey

    Georgey Senior Member

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    To the best of my knowledge at Med Penn's program you take the first, and maybe second year, of classes with the med students. After you're done you're granted a Master in Medical Science (MMS). Medical school acceptance is then all but guaranteed since you've proven you can do the work med school requires.
     

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