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Post-bac road to med school

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Garibaldo, Jul 30, 2000.

  1. Garibaldo

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    I'm planning to apply to med school EVENTUALLY. For now I need to raise my GPA to make myself a more competitive applicant. In order to this, I plan to apply to a good post-bac program. I've heard that med school won't even look at you if you don't complete the program and get your master's degree. Is this true? If so, is it possible to complete a program in one year? Which one year transitional programs should I look at?
     
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  3. I'm in a similar situation. I have a 3.0GPA, which pretty much qualifies me for podiatry school. Anyhow, I'm not a moron, it's just it took me a while to revive my brain cells and realize that I needed to stop paying attention to perpiphery things. The school I want to go to ultimately is the University of Illinois. I decided what better way to gain some insight into going about fulfilling my dreams than to go into the admissions office and have a little chat with an admissions officer. He took one look at my transcript and said "Well, you're going to have to fix all these C's." And I said, "Yeah, I know."
    Well, he proposed two routes to me:
    • Go into a post-bac program. (To this day I have not a clear understanding of what this is.)
    • Get a master's degree and reapply.

    He also pointed out that if I were to go into a post-bac program and I didn't get accepted then it would have been all for waste, as I wouldn't have anything to show for a year or more of hard work. On the other hand, getting an M.S. is better because at the end of it you will have taken your education to a higher level and along with that improved your chances of getting into medical school. Now, having said that let's look at your options. This depends on where you go to school and what your undergraduate major is. Personally, I go to the University of Illinois and my major is Chemistry. There are three options to get a master's degree in Chemistry (at my school):
    • Do research and write a thesis.
    • Take some courses and a comprehensive exam(s).
    • Take a few more courses and that's it.

    I'm planning on just taking coursework to demonstrate that I can keep a good GPA in advanced level coursework, which is what is deterring me from gaining admission for 2001. (Well, I don't know yet, since I haven't been formally rejected *YET*) But I'm not a man of excuses, I didn't perform and I'll have to correct it some way or another. Anyhow, getting back to your options. If I were you I would go in and talk to an admissions officer at the school you would like to attend and just state your situation to him or her and they will tell you what to do. I hope this helped in some way. Just my reason for chosing M.S. over post-bac. [​IMG]
     
  4. Batamez

    Batamez Junior Member
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    Hi.

    I hope the following is helpful. The term 'post-bac program' can mean a couple of things. There are specific post-bac, premed programs, but in general, post-bac work or a post-bac degree can refer to any additional coursework or degree (whether for an MA/MS or a PhD) one does after completing one's bachelors degree. I went to a post-bac, premed program so I can tell you a little about them. Generally, post-bac premed programs are one or two year programs within which you take the basic 4 science prerequisites and the MCAT. The progams are meant for people who did not take any or most of those 4 courses as undergrads, or who took them so long ago that they need a refresher. Only a few post-bac, premed programs will accept people who did poorly in those courses as undergrads and want to redo them, unless they took the classes a long time ago and have built pretty impressive resumes since then. There ARE, however, specific programs for people who bombed the courses the first time around. You can find out about all these different programs by looking into a 'getting into med school' -type book.

    Of course, post-bac, premed programs can be pretty expensive, and you can always take the 4 science courses on your own at any university you are enrolled at or live near. So, what's the advantage? You go full-time, so it only takes a year or so. The compressed time-frame impresses med school committees (if you do well) that you can handle the rigors of med school. Also, some post-bac, premed programs have consortial relationships with certain med schools, so that applicants from that program are considered for admissions separately from the general pool of applicants. If you get in through such a relationship, you go straight to med school the next year, skipping the whole glide-year nightmare of applications and interviews. Finally, the advisor for the program at MOST places will generally write a strong letter of rec. for everyone who attends. Many of these programs boast a 95% and greater acceptance rate. Out of a class of around 50 in my program, I think almost everyone got in somewhere.

    Sorry to be long-winded, but I think if you aren't talking about a specific post-bac, premed program, but about doing additional coursework after your bachelors, for an MA or PhD, for example, then you really do have to finish the degree. Our advisor suggested that we think about it from the committee's perspective--their impression of you is formed initially on the basis of your school/work history. If you started something and didn't finish it, why should they expect you will finish something as difficult as med school?
    But if you already have all your prereqs and need to up your science gpa, getting an MS is a great way to do this. A post-bac, premed, wouldn't be helpful to you unless you are a nontrad student who took those prereqs a long time ago.

    Hope this helps!
     
  5. zolie

    zolie Member
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    "A post-bac, premed, wouldn't be helpful to you unless you are a nontrad student who took those prereqs a long time ago."

    The above statement is not entirely true. You can actually do post-bacc. work even if you are a traditional student. It is just a different type of post-bacc. A couple of people in my post-bacc. program were, in fact, straight out of undergrad or one year out. In these sorts of cases you take upper division undergrad science courses that you didn't already take in order to improve your GPA... This is a viable route for people who have taken pre-reqs already.

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. surg

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    Some "post bac" programs offer no official degree.

    I would highly recommend the UPenn program. I attended in 92-93 and all of my friends got into med school. Very reasonable tuition (<5K for the year), excellent courses/teachers, strong letters, an Ivy name, offers two tracks: one for obtaining pre-reqs, the other for "boosting" a low
    GPA.

    Most courses are @ night allowing you to work during day.
     
  7. Garibaldo

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    Surg,
    How difficult is it to get into this program? I go to UC Berkeley, I have high MCAT scores, some research experience and volunteer experience and a good grade trend from several C's to all A's. I currently have a 3.2 GPA. What are my chances?
     
  8. Garibaldo

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    Zolie, what post-bac program did you get into and what are the acceptance rates in medical school? Is it a Cal school or out of state?

     
  9. Future Surgeon

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    Hi --

    I did my post-bac in 95-96 at Columbia (NYC), which is also where I did my undergrad -- I just needed to get the pre-reqs.

    Like Penn, Columbia is a good choice because it has an ivy name, has good connections with med schools, has good advisors.

    From what I have heard, they intentionally make it pretty easy to get in because they want people with all academic backgrounds to have a chance to prove themselves.

    If you do this route, prepare to work hard. It is definitely possible to get a 4.0 but the competition is stiff. But this is true for any post-bac program, because everyone who is in these programs really want to do well.
     
  10. Kimya

    Kimya Senior Member
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    Hi,

    Just something to keep in mind- grades earned in a post-bac program will raise your undergrad GPA in the AMCAS form. Masters grades will not- they are calculated seperately. So if your primary purpose is to raise your undergrad GPA, getting a Masters is not the best route. However, as other posters have said, if you are looking for something that shows your maturity, ability to work hard and follow through (plus, a degree that will help you professionally should med school not work out), then Masters may be a good option.

    I'm actually from the Bay Area as well. There are several informal post-bac programs at state schools such as Hayward and SF. The AAMC website has a list of all schools that have such programs. I ended up doing post-bac at SF state- liked it a lot.

    Good luck!
     
  11. I have a question. If Post-Bac grades are put into your undergrad GPA, then what is the difference between say, staying in school and adding on a minor or another major and enrolling in a post-bac program? Wouldn't it be cheaper (and more convenient) to just stay at your current school, and add another major or minor and do well in that? Then you would have another bachelor's degree also! And you'd be doing the same thing to your GPA that a post-bac program does. Maybe it's the contacts or the consortial relationships that (some) post-bac programs have with med schools that's advantageous? Do all of them have this? I'm just confused as to why all these people are going for post-bac! Should I be doing this too? I just don't want to do the wrong thing if there is a stronger relationship and correlation with students entering post-bac programs gaining acceptance to allopathic med schools. Help!

    -imtiaz
     
  12. zolie

    zolie Member
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    Sorry for not responding for so long. I've been on vacation and I don't think I am going to spend much time on these type of sites since I'll be starting med school soon.

    I went to the UC Davis Post bacc program and will be going to UCD med as well. I got accepted to several other schools that I turned down to be close to home. I think that my post-bacc program was very helpful in giving me the extra edge I needed to have all my options open to me.

    It's hard for me to give you an acceptance rate, b/c it really varies depending on a persons individual situation. Some people who go to the post-bacc have a two year plan going, etc because they had a lot more to do to make themselves competitive. I can tell you that approx 43% of us got in after a direct one year program this year... but from years past I know that 100% of the students are now in medical school. You can email me at [email protected] if you want more info, b/c I'll no longer be visiting this site.
    Good luck [​IMG]

     
  13. GeoLeoX

    GeoLeoX Ancient
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    The statement above is true but can be confusing. If one is interested in boosting an undergrad GPA then it is important to distinguish between post-bacc "program" and "degree". As Kimya stated post-bacc grades go toward your undergrad GPA and graduate grades go toward your graduate GPA. According to the AMCAS, then any graduate degree-granting program is not considered to be post-bacc. There are programs that offer a little bit of structure but as far as I know no post-bacc program gives you a degree when you finish it. Any credits that you earn that are applied toward a degree figure in the GPA calculation for that degree (grad or undergrad). The only exception are post-bacc or credits that you take that are not counted toward a degree.

    Geo


    [This message has been edited by GeoLeoX (edited 08-21-2000).]
     
  14. KWBum

    KWBum Member
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    Actually, the program through Harvard Extension does grant something. They give a "diploma."

    You have to take all four pre-med pre-req's at Harvard and cannot have taken any anywhere previously. They are quite unwavering on this point.

    What value this diploma? I dunno. It is sort of nice to have, though.

    As to the program itself, it's a tough call. The courses are right up there. It is Harvard after all. People get in from it with some great frequency. However, any reputation it has does seem to be a mostly Northeastern concern. This is, of course, anecdotal. As is much of the information about this process. I've personally had a UFL admissions person well-nigh scoff at it. Damn Florida crackers.

    Hey, wait a minute...I'M a Florida cracker. Scratch that...

    [​IMG]
     
  15. surg

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    As I have previously posted, I think UPenn has one of the best programs in the country. Affordable, Ivy name, great teaching and advisors.
     
  16. Garibaldo

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    Surg,

    What do you think my chances at UPenn are with these stats?

    UC Berkeley, Degree in Moleculer and Cell Biology, 3.2 GPA, 35 MCAT, 1 year volunteer work, 1 year research in two different labs, etc.
     

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