Post Bacc Application Questions (Pre-program online prep/Old Volunteer Experience/Master's GPA)

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New Member
2+ Year Member
Jun 29, 2019
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Hello everyone,

This is my first time posting on SDN. I've used it quite a bit over the past few months in order to research about applying to a post-bacc program. I am hoping to begin applying to different programs this cycle for career changers. I've done the research and the soul-searching necessary and I think a formal, structured post-bacc is the right step for me. I have two questions about applying to post bacs that I was hoping someone might be able to give me some feedback for:

1. I graduated from my undergrad program with a 3.93 without taking any of the prerequisites for medical school, which means that I haven't taken any science courses since high school (I am 26 now). Some of the post bacc programs I am applying to ask for a copy of my high school transcript (I'm honestly not sure how much weight that holds, though) and from what I remember I didn't do terrible. I graduated with a 3.4 gpa and I made pretty much all As and Bs throughout high school. During that time period, I didn't really care to try that hard in school; it was really in my undergrad program that I began to enjoy schooling and make more of an effort. To get to the point, I am currently working through some Coursera/EdEx courses in math/chemistry/physics/biology in order to get me ready for next year when I begin working on my prerequisites. My question is whether I should pay for the "verified certificate" option that many of the courses offer. I know they aren't worth any official credit, but I feel it at least quantifies my self-study preparation. Would post bacc programs look favorably on this? I'm not really sure what to think because of the stigma of online anything, but since they're not for credit, I wasn't sure if it might help.

2. While I was in high school, I took a First Responder class that was offered in 11th grade. Part of the requirements for the class was to spend 120 hours assisting on an ambulance. After finishing the class, I was certified as a first responder. The class was a great experience (the paramedics actually let me do things - I was even able to perform CPR) and it was the first "stirring" of interest that I had in medicine before I decided to go another route after graduating high school. In my research, I found that people tend to say that old volunteer experiences shouldn't be mentioned because what med schools want to see is long-term volunteering. Would it be worth it to list my first responder experience on my post bacc application? The ones who requested a copy of my high school transcript will see it anyway, so I thought that it might not hurt.

I have lived for the past year as a missionary in Central America and will continue to do so for the next year until I move back to the States, so I have a lot of volunteer experience; however, I feel that I am lacking in medical volunteer experience. I have been trying to get a volunteer position at a hospital or clinic here for the past few weeks, but because of strict privacy laws and because medical volunteering is not emphasized culturally it has been difficult. I have seen some say that post-baccs don't require medical volunteer experience because it's not actually "medical" yet, but from what I've seen from some of the better programs (Bryn Mawr, Johns Hopkins, etc.) it could make a big difference in my application.

3. I continued after my undergrad degree and got a master's. I didn't do as well in my master's and graduated with a 3.6. Would listing my master's gpa "average out" my undergrad gpa? Would it hurt my chances of being accepted? I was working three jobs while working on my master's, so I wasn't able to devote as much time on it as I should have.

I'm sorry for such a long post, but I would really appreciate any help or input that anyone could provide! I am really excited to looking forward to starting this process of becoming a doctor, even though I'm starting late. Because of that I want to present the best application I can starting now!

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chemical imbalance obliterator
5+ Year Member
Dec 8, 2017
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1. Don’t spend money on the verified certificates from online, non-credit courses. Worthless.

2. Generally, ECs shouldn’t be from your high school years. They should be from your college years or after. Definitely seek out health-related volunteering experiences, as well as a physician shadowing experiences. Through your ECs, you need to demonstrate to post-bacc programs that this is what you want to do.

3. I’m guessing your master’s wasn’t in the biomedical sciences. I don’t think it’ll affect your chances at all. Also, a 3.6 isn’t that bad.

The reason your thread didn’t get any other responses is that it’s too long. Try to be more concise in future posts.