liindskii

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Aug 28, 2018
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I'm a 24 yr old English teacher who's looking to switch to medicine. The relevant courses I've taken are Psych 101, Developmental Psych, Stats, General Bio 1, Human Bio, Anatomy & Physiology, and Pre-Calc. I know I have a lot of classes to take to fulfill the pre-reqs which is why I'm debating whether to do a DIY or formal post bacc. I was thinking a DIY would be more affordable and feasible as I could create a schedule around my working hours and volunteering (I've done grad school full time while teaching so course load isn't an issue for me). However, I've heard that formal programs are better at preparing students for the MCATs. I would like to complete my courses within a 2-3 year time period as well if possible.

I graduated with a cumulative GPA of 3.97, and a 4.0 science GPA.

Based on this, any advice on which to go for?
 

GreenDuck12

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I'm a 24 yr old English teacher who's looking to switch to medicine. The relevant courses I've taken are Psych 101, Developmental Psych, Stats, General Bio 1, Human Bio, Anatomy & Physiology, and Pre-Calc. I know I have a lot of classes to take to fulfill the pre-reqs which is why I'm debating whether to do a DIY or formal post bacc. I was thinking a DIY would be more affordable and feasible as I could create a schedule around my working hours and volunteering (I've done grad school full time while teaching so course load isn't an issue for me). However, I've heard that formal programs are better at preparing students for the MCATs. I would like to complete my courses within a 2-3 year time period as well if possible.

I graduated with a cumulative GPA of 3.97, and a 4.0 science GPA.

Based on this, any advice on which to go for?

I was a teacher when I decided to pursue a career in medicine at a similar age as well. I also toyed with formal vs informal programs and turned down an acceptance at a reputable postbac on the east coast. I would push back on the notion that folks in formal postbac programs do well on the MCAT because of the program but rather that the programs select students with a history of high academic achievement and strong standardized test scores. This is not to say that the programs are not strong nor that the MCAT preparation they provide is not sufficient but that they are very careful to select folks who historically are well positioned to do well on the MCAT regardless of the program they attend. The benefits of some formal programs, in my view, is the pace, cohort size, and focus of the program. Students can complete all prereqs in 12 months but it comes at a huge premium.. That timeline is hard to replicate elsewhere but can be done.

In my case, I decided that I wanted to continue to teach to save money for medical school while doing my postbac at night. I picked a semi formal program that was nearby and enjoyed my time in the program. It ended up working out well for me though it took longer than it would have if I did a full time program. Where you take your classes really won’t impact your application much unless the postbac program has a strong connection to schools you are interested in.
 
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Goro

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I'm a 24 yr old English teacher who's looking to switch to medicine. The relevant courses I've taken are Psych 101, Developmental Psych, Stats, General Bio 1, Human Bio, Anatomy & Physiology, and Pre-Calc. I know I have a lot of classes to take to fulfill the pre-reqs which is why I'm debating whether to do a DIY or formal post bacc. I was thinking a DIY would be more affordable and feasible as I could create a schedule around my working hours and volunteering (I've done grad school full time while teaching so course load isn't an issue for me). However, I've heard that formal programs are better at preparing students for the MCATs. I would like to complete my courses within a 2-3 year time period as well if possible.

I graduated with a cumulative GPA of 3.97, and a 4.0 science GPA.

Based on this, any advice on which to go for?
If money is not an issue, I recommend the program. You'll get better advising and MCAT prep.
 
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liindskii

2+ Year Member
Aug 28, 2018
13
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I was a teacher when I decided to pursue a career in medicine at a similar age as well. I also toyed with formal vs informal programs and turned down an acceptance at a reputable postbac on the east coast. I would push back on the notion that folks in formal postbac programs do well on the MCAT because of the program but rather that the programs select students with a history of high academic achievement and strong standardized test scores. This is not to say that the programs are not strong nor that the MCAT preparation they provide is not sufficient but that they are very careful to select folks who historically are well positioned to do well on the MCAT regardless of the program they attend. The benefits of some formal programs, in my view, is the pace, cohort size, and focus of the program. Students can complete all prereqs in 12 months but it comes at a huge premium.. That timeline is hard to replicate elsewhere but can be done.

In my case, I decided that I wanted to continue to teach to save money for medical school while doing my postbac at night. I picked a semi formal program that was nearby and enjoyed my time in the program. It ended up working out well for me though it took longer than it would have if I did a full time program. Where you take your classes really won’t impact your application much unless the postbac program has a strong connection to schools you are interested in.

I think I'm going to look into semi-formal programs because like you said, I think I can benefit from the pace and focus. Also, I would love to take the courses at night so I can keep my job to save up too. Thank you for the insight!
 

liindskii

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Aug 28, 2018
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If money is not an issue, I recommend the program. You'll get better advising and MCAT prep.

Unfortunately, as a second-year teacher, money is definitely an issue! However, I have seen post-bacc programs that run under $15,000 which would be extremely close to tuition I would pay doing DIY. I'm going to do some more research on different programs in my area! Thank you!
 

actanonverba

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Aug 8, 2018
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I graduated college in 2012 and started prepping for med school in 2017. I did a DIY approach and a lot of this was because the post-bacc in the area was like 35k a year. Since your prospective post-bacc program is so reasonably priced I guess the other thing to consider would be the atmosphere. Does that post-bacc program have an ascension program into the local med school? Are you going to be in a neck and neck competition for those slots? That might not be an issue for you because it sounds like you killed it in your first degree but it's a different atmosphere from just trying to ace organic chemistry vice trying to out compete people in organic chemistry.Premed advising is nice but your local college may have good advising as well. I was very satisfied with my school's premed advising. I personally wouldn't base your decision on MCAT prep unless you seriously doubt your standardized testing ability. If you're diligent and resourceful you can get a good score (we already know you're intelligent). I hope this helps. Good luck
 

NTF

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Jul 1, 2008
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I was also a former teacher and did a DIY post-bacc, including self-study for the MCAT. My prior grades were not nearly as good as yours. I did well on the MCAT and was accepted to 6 medical schools with a sub-standard overall/sci GPA. I did ace my post-bacc classwork. I will say I did benefit greatly from my prior undergrad's career advising/professional development program which included advice on application (included mock interviews, input on coursework selection and editing my essays) and committee letter. This was a free service because I was a former undergrad student.

Just make sure you also include other bells and whistles (clinical exposure, research if possible, volunteering, interesting ECs, LORs)
 

Dares Dareson

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May 20, 2015
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I did a DIY and I got accepted. It was just too expensive and time-consuming to do a formal post-bacc. I did go beyond the minimum requirements for med school and actually got a second bachelor's degree in biology, but only because it only required 32 credits (i.e. 1 year) and the university I went to. My first degree was a B.A. in political science, so no pre-med stuff at all. I'm not sure it mattered that I got a second degree, but it may have mattered that I did a few 300 and 400 level science courses as part of my DIY post-bacc, i.e. biochemistry, genetics, etc.
 

BuffySummers

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Mar 3, 2017
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I did a formal post-bac and while it worked our for me, I think the benefits are mainly subjective and particular to each person. I didn't have any of the pre-recs, so having a program that scheduled and laid out all of the courses for me was very useful. You've already taken a few science classes, so that might be less useful for you. I also had a partner who made enough to support us over the year, so I didn't mind not being able to work. Finally, I'm a bit older, so being able to do it all in one year was important to me, and it seems like that's less of a concern for you. Other than that, the main benefit for me was the career counseling and guidance I got. The advisers were great about teaching us how to put together an application, what soft requirements (like extracurriculars) we needed to have, and what timelines we should make for ourselves. Additionally, being officially affiliated with a pre-med program gave me access to physician shadowing and research that I would have had to work harder to get without that extra networking help. All of these benefits are things you could definitely figure out on your own from advisers and the internet, the formal program just made it slightly easier. Being able to save a little money and continue working is a huge draw in my opinion, so I think that choosing to go the DIY route is perfectly valid, especially as you've have previous experience being in school while working.

As for MCAT prep, my program just automatically enrolled us in Kaplan's MCAT prep classes, so you could just do that on your own. My program was at a school with a strong pre-med program, so the classes themselves were taught somewhat toward the MCAT, which I think was what helped me the most. So even if you don't do a formal post-bac, I would definitely recommend doing your DIY post-bac at a school that has a fleshed out pre-med program.
 
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Jan 22, 2019
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I did a DIY postbacc and it worked for me cause I saved a ton of $$$. Med school is already expensive, so you don't want to add another 50k-100k to the 250k+ debt you will be accumulating for med school.
 
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liindskii

2+ Year Member
Aug 28, 2018
13
0
I graduated college in 2012 and started prepping for med school in 2017. I did a DIY approach and a lot of this was because the post-bacc in the area was like 35k a year. Since your prospective post-bacc program is so reasonably priced I guess the other thing to consider would be the atmosphere. Does that post-bacc program have an ascension program into the local med school? Are you going to be in a neck and neck competition for those slots? That might not be an issue for you because it sounds like you killed it in your first degree but it's a different atmosphere from just trying to ace organic chemistry vice trying to out compete people in organic chemistry.Premed advising is nice but your local college may have good advising as well. I was very satisfied with my school's premed advising. I personally wouldn't base your decision on MCAT prep unless you seriously doubt your standardized testing ability. If you're diligent and resourceful you can get a good score (we already know you're intelligent). I hope this helps. Good luck


I've been doing some more research and I think DIY is the best way to go for me. Although I enjoy competition (really what motivated my grades!), I think if I'm going to continue working while getting these classes in, I don't want that added stress.
 

liindskii

2+ Year Member
Aug 28, 2018
13
0
I was also a former teacher and did a DIY post-bacc, including self-study for the MCAT. My prior grades were not nearly as good as yours. I did well on the MCAT and was accepted to 6 medical schools with a sub-standard overall/sci GPA. I did ace my post-bacc classwork. I will say I did benefit greatly from my prior undergrad's career advising/professional development program which included advice on application (included mock interviews, input on coursework selection and editing my essays) and committee letter. This was a free service because I was a former undergrad student.

Just make sure you also include other bells and whistles (clinical exposure, research if possible, volunteering, interesting ECs, LORs)

I was also looking at going back to my undergrad, I've spoken to a few professors in the science departments who said they'd be glad to help. Now, because you went through the same thing, I have a few questions if you don't mind:

1. I was awarded the Fulbright award but had to decline it due to family circumstances. Do you think that's something to include as part of the *bells and whistles* or not because I didn't actually go?

2. What direction should I go in: shadowing a private practice or volunteering at a hospital or as an EMT? And for how long? I want to develop a timeline to make sure I get everything done and not burnout!

3. What would be considered as interesting ECs?

I hope this isn't too overwhelming but I'm just so motivated to get going!
 

liindskii

2+ Year Member
Aug 28, 2018
13
0
I did a DIY and I got accepted. It was just too expensive and time-consuming to do a formal post-bacc. I did go beyond the minimum requirements for med school and actually got a second bachelor's degree in biology, but only because it only required 32 credits (i.e. 1 year) and the university I went to. My first degree was a B.A. in political science, so no pre-med stuff at all. I'm not sure it mattered that I got a second degree, but it may have mattered that I did a few 300 and 400 level science courses as part of my DIY post-bacc, i.e. biochemistry, genetics, etc.

Idk if I would get a Biology B.S. because I think it's an enormous amount of credits but maybe a minor in Biology with some higher-level courses should do!
 

liindskii

2+ Year Member
Aug 28, 2018
13
0
I did a formal post-bac and while it worked our for me, I think the benefits are mainly subjective and particular to each person. I didn't have any of the pre-recs, so having a program that scheduled and laid out all of the courses for me was very useful. You've already taken a few science classes, so that might be less useful for you. I also had a partner who made enough to support us over the year, so I didn't mind not being able to work. Finally, I'm a bit older, so being able to do it all in one year was important to me, and it seems like that's less of a concern for you. Other than that, the main benefit for me was the career counseling and guidance I got. The advisers were great about teaching us how to put together an application, what soft requirements (like extracurriculars) we needed to have, and what timelines we should make for ourselves. Additionally, being officially affiliated with a pre-med program gave me access to physician shadowing and research that I would have had to work harder to get without that extra networking help. All of these benefits are things you could definitely figure out on your own from advisers and the internet, the formal program just made it slightly easier. Being able to save a little money and continue working is a huge draw in my opinion, so I think that choosing to go the DIY route is perfectly valid, especially as you've have previous experience being in school while working.

As for MCAT prep, my program just automatically enrolled us in Kaplan's MCAT prep classes, so you could just do that on your own. My program was at a school with a strong pre-med program, so the classes themselves were taught somewhat toward the MCAT, which I think was what helped me the most. So even if you don't do a formal post-bac, I would definitely recommend doing your DIY post-bac at a school that has a fleshed-out pre-med program.


This is part of my dilemma! My undergrad school doesn't have a pre-med program but the closest one that does is about an hour away and mostly offers daytime course so it just wouldn't be possible. However, I did do "Pre-Med" summer and after school programs in high school that were held at one of the medical schools and reached out to the program director who said she would be happy to offer some guidance. I think that paired with the Kaplan prep classes you're talking about, could help me out!
 

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