Postbacc: NYU vs. UCLA extension vs. Loras College? (or more?!)

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Jul 29, 2021
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Hi all,

I've been heavily debating which postbacc program I should begin in the fall. For reference, my uGPA is 3.09 and my science GPA (general chemistry, plus 2/3 of the general bio series) is around a 2.6-2.8. I will be retaking general chemistry and biology. I only got into 1 formal program at NYU. My other option is to take classes through UCLA extension and do a DIY postbacc. I also see that the application for Loras College's postbacc is still open, but I haven't heard much about that program. It's newer and started in 2017.

NYU's program tuition will cost $74.5k for a 2 year program, and I'll have to add on a bunch more for rent and living expenses. They're only offering me $7k in financial aid per year, so I'd have to take out $110k in PRIVATE loans, more or less (but most likely more). They have linkages, structure, and I'd have access to all of NYU's undergraduate resources. I'd also have access to their premed advising and their committee letter. Classes are taken with undergraduates. Postbaccs also get priority registration.

UCLA extension's DIY program is unstructured, and you pay as you go. It's much cheaper (the program will cost me about $17,000) but I don't live nearby so I'd be moving to that area. It would take me 2 years to complete this program. I guess more pros are that I'll be nearby UCLA health and can possibly get involved with a UCLA professor's research. I wouldn't need to take out any loans for this program.

Loras College's postbacc application is also still open and it looks like a pretty great option. It's a formal postbacc, from what I understand. Has anyone enrolled in or completed this program? It seems new, since I can't find much information about it. It seems way more affordable than NYU and the rent nearby is relatively cheap too. Per their website, they have a committee LOR, it's 12 months, has small class sizes, admits 5-10 students each cycle, has application guidance, MCAT guidance, 2 hospitals nearby, and would cost about $28,000 (or a bit more). Their financial aid situation also seems more helpful, claiming that students will receive $12,500 if they've never borrowed loans before.

These are program links:
NYU: Program
UCLA: Pre-Medical and General Science Studies | UCLA Continuing Education Online
Loras College: Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program | Loras College

Let me know your thoughts and what you think makes the most sense to do! If anyone has any other options, I'm open to hearing them. My goal is to start this fall.

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I don’t mean to sound harsh but you are not competitive for a linkage at NYU’s program due your current GPA. Save the tuition and pick the least expensive option to complete your classes and provide the support you need to do well. You can take prereqs at any program, why not find one close to where you are currently located?
I can't speak for the other programs but I can tell you a bit about UCLA Extension and why I chose to take some classes there. I started taking classes through UCLA Extension because it was recommended to me by a local physician who was one of the top graduates at a local medical school (not UCLA). I met him at an open house for that medical school where he was receiving an award as an outstanding alumnus. The following year, at another medical school open house (again, not UCLA Medical School), the Dean of Admissions gave a speech in which she mentioned several good local 4-year schools for post baccs and she also gave a plug for UCLA Extension. Her speech prompted me to continue to take classes at UCLA Extension and fewer at community college.

At UCLA Extension, you can take the courses a la carte, or go for their general science/premed certificate, but for the latter, you have to complete a certain number of courses from the biological sciences, chemistry, physics, and math, and do so within 3 years of registering for the certificate. Some of the lower division UCLA Extension courses are exactly the same as the regular UCLA courses, according to the professors who are teaching them. Most of the lower division courses that I took there were taught by university professors, but fewer upper division ones were so. Some professors were from other local universities, not UCLA. However, many of the upper division courses that have a physiological or biomedical aspect were/are taught by physicians and/or physician scientists.

The main downsides for me have been the very long commute, the cost, that the coursework has more difficult, and that courses go by fast. Before the pandemic, I had to commute to class with traffic and it took up to 90 minutes to get there. With the pandemic, most classes are now offered remotely but some are offered online and a few are now being offered in person. UCLA is on the quarter system, and most classes last 11-12 weeks, but some classes have ended after 9 weeks. Some courses could be more in-depth but there is only so much you can do in 9-12 weeks. Furthermore, not every course is offered every quarter. some of my favorite courses were only offered once a year, but that has prompted me to keep taking classes there. Also, the search feature on the Extension website could be a lot better: Sometimes you can enter the beginning of the name of a class but it ends up not showing up on the search results list. But, if you enter the full name of the course., it does show up on the results. I've asked the website administrators at Extension to fix this bug, but so far they have not.

I could go on, but perhaps this answer is long enough. You can PM me if you have more questions.
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