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**Rate your SMP & Postbac**

Discussion in 'Postbaccalaureate Programs' started by braluk, Mar 10, 2007.

  1. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator
    Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

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    Hey guys, as part of trying to continually improving the postbac forums to help SDN students looking into postbacs/SMPs, Id like to ask students here who are going through their SMP/Postbac, or have graduated since to rate their program.

    FIRST: List your program and your year and then

    Specifically, Id like to see users here comment about

    1) The Pros and Cons of their program (structure of the program, learning environment, cost, location, faculty, classes, difficulty, competitiveness, other students, buildings/classrooms/facilities, etc..)
    2) The kinds of classes you've taken and a description.
    3) Something they wished they knew coming into the program
    4) Something they would like to tell incoming students about your program
    5) Tips for students applying to your program
    6) Did it help you get into medical school/dental school/etc.?
    7) Anything else you'd like to add
    8) A rating from 1-5 (1 being the worst (no recommendation) to 5 (full recommendation)


    Note to students reading: A majority of these ratings will be subjective and will vary from student to student within the same program. This is just another resource to help our SDN students out :)

    -Brandon
     
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  2. Instatewaiter

    Instatewaiter But... there's a troponin
    10+ Year Member

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    VCU Basic Health Science Certificate (SMP)

    1) Take essentially all of 1st year classes w/ exception of Gross Anatomy

    Pros: Cheap tuition and living environment, helpful faculty, very low entrance requirements

    Cons: only around 2/3 finish and only 15% get into MCV/VCU med school (much of this can be attributed to low entrance requirements)

    2) Med school classes offered: Physiology, Cell Physiology, Biochemistry, Genetics, Immunology, Neuroanatomy, Histology

    3) Harder to get into med school that the people who run the program would have you believe

    4) Program is really, really hard. You need to come prepared to work. A 4.0 gets you in almost automatically, a 3.6 you may not be so lucky.

    5) If you don't have to take histology, dont. It is very hard in grad school, very easy in med school. Not worth your time and effort

    6) Got into med school with a 2.8 undergrad GPA

    Rating: if you have a low GPA I rate it a 5 since, if you do well, you will get into med school when you otherwise wouldnt have a prayer. However if you are a borderline applicant (29, 3.4) I rate it a 3 since you can forever ruin your chances if you do poorly.
     
  3. agv

    agv

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    Instatewaiter, what is the tuition at VCU Basic Health Science? According to one site it's 21K/year in-state and 37K/year out-of-state. But you say it's cheap.

    And just to be sure we're talking about the same program; the VCU program you attended was the one where you pick one of six certificate programs (anatomy, genetics, etc.)?

    thanks,
    agv
     
  4. TheGalvaniFrog

    TheGalvaniFrog Dissected & Electrocuted
    7+ Year Member

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    Georgetown SMP

    1) The Pros and Cons of their program (structure of the program, learning environment, cost, location, faculty, classes, difficulty, competitiveness, other students, buildings/classrooms/facilities, etc..)

    Structure: I feel the program is backloaded, easier in the fall and harder in the spring. The most important course GPA-wise, the 7 credit Human Physiology, is in the spring. I am glad of this format since it give you some time to transition in the beginning and change your study techniques if necessary before you do serious damage to your GPA.

    Learning Environment:

    Cost: $$$$$$$$$$ Georgetown + DC living. Expect to take out a $50,000 loan if your parents are not supporting you.

    Location: Well, it's DC, a big plus. Transportation can be a hassle since parking is very difficult.

    Classe: During the fall you have 2 med classes and 2 grad classes. During spring, you have pretty much all med classes. The med classes are more difficult in substance and have more stringent grading curve.

    Difficulty: very.

    Competitiveness: It certainly is competitive, but people are in general very friendly and helpful to each other. The SMP students are graded on the med student's curve, so we are not directly competing against one another.

    Facilities: fair, lecture hall and library are both pretty old. During lectures you feel crammed in like sardines.

    2) The kinds of classes you've taken and a description.

    Grad Classes: Immunology & Microbiology. Biochemistry. Neuroanatomy.

    Med Classes: Embryology, Histology, Physiology, Endocrinology, Neuroscience.

    Embryo and Histo are very much memorization based classes. Physio so far is more about applying concepts.

    The teachers are mostly above average in their teaching abilities in my opinion. Immunology & Microbio is taught by a platoon of professors of varying abilities who each take one or two sessions and I feel the overall organization and quality suffered. Biochemstry is taught only by Dr Sherman and it's well organized and taught. Neuroanatomy went at a blazing pace (3 hours of consequetive lectures a day!). It's not perfect but given the constraints I think it was fine.


    3) Something they wished they knew coming into the program
    4) Something they would like to tell incoming students about your program


    One of the professors at the beginning of the year said that achieving a 3.0 GPA in this program is fine because it demonstrate you can handle the med class workload. I feel that's misleading. The students will be applying to a lot of similar schools that are supposed to be friendly to SMP, and in the application process they will be competing against many of their fellow SMP students as well as students from similar programs. That's why I think all SMP programs are bit of a risk; you probably won't help your chances even if you are performing like an average to low med student.

    5) Tips for students applying to your program
    A lot of students gets accepted in July and even August since people can come off waitlist at med schools. We had a couple of students who were accepted right before orientation.

    6) Did it help you get into medical school/dental school/etc.?
    Yes, I think so.
    7) Anything else you'd like to add
    All the lecture audio and slides are on the web, very convenient. You probably won't receive much individualized attention in this 155 person program. The individual "advisor" assigned to you is not very useful -- they are just professors from the same department unnconnected to the program. Their sole responsibility is to write a recommendation letter for you in the winter. That letter is more or less a useless formality, since they barely know you and some of them are less than enthusiathic about this task (mine never responded to my request for meeting). On the other hand, the directors (Dr Mulroney, Dr Meyers, Dr Sherman) are all very attentive and helpful.

    8) A rating from 1-5 (1 being the worst (no recommendation) to 5 (full recommendation)
    4. If you are someone with marginal GPA, it's the perfect place to prove yourself. If you already have decent stats, but are just looking for "something to do" during the application year, it's not worth it.
     
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  5. OohLaLaLizzie

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    1) The Pros and Cons of their program (structure of the program, learning environment, cost, location, faculty, classes, difficulty, competitiveness, other students, buildings/classrooms/facilities, etc..)

    I absolutely love this program and it's been an ideal experience for me. The classes are small (30 students and 15 for laboratory), and there are two advisors for the 30 of us. There is also a TA who was a former student who is there to help with academics as well as any sort of advising you need. The TA also coordinates the MCAT class beginning in the fall. In the Spring, there are MCAT courses six hours a week and full length practice tests nearly every Saturday. I feel very prepared and the cost is included with the tuition. The program truly guides you every step along the way and offers plenty of linkages if you want to take the fast track to medical school (Brown, Tulane, George Washington, University of Chicago, Drexel, Pitt, etc.)

    Towson is a bit boring and removed, but given how much you work, it's almost a good thing. The classes are small and so is the campus, but I think any negatives associated with that could be argued as positives. Much more student teacher interaction, personal attention and advising, etc. Everyone knows your name by the first week.

    2) The kinds of classes you've taken and a description.
    It's a set schedule, although some students are accepted who've already taken a course or two. Chemistry I and II in the summer followed by a full academic year of Physics I and II, Organic Chemistry I and II and Biology I and II. In the fall, one day is devoted to volunteering and in the Spring, you have a day mostly for MCAT and for catching up with work. It's intense and challenging, but it goes so quickly and there are so many people to help you along the way - classmates, the teaching assistant, advisors, professors, etc. All classes are with post-baccalaureate students only and there is plenty of interaction because there are just 30 or so in the class. You're encouraged to ask questions, participate and always to do your best. The competition is absolutely minimal. It's a perfect learning environment for the sciences.

    3) Something they wished they knew coming into the program

    I knew I was going to work hard, but I don't think I knew quite what that meant! Besides that, there weren't any surprises.

    4) Something they would like to tell incoming students about your program

    I am so happy I did my premedical work during this year rather than as an undergraduate. I feel particularly lucky to be at Goucher than anywhere else, too. Columbia is still sending me financial aid mailings a year later and UPenn thought I was starting the wrong year. There's a lot of personal attention at Goucher and it's recognizable from the start.

    They really make the year as easy as possible on you, although the course work is very intense. All you have to do is study and learn, it seems like all the other details are more or less taken care of or at least simplified incredibly. I feel very prepared for the MCAT and have felt that I've had plenty of support along the way. Don't be too put off by being in Towson, it's actually a good place for this year - affordable, few distractions, convenient, but close to DC, easy to get to New York, Boston, etc. You're working so much you'll hardly notice being in the suburbs.

    5) Tips for students applying to your program
    Be very thorough with your application. They are looking for students who have an excellent undergraduate record and an interesting professional or extracurricular background. Students come from incredibly diverse histories, but all have clear and supported reasons for going into medicine (a little late!).

    6) Did it help you get into medical school/dental school/etc.?

    Definitely. I applied early to one of the likage medical schools and received a preliminary acceptance letter (based on reasonable MCAT scores) months ago. They led me through every step - the AMCAS, the letters, the statement, deadlines, etc. It was incredibly easy and very fast, too! Goucher has strong relationships with many medical schools, and I definitely think being associated with the Goucher program helps a lot. Students who are taking a year off have the advisors help with secondary applications, letters, interview tips, etc. even after they've graduated. They help you out all along the way, even if you're not paying tuition anymore. Also, they keep in touch with graduates so you have a good network built in when it comes to volunteering, jobs, glide year work, etc.

    7) Anything else you'd like to add
    Know what questions to ask when you choose a post-baccalaureate program. Length of the program, classes with undergraduates, grades, competition within the class, medical school linkages, weekend courses (UPenn), committee letters, medical application help, etc.

    8) A rating from 1-5 (1 being the worst (no recommendation) to 5 (full recommendation)

    An absolute 5! Feel free to write if you have questions.
     
  6. Instatewaiter

    Instatewaiter But... there's a troponin
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    There are a couple sites out there that have the wrong info. They mixed up the cost of VCU medical school with the cost of the VCU certificate program.

    I paid around $8,200 for the year. Out of state is around $17,000. So instate it is a bargain.
     
  7. MissSonu

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    1) The Pros and Cons of the program (structure of the program, learning environment, cost, location, faculty, classes, difficulty, competitiveness, other students, buildings/classrooms/facilities, etc..)
    Pros -
    Awesome location, giving you access to great clinical and research opportunities.
    Small program that allows you a lot of individualized attention.
    Excellent guidance from program director and premed advisor.
    Very supportive faculty.
    Non-competitive environment, where students like to work together and help each other succeed.

    Cons-
    New program that hasnt had the opportunity to establish a name for itself
    Pretty expensive (28,000)
    Not very many good places to study on campus, though the downtown libraries are gorgeous and wonderful.
    Boring, somewhat unsafe neighborhood. 20-30% of the class commutes.
    Variable teaching - some teachers are great, but others are hard to learn from.

    2) The kinds of classes you've taken and a description.
    Anatomy and Physiology (with lab), Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Reproductive Biology, Neurobiology, Developmental Biology, Clinical Literature, Medical Ethics. All 50 students in the program take these classes together, and the classes are reserved for MAMS students. We dont take students with med students, but contrary to the belief of many on SDN, I dont think that's a problem, as confirmed by the AdComs at the schools I'm applying to.

    3) Something they wished they knew coming into the program
    How to study for these classes up front.

    4) Something they would like to tell incoming students about your program
    I dont think the MAMS program itself will be what gets you into the program, though the director sometimes makes it sounds that way. Ultimately, how you do determines the outcome, and not everyone will do well.

    5) Tips for students applying to your program
    Honestly have no idea. I dont know why they took me. :p

    6) Did it help you get into medical school/dental school/etc.?
    Ask me after I apply. :)
    Many of the students applying during the program are on waitlists for MD schools and in at DO schools. A few have gained admission already into MD programs, such as University of Iowa (with $!), Rosalind Franklin, Rush, St. Louis, Wayne State, and some others. I've heard that students usually get in off waitlists rather than immediately if they apply during the program.

    7) Anything else you'd like to add
    8) A rating from 1-5 (1 being the worst (no recommendation) to 5 (full recommendation)
    3-4. Because it's a new program, it has some kinks that need to be ironed out.
     
  8. jjj23

    2+ Year Member

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    What kind of stats did you get in the MAMS with? Also how would you rate the course difficulty, like compared with undergrad Physiology, Immunology, etc., which are straight up memorization courses. What kind of GPA do you need in it to have a chance at medical school admission? Do they favor the MAMS students in their own med school?
     
  9. Columbia07

    5+ Year Member

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    Dental Student
    Columbia University Institute of Human Nutrition Class of 2007

    1) The Pros and Cons of their program (structure of the program, learning environment, cost, location, faculty, classes, difficulty, competitiveness, other students, buildings/classrooms/facilities, etc..)

    Pros:
    1. Strong emphasis on clinical applications dealing with nutrition and disease.
    2. Graduate program within the College of Physicians and Surgeons.
    3. Several required courses (Growth and Development, Molecular Nutrition) use faculty members from P&S.
    4. Vast research opportunities (e.g. Ophthalmology, wound healing, neurology, various dental topics, etc).
    5. Allowed to take courses within the Mailman School of Public Health, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Teacher's College.
    6. World class medical faculty and facilities.
    7. New York City.

    Cons:
    1. Cost (tuition is comparable to most programs, but the cost of living is a major problem).
    2. Some of the faculty are disorganized (e.g. Biochemistry/Physiology). Material is what you would expect, but the faculty member teaching the course is a disappointment to the institute. She will most likely NOT be teaching the course due to the numerous complaints this year.
    3. "Special Studies" course (designed to help students with their thesis) is the biggest waste of time. Hopefully they will restructure this course, as many of us complained about its irrelevance to our education.
    4. Neighborhood isn't unsafe, but it's definitely not the safest place to be at night. Additionally, Washington Heights is very boring and there is a major lack of food sources around campus.



    2) The kinds of classes you've taken and a description.
    1. Biochemistry/Physiology I/II
    2. Epidemiology
    3. Growth and Development
    4. Clinical Nutrition
    5. Molecular Nutrition
    6. Readings in Human Nutrition -- Assigned packets (generally 4-8 articles) of recent research published on topics such as cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer, diabetes, obesity, cholesterol, retinoids, etc. You are required to discuss, in detail, all aspects of each article the following week. Class is split up into smaller groups (15-17 students) to allow for better discussion.
    7. History and Philosophy of Public Health
    8. Special Studies (see comments above)
    9. Foods in Human Nutrition (bonehead course, fun but time consuming).
    10. U.S and International Nutrition Policy. One of the faculty members for this course is director of UNICEF.
    11. Molecular Toxicology
    12. Medical Ecology

    3) Something you wished you knew coming into the program
    1. Just how expensive NYC can be.

    4) Something you would like to tell incoming students about your program
    1. Overall, the program is strong. It has a very strong reputation and you will be surrounded by many opportunities. However, be prepared to deal with some disorganization on the part of the administration and faculty. Hopefully with the complaints from the class of 2007 they will clean up some of the issues we faced. I know that they will be selecting student representatives to communicate the needs of the student body to the faculty (something the class of 2007 did not have).

    5) Tips for students applying to your program
    1. Apply early. Show that you have some sort of interest in nutrition. A decent academic record and good LORs should get you in.

    6) Did it help you get into medical school/dental school/etc.?
    Yup! I will be attending my 1st choice this fall!

    7) Anything else you'd like to add
    Just do it, you know you want to.

    8) A rating from 1-5 (1 being the worst (no recommendation) to 5 (full recommendation)
    4.5
     
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  10. medgrl

    5+ Year Member

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    I am really interested in the Goucher program and have tons of questions for a student (either curent or past)- does anyone have an email address where I can contact them?
     
  11. bubbles!

    bubbles! Junior Member
    7+ Year Member

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    Goucher College Postbac Program

    1) The Pros and Cons of their program (structure of the program, learning environment, cost, location, faculty, classes, difficulty, competitiveness, other students, buildings/classrooms/facilities, etc..)

    A major pro (and maybe con) is that it's a 1 year program. You have to be prepared to work very very hard in a condensed period of time but it's a tremendous preparation for medical school and a really good choice for older or non-traditional students who want to get to medical school as quickly as possible. The faculty were great- very knowledgeable about what was going to be on the MCAT and what we needed to know for medical school itself. There is a policy of not sharing grades with other students, so we were not competitive among ourselves. All students are required to do a medically-related volunteer job in the community.
    Another pro is that we were not in classes with undergrads- because our courses were postbacs-only they were very focused and medically relevant and we were able to form a real community as a class and to get to know our professors. It was a very difficult year- but I always felt supported and guided by the administrators, faculty, and my classmates

    2) The kinds of classes you've taken and a description.
    Just the bare essentials prerequisites for medical school: Two semesters of chemistry in the summer, a short math course, then two semesters of biology, organic chemistry, and physics, taken simultaneously. An MCAT preparation course was superimposed towards the end. If you had already taken one of the required courses, you were allowed to substitute it with something else (biochemistry, microbio a language class etc.). Since we were doing so much work in such a short period of time, the classes were quite intense and moved quickly. There was often quite a lot of homework. We had additional optional review sessions with TAs which were extremely helpful in keeping up with everything and our TAs were available all the time for private tutoring, reviewing exams, and going over the homework.
    3) Something they wished they knew coming into the program
    Honestly- it far exceeded all my expectations. I knew nothing about getting into medical school and I wish I'd been a little more educated about the MCAT and the application process and what I was getting myself into but Goucher really guided us through everything.
    4) Something they would like to tell incoming students about your program If you get in, go!
    5) Tips for students applying to your program
    It's a very competitive program- take the interview seriously. They tend to look for well-rounded students who really have the ability and desire to get into and make it through medical school.
    6) Did it help you get into medical school/dental school/etc.?Yup. My class had a 100% acceptance rate
    7) Anything else you'd like to add
    8) A rating from 1-5 (1 being the worst (no recommendation) to 5 (full recommendation) 5+

    ~Bubbles~
    diary of a 3rd-year
     
  12. thebozz1975

    5+ Year Member

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    LIVING
    GU is isolated up on a hill at the edge of Washington DC. Because the Georgetown area is so snobbish, the residents blocked a subway station from being built in Georgetown. Thus, once you are GU, you really can't get anywhere. It is too expensive to have a car there. You can live 3 miles across the Potomac River in Virginia, where it is affordable to have a car, but that commute takes 40 minutes each way by public transportation. No joke. And you can forget about driving into GU. Parking is $10 per hour. Overall, not a fun place to be.

    ACADEMICS

    Biology Professor - Joseph Neale
    Positive:
    -You can tell that he loves bio.
    Negative:
    -His exams are short answer which makes the grading extremely subjective They are graded by TA's who are younger than the Post-Baccs and who are notorious for using bad judgment. The grading is very inconsistent from one student to the next.
    -His exams rely entirely on his lecture notes, rather than the book, and his lecture notes are written in a form of English that can best be described as on the level of a 3rd grader. In other words, it's very difficult to understand what he is even trying to convey, which is quite bad given the complexity of the subject matter itself.
    -I have a feeling that what he is teaching us is not the same material that will be on the MCAT or DAT.

    Physics Professor - Earl Skelton
    Positive:
    -He is retired, has finished his research, and is now just teaching without the distractions of research
    -He is a really nice, kind guy
    -He is extremely fair. He will never do anything that will give one student an advantage over another
    Negative:
    -He is getting up there in years, and is getting a bit forgetful. He recognizes it though.

    Organic Chem Professor - Jennifer Swift
    Positive: NONE
    Negative:
    -She hates teaching and is all about research
    -She makes a ton of mistakes at the board, which makes things very confusing
    -The class realizes she is a joke as a teacher and often just talks over top of her when she starts making mistakes at the board.
    -Not the way to learn organic chemistry

    Tutoring
    -They just announced to us that the academic tutoring center had a budget reduction, so guess what happenend? Post-Baccs can no longer get tutoring unless they are basically failing the class. We are treated like second class students.

    Cheating, etc.
    -There is a lot of cheating at Georgetown
    -I have personally witnessed sabotage in organic chemistry lab
    -Georgetown students as a whole are nerdy and cut-throat.

    Facilities
    -The GU science facilities look like something from a 3rd world country. They have one lecture hall for all of the sciences. So, you'll be sitting in the same old lecture hall every day. The seats are disgusting and falling apart. Only about 80% of the seats can actually see the overhead projector screen. The first ten rows of seats cannot see the bottom of the chalk boards. Really poor.

    BOTTOM LINE
    I had other post-bacc options. If I could do it over again, I would have avoided GU. At $30K, you just get very, very little for your money. Bad living conditions, bad academics, bad facilities.
    -Stay clear of this program if you can.
    -I'm getting really good grades, because I am working very hard, but it is a miserable place to be.
     
  13. rose786

    2+ Year Member

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    :)
     
    #13 rose786, Nov 9, 2007
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2008
  14. zeff

    zeff Kikey McGuido
    2+ Year Member

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    I'm sorry you haven't had a good experience at Georgetown, but I don't think you're being entirely fair with some of your criticism. In particular, I thnk you will be surprised at how well the post-bacc prepares you for the MCAT--I took the MCAT in April 06, late in my post-bacc year (June 05-May-06), and was very pleased with how I did. I don't remember any biology material which I hadn't at least seen before.

    Regarding Dr. Neale's lectures: I know he loves details more than students would like, but I have been pleasantly surprised to find some of those experimental procedures in my first-year med curriculum. It's worth learning now. Dr. Neale is also an outstanding letter-writer, he gave me and several of my classmates excellent LORs--make an effort to see him in his office at least once during the semester. One of my med school interviewers quoted a line to me straight out of his LOR, it definitely helped me at that school.

    Overall, I am certainly biased in favor of Georgetown; I was an undergrad there as well, and the post-bacc program helped me get into Johns Hopkins, my absolute first choice medical school (where I am currently doing pretty damn well, if I say so myself). Others in my program are now first-years at Mt. Sinai, UCSD, and Duke, among other places. If you are willing to work hard, Georgetown will help you get where you want to go.

    I hope your experience improves as the year goes on.
     
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  15. oneandonlylo

    7+ Year Member

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    Pros:
    - long-term history of success -- they know how to get people into medical school. Dealing with advisors can be a plus or a minus depending on who you have, but as a whole they are very clear on what it will take you to get into medical school. The structure is solid and well-proven to work
    - supportive student body -- the best part about the experience is the tight network of postbacc students that is formed. I have not experienced any cutthroat competition or ill-will at all. Students are incredibly supportive and help each other to succeed.
    - integration into undergrad classes -- I wouldn't want "special" treatment. I think that taking the same classes as the undergrads actually helps the postbac students (in terms of the curve, at least) and shows adcoms that the classes we take are just as hard as any other student at Columbia (in case they were worried)
    - TA's are very helpful -- true, a few don't speak wonderful English, but as a whole the TA's I've had for all of my courses have taught me a lot, been incredibly accessible and have been a big part of my success in learning the material
    -facilities -- great gym, great libraries, lots of food... absolutely no complaint
    - faculty -- as a whole they are very nice and accessible, although not all of them are great teachers... take from this what you will

    Cons:
    - cost -- the program itself is top dollar and living in nyc is no picnic. I've always lived here so it's no surprise to me but I know a lot of students who struggle with this as it is difficult to maintain sufficient employment through the program to make good money. If you try to live off-campus to save money you find yourself disadvantaged in terms of time lost commuting and the inability to attend review sessions held on say, Sunday at 6pm.
    - they don't care if you succeed -- let's be honest it's a money-making program and if you can't hack the coursework they won't be too sad to take your money and say toodles

    2) The kinds of classes you've taken and a description.

    Stats -- good teaching, no complaints here

    Calc I -- easy, good teacher, again, no complaints

    Chem I and II -- it's hard to find a good Gen Chem teacher here, and that made me very bitter my first year. In the end I turned out to like my Gen Chem I teacher but it took me a while (I think he's gone now though). Anyhow, not my favorite experience, but in the end I think I learned a lot.

    Physics II and II -- faculty here is also mixed. There is a lot of inconsistency between professors. Some are much easier than others, but I think that students who take the harder professors learn a lot more, even if they struggle a lot more with the work. I always choose the more challenging professors because I know that when the time comes to take the MCAT it will pay off.

    Bio I -- I've got to say I had high expectations for this class and I'm not loving it. Mostly because I really dislike the teaching style and testing style. That said I can tell that we're being taught a lot of very difficult material very well and I know that it will pay off, but I really am hating this class at the moment. (Don't misread my dislike for it being bad though. It's a good class.)

    Orgo I -- My best class of the program by far. I love the professor, who really seems to love to teach. I can see why people struggle with Orgo but I think he's done a great job of making the material really accessible and perhaps enjoyable.

    I feel I should note that I am generally biased toward Chemistry over Biology, and not all students are enjoying Orgo as much as I am (probably the fact that I'm doing well biases my opinion.)

    3) Something they wished they knew coming into the program

    I think I was pretty prepared for what was coming my way, but for everyone else... Don't expect anyone to hold your hand. The guidance is there from your advisor etc but you really have to seek it out, form relationships, etc.

    4) Something they would like to tell incoming students about your program

    Get to know your professors early on in the semester. Not only will you eventually need letters of recommendation from them (which will be much more genuine if the professor actually knows you) but students who consistently attend office hours and utilize the more personal attention that professors are willing to give have an easier time with the material and seem to do better. None of my professors have been terribly intimidating and most are better at explaining material to a small group of people.

    5) Tips for students applying to your program

    Write a good essay, be yourself and make sure you show that you've started to pursue medicine in any way you can (volunteering, shadowing, etc.) They want to accept students they would be proud to send to adcoms bearing the Columbia name.

    6) Did it help you get into medical school/dental school/etc.?

    Not quite there yet but I've heard very positive things from past students

    8) A rating from 1-5 (1 being the worst (no recommendation) to 5 (full recommendation) 4
     
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  16. dsfan

    10+ Year Member

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    ^^^
    are you refering to an smp program they offer or just the post bac?
     
  17. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion
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    They're talking about ochem, so it's just the postbac.
     
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  18. dalat

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    Can someone rate the Boston U MAMS program? Thanks
     
  19. thebozz1975

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    I can't imagine Neale writing a good rec letter. I have never seen a transmission from him that did not include at least one grammatical or spelling error. Pretty lame for someone who is so into detail. I think you must have gotten lucky with the good rec letter.
     
  20. Jape

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    can someone rate KCUMB's 1 year bioscience program:)
     
  21. postbacca

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    anyone in HES or Berkeley Ext?
     
  22. t man

    t man Epoxi-Lips
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    Anyone have a rating for this program?
     
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  23. BKMD

    BKMD Junior Member
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    FIRST: BU MAMS 2006-07


    1) The Pros and Cons of their program (structure of the program, learning environment, cost, location, faculty, classes, difficulty, competitiveness, other students, buildings/classrooms/facilities, etc..)
    PROS: actual medical school courses, assigned an advisor, friendly faculty

    CONS: costs a lot.

    2) The kinds of classes you've taken and a description.

    Medical school courses: Biochemistry, Physiology, Histology, Immunology, Endocrinology,

    Electives: Biostatistics, anatomy.

    3) Something they wished they knew coming into the program
    I went into it ready to work hard.


    5) Tips for students applying to your program

    I think the adcoms are more interested in where you are going rather than where you have been. Make that apparent in your essays and show some sign of improvement before expecting to get in if you have horrible stats ( ie: upward trend in GPA or high MCAT)

    6) Did it help you get into medical school/dental school/etc.?

    Yup, I am sure I would have never gotten in with my undergraduate GPA.

    7) Anything else you'd like to add

    This program gives you a chance to prove or disprove you can handle medical school courses. Be ready to work like you are already in medical school.

    8) A rating from 1-5 (1 being the worst (no recommendation) to 5 (full recommendation) 5. It does the job.
     
  24. greenerd

    5+ Year Member

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    Does anyone have any experience with the Montana State post-bacc program?
     
  25. Calbear426

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    1) The Pros and Cons of their program (structure of the program, learning environment, cost, location, faculty, classes, difficulty, competitiveness, other students, buildings/classrooms/facilities, etc..)

    Pros: Heavy science-based curriculum, so if your science GPA is low (like mine was, you have a great chance to remedy it). Cons:I was in the class of '06, which was the second class ever, so there were tons of kinks in the program. The professors were hit or miss (really good, or downright terrible). The program director at the time was the worst ever, but she's been replaced by a great new director. The cost was reasonable compared to other post-bacc programs. The location sucks, lake shore doesn't have bars, cafes or restaurants, so be prepared to take the El any time you want to go somewhere. Competitiveness was bad, as could be imagined when you stick 50 premeds, all of whom were already rejected once, in classes together and tell them that they better get A's if they want to get in. Also, the committee letter they tell you to get isn't worth all the trouble. I just got a letter of rec from one of my professors and added it to my undergrad letters, which saved me a ton of time and stress.

    2) The kinds of classes you've taken and a description.
    When I took it, you took A&P both semesters (no lab), biochem, cell dev., cell bio, pharm, and neuro. 6 classes, 4 units each.

    3) Something they wished they knew coming into the program
    How much I was lied to about the "nurturing" environment. It's cut-throat. It's competitive. You have to sell-out if you want to be happy. Also, you're constantly encouraged to apply to DO schools, which I adamantly resisted doing.

    4) Something they would like to tell incoming students about your program
    MAMS loves to tout how many of its student get into medical school, but the truth is that a lot of students go to DO schools after getting rejected from allopathic schools. There's a good amount, and MAMS doesn't divulge that info. Also, Stritch doesn't take MAMS seriously, so if you're trying to get into Stritch, don't think that MAMS will do it (I didn't even apply to Stritch after I graduated even though i was guaranteed an interview, that's how little i was impressed with the school)

    5) Tips for students applying to your program
    Call the office and make sure you talk to someone and explain your background and situation, it helps a lot.
    6) Did it help you get into medical school/dental school/etc.?
    Yes, but not nearly as much as they said it would or that they think it does. Helping boost my science GPA was great, but I can do that without spending 30000 dollars. I did a ton of extra work (published a paper, did lots of community service, worked at a major biotech company), which helped me just as much if not more.

    7) Anything else you'd like to add
    Again, realize that the statistics MAMS uses includes students going to DO schools. So if that's not your cup of tea, stay clear.

    8) A rating from 1-5 (1 being the worst (no recommendation) to 5 (full recommendation)
    2. The really good professors are the only reason this isn't rated as a 1.
     
  26. amanda5

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    Is columbia the only school that is offering SMP in NYC? Is there any other school that is offering SMP around New York City or New York...???
     
  27. hashemiaan

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    Do you have the line for this special master program? i wanna do oral bio..thanks
     
  28. fireflygirl

    fireflygirl The Ultimate Blindian
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    1) The Pros and Cons of their program (structure of the program, learning environment, cost, location, faculty, classes, difficulty, competitiveness, other students, buildings/classrooms/facilities, etc..)

    Pros:
    a) Name - this is huge. I know in interviews people have brought up the Penn name and I think I have had opportunities for jobs, ECs,...etc that not many people would have because of the connection Penn has to local hospitals and organizations.

    b) Location - I really love Philadelphia and I have had access to so many great research opportunities. There is a very unique population here and I have learned so much from working in a level 1 trauma center and from a major Children's hospital.

    c) Workload - as strange of a "pro" as it is, I really feel prepared for medical school leaving Penn. I worked really hard at my alma mater but I worked a different kind of hard here. I feel confident in my ability to handle the heavy workload and juggle several classes at once. I think the program really works you for your grades and that gives you a sense of endurance for med school.

    Cons:
    a) Administration/Advising - I haven't been pleased at all at our recent change in administration. The director of the program is very cut and dry and very hands off. She seems to have her own agenda and while she is very honest and seemingly accurate about chances...etc, she is not very compassionate. She is also disorganized and does not accomodate students. She has hosted a number of workshops for students here but will not cater to those students that are working full time. I have asked her several times to consider having her workshops later in the day, and she refuses to change her schedule. She also does not communicate well and it takes days to get answers to emails, if you're lucky. She doesn't really participate in the actual application process except for writing committee letters, and even then several students ended up getting theirs late. I miss our previous director immensely and think that the new leadership has really hurt our program.

    b) Hands-off Approach - the major thing I regret about coming here is this hands off approach. I am a non-trad and don't think I was given the proper guidance when I arrived. Not having any experience with post-bac programs, or the sciences in general, I was really frustrated by the way I was advised when I first started. I was heavily encouraged to finish the program within a year, knowing that I had no previous science experience since high school, and that ended up hurting my first semester grades. I didn't even know what a linkage program was until it was too late and I already was disqualified because of a first semester grade. In addition, there is no real guidance during the application cycle itself. I ended up hiring a private advisor that helped me strucutre my PS and complete my secondaries. I am not asking to have my hand held but when no one in the advising office will comment on your PS, you start looking for help elsewhere.

    c) Lack of Penn profs - because a lot of the classes are held at night or on Saturdays, there are not a lot of Penn profs that really feel like teaching hte post bac classes. My Physics prof was from Villanova (awful!!) and my OChem prof was from LaSalle but he was super. My class had a miserable experience with Bio because they couldn't find anyone to teach on Saturday mornings so they found awful professors who just had no business teaching and weren't even qualified. And our Genetics/Biochem prof was from Drexel and was so bad that she got fired.

    2) The kinds of classes you've taken and a description.

    I took all my pre-reqs at Penn, including a ton of upper level science classes. Penn has a fantastic department called the Biological Basis of Behavoir. This department integrates biology, psychology, and neurology in its classes allowing students to take classes such as Psychopharmacology, Neurodegenerative Disorders, and Chemistry of the Brain. These are interesting, relevant classes to your science GPA and because I have a personal interest in Neuro, I got a true feel for the subject. Through these classes, I spent a lot of time learning how to read primary literature and get through the vocabulary which has been immensely helpful for my research job. Finally, I have also taken upper level pre-med courses such as Genetics and Biochem. Another great class was a class that allowed you to do research/volunteer work at the HUP ER 8 hours a week. You were graded on a lot of things that are important to residency and rotations, such as showing interest, learning about your cases, showing up on time...etc. It was an interesting class and I got to see surgeries, gun shot wounds, and the craziest of cases that I don't think I would unless the hospital was a level 1 trauma center.

    3) Something they wished they knew coming into the program
    4) Something they would like to tell incoming students about your program

    See #1.

    5) Tips for students applying to your program

    I think the Penn program is worthwhile but for someone that is comfortable with a more hands off approach than I was. Because I was new to the sciences, I really wish I had had better guidance and advisement. I think the program is really good for increasing your science GPA (for special science students) since there is such a variety of classes to choose from. Also, as mentioned earlier, the name really helps and the school works you hard. So you have to think about what characteristics of a post-bac are important to you. If you are coming here for the Special Science program, then I think this is the place to be; however, if you are a non-trad and would like some strong advisiing/guidance, I would do a lot of research on post-bacs before coming or consider going elsewhere.

    6) Did it help you get into medical school/dental school/etc.?

    I think if I had had a stronger MCAT, yes it would have so that's not the school's fault. Even though my BCPM was on the low side, my advisors thought I had a good shot of getting into strong clinical schools because of my non-trad experiences.

    8) A rating from 1-5 (1 being the worst (no recommendation) to 5 (full recommendation)

    My average would be a 3. However, I would push up to a 4 for the Special Sciences program.


    Feel free to PM me with any questions about the Penn post bac.
     
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  29. Faze2

    2+ Year Member

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    What is the Penn Special Sciences Program? Is that an SMP?
     
  30. Faze2

    2+ Year Member

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    Also, anyone have an opinion on Drexel's IMS or MSP?

    How about PCOM's SMP?
     
  31. fireflygirl

    fireflygirl The Ultimate Blindian
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    No. It is for people that already have taken some science courses during their undergrad and need to take additional coursework to increase their BCPM GPA or need some time to study for the MCATs and take classes. I don't think Penn has an SMP, but I could be wrong.
     
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  32. BKMD

    BKMD Junior Member
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    You can do all the coursework in one academic year and then your thesis over the following summer. It is pretty flexible. Some people take more courses over two years.
     
  33. ChronicRain

    2+ Year Member

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    um... can some1 confirm this cause im thinking of applying there thinking its SMP
     
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  34. fireflygirl

    fireflygirl The Ultimate Blindian
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    I have searched Penn's website and found nothing on a SMP. I am pretty sure they don't have one. The best bet would be for you to contact our director of the post-bac, Grace Hershman:

    Grace M. Hershman, M.Ed
    Director, Pre-Health Programs
    College of General Studies
    3440 Market Street, Suite 100
    Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335

    Telephone: 215.898.7326
    Fax: 215.573.2053
    [email protected]

    and also check out the Special Sciences website to see if it can fulfill your need: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/CGS/postbac/premed/specialscience/
     
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  35. FPLover

    2+ Year Member

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    I did not attend a post-baccalaureate program, but some of the ones which have a higher percentage of it's students entering med school are the Michigan State, Southern Illinois, and Georgetown. A significant number of the students in each of these programs enter the sponsoring school's medical school, but many gain acceptance else where.

    The Rutgers program has a moderate reputation, but a lower percentage of those students enter med school and many go on to Pharm or a PhD.

    The Kansas program is decent, but unless you are from a boring town or a neighboring state, I would not recommend matriculating there.
     
  36. Perrotfish

    Perrotfish Has an MD in Horribleness
    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Tulane ACP 2007

    Structure of the program: You take most of the first semester courses for Tulane Medical School with Tulane's medical students. If your grades are above the class average (for the Medical School, not the ACP program) you get to come back as an M1 the following year. As an M1 you will TA the classes you took in the program.

    Admissions: You must be waitlisted at a US medical school to apply, and even then it's pretty competitive.

    Facilities: Changing. Old building was OK, I hear the new one is going to be much better than OK.

    Competitiveness: Since you're graded against the medical students (who generally aren't worried about class rank) rather than other students in the ACP program, you really don't need to worry about a cutthroat attitude from your fellow students. Everyone actually goes way out of their way to help one another.

    Pros: Treated like part of the class by the medical students and faculty, extremely high linkage (90%+) to an incredible school, by far the cheapest (15K) and shortest (1 semester) of the SMPs, only program that lets you take the full Anatomy course, no lag year, and if you get in you get to TA the courses you took rather than taking them over

    Cons: Can't think of much. Almost everyone from the program continues on to Tulane, so if you wanted a different school this probably isn't the program for you. The only other thing is that you're always a bit worried about offending someone. Tulane makes it very clear that offending their students is like offending their faculty is like offending the Dean of admissions. I mean, everyone at the school is amazing and nice, but it's just makes you worry, you know?

    In the Fall you take Gross Anatomy and Histology. Both classes graded based on three tests, with the grade split evenly between a written portion an a practical. Gross Anatomy also has a lab participation grade, which basically amounts to a lab attendance grade. In the Spring students are given the option of taking Neuro Anatomy at no aditional cost, but performance in this class has no bearning on Tulane's decision about whether or not to admit you.

    Go to either the TAs or SDN for advice on studying for Anatomy. I wasted the better part of two weeks reading the stupid text book before I got around to buying Netter flash cards and a Rohen. Also join a study group, it's a good way to get outside of the ACP 'clique' that tends to form. Also if at all possible find both an Anatomy and a Histology Study group, people have a tendancy to focus too much on Anatomy and ignore Histology until it's too late. Set some time aside for Histo.

    The TAs are last year's ACP class. Use the TAs!! They (or I guess I can say we :)) want to help you!

    No clue, still amazed I got in

    Yup, admitted last week

    This is one of the only SMP programs I would consider recommending for someone who is a very borderline applicant (3.4/29). The cost is low enough, the school is good enough, and the success rate is high enough, that it probably makes sense. Of course, if you can get in with a truely bad GPA (the traditional SMP student) you should definitely attend.

    5. No program's perfect, but I can't imagine any SMP being better.
     
  37. carbofation

    5+ Year Member

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    Is this program only for students who haven't taken any undergrad science courses? What about student who don't have a very high undergrad science GPA and would like to increase it by attending a postbacc?
    Thanks and congrats on getting accepted.:)
     
  38. HerrTex

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    Thanks for the great info. I am applying right now and really want to get into this program. Are you from Louisiana or oos? Also do you mind posting your stats so I have a ballpark fig on what applicants they are selecting.
     
  39. Perrotfish

    Perrotfish Has an MD in Horribleness
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    OOS (I don't believe there is any preference for LA residents, though it probably helps to be a Tulane graduate). Don't worry about your stats too much: if you're waitlisted you're probably at least competitive for the program. Let me know if you have any other questions, though.
     
  40. HerrTex

    5+ Year Member

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    Man you got into medical school in my book there is nothing to be embarrased about. I've got a 3.8 (psych major) w/27 and oos (texas). I'm retaking the mcat in april and god forbid again in may. I am guessing you got into Tulane if so are you going to be a TA in anatomy next year? Also if you have any advice with stuff to send them, I would really appreciate any suggestions
     
  41. Perrotfish

    Perrotfish Has an MD in Horribleness
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    Huh, I'm surprised you didn't get into medical school outright. Yes I will be an Anatomy TA next fall. Again, I have no idea how to help yourself get in, but with your stats I can't imagine you having a real problem. Good luck with the MCAT and hope to see you in the fall.
     
  42. Oh2051

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    Is there a way to organize this information by school? Wouldn't it be nice to be able to go to the "Postbacc Feedback" forum, click on the school of your choice, and see what the folks have to say about it . . . instead of scrolling down through one long page that contains many comments on many schools?

    Or does this already exist somewhere amongst these pages and I'm missing it?
     
  43. MEDIHOPE

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    I have recently been accepted into the LaSalle Program and am wondering if anyone online is in it or graduated from it. What is the quality of the Program, and what Medical Schools have people been accepted into from the LaSalle Program?
    Does anyone know if you can go to Bryn Mawr and take the same courses as the Postbacculaureate students if you were rejected from the program?
    Thanks.
     
  44. aspiringmedstud

    aspiringmedstud Hopeful PreMed
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    Could someone rate the NYU Postbacc Premed program.:)
     
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  45. nu2004

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    I did my post-bacc through Northwestern University's School of Continuing Studies (SCS) and finished the core Chem, Bio, Orgo, Physics courses in June 2007. I was living and working in Evanston when I began to consider doing a post-bacc, so this was convenient for me. The program REQUIRES one college level math and one college level biology course for entry. Admission is based on numerical data and an essay. More information can be found at their website: http://www.scs.northwestern.edu/pdp/cpdp/health/index.cfm

    1) The Pros and Cons of their program

    This program is on the QUARTERS (trimesters) system. The program is taught by THE SAME faculty that teach the undergraduate basic science courses. There's nothing "easier" about the SCS classes; in speaking with the professors they noted that the mean exam scores and curves for the undergraduate and SCS classes were overall quite similar. The instruction I received was great preparation for biochem and the MCAT.

    All courses for the program are at night (unless you do the 12 or 15-month track), which allows you to work if you want (I did; it was tough but that clinical experience made the difference for my apps).

    The cost was less than a Northwestern undergraduate pays in tuition; the difference between the experience of an undergrad and one of a continuing studies student is that the undergrad gets a degree from Northwestern. The SCS program grants a "certificate" (I never actually got one) upon completion of the program.

    The competitiveness of the program is pretty high (or at least was with my batch). The students are a mixed bag; some are doing this as a last-ditch attempt at what they view as a glamorous and money-making career; most of them fail out or otherwise soften the curve. Others are highly intelligent, driven professionals or former professionals who are there to get A's and go to Harvard. They tend to make the curve less generous. The rest of us were generally bright and motivated students who worked our butts off for 12 months. I don't consider MCAT the definitive gauge of ability, but just to give you an idea of the caliber of our class, my group of friends had MCAT scores of 30, 31, 35, 35, 36, 36, and 38.

    The buildings and facilities are the same used by NU undergrads; that is to say, they are excellent. The labs were really nice (the new organic chemistry lab is sweet).

    2) The kinds of classes you've taken and a description.

    I took a year of calculus and a quarter of physiology before entering the program. In the program I took the standard gamut of General Chemistry, Biology, Organic Chemistry, and Physics, all with lab. After the program I took Biochemistry, and because certain schools required it (ahem, UIC), a quarter of Psychology and two quarters of English. General breakdown of the courses:

    General Chemistry
    -----------------------------
    1st quarter: intro to chemistry and general chemistry
    2nd quarter: general inorganic chemistry
    3rd quarter: physical chemistry

    Biology
    -----------------------------
    1st quarter: genetics and evolution
    2nd quarter: biochem (briefly) and molecular bio
    3rd quarter: physiology (again, briefly) and cell bio

    Organic Chemistry
    -----------------------------
    1st quarter: nomenclature, mechanisms, some reactions
    2nd quarter: lots more reactions, syntheses and retrosyntheses
    3rd quarter: more syntheses and retrosyntheses, polymers

    Physics
    -----------------------------
    1st quarter: mechanics
    2nd quarter: electricity and magnetism
    3rd quarter: waves and theoretical physics

    3) Something they wished they knew coming into the program

    I really wished I had known coming into the program that ANYONE (who can pay the tuition) can take courses as an "at-large" student through Northwestern's School of Continuing Studies. Because I did not have any college-level math or bio courses, I had to wait an additional year to begin the program. However, while I was taking calculus, I could have also been taking physics or general chemistry as an at-large student through the school of continuing studies. This would have saved me either: the hellish year-of-gen-chem-in-8-weeks, or having to take Bio, Physics, and Orgo (and all three labs) at the same time.

    4) Something they would like to tell incoming students about your program

    If you do this program, know in advance that it is going to be intense. If you decide to work, make sure your work does not demand any of your outside time; you will need it all to study.

    5) Tips for students applying to your program

    Unless you already have some of the requirements out of the way, start this program as early as possible, and do it over 24 months if your life timeline and financial situation allow. Your grades will be better and you will be more prepared for the MCAT. Taking three hard science classes at once (in addition to three labs, which makes it feel like six classes) is sort of insane. Also, even though they have extended the summer chemistry schedule from 8 weeks to 9, it is still a little too intense.

    6) Did it help you get into medical school/dental school/etc.?

    Absolutely. The program is affiliated with a "pre-health professional" group that puts on interesting events throughout the year; I happened to meet the director of admissions for the school to which I ended up matriculating at one of these events. Moreover, the academic and MCAT preparation that I got from the program were excellent.

    7) Anything else you'd like to add

    Be careful when planning your MCAT study, and try not to study for the MCAT at the same time that you're trying to do your coursework. Leave a good solid month (two to three recommended) of absolutely-nothing-else-to-do for your MCAT study; enroll in a prep course if possible, and do ALL the homework for the prep course.

    8) A rating from 1-5 (1 being the worst (no recommendation) to 5 (full recommendation)

    On a scale of 5, I would rate this program a 4.5. The only ways it could be improved, in my view, would be with a little more robust advising system. There is currently one advisor; she is great but very busy. Overall, I heartily recommend, and I think that as the program ages it is gaining a reputation for turning out bright, well-prepared students.
     
  46. AspiringPsychDC

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
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    Can anyone do a comprehensive review like this for Scripps? Ive read mostly good things but saw a fairly bad post that worries me saying teaching quality was not good and the 100% acceptance rate is only because the majority of students link to mediocre schools. (see below)
    -------------------------------------
    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/archive/index.php/t-222036.html
    ((see post answering this Q :
    anyone here that actually went to scripps? i'm seriously considering it, and i have a few questions about it.

    1. is it hard to finish all the pre-reqs in one year? the courseload seems pretty intense...how can you balance your time with ECs/research?
    2. how difficult are the courses themselves? is it hard to get a good gpa?
    3. do most people from the program get into the med schools they want to go to? ))
    ---------------------------------

    So, anyone have opinions on caliber of teaching and acceptance to top schools at Scripps? (more MCAT numbers / % of class getting into top schools -- not just the names of schools where students have been accepted.. that could be one student in ten years for all we know!)

    Thanks!
     
  47. nu2004

    5+ Year Member

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  48. Oh2051

    2+ Year Member

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    Thank you, Mr. Perrotfish, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to leave your comment. I'm sure the entire forum will be eagerly awaiting your next clever posting.
     
  49. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion
    10+ Year Member

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    The postbac forum is low on mods, so no, this organization doesn't exist. It also changes year-to-year so it needs to be kept up. I was in the process of doing this kind of clean linking for the SMP side of things before I got accepted. If you want to volunteer to do this kind of organization, you could end up a mod. PM braluk if you have the time/interest.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  50. Oh2051

    2+ Year Member

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    .

    Thanks, DrMidlife
     

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