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Sh**** Situation. Work full time. Informal Postbacc vs. taking extra classes

uphillBattle

Full Member
Dec 18, 2011
183
1
  1. Pre-Medical
    Did Engineering/Econ from a top school. Didn't focus early enough and decided that I really like med.

    Cum. GPA: 3.37 ~ 3.4; upward grade trend (3.0 -> 3.37) from doing well in upper-div courses; volunteering; leadership; work exp; research (close to being associated with a paper).

    Taking MCAT soon. PT'ing @ 34 +/- 2.

    Pre-req Classes:
    GChem: A-, B
    Biology: C+, B
    Math: A, B
    OChem: B-, A
    Physics: B, B-
    English: A

    My question is: I start work full time soon. Is it preferable to do an informal post-bacc program while I work full time, taking evening classes OR should I selectively take classes targeting the subjects which I goofed off in while working?

    The difference is: that actual post-bacc programs are an hour and a half away from my work while I can selectively take classes in Biology or Physics at a decent state school close to my work.

    Anyone else in this predicament where they work full time and are doing evening classes or informal post-bacc? I know what I'll be getting into but I want to know what is a realistic load.

    Appreciate all your help!
     

    theseeker4

    PGY 3
    7+ Year Member
    Apr 20, 2011
    3,499
    766
    Suburban Detroit, MI
    1. Resident [Any Field]
      Did Engineering/Econ from a top school. Didn't focus early enough and decided that I really like med.

      Cum. GPA: 3.37 ~ 3.4; upward grade trend (3.0 -> 3.37) from doing well in upper-div courses; volunteering; leadership; work exp; research (close to being associated with a paper).

      Taking MCAT soon. PT'ing @ 34 +/- 2.

      Pre-req Classes:
      GChem: A-, B
      Biology: C+, B
      Math: A, B
      OChem: B-, A
      Physics: B, B-
      English: A

      My question is: I start work full time soon. Is it preferable to do an informal post-bacc program while I work full time, taking evening classes OR should I selectively take classes targeting the subjects which I goofed off in while working?

      The difference is: that actual post-bacc programs are an hour and a half away from my work while I can selectively take classes in Biology or Physics at a decent state school close to my work.

      Anyone else in this predicament where they work full time and are doing evening classes or informal post-bacc? I know what I'll be getting into but I want to know what is a realistic load.

      Appreciate all your help!
      Take the classes at your local university. Getting good grades in science courses at a university is the key, formal post bac vs. informal makes no difference. If you have to keep working, keep working and take the local courses.

      Unless you are aiming for a DO school (doubtful since you are posting in pre-allo) re-taking your old classes is not necessary. Taking random (as fit your schedule) upper-level science classes, getting A's, and holding down a full-time job will prove your academic ability.

      Regarding realistic load, what are your outside of work/school responsibilities? I was able to take 7-8 credits a semester while working >40 hours, but I had a wife at home who I still wanted to spend time with. If you have fewer obligations, you can squeeze in more, but I would start it slower since the grades are your goal.
       

      uphillBattle

      Full Member
      Dec 18, 2011
      183
      1
      1. Pre-Medical
        Take the classes at your local university. Getting good grades in science courses at a university is the key, formal post bac vs. informal makes no difference. If you have to keep working, keep working and take the local courses.

        Unless you are aiming for a DO school (doubtful since you are posting in pre-allo) re-taking your old classes is not necessary. Taking random (as fit your schedule) upper-level science classes, getting A's, and holding down a full-time job will prove your academic ability.

        Regarding realistic load, what are your outside of work/school responsibilities? I was able to take 7-8 credits a semester while working >40 hours, but I had a wife at home who I still wanted to spend time with. If you have fewer obligations, you can squeeze in more, but I would start it slower since the grades are your goal.

        Thanks so much for your response!

        I was thinking the same thing. Rather than spending a ton of time on an entire post-bacc program, I figured that I could take BCPM courses at the nearby university.

        I graduated a couple months ago and don't plan on getting married anytime soon (!) so outside responsibilities are low. Plan on adding some hospital volunteering, maybe Friday nights, but besides that not too much.

        Congrats on working and completing the course load and getting into med school! How long were you studying/working?
         
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        theseeker4

        PGY 3
        7+ Year Member
        Apr 20, 2011
        3,499
        766
        Suburban Detroit, MI
        1. Resident [Any Field]
          Thanks so much for your response!

          I was thinking the same thing. Rather than spending a ton of time on an entire post-bacc program, I figured that I could take BCPM courses at the nearby university.

          I graduated a couple months ago and don't plan on getting married anytime soon (!) so outside responsibilities are low. Plan on adding some hospital volunteering, maybe Friday nights, but besides that not too much.

          Congrats on working and completing the course load and getting into med school! How long were you studying/working?
          Well I graduated with a history degree in 2005, originally intending to go to law school but had decided against that by the time I graduated. Worked a couple jobs and decided med school was for me, so I had to go back and get the pre-reqs in. I worked part time while taking all the required and recommended classes over 4 semesters, and met my wife around that time. I put off applying for med school, got my current job in chemical synthesis, and started to take courses toward a chemistry degree, as required by my job.

          It was upper-level chemistry courses and the calc series (I through III) that I was taking while working. It wasn't fun, but definitely doable. Last winter semester I was taking Calc III, P-Chem, took the MCAT (again) and my wife ended up in the hospital and delivering our son 8 weeks early, so he was in the NICU for a month. Having all that happen at once thankfully didn't hurt me, so you should be fine :D.
           

          Bette

          Full Member
          Mar 13, 2011
          24
          0
          1. Pre-Medical
            Did Engineering/Econ from a top school. Didn't focus early enough and decided that I really like med.

            Cum. GPA: 3.37 ~ 3.4; upward grade trend (3.0 -> 3.37) from doing well in upper-div courses; volunteering; leadership; work exp; research (close to being associated with a paper).

            Taking MCAT soon. PT'ing @ 34 +/- 2.

            Pre-req Classes:
            GChem: A-, B
            Biology: C+, B
            Math: A, B
            OChem: B-, A
            Physics: B, B-
            English: A

            My question is: I start work full time soon. Is it preferable to do an informal post-bacc program while I work full time, taking evening classes OR should I selectively take classes targeting the subjects which I goofed off in while working?

            The difference is: that actual post-bacc programs are an hour and a half away from my work while I can selectively take classes in Biology or Physics at a decent state school close to my work.

            Anyone else in this predicament where they work full time and are doing evening classes or informal post-bacc? I know what I'll be getting into but I want to know what is a realistic load.

            Appreciate all your help!

            I graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering in 2007, and actually worked as an engineer for 2 years before deciding I wanted to go into medicine. I didn't have any of the BCPM courses, except for physics, which I took in 2003-2004, so I did a post-bacc program at nights while working full time. It was definitely very difficult working full time and doing the courses at the same time, but I think when application time came around, it was worth it. The people who interviewed me were really impressed that I was able to balance work and classes.

            The post-bacc program was extremely convenient to me location-wise, but I totally understand that you'd rather take courses at the local university. I think this should be fine, but my only concern for you there is having a pre-med committee for advising/writing a committee letter. If you can contact your undergraduate institution and see if they would provide you this service, I think that would be really helpful. A lot of medical schools really like the committee letter, though you can just have individual letter writers send them to AMCAS. If you don't have a committee letter you will need 2 letters from BCPM professors, and as an engineering student, I found that I would have had a hard time with this, since you take any basic science courses in the beginning of undergrad and they are super huge classess (and, in our case, we weren't planning on applying to med school at that point so we weren't focused on building relationships with the professors). I would definitely make it a point to take some time to get to know the professors who are teaching the classes you will be taking. You can have a ton of great letters from PI's, supervisors, other professors, etc., but a lot of schools really do require that two letters from BCPM professors.

            It took me 4 semesters, taking 8 credits a semester, while working 50+ hours a week, to complete all the pre-reqs. I also took advanced biology courses during the summer sessions, which I think was beneficial. I am just finishing my application cycle and will be matriculating in the fall. I have a 3.52c/3.34s GPA, and a 34R on my MCAT. My GPA is on the lower side, but I think the fact that it was an engineering degree made a difference there. I had few EC's, but the ones I had were extremely relevant and patient related. I'm not sure what your new job is, but if it's engineering-related, make sure you are doing plenty to demonstrate your desire to be a physician and work with patients. I actually left my engineering job and starting working in the medical field, which I think also proved my determination. When they ask you "why do you want to be a doctor" in the interview, you need to back up your answer with experiences you have had.

            That said, good luck!! If you have any questions about transitioning from engineer to student doctor, PM me.
             
            Did Engineering/Econ from a top school. Didn't focus early enough and decided that I really like med.

            Cum. GPA: 3.37 ~ 3.4; upward grade trend (3.0 -> 3.37) from doing well in upper-div courses; volunteering; leadership; work exp; research (close to being associated with a paper).

            Taking MCAT soon. PT'ing @ 34 +/- 2.

            Pre-req Classes:
            GChem: A-, B
            Biology: C+, B
            Math: A, B
            OChem: B-, A
            Physics: B, B-
            English: A

            My question is: I start work full time soon. Is it preferable to do an informal post-bacc program while I work full time, taking evening classes OR should I selectively take classes targeting the subjects which I goofed off in while working?

            The difference is: that actual post-bacc programs are an hour and a half away from my work while I can selectively take classes in Biology or Physics at a decent state school close to my work.

            Anyone else in this predicament where they work full time and are doing evening classes or informal post-bacc? I know what I'll be getting into but I want to know what is a realistic load.

            Appreciate all your help!


            easier said than done.

            I'd focus on one, or work full time and take 6 science credit hours/semester.
             

            uphillBattle

            Full Member
            Dec 18, 2011
            183
            1
            1. Pre-Medical
              Well I graduated with a history degree in 2005, originally intending to go to law school but had decided against that by the time I graduated. Worked a couple jobs and decided med school was for me, so I had to go back and get the pre-reqs in. I worked part time while taking all the required and recommended classes over 4 semesters, and met my wife around that time. I put off applying for med school, got my current job in chemical synthesis, and started to take courses toward a chemistry degree, as required by my job.

              It was upper-level chemistry courses and the calc series (I through III) that I was taking while working. It wasn't fun, but definitely doable. Last winter semester I was taking Calc III, P-Chem, took the MCAT (again) and my wife ended up in the hospital and delivering our son 8 weeks early, so he was in the NICU for a month. Having all that happen at once thankfully didn't hurt me, so you should be fine :D.

              Man, that sounds killer. Did you do an actual post-bacc program or take the pre-reqs separately? You mentioned earlier to just take the classes at the local university.

              Would taking any courses which have a BCPM bent count i.e. immunology, virology, etc.? My school's counselor said that they need to have BCPM in their title for them to be considered science. This is a bummer because many of my upper-div. engineering courses make heavy use of BCPM.
               

              uphillBattle

              Full Member
              Dec 18, 2011
              183
              1
              1. Pre-Medical
                easier said than done.

                I'd focus on one, or work full time and take 6 science credit hours/semester.

                True I'm in for a rough couple of years. Like you and some of the other posters mentioned, if I were to do 6-8 credit hours/sem. while working full time then it may be doable.

                Since I'll probably end up simply doing classes not part of a post-bacc program, I'll see how it goes for a semester and then decide whether or not I should continue.
                 
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