Should I do a Post-bacc program?

Discussion in 'Postbaccalaureate Programs' started by daaarn, Apr 7, 2007.

  1. daaarn

    daaarn Guest

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    I'm a soon-to-be postbac (I graduate this spring) and I'm wondering if I should do one of those "premedical post-bacc programs" or just take the premed classes I'm missing and be done with them so I can focus on the MCATs?

    I'm going to apply to Texas school so I need to take Ochem 2+lab and an upper division Biology class to finish up my premed requirements. The only real concern I have in making this decision is my GPA. My overall GPA is decent (only about a 3.55) but I got a mix of As and Bs when I first took the bios, chems, phys back in freshman/sophmore year. Assuming I get no lower than a B in my remaining premed classes, I'll still have at least a 3.5 cumulative, but only about a 3.25 science GPA.

    Since med schools apparently just average out your grades for retakes, I'm wondering if it's worth it retaking all those classes (with the possibility that I might even do worse looking at the high quality/standards of the schools that offer postbacc programs) or just finish up with the ones I have left?

    In that respect, I'm concerned about time. I can either finish up my premed courses with a mediocre GPA in a semester, or retake it all in the span of about 2 years (with only a possible small to negligible bump in GPA). And that's not even figuring the time I'll need prepping for MCATs.

    Any thoughts? anecdotes? experiences? suggestions?
     
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  3. postbacker

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    Sounds like you should finish the science pre-reqs (make As) and also take some upper level science classes (make more As) and try to raise your science GPA...your best option after that is probably an SMP...

    I thought a post bac is for people who did not take any of the science pre-reqs their first time through college, i.e., non-traditionals and career changers, and an SMP is the path for those who took most or all of the pre-reqs but need to enhance a weak UG academic record.

    It is my understanding that many (most?) formal post bac programs will not accept you if you have previously taken more than one or two of the pre-reqs, and from what I have read they will not accept you under the premise of re-taking pre-reqs to raise your grades, either.

    But here on SDN, many people advocate the post bac route to raise a low UG GPA, but I don't see how that is possible for someone who has already taken most of the pre-reqs.
     
  4. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Not accurate. There is no "one size fits all". While a lot of the "formal" postbac programs do cater to nonsci folks who never took any prereqs, there are lots of undergrad postbac options for those who want to take upper levels and/or retake things. Someone with "postbac" in their username should be aware of this.

    An SMP is another option, but not always the ideal one to enhance a weak UG record, because it does not affect your cumulative undergraduate level GPA, it is graduate, so a poor undergrad record, and various unretaken low grades may still haunt you. An SMP can show an ability to handle graduate level sciences currently, and if it is a reputable one, puts a brand name on your application, which for some is enough, but there is really no single option best for everyone here -- it depends on what kind of a hole you have dug for yourself. The OP probably could use the SMP route since his ug GPA isn't horrible, but it's absolutely not the right move for everyone who took the prereqs.

    Some people have no choice but to prove themselves at the undergraduate level, and gradually bump up their GPA into a target range. If you have a low GPA or a lot of D's, a year of good grades at an SMP isn't going to wash that away. You need to prove yourself at the undergraduate level. So some people even end up taking a combination of postbac and SMP courses, over a course of years. The real disadvantage of an SMP, aside from the fact that it is graduate and thus goes in a separate column on AMCAS than undergraduate level GPA, is that most require you already to have taken the MCAT, and thus someone who was weak in the undergraduate sciences and who would benefit from retaking some before tackling that test isn't going to be benefitted by taking the MCAT so prematurely.

    FWIW, there is a postbac forum on SDN in which this thread would make more sense being posted.
     
  5. postbacker

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    Someone with over 10,000 posts and listed as an "advisor" should be able to make points without flaming.

    If you carefully read the OP's post, he is concerned about the time commitment to retake all of the science pre-reqs he made "B's" in, and he is also concerned that it would negligibly improve his science GPA (I agree with him on both points). From what I understand, the OP is not a candidate for a formal post bac (like Goucher, etc), so he would have to take these courses as an informal post bac student.

    Based on the OP''s situation, my recommendation stands: finish your 2 remaining pre-reqs and make A's, and while you are at it take some additional upper levels and make A's, then look into the SMP option. Retaking all of the courses he already made B's in seems to be a shaky use of his time and resources, especially if he doesn't make all A's in those retakes.

    Note to OP: Look in the "Mentor Forum" sticky and there is a new "SMP Adcom" person who can answer your questions about these programs...

    Now you have a Happy Easter, Law2Doc!
     
  6. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Sorry - didn't mean it in the way you took it.
    At any rate I disagreed with your prior post. These days there are more postbac options out there than the formal (ie Goucher, Bryn Mawr) model and SMP. And the OP can take upper level courses in an undergrad level program rather than retake prereqs, which has the benefit of increasing undergrad GPA and not having to take the MCAT yet, which the SMP does not. The SMP may work for him as well, but again, one size does not fit all, and so to the extent you were giving blanket advice that anyone who already took the prereqs should do an SMP (which I read the last sentence of your initial post to be doing), you are off the mark.

    The postbac board is a better place for this question though.
     
  7. daaarn

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    That essentially is my main concern. For me it's just pragmatics and what I should do to maximize my time and efficiency without having to backtrack all over the place. As it is, I don't really have much of a "career" since I'm only just going to be graduating this spring, so money and thus time are important factors for me to consider. That being said, what is a [lower end] "competitive" science GPA?

    Also, after reading thru a few of these boards, there seems to be just a big hate for community colleges. I know a few people who took a fair portion (2 or 3 of their prereqs) there and got into a med school. Is it just "frowned down upon" by adcomms or is there an actual disadvantage/restriction from taking prereqs there? I ask b/c after I graduate and move home, the closest (and cheapest) school to me is a community college. I'd have to commute 45min-1hr one way (assuming little traffic) to get to my nearest undergrad colleges (one of them being a private school so definitely a no go b/c of cost). I understand that for the upper division biology class it looks like I will have to go to an undergrad college, but I'd like to save money where I can. I'm still working things out, but I unfortunately won't have much time until after my finals. And thanks to both of you for helping.
     
  8. Law2Doc

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    As for what is a competitive BCPM, I think the average for allo matriculants is close to the 3.5 range. Obviously a lot of people are below the average, but the grouping around that number is fairly tight. If you pick up a copy of MSAR, you can get various school data. How schools regard CC depends on the school, so you might want to check with some of the ones you are considering before launching into a lot of coursework.
     
  9. njbmd

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    Moving to Post-Bacc since OP question concerns Post-Bacc issues.
     

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