SMP vs post-bacc classes

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Jul 19, 2017
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I'm in a dilemma between selecting an SMP (Loyola MSMP) or taking classes at Northwestern University through their evening certificate program. I'm very low-income and it would be a big burden to take out that almost $50,000 loan for the SMP. Plus, I currently work in a local healthcare job which I think is a plus for a nontraditional student like me and I'll most likely have to give that up if I do the SMP. Plus it'll be 1.5 hours of commute each way. But, my major concern is the money.


1. I have a 3.12 GPA from a top-3 undergrad college. Majored in Biological Sciences. I immigrated to Us right before college began and had a difficult time adjusting during my first year. My Gap has a strong upward trend - 3.5 or above for 3rd and 4th year. My low science grades are mostly in advanced physics and chemistry - I had originally planned on being a physics double-major.

2. MCAT = 512, planning to retake it because it's been 2+ years since I took it.
3. IL
4. Asian
5. Top 3 private university (midwest)
6. Clinical experience (volunteer and non-volunteer): 100+ hours - intervention projects for cancer screening - interviewing patients, research development, data analysis; case management and care coordination at local health clinic 320 hours, mentoring youth with sickle cell disease in hospital 320 hrs
7. Research: Clinical research - effectiveness of patient navigation to address social determinants of health - poster presentation at University-wide conference (150 hrs); clinical research - faith-based breast cancer intervention program - will be published as primary author for paper within he next 6 months (300 hrs) ; biochemistry research
8. Shadowing experience: 150 hours: pulmonary medicine, family practice, international shadowing in South Asia and Latin America
9. Non-clinical volunteering: underserved schools in inner city 400+ hrs, international mentorship for women in science 200hrs;
10. Started and sustained a music group in College (200hrs); handled finances of two large student organizations - event planning (150 hrs); started a magazine, which is still in publication (100hrs) represented university in national entrepreneurial conference
11. worked in local hospital on opioid use, mental health and criminal justice-related project for 1+ years (full-time) (during 1st gap year)
12. Award from University for Service
13. bilingual, low-income, grew up abroad

I am hoping to take classes during my 2nd gap year and then do additional research/classes in ym 3rd gap year. The main reason for taking these years off is because my mental health was suffering while in school and I needed to take some time off to prevent burnout.