UPenn Post Bacc Program

Discussion in 'Postbaccalaureate Programs' started by premedw, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. CJhooper123

    CJhooper123 B.A. in Chemistry and Getting Buckets
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    For those in the program or have finished it - where are ideal off-campus locations to live? I have heard University City is good, but I would like to know more options.

    Also.... if someone is looking for a roommate, message me.
     
  2. Rocketsfan2301

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    I'm not currently in the program, but have been working in a lab at UPenn for the past year and a half. Some of the best locations to live are Graduate hospital (a lot of grad students/med students live here and either take the school shuttle or walk), center city is a bit more expensive but surprisingly cheap compared to other big cities, another great option is Fishtown and Northern Liberties both great neighborhoods with a lot to do and easy access to the subway to get to work. When I first moved here I lived in center city, but then moved to Fishtown because it was cheaper to live but still had all the great ameneties. Most people though will live in grad hospital/University city area. Let me know if you have any questions!
     
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  3. Acumenus

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    I really want to apply. I'd be applying to core program. I am an international student. sGPA 3.89; cGPA 3.82, Great research experience, research presentation, accepted abstract, hours of observation in OR and shadow in clinic, performed thoracotomy on cadaver, great extracurricular, sport, leader of 3 clubs and intramural team, Rhodes scholar finalist, great letter of recc. However, I did not take the SAT, GRE or MCAT. I got into undergrad in US without SAT. Do you guys think I should give it a shot?
     
    #1703 Acumenus, Feb 17, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
  4. fosterfail314

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    I just applied recently and I believe that some type of standardized test was required for the application. I would recommend contacting an administrator to make sure you could apply without a standardized test. It's not clear how strict their requirements are on that. Other than that, your stats sound very competitive.
     
  5. kazill

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    I live in Roxborough, it's far from the main part of the city but there's plenty of public trans and it's easily one of the cheapest areas to live in.
     
  6. SS0822

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    Hi everyone!

    I graduate this May and am really interested in the UPenn Pre-Health Core Studies Program. Can someone please tell me what is needed to make my application competitive?

    If you have gotten in for Fall 2017 can you please let me know what your application was like? Is getting into this program relatively hard?
     
  7. fosterfail314

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    @SS0822 Send me a PM and I will answer as many questions about applying to the core studies program as I can.
     
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  8. JoeRom

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    Anyone take Bio 275 microbiology? Thanks!
     
  9. latinclubimperatus

    latinclubimperatus Don't get snarky, I'm better at it than you.
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    specialized bro
     
  10. KeepThankingHim

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    hey guys, as I read this thread, there were not that many pre-dental students or any stories about pre-dental students linking to 2 dental schools. Did anyone (both alumni/current students) know anything about this? Thank you!
     
  11. latinclubimperatus

    latinclubimperatus Don't get snarky, I'm better at it than you.
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    Oi, now I'm also accepted into Touro's MSMHS. Top 25% there basically get accepted there but if not.... eh. What worries me is that last year they quadrupled their class size (15 to 60) so whereas previously just about everyone got in to their COM now only the top 15 do, so my fear is no one other than Touro is really familiar with the program like UPenn. And I hear now it's HELL. Every point counts. Pulling your hair out. But it's wayyyy cheaper, only around 22k.
     
  12. rkdesp

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    Hi there - So I was planning to apply to the specialized studies and reading through this thread got me super confused. You need a cgpa of 3.6 or a 3.6 in the program to use the linkage? and does upenn grade really hard? is that why it's "impossible" to get into med school? So I shouldn't even bother?
     
  13. Moko

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    The classes at Penn were rigorous but fair and ultimately prepared me well for the MCAT and med school. But everyone was graded on a curve when I was there (and presumably that is still the policy), with the average being around a B- . So despite everyone being smart and driven, the average student will not finish the program with a competitive GPA.
     
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  14. rkdesp

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    Ok. so it's doable. but the average (B-) is not good enough to use in the linkage? so you need to do really well in the program to use the linkage program? I'm sorry I'm just so confused. I was all set to apply then I hear not-so-good things and I'm in a panic again.
     
  15. latinclubimperatus

    latinclubimperatus Don't get snarky, I'm better at it than you.
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    Your status says resident, so imagine its been many years since you were in the program?
     
  16. latinclubimperatus

    latinclubimperatus Don't get snarky, I'm better at it than you.
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    Your status says resident, so imagine its been many years since you were in the program?
     
  17. Moko

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    It's doable as people do find success in the program (both in the "core" and "specialized science" groups) -- but the average student who gets a B- (GPA ~2.7) will not be competitive for any linkages (or any med school for that matter). As I've said before, I'm very grateful for the opportunities that Penn has provided me. But while Penn is a good option to consider for those who can outperform the cohort (a 3.7+ makes a statement), for most others it would've been more prudent to go elsewhere where the grades are more lenient. Hope this helps!

    Absolutely, I'm about 5 years out from the program, so do take what I say with a grain of salt. Things certainly could have changed but I would be surprised if the grading schema has shifted too dramatically.
     
  18. latinclubimperatus

    latinclubimperatus Don't get snarky, I'm better at it than you.
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    Everyone who talks about the curve (only top 30% gets an 'A') seem to be in the core group. Can anyone confirm this is also the case in specialized?
     
  19. fosterfail314

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    When I interviewed for this program and had an opportunity to speak with a current student, how courses were curved was one of the questions I asked her. She said that it largely depends on the professor and how they choose to curve. But, the acceptance rate of students admitted to professional school following the program is very high.

    Professional School Success | The College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS)

    I'm not quite sure how, if courses are curved around a B- like @Moko said (which I believe to still be accurate for the most part), the acceptance rates can be so high.

    That being said, the woman who interviewed me said that they do have about a 10% attrition rate in the core studies program, which is largely due to academic reasons.

    Also, keep in mind that the classes are very small, so that bottom end of the curve may account for some of the 10% who drop out. I often think about the fact that the program largely wants the students to do well and succeed because it makes their numbers look good, which in turn increases applicants for the next year, maintain their reputation of a school that succeeds in getting their students accepted, and allows them to be more selective, thus continuing to maintain a high quality, competitive program. So it seems to me that there is some conflict of interest here between wanting to offer competitive courses where students have to work hard to be in that top 30% to get an A, but also to give out as many high grades as possible so that their numbers of students accepted to their subsequent professional school is high.
     
  20. latinclubimperatus

    latinclubimperatus Don't get snarky, I'm better at it than you.
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    I hate classes that limit how many number of A's there are. That makes me uncomfortable.
     
  21. Moko

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    The numbers posted on the Penn site represent those who obtained the committee letter (which came with its own minimum program GPA requirement) -- most people have already been weeded out by then (similar to how most premed courses operate in college). So imo it's mostly a marketing trick -- one that's used by almost all post-bacc programs to make their own numbers look more attractive. When I applied, their reported success rates were similarly high; however, my cohort's attrition rate was definitely much higher than 10%. Many in my cohort ended up leaving because their GPA was simply not competitive, and/or they realized after a couple semesters that medicine wasn't right for them (often discouraged due to academic issues). Looking at the published list of schools that graduates were accepted to, the numbers don't add up if the 10% attrition rate was true (all of the US Allopathic schools have likely been listed). Again, not trying to bash on Penn since all programs are guilty of this, but I wanted to offer a more realistic (cynical?) view of the game. Hope this helps!

    (Also, those who only got into offshore medical schools in the Caribbean are likely counted towards the "success rate" -- another common tactic used to inflate numbers)
     
    #1721 Moko, Mar 26, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017
  22. fosterfail314

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    @Moko it sounds like you have much more accurate information than I do. You have actually attended the program and I will begin in the fall. I do agree with you that every program does what they can to inflate their numbers and perhaps there is some disconnect between the information I was told by the adviser I met with and what is published on the website.

    Honestly, my situation is a bit different, I am a pre-veterinary student starting in the core studies program. I have zero science background and will be in my early 30s by the time I apply to veterinary school, so medical school linkages is not something I asked about and a committee letter is not required for veterinary school, so again, not something I considered asking about. I did specifically ask about the acceptance rate of pre-veterinary students into veterinary schools following the core studies program, as well as the attrition rate of students who come into the program as pre-vet students. I felt that that information was satisfactory for what I was looking for, as there are very few post-bacc programs/SMPs that mention or cater to pre-veterinary students at all, not to mention are part of a university with a veterinary medicine school. Another reason I ultimately decided to attend this program is because of their connections to shadowing and other experience opportunities.
     
  23. latinclubimperatus

    latinclubimperatus Don't get snarky, I'm better at it than you.
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    Does UPenn have pretty good name recognition? I've also been accepted to a program at Touro but (long story as to why) those graduates almost never had to apply outside of Touro so I feel like it wouldn't really have any name recognition.
     
  24. Moko

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    The name recognition of Penn definitely helped me. Some interviewers thought that the post-bacc program was as competitive as the undergrad university when it came to admissions -- which really couldn't be farther from the truth. Of course, this is with the caveat that good name recognition does not make up for poor grades. So go where you will thrive academically!

    @fosterfail314 You're right -- most post-baccs don't put as much emphasis on vet school admissions (or other options such as PAs etc), which is unfortunate. It seems that you have a good sense of what to expect and have done your research, so trust your gut. Best of luck!
     
  25. mOlar1!

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    Hi guys,
    So I just got my interview from penn and I wasn't expecting it at all. Do you guys recommend it?I am going for the specialied program. I am stuck in a sticky situation Bc I am pre dental so I don't have as many opportunities at Penn but this linking program isn't making much sense lol. Can someone please explain it? I got into Jefferson, Rutgers, Barry so now I am just waiting to hear back from pcom to make a final decision. It's always a risky call with post bacc Bc gpa adds on to your undergrad and a post bacc certificate doesn't mean much in real world in case you don't get in. So I am kinda scared Bc I am doubting myself what if I don't do well and it's pricey as hell.
     
  26. SS0822

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    First off- congrats on getting an interview! I have heard great things about the specialized program at Penn. Unfortunately don't have much information on it as of now. I'm not sure if the linkage program works the same for specialized studies as it does for the core studies program but it's essentially doing early decision. What you do is you pick one school that Penn has an agreement with in the Fall semester of the year you will be done. Then what happens is that you (hopefully) get an interview and if accepted you're able to matriculate the following Fall. What it does is it saves you a year and gives acceptance in a school right after you're done with the program. It's great to save time but usually the requirements are pretty high and you're putting all your eggs in one basket. If you are not accepted into the school via linkage then you have to apply the old school way.

    I went to talk to an enrollment specialist and what I learnt is that Penn has a lot of great opportunities such as shadowing, clinical work, and research. On top of that they have advisors who stick with you and guide you throughout the program and they also have tie ups with Princeton Review and Kaplan to provide help with whatever test you will be taking.

    But a lot of schools have that! I attend Rutgers University (for undergrad) and their program offers similar things. If you're worried about not having any support a good thing about structured post baccs is that you have a post bacc community and are able to study together and therefore thrive together. Weigh out all your options but definitely don't let the fear of not doing well get in the way!
     
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  27. mOlar1!

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    Thank yo so much for explaining this. It sounds like a good deal and a risky call at the same time. Because of how many people can get As is limited, that makes me uncomfortable. I go to a competitive UG state school and we follow penn's curriculum for some classes and this grading scale, it didn't leave a good taste in my mouth lol. We'll see how it goes though.
     
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  28. greys1284

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    What time do classes usually end? I am not living near campus and don't want to have to take public transit late at night.
     
  29. fosterfail314

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    It depends on the classes, but they typically end around 9 or 10 pm, some end earlier around 7:30 pm, again, depends on the class.

    I will be taking the regional rail to and from classes and it does run late. I assume the subway also runs late during the week.
     
  30. Kou_KeiKi

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    I'm sort of interested in this program. How do the linkage programs work exactly for pre-dental students? What are the gpa and testing requirements?
     
  31. latinclubimperatus

    latinclubimperatus Don't get snarky, I'm better at it than you.
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    So I think I'm gonna decline here after being accepted to some other programs that have a super strong linkage. Giving out a shout-out here to themedicalschoolguru, I actually applied here last year and didn't get in but after reworking my application I've gotten into every postbacc I wanted (here, WesternU, TouroCA, NSU, VCOM). Highly recommend, especially for personal statements!
    About
     
  32. Mitochondrion21

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    I've just completed the Penn post-bacc program as a Core student, and got linkage with PCOM. I'll try to share as much relevant info and observations. First, if anyone's curious, my stats: cGPA = 3.31, sGPA = 3.53 (that's with DO grade replacement, it would be lower now), MCAT = 510 (130/126/128/126).

    Second, my views are mainly relevant for the Core program - most of the postbaccs at Penn are 'specialized students', taking advanced science classes to boost their GPA. From what I understand it's not the same as an SMP, although I think Penn does have masters programs. There are quite a few pre-dental and pre-vet students in the program; pre-vets will be in the Core program. I've only really met pre-dental and specialized students at post-bacc parties, lol.


    Broadly I would echo many of the pros and cons that people have mentioned before. The biggest strength of the Penn program is the many opportunities for volunteer and clinical research, with CHOP, HUP and Penn Presby all right next door. Penn has an Academics Associates research program which gives you a full year of involvement with clinical research (right now they focus on emergency medicine), Ironically I didn't do any clinical research, for various reasons, but I did volunteer at Penn Presby.

    Financially it's incredibly expensive - I was only able to do it by moving back in with my parents. But if you can get a full time job at Penn, you can get free tuition. Some Core and many Specialized do work full time. University City, where Penn is located, is a lot nicer than 20 years ago, but you won't have much time to enjoy it, lol.

    The people in the program are great, and tend to be very supportive of each other. No sabotage in labs that I know of! I've given and received a lot of help from my classmates. Of course, in a sense we are competing with each other, but as much as competition can be positive, I think it's the case here.

    Getting good grades (3.5+) is a real challenge. In particular, gen chem and orgo are very tough (gen chem may be harder than orgo, relatively speaking). Penn has a huge undergrad premed contingent, and it's clear as day they use chemistry to weed people out. Whether intentionally or not, post-baccs suffer the same fate: I know several people who had to withdraw from gen chem / the program because of how hard chem is. Even the 'premed' chem 1 class goes deep into the Schrodinger equation! Chem and orgo are strictly curved, which actually can be an advantage if everyone does badly! The good news is that both gen chem and orgo are 2-credit classes, with labs counted as separate 1-credit classes, and easier to do well b/c the curve is more forgiving. To do well, you need to get As in physics and bio, which are 3 credits each with labs integrated. They're not as hard, and the curve is less strict/non existent. I will say they do a good job preparing you for the MCAT - never took bio before, but it touched on everything tested.

    As for linkage, it's definitely possible - at least one other student contemporary with me got linkage at an MD school. Penn has fewer linkage programs than it used to, as Jefferson and Drexel now reserve linkage spots for their own post-baccs. The eligibility requirements are extremely high (~3.6 - 3.7 cGPA and post-bacc GPA), but for Penn's linkage you don't have to take the MCAT; you do need to have some recent standardized test score.

    Overall, I would say Penn's Core Studies program is best for recent grads who did very well in college but took few if any basic prereqs. Most students get really good ECs through the program, and as long as you can survive chemistry you'll do really well. I finished in 2 years - started summer 2015, took classes that summer and last - but my grades suffered as a result, so I would not recommend taking more than 2 lab science classes at a time, which means that it will be 3 years from starting the program to starting med school.

    If anyone has further questions, let me know and I'll be happy to answer them!

    ---

    EDIT: Here are the linkage programs. Specialized students are eligible for a few:
    • George Washington University School of Medicine
    • Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
    • Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
    • Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine
    • The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
    (Dental - specialized and core)
    • Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine
    • The University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine
    Specialized Studies students are eligible for linkages to:
    • Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
    • Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine
    Penn Vet allows for linkage with post-bacc pre-vets.
     
    #1732 Mitochondrion21, May 19, 2017
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  33. CJK421

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    Bump.

    Recently accepted for Fall 2017. Anyone else?!
     
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  34. CeramicLight

    CeramicLight Recently finished undergrad in 2016

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    I was recently offered an interview, but I have heard just one case of someone who enrolled in Penn's post-bac program a few years back and did not successfully matriculate into a professional school. Although Penn has a strong name recognition, is it really worth it if the success of the program is not exceptionally high?
     
  35. CJK421

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    I've honestly had nothing but positive experiences so far. Granted, I have yet to start but am basing this off of the interview and initial advising meeting.

    That being said, I'm a firm believer that (with few exceptions) success is primarily the responsibility of the individual and not the institution. I'd say do your research and decide which program is best to fit your needs as a student! Penn seemed to fit my needs and complement my professional background perfectly. Post-bac programs aren't a one-size-fits-all type of thing; there are so many options!
     
  36. CeramicLight

    CeramicLight Recently finished undergrad in 2016

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    Besides being either a GPA Booster or a Career Changer, I fail to see how a Post-Bac can be so exclusive to any extracurricular/professional background. Many of them offer shadowing, research, MCAT prep, application advising and the only large difference I see amongst GPA boosters is whether it is a Pre-Health (MD/DO, DDS, Pod., PA, Nursing) or Pre-Medical program (m.d. or d.o.).

    I am personally very wary of the limited number of A's they give out to post-bac students. How can that be a good "fit" for any prospective student?
     
  37. CTG243

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    When did you interview, if you don't mind me asking? I interviewed about a week ago and I'm just waiting to hear back. Fingers crossed I can join you there!
     
  38. 738310

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    I'm wondering what the gap was between your full application being received and being contacted about an interview - anxiously waiting to hear. Thanks!
     
  39. CJK421

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    Hey! I interviewed on March 24 and heard back on March 29. However, I applied right when applications opened, so I'm sure decisions are granted much more quickly then.

    Any news yet? Interested to hear!
     
  40. CJK421

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    Hey there! I submitted my application during the first week of February and was contacted for an interview about five weeks later.

    Any news yet? Let me know how it goes!
     
  41. Bmed253

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    Hi everyone.

    I'm wondering if any one applied to this program and got accepted with a low mcat score ? ( 33 percentile , definitely retaking)

    Thank you
     
  42. Bmed253

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    Hey j9260,

    did you get accepted to this program with your given mcat score? thanks
     
  43. CTG243

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    Just got accepted for Fall 2017! It took almost three weeks for me to hear but I'm happy to be joining you in Philly!
     
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  44. CJK421

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    That's awesome, congratulations! Hope to see ya around :)

    (There's a Facebook group for the program, btw!)
     
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  45. dr.wolf

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    Hi everyone. I applied really late (like June 29th) and just heard back today inviting me for an interview. Any tips or pointers for the interview?? Will probably opt for Skype instead of a phone call... This is my top choice, and I hope I get in ;u;
     
  46. areib1134

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    Hello,

    This is an old post, but, I hope this helps someone out!

    Brief overview
    I completed the core studies program, which involves one year physics, one year gen. chem, one year gen. chem lab, one year orgo, one year orgo lab, one year bio, one semester biochem. The core studies program is catered to students who did not study pre-medicine in undergrad or who only took a couple of prerequisite courses. Generally, the core studies program is for career changers. Penn also has a specialized studies program which caters more towards pre-medicine majors who want to boost their resumes with upper level science coursework.

    Classes/facilities/curving
    Classes are tough. I studied engineering in undergrad, and in my opinion the post bacc program was just as difficult (in part due to taking classes non-stop Fall 15-Spring 17, and part due to increased importance of GPA in pre-med). My initial (naive) expectation was that post bacc. classes would be different than undergraduate in that more students would receive higher grades. Generally, this is not the case. Core studies post bacc classes are typically in the evening, and you will often have a handful of undergrad students in class alongside you. Classes are roughly 30-50 students depending on the semester, course availability etc.. Penn has a beautiful campus, buildings are for the most part not new, but there are some new facilities and with your student ID you can enter many buildings on campus. Most of my courses ended up with some degree of curving. How you score on exams and assignments relative to the average is often more telling than what raw % score you hold. The size of the curve will vary from course to course but I found that assuming no curve was the best strategy for me in terms of managing expectations/motivation to study. I ended up doing well (MCPB GPA improved ~0.25 pts, Overall GPA improved ~0.20 pts), but I spent the majority of my free time for the past two years studying... just fyi.

    Linkage
    Linkage to Penn from the post bacc program does happen but its rare. Make sure you pay attention to the requirements (i.e. post bacc GPA, SAT/ACT cutoffs), they are very important. The Penn Pre-Health program is affiliated with the School of Arts and Sciences, and has no direct relationship with Perelman School of Medicine (PennMed). There are linkage programs with a handful of other schools as well (Pitt, GWU, Robert Wood Johnson, PCOM etc).

    Staff/support
    There are a handful of advisors and program staff. It is easy to schedule advising appointments and discuss questions/concerns. The program sends out regular emails regarding research opportunities, club meetings, approaching deadlines etc.. If you are proactive, take advantage of resources, and research your questions/concerns + advocate for yourself you will do well. In short, the advisory staff gives you resources/instructions/reminders, it is up to you to utilize them correctly.

    MCAT
    The coursework will primarily help prepare you for the MCAT. The program offers discounts to the Kaplan live online program. I used this prep program and they offer you plenty of resources (i.e 13 full-length tests, question bank, textbooks). If you prefer in person preparation, Princeton Review offers in person classes, however, you might not get the same discount. I think I paid around $1500 for a $2200 prep course.

    Philadelphia
    I have lived in/around Philadelphia for most of my life, so I am hopelessly biased here. Studying at Penn gives you the great advantage of being located adjacent to Hospital of University of Pennsylvania (currently a new hospital is beginning construction for 2022), Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and not far away from University City (area of Philly where Penn is located) to the east of the Schuykill River is Pennsylvania Hospital (oldest in USA, affiliated with Penn) and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. You also have Temple University Hospital (a little farther away in North Philadelphia), and Hahneman Hospital (affiliated with Drexel University). There are lots of research, clinical work opportunities at Penn, or close to it. The post bacc program sends out regular emails with job opportunities, Penn has an undergraduate research directory, and if you like to do it yourself you can try reaching out to a center or office you find intriguing. I think the best part of this program is the quality of the education, and the opportunities for work/volunteering that you can take advantage of. Cost of living in Philadelphia is great compared to cities like NY, SF. Vibrant bar and restaurant scene. Lots of museums, concerts, sporting events. A lot of students live in University City and West Philly, and some live in Grad Hospital/Center City. Center City area is more of a NY feel, West Philly is cheaper and closer to campus.

    I hope this helps!! Goodluck :)
     
    #1746 areib1134, Jul 4, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
  47. areib1134

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    Hey, don't worry too much about having applied late. I applied early July '15, interviewed late that month, started classes three weeks later... also, several of my friends applied and interviewed around the same time as me.

    Tips for the interview: be prepared, take it seriously, dress professionally (skype sounds like a good plan).

    GL
     
  48. CJK421

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    First of all, congratulations! :clap:

    As for the interview, make sure to be prepared (punctuality, have a notebook and pen, etc). FWIW: I arrived to the interview location about an hour early, elected to wait outside until roughly fifteen minutes before the start time as to not appear too eager, and was the last person in my seat by the time I got to the room. If you elect for a Skype interview, make sure to do a test a few days beforehand—find a nice, quiet space with good lighting and a fast internet connection. Even though it's digital, be sure to dress well and present yourself as you would in person.

    As for the interview itself, it was about 25 minutes of conversation with one of the program advisors—who you got seemed to just be determined by chance. I was asked about my educational background, what I've done in the few years since I graduated, and why I wanted to be in this program and pursue healthcare as a career. I was asked about what I look for in a physician, and what types of things I notice when I'm at a doctor's appointment. Finally, I was asked to discuss two ethical issues within medicine and my associated viewpoints.

    I feel as though these things are just formalities meant to see how well you can articulate your ideas and how engaging you are in conversation. Although cliché, just be yourself!
     
    Kalos_kagathos and WhittyMD17 like this.
  49. dr.wolf

    2+ Year Member

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    @CJK421 and @areib1134 thank you so much for your replies!! I'm scheduled to interview via Skype this coming Monday! Super excited!
     
    canucks99 likes this.
  50. siengmia

    2+ Year Member

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    I've been trying to find a facebook group and was contemplating on starting one myself! Could you link it for us? :O
    I would love to have fellow Fall 2017 pre-health students to study together (even if we're not in the same class)!
     

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