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UPenn Post Bacc Program

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

  1. 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.
     
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  3. 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.
     
  4. 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?
     
  5. latinclubimperatus

    latinclubimperatus who wants tacos?

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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
     
  6. 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.
     
    #1755 Mitochondrion21, May 19, 2017
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  7. CJK421

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    Bump.

    Recently accepted for Fall 2017. Anyone else?!
     
    siengmia likes this.
  8. 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?
     
  9. 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!
     
  10. 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?
     
  11. 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!
     
  12. 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!
     
  13. 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!
     
  14. 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!
     
  15. 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
     
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  17. Bmed253

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    Hey j9260,

    did you get accepted to this program with your given mcat score? thanks
     
  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. 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;
     
  21. 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 :)
     
    #1769 areib1134, Jul 4, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
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  22. 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
     
  23. 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!
     
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  24. dr.wolf

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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!
     
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  25. siengmia

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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)!
     
  26. CJK421

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    Sure thing:

    Penn Pre-Health Post-Bacc 2016-2017
     
  27. hara_l

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    I read on here that 8 cus are needed for ssp certification but some ppl said they didn't need the certificate. Do most ppl go to the program and just take the classes they need and get out?
     
  28. aspiringdoc34

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    If you want the committee letter, 8 CUs is required, otherwise you're free to do whatever you choose.. there's probably a mix of people that go all the way to those that apply as they're taking classes and get in to med school
     
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  29. dr.wolf

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    Just heard back today, and I got in!!! :soexcited: Sent in my decision form!!
     
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  30. ADoc2Bee

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    Does anyone here have permission to accept my request to the Facebook group? I was admitted for Fall 2017, but decided to defer to Spring 2018.
     
  31. rainforest3321

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    Hi @ADoc2Bee , I am new to this site so I don't know how to PM...
    but I was wondering how you were able to defer your acceptance? Is there a way to do it on the online portal or do you email them?
     
  32. ADoc2Bee

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    Sorry I'm just seeing this! But yes, just email them and tell them you want to defer admission! They were super quick to respond!
     
  33. SS0822

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    Hi! Is there anyone who hasn't heard back yet? I applied on July 1st (the deadline) and my application says ready to review. A bit nervous because classes start relatively soon.
     
  34. Mitochondrion21

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    For everyone starting next week, congrats and good luck! And continued good luck to everyone currently at Penn!

    Anyone who's a new Core student can PM me for advice about how to best take advantage of the program (tl;dr version: ace 1st yr bio and physics, survive gen chem and/or orgo). But I have 2 suggestions which should be of help to everyone:

    1) You are at a dedicated postbacc program, with all the advantages and disadvantages that come with it. I know the CW on SDN is generally not favorable to official programs, DIY being preferred. The disadvantages of Penn's program ($$$$) are a sunk cost now, so be sure to take advantage of all the opportunities Penn and being in Philly offers (opportunities for research, volunteering and advanced coursework; massive health care environment).

    2A) For those who haven't applied to medical school before, on the one hand don't stress over every little thing: no single test, lab, or even class will doom you. You don't get into medical school in one single leap: it's a decathalon! That being said...

    2B) ...On the other hand, don't be complacent during the first year. In retrospect, my first year at Penn was a very amorphous time: I was taking classes and doing activities, but medical school seemed a long way off. After the first year, however, things start coming together very quickly: you have to plan for MCAT prep, complete all classwork and EC activities; select the schools you want to apply to, get letters of recommendation. That June 1st application start date can arrive faster than you know: the deadline for requesting a committee letter is the beginning of March, so no later than the beginning of January you need to get your LoRs in order. So starting next Monday, be working to make progress on all fronts, and be sure to review and assess where you are after each week/month/semester.

    Looking forward to hearing how everyone does. You'll all be great! :)
     
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  35. CJK421

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    Thank you! What did you get involved in during your time as a PB here? There is honestly so much that it seems a bit overwhelming at this point.
     
  36. NordicTrekker

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    Just heard back that I got an interview!
    Could those who interviewed share some details around what kind of questions they were asked? How did you prepare, etc.

    I applied for Summer 2018.
     
  37. Bachenthusiast

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    I had a phone interview with them and it lasted a solid 30 minutes. I was the first person interviewed he said, so the interview was paced a little awkwardly, but it must've gone well as I was just accepted to their core program.

    Mostly, I was asked why UPENN, especially since I am OOS for them. I was also asked questions regarding my motivations for pursuing medicine, why I wanted to change careers, and what I felt were the most important attributes of physicians. It was a fairly easy interview, they didn't have any "trick" questions, or anything really difficult. If you reflect beforehand about why you want to be a part of their program, I think you should be good.
     
  38. NordicTrekker

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    Thank you! How long did it take to get a decision after you interviewed?
    Just to double check, OOS means out of state? I'm an international student :)
     
  39. Bachenthusiast

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    Yes, OOS is out of state. It took around 5 weeks to hear back after the interview. Good luck!
     
  40. caligirl2013

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    Hi! So i was just recently offered an interview and I didn't know if anyone had any tips or sample questions that they had been asked. Also, does anyone know what the chances of getting in after being interviewed are? I have heard they are fairly high and it seems that way from reading a little bit of the group. Thanks :)
     
  41. TheSecondZ

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    Just wanted to pass out a fair warning to prospective students (as I wish I had this perspective prior to applying to this program).

    Biology classes are more reasonable/fair in the LPS Post-bacc program (and are taught by actual Penn professors), but Chemistry professors will actively make a point to drive down grades. They pride themselves on keeping the average exam scores in the 50-60% range and then have full autonomy to manipulate a curve to fit a bell curve. However, they cap the number of A's given out to no more than 8-9% of the class, such that the average grade comes out to roughly a 2.3-2.5 GPA. One former professor (I should mention that post bacc professors are mostly non-Penn professors and often aren't even full time or established professors at smaller schools) was effectively fired in the middle of the Fall 2017 semester, however at that point, she started to enact her revenge on students. It was extremely unprofessional and spoke volumes to her character; for example, when asked for more transparency, she even made a point to threaten the entire class by email that she was instituting 0 curve whatsoever - which ultimately would've failed 40 or so students, as the average grade was a high 50%. The Canvas site - with files and grade calculations and distributions - was wiped and hidden almost immediately following the completion of the course. That's not to say that the professor was specifically hiding the evidence, but it sure was convenient and fishy.

    Furthermore, topics that were heavily emphasized across multiple lectures were never once tested on midterms or the final. On the other hand, 50% of the final exam was based on topics that were discussed for fewer than 30 minutes in aggregate over the semester or entirely unmentioned until a review session a few days prior to the final exam. In addition, there were no practice exams or practice materials provided in the latter half of the semester, and previous exams were not returned until the next exam was already taken. Even if you end up being one of the 7 students in a class of 80 to get a 4.0 GPA, it's unlikely that you would have obtained much knowledge to carry over to future classes and the MCAT; to get an A, you will have obtained roughly a 70% raw score and received feedback more on your ability to guess answers on new concepts rather than feedback on how clearly you were able to demonstrate mastery of the topics covered.

    Luckily for future students, she is no longer a part of this program, but other chemistry professors seem to share similar attitudes. However, it magnifies a system issue across the program and lack of concern for students. The program administration was completely lackadaisical about the issue, and when pressed hard by multiple students, finally instituted a "grand, sweeping" fix, which resulted in a grade boost of approximately 1% which either bumped people up by a third of a grade or nothing at all.

    Overall, the program is of little to no concern for the actual administrators at the University of Pennsylvania. Sure, you have the Ivy league name, but this program is essentially unaffiliated with the University and overall is an insult to the Ivy League brand. It's really not worth the time and money - just go somewhere else.
     
  42. tahoe123

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    I interviewed last week! Have you heard back?
     
  43. ChocoPancakes

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    Hi! Do you mind sharing the turn around time to hear back for an interview! It's been about three weeks for me, and I'm nervous!
     
  44. CeramicLight

    CeramicLight Recently finished undergrad in 2016

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    May I possibly interject to whomever has had the fortune to come upon this comment.
    GO TO MEREDITH COLLEGE'S POST-BAC PROGRAM.
     
  45. tahoe123

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    I haven't heard either so we're in the same boat. Think positively!
     
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  46. ChocoPancakes

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    Heard back a couple days ago, best of luck; hope you got one too!
     
    tahoe123 likes this.
  47. tahoe123

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    Feb 19, 2018
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    I got my acceptance a few days ago!
     
  48. Taylor Swift

    Taylor Swift SDN Gold Donor
    Gold Donor Classifieds Approved

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    I'll be submitting an application to the specialized studies program in early April if I don't get into med school this cycle. Does anyone know how many people actually get into Perelman through the linkage program?
     
  49. kazill

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    In specialized studies none, that linkage is only for the core studies program and it's (at most) one person yearly if I recall. Only medical schools you can link into are PCOM and Rutgers.
     
  50. 10thousandhours

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    Ahh my interview is coming up soon! Any tips?
     
  51. bthom94

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    Hello everyone!

    I recently applied for Upenn's Core Studies prgram for the summer semester. My application wasn't ready for review until april 6th because my offical SAT scores were missing. I was just wondering how long it typically takes to hear back for an interview? I am applying for a fresh start and to enhance a GPA of a 2.5. I have gained a ton of working experience in the dental field since graduating and I have a recommendation letter from an alum of UPenn's dental school. I'm hoping this increases my chances of being accepted.
     
  52. bthom94

    Joined:
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    Hello everyone!

    I recently applied for Upenn's Core Studies prgram for the summer semester. My application wasn't ready for review until april 6th because my offical SAT scores were missing. I was just wondering how long it typically takes to hear back for an interview? I am applying for a fresh start and to enhance a GPA of a 2.5. I have gained a ton of working experience in the dental field since graduating and I have a recommendation letter from an alum of UPenn's dental school. I'm hoping this increases my chances of being accepted.

    #1799
     

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