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USC Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program

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kazalaw12

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I was recently invited for an interview with the admissions committee of the USC Post-bacc Premed Program. Has anyone recently interviewed with this program? If so, do you have any meaningful interviewing info/tips?

Such as: interview length, questions asked, etc.

Any info would be much appreciated!
 

banana_phone

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I interviewed in 2013, which is somewhat recently! I doubt they changed their process much since then...

It was very relaxed. It consisted of two representatives telling me about the program - one may have been the dean? Probably about a 30 minute conversation about how they run their program. They didn't really ask me any difficult questions, that I can recall. Just a "tell me about yourself" pretty much. They wanted me to ask questions of them, so definitely come prepared with those. All in all, it took about an hour, and was pretty informal. It seemed to me that once you get the interview, you're pretty much in. They offered me an acceptance at the conclusion of the interview - so congratulations for getting this far!

USC is gorgeous, and the program seemed amazing with a lot of support. I ended up going elsewhere due to the steep cost of tuition there, but the program was definitely impressive. Let me know if you have any other questions!
 
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kazalaw12

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I interviewed in 2013, which is somewhat recently! I doubt they changed their process much since then...

It was very relaxed. It consisted of two representatives telling me about the program - one may have been the dean? Probably about a 30 minute conversation about how they run their program. They didn't really ask me any difficult questions, that I can recall. Just a "tell me about yourself" pretty much. They wanted me to ask questions of them, so definitely come prepared with those. All in all, it took about an hour, and was pretty informal. It seemed to me that once you get the interview, you're pretty much in. They offered me an acceptance at the conclusion of the interview - so congratulations for getting this far!

USC is gorgeous, and the program seemed amazing with a lot of support. I ended up going elsewhere due to the steep cost of tuition there, but the program was definitely impressive. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Wow, the process does seem very relaxed!

Although the program presents as very supportive, I do agree that the cost is quite intimidating. It will definitely be something to consider!

Thank you for your reply! :D
 

frizzle87

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Hi All!


I just wanted to share some info about the USC PPP for those of you considering it. Please note that this is just reflective of my experience, which could be different for others.


First off, I will say that I had some excellent professors and some awful ones. That is probably pretty universal in terms of “weeder” courses, but might still be worth mentioning. I did like that you typically only take about 2 courses per semester, which gave me time to pursue research and extracurricular opportunities. That said, the research with which I was involved was not facilitated or organized by the program. I individually sought out my research projects, and coming in with a research background may have helped me to secure those positions. Some students are involved in research during the program, and others are not – but it’s difficult to say how many of those found opportunities on their own vs. through the PPP.


In terms of academics, some classes are curved and others aren’t – it seems to depend largely on the professor and how they choose to structure their courses. For the most part, grading seemed pretty fair, but some of the exams were also extremely difficult with an average grade of 40% on a few Ochem tests! I’m not sure if that is the same everywhere. It is also worth mentioning that there was some gossip regarding a “tutor” who many of the other post-bacs hired to help with coursework, but we were also warned that his methods are unconventional and several other students who had hired him (for thousands of dollars!) were sent to administration for instances of cheating when they listed two separate and correct answers to a test question without showing work. It may just be a rumor - but concerning nonetheless. That said, I did just fine without hiring outside help. MCAT prep is “on your own” and students select courses from different providers (i.e. Kaplan, Smartwood, Princeton Review, etc.) but the school DOES give a subsidy to cover some of the cost. Of course, this really just means that you end up getting $2,000 “back” from your (admittedly high) tuition payments, which you can redirect toward a prep course.


The PPP does hold regular meetings where students can share info about classes, research, ECs, etc. This can be helpful for some students who are looking for ideas about what to pursue outside of classes, but I didn’t find ECs mentioned to be particularly unique since many/most of the students in the program seem to gravitate towards the same activities or activities that other post-bacs have done in the past. I also often felt as if the meetings had a tendency to become stressful because students seemed to feed off of each other’s anxiety. I was able to find a few other post-bacs to have regular study sessions with, but some other students were standoffish and competitive. It is likely the same everywhere, but there seemed to be quite a bit of variability in students’ willingness to work with one another collaboratively.


During the second year, there is some guidance in terms of selecting potential medical schools and navigating the application process, but there was definitely not as much as I expected or would have liked. One PowerPoint presentation by a former student just didn’t seem to prepare me for the MASSIVE undertaking which is the application process. Looking back and knowing what I do now, I wish I had applied to a more diverse range of schools (the importance of which was not emphasized very strongly in the presentation I attended).


What is most concerning to me about the whole program is the “alumni placement” list. Maybe I interpreted the list incorrectly when I first saw it, but I assumed that each of the schools listed with corresponding numbers indicated the number of students who MATRICULATED into those institutions. I quickly realized that the list of “placements” indicates ACCEPTANCES. So, at first glance, it seems like a large volume of students have been accepted, when in reality, one student might have garnered five different acceptances and four others might not have been accepted at all. Still, that one student is “counted” five times for all five different schools to which they were accepted. This makes it extremely difficult to tell exactly how many students are really being accepted and matriculating into medical/dental/other programs after completing the USC post-bacc. Keep in mind, the list also does not indicate the number of cycles that students have to complete in order to make it onto the list. I have a friend with exceptional qualifications who was not accepted last cycle but is re-applying. If they are accepted to schools this year, they will undoubtedly be included in the “placements” list, but it will have taken TWO application cycles to get there. Based on that list, we also don’t know WHEN those placements occurred, so there is no way to tell if 90% of the acceptances happened last year, or if 90% of the acceptances happened back in the 1990s when the program was started and competition was less intense.


Also worth noting is the fact that Keck has given out 42 acceptances total to USC post-bacs (which, like I said, does not mean that all 42 students matriculated there) - but this has been over the span of about TWENTY YEARS. That means that there are about two acceptances to Keck per year from the post-bac program, but the number of placements to Keck has not changed at all over the past couple of years. From what I can see, there were NO acceptances from the USC PPP to Keck at all last year, and if I remember correctly, the year before. It is quite possible that USC used to take a lot of post-bacs every year and has now tapered off and doesn’t accept any (or only very few). I would certainly keep that in mind if you are considering this program to increase your chances of being accepted at Keck, since there does not seem to be any organized loyalty agreement to USC post-bac students. Also, it appears in the past few years that VERY few were accepted to California schools in general, likely because CA schools don’t seem to prioritize local applicants like some states do (i.e. Nevada, Texas, etc).


I hope this is helpful to those of you considering the program. Best of luck in your future endeavors!
 
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