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Hi everyone! I'm new here but I'm deciding between these two post-bacc programs at USC and at UPenn. I've heard different things (good and bad) about advising about UPenn and the program at USC is a bit more expensive. I'm also not sure if UPenn is still only offering evening/weekend courses, etc. Both are two year programs. I'm really unsure about the pros and cons about each program. Any advice for either program would be great!
 

drizzt3117

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Both are decent programs. If you're a career changer I'd probably consider HES over either, but that's just my $0.02.
 

DrSmooth

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I have not heard anything good about the Upenn postbacc program other than the name, which is not a trivial thing. I have not heard a bad thing about the USC postbacc program except the cost. I completed the USC postbacc (they greatly discourage it, but it can be done in 1 yr if you are persistent) and loved it. I had 0 science background, unless you count HS Bio and Chem, and was able to do fine (mostly A's) in all the classes and the MCAT (34Q) with a ton of effort. The professors are excellent, except for Physics depending on who you get. They don't do a ton of hand-holding, but you do get priority registration, a strong letter from the post-bacc director who is a senior science faculty member, seminars on applying, MCAT prep etc, and professors love the postbaccs and are more than happy to write strong LORs if you take the time to get to know them. There are plenty of research opportunities as well either with basic science profs or at Keck. The postbaccs also have a strong community with parties, trips to bars, etc. They also pay for an MCAT review class, which is nice. The USC name is decent, and the postbacc program seemed to be well-regarded, or at least known, at all the schools I interviewed at. A good # of USC postbaccs have placed at UCSF & UCLA, as well as UW, Mich, Cornell, Vandy, Pitt, all over the place really (as well as Keck of course). There is no linkage with Keck whatsoever, many postbaccs don't even get interviews there. The published med school acceptance rate is 75%, but I think this includes people who drop out of the program before finishing. In recent years the actual acceptance rate has been closer to 90% I believe.

In summary, USC postbacc is expensive but worth the price if only for the name, guarantee of getting classes (with quality profs) when you need them, and ability to finish in 1 yr if you are willing to. But I also agree with the previous poster. If you are moving (I was local), look at Harvard Extension. It is a 3rd the price and the program is I think at least as well-regarded as USC. And have you looked into the linkage postbaccs, they cost the same as USC but you can be starting med school in 1 yr! Tough to get into these though and it's prob too late for this fall. Please PM me if you want to talk more about SC's postbacc program.
 

robflanker

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I have not heard anything good about the Upenn postbacc program other than the name, which is not a trivial thing
This is such a dull statement that its amusing. You need to do more reading I think. Go read the Penn thread.

The bad things are advising. Other than that, nothing is bad IMO. Linkages are good for Philly-area med schools.

Back to the OP - UPenn can be a 1-yr program, and it does offer night and weekend classes. You can take them during the day with the undergrads with special permission but it doesnt happen very often. The night/wkend are almost only post-bac and designed for the career-changers who still work or do volunteer work etc during the day

As drizzt said HES is good for career-changers because its cheaper and in Boston. It doesn't have extensive linkages but if thats not something you are intrested in then it doesn't matter.

Suppose it depends most on where you want to live and how important linkage is to you or not.
 
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DrArete

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Hi everyone! I'm new here but I'm deciding between these two post-bacc programs at USC and at UPenn. I've heard different things (good and bad) about advising about UPenn and the program at USC is a bit more expensive. I'm also not sure if UPenn is still only offering evening/weekend courses, etc. Both are two year programs. I'm really unsure about the pros and cons about each program. Any advice for either program would be great!
In my opinion, go with where you would rather be geographically between the two.

I think there are only three post bacc programs that potentially justify making a long move to an undesirable city, and even in these cases, it doesnt make sense for everyone.

Those being Johns Hopkins, Goucher, and Bryn Mawr.

All three have good linkages and are one year.

Academically, Johns Hopkins is way ahead of Goucher and BM, but you will have to take very large classes with eager and competitive JHU undergrads.
 

robflanker

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In my opinion, go with where you would rather be geographically between the two.

I think there are only three post bacc programs that potentially justify making a long move to an undesirable city, and even in these cases, it doesnt make sense for everyone.

Those being Johns Hopkins, Goucher, and Bryn Mawr.

All three have good linkages and are one year.

Academically, Johns Hopkins is way ahead of Goucher and BM, but you will have to take very large classes with eager and competitive JHU undergrads.
I disagree - the top 3 are Scripps/Goucher/BM.

After that, its a toss up
 

DrArete

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I disagree - the top 3 are Scripps/Goucher/BM.

After that, its a toss up
What are you basing that assessment on?

The academic rigor of Johns Hopkins is hands down way ahead of the other programs. At Goucher you take special post bacc classes. At Scripps and BM you take classes with the undergrads. And the undergraduate curriculums at those two, while good, are nowhere near JHU.

Perhaps you are thinking about linkages, JHU has less than BM, but they are high quality. Also, most JHU post baccs don't go for linkages because the research opportunities available to them are so good, and they apply to a variety of elite schools regular cycle.

So to say that JHU, UPenn, HES, Tufts, UConn, are all more or less the same - "toss up" - is not something that is accurate.
 

robflanker

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What are you basing that assessment on?

The academic rigor of Johns Hopkins is hands down way ahead of the other programs. At Goucher you take special post bacc classes. At Scripps and BM you take classes with the undergrads. And the undergraduate curriculums at those two, while good, are nowhere near JHU.

Perhaps you are thinking about linkages, JHU has less than BM, but they are high quality. Also, most JHU post baccs don't go for linkages because the research opportunities available to them are so good, and they apply to a variety of elite schools regular cycle.

So to say that JHU, UPenn, HES, Tufts, UConn, are all more or less the same - "toss up" - is not something that is accurate.
What are you basing your "rigor" of JHU on? Yes the Undergrad program is solid but it doesn't mean that the post-bac program is the same.
Linkages and placement into med school are important to me and Scripps/BM/Goucher are the top to me.

And in the ones you listed UConn > UPenn, JHU, HES > Tufts. (middle 3 in no order, tho HES has the cost advantage)

I've made this point to you before. Tufts is the 2nd best program in its town and is behind JHU, UPenn and HES IMO. If you did you research you'd see UConn only takes 10-12 students per year and almost all (for the last year I know about they placed 11 of 12 into UConn Med, and 1 took a year off). If you are a CT-resident, and you got into UConn post-bac, you'd be a fool not to go there.
 

DrArete

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What are you basing your "rigor" of JHU on? Yes the Undergrad program is solid but it doesn't mean that the post-bac program is the same.
Linkages and placement into med school are important to me and Scripps/BM/Goucher are the top to me.

And in the ones you listed UConn > UPenn, JHU, HES > Tufts. (middle 3 in no order, tho HES has the cost advantage)

I've made this point to you before. Tufts is the 2nd best program in its town and is behind JHU, UPenn and HES IMO. If you did you research you'd see UConn only takes 10-12 students per year and almost all (for the last year I know about they placed 11 of 12 into UConn Med, and 1 took a year off). If you are a CT-resident, and you got into UConn post-bac, you'd be a fool not to go there.
The post bacc students take the same exact classes as the undergrads, and are graded against the same exact curve as them at JHU.

UConn is not better than JHU.

HES and UPenn are not clearly better than Tufts, and they are both 2 year programs with night and weekend classes, while Tufts is 1 year. Also, HES and UPenn don't allow you to take regular undergraduate classes, and the quality of the classes is sporadic.

You can keep on making the same incorrect point, but that doesn't make it true.

And in case anyone else who reads this wonders what is going on, robflanker is upset that I wrote uncomplimentary things about UPenn post bacc, in a posting explaining why I chose Tufts, and so he feels compelled to praise UPenn and dismiss Tufts, all in an immature attempt to troll me.
 

robflanker

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UConn is better if you are a CT-resident, and seen as it doesn't take many if any out of staters and place almost all ppl in med school; then I would say it is better.

I am not trolling you - i posted in this thread before you did. I am merely going around pointing out your lack of research, insight and correcting all the "facts" you throw out.

You chose Tufts based on personal reasons primarily and many other ppl have said they feel Tufts and Penn are similar. I couldnt care less you chose Tufts over Penn if its for personal reasons but there are no clear cut academic reasons. I would have gone to UConn over UPenn in a heartbeat if I had gotten in, and I'm not blindly picking UPenn over everywhere else but it is better than some. And IMO, Tufts is one of them; but HES is better than UPenn IMO, primarly for cost.

Oh and to clear up your latest two lies;
1) Penn does allow you to take classes with undergrads
2) Penn is a 1 OR 2-year program depending on which path you chose.

So whats your next set of lies/poorly research facts? Every time you post, you make sweeping statements without any research as was apparent from your "HES is expensive" post in your original thread

OP - sorry for hijacking. Drizzt, Newmans and DrMidlife off the best advice around here and anything they say is valuable. Just becareful of ppl like DrArete who have just enough info to be dangerous with it, but not enough to actually know what they are talking about.
 

DrArete

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UConn is better if you are a CT-resident, and seen as it doesn't take many if any out of staters and place almost all ppl in med school; then I would say it is better.

I am not trolling you - i posted in this thread before you did. I am merely going around pointing out your lack of research, insight and correcting all the "facts" you throw out.

You chose Tufts based on personal reasons primarily and many other ppl have said they feel Tufts and Penn are similar. I couldnt care less you chose Tufts over Penn if its for personal reasons but there are no clear cut academic reasons. I would have gone to UConn over UPenn in a heartbeat if I had gotten in, and I'm not blindly picking UPenn over everywhere else but it is better than some. And IMO, Tufts is one of them; but HES is better than UPenn IMO, primarly for cost.

Oh and to clear up your latest two lies;
1) Penn does allow you to take classes with undergrads
2) Penn is a 1 OR 2-year program depending on which path you chose.

So whats your next set of lies/poorly research facts? Every time you post, you make sweeping statements without any research as was apparent from your "HES is expensive" post in your original thread

OP - sorry for hijacking. Drizzt, Newmans and DrMidlife off the best advice around here and anything they say is valuable. Just becareful of ppl like DrArete who have just enough info to be dangerous with it, but not enough to actually know what they are talking about.
How old are you? 12?
I could give detailed answers, pointing out that the majority of UPenn post baccs take 2 years and are not allowed to take UG courses normally, I never said HES is expensive, I said that it represented an attempt to make money off the Harvard name when its not really Harvard courses, etc.
And no, you are not sorry for threadjacking, you get pleasure from trying to feel right.
 

DrSmooth

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This is such a dull statement that its amusing. You need to do more reading I think. Go read the Penn thread.
Hey Robflanker, no need for the personal dig. I was just sharing the extent of my experience with Upenn and USC postbacc programs to try and help the OP in *his* research. I didn't claim to have more than a passing knowledge of Upenn. My experience is obviously at USC. Why would I now go back and start researching the various postbacc programs across the country? Let's try to maintain a collegial spirit here.
 

drizzt3117

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I think in recent years Hopkins program has matured a lot and is now one of the best postbac programs. I liked Scripps' program a lot but if I were applying to postbac programs again I would strongly consider going to JHU, simply because I'm interested in academic medicine and it would have been a bit more convenient to get top tier research experience during the pb and gap year. If I'd known I was going to end up leaving SoCal, the chances I would have gone there wouldve been a lot higher. Ultimately geography played the biggest role in my decision making process.

However, I think there's a lot of factors that go into decoding between postbacs, and a number of things that need to be cleared up in this thread.

1) Regarding academic rigor: I think JHU's postbac program might be "harder" than some of the others. From the perspective of the student, that's not an advantage. The Scripps program had several very nice features. First of all, class sizes were very small, especially for upper division, the student/teacher ratio was usually 15:1 or less, and the advantage of the faculty not being for the most part hardcore research faculty (although most of them did do research there, giving students, including postbacs, to do semester/year long research projects/theses) meant that their office doors were always open for students whether there were formal office hours or not. The amount of hands-on teaching available was pretty amazing and for people w/o any science background, it's great. You don't get this to the same degree at the other top postbacs because Scripps is a small program with only 15 people per class, but I don't think the quality of instruction is any less. Also the grading system there is a straight scale w/o curve, which is nice. I would say a big portion of people in most classes get As, the average GPA of ppl in the program is above 3.7-3.8. If you work hard, you'll get an A. As a student, this is ideal.

2) The metrics we use to evaluate postbac programs aren't the same. BM, Goucher, and Scripps are considered the top postbacs for a couple reasons. 1-they have historically put 100% of their classes into med school. 2- their national reputation helps their students in admissions with their committee letter etc. At Scripps, our premed advisor would tell us which letters we got are good and which we should include in the committee letter. This is ultimately represented by how well their students do in the open pool. Generally, there's a strong regional bias here, but almost all Scripps students who don't link end up going to med school in CA, which is a pretty good achievement considering how hard it is to get into med school here. I think JHU has put 95+% of their class into med school and they've had some incredibly successful students go through the program recently. I believe a girl in this year's cycle just won an Olin scolarship at Wash U giving them free tuition for four years. They also get great opportunities for postbac and gap year research, which is why I'd consider going there. I think admissions is about as selective as the top 3 as well.

3) Regarding the mid tier postbacs (USC, Penn, HES, tufts etc). I tend to recommend HES to many people over other schools if they aren't decided is partially for the name/sponsorship but mostly because it's an inexpensive program that's had a high level of success and Boston has nice research opportunities. While you're not taking courses with Harvard undergrads, you are taking courses from Harvard faculty. I think all this arguing over which program is "better" is pretty unproductive when there isn't really any data to draw conclusions from.
 
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robflanker

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DrSmooth - it wasnt intended to be a personal dig but your last post was exactly what I was referencing. If you are at USC, you are far more qualified to speak to it and I know nothing and will defer to you on all USC-related things. But other than horrificly bad advising at Penn - there arent a lot of negs. Apologies if it offended - there has just been a trend lately of unfounded Penn bashing. It deserves it for advising bu other things im less convinced.
 
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This is silly. Subjective claims over which school is "better" for postbac are just that - subjective, based on priorities of the applicant. Each program has strengths and weaknesses, so what's better for one person is different than what's better for another. Someone who has experience with a program is better qualified to speak about it versus someone who has only "researched" .. The only objective facts here are numbers. Linkages, matriculation %, cost, etc. Contrary to the rather heated argument in this thread, rob has been very helpful and forthcoming about penns program. So if someone wants thorough discussion, it's best to visit that thread. It is frustrating when someone makes claims about a program without having experience in it.

Why does this happen so often on SDN? Can't we all just get along?:(
 

DrArete

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This is silly. Subjective claims over which school is "better" for postbac are just that - subjective, based on priorities of the applicant. Each program has strengths and weaknesses, so what's better for one person is different than what's better for another. Someone who has experience with a program is better qualified to speak about it versus someone who has only "researched" .. The only objective facts here are numbers. Linkages, matriculation %, cost, etc. Contrary to the rather heated argument in this thread, rob has been very helpful and forthcoming about penns program. So if someone wants thorough discussion, it's best to visit that thread. It is frustrating when someone makes claims about a program without having experience in it.

Why does this happen so often on SDN? Can't we all just get along?:(
:thumbup:
 

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drizzt3117

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This is silly. Subjective claims over which school is "better" for postbac are just that - subjective, based on priorities of the applicant. Each program has strengths and weaknesses, so what's better for one person is different than what's better for another. Someone who has experience with a program is better qualified to speak about it versus someone who has only "researched" .. The only objective facts here are numbers. Linkages, matriculation %, cost, etc. Contrary to the rather heated argument in this thread, rob has been very helpful and forthcoming about penns program. So if someone wants thorough discussion, it's best to visit that thread. It is frustrating when someone makes claims about a program without having experience in it.

Why does this happen so often on SDN? Can't we all just get along?:(
The problem is that things ARE subjective. People get into different programs, and they want to know if a given program will make them competitive for top tiers.

There's not really a good answer here, except for "it depends" ALl you can do is choose a program that will put yourself in the best position to succeed. I've tried to outline the reasons why the "top programs" are the "top programs" but people can be successful anywhere.
 

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DrSmooth - it wasnt intended to be a personal dig but your last post was exactly what I was referencing. If you are at USC, you are far more qualified to speak to it and I know nothing and will defer to you on all USC-related things. But other than horrificly bad advising at Penn - there arent a lot of negs. Apologies if it offended - there has just been a trend lately of unfounded Penn bashing. It deserves it for advising bu other things im less convinced.
Thx Robflanker. Good luck to you! :thumbup:
 
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Thank you everyone for all the great advice. I just realized I should have been more specific about my priorities as well as about myself. I have no science experience so I'm a career-changer.

I'm not extremely interested in linkage programs because I'd like to have a choice when I'm close to finishing requirements rather than rooting myself down from the beginning.

Matriculation on the other hand is very important to me (as I'm sure is important to many post-baccs). USC was very clear about how many people went where for medical school so that was helpful but I'm not sure about acceptances (if there are more). UPenn had a list of schools their students went to but I'm not sure about how many, and acceptances as well.

Another important feature to me is program and class sizes. How many students are in the program, or accepted each year (because I value advising highly since I'm new to the medical school application process). Also I'm wondering about how big the classes are, for USC and for UPenn (both classes with undergrads and evening courses), and which would be better to take for UPenn (differences, pros and cons): the undergrad courses or evening courses.

Thanks again!
 

robflanker

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For Penn;
UPenn had a list of schools their students went to but I'm not sure about how many, and acceptances as well
Penn's latest numbers are that 95% of pre-health (the pre-req doing route) get acceptance to med school. I'm skeptical of these numbers as they dont break out MD/DO/Foreign and i'm not sure of the pool they are using that data from. That being said, all the pre-health kids I know have had great success getting into med school.

Another important feature to me is program and class sizes. How many students are in the program, or accepted each year (because I value advising highly since I'm new to the medical school application process). Also I'm wondering about how big the classes are, for USC and for UPenn (both classes with undergrads and evening courses), and which would be better to take for UPenn (differences, pros and cons): the undergrad courses or evening courses
If you value advising heavily, don't come to Penn. They are worse than useless. I, personally, find that with some reading and research on your own then you will know just as much if not more about the process than most run-of-the-mill advisors.
In terms of numbers, I don't know how many are in the program as so many people take classes on different tracks. There are kids doing 1-yr, 2-yr, 3-yr, and even 4-yr tracks depending on their employment status. Evening Pre-Health classes are about 70ish and the upper levels can be that big but are typically smaller.
In terms of classes with undergrads, there are very few of us that chose that option cos it costs 2x as much and most of us have other commits during the day. I find the expectation levels are slightly diff with the post-bac classes as the profs (for the most part) understand that its been years (10+ for some) since they did physics or chem and thus do a little more review at the begin to get everyone up and running.

Can't comment on USC - sorry.
 

DrSmooth

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Again, at SC there's not a ton of hand-holding. But there are only 8 classes to take so not sure how much advising you would need. There are regular seminars about MCAT prep, school selection, and that kind of thing though, which is helpful. Classes are big, combined w/ undergrad. 200+ in Bio and Chem lectures, 60ish in Physics. Labs are 20 or so students. But I found if you sit in the front 3 rows it feels smaller and you can even interact with most professors during lecture, as long as it is not incessant. And professors are always available and helpful during office hrs. There is very minimal help once you complete the postbacc, such as mock interviews and the like. But just like with everything, if you are proactive you should be fine wherever you go.

The highest level of advising will be at the linkage postbaccs such as Scripps & Gaucher, middle-range at the formal postbaccs (at least at USC), and bare-bones, if at all, and sometimes even destructive, at a DIY.
 

drizzt3117

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Formal postbacs like Scripps do offer linkage but the majority of people in the programs apply in the open pool like everyone else.

If you want a lot of advising I'd choose a top formal program.

Thank you everyone for all the great advice. I just realized I should have been more specific about my priorities as well as about myself. I have no science experience so I'm a career-changer.

I'm not extremely interested in linkage programs because I'd like to have a choice when I'm close to finishing requirements rather than rooting myself down from the beginning.

Matriculation on the other hand is very important to me (as I'm sure is important to many post-baccs). USC was very clear about how many people went where for medical school so that was helpful but I'm not sure about acceptances (if there are more). UPenn had a list of schools their students went to but I'm not sure about how many, and acceptances as well.

Another important feature to me is program and class sizes. How many students are in the program, or accepted each year (because I value advising highly since I'm new to the medical school application process). Also I'm wondering about how big the classes are, for USC and for UPenn (both classes with undergrads and evening courses), and which would be better to take for UPenn (differences, pros and cons): the undergrad courses or evening courses.

Thanks again!