A NY-specific post-bac question

Hello fellow OPMers (and alumni),

I’ve been lurking on the forums for a few months trying to soak up the wisdom before I embark on my post-bac and (hopefully) med school path. I would appreciate any insight on an issue I am trying to sort through.

I am a career changer and will be going through the post-bac process while living outside NYC. I am not willing, or able really, to foot the bill for a post-bac at a private college like the one offered at Columbia. Thus, I have been looking at the formal post-bac offered by Hunter and an informal program (which still offers a committee letter) at SUNY-Purchase. I am going the post-bac route because, while I did complete the pre-med core classes back in college (a top-25 liberal arts college), that was a good 13-16 years ago, and I need to engage in some GPA rehab (my overall math/science GPA was a 3.0).

The issue I am wrestling with is, all other medical school application criteria being equal (getting A’s, obtaining a great MCAT score, volunteering, shadowing, etc.), will I be in a better position having attended Hunter rather than SUNY-Purchase?

I suppose this is ultimately just another variation of the “community college vs. four-year university” threads, but I am curious whether folks think I would be negatively affecting my chances of getting into medical school (MD or DO) by attending a school not really known for its science curriculum, such as Purchase, or one that does have a good reputation, at least within NY, such as Hunter.

(There are additional considerations as to which program would be better, of course, such as the serious over-enrollment at the CUNYs, which is why I am really not even considering City College at this point.)

I have to believe it makes some difference, but the advice I have been getting so far is that this is probably only the case at the margins.

For additional context, I am hoping to stay in NY for medical school and would give my left arm to get into SUNY Upstate or SUNY Buffalo.

Thanks in advance for any insight.

Well, reading this a day later, my question is really a bit too specific for a broad forum like this. In addition, I managed to get in touch with an adcom in NY who indicated the two programs would not be viewed differently, at least by their school.

If anyone has additional thoughts, they would still be appreciated. If not, I’ll let this serve as my slightly awkward introduction to the OPM group. This site was incredibly helpful as I began to look into what would be involved in changing careers and becoming doctor, and I will do my best to contribute as I go through the post-bac process and (hopefully) med school.

Well, I hate to see someone post without a response, so I’ll chime in here despite my lack of experience with formal post-bacc programs.

I did GPA repair at my local state university, which has worked out well for me. However, it is known for its science program, so that may have helped somewhat.

All things being equal, I’d put in a vote for Hunter since you’re focusing on NY schools that will appreciate its reputation. Outside of NY, I don’t think it would matter as much.

Good luck

Thanks Mtnbiker. For what it’s worth, the adcom I got feedback from was at a NY state medical school. Based on their feedback, I’m feeling pretty comfortable with either school.

  • pincognito Said:
Thanks Mtnbiker. For what it's worth, the adcom I got feedback from was at a NY state medical school. Based on their feedback, I'm feeling pretty comfortable with either school.

Glad to hear it, good luck!

In my opinion, the relative science reputation of the two schools is not as relevant to your admission goals as is the organization and quality of their premed advising services. However, I know a bit about the specifics of the region you’re talking about, and my recommendation is Hunter hands down! Unless you live really close to Purchase, NY and would have an easier time attending classes there.

I’m doing my prereqs at CCNY and I absolutely love it (and I did my undergrad at an Ivy League school, not that it matters, but to give teeth to my assertion that the best classes at CCNY are as good as any I’ve had).

I hear that at Hunter it’s much, much harder to get the classes you want. After the first semester (when you register after everyone else), I haven’t had any trouble up here. More of a (gorgeous) campus feeling, too.

Do note that I am officially doing a 2nd degree, so I register with the seniors. Nonmatriculated students register last. I believe the app. deadline for January is NOW (Oct. 1st), so order your transcripts NOW.

If you were physically in Purchase, that would be another matter.


Why did you go with CCNY vs Hunter, NYU or Columbia? What were the specific determinants? Cost, location, reputation…etc?

During a previous misadventure I took a stats class there purely for cost and location. I was really, really impressed. So when it came time to do prereqs it did not compare to the FORTUNE NYU and Columbia charge. So far I’m on my 5th class. 3 have been FANTASTIC, one very good, one not impressive but still adequate, as in, it taught the material. $1475 for 2 classes. $2300 FT.

CCNY vs. Hunter–ambiance, location, good chance of actually getting into the sections you want. It is still very crowded and you must be very assertive and prompt with every detail. But no horrors like I hear on the Hunter postbac group (PHPB on yahoo groups).


City College is SO beautiful, I agree. I have three years of memories of slipping down that leafy hill that leads to the B and C trains. I’m lucky I didn’t break my neck!

Hi Sam,

I am considering CCNY for my post-bacc. To enter CCNY’s Program in Premedical Studies, you must first apply as a second-degree/transfer student, which I did. I think. I found the process a little confusing. I applied to CUNY, put Hunter first and CCNY second, and then submitted my Hunter Pre-health application. I am going to send my CCNY PPS application this week.

I’m confused (as mentioned) about what happens next. Do I get into “CUNY” and placed into Hunter or CCNY only? That is, if I get into Hunter but want to go to CCNY, can I do that? And if I do go to CCNY, would I then be a second-degree student and able to register, as you have, with the seniors (i.e., would I have preference in registering for courses)?

I know you are not a CUNY admissions counselor, so I apologize for all of these questions–I would appreciate any insight you have.



On the CUNY application, I put CCNY first and Hunter second. I got an acceptance letter from CCNY in the mail. HOWEVER, I did not get any corresp. from Hunter. It could be that I did something wrong and it didn’t go through (likely). Or perhaps if one gets into the first choice, one doesn’t hear from the others (doubtful). I would call both the central app. processing center and CCNY admissions PRONTO. Take down the names and extensions of everyone you talk to.

The PPS program is less of a worry. As long as you get into CCNY 2nd degree, you can register for classes with no problem. The only difference de facto is that PPS students are advised in a different office. If you’re not in PPS yet, they advise you in the science office all the same. Do note–perhaps you are new to very large schools–that you must meet every registration deadline to the letter. If your date is (say) Nov. 20th, be there when the office opens on that day. I would even advise taking time off work for this first semester, just to make sure you get what you need. Later you can register online.

Do not neglect to take the math placement exam. This is different from the CUNY proficiency exam. Some of the materials they mail to you seem to indicate that you can avoid it if you have taken x, y, or z, but no!

So far I can enthusiatically recommend:

Birke for Chem. 104

Mboup and Shpilrain for math (I’ve taken 173 and 201, but they teach various classes)

I can NOT recommend:

Sangari for Chem. 103

Ambivalent about:

Taposh Gayen (there’s another Gayen) for Physics 203 (very nice, not much of a teacher)

Good luck!


Sam, you’re awesome. Thank you. I applied to CUNY in mid-September but haven’t heard yet–I will call them tomorrow.

Are you doing a BS in Biology there?


I would like to finish a 2nd degree (perhaps chem), but I am not sure that schedule/cost will allow. I’m (THANK GOD) working most of the day and so my schedule is mostly evening.

What I’d like to know now is whether they will let me split up organic lecture and lab. Can’t do evenings-only in one semester. TBD.

You’ll have a great time once the first bureaucratic hassle is over. It’s a large system but it actually runs (few wasted trips, etc.).


Splitting up lab and lecture is pretty normal. I didn’t get into an Orgo 1 lab this semester so I’m just taking it along with Orgo 2 next semester.

I attended Hunter post-bacc for 2 semesters and could not stand it at all. Registration was a nightmare. Chem professors were the worst. Classes were so crowded that students literally had no seats at times. I left and transferred to Hofstra, and I’m much much happier. Classes are smaller, administration way more organized, better resources and their pre-health office is really helpful. If you’re a fighter and think you can deal w/ the stress, go to Hunter. If you don’t want to deal, definitely go some place else.

To minan–you’re right, splitting up organic lecture and lab was no problem. But any CCNYers please note that for Prof. Balogh-Nair’s organic I (chem 261) lecture, you must take a workshop with it. The other orgo profs. do not have such a requirement AFAIK.

To aga212, I’m sorry it was such a nightmare for you! I didn’t try Hunter myself, but anecdotally it does seem that City College is less crowded and frenetic.

Hi everyone,

I’m in a dilemma and currently at the mercy of the CUNY bureaucracy–I wrote some of this up above but for ease of reading, I’m repeating here.

  1. I applied in September to Hunter and CCNY, placing Hunter as 1st choice.

  2. CUNY misplaced my college transcript, so my application was not reviewed until mid November.

  3. I was accepted by the CCNY pre-med program, which reviews your application without regard to your acceptance by CUNY. I had not yet been accepted to CUNY.

  4. I am accepted by Hunter, my first choice. Because of this, CCNY will not review my application to CCNY itself (vs. the pre-med program).

  5. Hunter Admissions fails to notify Hunter Post-bacc (and me) that I am admitted.

  6. I get the Admissions office to speak to Lolita WH at Hunter post-bacc. But now Hunter post-bacc is not answering my calls about my app for the Spring 2010 semester.

  7. I am in agony over the indecision, because I also have to move house.

  8. Today I am almost 99% decided that I will turn down Hunter and go to CCNY (not having heard from the Hunter post-bacc).

    My question: In other threads, I read that there is no formal post-bacc program at CCNY; that there is no pre-med advising; no adcom letters.

    Is all this still true?

    Thanks for any help you can provide.


Hunter Postbacc decisions don’t usually come til really late. You may have heard by now – have you?

Being in the postbacc program’s not the end all be all, in my opinion, bc you could always reapply to postbacc program while you’re taking classes. What’s important is getting admitted to your desired school as a matriculated student, so you can get priority registration and the reduced tuition rate. I would just go with Hunter, and start taking classes there. You need to have 18 credits at Hunter, in order to have a committee letter. I believe (although it needs to be confirmed) that if you have taken Hunter premed classes as a nondegree, etc. those classes count toward the 18. Since CCNY does not offer an adcom letter, I wouldn’t do it.

Thanks so much, Minan! I just heard yesterday (12/21) from Hunter that I was accepted to the post-bacc program. I’m knee-deep in the administrative woes I’ve heard about, but I am very excited that I could potentially get a seat in a class this Spring – haha.