Allow myself to introduce... myself.

Hello all,

New to forum, been reading it for a little while. Thanks to all for the great information and positive attitudes!

A little quick blurb about me… I have been heavily considering a career change for the better part of a year now and am planning on applying to a post-bacc program in the early spring to begin next summer. I’m still somewhat hesitant and nervous about excelling in the program as I need to receive A’s in order to bump up my GPA (3.0 cum). I’m hoping that being a more mature individual at 31 and with defined goals I’ll be able to prove myself to med schools. My biggest concern is quitting my career only to get C’s in post-bacc (Ahh. Thinking it stresses me out!).

I’m in the process of searching for the right post-bacc route/school for me. I need to talk with more admissions folk. I’d love any advice anyone is willing to offer, or hearing from others who have made large career changes.

Thanks and I look forward to non-lurking.

I highly recommend the “dipping your toes in” approach.

Before starting my formal postbacc program I took precal and calc (At the same university for simplicity’s sake) just to see how things went. I wanted to make sure I could do the work and that I could deal with being back in the classroom again.

Since I was changing from a well-established career, this seemed to be the best way to minimize risk.

You may also consider start your clinical experiences (volunteer or otherwise) now. This is also a great way to ensure you are making the right decision. Also, if you do this activity for a sustained length of time it would also show medical schools that you know what you are getting into.

Thanks dnelsen.

I have considered taking a couple courses first like you suggest, the problem with it is that I would have to quit my current job whether I took two classes or started the whole program…

I could quit, go to community college for a semester, see how that goes, and then transfer, but that seems like a waste of time. Maybe not.

I have been volunteering at a local VA hospital for a year now and have enjoyed the experience. Hopefully I will be switching into a new volunteer role in the near future, one that better suits what type of medicine interests me.

Welcome, Captain Mark!

As you say, you are more mature now. Also, you are starting knowing you need to study for A’s. That’s a lot different than studying to pass, or do A or B.

If they provide the powerpoints for lecture ahead of time, it’s great to spend about 10 minutes previewing the lecture - see what it is going to be on, look up unfamiliar abbreviations or terms. Your understanding will drop if they are using an abbreviation and you don’t know what they mean.

I personally tried to read any relavent chapters BEFORE the lecture, or at least make a start on it. That meant again that I was understanding a lot more of the lecture.

Then if there are objectives, do the objectives.

Take advantage of any GTA or professor study sessions.

Those are the best pointers I can give.

Motivation alone may get you there!


Ah tricky then.

I would recommend continuing the volunteer work and start a course of self-study based on what classes you are taking when you begin your postbacc.

Perhaps find out the textbook(s) the class uses and grab an earlier syllabus if it is online and start prepping. Depending on the class you can figure out your areas of weaknesses and focus on them now.

There are ample online, free classes out there from MIT, Berkeley and others. These would also a decent way to bone-up on your chem/bio/physics/math whatever.

Thanks Kate and d,

I did not know about the free online courses, never really thought about it. That is definitely something I’ll be looking into. I have ample free time right now, so looks like I found something useful to do.

Welcome CaptMark!

I very much understand how stressful it can be to quit jobs, take on loans ect… and feel like you HAVE to get A’s! My advice is try not to let that consume you too much (I may have done that a wee bit at the beginning).

I did take 2 classes at a community college before starting my formal post bacc but the “real” college setting was absolutely different and a bit overwhelming for me at first.

I actually failed the first two tests I took and by the grace of god (and whole LOT of work that involved completely overhauling my study habits, tossing what wasn’t working and figuring out what did work, not to mention spending tons of time in office hours) I finished the first semester with B’s (i know its not ideal)

BUT here is the good news…this semester I brought both of those B’s up to A’s and even added a bio class to my schedule which I loved (and didn’t even have to fight for the A.)

Pretty much my point is, be aware that it might be a bigger adjustment than you think (not for everyone of course, lots of people here have a post bacc 4.0!) but even if it is, don’t stress too much and don’t give up! Those A’s are possible : )

Thanks Mallory!

Good to hear from someone else with similar stressors. And nice work on your coursework thus far!

I have almost a year to figure out what school/pre-med/post-bacc program I want to take, and I want to ensure sure I make the best decision I can. Hopefully I can use a lot of time this year to take some of the prereqs online through some of the aforementioned sites. I am glad to know those exist! The more prepared I can be, the better, and I have the time right now to get it done.


My first post here! But you should know you are not alone. I’m turning 31 this Aug and I am currently working towards finishing my first undergrad degree. I dropped an 8 year successful career on wall street and I wasn’t sure how I would handle the science and math load. I can’t tell you how you are going to do but let me tell you, dropping a career is a pretty good motivator to do well!

Returning to school with real life perspective changes everything.

Best of luck to you!


Thanks and welcome, Rob!

I have to agree, leaving a career you don’t love is a HUGE motivator.

I found a number of classes I could take for college credit that were online (gen chem, organic chem, biochem, physics) that would fit into my schedule (paramedic–24 hours on/48 hours off). It isn’t ideal, but it has been working. It helped spread out the cost of paying for tuition and improving my study habits.


Debr. Do those courses include labs? And if so how is it done?-

Also are the courses from an online school (ie U of Phx, ect.) or are they offered online from a brick and motor?

I’ve taken classes at ORegon State University through their Ecampus. Labs either work two ways:

  1. take labs concurrently or after completion with home university

  2. come during the summer for 3-12 days (depending on the number of labs you need), and complete all labs in that time.

    I did option one, but option two was tempting…it was more costly, but the time savings was good. If you can afford it, I’d say its worth it.

    OSU’s classes online were not blow-off. No curving allowed, you get what you earn. It was work, but I feel well prepared.

    Good luck.

These were all brick and mortar schools. I live in Iowa and the community colleges have a consortium that helps provide online courses ( They offer Gen Chem I & II, General Physics I & II and the Org Chem I & II is online but you do have to spend two weeks on campus to do the lab. Oregon State and North Carolina State have something similar as well.

My Gen Chem classes had labs you did at home (LabPak). Lest you think it was easier, just imagine doing your own prelab and setting up your own materials and not having a lab partner with which to bounce things off. They used microportions of chemicals and it was quite useful but it took much longer than it did in my undergrad when I took it in person.

I had already taken Org Chem labs in my undergrad and so I’m taking the online Org Chem this summer at Drake University ( I haven’t had to find a Biology class as I already had done that in my undergrad.

I also found a Genetics course at the University of Minnesota (I was pre-PA initially). Microbiology I had to take in a summer class (intense!).

I have been super-fortunate to find all the courses I needed that were fairly close to home in brick and mortar schools and I had willing proctors at my local high school to administer tests (although some had online exams). The DO admissions counselor I talked to at DMU (our local med school) said as long as my pre-reqs were less than 50% done at community colleges, that would be okay. I really tried to take advanced level chemistries and biology courses at universitites.

Hope this helps!