Better to take post-bacc classes where you want to go to med school?

I’m just wondering if this has any real benefit.

My situation is this. I wanted to go to a specific university for my post-bacc work, and ultimately, it would probably be my first pick for med school. I can’t really set my sights on Vanderbilt, Stanford, Harvard, so I’m looking at my comfort zone. Plus, it’s close to family and I’m in-state for tuition purposes.

Because I had some issues with residency, I started going to a different state school, which also happens to have a med school, but the schools mission is not really in line with my plans. Fine school and all, and I will certainly apply there, but it’s not my first pick.

Given that it will cost me a good bit more to attend my first pick school for post-bacc, primarily because of the living costs, I wonder if there is a real benefit to doing so. Should I just stick it out locally, save some money? Is there a real benefit to the admissions people if they see you’ve been attending classes at the same school?

I know for example, if you look up where the students at Vanderbilt’s med school come from, you’ll see that the largest percentage seem to all come from there as undergrads.

I don’t know for sure … I’m actually taking my post-bac at a small liberal arts university, which has no med school. So I’m in a somewhat different position.

That said … I can see some advantages to taking the courses at the school where you eventually WANT to go to med school – you’ll be making connections there, for example, with profs and administrators that may help you in the long run.

However, you can also do some of that on the side if you’re going to a different school (as I am). Contact the admissions office, get in touch with the admin person who you would be dealing with eventually, help them get to know you (by name). If you have a specific program/research/clinical interest, e-mail a professor and ask if you can meet with him or her to talk about XXXX (i.e., his or her latest paper, or a new clinical procedure that was developed there).

I am doing the latter. As I said, I am doing my post-bac at a small lib arts university, which has no med school. But I am working in a research lab at a major university in Chicago which DOES have a med school. I have made FANTASTIC connections with multiple professors (both basic science and clinical), and have also made a name for myself in the admissions office (a good name, of course ). I plan to update all of these people on my progress as I move forward through my post-bac and as I draw nearer to applying to med school. Because I want them to remember me, and to remember that yes, I was a good lab worker, I was intelligent, curious, dilligent, punctual, friendly, all of those things.

So you can get those connections w/o doing your pre-reqs at that school.

Plus, just because you go to a school for undergrad/post-bac certainly does NOT guarantee admission there as a med student.

Hope this helps, at least a little!

I guess it depends on how much you want to go to that particular med school as to whether or not it’s worth it. I think it can definitely help your cause, as mentioned by Terra. The adcom is familiar with the quality of students coming out of their undergrad and can easily compare them. I think that in my case (with bleh undergrad grades from my original degree), doing well in my post-bacc courses at the university where I ultimately attended med school certainly helped me out.

The flip side is that it could backfire - there is a danger in being a known quality as they may decide they don’t like you enough, or that they know enough about you to say “gee, he’s okay, but maybe we can do better”. A guy that was my organic chemistry tutor was absolutely sure that he would get admitted to the medschool attached to his undergrad university - he had done lots of volunteer work in the hospital, as well as done research work for a couple of the surgeons. He ended up not getting accepted and was absolutely furious.