California/San Francisco/Oakland etc.

There is a strong likelihood that I will be moving to the bay area next summer. I am in the process of beginning some math up here in Portland while working and parenting etc. I have an undergrad from the Univ. of Portland in Social Work (but work in legal). My undergrad was 3.25, have not done the sciences GPA as of yet.
I have the bios, chems, basically ‘the lot’ to still take and should this move happen it will be in the Bay area. I have googled a bit but WOW there’s so much information, the California system is so very different. Here we have ONE med school and there it just seems, well, overwhelming at first.
I was wondering what sort of experience this very distinguished board has with the area/schools/living (anything). This opportunity just came up and I am clueless about the whole California/Bay area scene and any advice or thoughts would be welcome. What are some good post bacc programs or ala carte options? What is the lifestyle in that area?
Any information, related to med school or not, would be very helpful!

From a few visits and from friends who lived there, the pros are the excellent weather, thorough public transport, liberal, friendly people, amazing food. The big con is housing, of which there is a great shortage.

I am an alumni of the San Francisco State University post-bac program; there is an active community of post-bacs there and even an email list at yahoogroups (look for post-bac student organization). I’ll try to post more later–right now in a hospital across the country, and missing the Pacific, but loving med school.

There’s a lot of post bac options here. SF State is the cheapest 4yr institution. Mills College has a formal pre med post bac. Some people do it through UC Berkeley Extension. Some people do things through the community college system, which is very sound.
There are 10 or so med schools here in CA. They all have a different personality and gravitate toward a different student demographic. Also, the system here is extremely competitive so plan on doing quite a bit to shine above your average premed student.
All the above can be researched on the web and help you make a decision/plan. More can be found by calling programs or meeting with college pre-med advisors, even at the community college level.
Best of luck,
is the SFSU post-bac list.
Matt says the truth when he says housing is a problem but it’s not as much as it used to be.

WOW! Thanks for the info guys. I did not realize there would be so many options for school.
I am going to have a snoop at the yahoo group Joe - thx for the tip!

re the community colleges… I sorta was under the impression that it was not as good to take sciences in that system but instead a 4 year institution?
10 or so med schools beats the ONE here in Oregon and the ONE in Washington that services more than one state. Still shine, shine I will.

You probably know this already, but be aware of the rules for establishing residency in California. It’ll be important in terms of tuition and availability of classes… and if you want to apply to med schools in California it’ll make a huge difference whether you’re a resident or not. Many states require that you be employed in the state for some goodly portion of time (a year or more) in order to be considered a resident for educational purposes.

Thanks Mary!! (I never thought I would be trying to establish California residency )
Unfortunately/fortunately… I’ll be working full time in one of our offices in San Fran or Menlo Park if openings exist or another firm if no openings… for at least a year while taking math (I begin remedial this year up in Portland) before I dive heavy I think - depends on the income we need to float the boat. The schools here rate the same price for in or out of staters if under a certain credit limit - I will have to check if Cali does the same. Either way, small price to pay for the benefits the move provides.
Background: The situation is odd but works for us, my husband/ex (no legal stuff done yet but have been separated for 2 years) are going to buy something (plex or divided house or such) there to share/live in (he’s already living & working there) so that we can coparent and I can follow my dream of medicine. We were and are awesome friends (I cannot tell you how happy I am to have had that survive through our attempt at husband/wife ) and really just want our girl to be safe.
The primary push was that middle school’s do not offer before & after school care and that would leave our then 11 year old girl latchkey for about 5 hours a day since I need my full time job (and anyone wonders what causes kids to get into trouble) and need to take night classes. I have a mom up here but she is just not a good resource, self-admitted at that. Love her dearly and she’s great for the odd childcare moment but what I need/what my girl needs is more intensive. Anyway, my first choice for that much ‘babysitting’ is her other parent and the concept of moving is growing into a good one. A girl needs her dad SO MUCH too. She shines so much when she has access to both of us, our different styles and temperments.
This way when I am dashing from work to school I can know she’s safe with dad getting fed (he studied in London for hospitality and food mmmmm) while I study hard at home or on the bus or BART or wherever I need to be etc… It really is an amazing story when I consider it. I feel very blessed to be in this situation, to have the BEST person for our girl be the one who cares for & looks after her and supports my dreams at the same time! Its as if, the moment I committed my heart and soul and mind to my dream, gave up any fear that I could do it, well things are falling into place! So glad I imported him in from New Zealand!
Thanks again for all the advice and tips!

So, I can’t comment on the med school part of your original question (yet), but I can on the living part of your question…Moved here in April (to SF) and love it. Housing is not affordable if you want to buy, but is quite affordable if you want to rent…especially with roommates. Check out craig’s list if you haven’t already (…it’s really the only way to go, as far as I’m concerned. I found 3 awesome roommates (and furniture, and a bunch of other stuff) that way. And there are options for anyone and everyone (moms included). As for where to live…I live in cow hollow in SF, near the marina…very nice area (and quite pricey). The mission and the haight are more affordable and just as good. You definitely get more for your money in the richmond and sunset districts (longer commutes, though). If you want to live outside of the city, try Berkeley or el cerrito in the east bay (stay away from richmond and oakland if you can, although parts are nice). I work in San Mateo, another very nice area. San Mateo, Burlingame, Pacifica, and Daly City are other options that are more affordable than SF…quite suburban. You won’t be able to buy a house in the bay area (anywhere in the BA) unless you’re very, very wealthy. But renting is not a big deal here…comparable to Miami, Vegas, Boston…less than NYC. This biggest problem is parking your car. Maybe this helps.
Occupational Therapist
Wannabe Doctor

Could this be? I was surfing online yesterday… Mills, SFSU, Berkeley - none of them had the prereqs offered at night. Some had the lab starting at 5pm but all that I could find were daytime courses - IS THIS THE NORM? Did I miss a special webpage? I find this hard to believe.

Welcome to the real world. Everything here is offered during the day, which is why I’m drastically changing my job so I can work when I want to.

The only way to get something that works better with schedule (that I’ve found/tried) is a) Do the UC Berkeley Extension campus (limited course offerings) or b) community college (College of Marin is great). Don’t do Comm College for more than 1/2 your science credit, including organic, because California ADCOM’s want to see that done from a 4yr university. This I know from all 10 ten schools because I had the chance to ask them.


ps, one thing I didn’t try is CSU Hayward or SJSU. Take a look if you want to live down that far.

its amazing… and has forced me to be creative in my approach to childcare up here - amazing how that happens. I just cannot see the logic in giving up how I make money to support my daughter AND then move to a more expensive area/etc. Will be playing it year by year here I think. In my amazement over this I have since found 2 girlfriends willing to help me out which alleviates the burden from my mother being the sole childcare PLUS found a sneaky way to get her same daycare to watch her for at least 6th grade… If I use my mother’s address I can enroll her in the ONE middle school that is on site with the childcare’s main headquarters. Apparently each year 2-3 other kiddos use this tactic. Just goes to show that if you dig hard enough an answer will come. And since PSU offers the full meal at night, I am good to go there. We do what we can right?