Choosing a post-bac

Hi everyone,

I’m new to this forum but I’ve stumbled across it in my search for more info on post-bacs and would love to get the community’s input on my situation.

To give you some background, I graduated from Dartmouth with an English major and about a 3.57 GPA. I was pre-med freshman and sophomore year and got B’s in my bio pre-reqs, gen chem I and physics I, so my current science GPA is around a 3.0, maybe slightly higher. I dropped pre-med and pursued a job in PR, which I’ve been doing for about a year, and I really miss medicine and have decided it’s the right path for me after all, but now of course have to finish up my pre-reqs.

After applying to a number of programs, it became clear that since I’ve completed about half of my pre-reqs I’m not really a candidate for the more supportive post-bac programs for career changers. I’ve gotten into the post-bac program at American University and UNC-Greensboro, both of which are essentially certificate programs. I’m waitlisted for the UVA post-bac as well. I’m from Maryland, and also have the option of the UMD SIE program. I know I need to up my sci GPA, and I think American, UMD or UNCG would give me a good opportunity to do that, but I’m just not sure what the right call is here, or if one exists.

So my questions are:

-What would you recommend? Is there a clear best option here?

-Is there benefit to (paying more for) a certificate program as opposed to a total DIY like the UMD SIE program?

-Is it worth it to try to get off the waitlist at UVA?

If anyone has advice or has been through a similar experience I’d love to hear from you!


I can certainly give you some guidance. As the former director of both the Johns Hopkins and Goucher post-bac programs I know the post-bac landscape incredibly well. I have spent the last 20 years screening post-bac applicants and advising them through the med school application process. I know exactly what post-bac programs are looking for, in addition to what the various programs provide students.

I would think carefully about what you’re looking for and whether the learning environment at either AU or UNC-G suits you, and what the advantages are of those places over SIE at the U of Maryland. Will you get more intimate and personalized advising? Will the classes be smaller? What are their track records in getting students into med school? The bottom line is this: what exactly are you paying for that will bring value to the equation? There has to be something (besides just a certificate, which is basically a piece of paper) that those programs provide which give a compelling reason for you to pay more money. In some programs it’s obvious; in others not so much. Contact me privately if you want more information.

Take what I’m saying with a healthy grain of salt because it’s been a couple of years since I graduated, but I’d consider if AU has what you need. When I went there (as a non-science major), it was kind of a joke if you went to AU as a science major. They didn’t have the facilities and all of the sciences were in some 1960s, little used building. It very well may have changed since. I’m sure the tuition is quite high as well, if it’s anything like typical undergrad.

It’s not affiliated with a hospital, although Sibley is down the road for shadowing/volunteering. GW and Georgetown hospitals are pretty easy to get to with public transportation for those things too.

I saw the acceptance rate for medical, dental, vet, pharmacy, etc. is quite high, so that’s good. I did enjoy my time there (I know this post makes it sound otherwise) and my professors were all great; I didn’t get to know any science faculty - which is why I’m looking into a post-bac myself now.

Just wanted to weigh in, somewhat, on AU specifically. Obviously I defer to Liza on her expertise on the overall things to consider.

I’d think that in this financial climate that the most important consideration would be to keep your costs down as low as possible.

So with that said, I’d pursue the program at UMaryland and I know it could provide you with what you need at a reasonable cost.

OTOH, North Carolina has some of the cheapest med school tuitions in the US, and they have great med schools there too. So for that reason, I’d keep UNCG on the table.

What I’ve observed being on OPM for the last 10 years or so, is that there isn’t one route guarenteed to get you accepted to med school. It seems that everyone who reglarly posts here eventually gets admitted to med school, meaning that your sheer determination to do well in the classes leading up to your med school application and submitting a competitive application (EC’s, MCATs, LOR,s) are the main factors in who gets admitted to med school.

Put another way, there isn’t one way to get to med school you just have to do well with whatever route you take!