Columbia Post-Bacc Shifting to 3-Years? Veronica?

Hi, on another thread, Veronica stated that


Columbia is too expensive and I understand that their program is shifting to a 3 year program so it is really going to jack up the price.

I know this is not a sprint, but one of the things that really turned me off from the Columbia Post-Bacc program was that it was a mandated 2 years with no summers. It doesn’t necessarily reduce your courseload in the Fall - just prevents you from taking courses in the Summer. Anyhow, I agree that the price is just too high…I’m having a difficult accepting $20k for one year, much less $40k for two. Well, is this true that they’re are shifting to a 3 year program now? Do you have any idea when? That would make the program $60k then, if not more. I do understand the wisdom in the oft-quoted mantra that this is a marathon, not a sprint, but if I wanted to spread this out, I’d just do it in my local university where I can pay less and have lot more flexibility in terms of being able to take course in the summer, etc. Anyhow, just wondering if I could get more information on the 3-year shift and the rationale behind it.

If you are interested, you might want to call them. (That sounds testy and that’s not what I mean.) When I was looking into their program they seemed receptive to that. Though they require you take ALL prereqs there so if you have any from anywhere else, they won’t accept you (that’s from them). Disclamer: They did not accept me so I may be slightly bitter but they also said they look at candidates LESS favorably if you apply twice (say after some more recent coursework).
I can ask a friend who is in the program and seems to like it. They do seem to do a lot of handholding (not what I got from her) and have linkages.

Hi Alyson, No worries! Your post did seem bitter. I’m already accepted and set to begin Bryn Mawr’s program this summer. I didn’t apply to Columbia…I don’t think I can afford 2 years (or 3 for that matter) of private tuition for post-bacc classes, plus I don’t like the fact that it is a rather large program sometimes jumbled in with the undergrads. So I’m not truly interested, just curious. I suppose that doesn’t preclude me from calling…I could just act interested, but I was hoping I could get the information from someone here since it was mentioned in a post. Also, if they haven’t formally instituted the change, they might not be receptive to giving this type of information to applicants and/or the general public.

I’m in the Columbia Post-Bacc program right now and I have yet to hear of an incentive to turn it into a three year program. I don’t see how/why they could do this. As it is, the program is already 3 years for those with absolutely no math/science background. I believe those students have to take a sequence of pre-reqs before they can take the official pre-med courses. They also do have some students who are actually finishing up degrees (so not really postbaccs but they take classes with us).

It will take the typical postbacc two years to finish the program. Year 1: Chem + Lab, Physics + Labs, Calc. Year 2: Orgo, Bio, and the labs. I know that sometimes they refer to it as a three year program but that’s including the “lag” (application) year. So maybe it was just some confusion over that. They do encourage people to continue taking courses during the lag year (to further demonstrate your motivation and interest) but it’s not mandatory. At least not yet! I do know that they do not encourage taking courses in the summer other than Calc, Physics, and those pre-pre-med courses. They feel it doesn’t look as good in your application because summer courses can be viewed by some schools as being less intense.

I will be speaking to my advisor in the coming weeks so I can ask her to verify if there are any upcoming changes to the program. I am still leaning towards no though.

I just finished my first semester last night. That Physics final was harsh but I think I did OK. I am off sequence and will be finishing Physics in the summer and starting General Chem in the fall. I am doing it ultra slow on purpose because I can’t afford to stop working yet. So far, I’m liking the program. I was very afraid at first because I had heard bad things about it (especially on SDN). I went there undergrad so I knew that a lot of what they were saying about the cutthroat environment is true. However, as an older student I’ve been able to pretty much ignore that this time around. In fact I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the comaraderie amongst the postbaccs. Also, the new advisors seem to be doing a good job so far. There is definitely more handholding than I was expecting. They actually seem to care about how you’re doing (but there is still pressure to perform at the very top).

Feel free to contact me about the program.

Thanks for your insight, Halcyon. It really didn’t make sense to me either…It struck me as odd and that’s why I was asking. Thanks for sharing your personal experience and dispelling some of the myths of the Columbia post-bacc. Keep us posted!

Not quite on topic, but, Halcyon, it’s so great to hear that you’ve finished your first semester. I’m very psyched to see you making progress.