Community College or Formal Post-Bac?

Background:
I started at a community college in 2015. I got my AA in Elementary Education and transferred to UCF. I graduated Summa Cum Laude (3.97 GPA) with my BS in Elementary Education in 2018. The only B I got in college was during my first semester when I took college algebra. I’m currently in my second year of teaching 3rd grade.

I was accepted to UF’s post-bac program. The program costs somewhere around $30,000+. They say you can’t get federal loans to cover it because it’s not considered undergrad or graduate so many people are stuck taking private loans. That intimidates me considering I already have almost $30,000 in federal loans from undergrad.

I know it’s said that taking prereqs at community college hurts your application more or less depending on the reason you chose the community college route. Would I look bad for doing prereqs at a community college over the formal UF post-bac? As much as I love the idea of doing the program at UF, I don’t know if I can swing it. Community college may be my only option. It’s not my first choice because of easier coursework. It’s just a financial decision I’m trying to make.

Thoughts? Advice?

I’m in a very similar boat, and wonder what other people think. Why is it going to cost so much? I’m assuming you haven’t taken any of the pre-reqs yet, considering you didn’t get a STEM degree? If this is the case, I highly (highly) recommend you look at khan-academy and youtube to familiarize yourself with each course before you take them. Effectively finishing the course before I had taken them has always been a serious blessing, and there is more than enough info and KA/YouTube playlists to achieve this (Leah4sci and TheOrganicChemistryTutor are great on YT - Ochemtutor does more than Ochem).

To answer your question to the best of my knowledge, taking physics 1/2, gen-chem 1/2, math, english, and bio 1/2 at a CC is really okay if you can properly defend your reason behind it in an interview. Upper div classes like Ochem 1/2 and Biochem i have heard are highly negatively skewed in the eyes of committees at CC vs. Uni.

Thank you for your response!

According to their webpage, the cost is $400 per credit hour plus $60 in fees for Florida residents. So $460 per credit and, as you said, I haven’t taken any of the prereqs because my degree is in Elementary Education.

The program includes more than just the basic prereq courses. They include things like a pre-health seminar, bioethics, innovations in healthcare, health equity here and abroad, genetics and health, etc. I think their goal is to make the students who finish their program more well-versed in the field of medicine as well as make them more competitive when compared to people who just took the bare minimum to meet requirements.

They have an alumni success page listing the universities (including Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Yale) that students have gone to after finishing their program. It’s pretty impressive. I guess it makes me think about the odds of acceptance doing their program versus the odds of acceptance doing my version at a community college.

I’m way ahead of you on the Khan Academy and YouTube advice. :slightly_smiling_face: I started working on Chemistry since I’m working from home due to schools being closed from COVID.

I know this is an older thread but I can offer my insight based on my experience for those in a similar place. I was not a science major/minor in undergrad but did take a few science courses.

I also considered going to a formal postbac program, and decided against it for financial reasons.

I ended up taking postbac courses DIY through a local 4-year that had a relatively reasonable per credit rate. I do recommend shopping around to look at tuition rates - is a DIY through UF an option?

For me, the financial cost was #1, but this of course depends on your situation and goals. From my experience, what matters most is making connections, getting outside experience through volunteering, and developing a unique skillset or focus that will set you apart.

I was more concerned about course rigor and reputation before starting than I was after completing the prereqs. On the other side of finishing the prereqs, it seemed more about the thought process of learning OChem, for example, than the actual content, if that masks sense. I haven’t aimed to get into a top tier school, because I care less about perceived prestige as the years go by, but if that is a goal, it may influence your decision. The MCAT will hopefully make up for hesitations at adcoms, if any, about course rigor.

I found other venues to learn about additional topics (HMX courses, work experience, following current events) and don’t feel deficient in an understanding of healthcare. Personally, I would rather have the prereqs and an additional credential at the graduate level in a health-related area of interest than the official postbac program with extra undergrad courses. It might depend on if you are 100% set on medicine and looking to get admission to a variety of schools and top ranked schools, or if you are thinking about targeting a few schools and having additional skillsets/degrees long-term.