DIY Post-Bacc

Hi all,

I’m new to the site and just wanted to thank everyone for its existence. I’ve been trolling the forums for a few weeks now and it has already been a big help as far as offering advice and support even though it wasn’t intentionally directed at me.

Anyway, I’ll be starting my post bacc work in January (Spring 2012) at my local state university and I just had a few questions about the best way to go about completing the prerequisites. Is it better to be a full time student while working part time, or working full time while being a part time student? This is what I’m thinking right now, but I’m open to suggestions.

Spring 2012

General Chemistry I

Physics I

Biology I

Summer 2012

General Chemistry II

Fall 2012

Organic Chemistry I

Physics II

Biology II

Spring 2013

Organic Chemistry II

Biochemistry/Anatomy/Gene tics ?

Summer 2013

Another elective?


I’d like to be applying to schools during the summer and fall of 2013 if possible. Would this be too much with a part time job? Should I spread the courses out and apply to med school a year later? I also plan on volunteering and possibly doing research at some point during this time. I considered trying to be full time but I don’t really see how it’s possible since gen. chem., orgo, bio, and physics I & II can’t be taken in the same semester.

Again, thanks for all past and future support and I look forward to getting to know you all.

Hey chifan, your screen name is making me hungry! Ok, enough with the Mandarin humor. I took a similar course load to the one you have laid out, worked part-time (20-25 hrs/wk), and ended with a 4.0 GPA so it can be done.

However, my job was extremely flexible and I worked from home, so I could fit work in between the cracks of school, homework, and volunteering. I’ll be honest, though, it was quite stressful and difficult. Based on my experience, I would not have done as well in my classes if I worked full-time or if I had an inflexible job. So I don’t know what your job is like but if you stick to your schedule and work part-time, my advice is to make sure you are able to scale back work during times you feel it may be necessary in order to devote enough attention to your classes.

Applying to medical school is like voting in Chicago: it should be done early and often.

Your schedule has some tough courses together (Orgo II and Physics II) and has some hard courses that will taken in a compressed summer 5-week time frame (Chem II). MCAT prep and exam should be considered at bare minimum a really hard 3 credit course, though it is really like taking 6 credits of time.

If you are going to take MCAT in May/June 2013 and apply then, I think it is doable. Just make sure you are up to the task of all the hard courses.

I highly discourage taking 3 science classes together ESPECIALLY any of the Organic Chemistry ones. Organic is HARD; I’m a month into Ochem I (and am taking Bio II and Gen. Psych) and I am having difficulties despite getting private tutoring for 2 hours a week and a supplemental seminar course for 2 more hours a week. That is in addition to class on Tuesday and Thurs for 2 hours and lab on Tuesday for 2 hours.

I also would recommend away from taking any classes in the summer, but if you must, you should really only take one and try to make it a full summer course, not one crammed into 5 weeks. Your goal is to LEARN the information since you need it for the MCAT, not just cram it and get an “A”.

I am in a similar place as you albeit a little further along (am in Gen Bio II and OChem I) but I’ve learned a few things through some very painful mistakes. Please let them be a lesson to you.