expensive Post-bacc v less expensive post -bacc

This is a question from those of us who live in an area that offers more than one Post-Bacc Pre-Med program. For example, in NYC you can attend Hunter College’s Post-Bacc for $170 per Credit hour or Columbia University for $800 per credit hour. Does the name of the school from which you receive your post-Bacc pre-med courses matter much in the admissions process? Thanks.

Hey fellow NYer!
I asked myself this same question, I didnt even know Hunter had a real post-bacc premed program, would u mind posting a link to it?
In any event I’m in the process of taking my pre-reqs so I can’t offer too much advice, but from what I gather the choice of school where you take your post bacc courses is not nearly as important as the grades you get in them. Not to mention Hunter is a very strong academic school with a good reputation in its own right, even though it may not be ivy league.
I considered Columbia’s program, but apparently they have a minimum requirement of courses you need to take (at least 15 credits) and I only needed organic so I was not eligible.
But the cost alone was enough of a deterrent. Its even more than $800/credit not counting all the fees and if you get into med school you don’t want to be paying off loans for post-bacc studies.
Like I said I don’t know anything about Hunter’s post bacc program but the advantage of Columbias, is obviously all the good advising and resources you will have access to, and I know they also have linkage programs as well. But I decided to go to a CUNY school (John Jay College) and go it alone.
I can tell you I have taken courses at John Jay, at Hunter, but I got my undergrad at an ivy league university, and it was much MUCH easier getting A’s at the Cuny schools. I also took into account that I knew I would get better grades @John Jay (which I have) than @ Columbia.
Hope that helps a little

The website for Hunter’s program is
I am about to start the program there in a few weeks. I have met with the pre-med advisor already who was very helpful. I am supposed to meet with him each semester. At the end of each class the faculty member fills out a recommendation form regarding your work and gives it to the pre-med advising committee which then is better able to help guide you. Overall I think the program sounds great and it is also affordable. My inclination was to go with Hunter rather than Columbia for all the reasons you listed but I was just wondering if anyone had any further suggestions.
I’ll let you know how it goes as the program progresses. Check out the website for more info. Hope that helps.

Thanks for the link
(How about this snow? Methinks Thursday will be a snow day)
I couldn’t tell from the link if this is an actual structured program like Columbia’s that you need to apply to, or if its just a matter of applying as a non-degree student to Hunter. I know some post-bacc programs give you a certificate (the worth of which I can’t attest to), but thats cool if this program lets you avail yourself of all the pre-med resources. John Jay doesnt have any pre-med anything
BTW good luck at getting into courses. I assume you’re starting in the spring semester. I applied to Hunter last spring as a non-degree student hoping to take physics over the summer. But apparently, degree students get priority registering and the science classes fill up fast. My registration appt was at 12:30PM, I logged onto my acct at 12:33 and the class was full and no one dropped it by the time class started so i was outta luck.

I just saw a threat on the other premed page that u might be interested in
link to thread
So apparently at some point post-baccs did not get priority. I don’t know if you are registered for your classes yet, but @ Hunter getting into the intro science classes is EXTREMELY difficult as they always fill up fast. This was the position I found myself in last summer, and it made me miss out on the whole summer. By then it was too late to apply to any other schools

I started my post-bacc classes in NYC at City College. I had no problem getting into gen chem 1 or calculus 1 over the summer. I applied to their post-bacc program too and got in, but I moved away and didn’t end up enrolling in it. They do have a program and pre-med classes as well, in case anyone’s looking for additional options.

Hunter’s program is somewhat structured in that there is a pre-med advisor that you speak with each semester and at the end of each semester you give your profs an evaluation that they fill out and give to the pre-med advising commitee. When you have completed all the pre-med courses the committee can write a letter recommending you based on your record and the profs’ comments about you.
As far as registering for classes, this semester they allowed the Post-Baccs to register at the same time as the “second degree” students which means after matriculated first degrees and before non-degrees, so your changes are better. I successfully registered for the classes I wanted, albeit not at the times I would have liked.
Hope that helps. Hope you are staying warm!

As for whether or not to go to a big-name, expensive post-bacc vs a smaller, less-expensive program. I think it may depend on your undergrad and your performance there. For me, where I did my post-bacc wasn’t an issue since I had done well in both it and my original undergrad at a school that’s known to be tough. I was accepted at both the programs at Towson Univ (a state school that costs < $10k for the year) and Goucher College (very well-known but over $22k for the year). If I hadn’t have been married, I probably would have sunk myself into debt and gone to Goucher. But in retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t because having a big name wasn’t that important in the end and I was more than well prepared for the MCAT and med school. At none of my interviews did the topic come up. There was much more of a focus on what I had done with my life after undergrad and before post-bacc.
However, if you are trying to make up for a less than stellar undergrad performance, maybe a big name will help.
Hope this helps,

Hi, I’m Jeeyung and I’m trying to apply for a post bacc pre med program. I just found this site today and I was wondering how I can apply for Hunter’s program? I followed your link but i couldn’t find a site that had info on the list of requirements and online apps and stuff. Please help me.

I’ve heard that only like the Top 10 med schools take a postbacc from a “prestigious” school into account. Most schools don’t care. And ultimately your grades matter more than the school.
I’m at Columbia, but the only reason I’m there is because my husband is an employee so I’m not paying for tuition. Otherwise I would have gone to City College. I did go to Columbia undergrad so I am happy to be back there and the transition was quite easy. I tend to do better in structured settings so I like this vs. taking the courses on my own. Let’s just hope I can get the grades I need to be competitive.

Ok, now money aside, is Columbia pretty open about whom they admit to the program? Or is it pretty competitive?

What I’ve heard is that they make it sound more competitive than it really is. The application itself is not difficult to complete. You don’t need recommendation letters and only have to write a short statement. They do ask for all grades and test scores, even high school ones. I’ve heard that if you had a 3.0 in your previous studies that you should be ok.


I’ve heard that only like the Top 10 med schools take a postbacc from a “prestigious” school into account. Most schools don’t care. And ultimately your grades matter more than the school.

In my experience, where you did your ugrad work and how you did academically is usually more important than where you do your p/b work. AdComms do take into account the difficulty of the ugrad institution in their evaluation, but not to a large degree. They also tend to look at the consistency (or inconsistency) between your ugrad gpa and your MCAT scores. I usually recommend that someone go to the “most rigorous p/b program that time and $$$ allow.”

Hmm… I wonder how AdComms actually assess the difficulty of different colleges and universities? Do they tend to have certain members who are familiar with schools in particular regions of the country?
I know someone who went to the University of Chicago for undergrad, got a very respectible B+ average from that school–which is well known to be a pressure cooker for undergrads–and couldn’t get into med school! She had to do a post-bacc somewhere where the grading was easier before she could get in. I know there are other factors, such as extra curriculars, being well-rounded, etc.–but in this case I don’t think she had to make any other changes except for repeating courses she’d already done well in. Yikes!
I went to a pre-med day at a med school last year, where they told us, more or less flat out, what they thought a “good” gpa was. I thought that was strange. But maybe they just said that in order to placate some of the pre-meds in the audience who seemed like they were dying to know?


Hmm… I wonder how AdComms actually assess the difficulty of different colleges and universities? Do they tend to have certain members who are familiar with schools in particular regions of the country?

Most med schools of course run the AMCAS information through a computer screen at some point in the process, either before or after sending out 2ndaries. And one of the variables is often where you did your ugrad work. Baron’s ranks all colleges and universities on a 1-4 scale, 4 is highest. So, if you went to a “4” school, your application might have a bit of a bump up (small bit, but a bit nonetheless) over someone who went to a “1” school. It’s much more complex than this because gpa’s may be looked at in the context of the Baron’s school score.
I don’t know if AdComms do this for your p/b work or not. I suspect not often, if at all.

I just applied to Columbia’s post-bacc. I waiting to hear from them.
If I don’t soon, I’ll probably send another application out to Hunter/CUNY.
Did anyone else send their applications to either of these institutions?
‘waiting for an acceptance letter.’

Speaking as a CCNY postbacc, City College of New York, I think, has a more rigorous post-bacc pre-med program than Hunter as far as the CUNY schools go. The classes are very, very tough and the acceptance rates are quite impressive. It costs almost NOTHING-- $1400 total for all tuition and fees for 8 credit hours.
Those are the pros. The cons are-- anyone with a pulse gets admitted. You have people in your classes who can drag down the pace if the professor isn’t an organized/assertive hardass (luckily three out of four have been). Scheduling of night classes is a total joke-- everything is offered at EXACTLY the same time, so if you’re trying to do the whole thing at night, it will take longer than the four semesters it SHOULD take, if you get my meaning. The science library is a shambles, I went to research a paper and couldn’t find materials on ichthyology post-1978. However, for these intro courses, libraries are not the major concern-- teaching and testing is. I give City College a solid B for what we, the postbacc premeds, need.

Just wanted to second some of the comments on CCNY…
I took Gen Chem 1 there, and also applied and got accepted to their post-bacc program. The class was fine, and it was easy to apply to their program. I got a better vibe from CCNY than from Columbia, since CCNY seemed to be less focused on $$$. I was kind of annoyed at how disorganized the school bureaucracy was though–that’s part of the reason I didn’t stay there. But if you can deal with a certain amount of chaos, I don’t think it would be a bad place to consider. The profs I met had a very tough mentality, and the classes were hard. (I also went to the first couple weeks of a calculus class, so I did meet more than one prof). Also, there is an amazing chemistry TA there named Calvin–I wonder if he’s still there?? He was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. He likened valence electron orbital filling to the way they fill rooms in a hotel, and I’ve never forgotten it!
Also, there’s a private school on Long Island that has a post-bacc program. I don’t remember the name off the top of my head though! If anyone’s interested, I’ll try to remember.

This is my first semester at Hunter as a Post-Bacc and I have to say that the classes have been great. Having done a lot of school in my time (I’m currently an attorney) I can say that Hunter courses are very good. I can not, of course, compare them to CCNY since I have never attended that school. The post bacc program (administration) seems well organized, however, I am still new and can not report on the full process but they do lay everything out for you and make it easy for you to build a file for your med school application process.

While I can not speak about CCNY in comparison to Hunter, I can tell you that I am satisfied and happy at Hunter. The professors (that I have) really are passionate about what they are doing, very knowledgeable and very approachable. They very much care about your learning and want you to ask questions. The lab instructors and TAs (grad students, of course) are also very prepared, knowledgeable and accessible for questions.

The Cons are similar. We have a student body that ranges in educational background, however, Hunter has many remedial level courses that students not ready for the science major level courses may take. This reduces the number of people that slow down the class. Also there areMANY other post-baccs in the science classes and (it will come as no surprise to you second-time-arounders) that they sit in the front of the class, are very prepared and ask great questions. I think this helps “raise the bar” in the class as a whole.

Biggest problem commonly encountered is scheduling of classes and getting into lab sections….especially for the first semester of Chemistry and Bio. Post-baccs register after the matriculated students but before non-degree students. So the pick is not the best but not the worst.

I have not had any need to utilize the science library at Hunter. The Bio dept has a great website and a great “biology center” where you can access video, cd-roms and books about bio, that you can use (or view) there. They also utilize Blackboard to post helpful info for everyone to use.

The cost, being in the CUNY system, is the same……very inexpensive. Overall I’m happy with my experience to this point.

And we forgot the biggest benefit of CUNY – you can meet Sam and/or me in person. I’m the boy who smells like a fetal pig and diammonium hydrogen phosphate cocktail from having two labs in one day.