Failed attempt at post bacc. What to do next? Help!

Hi Everyone,

So I haven’t seen stories of people with a similar background as mine. I graduated from college in 2011 with a Biology degree (Good ECs: research, leadership, volunteer, shadowing, tutoring, TA and jobs). Most of my ECs I was part of for over 2-3 years. I graduated from college with a cGPA - 3.0 and sGPA - 2.8. (good upward trend with upper level science classes). Immediately after graduation, I started a post-bacc program ( a 1 year linkage program) where students take graduate school and medical school classes. Unfortunately, this year was just a disaster for me and I didn’t make the contract. And I don’t know what to do at this point.

Are there people out there who have had similar experiences and if there are can you please share how you overcame it? The director of the program recommended me to continue and get the masters degree but I didn’t like that option for various reasons.

Any advice out there?? I was hopefully thinking about returning to my undergraduate institution, take a serious of more upper level science classes for the coming academic year (Fall 2012-Spring 2013).

My first mcat score (which I took without good preparation) - 6V, 6P and 9B.

Second attempt (better preparation while in the post-bacc program) - and waiting for the score.

Please help!!

serveasanmd -

It’s difficult…1 year post-bacc programs are often very intense which can work against you as far as grades. You don’t say why you don’t want to follow the advice of finishing the masters program, but that seems to me to be pretty good advice. Further undergraduate courses does not seem as strong as finishing a masters degree (with good performance in the second year of it).

The poor first MCAT is unfortunate, but hopefully the second one will come back sizeably better.

I’d say not to do futher undergrad courses OR masters courses until identifying what is keeping you from being successful academically. Marshall Univ. has a special program to help people be successful learners in med school, but it is very applicable to premed as well and something like that might be a good investment. Having identified any academic/studying weaknesses and addressed them, and excelling in a last year of studies turns your story into one of confronting and overcoming academic difficulties thru persistance and seeking out/utilizing resources. And it would help prepare you to do well in med school.


Hello Kate,

Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it. Here are my 2 main reasons why I decided not to do the 2nd year masters program. And I would really appreciate if you could tell me if I am being reasonable with my decision.

  1. The cost (it is VERY expensive).

  2. The program only allows students to take fewer credits and the masters program is not fully geared towards helping people prepare for medical school. So, not all of the classes are relevant to medicine necessarily.

    Basically, the second year masters program is not geared towards helping students who were unsuccessful during the first try (1st year).

    I am even considering to possibly take some pre-req classes I got Cs on to apply to DO schools.

    Or to take more challenging upper level classes, (keep up with the EC - research, volunteer, leadership) and apply for another linkage post-bacc program.

    This year has really thought me to make decisions wisely by taking into consideration any serious risks and long term benefits that are associated with that decision. All I really want is to go to a descent medical school, get the proper training, become a pediatrician and do a lot of mission work. I am not in it for the money, for prestige - but to really offer service to the world.

    With that being said, I don’t want to do any quick “fix-its”. I want to learn from my mistakes, especially from this year by finding out hopefully why it didn’t work and make the necessary changes for the future.

    Again, I really look forward to hearing back from you and anyone who had a chance to read this and my previous post.



I read through your posting…do you have any hands-on experience with patients? Perhaps a tech at an ER will help offset some of those lower than average GPA’s. Also, there’s a DO school in Mesa, Arizona that I too may be looking at in the future that’ll send the secondary application to anyone with a GPA of 2.75 or higher. I don’t recall the name ~ sorry.

When I went through nursing school at one of the toughest in this state, I saw many graduate with >3.5 GPA’s but if it wasn’t “textbook”, then it could never be true, etc. For example, morphine may work on patient A but not on patient B…no, B is not a drug seeker, morphine just doesn’t work for them.

I personally heard the best docs and nurses are the ones who have the B’s & C’s. Keep up the fight!!

Linkage programs are NOT the quick and easy route into med school (as you have found).

I’d say retaking some of the prereqs for grade replacement AND for getting the concepts down more solidly for MCAT is a good idea, followed by DO application. Do this in the fall

Additional courses to take - psych/social sciences (for the NEW MCAT - read up on what you need specifically for that), genetics, biochem, or cell biology. (will help the most in med school and some with MCAT). Take no extra physics or chem - you don’t need it.

So spring - a social science and an additional bio course, and MCAT prep!!

Take a MCAT prep course (if your 2nd score isn’t above 24) - I DON’T recommend Kaplan. Try to take the courses at a cheaper institution and budget buying ExamKrackers and perhaps the Princeton Review. Take MCAT early (MAY) and apply early (JUNE) to DO schools. Be sure to have shadowed a DO, gotten a LOR from him/her, and read up on Andrew Taylor Still and osteopathy before interviews. That, to my mind, would maximize your chance of getting into a DO med school.

And try to pick schools that have a great retention rate and to avoid PBL as that can be a huge additional challenge.

The above advice is only my opinion - run it past some others.


Hello Kate,

My scores actually just came in today. When I took them again without adequate preparation, and I now know that I can do better if I actually covered all content material and took good amount of full-lengths.

Pretty much for this one, I just brushed up on some topics and did questions, not even full lengths. Score came today - 7V, 9B, 9P (25). I will be heading home (to my parents) this summer and I have several plans:

  1. buckle down and study for the mcat at the library full time, plus volunteer

  2. Get a job, study for the mcat and volunteer

    What suggestions do you have to do for this summer?

    I can’t thank you enough for your advice.

Ok, first off take a deep breath.

Second do not retake the MCAT until you are ready. I see that both times you mention “not adequete” prep.

Third,btake a course…find out if you are struggling with the exam/testing or with the material. Where can you make the most improvement? Make sure before you take the test you have literally made yourself do two or three full length practice tests where you follow the rules and times to a tee. if you are not scoring close to 30 on the practice than wait until you are. Personally, what I got out of my prep course more than the knowedge itself was how to take a ridiculosly long test.

Fourth, do not study full time-you will burn out. try to do split up your days with studying combined with some clinical or shadowing experience. You need to have a constant reminder of why you are doing this or the MCAT will just eat your soul- and so will boards, etc.

Now, just so you have hope…I went through the Georgetown SMP…and failed it (based off of two tests). I am now a resident. It is possible.

feel free to PM me if you want to talk.

Otherwise, I hope to meet you at the Orlando conference!


Hello Marcia,

How do you pm someone here? I’m new to all of this. Thanks for your reply, I definitely have more questions that you can hopefully help me with.


I think you just click on my name and start a private convo.

You can email here:

“And try to pick schools that have a great retention rate and to avoid PBL as that can be a huge additional challenge.”


PBL = Problem Based Learning