Formal or DIY post bacc??

Hi everyone!

I recently heard about OPM and am looking for some advice. I’m working out some options for my future and would like some advice/outside input.

About me: I’m in my final year of a B.S. in music, 3.3 GPA, zero prereq courses taken. I made the final decision to pursue medicine early this year, but decided it would be best to finish out my degree.

I’m considering either doing a formal post bacc or taking the courses on my own next year. The expense of a formal post bacc is most daunting to me, plus I don’t have the required 3.5 GPA or any experience/shadowing that would make up for it (yet.) Has anyone started out DIY and then enrolled in a formal program later on? Was it worth it? The MedPrep program at UMich is the only one I’m considering. Has anyone here gone through their program? They mention linkage with their med school but there’s no information on their site about it.

I’m already $70k in the hole with undergrad and that’s what freaks me out the most concerning future education.

Thanks in advance!

I was/am in a somewhat similar position as you, scared of debt, interested in switching to a career in medicine but not having any clinical experience to put on my application to a formal post-bac program. I decided to just start taking prereqs as a DIY thing, and start volunteering at the hospital and seeking shadowing opportunities at the same time. I liked this approach because it allowed me to get started right away. This was also the right path for me because I wasn’t 100% sure about becoming a doctor, and I wanted the flexibility to decide on PA or other options along the way, too.

Most formal post-bac programs specify that you can only enroll in their program if you’ve taken none (or very few) of the med school prerequisites. So that makes it tricky to start your post-bac as a DIY thing and then apply to a formal post-bac part way through. So you may be stuck with DIY once you start that way.

It’s a lot more work to plan your own DIY post-bac – it’s not all laid out for you like in a formal post-bac – but yeah it’s a lot more flexible this way, and I think you can build your own unique story about it, which may even be an asset for your med school personal statement and interviews. There are lots of resources online (including this forum and the Old Pre-Meds podcast, and the Premed Years podcast) and books about how to get into medical school (Med School Confidential was a good book for me), so I think there are many resources to help you do it DIY.

Also, if you feel confident in your end goal of becoming a doctor, I would try not to worry TOO much about the debt, and I would refer you to the book “The White Coat Investor” about that. I personally found it reassuring with regard to the issue of paying back student loans as a doctor. After reading that book, I have a sense that most doctors should be able to pay off their student loans within ~5 years of finishing residency if you’re being smart about it. Because really you should be able to live on less than $50k per year (“Live like a resident,” the book says), so you can put a HUGE portion of your attending salary toward loans for the first few years, and take care of those loans quickly.

Good luck!!!