Formal post-bacc vs informal vs taking classes on your own

I orginially posted this in the wrong forum, and no one replied so I’m re-posting this. (sorry)

Hey everyone.

I know this may have already been addressed, but I can’t seem to find what I’m specifically looking for.

Quick background. 27 yo RN with a dismal GPA, 2.89(original major - Chemical engineering and German. Also started college much younger than my counterparts and much less mature). Once I got my life together, my pre-med advisor told me “You’ll never get into medical school”. So I went into nursing, have a decent nursing GPA (it’s combined with the engineering gpa because it was the same school), but medicine is my calling.

I’ve been going back and forth on the whole MD/DO vs ARNP. I was accepted into Cal State Hayward’s formal post-bacc program this fall, but there were no classes that would fit into my work schedule (I should also point out I got my acceptance letter 3 weeks before classes started, not giving me a lot of wiggle room with my schedule since many of the spots were filled). When I called the admissions office to see if I could start in the spring, I was told that the post-bacc progam was being cut after this semester, and if I wanted to be in it, I needed to enroll in a class immediately.

I felt a little overwhelmed and didn’t want to risk taking a class I was unable to commit to, so I dropped out of the program all together.

Now I’m wondering, is it absolutely necessary to take a formal post-bacc or can I get away with re-taking courses at my own pace? I need to work full time to support myself (like so many of us do).

If this topic has already been discussed, sorry! I just couldn’t find it, so links would be appreciated.

My guess on this is that the vast majority of us who’ve done this and gotten into medical school have chosen to take the classes on our own without a formal post-bacc program. Just be smart about the classes you take and be sure that you’re able to get strong letters of recommendation out of them.

This topic has been discussed quite a bit over the last few years. If you do some searching, you should be able to find a lot of opinions. In my case, I’ve done a variety of things–classes a la carte and one year of a formal post-bacc. It depends on where you want to go to school, what’s near you, what you can afford. However you end up doing it, I think you need a concrete plan and timeline for your courses, MCAT, etc. Talk to the pre-med advisors at the schools near you, because they may have some good ideas and suggestions. Good luck

You might want to check with your campus if you’re still planning on attending a CSU as a post-bacc (informal or not). It’s my understanding that with the current budget situation, all CSU campuses are no longer accepting post-bacc students of any kind. Either you’re already in and taking classes, or you wait for this whole thing to blow over, from what I’ve heard. I’d be very interested in hearing what you find out on this. I’d love to go to a different campus (I’m at a CSU myself) but from everything I’ve read/heard I’m pretty much locked into the campus I’m at since I can’t apply elsewhere anymore.

My perspective: once you’ve made the decision to switch to medicine, get on with it. We are not getting any younger, right? The fastest (and most expensive, unfortunately) way to do that is by doing a formal postbacc w linkage. It might be too late to apply to those this year, but you can at least do a formal postbacc in a year at a well-known school like USC and not worry about getting into classes, classes getting canceled, etc.

People will say there is no need to rush, but I disagree. As long as you can get the grades, why drag it out an extra year or two years, especially when med school and residency is at least 7 more years. In my opinion 40k for a postbacc is money well spent even if it only gives you an extra year to practice medicine. Not to mention successfully completing a postbacc quickly at a well-known school will look better to adcomms than doing it over 2 or 3 years at a state school. Again, $$$ well spent.

For a number of reasons, rushing is often counterproductive. Certainly, you want to be progressing and moving forward. You can do that at a formal post-bacc or an informal D-I-Y.

Advantages of the former include linkages and structure geared towards something similar to your situation.

Advantages of the latter include cost and flexibility.

Pursuing an informal post-bacc worked very well for me, and many others. As to what’ll work best for you… ah, that’ll have to be up to you . But definitely spend some time perusing the threads here. And welcome to OPM.

If you plan on doing a formal post-bach with linkages, see how their linkage program works. In my post-bach, there are 5 linkage spots only…so basically even if everyone in the class does great and gets good MCATs…only 5 people will be chosen for linkage.