Hope to start pre-med courses in fall/Have ?'s

Hi everybody!
Just wanted to give an update on my progress thus far. After researching several post-bac programs options, I have decided to apply to a 4 year institution @ 35 miles from my home. The college does not have a post-bac program. My goal is to take the classes needed to get me to the point of taking the MCAT - and I keep moving from there. I plan to take BIO1 and CHEM1 in the fall, BIO2 and CHEM2 in the Spring. It’s a slow start, but I feel good about starting.
This all fits in my schedule right now (work, kids). Has anyone else gone this direction (taking classes on their own - no post-bac)? Were you able to get any guidance from anyone at your instituion regarding the steps needed to continue towards medical school?
Lori Mitchell

I am doing an informal post-bacc program at a local university, and the experience so far has been very good. Though it is an informal program by classification, the instructors and administrators for the evening classes are attuned to your needs as a working professional pursuing a career change, and they offer advising and guidance designed around your unique circumstances.
You also tend to bond with other classmates who are taking the same lock-step progression of courses, so that offers an additional benefit that is not (as some brochures would suggest) a feature unique to formal programs.
Working full time and taking these classes has its own set of challenges. I am fortunate in that my employer is supportive of this pursuit, however, there is still an unspoken assertion that work comes before classes. Most of the time, this isn’t an issue, but I have had difficulties in scheduling business travel. Some professors are sympathetic and consider professional obligations tantamount to other “excused absences,” however, some are not, and you have to be prepared to make difficult choices.
Ultimately, it’s worth it. I am only a third of the way through, but I feel very good about the progress so far. And, thus far, I would not have done anything differently.
Good luck!

You might also see if the school has a “post-bacc” or adult group for support.

I started taking classes at the local branch of a state university last fall on my own. Before I started down this path, I scheduled appointments with pre-med advisors, academic advisors, financial advisors, etc. They were all very helpful. Although there is not a set pre-med advisor at the branch, the advisors there would call one at main campus if they couldn’t answer your question.
As an older student intent on pre-med, I had no problem getting into classes. Like someone else mentioned, there were students who were on the same path as myself, so I kind of had my own “cohort” group.
Don’t hesitate to ask for advice/opinions. If the person you deal with at your university can’t help you, ask them to refer you to someone who can. And, of course, there are many knowledgable members here who can add their advice from first hand experience.
Good Luck!

I really appreciate everyone’s advice and good wishes! Thanks alot. I’ll keep you posted! – Lori Mitchell

That is a good way to take the classes you need for your MCAT and med school requirements. Most of the older pre-meds I have known take classes infomally so they can take what they want at the times they want them. The only bad thing ususally is you have to register after everyone else which can sometimes make it hard to get the class you want.
Good luck.


The only bad thing ususally is you have to register after everyone else which can sometimes make it hard to get the class you want.

Actually, that’s not necessarily true. I am registered as a Continuing Education student at my university, and my registration priority is only after graduation seniors and honors students. I had no trouble getting into classes at a very large university. It probably depends on how you are registered at your university, and how they assign priority for registration. I’m sure it varies from school to school.

Registering for classes as a non degree seeking student can be very challenging. Often you do not register until after everyone else. For instance, I still do not know my schedule for fall because I cannot not register until the first day of classes at two different colleges (St.Olaf and Luther) in opposite directions from my home. This is crazy. I have my work schedule to consider as well. It may vary from institution to institution.

same here. I am doing a year of math, volunteering, the premed/get your feet wet/this is what its about class and some medical transcription. 1 university, 2 community colleges, 3 registration deadlines, no financial aid.
but it makes me one step closer to goal so its all worth it!

Here is an idea I’m not sure is sound. What if a non degree seeking person were to just claim an undecided major status. Would that help with priority for selecting classes, since that person would then be a part of the normal degree seeking populaton of the school? I mean, can someone even do that if they already have a BA/BS? Actually the more I’m thinking about this the less it seems to make sense. Any opinion?

Actually there are a lot of people who do just that: enroll as a 2nd degree seeking student and take classes because they may have increased benefits by doing so. From what I understand, adcoms aren’t concerned whether you actually finish that 2nd bachelors, as long as you have the pre-reqs completed along with your original degree. (If you are in a graduate program, however, I do believe that they want to see you finish that before starting med school.)

Yes, you can definitely do that. At most schools, that will then give you fairly high priority, because the calculate your status based on number of credit hours you’ve already completed (and they include your previous degree hours). I can’t state for a fact that this is true at all schools, but I know it is at mine.
Another advantage is financial aid. You are eligible for more financial aid (loans) as a degree seeking student (even if you already have a degree), than you are as a non-degree student. As a ND student, you are only eligible for 12 consecutive months of financial aid.
Disadvantage - it may cost more money to apply and a longer time to get accepted. At my school, I applied and was accepted in one day with a $30 application fee, and never had to supply a transcript (as a ND student). My friend, who is more or less doing the same thing I am, enrolled as a degree seeking student. She had to submit transcripts, do the indepth application and pay the $100 application fee. It also took her longer to get officially selected.
Even if you are going to go the “degree seeking” student route, you are probably not going to be able to have any advantages scheduling for fall. Most colleges have already done their prioritized registration and are now in their open registration period (which means most of your freshman level pre-reqs are probably full). However, you would be higher up in priority for registering the next semester/quarter.
Overall, pretending to be a “degree” student vs. a non-degree student probably is more advantageous.

Hi everybody!
Well - my plan to register for the Bio & Chem didn’t happen like I thought it would. BUT, the college I visited thought I was interested in obtaining a 2nd BS degree in BIO. I said NO, but wanted to be an undeclared major - to allow me to have a matriculated status and be eligible for fin aid as a part time student (>6 credits). The adm counselor went along with that just fine…
BTW - the BIO class is full! Now I’m trying to develop a PLAN B, which may involve the community college and a transfer to a 4-year afterwards. Your thoughts? – LM

Hi Lori-
New member here…just completed my first year back at the undergrad level and just last Friday resigned from my job so I could pursue school full time- yikes!
I org. applied for a post-bac program, but since my science courses were over 3 years old, I had to retake them. So I decided just to pursue the second bachelors degree anyway, and boy am I glad I did. Not only does it force me to take more than the minimum courses needed for med school, but there are so many other benefits.
Besides the relationships you can build with faculty by being in the degree programs (think letters of recommendation), I’ve also found that I have more opportunities to participate in faculty research and other programs that should not only look good on an application, but are providing valuable experience.
Short story long… I think it’s really going to depend on your university, outside clinical opportunities and your family commitments. I figure that I’m looking at at least 10 years anyways for an MD/PhD program and residency, so why not add two more years onto it and just get the second bachelors in biology. The additional knowledge gained can only help me during that first year.
But I’m guessing if your MCAT scores and GPA are high, then they won’t care. Follow what feels best for you- you’ll know it when you get there.
Good luck!