How to go from a Master's in history to a post bacc program?

I am a 23f graduating next June with a MA in history. I did my undergrad in history/anthropology at the University of Florida and graduated with a 3.91 GPA. The two years that I spent completing my master’s were especially tough because of the pandemic and a struggling program that is likely to close in the next few years. As such I am likely to graduate with around a 3.6 GPA for graduate school, a substantial drop from my undergrad GPA.

Throughout the pandemic, I lost about 2/3 of my older family members to covid and it really made me reconsider what I wanted to do with my career and I’ve regained a passion and interest for medicine. I am enrolling in an EMT certification program that will be from August until December. I am also planning on volunteering at my local planned parenthood and an AIDS community outreach program.

I have looked at post-bacc programs and I seem eligible for most of the career changers and in a few cases I will only need to brush up on my calculus. My high school GPA (4.0 unweighted/5.73 weighted) and my undergrad GPA (3.91) are competitive, but I am worried that the downward trend for my graduate GPA will hold me back.

Beyond that, I am worried about timing. Some of the post-baccs I am considering are very competitive to get into and expensive to apply for. Some of the applications for the 2023 entering class open as early as August 2022 and others have deadlines in March 2023. Most would like to see some evidence of clinical experience which I likely won’t start getting until August.

Is it better to apply early with limited clinical experience or apply later in the application cycle or even for the 2024 class instead?

First of all, I’m sorry for your loss.

Although you do have a drop in your GPA, I think a 3.6 is still very competitive. Remember – you were taking graduate courses which are supposed to be more challenging. A drop in grades is understandable. I think the more important part is what you learned through this process.

In regards to when to apply to a post-bacc – why don’t you email them or better yet, give them a call regarding your situation? The worst they can say is that they don’t provide advisement to prospective students. For my program, they were lenient and did not require clinical experience. However, I’d suggest getting clinical as early as possible. Note that a “less competitive” post-bacc will not decrease your chances of getting into med school.

An alternate option is that you can do a DIY post-bacc at a local college – take the prereqs you need for the med school you want to go to.

Do I need LoRs from professors in a stem field or physicians? I thought post baccs for career changers did not require a heavy science academic background so I was going to ask professors I’ve already had experience with from my history courses since they know me the best? For example, I did this pretty major research project on the history of slavery at UF that got published and I know the professor who guided it would write me a great letter.

I think I am the type of person who needs the structure of a formal post bacc even though it is more expensive in the long run so I am committed to going down that path instead of a DIY.

As for shadowing, how much would you recommend before applying to a post bacc?

Sorry, I was distracted and misread part of your post. I’m an idiot! I revised my post above.

I think the bulk of your question was already answered, but I just wanted to offer a bit of encouragement from my experience. I was a pre-med undergrad, then switched halfway through my junior year to a different profession, went to grad school for that, led another life, and then came back because I couldn’t deny my true passion. I went with an SMP rather than a post-bacc, and I wound up going for a GPA fixer rather than a career-changer since I had most of the pre-reqs down (and my undergrad GPA isn’t pretty, though my MA is lovely). I applied pretty late in the cycle (started early, but had testing site issues for the GRE since mine had just expired and didn’t finish until March), and that stressed me out, but it really wasn’t an issue, especially since a lot of other people weren’t applying until even later than me because they were hoping other things would pan out.

One of the best things about being in this program is that it’s given me more opportunity to get involved with and get exposed to medical stuff than anything else I’ve done in life, and I was pursuing medicine to the best of my ignorant ability from middle school through most of college. A lot of my classmates just kept back at first, thinking they would shadow and volunteer second semester when things were supposed to be easier (they weren’t) and just studying for the exam and not engaging with the professors and otherwise not really putting their all in. Some of those aren’t here at all anymore. However, I can almost guarantee that if you really want it and engage to your fullest - read the emails at the beginning of the year, see what opportunities there are, get involved, ask your advisor how to get more XYZ, and always learn like you’re pursuing your career rather than going to school - all of those boxes you’re currently worried about covering are going to be overwhelmed with the wealth of your fantastic experience.

(I know you were saying you’re worried about covering them for the post-bacc, but tbh, apply to a few, and I think you’ll get in; your elevator pitch looks good. All that stuff is really what you’re building for med school). Sorry if this all was a pie of unhelpfulness… I glances at your stuff and got really excited about my experience.

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No this was legitimately so nice to read! It all looks so intimidating from the outside but so was going to college and a MA program so I am just hoping that it all works out in the end like it usually does as long as I put in the work.

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Yeah, you’ve totally got this! I’m looking forward to any updates you may post about where you go/what you do.

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@Jagiine is absolutely correct! Get involved early. They want to see a history of service. You can even start e-shadowing now. Plan who you wish to get LORs from. Form a relationship with them. EMT is a great clinical exp to have – all the EMTs I’ve met had crazy stories to tell.

Good luck!

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