First I want to thank all involved for setting up and contributing to this site - in just a few days of picking through it I have learned so much! I’m amazed that, for a group with such little free time, people still make an effort to support each other and answer questions (even, maybe, the hundreds of stupid questions I will have over the next few weeks, months. . .)
I started college back in 1997 planning on a premed track. H.S. AP credit passed me through a lot of my intro science courses, so I spent my freshman year settling in, partying, and taking a fluffy class schedule. My first summer I took an internship on wall st., which totally brain washed me into thinking that was the best thing for success in life. Over the next three summers, my ‘advisors’ made suggestions on my class schedule, advice for getting the ‘best’ type of job, etc. Looking back, I’m a bit embarrassed I was knocked off of the path so easily. But I was a late teen/twentysomething who was easily influenced, I guess.
I graduated in '01 with a BA in Economics, and worked in finance for the last 8 years. It was never very fulfilling. But the money was excellent, I have great friends and family in NY, and its taken me a long time to build up the courage to get back to what interests me.
I am applying to a few post-bacc premed programs to begin in the fall, and am excited for the first time in years. I plan to go back full time, and most likely relocate to a less expensive area to stretch my savings (which still won’t come close to covering everything anyway. . .).
There is one concern I have on my apps so far. . .a few programs seem to suggest a letter of recommendation from an academic source. This is a bit difficult for me, having not taken any classes in 8 years. . .and not having taken science classes in more like 11-12 years. Anyone find themselves in a similar spot? I am inclined to simply use a letter from my old boss - it may not be especially relevant, but it is someone who knows me, can comment on intellect and work ethic, and would write a good letter. Any thoughts/advice on this are welcome and much appreciated!
I would contact the specific programs you are applying to, explain your situation and see what they say.
Also, keep in mind that a formal post-bacc program is not at all necessary. There are many different ways to get from point A to point B.
Welcome to the site. Just like the more experienced EMERGENCY expressed, it be better suited for you to contact the institutes and talk directly to them…
Thanks, makes sense and I will do that.
Emergency, I’m curious, do you see any downside to a formal post-bacc program, for someone like me who plans to attend full time, and needs to take essentially all of their pre-reqs? Admittedly I haven’t thought much about other options - maybe I’m a bit too focused in my search.
welcome to the site.
I don’t know much about post-bac programs, but will share what I know. They tend to be more expensive than taking science classes in the undergrad institution b/c most of them are offered by medical schools, or grad programs affiliated with medical schools. They tend to be more rigorous than taking your prereqs in a 4-year college - which might not necessary be a bad thing. You’ll have a chance to get some flavor of med school before you’re actually there…
When I was getting my second degree in biology, I met few students in some of my classes who were doing their prerequisites. They were not enrolled as degree-seeking students - just taking classes. It’s definitelly a cheaper option. The big disadvantage to this path however, is that many schools give degree-seeking students priority in registering for classes… and many of these classes (especially those with attractive schedules) fill fast. Since you’re going to go to school full time, it might not be an issue for you. Another option would be to enrol as a degree skeeking student - get priority in registering for classes and…just never finishing the degree (you’d probably apply to med school as soon as you have all your prereqs done). I don’t think it shows someone on your transcript that you’re a degree seeking student or not… but I’m not sure on that…
Hope it helps,
Thanks - that is very helpful.
One of the perks I see of a formal program (though obviously I am only speculating) is that I would be enrolled with students in the same situation. I also thought the cost would be about the same assuming I was a full time student in either case - but I’ll look into that further.
Psychologically there is something I like about a more structured program. I guess it may not be correct, but I feel like it will keep me more focused on my goals.
Thanks for the reply!
Welcome to OPM! I’m glad you’ve looked through the posts and started to take in some of the info posted around here. It’s been very helpful to a lot of us already, myself included. I don’t know that I’d be where I am now without the info & support of OPM.
From reading your posts, a few things come to mind, questions to understand your progress and perspective a bit.
You started on a pre-med track and ended up in Econ. Did you complete all of the pre-med pre-reqs, or are there some you didn’t take? You may have found that many schools have a requirement for recency of many of their requirements. In my experience, some are more flexible (e.g. math, concievably physics) but some are more set in stone (e.g. Biology of some sort). It also varies on a school by school basis, so be sure to check with schools that interest you.
I’ve found that schools seem happy to answer the questions of potential applicants - time constraints considered, of course. I’m not certain, but the next few months may be a good time to try to contact schools’ admissions offices with your questions.
I think you have the right idea in wanting to take more science classes, either pre-reqs or higher level coursework. It may pay to focus on higher-level stuff (e.g. advanced bio courses) rather than courses you’ve already completed.
A formal post-bacc may be the best route for you, and it sounds like one you’re intuitively more comfortable with. However, it’s certainly not necessary. IMHO, informal post-baccs do offer significant advantages. I’d say time and money are the two biggest ones. Money-wise, formal programs tend to be on the expensive end. If you’re comparing this to a local private institution (e.g. Columbia), the difference may not be great. However, I have to imagine that a SUNY school might be much less expensive.
Flexibility w/ your time might also be something that leans towards the informal route. From what I understand, the schedules of the formal programs tend to be very dense and structured. This may be what suits you best, of course. For me, though, I was able to do an informal program and choose what classes I needed, or wanted, or worked best with my schedule.
You also have more options if you open yourself to informal programs.
I can’t say for certain, but I somewhat suspect that formal programs may be more populated with “gunners.” That’s entirely speculation, though.
Of course, YMMV. For me (and Emergency), informal programs worked out very well. In my case, I had full access to all the school’s courses, our pre-med advisers (and committee letters and the like), etc.
As you’re finding out, there’s also the somewhat challenging application process to get into formal programs themselves. You mentioned academic LoRs, for instance. A regular school application may be more approachable. Definitely call and ask, as has been suggested.
Speaking of letters, I’d expect that most of yours might come from your upcoming courses. If you have a professor who still remembers you well enough to recommend you (from your initial undergrad), that may very well be an option, of course. You may also want to consider an “additional” letter from your recent financial work, for instance, if that might reflect well on your personality, work ethic, and suitability for a professional program.
May I ask why you now decided to go from finance to medicine? Is medicine something that truly “calls” to you, or is it more related to the current financial situation and the struggles of the financial field?
Again, welcome to OPM. Keep us posted
To expand a bit on my particular situation - I only had calculus, bio 1 and 2 done in college. The bio credits were awarded as gradeless transfer credits (from HS work), so I will certainly need to take those anwyay. Unfortunately I never built on it with more upper level science work in college.
The specific program that has attracted me is at UVM. I definitely want to leave NY, and live with a girlfriend who is flexible on relocation, but we are both especially excited about the prospect of Burlington so that would be a nice bonus.
I definitely hear all the suggestions on informal programs though, and will continue to expand my search.
Also, re: letters, these would be letters for the post-bacc program. For med school letters I agree, best would be my post-bacc teachers.
As for hearing a calling, vs. escaping the finance world, that is certainly a fair question. Without getting too ‘made for tv movie’ about it, this bug has had me since I was 9 or 10, when my parents used to wake up to find me reading the family medical book on the couch. It continued like that through H.S., but I think my greedy side got the best of me in college and I started equating success with money. That said, I am still searching myself to make sure I am not tricking myself into hearing a ‘calling’, when really I just see my finance career tumbling and need a way out.
Appreciate the insight. I should have named this string more appropriately, since I am sure a lot of newer people like me are looking into formal vs. informal post-bacc programs.
Btw. . .what do you mean by ‘gunners’? I’m worried I might accidently become one. . . .
… not an easy way to answer the question.
I don’t think you can become a gunner… or at least not at this point in your career (unless you are already one!)…
If you google ‘gunner, med school’ or something like this, you’ll find more than enough to read !