Introduction and CA Blues.

Hello all. As you’ve probably guessed I am new here. I was lurking around SDN for a while but I find that sometimes you just end up reading more petty arguments than actual, useful information. Here is my current situation.

I’m currently living in California. I graduated in spring 09 with a BA in History (3.95 though I think my cumulative is a 3.6), deans honor list, other honors, blah blah blah. Since then I’ve been working as an EMT for and have been trying to get hired by a fire or police department, though that has not worked out at all (did I mention I live in CA?)

I’ve come to realize however that I am much more interested in the definitive aspect of medicine more so than pre-hospital. Not being able to do more for my patients is a constant frustration when I’m at work.

All that being said, I’m sure a lot of people are now in the same boat as me: no or very little science pre-reqs and nowhere to go back to school in CA.

My options as I see them are either post-bacc programs, “open-university”, community college classes, or going out of state. I’m leaning towards trying to get into the USC post-bacc program for this spring and if that doesn’t work then I’ll for other programs for next fall.

I’m currently enrolled in a CC chem 1A class and i’m not sure If I should drop it and wait to take it at a 4 year.

I guess what I’m asking for is any advice from people who were/are in the same sort of situation. What did you do? Is there anything I should avoid doing?

If you are close to orange county, you can also look into the post-bacc program at Chapman University .

I live in Chicago, IL so I can’t speak to CA issues specifically … that said, I have a BS in journalism (with a very nice GPA as well, thank goodness), so I do share that with you: practically no science background in college (although lots of good background in high school, which I’m hoping will come back to me!).

Here is my chosen route: I’m starting a formal post-bac program this fall. Why? A few reasons. First of all, priority registration. Post-bacs at my university register before ANYONE else. That means I got my choice of classes, and my choice of schedule for this fall, including Thursdays completely off (yay!) to work in a research lab and do volunteer work. Second, dedicated advisors who understand post-bac “issues,” if that makes sense. I’m sure you know what I mean, if you’ve spent time on SDN – the mentality here and the life circumstances, etc. are, in some ways, different. Third, special electives. I don’t know if other post-bac programs do this, but the one where I’m going offers some pretty cool electives JUST for post-bacs, including pathophysiology, issues in family medicine, histology, etc. Pretty neat stuff, and very small class size. Fourth, being around more people who are in a similar situation (i.e., other post-bacs). OK, I’m getting tired of cardinal numbers … here are some other reasons: committee letter of recommendation to AMCAS / AACOMAS when I apply to med school, a built-in internship at a local hospital (again, not an offering at every post-bac program, but it is at mine), and so on. BIG DRAWBACK: cost. This program is super pricey, probably two, perhaps three times what it would cost to take the courses ad hoc. Maybe more. But the way I see it, there are so many positives that it’s worth the extra money, to me at least. I’m married and have a house and lots of external responsibilities, so a program that helps streamline things for me was a big plus. That’s not to say a formal post-bac is easier – not at all. I think they just remove some of the logistical headaches and planning issues from the equation, and I’m willing to pay (er … borrow money) for that. That’s my two cents. Best of luck to you!

Oh, one more thing – if you go the community college route, be aware that it is imperative (IMHO) to take some upper-division courses at a 4-year university, as medical schools may not see the CC courses as being as rigorous as those at a 4-year uni and will want to see you performing at what they might consider to be a more difficult level. This is somewhat of a debate in the pre-med community, so don’t take my word for it; read up on the issue here on OPM if you are considering this path.

You have a competitive GPA look into the post-bacc at Scripps College, it’s a top post-bacc program in So-Cal with medical school linkages (this is ideal, because if you qualify for the linkage slots, then you have no “glide-year”).…

TY for the advice.

As far as Chapman, I did look at it. Everything looks great except that it looks like they require a lot more classes taken than other post-bacc’s. Maybe I’m just looking at it wrong?

I’m desperately trying to avoid doing the CC route. I have nothing against them at all but I want to make sure I’m as competitive as possible. Its so bad here in CA, however, I’m considering just moving out of state. I would hate to give up my job as its in medicine but the classes will move me forward whereas the job will not.

The formal post-bacc’s seem to have enough advantages to weigh out the cost, at least somewhat. It would be nice to have priority registration for once too, considering for the past year I’ve been scrambling to even get on the waitlist.

What was your math level going into your post bacc? I haven’t taken any math since high school at that was AP Statistics and Algebra II. I don’t know if a formal post-bacc is going to let me retake some math classes to get up to calc (I’m assuming i need calc to use in physics?)


I looked into Scripps, but I think my SAT scores are too low. I did pretty poorly on them when I finished highschool, maybe right around or right below average? I swear I thought thought in my right mind that those things would come back to haunt me again.

If moving around is an option for you, then look at all the formal post-bacc’s with linkage; Goucher, Bryn Mawr, and Mill’s come to mind, but there are more. It’s easily found on the the AAMC site.

I know Mill’s and Scripps require Calc I for their physics. You’ll have to research the rest.

EDIT: just saw your post, consider taking the GRE. A current good test score would likely negate a high school one.

I’m probably going to end up taking the GRE, as my SAT’s probably wont cut it. Ty for the info. Any idea why they require SATs? It hardly reflects how I’ve done in college.

Now I have to somehow figure out how to take all of this math over again to get up to calc. Even the community colleges here are so impacted that might take me a couple of years in itself.

I wonder if it would just be easier to try and enroll out of state as a post bacc student and try to get the prerequisites that way. Any thoughts? I don’t know if I need the structure of a post-bacc program, though it would be nice.