Looking for direction

Hey guys,

I’ve been lurking the forums for a bit, but this my first post so far. I’m trying to find the best direction to go in to maximize my time. I graduated in 2013 with a B.A. in history and a minor in biology. I ended up with a 3.31 gpa when I graduated. In my undergrad I took Bio 1 and 2 (got a B+ in both) General chemistry 1 and 2 (C and C- respectively) and Organic chemistry 1 (B-). I was originally planning on going to law school or medical school, so I took some courses in both. I thought I made up my mind with law, but post-graduation when studying for my LSAT, I had a change of heart. Anyway, I ended up taking anatomy and physiology 1 and 2 as a non-degree student at the local university during the 2014-2015 school year. I ended up with an “A”, but I was only taking one class at the time. I’m now retaking general chemistry and am doing well, I’m just not sure how to proceed. I just recently turned in my two week’s notice to my current job due to an imminent move (I was working in a cigar lounge). I’ve looked into both formal post-baccs and special master’s programs, but they seem to be far away, or not accepting students with track-records like mine. (In addition to the sub-par GPA I have a few ‘W’s on my transcript). I’ve also considered staying with my informal “DIY” post-bacc and becoming a medical scribe to get my health-care hours up as well as maintain an income. I recently graduated from an EMT-B class but have yet to become certified (I was certified once before, but never got a job as an EMT.) I just shadowed a surgeon and had a great time, really renewed my desire to go into medicine. I’m 25 years old, and I’m trying to figure the whole thing out. From what I understand most post-baccs are more for career changers and don’t really admit people that have previously taken the pre req classes. If I continue with the DIY plan, it looks like I’d have to retake organic chemistry, then start with Physics 1&2, Biochem, calc 1, and maybe some upper level bio classes. Is it realistic to pursue this? Does it look bad to take one class at a time? Love to hear from anyone with experience.



I wouldn’t retake Organic Chemistry, a B- is a perfectly acceptable grade (might actually be what I ended up with if memory serves). Not all schools require Biochem, but if you take it and do well/understand the material, it will be very helpful in med school.Calculus is also not required at most (or any) schools that I’m aware of, you generally just need 2 semesters of math above 1010. I took 1050 (College Algebra) & 1060 (Trig) myself.

I can’t speak to postbac or SMP stuff, I “kept” my “old” career right up until I moved for medical school, and so my undergrad was specifically set up for pre-med.

I can’t give much advice as I’m in the process of completing my prereqs as well, but I don’t think that it matters that you take one class at a time. I’ve been on that track for the past 3 years. If that’s all you can manage, then you’re doing what you can do to get yourself closer to your goal. What more could you ask for?

I’m doing a DIY post-bacc, but if you’re interested in a formal program it couldn’t hurt to speak to someone at the school about your specific situation. Don’t count yourself out without doing the research, talking to people at the schools your interested in, and really thinking about what plan fits your position and personality best.

I somehow missed your question about taking one class at a time. My understanding is that it CAN look bad if you aren’t able to provide a reasonable explanation. If, for example, the pre-reqs you still need aren’t offered concurrently, or the only time they are offered is at the exact same time, I don’t think there would be an issue. If you’re not going to school full time you definitely need to be doing something that demonstrates your intellectual ability, i.e. a job (ideally not entry level minimum wage stuff high school dropouts can do easily), research, volunteering, etc.

You don’t want to give admissions committees any doubt about your ability to handle their curriculum. If you can’t (academically) handle the course load of a full time student, you’re in for a bad time. Medical School is often 30+ credits per semester, depending on the program. Our first day of biochemistry in med school covered the same amount of material we spent a month on in my undergrad biochem class. It was quite the wake up call. The crazy thing is…you get used to it fairly rapidly.

Hey guys, thanks for the words of encouragement. I’m looking into scribe jobs currently. My main issue is, if I’m going to not be in a formal program (post-bacc or SMP) I need to have some sort of income. Do you think it’s harmful to an application to be working full time and going to school part time? I’ve been considering upping my course load to try to get part-time status. In addition, I’ve only taken the first half of organic, and that was years ago. If I’m not mistaken, don’t all schools require the full year (orgo 1 and 2)? If that’s the case, I’m going to have to retake 1, because I hardly remember any of it.

Prodigal, that sounds pretty daunting. Is there anything you recommend of pre-meds to get into shape for that kind of course-load? Was it a rough transition for you? Did you prepare for it at all?

Thanks again for all the advice,


I did my DIY post bacc one course at a time over the span of 6 years… If you scored alright in orgo, you might be able to just reteach yourself as you go through orgo 2. I used Organic Chemistry for Dummies and random websites and made it through alright. I had already brain dumped it all before studying for the MCAT, so I had to relearn it again for the 3rd time. Don’t do that :slight_smile:

I’m a first year as well, and there really is no way to prepare yourself for the onslaught of medical school. I guess just make sure all of your personal effects are in order since you won’t have time for much else other than studying and decompressing. Honestly, I think my brain went into survival mode and just starting absorbing the massive amounts of information. I do put in about 8-10 hrs/day with class + study, including time on the weekend depending on how much is going on. My focus is on learning for comprehension vs just rote memorizing everything, though. Don’t worry about med school yet, just focus on getting in.