Mainly worried about the funds.

Greetings everyone. First of all thank you all for this wonderful website. Reading through the many helpful threads has been immeasurably useful in deciding how to go about getting my pre med work done.

A little background, I have a BA already, in East Asian Languages, for which I earned a 3.9 GPA, and was made a member of Phi Beta Kappa, along with other honor societies. SO, I’m fairly confident about my ability to get into a formal program, and to do well. The main thing I am worried about are those dollar bills!

I recently moved back to the US after living and working in Asia for some time (I’m 29), and am starting from scratch here. I am now planning on going to medical school and focusing on emergency medicine.

I am a little more drawn to doing a formal program for various reasons, but I am very perplexed by how to pay for it. From what I understand I can only get federal loans for the first year of (what are mostly) two year programs. This and other issues have led to many questions.

How can I secure financial assistance for the second year?

Can I take out loans for living expenses either year?

If these loans are private, are they very difficult to obtain?

My current plan (hope) is to get certified as an EMT during the spring, and work as an EMT during my two year program. – Any feedback regarding whether or not this is a reasonable is also welcome. – But at any rate, I assume I will only make enough to cover my living expenses, at best, and hence will need loans to cover tuition, and maybe subsidize some living expenses, books, etc.

Anyone out there who doesn’t have much in savings, and also doesn’t have established full0time employment who has gone through one of these programs, please talk to me about your experience!

Thank you all!


Since your GPA is already solid (congratulations), why not enroll at your state university and save the big loans for medical school itself?

I had originally considered going through a formal postbacc program, but was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the expenses - not just tuition, but moving, potentially high rent, et cetera!

If you’re confident that your performance in pre-requisite courses will remain stellar, adcoms won’t care that you didn’t go the formal route: a 3.9 is a 3.9.

Just a thought from a fellow broke student and former Asian Studies major

Thanks for the input!

I suppose one of the main reasons I would want to do a formal program is that I would be able to take out loans, since paying out of pocket is not an option for me. As far as I can tell, going to a state school without being in a degree or cert program would have to be paid out of pocket, esp since I might want to take out a little extra for living expenses. Is this not the case?

Nice to hear from a fellow Asian studies’er!

You can always enter as a degree seeking student. Nobody says you have to finish the degree. Believe me. A LOT of students don’t.

You can get 12 months of federal loans if you are taking the pre-requisites for admission into a professional program. I did it this way. As mentioned above, you can also enroll as a degree seeking student for a second degree and get loans that way. I had a friend who did her pharm pre-reqs that way. You can also borrow from private lenders is you have decent credit. I would recommend either of the first two routes.

For some reason I was under the impression that one cannot obtain federal loans for a second BA. If I can enroll in a state school for a second degree, and take out loans, I’m golden.

Are you guys telling me this is a possibility?!

After calling a few schools and doing some research, it seems that I would be able to get $12,500 a year (until i reach my limit, which is about 21k away) as an undergraduate student, and I can also take out $12,500 for one year only at a formal post back program.

Either way, this very much limits the amount of money above my tuition that I would be able to receive.

Does anyone have any cons they might mention for going and enrolling in a 2nd BA?

Obviously taking out private loans on top of this is a last resort, but has anyone done this?

Also, does anyone have experience working as an EMT while doing their pre-reqs?

I don’t think the one year stipulation applies to only a formal post-bacc program. I did my post-bacc on my own as a continuing education student and was able to get 12 months of loans. I had to have a paper signed by my advisor every quarter that stated the courses I was taking were pre-reqs for medical school.

I wonder if you could combine the two plans . . . i.e. enroll as a continuing ed student for 12 months and then become degree seeking for the rest of them (or vice versa)?

ONE fellow in my post-bacc program worked as an EMT during his program. Worked 1-2 evening/night shifts /wk, studied a lot at the fire house if they did not have calls.Most weeks he was only able to do one 8 hour shift (and keep up with the work).


How long was your program?

How many classes at once were you all taking?

Our course was 1 year (to fit in with the 1 year of loan eligibility, partly, I’ll bet).

During the first summer we did 2 courses - Gen Chem 1 and Gen Chem 2 (with labs) in 9 weeks total. Each was a 3 credit lecture course with a 2 credit lab, so that was 10 credits for the summer.

Fall and Spring we were SUPPOSED to do Org. Chem , Physics, and Bio with labs, as well as a 3 credit course on the American Health Care System, split between the two semesters so 1.5 credit hours apiece. What I did was postpone the organic chem 1 lab till spring and took organic chem II lab (by far the hardest) in the summer by itself. That worked out to : Fall: 3 credits of ORganic Chem lecture, 4 credits of Physics 1 lecture, 1 credit of Physics lab 1, 3 credits of Bio and 2 of Bio lab (cell biology and genetics), and 1.5 credits of healthcare system = 14.5 credits. Then spring, same + 3 credit organic chem lab = 17.5 credits …

Most schools do not do the labs as separate courses and also do not have organic chemistry as such a heavy credit hour oourse, I think.

Anyway, to pull A’s with the above schedule, as you might imagine, requires that you do NOTHING else, at least for me. It was excellent practice for med school, I find


A couple of comments about the posts that have been made, and about my own situation …

I’m doing a formal 2-year post-bac program in the Chicago area. I am getting some government money, although not much (my husband works, so we don’t qualify for a significant amount – the classic middle-class squeeze situation). I am making up the difference with private loans. Obviously, this is not ideal, as the loan rates are variable and could (some day) go up quite high (depending on the economy). But it’s the route I’ve chosen. And I’m really happy with my program so far, and wouldn’t change my decision to go there. I really like the structure/support of a formal program, and there are a lot of other benefits of this specific program (several dedicated upper-division science courses just for post-bacs, early registration, etc.).

I am NOT working, and would not attempt it. That’s just me. I feel it’s important to dedicate all my time to my studies – I consider it my full-time “job.”

There is a guy in my program who is a firefighter/EMT. He was taking the exact same course load as I am (physics, gen chem, and gen bio, all w/labs) while working full time. (Crazy, right?!) He ended up taking W’s in both chem and physics because he was failing them miserably. I’m not saying that would happen to you, just saying that working while going to school can quickly become unmanageable. So if you do work, be careful about what courses you take, and don’t overload yourself with too many classes / labs.

Good luck!