Need advice... post-bac formal program OR take classes on my own?

I need some honest advice.

I graduated with a bachelors degree in psychology and a 3.96 cum GPA from a small private catholic college in NY. I’ve shadowed a doctor, and am currently doing research in cancer survivorship.

I’ve been accepted to a few formal post bacc programs, but am beginning to reconsider enrolling. I dont want to “drop” any names of the schools i’ve been accepted to, but they are good programs. However, I’ve read alot about competition among classmates, competiting for linkage spots and gaining committee letters. One program I was admitted to, said they would only write me a committee letter if i get a 30 or higher on the MCAT.

I am not the best at standardized testing. My GREs/SATs definitely show my less than great scores.

Would simply taking the pre-req’s at my undergrad institution put me at a disadvantage for gaining admission to medical school? I realize I need to do well on the MCAT regardless, however would sacrificing the “name” of the post-bacc program and earning A’s on my own at an “unknown” 4 yr institution put me at a disadvantage? I could continue my research position if I stay local as well.

ANY advise would be greatly appreciated. My goal is to become a doctor - it means a lot to me, so I want to make the best decision.

Thank you in advance

Well I definitely wouldn’t go to the post-bacc that won’t give you a committee letter unless you get a 30 on the MCAT, good grief. That’s ridiculous.

I really truly believe that you can do fine pursuing the prereqs on your own. Lots of us here have done just that. As an alum, you may be able to get a committee letter from your undergrad institution and you will certainly have the opportunity to get some kick-ass LORs from these folks who’ve known you for years.

Your own post makes the compelling argument for why you should stay where you are. Read what you wrote again! And be assured that while linkage programs and big name post-baccs sound great, they represent a very small proportion of applicants to med school. Better to be the big fish in your small local pond. Good luck!


I’m another advocate of informal post-baccs. In my experience (which may not be everyone’s, of course), the cost and flexibility are much more appealing. Again in my experience, in the world of medicine - and specifically pre-med to med school - the “name” of your undergraduate institution is not a huge deal. Granted, all other things equal, an AdCom might take “kid from Harvard” over “kid from UCF” - but it sounsd like, in your case like mine, all other things aren’t equal.

Like both posters above me, I went the informal route but I did not go to a local unknown college. It was a state school but not that unknown. I am sure your school is not that unknown at least in your region of your country. If it is, you might want to consider the formal post-bac.

You also mentioned that you are not a good test-taker. According to the AAMC website, a lot of the formal post-bac programs (not all) prepare you for the MCATs and testing in medical school. That might benefit you. Also, if you do it informally you are going to have to take out loans on your own if you job does not pay for it. If you do a formal post-bac, the school might give you financial aid.

Adam, myself, Mary, and so many countless others here have succeeded in getting into medical school w/o a formal program but there are advantages to it that you might want to consider.

By the way, you can get a committee letter at many schools without doing a formal program. If you are in New Jersey, I can tell you a couple schools (both well known) that will write one for you.