Non-traditional Post bacc

Hello everyone,

I want to first introduce myself. My name is Zach, I’m 26 and seriously considering starting the path to become a physician.

I’ve been interested in medicine for a very long time, but found myself settling for something else I’m great with, computer programming. I’m a Bachelors of Business Admin grad and I’ve been working in Information Technology as systems specialist for about 3 and a half years. Its a great job, I could spend my whole life at the same company if I wanted to, but I keep finding myself wanting more. I’ve been an A student in every science and math class I’ve taken, and always loved learning so I know I can do this. As a kicker, My girlfriend just finished her first year of residency at MCW and she’s in the full swing of things and loving it. I love hearing her stories, but honestly its torture because I wish I was doing it. So, I’m constantly reminded about what I really want to be doing.

Does anyone have experience working on their pre-reqs while at the same time holding down a full-time job? I live in Milwaukee and UW-M and Marquette both offer the classes, but only during the day while I’m working. What are the chances I could ask to self-study and attend lab at night? Is that a crazy idea? I’m concerned that if I leave my job, I wouldn’t be able to support myself if I can’t get financial aid, since I’m not pursuing an actual degree. My hopeful plan would be to attend Medical College of WI once my pre-reqs are done.

My other option is to drop everything, go formal post-bacc program, but it seems none are offered in WI. It would mean moving and I’m not too keen on that idea since it would mean a long distance relationship. But then again, this career is all about sacrifice.

Any words of wisdom?


Im glad that you are really considering following your dream. Good for you…

I am a person that did not have the luxury to attend college at any time in my life during the day. I have always had to work a fulltime job. So, I totally understand.

If there’s a will there’s a way. Get enrolled start taking the prereqs. See how the classes are scheduled and if you can take 1, 2, 3 or 4 classes at night and work hard and make A’s go for it. I found it challenging to take more than 2 classes per semester at night especially with labs.

It can be done. Start by taking the first step. Get counsel from you local medical school admissions advisor and keep going until you get there.

Best wishes…

Zach, is there any way you can get enough flex time in your day job to take one class at a time and work late a couple of nights to make up for it? I did my pre-reqs at UWM and I sympathize about the non-trad-unfriendly scheduling. It seems all the science faculty have to be home and tucked into their little beds by 3:00 p.m.

I was fortunate enough to work on campus and had an understanding boss who let me shift things around. I know everyone is not that lucky. You might try to see what you can schedule as independent study, but it will be rough going. PHysics does have evening lab sections at UWM, but Chemistry never does, so you’ll have to work something out with your employer there. This is because the guy who runs the chemistry labs and does the setup only works business hours and this is something that will never change.

Good luck! You may find your employer to be understanding. I hope so.

Alternatively, you could enroll as a degree-seeking student for a second bachelors but instead take the prereqs and not finish an actual second bachelors. This qualifies you for financial aid and allows you essentially to create your own post-bacc. But it will take you four semesters to complete because you need to take gen chem before ochem, so it really helps if you can get those chem courses in before you take the plunge.