OMG!!! OMG!!!!

Ok, I screwed up my courage yesterday and wrote a brief email to JHU post bacc about my grades and qualifications and whether or not I would be an appropriate fit for a program such as theirs. I just received this HIGHLY complimentary email that stressed three times how they feel I would be a strong candidate for admissions and STRONGLY urging me to apply, signed by the director of admissions for the program. I am numb, shocked, and practically peed my pants with excitment!! Me?? JOHNS HOPKINS??? Really??? Guess what? I think I am gonna do a post-bacc!!!

Congrats! Go for it.

Congrats! Now get your $$ right cuz JHU ain’t no joke on tuition!


Congratulations! But please, please think twice before taking on a penny of extra debt. You are every bit as much of a student and a thinker if you do it at your local four-year public institution.

Thank you for all the caution. However, due to my commitment to the National Health Service Corps, all of my school debt, undergraduate and graduate is fully paid off. I do not have a single outstanding student loan. I am starting, from scratch. I am only financing post bacc and med school. My specialty is going to be psychiatry. HRSA currently has over 220 openings for psychiatrists. I am not overly concerned about financing my dream at this point. The doors have been opened for that. I am not dragging around a family, a mortgage, car payments, etc. And my current profession allows me to private practice - I currently do 3-4 hours every Saturday and get full reimbursure. And I have a husband who works wherever we go ( he drives truck). We wouldn’t even have an issue with a one bedroom apartment on campus - room and board. Several post baccs have these. So my financial situation, and outlook, is a bit different. As to 401K and retirements, I really don’t have anything in that arena. 10 years vested with the State of New York that I can draw at age 65. Becoming a doctor IS my retirement. I am literally, starting all over. I am still incredibly blown away that a “reach” school is now very interested in me for post bacc.

Cool Beans Vick!


Is there a fee to apply? Take those emails with a grain of salt, they take in $$ whether you are accepted or not. Even the top schools send out very alluring marketing emails, encouraging students to apply to both their post-bacc and medical programs.

At $33,000 a year, you will be at least $45k in the hole before med school (assuming 1.5 years to complete). I know you said you’re not concerned, but debt is debt. Why pay more?

$60.00 Application fee which seems pretty average to me. Program can be completed in one year and the tuition is a flat rate REGARDLESS of how many credits you need to complete - programs are individualized, which I need, since I have some pre-reqs already. If you read my posts fully, my intention after graduation and residency is to work at a HRSA site. Loan repayment just requires commitment to the site. I am already budgeting in my head that my total debt after post bacc and med school will be anywhere between 190,000 - 250,000 depending on where accepted. This is an 8-10 year commitment to a HRSA site for full loan repayment. I currently work at a HRSA site and LOVE doing community health. It is what I really want to do!! The advice I was given in grad school was not to borrow more than your starting salary for one year. Current starting salary at a HRSA site is 190,000. Worst case scenario, I can’t get hired at a HRSA site, go back to work for the state of New York for 225,000 starting salary for psychiatry. Add 10 more years to my retirement and make my payments and live modestly. If I die, I die. At least I will have LIVED my dream. I would far rather live my dream and have debt, than exercise tons of caution and miss out on my dream. The difference here is shaving off two years from my plan and bringing me 2 years closer to MCAT and admission. Which is more valuable? Time or money? At 51? I’d say time wins hands down. Carpe Diem. My personal experience? Money comes, money goes, credit scores come, credit scores go, THINGS come, things go, debt comes, debt goes…I’ve fully experienced both ends of the spectrum. I have 17 years in my current career and bring home 2500.00 a month…and live on it. I am not in this for the money. Debt has never made me, broke me, or killed me. Carried the 65,000 from undergrad and graduate from 1996 to 2011 - deferred, defaulted, made payment plans, deferred, etc, Today am paid in full…just took some time and patience and it all worked out…as has every other debt I have ever had…eventually, it all works out. If not, they can’t wring it from my corpse and I have good life insurance so my kids aren’t shafted with it. Hate to get all philosophical, but in my spiritual views, I have always had a roof, heat, lights, and food. I’ve never been homeless and living on the sidewalk. The deity I believe in takes care of the basics for me no matter what…all I have to do is be kind to others and help them…day in and day out. That is my only motivation for an MD. I can help more and better. If my deity sees that is my path…it will open before me. If not, I’ll still do what I do now. In my world, and the grand scheme of things, debt is but a small detail. Your perspective changes when you have kissed death, and lived to see another day - MVA’s 4 cancer scares, and been at the receiving end of the paddles once. That I am here at all is nothing short of a celebrated miracle. Go BIG or stay home!!! Coaches that RISK it on 4th and inches having winning track records. Just my persepective for what it is worth…again - Carpe Diem.

  • VickiV Said:
If I die, I die. At least I will have LIVED my dream. I would far rather live my dream and have debt, than exercise tons of caution and miss out on my dream.

Couldn't have said it any better!

There seems to be too much worry about student loan debt out there right now because students go to undergrad for $60,000/yr and then try to be a social worker making $35,000/yr. That's just dumb.

To become a physician, you have to take on debt, either money or time commitment. Taking on the debt first and then working it off later is a great idea, as long as the program is still around and can offer you a job.

Good luck on your journey!


That’s a different situation. The painful times that students with less lucrative graduate degrees outside of medicine, and carrying student debt, has been well documented over the last few years (I think there was an article yesterday on USC MBA’s having trouble finding jobs). I didn’t think Vicki would have a hard time managing after school, but she’s going to basically being paying at least an extra year of tuition (assuming a year to complete the pb program), maybe more.


I have kept up with your story, it’s extremely inspirational, and not for one second am I saying “don’t do this.” However, a one year program (at JHU nonetheless), will be extremely rigorous. I’m guessing it starts next fall, and goes through the following summer? That may leave you a touch late for taking the MCAT next year (allocating time to study for it after classes end and all–AT LEAST 4-6 weeks). If that is the case, you may be better off taking two years, not risking overloading yourself, and sitting for the MCAT that following spring (two years from this spring), for a 2014 application cycle. I know you took Biology 30 years ago, but after sitting for the MCAT myself, I didn’t feel a “I’ll brush up my biology” approach would be nearly sufficient. Plus, as you dive into classes, like Genetics, and Biochem (I think you mentioned wanting to take those), you’ll need a fairly extensive working knowledge of biology. Bio-Physics-Chem-Orgo, all with labs in one year will be a handful–and that leaves little to no room for electives.

My point here…plan out what the earliest feasible cycle you could apply might be, and work backwards. It seems like a stretch to apply next year; and if that’s the case, take the two years to do the post-bacc.

My aim here is in no way to knock you down, I just want to share my observations, and help to make sure you have a plan that’s achievable. I know you had a rough start this year, and I’d like to see you get back up and running ASAP!!

Something that Gonnif always says comes to mind, “Do you want to get into medical school quickly, or get in, period?”

Thank you olderguy! The JHU program is anywhere from 9 - 15 months depending on your individualized credit needs. If I went, I would probably take my biologies over again to come up to 2012! It starts in January and runs through to the end of December if you do it in one year. One of the things I am struggling with is the demands of my job. Often I am at work until 7:30 or 8:00 at night meeting the demands that come with being a mid-level manager. Often I take work home and work from remote access. I found the rigors of trying to do this, and do calculus too and then physics, to be almost too much to give the schoolwork the focus it really NEEDS to make med school grades. I am thinking, that if I do post bacc - my ONLY focus will be school, and I can throw my workaholic behavior into that. When I am within the structure of academics, I do really well at focus and organizing. The other thing I like about the JHU program is the flat rate - whether you do 9 months, 12 months, or 15 months - the 32,000 in tuition remains the same and does not increase by additional credit hours. My thought was to start in January of 2014, complete in either December or March - MCAT in May and make the June 1st date for applications. An advisor would go over my transcripts with me and help me choose the pre reqs that will fit my needs. I like your thoughtful input and am kinda surprised that anyone “follows” me! And certainly give great, great respect to ANYTHING gonnif says!! I confessed my intentions towards post bacc today to the Medical Director - my direct supervisor. He said, “Don’t play in the shallow waters anymore - dive in the deep end! It will much better prepare you for the rigors of medical school!!” I was a little surprised, as I know it means he will lose an employee,but he was encouraging me to do it anyways!! When the stars and planets align - everything seems to fall into place…


Wishing you the best!