Online DIY Postbac

Hi Everyone,

I recently discovered the OldPreMeds podcast and have been going through the episodes very quickly (I’ve probably listened to 100 this week). The information is great. I graduated from college in 2017 with a major in Exercise Science with no intention of going into medicine. My GPA was low for medical schools as I graduated with a 3.2. I took a full-time job analyzing heart monitors at a local hospital and quickly decided that medicine was something I wanted to pursue. I started taking prereqs at night at the local community college, but stopped after a couple classes because I heard that it may not be good to take the prereqs there. Since then I have switched to taking classes online through two different 4 year universities that are both accredited. I’m planning on applying in the 2020-2021 cycle and as that date approaches I’m questioning if I made a wrong decision. I’ve emailed at least 20 MD schools that have confirmation that they will accept online credits. I’ve emailed a few DO schools that will as well, and I plan on emailing more. I’ve gotten mostly A’s and a couple A-'s in every class I have taken during my DIY postbac (about 6 classes taken with 2 more to go). Was my method of taking classes a bad decision and should I be worried about my chances of getting accepted?

Any feedback is appreciated,


Hello, Paul! Isn’t the podcast great? I similarly worked my way through episodes once I found the show.

The classic answer here, from my optic, is “it depends.” Some medical schools specifically note that they do not accept online coursework, especially online lab components. Some have no preference, but suggest in-person if available. It appears you’ve done your work by emailing schools to confirm or clarify. Most often transcripts do not list the course as online, but be sure to check your schools to confirm whether or not Online is referenced on your transcript if you’re concerned about it. I would also be ready to explain why you took online courses, if asked on the interview trail. Just have an answer ready, whatever that may be (e.g., cost, work full time, limited daytime availability, geographic location etc.)

Personally, I can understand some coursework requiring an in-person component (e.g., labs) while other coursework lends itself to online formats. Many schools are investing in online coursework platforms and there are numerous checks-and-balances in place to ensure rigor. I do not believe you’ve made a bad decision, assuming you made the decision with all the available information at your hands at the time you decided to switch to online, 4-year from in-person, community. Frankly, I’ve felt that I’ve done more work in my online courses than in-class courses…I certainly feel I’m held more accountable through deadlines and discussions.

Good luck during the application cycle!

Thanks for this feedback! It’s very encouraging!

Hi Paul,

I am looking at doing an online DIY post-back as well so that I can continue to work full-time. Can I ask what schools you completed your coursework through?



Of course. I took a couple classes through Washington State University (Genetics and Biochemistry). However, I’m currently taking classes through the University of New England. The classes I have taken through UNE are OChem 1, Ochem 2, currently in Physics 1 with Physics 2 left. Both these schools are great, but UNE has more selection so I would recommend them. The labs for Ochem were virtual. The labs for the physics I’m in right now are great. You buy a cart that has force, velocity, tensions sensors, etc. They’re great labs. I don’t know how the labs for physics 2 will be.

Hope this helped,