Penn State vs. West Chester U. post-bacc programs

I hope someone can shed some light on how to rank the full-time post-bacc programs. West Chester U. is a state school in PA. They have a full-time post-bacc program with an early acceptance program to Temple. They say they have a 96% placement rate from 1977-2002 for all students.
Penn State has a nationally-known name, but does not have an early acceptance agreement with any med schools. Penn State College of Medicine does give a courtesy interview to post-bacc students, but you still have to deal with the glide year. They say they have a 65% placement rate for all students.
Is the placement rate the main standard by which to judge a program? Penn State will have larger classes, so that is a factor. Can anyone provide any insight into the formal programs?

Before you get too impressed with those statistics, it’s VERY important to know who is included when calculating the placement rate - you need to find this out. It isn’t necessarily everyone in the program.
For example, the pre-med office where I did my informal post-bacc (George Mason University in Fairfax, Va) talked about a 40-50% acceptance rate of “their” students into medical schools. What you needed to dig a little more to find out was that students had to achieve a certain GPA and MCAT cutoff in order to qualify for a committee letter and therefore be part of the pool from which this percentage was calculated. There were lots of pre-meds who didn’t meet those standards and their successes or failures at achieving med school admission weren’t included in the stats.
So find out who the post-bacc program is including when they calculate those percentages - make sure you are comparing apples with apples.
There’s no question but that a linkage program is very tempting. I wouldn’t let it be THE deciding factor though. JMHO, but you should also consider where you think you’d enjoy spending the year, what sorts of things you’d had in mind for a glide year, etc. For me truthfully I think location would be the deciding factor: where would you like to be? Because I think you’ll be able to make a strong application to med schools, assuming you can work hard to make a good application, from either program.

Hi there,
As Mary stated, you need to dig a little deeper to see exactly how a program calculates their statistics and acceptance rates. The post bacc program at Johns Hopkins has a near 100% acceptance rate but it is very, very competitive at the outset. If you are able to get into their program, you are probably able to get into medical school without their program. Other schools do not screen as closely as Hopkins and therefore are great programs but have a smaller acceptance percentage. Look into those numbers.
Look into whether or not you can afford and thrive under the class conditions of the program that interests you. If the program is hugely expensive and you are not getting what you need, opt for a program that is less expensive and better suited to your learning style. Again, you have to do some research before you invest thousands of dollars in this process.
Sometimes taking your course informally may be the best strategy in the long run and far less expensive. As with medical school, the name of the school might open some doors but if you are a poor performer for whatever reason, you are not going see the success that you envisioned.
Do some critical investigation and look beneath the surface before you invest the dollars.