Perplexed about post bacc programs...

I am currently in college and started out with nearly a 2.1 and worked hard to slowly raise it to a 3.3. I am now a junior (3rd year) and have only taken the basic science courses required for med school, and there isn’t enough time to complete the rest and graduate. So I’m either going to grad school or postbacc for a year or so, except I don’t know which to do. Since I have already taken general bio, general chem, organic, physics, and calculus, there’s no point to do a postbacc program in the basic sciences. So should I go for the masters, then apply to med school, or does anyone know of any good, competitive postbacc programs? Thanks.

If you don’t think you are competitive then a formal post bacc program may work and there are many in DC, the SE, et al. Depends on what you really want to do. Do you want to do a formal Biomedical Masters program? If so, would it be something you would like to fall back on to get a job later on in the tech sector?
If not, how long do you want to do it and would you consider entry into a PhD program or just MD? Those are the tactics needing to be considered.

Can you just take some advanced sciences after your bachelor’s without entering a formal degree program? Most schools will allow this. The only big problem is that you won’t be entitled to the undergraduate financial aid like Pell grants, because you’ll already have a bachelor’s.

Thanks for the feedback. I understand organic chemistry, physics, all the basics, etc.,and am really good at it, I just had problems for a couple of semesters that destroyed my GPA (2.1 1st semester, 2.2 2nd semester, 2.2 3rd semester, 3.9 4th sem., 4.0 5th, 4.0 6th…now in 7th). 36R on the mcat.
I did lots of volunteer work (EMT), research, etc. and took several upper-level courses (physical chem, biochem, neurobio, etc.) and did well (hopefully that will help compensate for the low gpa in the early courses).
I am basically looking for something to offset/compensate for my poor gpa early on.
A postbacc program will demonstrate that I know the basics, but isn’t that futile considering that it is assumed that I know the basics, having Aced the advanced courses?

IMHO you would not benefit from a forma post-bacc program that is mostly designed for “damage control” in the pre-reqs since most of these focus on pre-req classes. It is obvious by your very good MCAT score that you mastered the pre-reqs. I would contact medical schools that you are considering and ask them what your next step should be to become competitive for their school. It seems that you just had a rough start like many others and then you did extremely well in the latter semesters, heck you may not need to do anything more aside from graduating so for sure call and ask…Regardless it would seem that you would benefit the most from a masters this is just my opinion.

Personally, I would apply with those stats. The MCAT score should get you looked at, especially with those schools that have cutoffs. Then they will look at the transcript to see why the discrepancy and they will see that you had three bad semesters early on but that you’ve gotten your act together. Plus, you can sell yourself in your personal statement where you have your chance to explain in a positive light why you received those grades (young and partied, family issues, etc).

If they all say no, then you may want to look at post-bacc programs like the one at Georgetown where you take classes with the med students to show them you can do the work. The guy that sits next to me in lecture did just that (and I don’t think he had you stats, less the three bad semesters).

But I honestly think you have a very good chance with those stats. That’s just my two cents.


I agree with Tara. That MCAT is killer! It will get you noticed! Your GPA shows a definate upward and steady trend, and a 3.3 is not too low to get looked at for a large number of schools. They know that people sometimes get off to a rocky start and then get their academics together later. There are people in medical school with lower GPAs. Also, it takes a whole lot of 4.0s and credit hours to increment up those little point values you are looking to get. There is a point of diminishing returns to consider. Another factor is how your school assigns point value. Schools that assign a 4.0 to all A’s whether A+ or A- will go farther to ramp up your GPA than schools that assign 3.5’s and 3.8’s and such. Even so, there is some attempt to even this out during the central application process.
If the rest of your package is together and the GPA is your only real hangup, look into applying to medical school rather than apply and commit to a Master’s or other program.

I thank you all for your input and feedback.
(By the way, I withdrew from some classes because I didn’t believe I had the appropriate knowledge to continue, then made up for it by taking a heavy summer course load of upper-level science classes…I hope that shows I can handle the courseload, and offsets the course withdrawals.)
I think I’ll apply and see how that goes. But as a safety, does anyone know of, or know where I can find good masters 1 or 2-year programs (like the one Tara mentioned in Georgetown, for example)?