Post-Bac - I don't fit?!

I am running into some obstacles on my pre-med journey… then again, aren’t we all?

I teach high school science and I was a biology major. I appreciate all of the comments on my first post: Second Bachelor’s. But I am faced with a new situation…

Because I majored in Biology already, most schools, that I am looking into for my second bachelor’s, will only allow me to complete upper division courses toward a new major. This won’t work out for me since I really screwed up during my undergrad years (read: my BCPM = below a 2.0 GPA). There is a laundry list of explanations/excuses to explain why, but the fact is the damage has been done.

I thought a formal post-bac geared toward career changers would be more appropriate considering the fact that I needed to take ALL of my pre-reqs over with a fresh start and I was already teaching school. However, these programs only allow NON-SCIENCE degreed students with a 3.0 or above.

I would consider a “do it yourself” program, but I just don’t have the money. The California school system of public education (lower and higher ed) is going through our usual cycle of the budget, which means we’re in crisis mode right now. Teachers and counselors I work with are getting pink slips left and right. My own husband has to look for work in another school district after his school told him they were “letting him go”. With the budget being is dis, Public Universities are not open to allowing ‘non-degree’ seeking students, or even (2nd) ‘degree-seeking’ students! Private schools are out of the picture financially, because even with grants and scholarships I would still need to take out SOME loans. Unfortunately I’ve used up all of my financial aid eligibility during my SIX years of undergrad.

This leaves me with the community college option, which is really a last resort. I know California Medical schools don’t frown too much upon them, but I would prefer a University - especially considering my previous academic record. It would give me a chance to prove my real ability.

Do you think I can plead my case and try to qualify for a career changer post-bac? I’m willing to try anything. How have those of you who have a “blemished” undergrad science record succeeded under these circumstances? I really appreciate your wisdom!!!

Well, the only thought I’d add is considering applying for master’s programs.

I had some blemishes on my ugrad record and I went back and worked my butt of on a master’s degree in molecular biology.

You could also take some upper level ugrad science classes during that time and I think (holy cow, now I can’t even remember!) that the financial aid awards are separate for a grad degree.

Another thing you could consider is looking at taking classes outside of California (I don’t know if that’s an option…ie if you could drive a couple of days a week) or enrolling in a distance course. I believe RIT in New York allows you to do the coursework at home and then you have to fly out for the labs that are held on a weekend or two…

Though some people do enroll in formal post-bacc programs, it really isn’t a necessity. I’m not sure that I understand the complexities of the issues that you are experiences with the california campuses, but there is a solution to every problem!

Good Luck!


You might do fine with community colleges in California. Most people understand that California is a special case. If you rock those courses and rock the MCAT, you can draw a clear line in the sand between the you who didn’t do as well and the you who is kicking butt and taking names today. A big key to recovering from earlier less-than-stellar grades is that clear demonstration that the bad grades are part of the past and you’ve got it all under control nowadays.

I am going to sit back now and see if Judy drops by with a more definitive California perspective.

Thanks for the advice. From talking with directors of most post-bacc programs, I am being told to go the do-it-yourself route via CC & try to apply to a master’s program in something like molec bio. I’m okay with the CC, since it is a unique situation in CA. If anyone needs any help with picking a CA post-bacc just let me know~ I’ve spoken with ALL of them in this past week! My favorite so far is LMU near the beach. The director is so nice, and more than willing to go the extra mile for you! She also has an amazing success rate of helping pre-meds from all backgrounds (non-science, low ugrad science gpa, career changers, etc) get into top schools all over the country!

That’s great. It looks like you were able to get some answers pretty quickly!

It is encouraging to meet someone who also had a horrible undergrad GPA (2.2 overall 1.8 science). I have to retake everything also. I am thinking of moving to UT-Austin and doing their fresh start program. They erase everything that is older than 10 years old. Don’t give up!! There’s always a way:)

Just realize that you MUST report everything on your application. Even the stuff that “went away”.

  • mammadoc Said:
It is encouraging to meet someone who also had a horrible undergrad GPA (2.2 overall 1.8 science). I have to retake everything also. I am thinking of moving to UT-Austin and doing their fresh start program. They erase everything that is older than 10 years old. Don't give up!! There's always a way:)

Fresh start is great for Texas, but AMCAS is unmoved. Every college course you ever took *must* be reported to 'em.

That said, with a 2.5 cumulative coming out of my UG, I'll be attending an allopathic school in the fall. IMHO, don't try to erase your past - just overshadow it.

While am unfamiliar with California College but I had a similar situation here in the State University of New York (SUNY) system. I couldn’t start a new degree program without reporting/transferring my old grades, didn’t want the expense of a formal post-bacc, didn’t want the CC route. My solution was entering as non-matriculating student, and no one cared about past courses, nor what I took, as long as I paid my bills. Ultimately, I took over 60 credits, pre-reqs, advanced courses, several health policy courses, all with 3.9 GPA. Makes a marked improvement over my original where I graduated magna cum barely.

Wow - that info is really helpful! I wish I didn’t have to rely on the federal aid that comes when you do get the second degree, but I’m sure there are countless others reading this post who found that info valuable.

I especially love the ‘magna cum barely’…