Post Bac. Pre Medical Programs

Hello all, I was wondering if anyone had any advice insight on the topic of Post Bac. premed programs.

I am specifically look at PSU’s program . Has anyone gone through something like this, or even to Penn State? What were your thoughts/impressions? Was it of any particular benefit rather than just taking the science prereqs normally?


I took classes at Penn State (UP campus) but not in the formal post-bacc program. I didn’t qualify for the program because I already had a B.S. and M.S. and had taken most of the med school prerequisites. Honestly, I don’t see any benefit to doing the formal post-bacc program. I think if you taken enough credits (something around 20 or so), the pre-medicine office will help you with your composite LOR.

Hope that helps.

I did a similar program for my post-bacc 10 years ago. The one thing that I found that was an advantage over enrolling as an at-large student is that I was pre-enrolled in the classes I needed automatically, before registration for the rest of the student body even opened. We were also enrolled with specific instructors (a huge reason I think that I actually “got” orgo). This was important because as a post-bacc student, I only needed a certain set of classes with labs that by its very nature required artful class scheduling. I also met three of my future med school classmates who were in my post-bacc with me. Three of us were anatomy lab partners and all of us remain good friends to this day.

The post-bacc I went to was at a state school and the tuition was much more reasonable than at many of the private programs. I’m also someone who like structure, so the structure (but not rigid as they allowed me to not retake physics but rather substitute higher level science classes as part of my tuition and I got the pre-enrollment) was something that gave me personal comfort inside.

The tuition at that program looks very reasonable. I am assuming that you have already analyzed your ability to return to school full time (typically not working).

Ultimately, I think a significant part of the decision is what environment will you feel more comfortable in.

I’m at Penn State now. I enrolled in a second B.S. program and am doing my own post-bacc. So far it’s been a good experience.

I did the post-bacc at UVA and felt that advantages were as mentioned - automatically scheduled into the classes and lab sections I needed (and this required the school to teach some special sections of Organic Chem to fit together with the labs and classes for Physics and Bio. Since the academic director of the program is also the head of the chem dept, this was not a problem - he taught us a separate small Org. Chem lecture and our lab section was separate with a grad student he had picked.

Other advantage (and a huge one for me) was the premed advising as I was starting very ill-informed. Got practice interviews, advice re application, great committee letter and separate LOR’s from professors, help with setting up shadowing/volunteer experiences, ongoing seminar on “the american health care system” which helped me have a good basis from which to speak to questions at interviews.

For me it was worth the bucks for the structure, support, and (not least) the peer group of my fellow post-bacc students (one of whom is starting with me this fall at WVSOM!).

Probably would have gotten thru without the program had I been able to get into the classes I needed locally (I did try all my avenues there first).


I am also considering Penn State’s post-bacc program but on a part-time basis. I haven’t heard too much about the program at University Park. I am considering just taking the classes on my own since I work there and can get the tuition discount. I’ve emailed the program director and she encouraged me to apply but when I asked for more detail (# of students, acceptance rates, etc) about the program I didn’t get a response back.

I’m also doing a post-bac program, starting this fall (not the same one, but the same advantages/disadvantages apply).

I’ve heard people on the board say that if you need structure, then a post-bac program helps. Well, I’m actually a very organized, non-procrastinator-type of a person, and I STILL think my post-bac program will be extremely beneficial, and worth the extra money over taking the classes a la carte.

Obviously, priority registration is a HUGE issue. I got every class I needed for the upcoming semester, and an awesome schedule. I’ve even got one day w/o any classes at all, where I can do some clinical volunteering, spend extra time studying, etc.

Having a dedicated and experienced advisor is another advantage – one who is familiar with the non-traditional route, both the challenges and the benefits therein. I can’t imagine working with a regular pre-med advisor who’s used to working w/18-yr-olds. I’m not saying that person would be incompetent or anything like that, I’m just saying non-trads wouldn’t be their specialty or priority.

My post-bac program also includes mock interviews and some post-bac-only electives (pathophysiology, clinical behavioral medicine, topics in medicine). I’ll also get a committee letter of recommendation. More good stuff.

And back to that “structure” issue. As I said, I am already an organized person. For undergrad, I went to a huge state university (30,000+ students, counting grad and undergrad) and did just fine. Excellent, as a matter of fact. But that was nearly a decade ago. I haven’t been a student in a long time, and I think the structure will help me ease back into that world of study-dom. As Richard said at the OPM conference this summer, in his “Things non-traditional students should know” presentation: #7 Learn To Be A Student. I think the added structure will help me re-learn those skills so that I can really put forth my best foot. And we only get one shot here, because once you get a grade, that grade stays with you.

My thoughts at least. Best wishes with deciding!