I need some advice on the premed post-bac programs that are available. Here’s my background:
I entered UCLA as an undergrad Biology major in 1999 and got horrible grades because I partied too much and lost focus. I quit school a couple years ago to pursue a career in the IT field, but decided it wasn’t for me. I decided to finish undergrad and go for medical school. I am now enrolled in classes for the 2006-2007 year and will get my B.S. in June. My GPA right now is a 2.4, but I can raise it to 3.0, or close to it, by the end of the year (if I work hard). I’m also going to start volunteering at the Medical Center and I’m taking the MCAT in August.
I know I’m gonna need to enroll in a post-bac program to make up for my poor undergrad performance, but I’m having trouble finding one that I would have a chance of getting into. A lot of them seem competitive and there’s a chance that I won’t even make the minimum GPA of 3.0 that some schools require. Are there any programs out there that I can get into? If I get good grades during my final year at UCLA, will my upward trend in grades have any effect on my chances? Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
Just to clarify, before I start dishing out wisdom in two cent increments - you’ll be finishing with a BS and all Med School prereqs in June, and you’re interested in a post-bacc as a sort of higher level coursework and GPA booster?
Yes that’s correct. I’m looking to enroll post-bac purely as a GPA booster. I have a very messy transcript with some withdrawals, a couple repeats, a few F’s, and a 2 year gap where I didn’t attend classes at all. If I had a chance to be accepted without a post-bac program, I would.
- UCLAdoc Said:
Med schools do take into account that a lot of students may get some low grades their freshman year, as long as there is evidence of an upward trend in later years.
If you are ending up with pretty good grades, that's very helpful, of course. But if your overall GPA as well as your GPA for the prerequisite courses (chem, orgo, bio, physics) is not too hot, you might need a post-bacc to convince the adcoms that you are capable of doing the work.
It would also be helpful to demonstrate that you are serious about your career goals by doing some hospital volunteering, shadowing of physicians, and getting some excellent letters of recommendation, and of course you'll want to be able to explain your undergraduate situation--the grades, the two year gap, etc., and how you have overcome your previous issues and can now handle the tremendous responsibilities of medical school.
Regarding post-bacc courses, it's also worth noting that osteopathic schools are a little more forgiving and allow you to substitute good new grades for bad old grades in the same subject. So, for example, a freshman C in chemistry can be replaced by a post-bacc A or B.
Lots of people in this forum have overcome similar difficulties and done very well, so take heart and put your all into it and you'll get there.
Ditto. My undergrad GPA was 2.5. Since returning to school, I’ve been maintaininging a 4.0. Redemption is possible if you are serious about your goals. Just remember to pace yourself & don’t fall behind on homework. I’ve learned to listen to that little voice in my head that keeps saying, “shouldn’t you be studying or something?”
It’s a cliche’ but it’s true: If you want it enough, nothing will stop you. Don’t Panic, get busy!
And good luck!