Post-bac troubles

Hi everyone,

I have an odd problem and am hoping someone will have advice on how to overcome it. I’m 25, have been out of school 3.5 years now, and I have a bachelor’s in Biology from a good school, but I know I need to do a post-bac program to improve my grades. The issue is that my experience/credentials are all over the place and I don’t really qualify for most programs because I graduated college with a dismal GPA (overall 2.73). This school is sort of known for “weeding” out undergrad science majors by making it extremely difficult to get above a C in the pre-requisites (Bio, Chem, Calculus…)so I muddled through those classes getting straight C’s. When I got to upper divisions I actually enjoyed my major again and improved my grades, but not enough to counteract all those C’s.

PS, I also failed and had to re-take a semester of Organic Chem lab, not sure if that F will bar me from any/all future schools? Probably. Ugh. I promise I’m not a moron, in high school I actually had a super high GPA and SAT scores so I try to remind myself regularly that I have a brain somewhere in my head.

Dreams of med school seemingly crushed after college, I figured I would just get a job and see how life goes. I’ve spent every day wishing I had done better in college, so now I’m fed up with wondering what could have been and am trying to figure out how to get back on track! No luck so far showing my interest in medicine or research through my work experience - I’ve only managed to get work in general admin sort of positions. I have been volunteering at a physical therapy program for disabled children and in Jan will be starting a volunteer program at a hospital (does anyone else feel like getting a volunteering position at a hospital is as competitive as getting a job? How many pre-med people are there??).

I’m getting nervous and feel like getting into a post-bac program is my last hope. Has anyone else faced problems getting into a post-bac program? Suggestions of alternate paths to take/types of medical or research environments that welcome volunteers? Thoughts?

Welcome to OPM, you are among kindred spirits here.

There is no reason that you need to take a formal post bacc program. You can always do your own by doing the requirements. You have a big hole to dig out of and it will take some time. I was in a similar position and it took almost 10 years to get everything in order to start medical school. But it is possible.

First and foremost, you will need patience. Medical schools want to ensure that you can handle upper level science courses that will allow you to not only be a good physician but that you complete the program as well. It is possible that the best way is to get a masters’ degree in a science. Since you have already completed the pre-requisites, redoing them will not help. Especially since the AAMCAS averages your grades. AACOMAS will replace it with the highest. But that is not the point.

If you are working now, it would be a good idea to continue to work. Take those upper level science courses, get a masters degree but NOT in public health. That will not help you one bit. If you are willing to move to south jersey, UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine has a masters degree program which is a feeder into the medical school.

I hope that this helps. Good luck.

Thanks for the reply! You’re right, I definitely need to slow down and let this process take the time it needs. I stress myself out because I want to make up all the time I feel like I’ve wasted the past 3 years.

I actually had one academic adviser mention that a masters’ might be a better choice for me than a post-bacc. In that conversation it was mentioned as sort of a side note and I don’t think I understood her meaning or put enough thought into how exactly a masters’ might be better for my situation. I may also just have mentally included masters’ degrees in the category of “things I do not qualify for.” Could you elaborate? I mean it makes sense, but I don’t know the reasoning in the background since it’s a new idea for me. Does a masters’ look better/provide more solid proof that a student is dedicated or can can handle the coursework?

Yes I am still working as well! Gotta pay those student loans from undergrad. I have been fortunate enough to get full time work, even if it’s boring me out of my mind. I do still look for health or health-science jobs while at my current job. I’ve found one college that gives evening extension courses that you don’t need to apply to a program to take, so maybe it’s a good idea to step back and look at taking a course or two before trying to apply to a full program? That way I can take care of the one or two pre-requisites that I may still need to get into a masters’ and have a more recent pool of teachers that I could potentially ask for letters of rec.

Also, the UMDNJ program is one that I was looking into! Never been to NJ, how is it?