I have some questions on what my next step should be. I am in my late-20’s, currently finishing up my last year of undergrad in a non-science major. I was a terrible student all throughout my life (failed my first class in the 3rd grade, graduated high school with a sub-2.0 UW GPA), and a lot of my bad habits from high school spilled over into my formative undergrad years as a Biology major (my original undergrad major). I ended up dropping out for a few years and taking classes here and there, but a lot of damage was done, and unfortunately most of it counted towards my science GPA (at one point I had a sGPA <1.0). I have now been a full-time student for the past 2 academic school years. Last year, I averaged a 3.9 GPA, and this year I am really hoping to squeeze out that ever-elusive 4.0 GPA (I got a 4.0 Fall Quarter). FINGERS CROSSED
Nonetheless, I am at a mental crossroads now. The clock’s ticking down as I’m inching closer to my graduation, but I’m still debating whether or not to pursue a formal post-bacc career changer program or a DIY. I like the idea of a small pre-med cohort with advisors and guidance, so the idea of attending a formal post-bacc has its allure. However, due to a string of truly horrific grades during my younger undergrad years, my overall GPA is nothing pretty, which might make me a less than desirable candidate. Hence, why I was looking into a DIY post-bacc. My plan B, aka my DIY plan, would be to move Texas to live and work there for year to gain TX residency before applying for a Second Bachelor’s to fulfill my prereq’s and hopefully take advantage of Texas’ Academic Fresh Start program (grades +10 years old are not considered when applying to graduate programs in Texas), and maybe also reap the benefits of being a Texas resident during my actual med school application process.
My current stats:
If I can pull off another 4.0 this quarter, I’d be sitting on an institutional GPA of 3.02 (~2.97 AMCAS). And if I can finish off the rest of undergrad with all A’s, I’d likely graduate around a 3.2 institutional GPA (~3.005 AMCAS, 3.35 BCPM AMCAS); I have been taking science classes every quarter (none of the prereq’s just biological sciences elective courses, statistics, and mathematics). Also, I am stating my institutional GPA because I read on SDN that several post-bacc’s don’t actually calculate the AMCAS GPA when considering their applicants. Besides school, I also work part-time as an EMT, have worked in clinical laboratories in the past, volunteer (clinical and non-clinical), am currently in the process of becoming a certified medical interpreter, and also currently volunteer in a research lab. I am hoping my EC’s will help balance out my horrendous GPA when applying to post-baccs, but who knows.
Pros and Cons:
- I like the structure and guidance
- Perhaps there is a level of prestige that comes with completing a post-bacc through a reputable program?
- MCAT class included usually
- Small cohort, tight-knit group of likeminded individuals with a common goal; encouraging and supportive atmosphere
- Opportunities for research, volunteering, shadowing
- Small classroom size, better relationship with professor
- Expensive as hell (essentially the only con I can think of); upwards ~$30k tuition for more reputable programs
- After 2 years and a total of 40 semester units, I would be projected to have a AMCAS 3.31 GPA, 3.49 sGPA (after 40 units of 3.7 grade average) or 3.377 GPA, 3.612 sGPA (after 40 units of 4.0 grade average)
- With Academic Fresh Start, I can get rid of some of older grades (this would put me at a projected 3.2 TMDSAS, 3.35 BCPM TMDSAS before the start of post-bacc)
- TMDSAS mandates that all Fresh Start applicants take at least 90 semester units to be considered Fresh Start students, which would give me more units to bring up my GPA even more (also sort of a con, imo)
- TMDSAS TX resident applicants receive a hefty 90% in-state bias at TX public med schools
- TX public school in-state tuition is markedly lower than formal post-bacc tuition; $9k-$12k
- 90 semester units means more time before I begin applying (90 units at 12 units a semester would take 7.5 semesters to complete, at 18 units a semester 5 semesters)
- I would also have to live and work in TX for at least a year to establish residency, which would put me back another 3-4 years before application
- At larger public universities, it might be harder to build relationships with professors/advisors/mentors
- Less supportive pre-med culture
- No real cohort mentality, just undergrad all over again
Note: After 90 semester units of pursuing a Second Bachelor’s, I would have around a TMDSAS 3.395 GPA, 3.561 sGPA (90 units of 3.7 grade average) or 3.51 GPA, 3.74 sGPA (90 units of 4.0 grade average). (AMCAS 3.366 overall GPA after 90 units of 4.0 work; AMCAS sGPA stays the same).
I know I wrote a ton of stuff just now, and I hope some of you actually read it through, but I really need some OPM advice. I was going to post it in SDN, but they tend to be a more pessimistic bunch. So, which would be the better option? You guys can be brutally honest. I’ve got some thick skin. Post-bacc apps are already open, and close to being due, for some schools, so I need to know if it’s even worth it for me to even apply at this point.