Post-Bacc Dilemma

Hi everyone!!
I’m starting my pre-req’s in the fall and desperately need advice. Here is my sitaution - I already have my Bachelors, however I have a low gpa and I haven’t taken any of the pre-req’s for medical school. I’m going to take one course in the fall but I don’t know where I should take it. I was originally thinking Harvard Extension. The tuition is reasonable and needless to say they have a great reputation. However, due to the fact that my GPA is so low I may need to take more than just the pre-req’s, in fact I’ll probably need to get a second bachelors degree. Unfortunatly, Harvard Extension school doesnt grant second bachelor degrees. Should I start taking classes at HES and then re-evaluate the situation in a year, figure out if I need a second degree or should I start taking classes at a University where I would be eligible to get a second bachelors degree if I need to? I was thinking about Boston University but the tuition is so expensive!!! Does it matter if I take courses at one school or two? And do I need a second degree? Could I just take courses at HES until my GPA is somewhat competetive for MED school? Or would a second degree better my chances for admissions? Any advice???

I think your best option at this point would be to take your transcripts and make an appointment to meet with a professional school or medical school admissions advisor. I’m assuming that if you haven’t taken any of the pre-req’s, you probably don’t have very many poor grades that will count against you in the BCPM (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Math) GPA unless you were a math major. It is possible that you could be a competitive applicant with a less than stellar overall GPA if you do very well in the pre-reqs.
My undergrad GPA was a 2.88. However, I have shown a definite upward trend (4.0 in my Masters and all A’s in my pre-reqs). Yes, there are some medical schools that will not even give you a chance with a low overall GPA. The admissions people I have talked to at a couple of the schools I am interested in have said their schools have no “fixed” GPA cutoff. They look at the entire academic record before making a decision.
There are advantages to a post-bacc. I think this has been discussed extensively in other posts. Try a search (and extend the time beyond the default 30 days). There are also advantages to doing it yourself, and other advantages to seeking another degree.
Many students declare themselves as seeking a second degree for financial aid reasons. If you claim to be seeking a degree, you get more financial aid than if you are a non-degree student. Non-degree students are eligible for 12 consecutive months of financial aid to take coursework required for admission to professional school.
You can take the courses at multiple schools. I will have transcripts from five different schools. I would encourage taking as many courses as you can at the same school so that you have the opportunity to get to know faculty and have them as references.
Hope this helps!

If you need to bulk up on education, and you are in the Boston area, check out U-Mass Boston. It’s way cheaper than BU and other schools, and the quality is pretty good. I can tell you that their computer science and math courses were top notch, at least back in the late 80s-early 90s, better for sure than BU Metropolitan College which in my experience had a lot of incompetent teachers and charged too much money. BU in general is over-priced; I guess it’s what the market can bear, though.

I was in the same situation - low undergrad GPA. I took my pre-reqs (the good news is that I hadn’t taken any of them as an undergrad) and ended up with some 35 credit hours of post-bacc work with a 4.0.

I’d just take them at whichever 4 year school is convient for you to get to and affordable. I don’t know that reputation means that much at this point - I was told that in a situation like mine, the MCAT is really the “tie breaker” that will legitimize your post-bacc work.

If you had a 2.5 as an under grad, a 4.0 as a post bacc, and a 35 on the MCAT, it tells one tale…if you had a 2.5 as a under grad, a 3.5 as a post bacc, and a 20 on the MCAT, it tells another so to speak.

Good luck!

I would like to ask 2 questions.
1) my undergrad gpa is 2.3, my post post bac is about 3.0 and my MCAT 23. I am planning to take grad couse work, to up my gpa. do you think I have a chance in the DO world?
2) I had gotten a D in orgo chem II in a very good school, but the prof was a cut me little slack, curves where offered to other students, but where not reflected upon my grades. My first attemtp to change the grade through the department was denied. I’ve retaken the class in another school getting an A. I’ve contacted the school where I obtained the D, and they are open to offer my a W on my transcript…Ok, which is better, W’s on my trans with an A replacment, or D’s on my trans with A replament? The W does not effect my gpa where a D does…

Okay, easy question first:
2)A W is better than a D.
1) How good your chances are depends on how you perform from here on out. I know you realize you’re not in shape to apply this year. How confident are you that you’ve overcome whatever problems led to the 2.3 undergrad and the 3.0 postbacc? I think you’ll need some seriously exciting grades in your grad coursework to overcome that, and that means you have to know exactly what went wrong and how you’ll fix it. I’d say you also need to figure out what you can do to improve your MCAT score, I think that has to come up as well before you can apply successfully. You need a strong MCAT to help show that you’re smarter than your previous grades indicate.
When admissions committees see weak undergrad grades and a weak MCAT score, they’re going to ask themselves how you can be successful in med school. Everything you do from here on out has to supply a positive answer to that question.
Good luck! You have a lot of work ahead of you, but don’t we all?

Thanks! My 2.3 gpa is about 14 y/o, and my current gpa is 2.9 w/ D, and around 3.5 without… 14 yr’s ago I was working full time, and caring for a ill mother and father; some truly tough times… I’m planning to take grad level courses to beef up my track record, have tons of medical experience…I guess I just need to take this one step at a time…thanks again…
Oh, do you believ it is better to just enter into a formal grad program? My plan is to take the courses in immunology, a&p, and biochem…my plan B is if I do not make DO by the end of this MCAT’s life I would go PA, get more med experience, retake the mcat then reapply…do you think this is sound, or a bit foolish???

This was my experience when applying: 2.0 from 15 years ago, current gpa was 3.4. Like you I had deaths in my family, divorce, single parenting and working full time. This time back in school I had a D and some Ws after being assaulted. I made a 22 on the MCAT. I have extensive medical background, having worked as a pediatric home health nurse for 17 years, and I got glowing LORs from my professors who knew me well. Still, I got NO interviews from the medical schools. When talking to them, they were cautious mostly from the MCAT score, the Ws (though I had a good explanation, which was also addressed in my personal statement) and several schools mentioned a gpa “cutoff” as well. I just wanted to tell you my story and give you some idea as to what you are up against. I will be going to med school in the UK in January, but that was a personal choice (rather than grad school). I wish you the best.

Hmm…I would say take grad school courses (enter a formal program only if you intend to get a graduate degree and the subject interests you).
It sounds as if you’re not confident you can pump up that MCAT score (or, understandably, you just really don’t want to take it again now). Did you take lots of practice tests when studying? Did you go back over every practice test, asking yourself on each question why you got it right, or why you got it wrong, so you could either review the science or get better at understanding the questions?
If getting the W turns your current GPA to 3.5, and you only have the one W, you’re in better shape than I thought. I think if you pull up the MCAT you may have a good chance. I’d suggest contacting the schools that interest you and see what they advise.
Going PA and getting more medical experience sounds like rather a long detour (especially if PA school would cost you what it costs around here). If medical experience is already your strong suit, and academics are the challenge, then I’d work on the latter.
Just my two cents; I’m still trudging along the pre-med path myself.

Sound advice. I need to stay within a specific geographic region. If I move too far my joint custody can be contended…As far as the MCAT, I’m a bit spent over it. I poured over it, took practice tests, scored 9-11’s, I’ve written and published a book, but choked on test day…23. I’m not the most intelligent guy around, but I know I’m capable of succeding through medical school and as a DO. The night before the exam my 2 y/o son became ill, I didn’t sleep till the night after… I think I fell a sleep three times during the MCAT…hence a 23 and median writting score…Yes, at the moment life is truely happening, but how do I present myself to a DO school so they see through/past the numbers and see my ability to succed. I understand grad courses are one step, as, YUCK, retaking the MCAT’s.
I’ve avoided explaining away my performance in my personal statment, rather it is a journey through experiences ending/commencing with the decision of the reader…I guess I a need to just cool my jets and take one step at a time, not rush, and focus myself on succeding at the task on hand, rather than just getting in as soon as possible…wich equals a possible retake of the MCAT…YUCK!!!