Post-bacc duration...

Just curious, I’m currently taking intro chemistry with plans to take gen chem, biology I, algebra II in the summer. Is this a bit much for someone working full-time? How many classes would you generally take per semester during your post-bacc? I’d like to do three, but I’m leaning toward two (plus labs) to keep it safe. Although I’m fairly young (22 1/2), I’d like to keep myself on track for 2-3 years at a steady pace.

I think you’re in great danger of overextending yourself by doing all that. Most people take two classes (six credits) over the summer, and that’s considered “full time.” I know you are chomping at the bit to apply, but it’s a lot better to do this whole process right the first time than it is to do it over and possibly have some poor grades on your record to overcome.

Do you absolutely have to do your pre-reqs during the summer? It’s probably better to take them during the regular semester if you can, if for no other reason than that you really need to learn this info well before you go to prep for the MCAT. For the summer, why don’t you take the algebra and then another class that would be helpful but isn’t a pre-req, like a foreign language or psych? Or, if you feel like you absolutely must take a science class, how about a nutrition class? That is one subject that IMHO is not well-taught in med school, and I wish I had a better background in it. I counsel patients about improving their diets in clinic all the time, so some nutrition training would definitely come in handy.

Unless the summer session at your school is the same length as the regular academic year (which can be the case at a school that is on a quarter system), I would NOT attempt to take three courses and work full time during the summer, especially if they have labs. If the summer session is condensed, as Q mentioned, one or two courses is more than enough. You really want a good foundation in gen chem both for the MCAT and organic chemistry and it can be very difficult to retain much of anything in a binge and purge summer session. Trust me on this - I took the entire year of organic in an 8 week session and don’t remember much of anything. Fortunately, I took the MCAT days after finishing organic and before it all had seeped from my gray matter.

Algebra II probably wouldn’t be a bad class to take in a summer session. During the regular year, two classes with labs and a full time job may be more than enough, depending on the time requirements of the labs. Chemistry labs in particular often require a lot of time outside of scheduled labs for doing pre-lab prep work and lab reports.

You want to do well - far better to start out easy and gradually build up your load as you find you can handle it than to overload and risk doing poorly.

Good luck!

Thanks, both of you, for your advice. Anxious as I am, I’m still leaning toward taking two classes per semester (at least while I’m working). I just wanted to get a better idea from people who have already been through this part of the journey.