Proximity to Family

Hey folks,

Just thought I would take a quick poll of opinions. I’m going to start my premed sciences next year when I’m 29. It’s going to take at least 2 but probably 3 years before I can matriculate. I was shopping for some formal/informal post bacc programs, but they are few and far between in Texas where I am originally from.

Because of undergrad/military service I have been displaced from my family for more than 10 years now. It’s possible that I could furnish a more “competitive” application by moving somewhere unfamiliar and attending a premed postbacc program. But it would be just as easy to design a do-it-yourself post bacc at a Tx state school and be within hours of my entire family.

I think quality of life is an easy thing to neglect when you’re planning this thing out even sometimes to the detriment of your own goals. I realize that this is sort of an individual question, but what would you do? I find myself torn between the desire to produce the strongest possible application and the desire to nurture a little bit of fulfillment outside of education for the next 3-10 years. What are your thoughts?

Hello Hawkunit,

I think it’s wise that you are concerned about your proximity to family. They are your strongest support system and you will need them a much as possible during your journey. I don’t know about Texas; I live in Arizona. I also need to get my prereqs out of the way but I am fortunate that there are options here. If there weren’t, it wouldn’t be possible because I have a family. I have been doing a lot of reading on this site as well as the student doctor network and a do-it-yourself post bacc program seems to be very common as you can tailor it to meet your specific needs. I can only speak for myself but I think the consideration of your family as well as your individual need for support definitely warrants staying in Texas and designing your own post bacc program. Since you have been displaced from your family for so long, quality of life is definitely something you should also pursue. You will enjoy being in close proximity to your family. It just might be the extra boost you will need to get through pre-med and prepare for med school. Good Luck!

Personally, I feel that there are only a couple of times that you have an advantage by going to a formal post-bacc program. One is if you are accepted to one that has a linkage with a medical school where if you successfully complete the requirements you are guaranteed a seat in the linked medical school. The other is if you have your heart set on going to a particular medical school and whatever university you are affiliated with has a formal post-bacc program.

Personally, though, I don’t feel that most people need a formal program. I do think it helps if you can take your pre-reqs at a university that has a good reputation or is known to place a lot of their students in medical schools, but not necessary. I feel the fact that I took most of my pre-reqs through Ohio State (on my own) certainly helped my application at Ohio State because they are very familiar with the rigor of the courses.

Actually if Texas is your homestate, and where most of your family is situated and where you would like to be situated…I think you might have a lot of good opportunities. One, it seems as though Texas medical schools and I believe there are quite a few, are very preferential towards their own residents.

As for the post-bacc isssue, I totally agree with Emergency about this one. The only thing that I can think that you will get more from a post bac than an informal path, is the price tag which can be high.

Considering the fact that you have already been separated from many of your family, I probably would opt to spend some time with them as you work on your post-bacc. A couple of years down the road if you decide to go to on a more distant medical school, your travels will definitely be a lot shorter than from commuting across the ocean!

Having lived in Texas for 6 years, I am kicking myself for not doing medical school there. I did my pre-reqs there at several instituations (Baylor - waco, Temple CC,…). The tuition is so cheap there for medical school & pre-reqs (except Baylor). TX has it’s own admission process for it’s 8 medical schools, TMDSAS…just google it for some great info.

Family is very important and I would stay close to them if you can.

Where are you in TX? I did time at Ft. Hood & San Antonio.


I didn’t think proximity to family would matter. I was also in the military and was used to being away form them. However, by chance, I was able to do my post-bacc, med school and internship in my home city. The times I was able to spend with my family were great breaks. Sometimes I was able to have or dinner with them, sometimes it was just stopping by my mom’s work to say hi after clinic (my outpatient clinic intern year was across the street from where she worked). If going home to them is an option, go for it. Texas is great state because it has so many options for post-bacc and medical school.

I can’t speak to med school specifically but I can say that I went to graduate school over 700 miles away from most of my family (besides spouse and kid, obviously) and I now think that going so far away was a bit of a mistake. Particularly when you have kids, organizing it so that you and they can see family is no small task. The travel gets old and expensive rather quickly. Given that you’ve already spent time away, I’d agree with the others that you should seriously consider the advantages of social and moral support being close-by. I didn’t think it would matter to me, as I’m quite independent, but it turns out it does matter. I can’t tell you how helpful it was for my friends who had family nearby to facilitate the balance of their work, school, and family obligations. I was constantly under stress to balance everything with just me, my spouse, and daughter and a couple of good friends. All of us suffered because of the distance.

Go home. Having people around you who love you while you’re in school is priceless.

Good advice from OPM as usual. See Topic#42325 for my own recent experience with a similar decision.

I did an informal post-bacc at OU. If you have access to a good pre-med advisor - one should be available at any of the Big 12 schools in TX - she/he should be able to help you make a reasonable plan. From there you have the opportunity to demonstrate that you can execute your strategy on schedule with high academic achievement.

The TMDSAS is a unique system. Personally, I didn’t find it appealing. I felt it gave the “state” too much control over my choices. I applied both in- and out-of-state, but not in Texas. I am more than pleased with the results I got.