Questions about pre-med coursework

Hello all…I’m new to this forum, but I’m sure I’ll be on here quite a lot in the coming years!
I am a 28 year old that currently works in the Healthcare IT industry. I will save the rest of my background for another forum at another time though.
here’s my question. I have an undergraduate degree in Information Technology with a 3.43 QPA. I need to go back and take my Bios, Chems, Ochems, and Physics so I can take the MCAT and begin applying to med school. I basically see three options:
1) Go back and get another degree as a pre-med student.
2) Go through a pre-med post bac program.
3) Just take the classes I need as just about every university offers them.
Right now, options 2 and 3 look like the best ones. I am moving to Florida soon, partially to establish residency and to take advantage of the cheap colleges there. There are post-bac programs in Jacksonville, Tampa, and Miami, but not in Orlando - where I will be initially living. So that is my dilemna: should I eventually move to one of those other cities in order to go to the post bac programs or can I get away with just taking classes at UCF that will fulfill my pre-med requirements?
thanks ahead of time for any advice or input you can offer!

I’m starting an “unofficial” post-bacc at UCF in the Fall. It seems just as useful and about 10% as expensive as a formal program.
As far as I’m aware, schools don’t tend to prefer formal over informal post-baccs; they just want you to have the background (however, some post-bacc programs DO seem to have agreements with particular schools).
UCF also has significant pre-med advising available, for what it’s worth. In order to take undergrad classes at UCF, you will need to declare a major (I went with Molecular & Microbiology).

Wow…what are the chances? So it is fairly easy to get pre-med advising then even if you are not a pre-med major?
Thanks for the advice, and I hope you don’t mind if I bug you later on to see how UCF has been treating you.


So it is fairly easy to get pre-med advising then even if you are not a pre-med major?

It depends on the university. Some schools limit their pre-med advising to declared “pre-med” students, others will allow any student to make an appointment with a pre-med advisor. I took my classes as a “Continuing Education” student at Ohio State. I made a couple of appointments with pre-med advisors - one before I even enrolled (to find out what needed to be done and timeline) and never had any difficulty meeting with them, even though I wasn’t enrolled under their “college”.
You definitely don’t need to do a formal post-bac. Other than programs that are linked with a medical school, I don’t think you have any advantage by doing an official program. Competition to get into these programs is often tough, and the bar can be set extremely high in your classes. It can often be easier to shine taking the courses at a regular undergrad institution.
I’ve posted several times before on this - but enroll however you need to enroll to get it done. At some places you can enroll like I did, as a continuing education/non-degree seeking student. Other institutions don’t allow non-degree students to take certain courses and you are forced to declare a “major”, even though you have no intention of actually getting a degree in that major. Another consideration is scheduling priority - you want to make sure you can get into these classes (which, since they are often freshman level courses, can be tough), so you need to find out how to maximize your chances of being able to schedule the classes you need.
In addition to pre-med advisors - do your own research. Check out a couple of “Getting into med school” books from the library, do some searching on here, make an appointment to talk to an admissions counselor at a medical school. Although many pre-med advisors are excellent and really know what they are talking about, many don’t really have a clue, especially when it comes to advising the non-traditional student who isn’t seeking another degree. I have helped three friends through the MCAT/application/LOR process who either didn’t take advantage of the pre-med advising available to them or didn’t get good assistance from the advisor. It is ultimately YOUR responsibility to know the timelines for registering for the MCAT, submitting applications, getting LOR’s and etc, so make the effort to find these things out and adapt the timelines made for “traditional” students to your needs.
Do some browsing through the forums here. There is some really outstanding advice on here from lots of our members about various aspects of the process.
Good luck!


Wow…what are the chances? So it is fairly easy to get pre-med advising then even if you are not a pre-med major?

Thanks for the advice, and I hope you don’t mind if I bug you later on to see how UCF has been treating you.

In the case of UCF, there is no official pre-med major, or even a declaration. Most of the M&M students, though, are looking at some kind of postgrad education: medicine, veterinary med, dentistry, etc.

Re: declaring a major and not finishing

Based on feedback from another thread here, I simply asked the major advisors if that would be a problem; they assured me it wouldn’t. In order to take undergrad courses at UCF, you need to declare a major. M&M was a good match for my interests, and it also allowed a greater selection of higher level Bio coursework.

As a transfer student at UCF, I think I’m classified as a junior for class registration priority - though I still had to go to their new student orientation . As Amy says, you’ll also want to see about financial aid for your particular situation.

There are some great resources available - not just at UCF, which seems helpful, but from OPM as well (I just referred someone here today, actually).

And you’re more than welcome to follow up with me to see how UCF is going. Based on my thread about courseload, though… we’ll have to see how that goes

edit: contact information for UCF transfer services. (Note that when I was contacting their staff before I enrolled, I had some fair to negative experiences; I’ve been very happy with them lately, though. shrug)

UCF Transfer Services : 407-823-5959

tservices -at- mail -dot- ucf -dot- edu

Wow! I wish I would have found this forum a long time ago. I am fortunate that I am working in a pretty good job that should enable me to save enough money to pay for UCF out of pocket. But the advice on M&M and not really needing a post-bac program from you and others will prove to be invaluable. Im used to doing things on my own, so I should be able to stay on top of dates and applications and what not, but having a pre-med advisor to reccommend courses I could see as being a good thing.
How does one go about scheduling an advising session with an actual med school advisor? How receptive are they to us “non-traditional” med students?

Generally, the medical school advisors are very open to talking to non-trads. This is actually a decent time of year to talk to admissions advisors as most of them are winding up their interview processes and have a little downtime while waiting to receive next years applications and start on those. Obviously, they are still busy (When May 15th rolls around they will start calling waitlisted people to fill their class), but this is a good time of year.
I recommend that you do a little homework - know what courses you need to take, have an idea what your timeline is, etc. Go with a list of questions - what is something that most non-traditionals are lacking and/or could improve on? Do you look at the big picture or am I not even competitive at your school due to a low undergrad GPA? Here is my story - do you have any recommendations for what I can do to improve MY application and make me a competitive candidate?
Alternatively - see if there are any “fairs” or open houses for prospective students. One of the things that first got me started on this path was an open house at a local medical school where I got the chance to talk to some current medical students and associate deans. They were very encouraging and gave me some ideas on where I needed to start.