Questions Questions Questions!!

I am glad i found this site. I am 31 years old and am interested in going to medical school. I am in the very beginning stage of doing the research of what it will take to get me there.

In 06 I graduated from college with a criminal justice degree, i took chem1, bio, human anatomy, none of which were required, i was just interested in them.

Do you enroll in college as a non degree seeking student to take the prereqs, do you enroll in a premed post bacc program? How do you fund the classes? Are federal loans available?

Thanks for taking the time to help me.

Welcome to OPM!!

There are a few options open to you. There is definitely the formal Post Bacc route, but you will find that these tend to be a bit pricy. The route most at OPM tend to take is a “do it yourself” Post Bacc where you enroll in a 4 yr college / university and take the pre reqs. Some do this as a non-dgree student, but you may find that you are last in line in terms of registering for courses making it difficult to get into the ones you want. The other way is to sign up for another degree and then you will have preferred access to your courses. From what I understand, you do not actually have to finish the 2nd degree.

Anyway, hope that helps to start.

We’re a friendly bunch so just post any other questions or do a search to get info from past posts about various topics.


Hi and welcome to the group! As Linda mentioned, we are (hopefully) a supportive group of individuals ready and willing to answer any questions you may have, even the ones you think are too elementary to ask!

Although I attended a university that purports to have a post-bacc program, in reality I determined all the classes I took on my own and there really was no guidance as to the process of getting into school (and I’m now finishing up my last year of med school so I guess it worked out OK ). I didn’t find it challenging at all to determine how I would attack my schedule and I would agree that it is unnecessary to go the route of the formal post-bacc. As Linda said, you will probably ultimately save much $$. Give some thought as to where you take your pre-med courses, though, as all schools are not looked at equally when applying.

You will be eligible for federal financial aid for the courses you take assuming you are in good-standing and haven’t maxed out loans.

You can go either formal post-bacc or not, and to whatever school you want. Federal loans are certainly available. I went through the decision process of how/where to go recently as well. I ended up deciding to go to a state school to do my prerequisites. I am doing more of an informal post-bacc route, but I am pursuing a second degree, which allows me to get higher priority in class selection and at some schools may be what you need to do to get advising.

I decided to stretch things out a bit more than a formal post bacc so I could be sure I was learning all I could and could get in volunteering/clinical experience/shadowing/rese arch along the way without overburdening myself. Since I didn’t have any chemistry already, the Chem1/Chem2/Orgo1/Orgo2 sequence will take two years before I apply, and then I have the glide year as well. I wanted to take some upper level biology courses before med school anyways, so pursuing a second bachelor’s in biology only means a couple of other classes and choosing carefully, so it made sense for me. That and the more classes I take (and do well in) the more repair I can do to my GPA. I’m not sure where you are with that, but it may be something to think about.

I am really unsure if being degree-seeking or not has an effect on financial aid. For me, I don’t really get any except unsubsidized loans since I have been earning pretty good money and have quite a bit put away. It seems like I’m being punished for being well-prepared. Well, not really, and when my savings dwindles and I’m making basically nothing, I’ll be eligible for more help.

As far as choosing a school, I think the advice of Judy Colwell is about the best you can get, in that you should get your prerequisites at the most rigorous four year institution that time and money will allow.

Hope some of this helped.


I just wanted to thank yall for responding to me. I have been busy all day reading all the posts on here!

Hi and welcome. Definitely search around the boards here, as it’s a question that many of us have.

I’m a proponent of the informal post-bacc route; feel free to check out relevant posts by me or by “Emergency!” for that perspective.

I applied to a university and enrolled as a degree-seeking student, though I’d already discussed that with advisors. I was actually told to enroll as degree-seeking for preference in course selection, even though I didn’t have real plans to complete the degree.

Anyway, I chose my own courses and completed an informal postbacc, and it worked out well for me. I hope whatever you chose works out for you

Last year i was thinking of getting a second degree and applied at one school, they said they wouldnt take any of my previous credits because i already earned a degree with them? Is that always the case? Or did that particular person just not know what she was talking about?

I guess the main question i am wondering is i am enrolling as a second bachelors degree student, are they going take my Bio 1 and chem 1 class or am i going to have to retake those because i earned a degree?

Also, for those that got into medical school as being a non trad student, did you have hours opon hours of volunteer/shadowing work?

I have ‘experience’ in the medical field. From filing, receptionist, billing and collections. Also did my internship at a medical examiners office for 600 hours and worked there for another 6 months as a death investigator (criminal investigations is my other degree)

I am wondering if this will be enough or if i should attempt to try to squeeze in some volunteering somewhere the next few years as i take pre req courses.

Any thoughts?

Thanks again for your time

I’m not sure about not being able to get a 2nd degree at the same institution as the first degree. I have learned though to verify things with more than one source, so you might want to check with someone else at the school before you just accept that as the truth.

In my situation, I decided to attend a state school as a post-bacc student. From all of the research I did, I found out that post-bacc students can get aid of up to $10,500 for a period of 1 year (if you are not in a degree or certificate granting program). Because my pre-reqs will take longer than 1 year I elected to petition for a second bachelors degree. The chair of the biology department approved it, so I am getting aid again this next year. Because my first bachelors is from a private school I’m nearing the end of the road for subsidized loans. I’ll only get something like $500 in those for this entire coming year. I don’t know yet what that will mean beyond this year though, and am hoping I will be able to continue on just unsubsidized loans. There is no grant money available for students who are beyond a bachelors degree (post-bacc or masters). HTH. Good luck to you!

Hi, Venus. Speaking as one of the non-trads who was accepted, I did have a lot of volunteer experience in general, but not a lot in the medical arena. I had done some volunteering at a hospital and then had shadowed a physician once or twice a week for a summer and for a semester in college. It was enough to reinforce that I wanted to be a physician, but wasn’t anything huge. Much of my other volunteer experience was with civic and non-profit organizations.

I have not served on admissions committees (perhaps others here who have can also comment) but my perception prior to being accepted was that adcoms (at least at the schools at which I interviewed) were interested in seeing candidates committed to others who were well-rounded and had adequate contact with patient care to be sure they still were convinced medicine was right for them.

I always felt that adcoms would be able to see through people volunteering for the sake of getting into med school, so my advice would be to volunteer in areas which you have passion, and to get enough volunteer experience with direct patient contact to be able to speak to why you know that practicing medicine is right for you. I do think the latter is important–I have seen students in med school who didn’t get this experience and regretted their decision to go to med school. You don’t want to be one of them!