Roll-Call: Post-Baccs

Hi everyone, I often have to go to SDN to check on the post-bacc forum, but generally I call this site home. Just has a better feel. Where are the post-baccs here? Where are you doing your post-bacc? When do you hope to start med school? I think it’s great to know who is who, so we can follow up with each other throughout this whole process.
I’ll start:
I’m starting my post-bacc come May ( woo-hoo! Can’t wait)at Bryn Mawr. I hope to start medical school in 2006 or, better yet, in 2005, if one of the linkages/consort schools work out for me.

Where are the post-baccs here?

Here I am!

Where are you doing your post-bacc?

City College (a division of CUNY)

They actively encourage post-baccs to come in. They have all the courses that you might want (including different flavors, like calculus-based or non-calculus-based general physics). I have complained in the past about the paucity of night courses-- how they are scheduled always on Mons. and Weds. making it difficult to move quickly through your coursework if you don’t have days free.

There’s definitely a science-y vibe to the place although the science library is pathetic. It is the real New York, diverse, friendly, and funky. Your classmates range in age from 15-50, and were born in every country in the world. There are many students who have very little in the way of basic skills and it’s not infrequent to give an exam where 50% of the class fails because of this-- it can be quite sad, but in my opinion it is the fault of our crappy NYC public middle and high schools, not CUNY itself. The professors seem quite accomplished and tough-- the TAs vary widely, from smart and cool to clueless and hostile.

City will admit you up to a couple of weeks before the semester in question.

When do you hope to start med school?

Sept. 2006 or choke their rivers with our dead!!! Yeehah!

Can I make a suggestion? Each of you enrolled in a post-bacc program, tell a little bit about the program, what it offers, why you chose it. (e.g. iwant2bmd, explain about those linkages!) The questions about post-baccs come up ALL the time and this would be a great thread to share a lot of useful information.
My own post-bacc (old news, but in the spirit of sharing): I didn’t do a formal program. I attended George Mason University as a non-degree student over two years. By taking 30 credits at the school (and exceeding GPA and MCAT cutoffs that I don’t remember), I was able to use their pre-med committee. In my two years, I took gen-chem 1&2, o-chem 1&2, cell bio & microbiology, physics 1&2 for a total of 32 credits. All other necessary prerequisites (calculus, english) were OK from my previous college experience 20 years previously.

I tried entering a formal post-bac twice, and was rejected each time, so I quit my job and did the post-bac on my own at UCONN. This took me two years to complete the physics, genchem, Ochem, and biology requirements, along with psychology, cell bio, genetics, biochemistry, and … I too was able to use the premed folks who were great. All the old stuff, again, like Mary, was 20 years old, but still okay.
Now I’m back at work, with the same company, and I will be entering med school this fall!!! I just can’t wait to quit my job - again!

Hi all, I am just getting my tootsies wet with one post-bac class this semester at Harvard Extension School. This is an excellent resource for me, within commuting distance. I have not yet applied to their formal post-bac program but one can happily take a course or two to test the waters without being enrolled in the program. So far… I love it! The class I am taking is challenging, and the people in it are smart (surprise surprise) but for the cost of taking a community college class I am in an excellent class that will definitely count towards my post bac without any pre-reqs. I will have to get some ducks in a row when I want to formally join the post-bacc program, but I figured an excellent grade from the head of the program would not go amiss. (That is my plan anyway )
I took an EMT class last semester at a local CC, and passed my MA state practical exam. Now I just have to take the written and I will have my ticket to work. When I will fit that in I do not know (since I am home looking after my four boys all the time I am not studying!)

I’m doing an informal post bacc at the University of Minnesota. I don’t think there are many formal post bacc programs in the midwest, and there are none in Minnesota. I hadn’t even realized post bacc programs existed when I started. I didn’t get very good advice from the U of M when I started off. Last year I took intro to biology I: evolutionary and ecological perspectives, followed by intro to biology II: molecular, cellular, & developmental perspectives. This is the general bio sequence for bio majors, however, last month I found out from the brand new health careers center that the first class isn’t accepted by the U of M’s med school because it’s evolution and ecology. I have to take a zoology or a physiology class to satisfy their requirements. Plus, they say I need to take calc based physics because the trig based physics classes the U offers are “high school level” and not appropriate. I am trying to jump through all of the hoops my state school throws my way, however, because I really want to go here. (location!) It’s going to take me three years to get through all of my prereqs, but I’m almost 2/3 done.

Hey there!! I finally decided to apply to a postbacc program last Fall after debating the matter for years (attending last year’s OPM conference was one of the final pushes). I wanted a more formal program because I felt the need to belong to something that was officially “pre-med”.

A little background: I was one of those people who wanted to be a doctor from the time I was 4. I did very well in high school and everything seemed to be well underway. I got into some good schools and declared my premed intentions from the get go. Halfway through college I freaked. I wasn’t doing well in Orgo (didn’t know how to study for it). I felt that this meant I wasn’t good enough to be a doctor. Discouraged, I dropped pre-med and declared a double major in Music and Comp Science. Music, because it’s something else that I loved all my life and I had tremendous fun in the one required course I took. Comp Sci, because I knew I’d need to work a few years while I figured things out and the whole thing was just starting to boom. Years later, I am still at the first job I took out of college. Miserable and bored to tears, thinking about medicine on a daily basis. Last summer I decided I had to do something about it and so now I am pre-med again!

I decided to apply to Columbia first for two reasons. First, it’s where I went undergrad so I am already very familiar with all the processes. I wouldn’t have to worry about learning the way a new school works. Also, I did take some of my pre-reqs in 1992 and 1993. I didn’t do as well as I would have liked and so I felt I had some unfinished business there. Secondly, my husband is an employee of Columbia University and due to that I get tuition exemption. So while other schools may be a lot cheaper than Columbia, I can go to Columbia almost for free (all I pay is the student fee for the semester - about $100). So I figured I’d definitely go there if accepted. I did request the information from a few other schools in case.

I heard back from Columbia in October and was accepted to their postbacc program. I was so excited to be heading back to school (albeit part-time). I meet with an advisor in December and was told I’d have to retake all my Science courses except the labs. I didn’t have to do Math again since I had taken 2 years of Calculus and done well in them. I was fine with that because I am not in a hurry and I actually wanted to take the courses over and really learn them this time. The only pre-req which they encourage taking off-sequence is Physics. And so I am now enrolled in Physics I and will be taking Physics II over the summer. So far I am doing decently well, though having just purchased our first home has distracted me a bit. I think I can still pull off a good grade though.

Prior to going into the program at Columbia, I was a bit scared about it due to the bad things I had heard on SDN. Thankfully I’ve been pleasantly surprised. The new advisors, up to now, seem to care and everything seems better organized than it used to be. I had been contacting the program on and off for years and I would say that it seems better now than before. My advisor has been helpful and available. The other postbaccs in the program while intense and competitive, are also friendly and helpful. I’ve already met several very nice people who I chat with after class and on AIM. Having gone there undergrad, I actally feel that it is slightly less cut-throat than what it felt like 12 years ago. Maybe it’s because the night section is smalley, or it might just be that as an older student I am no longer phased by that kind of thing. Anyway, so far I am having a nice time at this program and am glad to be in it.

I am still working full-time because we’d have to set up our townhouse and clear off as much debt as possible before I can afford to make any changes in the work front. I’ve been working as a Systems Analyst for 7 years now. It’s been harder than I anticipated to balance work and school. I started off very well but now work has gotten extremely busy and I’m having to stay late all the time. I really wish I could quit this job (Oh, it’s in CT and I have to commute up here every day) and get a health care field job in the City. But this would mean cutting down to half my pay. I do plan on doing that eventually but can’t just yet. My plan to keep working here full-time and taking one course through summer 2005. I will be taking General Chemistry next year. After that I will probably have to take a year off from school and work part-time for some family business. After that I will have to enroll in school full-time for one year to do Orgo and Bio (and MCAT). Columbia’s program requires this full-time year in order for you to get their commitee recommendation letter. At some point in there I do plan on getting a more relevant job in the city and on doing my volunteer work. Right now I’m taking things one year at a time. Though I know deep inside that medicine is where I should be, I am still very frightened and doubtful of myself. Being back in school feels like a step in the right direction so I’m hoping that my motivation will continue to increase and my fears subside.

I’m estimating starting medical school in 2008 ± 1 year.

Feel free to PM me or email at if you’d like to talk about anything.

Oh forgot to add this: Columbia’s postbacc program


for post-bacs! O.k. I have taken a few classes at Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) while working full-time. I took Chem 101 (to just get a sense of chemistry again) a few years ago, College Algebra (which was pass/fail–gotta love that), PreCalculus I (last semester) and PreCalculus II (this semster and the class from hell–see my other posts).
I’ve been accepted two places for Fall 2004: Old Dominion University and University of North Carolina - Greensboro, and I have not yet decided where I’ll be going yet. (See other posts). I really need to make a decision soon as both have sent me my FA packages and I have to accept or decline and I need to put down deposits/turn in health forms. Both of these schools are “informal” programs so I’d be a “2nd degree bachelor’s student” for FA purposes. It’s unlikely that I will actually earn another degree. My goal is to take Biology, Chemistry, and PreCalc (again) for 2004-05. Depending on which school I attend and what their summer offerings are (and what kind of mood I’m in), I could squeeze in O-Chem and Physics in Summer 2005 and take the August 2005 MCAT. OR, I could take the summer off and work (hopefully in a healthcare-related job) and take O-chem and Physics for 2005-2006 and take the April 2006 MCAT.
So that’s the plan.
Also, congrats to Hilda for finally making the jump into Columbia! I know you were wavering last year at the conference, and I’m glad you will be joining me in the madness.
P.S. There is also a possiblity that I could get into Barry University’s (formal) post-bac program. Unlike JHU and Goucher, they have not rejected me - yet.

I am doing an informal post-bacc at the University of Texas in Arlington. They seem to have a number of older pre-meds, so I am somewhere in the middle age-wise. We tend to hang pretty close to each other. My lab partner from Biology I is a careflight medic. He is really cool. The advisor there really seems to have a feel for what we need to do in order to make ourselves “more appealing” to the adcoms at the schools.
Hopefully, if I can keeping grinding away, I’ll be taking the MCAT next April and start the application process.

Wow! You all gave so much great information, I feel like I need elaborate a little about myself.
Unlike most people who end up in medical school, I had no incling when I was 6, 12, 18 that I wanted to be a doctor. When I was in elementary school, a teacher told my mother (in front of me) that I should be a lawyer and from then on I wanted to be a lawyer. It’s amazing the effect people can have on you and your life in those susceptible years.
Anyhow, from then on, I focused my efforts on law school. I majored in communications and only took 2 science classes for non-majors, because that was required by the school. I attended a top 10 law school and did well. I also received a dual degree in biomedical ethics. Then, I worked in a large law firm in Manhattan for 2 years. Very quickly, I started realizing that I wasn’t happy. I still needed to complete some hours for clinical internship for the master’s in bioethics. That combination - realizng that I was miserable in my current profession v. seeing how much I like what those doctors who I was shadowing were doing - just sealed it for me. I started floating the idea with family/friends - some were supportive, some weren’t. I started researching post-baccs.
From the beginning, I focused my efforts on small formal programs, like Goucher and Bryn Mawr. I went a large state school for undergrad - a commuter school - where for the most parts, students and professors alike were not interested in the material. For law school, I was in a very cohesive and engaging learnign environment and it made all the difference. My previous experiences have taught me that, for me, sometimes the right teacher can make the difference. I also know that I do better in situations where everyone bring their best game forward. I feel like I’ve had essentially no base in science. Therefore, the post-bacc is really my one chance to cement/create any base of science knowledge. I think thereafter I can have the tools/knowledge to teach myself and not depend so much on the professor and peers for stimulation. Anyhow, the program is super supportive. If you need a tutor, they’ll get you one. They offer their own in-house MCAT preparation…and the program is geared towards people like me - career changers with absolutely no science background who want to get into medical school and do well on the April MCAT.
Anyhow, my only concern/hangup is the money, but I figure that going to this program might open up more options in terms of my acceptances to more medical schools (particularly state schools). Also, they have these linkages with 9 medical schools - Brown (no MCAT required), Dartmouth (no MCAT required), Rochester (no MCAT required), SUNY-Stonybrook, SUNY-downstate, GWU, Temple, Drexel, Jefferson. Some don’t require the MCAT, and others required that you meet the average stats - 9 on each section of the MCAT - 27 cum and a 3.5 GPA. Frankly, from what I’ve heard, a 3.5 and 27 in the MCAT won’t get you that far in the general applicant pool. You avoid a lot of headache/worry, with these linkages. Plus, you avoid the glide year, which means you graduated form the program in May and start medical school in August.
So I’ve written way too much…but I just want to tell you more about me, the program, and why I chose it.

Hi all,
These are great posts about post-bacs. I am sure all the posts here will help those who are trying to decide what to do.

I am doing a roll-your-own postbacc at UW-Milwaukee. I took Gen. Chem 1 in spring of 03, then cut back to an 80% appointment at work in starting July 1. I took the second semester of chem in the summer, took O-chem 1 and bio 1 in fall, and am taking just o-chem 2 (with two days of lab) right now. I’m going to take the summer “off” and spend more time shadowing physicians.
In the fall I’ll take 1st semester physics and finish bio, then take second semester physics and study for the MCAT in the spring. In my glide year, I’ll take calculus and biochem if I decide to apply to schools that apply them.

I just finished my last post-bacc class in February, and after the MCAT next week, I’ll by applying!
I’ve done my own program, I guess you could say. I went to City College of New York for Gen Chem 1, and then I moved home to Minnesota (for a few different reasons, but mainly to save money). I took intro Bio 1 and 2, Gen Chem 2, Orgo 1 and 2, and Physics 1 at a community college near Minneapolis (a very excellent one!). I also took genetics, calculus 1 and 2, and a calc-based statistics class there.
Before I started at the community college, I contacted several med schools I was interested in and they told me that the CC would be fine. But later some of them started changing their policies, and I also found out that some other med schools don’t take CC credits at all. That was last spring and that put me in quite a bind! So then last summer I “transferred” to the University of Minnesota, where I took multivariable calculus, physical chemistry and physics 2 (calc-based). (The extra math was a pre-req for the chemistry class, and I was considering actually finishing a chemistry degree there. However, I don’t think I really have a fourth post-bacc year in me!) And this past winter I took Biological chemistry at Carleton College. Carleton doesn’t have anything remotely resembling a post-bacc program, but I’m an alum so they let me take classes. I wish I’d thought of doing that earlier! I was an English and religion major in college, so I got the humanities stuff done back then.
Before I started out as a postbacc, I really considered applying to both Bryn Mawr and Columbia. And I did apply and get into CCNY. But I couldn’t afford to live in Manhattan, and I didn’t want to be in too rarified an environment at this particular point in my education (since I’d already gone to a small private school for undergrad), which is why I ultimately chose the public school route.
Although it’s been frustrating to know that some schools will give me trouble because I attended a CC, there’ve been some benefits as well. I was able to afford to take more electives than if I’d gone to the U of M for all the pre-reqs, and one of those electives (p-chem) helped lead to a summer research position in chemistry this summer, which I’ll be starting in June.
Oh, and I’ve volunteered at some hospitals here in Minneapolis, and spent one of my summers working at an orphanage in Russia, and touring pediatric hospitals there. So I’ve had a well rounded experience, overall, I think! I’m the type of person who likes to plan things myself, so putting my own post-bacc together has been exciting.
Hopefully I’ll get to start med school in 2005. I’m planning to apply to a long list of US and Canadian allopathic schools, and possibly to some European schools, such as the Atlantic Bridge program in Ireland.

I took 10.5 years finishing a BA in Philosophy, which I receive in May. Since I have essentially no science pre-reqs, I start the University of Tulsa this fall. It’s not a formal post-bacc program and I’m enrolled as a non-degree seeking student, but I have the same access to pre-med advisors as everyone else.
Before anyone asks, I loved philosophy and it was easy for me. But at heart I’m a science geek and am fascinated by medicine; the sooner I can do well in my math and science classes so people stop assuming I’m weak in them the better. My first choice would be to attend OSU-COM in 2007.

I’m doing my post bac at Hofstra University on Long Island. They claim to have a formal post bac but there are VERY few of us. Actually, I haven’t met any others. I’m not sure I can recommend it here. It is a lot different from Bryn Mawr or the other more formal programs. I’ve been disappointed by the lack of coordination. I choose it here because of convience for my family. There is no linkage here but we do have access to a premed advisor and the premed committee. Some of the professors are very good and some not… Anyway, I’m probably 10 years older than anyone in any of my classes. The average age is less than half mine… but it hasn’t been a problem.
I’m on my second semester here and will finish up this summer before the august mcat. I can’t believe its getting close to application time. It goes faster than I thought.
Good luck to all.

I’m just finishing my post-bac at Loyola University of Chicago. Loyola is a ‘formal/informal’ program. You get to pick the classes you need, a good portion of the post bac’s take the ‘big four’ pre-med classes. If you take more than 16 science credits at Loyola, you can participate in their committee. In almost every regard, you are doing this right along with the undergraduates. And, since Loyola does registration based on previously completed credit hours, post bacs register before most other students.
I’ve done my post-bac in two semesters, taking GChem, OChem, Physics, and Bio. I had Physics and G-Chem as an undergard 13 years ago, but wanted to take them as a review. I’ve found this an excellent year long MCAT preparation course!
I’ll be taking MCAT in April and applying in June. If anyone has any questions about Loyola, let me know.
-Matt Smith

That is great Loyola lets post baccs register first! The problem I have been having as a non degreee seeking student ( I already have a BS and a masters)is that I am the last to register and the classes fill. Good Luck with the MCAT!

I just started an informal post-bacc program at the University of Maryland called, “Science in the Evening.” My experience thus far has been very positive. The courses range from all of the basic science pre-reqs to courses in Genetics to Pathogenic Microbiology.
All courses are taught in the evening on Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday schedules to make it easier for working professionals or those who are working in a health care field to gain more clinical exposure.
You have full access to UM’s premed advisors, and the administrators of the post-bacc program are very friendly and responsive if you have questions, comments, etc. I recently emailed them about adding a biochem course, and they responded immediately with an enthusiastic committment to find a professor for it.
The class sizes are very small. Currently, I have 15 people in my Chem I class, and only 8 people in my lab/discussion section. Also, they offer night classes over the summer as well to speed up the process of obtaining credits.
There is a camraderie in the class I am taking, and most of us will be taking the remaining classes in tandem.
The only drawbacks so far that I can see are the cost (for a State school, Maryland is very high and does NOT give in-state status to DC residents), lack of any linkage program, and no certificate of completion.
If you live in the area and are looking for an informal program, however, this is definitely a great place to look.

You know, I feel this random need to promote Georgetown. I think there are people who don’t like the program there because it doesn’t provide a lot of structure or hand holding and the classes are really hard but I like it, a lot. The instructors have all been great. It really feels like you get out what you put in. I have made an extra effort to get to know all my profs and it has paid off in that I feel I can ask all of them for letters of recommendation and advice. The best part is how great they were today when I had to drop a class this late for medical reasons. They could not have been nicer and more understanding. Friends of mine had similar situations at SUNY Stony Brook and dealing with the admin there was a nightmare compared to this. Of course, most of my dealings with SUNY Stony Brook have been painful when it comes to record keeping and whatnot.
Anyway, that’s my opinion.
The only downside to GTown is the cost!