Seeking advice for non-traditional career change post bacc candidacy


I have been reading around for some answers to questions for applying to a post bacc, but figured it would be easier to explain my situation and go from there.

I received my undergrad in accounting 1 year ago and am considering a career change to medicine (I am 23 currently).

I have always been surrounded by medicine with my father being an intensivist doctor and my mother having congenital heart disease. I became interested in medicine my junior year of college (right before COVID happened) when I became a full-time caregiver to my mother (my father passed away unfortunately when I was 10). I remained in school and worked it out to where I could go back and forth and was able to take online classes (I am from Florida and went to school in Tennessee) even before COVID happened. So I am familiar with a heavy schedule and balancing it all. I did honestly lose interest in my major that year, but persevered since I was so close to finishing. Now I am in my career and I really don’t feel like it’s my calling. My mom ended up passing away my senior year and afterwards I immediately went into working and finishing school simultaneously. My GPA ended up being around a 3.6, with a slight downward trend towards the end due to dealing with my mom’s passing, COVID and starting work. I was strong in science in high school too.

I am considering applying to a post bacc since I have no science requirements in under grad and my experience is limited to exposure to my dad’s job and caring for my mom throughout my life and especially when I became a caregiver.

I have many years of volunteer experience with a guide dog organization that I think would help and I keep in touch with a few of my parents friends that are doctors. I suppose my questions are - what other experience should I acquire to strengthen my application? Who could I ask for LoRs? I want to end up in Florida and go to med school in Florida, so should I apply to a post bacc in Florida? What do post baccs really look for in an application like mine?

I have applied to a volunteer position at a medical center, but am concerned about there not being positions due to COVID as well as not having enough experience with it before applying.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Firstly, I’m sorry about your losses. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to lose both your parents.

Post-baccs will typically look for academic ability (usually > 3.0 cumulative GPA) and some idea of why you want to go into medicine. The more competitive programs will, of course, have higher standards.

You will need LORs from 2x science and 1x non-science professors, so keep that in mind when you go through your postbacc program. You would also most likely need a LOR from a clinical/shadowing position.

Unless a program has specific linkages, it doesn’t matter. Go with whatever is the cheapest. Note that you may need to maintain your FL resident status for public institutions.

That’s a good start. Typically, they don’t need much experience. Just make sure you are patient-facing.

Your experience with guide dogs is most likely not clinical (if that was what you were wondering). I would get in touch with your parent’s friends and let them know you’re interested in medicine and want to shadow them to see how their day to day is like.

This may count as clinical.

I hope this helps. Good luck with your journey!

@randomusername thank you for the advice! Unfortunately I cannot shadow my parents’ friends since I still reside in TN. Is clinical experience just considered experience that is patient facing?

Yes, exactly. It’s patient facing in a non-clerical way. I think Dr. Gray states it as “if you are close enough to smell the patients, that is clinical experience.”

1 Like

Your background is great for a post bacc, remember you arent applying to med school yet. They like any kind of volunteer experience. If your looking for clinical experience check out this link, its all online…HEAL 101 - July 2022 - Crowdcast

also I have applied and was accepted into post bacc and what they dont tell you until later is that it costs a lot of money that is not covered by fed loans… I dont know about florida (im in PA) but that’s definitely something to research or just call the schools financial aid department and ask about the program and how others are paying for it, definitely a time saver so you dont get in and cant pay like me. A way to get past that is to go apply to undergrad again for a second degree related to medicine and take the core classes (prereqs) and then stop going to school when you finish them, you can still get a committee letter (like the postbacc would give you) and it will be paid for by FAFSA. there are a million ways to get to medical school this is just the way that worked for me.
If you have all that sorted and are still planning to go the postbacc route the LOR can come from your supervisors, past teachers (if they knew you well) anything related to science would be most helpful; and from your volunteer supervisor. When writing your personal statement do some research on the schools your applying to and see what their “ideals” are and how you can present yourself aligning with them in your statement, as well as read about how to make the statement not just an explanation but exciting story telling etc.

@corina2234 Thank you for the info! I have also considered a second degree to get my credits, but I was hearing that it’s a pain to get into classes since new degree seekers get preference, is that the case usually? Is there evidence that a second degree is harder to get into than a post bacc or easier? I definitely don’t want to do a DIY either, sounds like a scheduling nightmare.

I’d say your best bet is to do a DIY post-bacc. Take the classes you need to satisfy requirements and augment your science GPA, unless of course you want a formal post-bacc with linkage.

But that’s a decision for you. The least expensive way to do it, is community college for the lower-division, 4 year for the upper division. That’ll get you in. If you want higher tier schools, then you may want to consider 4 year institutions for all of it. That’s not to say that you can’t get in with community college credits, you just have make sure that you’re not taking them in a way so that it looks like you “couldn’t hack it” in a 4-year institution’s science classes. (ironically, they teach the same material, so that’s a bias to overcome at some med schools)

I think the class availability depends really on the school you attend but if you need specific classes the postbac is great just expensive. The second degree could be undergraduate but it could also be a masters in bio etc. which you would add the prereqs and study for the mcat in the middle of which isnt a bad way to go either, more up to preference.