slow to get started and into a postbac...thoughts/advice?

Hello all!

I would appreciate your advice. I am still trying to get into a solid postbac program that has medical linkages. The only sciences I took in undergrad was a physics for non-majors which I attained an A- in and a historical geology class (yawn) that I flunked, leaving me with a 3.3 undergrad GPA from Tulane University. I got an MA in comparative and international education from Columbia University (3.8 GPA) and in the past four and a half years worked in educational marketing. My desire to become a doctor has always been underlying, but has been really strong the past year and I’m like, okay, I’m going to do this! The only bad news is that I got rejected from Bryn Mawr and Gaucher (with my credentials as is), and Scripps (because they didn’t get a rec letter or all the pieces and hence rejected me). Now I am applying for Tufts, Columbia, Penn, and NYU postbacs in hopes I get in.

Does anyone know any other postbacs with linkage agreements that I should apply to? It seems like all the ones I’ve applied to are really hard. I missed the Temple and John Hopkins postbac deadlines unfortunately. I am hesitant to do and apply to postbac premed programs that don’t have linkage agreements because then it seems like my chances to get into med school are less. Does this sound like a logical thought?

Also, besides volunteering at a hospital, does anyone have any other suggestions on how to bolster up my unrelated, non traditional background?

And last but not least, am I crazy for having med school dreams with this background? How steep of an uphill battle will this be? Can anyone offer a good realistic shake or encouragement?


First of all, I don’t think you are crazy at all for wanting to go to med school- I think it’s amazing that you are following your dreams. It is a LOT of work, time and money, but it’s also an exciting and liberating experience (in my humble opinion :)). I have personally found that Postbacs tend to be more motivated and committed because (just like you said) they have a dream and this is an important step to attaining it. We simply know what we want more than we did when we were 18.

Besides volunteering at a hospital, I would recommend shadowing physicians in other settings, as well. Any sort of scientific/medical research will also be a plus on your application. Unfortunately, none of us can change our past grades but I think that programs definitely see value in someone who has matured and shown growth since their undergrad years. Also, I don’t think your GPA is that low at all- you just have to find the right program for you.

I don’t agree that you should only focus on schools with linkage. Even at Postbac programs with linkage, the majority of students do NOT link. Instead, they apply to multiple medical schools just like typical Premed students. Linkage is really for the MOST competitive students who are set on applying to one specific school. It also requires that you take your MCAT earlier than you otherwise would. I don’t see any correlation between linkage programs and how likely you are to get into med school. Many students who attempt to link are waitlisted or rejected. Instead, find out about other aspects of the program and ask schools about their medical school acceptance rate. For instance, I am at the Columbia program, where the acceptance rate is in the 90s for students with committee support.

Hope this helps!

The programs you are applying to are SUPER competitive, from my understanding. I don’t know exactly how competitive your application is (LORs, any volunteer experience, etc.), but I’m sure those schools have hundreds of very qualified candidates. Just bear that in mind.

I would suggest applying to a regular post-bac program (one w/o a linkage agreement) - those are much easier to get into, and still provide a very solid academic background. If you do well in your post-bac, score high on the MCAT, get some medical field experience (volunteering, shadowing, and/or research), and good letters of recommendation, you should have a strong application for med school, regardless of a linkage agreement.