SMP, Post-Bacc, or 2 Year Masters?


I am a 25 year old male now two years out of undergrad, finally done dragging my feet and ready to get serious about applying to Medical School. With a cGPA 3.05 and sGPA 3.25 I feel very strongly about improving that portion of my application for medical school. My MCAT is a 502 but planning on retaking. I am trying to choose my best option forward, mainly regarding time and finances for each option listed in the title. What have been your thoughts on SMP vs Post-Bacc vs 2 Years Masters?


What’s your goal for considering these programs, because they have pretty different end-states.

SMP - Pretty much just designed to show medical schools that you can handle a medical school-like courseload/classes. Since it’s a masters program, it wouldn’t effect your undergraduate GPA, though it will be listed as a separate entity on the application. If you don’t do well in it and/or don’t get into med school, I don’t know what the outside value of the degree. Are you willing to make the time/money gamble with the potential for med school balanced with the potential to have a near-worthless piece of paper if you don’t get in?

Post-bacc - If you have prereqs remaining or want to retake some classes. You could also take more “advanced” level sciences with it. Its effects would likely be minimal on your overall undergrad GPA (I believe it’s actually factored individually and then combined). It would show, like an SMP, recency of academics and could be beneficial if you do well.

2 Year Masters - in what? Medical schools view masters degrees as an experience, but depending on what it’s in, it won’t really help all that much. An MPH might be helpful in the long run but does not demonstrate that you have the academic ability needed for medical school. If you did some bench-science type program, it might help bolster your application, especially if you have research. Again, thinking on a “worst case” scenario that you don’t get in, do you actually want to pursue work that aligns with whatever program you end up taking to boost your med school app? I got an MBA and it was either completely ignored or highly questioned at my interviews (I applied 10 years out of undergrad).

I think your strongest option would be one that shows you can academically hack med school since your GPA is on the lower end of the “matriculant” spectrum. Don’t forget to weigh in other experiences, like what you have done since graduating (work, leadership, etc) in judging how strong your application is. If you want to focus on the MCAT, consider an MCAT prep course as well. School coursework is helpful, but commercial programs are solely focused on that 3 digit number and will try to cut out the extraneous stuff that you would have probably otherwise studied (again).