Trying to be open minded

I have been trying to figure out if there is still a way to get into a Post Bacc in this next app cycle (September 1st). I sent an email to Goucher briefly explaining my financial situation and asking how the program is funded there, as I am under the impression that they tend to fanangle their financial aid packages to truly help well qualified applicants. They promise responses to their emails within 24 -48 hours. After two weeks, I actually called to follow up and left a voicemail with the appropriate financial aid official. That was 2 days ago, and still no answer. The “consumer” mentality in me is tempted to quickly write off this college as a possibility, as it seems like they have virtually no interest in being responsive to potential students who could be well qualified applicants. I DEPLORE poor customer service and tend to “call” people on it when their service is poor, and conversely, praise them highly when their service is good. I also vote with my dollars, if you have given me poor customer service, I will not give you another dime, no matter HOW bad I need your product. I am trying to sincerely QUELL this portion of my personality, but am angry, already, at the complete poor response I received from this college. I do not wish to cut off my nose to spite my face…but you only get ONE chance to make a first impression. My impression at this point is jaded. There is the possibility, that they may have a financial aid package, that could allow me to get into school sooner, so I am swallowing hard, and trying to hold my toungue and my thoughts. I just have been garnering together all the necessary paperwork for any application, and reviewing my scores and transcripts has boosted my confidence. I really DO have a lot to offer, and the grades to back it up…What the heck??? DON’T they know that? (winking in jest…)

You are fighting a losing battle, IMO.

Formal post baccs tend to favor young (20s, maybe early 30s), very highly successful candidates from non-science professions such as law, finance, business etc. Emphasis on very highly successful in terms of monetary earnings, status, networking and ability to make future contributions (of any kind) to the program. Preferably financial/networking. A successful non-science prior career is almost a requirement at these formal post-baccs. At these institutions, I don’t think I’ve seen profiles of students who were formerly truck drivers, construction workers, janitors, or other blue collars.

Goucher may be a bit more forgiving of age and I’m sure Liza will comment but other programs probably are not. For example, if you look at Scripps in CA, the 2012 class profile lists 0% as the enrollment for 35-40. To me, this looks like they don’t value applications from, or collect stats for those 40+. I could be wrong and it could be a reflection of their applicant pool (therefore not intended), or it could be a reflection of their mission (intended). I don’t know…

The formal postbacc game is very / highly / extremely competitive. The public ones such as Cal State Fullerton are nearly, if not completely (100%) oriented towards URMs and the private ones are oriented towards very (financially / networked) successful, young career changers. You and I simply don’t fit these moulds. You can try to rail against all this but you won’t get far. However, it’s not game-over. Folks such as Kate429 on here have made it despite age. You and I just have to follow their path. Good luck, and I seriously, and I do mean very seriously, suggest you look into options such as Science in the Evening that are not formal post baccs. I am assuming you are in the MD/DC area - I think you moved recently? r-po…

How interesting that this article by Liza posted on SDN two days ago. I just read it. Reinforces some of my thoughts. See “Academic Excellence” and “Success in a Prior Career” at the link above.

Ok, I will try to contain my red-headed Irish grandmother’s blood in my veins and be as kind and diplomatic as possible. I am highly confused by this post. It appears ( and I may be wrong ) that there is some sort of reference to my being too old, blue collar, not successful in a previous career, and not having had good grades in my colligiate past. Just in case someone out there missed SOMETHING along the way here in terms my being a qualified applicant, let me set the record straight. I left high school at the end of 11th grade with straight A’s and stellar SAT scores to attend college on early admission status. I did my last year of high school and first year of college simultaneously, was Dean’s list and Phi Theta Kappa and came back and walked with my high school class. I completed an Associate’s Degree at a Women’s College ( back when they had those). I worked in human services until I was 32, went BACK to school, completed a Bachelor’s Degree with a 3.85 and was inducted a Phi Alpha in 1995 ( that is the honor society for my profession). I completed my Master’s Degree at Syracuse University as an Advanced Standing student, completing 2 years of material in 12 months. Graduated with honors as an MSW and passed my boards and became licensed in the State of New York. What sciences I have had, I have gotten very good grades in. I have been a practicing Clinical Social Worker, diagnosing and treating mental illness in both healthcare and mental health facilities for 18 years. I have been licensed in two states at the advanced practice level ( hang out my shingle and 3rd party insurance reimbursable ) since 2006. I have worked extensively in hospitals, drug treatment centers, and community mental health. I have volunteered with drug addicts for over 20 years in the community. My past two jobs have been at the supervisory level, and I have been a field instructor in my profession for two universities. Yes, I am 51, but I routinely work 60 and 70 hour weeks and have been described as “driven”. I am also fit for my age, with a clean bill of health. So could someone please explain to me, how I am not competitive for a post baccaulaurate program and how my background is lacking??? I really see my only drawback as my age. Oh, and I am a member of the National Health Service Corps and all my loans are paid off, so I am at a clean slate with funding. I am, ONLY, struggling with a bad credit history due to a very bad divorce, which has left me not very eligible for supplemental student loans. THAT is the issue I am grappling with at the moment.

You must have me confused with someone else…because I am unaware as to how I am “not competitive” for a post-bacc. Either that, or I have Alzheimer’s…

Goodness - I’m sorry. Obviously I did a poor job writing my post. The bulk of it was intended to be “in general” for discussion, and not directed at you but clearly I did not write well. I did not intend to imply that you lacked success or academic ability. So once again, sorry about the poorly-written post.

So, here are a couple points I was trying to make, in general, based on just anecdotal information. Not data or numbers, just from having browsed the websites of several postbacc programs and their class profiles. In general, I got the feeling that:

  1. These programs almost always go for candidates with prior careers in non-science professions, for e.g. law, finance etc, and those who have never taken college-level science classes as part of their undergraduate degree.

  2. Class profiles look skewed towards 20s, early 30s. Whether this is because no one older than 35 applies, or whether programs screen that way, I don’t know because I don’t have any stats, nor did I go looking for them.

    In my case, since I’m in engineering, I’ve taken science classes, including some of the pre-reqs, even though that was 20 years ago. Still, that means some of the formal programs would not consider me. Given your field of work, I assumed this would be the case for you as well - that you have probably taken science classes and maybe even some of the pre-reqs, regardless of how long ago in the past.

My only intent in posting my topic and starting this thread was not “Am I able to go to a post-bacc?” The question at hand is not my eligibility. I have already had conversations with more than one program that has encouraged me to apply and stated I was “highly competitive.” My issue is not “if” but “How?” I am pretty sure that in previous posts I have described how my last marriage left me nearly penniless, destitute, and with wrecked credit. I know it is the “kiss of death” in the student loan world to file bankruptcy - even though I probably qualify. My SO and I have discussed that for right now, unless some program is HIGHLY generous with financial aid, I will be fully relying on supplemental loans. This means falling back for a year, and working with Lexington Law, or some other credit repair company to bring my scores up, so that I can apply next year, and be able to finance the program I am accepted at. I do not have extra, spare funds to do “Science in the Evening”, so need a full time program so I can qualify for financial aid. The program that has expressed the MOST interest in me at this point, does not have generous financial aid and expects you to take care of it on your own (supplementals). So I have been putting out feelers for other programs. Goucher bills itself as generous with financial aid for post baccs. So I was going to discuss this with someone in the financial aid office to see if there was the possibility of applying this year as opposed to waiting until next year. If I am not fully dependent on supplemental loans, I might be able to do this sooner and not wait a year, which might be a good thing. I was just venting my frustration with how highly non-responsive the financial aid office has been to me so far and wondered if anyone else has dealt with those types of issues. Hopefully that clarifies exactly what I was hoping to get out of this thread. Thank you.

My experience with schools is that Financial Aid is the most unresponsive department…especially to those who aren’t students. My grad school’s Financial Aid department sent me to collections WHILE I WAS STILL A STUDENT??? I learned about it from the collection agency. Took an email to the Dean of the seminary, Financial Aid department head, and Dean of the University to finally get a response and meeting to apologize.

I wouldn’t be turned off but it’s just the nature of the beast. You first have to get into the school and then the Financial Aid office will be responsive…maybe. This all sucks and believe me I’m with you on this. Not enough money to take prereqs DIY but then too many postbaccs leave the financial aid a DIY…ugly catch-22…not enough money and no help with money. And folk seem to think that anyone can pursue medicine…

I’d cut Goucher a little bit of slack – they’re probably up to their eyeballs writing committee letters and helping students who are readying their med school applications for the June submission date; while simultaneously preparing everything for their students who will be starting later this month. It’s a small office, and they really do go all-out for their students (especially since they already paid for their tuition!)

And no, I’m not a Goucher student (I’m actually at one of their main competitors), but interviewed there last year and have a lot of respect for their program.

I’m guessing the OP already explored this, but just in case – is there someone who could co-sign the loans? It’s a lot to ask of a family member/friend, but it could be an option… (Would suggest also checking out a life insurance policy, so that the co-signer isn’t stuck with the loans if anything – god forbid – tragic happens.)

Another thought – you could also apply this year, see if the funding comes through if you get in, and then defer a year if it doesn’t. I know a couple of people who have deferred (and were encouraged to defer) at my postbac for extenuating circumstances – a recent divorce would certainly qualify.

Very interesting!!! I was (perhaps erroneously) thinking that if I applied, and got accepted, and then didn’t have a way to fund myself, that it would, in essence, put a bad taste in the mouth of the admissions committee, and would ruin my chances of getting accepted by the same school again if my finances improved. I did not know that you could defer an admission. Thank you so much!!! I am just wanting so badly to have all my ducks in a row, and not shoot myself in the foot. But at the same time, I hate to wait another year - because…I ain’t gettin’ any younger!!! I appreciate the input. I just might apply this year!!!

A few words of advice/wisdom from someone who directed both the Goucher and Hopkins post-bac programs:

–Contact the program directly to ask about financial aid (not the financial aid office) but be mindful that they don’t have specific information about your situation so can only answer in very general terms.

–Deferrals are granted on a case-by-case basis and usually only for very good reasons. Some post-bac programs do not grant deferrals.

–Post-bac programs look for applicants with significant life experience but the applicant pool has trended younger in the past 10-15 years as more people have become familiar with the concept of post-bac options.

–Be realistic and understand how medical schools will view an application from a significantly older applicant. They will do the math and compute how much time they believe an older graduate would have to practice. For someone in their early to mid-50s (let’s say 52) about to enter a post-bac program you’re looking at age 54 by the time of med school enrollment (unless that individual were to be a successful linkage applicant), then 58 by the time of med school graduation, then at least 61 (3 year residency minimum) by the time to start practicing medicine. That could mean a 20-year career but maybe not; the med schools might view it as a 4-year career. Older applicants must be adding something of real significance to an incoming med school class to be seriously considered. I’m not discouraging anyone but it’s prudent to be realistic and know how you might be viewed and plan an application tactically and accordingly.

–Post-bac programs do NOT favor people with means nor do medical schools.

I hope this added information helps provide some clarity and adds to the discussion!



Ultimately, I got a very nice, detailed, well written reply from the financial aid office at Goucher. They were able, over and above supplemental loans, to steer me in a direction where there is quite a bit of financial aid available here in Maryland. Once I began looking at all the various options that are available,it seems some things are possible. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the hubby had an excellent interview with the local transit company here on the shore and may be in line for a position there. I signed up for credit repair last week. It looks as if we may be able to pull together our financial situation and be in the best position come Fall of 2014. That is my goal. I have had the honor, and privilege to receive tutelage at the hands of some very gifted psychiatrists. I can name several who were in their seventies and eighties. Dr. Ann, who supervised all our treatment teams in the Finger Lakes Area for addictions, on a contract basis, was 88 the last time I sat on a treatment team with her - and sharp as a tack. My vision and sense of mission is such that I do not believe that I would ever really stop practicing until illness or death precluded me from such. We’ll see. I do present as younger than my age. All I know, is if Kate can do it, I can too!!!

Love hearing about an 88-year-old still practicing medicine and others in their 70s! Thanks for providing inspiration to OPMers, Vicki. Eighty is the new 40, right?!



VickiV -

That’s right! Tell 'em, sister!

I look significantly younger than my age as well, which I think may help a bit, but really, who cares. One of my preceptors said there was a guy in his 60’s in his residency program, with white hair, who “was great!”.

You can do it!