What to do?

First off, this is a great forum and I’ve gotten some great ideas from a lot of posters, so thanks.

Now, to my dilemma…

I was accepted to a formal post-bac program that has some linkages to med schools, and I even sent in a deposit to hold a spot, but I am having serious doubts about actually attending. Basically, the money issue is a really big concern of mine. I could do the same courses (I need nearly all the pre-reqs)at Penn State in about the same amount of time and not have to move or lose my benefits or quit my job (which, to be honest, I hate, so quitting is actually a plus in some respects!).

What does anyone think? I kind of know which direction I’m leaning, but I’d appreciate any input from those who’ve been there.



Always glad to see new faces on the boards, mine being relatively new too! I think you will find by reading many of the previous posts that a lot of individuals have grappled with the formal post-bacc vs the do-it-yourself post bacc issue. I started a topic only a few weeks ago basically posing the same question, and a lot of the people with experience basically told me that you shouldn’t underestimate the logistical aspect of uprooting your family, taking on debt, and being separated from people you know/love. It is an easy thing to say you are willing to separate from that support network and that familiarity of environment, but you have to be careful that you are not jeopardizing your academics by creating all the distractions (financial and otherwise) that are associated with moving to an unfamiliar place.

If it’s of any use to you, I decided to move back home where I am relatively close to my family rather than taking on a completely new environment that offered a formal post bacc program. The advantages of a formal program are usually time saved and (potentially) a stronger LOR that is composed by a committee, not to mention you will probably have better counseling available to you. In the end (to me anyway), those incentives didn’t come close to outweighing the benefits of having a support network and a better quality of life for a period of years. If you are not losing any time by going the informal route, I would strongly encourage you to give this option some thought.

Hope this helps. Good luck.


I think you need to listen to your gut…as it is, once you get into med school you’ll be faced with many unavoidable expenses. If you have an opportunity to go to a good uni to complete an informal post bacc, I’d do that. While there are programs that have linkages, there are no guarantees. Also, do really well in your classes, make yourself known to your profs and you can get as good or better LORs.

Again, listen to your gut…

I lean towards the roll-your-own post-bacc method because it’s what I did and because I’m a huge tightwad. If you can get the courses you need locally without quitting your job (many people can’t because the courses are often available only during the day), you are lucky to have such a choice and should give it serious consideration. If, after giving it serious consideration, you decide it’s not worth it, that’s perfectly valid for you.

It sounds like you know what is best for you. You’ll find your way.