In this episode, the poster asks about taking a postbac and worrying about having to pay a huge debt. But do you really have to take a postbac when you’ve already proven that you can actually handle coursework? Listen in to find our and learn about resources related to handling finances.
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[02:28] OldPreMeds Question of the Week:
“I’m 30 years young and accepted to the postbac program at Mills. I have an art history undergrad, 3.8 GPA from a competitive local arts school, and received my Master’s of Social Work from an Ivy at 3.9 GPA. I was a social worker at a psych ER and fell in love with medicine and decided to change my path in the hope of becoming an OB/GYN.
I’m accepted at Mills for my postbac and will start this Fall, but I have to take up private loans to fund it. I know this is the best choice for me but taking out that much in loans, I’m looking at $400,000 total. It’s pretty scary and overwhelming.
This decision to pursue my passion is an emotional one but I need to take stock of all factors. I’ve crunched the numbers and I think I can pay everything back in five years if I live like a resident. But I’d love to hear from people and how they’ve paid back or plan to pay off their debt.”
[03:50] Age is a Factor
30 years old is not very old. But once you start creeping into the 40- or 50-year old age range, it’s not that old really. But when you look at the debt and how long you’re going to be working, then the decision comes in whether it’s worth it. This is where students are starting to ask themselves.
This is therefore a very heavy decision. And a lot of people try to shut off the idea of medical school right after undergrad or before medical school with so many reasons. And so they end up going to something else in health care but that little voice in the back of their head is still there. But what they do is they go out and do it anyway. So now, they have delayed to end up doing what they were supposed to be doing all along.
[06:00] Is a Postbac Necessary?
Back to the question, $400,000 is a lot of money. So here are some things to consider. Do you need to do a postbac? This is the first question. Do you have to spend for a postbac to do a formal postbac? You’ve already prove that you’re a great student at 3.8 GPA and 3.9 GPA for Social Work. So you’ve proven that you can handle being a student.
Sure, sciences are different and doing medical prereqs are different. This is going to affect things. But you don’t have to rush straight into a formal postbac. Just maybe go to a local university and start taking some classes to dip your toes in the water. This way, you’re looking at substantially less cost.
So do some soul searching and make sure that doing the postbac is the right use of your time and current and future money (with interest).
[08:10] Resources for Financial Success
I’ve talked about finances a lot on The Premed Years Podcast, specifically in Episode 286. I’ve interviewed a guy married to a physician and he was in the financial world. He realized how the student loan was so crazy so he decided to help students figure this all out as well as physicians.
Is it possible? 100%.
[10:15] Final Words
Private loans are the worst kind of loans since they’re the least flexible. But if that’s what you have to do then do it. Again, go back to the question whether you need to do a postbac. Do you need to spend 10x what you could pay being a non-degree seeking student at a four-year university or even at a community college. Again, you’ve proven you can handle the course work.
So just try to fin the cheaper route if possible. But if you need you have to go to a formal postbac, then do it.
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