Our poster this week asks about taking postbac to improve her GPA. Find out the different postbacs out there and whether you actually need to take one as you prepare for your medical school application.
Your questions are taken directly from the Nontrad Premed Forum. If you haven’t yet, be sure to register for an account so you can also begin asking questions and join a community of collaborative premeds and nontrads.
[00:58] OldPreMeds Question of the Week:
“Hi, my name is Kenzie. I have recently graduated with an undergraduate degree in Health Science at a 4-year university where I also played volleyball.
My degree incorporated some traditional science classes like Biology, Anatomy & Physiology, and General Chemistry. However, most of the typical premed classes were not required and playing a sport didn’t leave me with much time to take additional classes.
My overall GPA in undergrad was a 3.1. I got mainly Bs and Cs in the sciences that were required.
After working under physicians at a dermatology office, I have decided that I want to go to medical school. There are several classes that I still need to take (Organic Chem, Bio-Chem, Physics and maybe Calculus). I also want to retake some of the sciences I got C’s in during undergrad.
I have heard a lot about Post-Baccalaureate programs being great for people in my situation. However, most of the programs seem to only be for non-science majors/career changers.
I am specifically drawn to the post-bacc programs with linkage to med schools. I would like to know if I should continue searching for a post-bacc program that allows science majors to attend or take the classes on my own at a 4-year college. I know that getting A’s in all of these classes is most important above all else. Any suggestions?”
[02:22] Academic Enhancers vs. Career-Changers
First off, you need that positive upward trend to prove to the medical schools that you can handle their curriculum.
“When you look at traditional postbacs, they are typically broken down as either career-changers and academic enhancers.”
Academic enhancers are those that took a bunch of sciences and they didn’t do well in them so they need to enhance their academic record. On the other hand, career-changers are those who haven’t taken any or at least a minimum amount of science courses.
From the school’s perspective, the career-changer postbacs are more geared towards learning sciences for the first time. They need to be taught well the first time around.
While the academic enhancers are more towards those who have struggled with their sciences. Schools need to teach them better than they’re taught the first time around.
[03:35] The Linkage Programs
Some postbacs will have a linkage with a medical school or several medical schools. You could potentially get an automatic interview or an automatic acceptance to the medical school. This depends on whether you meet certain criteria for that linkage program.
If you do well enough in your postbac, have some good extracurriculars, great personal statement, and great interview, you’re going to get into medical school.
Not everyone gets into medical school but the people who have proven academically, and activity-wise, that they can do well in medical school can get into medical school.
“Just because you get into a linkage program doesn’t mean that you’re going to come out on the other end with that linkage agreement in place.”
[05:05] Should Kenzie Take a Postbac?
For someone like Kenzie with a 3.1 overall GPA, I assume the science GPA is less. So she’s going to need to do a postbac. And it doesn’t matter whether you do it at a formal postbac. You can do it at a four-year university or even at a community college.
“The formal postbacs are going to be the most expensive. The four-year university is probably going to be second. And the community college is going to be third.”
Taking a postbac all depends on several factors – schedule, budget, comfort level in terms of finances, etc.
I recommend that you take the classes you got seasoned just to show that positive upward trend as much as possible. Do a year, 3-4 semesters, or two full years and get as close to A’s as possible. That’s the end goal.
It doesn’t really matter whether it’s a career-changer postbac or an academic enhancer postbac or postbac that has linkage. Go to the one that’s going to work best for you.
[06:22] Final Thoughts
Don’t just go to a postbac because of the name of the school. It’s not going to add much to your application.
The goal of the medical school application is to have a good enough GPA and a good enough MCAT score. Have a strong personal statement. Have a strong reason why you want to be a physician. Have those extracurriculars that prove you want to be a physician. Show who you are as a person. And you’ll get in!
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