I Failed My First Posbac. Now What?

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OPM 296: I Failed My First Posbac. Now What?

Session 296

Our nontrad today struggled through their postbac and is wondering what their options are now. Let’s give this premed hope and a path forward!

Questions answered here on the podcast are taken directly from the Nontrad Premed Forum over at premedforums.com. Please go ahead and register for an account, ask your question, and have fun with the community.

Also, please be sure to check out all our other podcasts on Meded Media as we try to bring you as many resources as you need on this journey.

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

[00:51] The MCAT Minute

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[01:56] OldPreMeds Question of the Week

“I haven’t seen stories of people with a similar background as mine. I graduated from college in 2011 with a Biology degree (Good ECs: research, leadership, volunteer, shadowing, tutoring, TA and jobs). Most of my ECs I was part of for over 2-3 years. I graduated from college with a cGPA – 3.0 and sGPA – 2.8 (good upward trend with upper-level science classes). 

Immediately after graduation, I started a postbac program ( a 1-year linkage program) where students take graduate school and medical school classes. Unfortunately, this year was just a disaster for me and I didn’t make the contract. And I don’t know what to do at this point.

Are there people out there who have had similar experiences? And if there are, can you please share how you overcame it? The director of the program recommended I continue and get the master’s degree but I didn’t like that option for various reasons.

I was hopefully thinking about returning to my undergraduate institution and taking a series of more upper-level science classes for the coming academic year (Fall 2012-Spring 2013).

My first MCAT score (which I took without good preparation) – 6V, 6P and 9B. (This is equivalent to 490-ish now). My second attempt (better preparation while in the postbac program) – and waiting for the score.”

[03:29] Medical School is Not for Everybody

First off, check out Mappd, if you haven’t yet. We have a Chat Advising feature where you can interact with our advisors. We actually have a student asking similar questions in Mappd. And we were discussing, as a team, the next steps for this person.

Ultimately, someone who doesn’t get good grades in undergrad but has an upward trend, and then goes to this next higher level thing and doesn’t do well, then there’s a question of whether you’re ready to do it, to begin with.

On top of that, you have an MCAT score that clearly shows that you weren’t ready to take the MCAT. 

And so, now we have little bits and pieces of evidence that show you are making bad decisions. Maybe you were rushing along the way trying to finish your premed thing as fast as possible and damn the consequences. Then you have disaster after disaster after disaster and you have to pick up the pieces.

There are students who probably won’t be able to get into medical school. There are some students who continue to make the same mistakes over and over again and there are some students who just can’t get the right grades.

Unfortunately, for this student, they have a track record of not doing well in undergrad, in the postbac program, and on the MCAT. And so, when are you going to start doing well? That’s the question.

“Medical schools are not going to give you the time of day if you haven't even started doing well.”Click To Tweet

[06:34] The Minimum Barrier of Entry

No matter how great your extracurriculars are, if the schools don’t think you’re going to pass medical school in four years, hopefully,

A lot of you get mad that medical schools look at stats, but unfortunately, you have to do well in medical school to be a good doctor.

You need to be able to pass medical school to get a degree and to be able to go and serve patients. You need to pass your boards and \do well on your boards to get into residency so that you can serve patients.

Medical schools have a minimum barrier of entry based on GPA or MCAT score. Sadly, Caribbean medical schools accept a lot of students who don’t deserve to be in medical school. They accept a lot of those students and they take on thousands of dollars in debt.

'The medical school is doing you a favor by having some minimum barrier of entry in terms of stats to prove your academic capability.' Click To Tweet

[08:36] Self-Reflection

If you’re like this student who’s just struggling academically, the first thing you need to do is stop digging a hole and figure out why you’re struggling.

Figure out what you can do and how you can set up barriers in your life and rules around your life. And maybe you would say that life just happens to continue to throw mud in your face and knock you down. Or maybe you’re in a situation where you have to take care of a family member.

Whatever that looks like for you, you have to figure out how to set up barriers in your life and rules around your life because you need to take care of yourself.

[10:28] Navigating Your Options

'A failed SMP or failed postbac doesn't necessarily scream doom.'Click To Tweet

I had a student Chad on The Premed Years Podcast Session 230. Chad was a student in undergrad who struggled in undergrad. He struggled in a postbac program. He was rejected from Caribbean medical schools. And he finally figured it out.

It turned out that Chad was working to support his family while he was in undergrad and during his postbac. And so, he did an SMP as his left effort and decided not to work so he can just focus on school. Now, that meant some sacrifices that his family had to make.

Chad was a good student. He just never had the bandwidth to be able to be a good student. Ultimately, he got into medical school, and now he’s in a surgical residency and he’s doing well.

So there are options out there. But at some point along the way, you have to stop digging a hole and reflect on what’s causing you to continue to struggle. Maybe the answer is you’re just not smart enough. But that’s usually not the answer. Usually, it’s something externally or internally that’s causing you to hold back.


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The Premed Years Podcast Session 230: Rejected From the Caribbean! Now with a US Acceptance!