Pre-req Post Bac Question

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  • #51210
    jeanine2003jeanine2003
    Participant

    I’m 33 with a BS and MBA in Management, Marketing. I am single, no kids, have a mortgage, and am working part-time in retail sales barely enough to pay the bills (got laid off after 9/11 and was never able to replace my job in software sales.) I’ve spoken with 4 pre-med/post-bac advisors and they concur if I start Spring 2003 (next week)it would be very unlikely for me to finish my prereq’s (2 bio, 4 chem, 2 physics) by April 2004, and take my MCATS, and get my med school apps out. Here’s my issue. I don’t want the “lag” year b/c it will drag this out for 3 years and I might get deterred by then. There is a post-bac school in NY that is well recognized and has a linkage program that would allow me to skip the lag year, but go to a particular med school. The school is 1 to 1.5 hrs by train in Harlem, NYC (City College), makes night class travel not the safest, but I could study on the train.) All advisors thought it would be virtually impossible for me to get stellar grades in this time frame. So I’ve thought to go part time at night, take my time and do the 3 year program. But here’s the problem, I can’t get all the “night” classes anyway because they’re limited and there are conflicts with class schedules. I could try to take coordinate classes at 2 different schools to get my schedule (they’re all part of the CUNY system.) But I’ve been told it’s bad to go to 2 many schools. And then when the summer comes, some schools offer 1 session, some 2.
    Here’s the questions: 1. what are your thoughts on the possibility to take all classes by April 2004 (2 Spring 2003 if I can still get them) (2 Summer 2003) (2 Fall 2003, includes Organic 1) (2 Spring 2004, includes Org 2) and get stellar grades?

    2. what are thoughts on then taking MCATS April 2004 (same year) and kicking ass?

    3. what are thoughts on possiblity of getting out applications by June 2004?

    4. what are thoughts about ability to skip that lag year and get into school Fall 2004 (there are only 2 school linkages)?

    5. will it be such a miserable experience as my advisors tell me? am I better off just taking my time and focusing on grades, trying to get full time work to pay bills (try to get a 9 to 5 job just to put together money), and going the 3 year route?

    6. what are thoughts on taking post-bac classes at more one school which is part of CUNY?

    7, Finally, it seems I can only get Bio 2 this session (I took Gen Bio 2 at community college in 1992.) What are your thoughts of me taking Bio 2 this Spring 2003 and either Bio 1 or some other Bio Fall 2004? Just to get my Bio out of the way.

    Thanks and apologizes for so many questions. 🙂 Jeanine

    #51212
    efex101efex101
    Participant

    First of all I apologize if I make any assumptions and I am completely wrong. Also, take any advice given with a grain of salt for the best option is always to get it straight from the horses mouth, aka the med schools you are interested in. But, I will try to give it a shot.

    Here’s the questions: 1. what are your thoughts on the possibility to take all classes by April 2004 (2 Spring 2003 if I can still get them) (2 Summer 2003) (2 Fall 2003, includes Organic 1) (2 Spring 2004, includes Org 2) and get stellar grades?

    Probably not a good idea. Depending on what your gpa for undergrad was and how rigorous the education that you received, I would not assume that taking these science classes as such you will get A’s. The bottom line is that as a non-trad applicant you are competing with other applicants that will gave great stats. Meaning, that you must get awesome grades period. No excuses for us, because why? we are more mature and should know what we can bite off. Adcoms will be expecting A’s with possibly a couple of B’s sprinkled here and there. You need to shoot for A’s though, and going like this is not conducive to this unless you are extremely bright and can do a lot of think simultaneously and kick bootie.

    2. what are thoughts on then taking MCATS April 2004 (same year) and kicking ass?

    Again, you are assuming that the MCAT is like another test, not. It is a standardized test and like other standardized tests you can learn how to take it, but it covers a lot of material. Studying for the MCAT while you are taking hard core classes like organic II and physics II will be hard because you are also working and your time will be tied up. Of course of you are not working then disregard this. There are people that have done this but again are you willing to take the chance? it is kind of hard to ace the mcat…

    3. what are thoughts on possiblity of getting out applications by June 2004?

    See above will be hard, what is the rush? you are already non-trad another year will not harm your application but one less year may, if you do not get A’s and do well on the MCAT. One thing about non-trads is that they want to rush things, why? Make yourself the best applicant by taking your time and presenting yourself in the best possible light. This is specially true if you have a so-so undergrad gpa. Med schools will still be there.

    4. what are thoughts about ability to skip that lag year and get into school Fall 2004 (there are only 2 school linkages)?

    First of all if you apply in 2004 you do not matriculate med school until 2005 no exceptions. Applying is a year long process regardless of linkage or not. Also, make sure that linkage is *guaranteed*, I have heard of very few programs (and most are for minoriites) where if you succesfully finish their post-bacc you get into X or Y med school. This is not the case for most post-bacc programs so beware!

    5. will it be such a miserable experience as my advisors tell me? am I better off just taking my time and focusing on grades, trying to get full time work to pay bills (try to get a 9 to 5 job just to put together money), and going the 3 year route?

    Yes, absolutely take their advice that is why they are pre-med advisors. Some are not worth the paper they write their title on, but many are great. These advisors seem to be interested in that you do well in your classes to maximize your chances of getting in. First, I woul enroll in those classes and see what happens, hey you may find that with minimal study you can ace them, then possibly you may be able to do what you want. But, until you take two science classes with labs and get A’s and manage all the other stuff (volunteering, shadowing) I would not assume anything.

    6. what are thoughts on taking post-bac classes at more one school which is part of CUNY?

    It depends, if there is a guaranteed acceptance into their med school if you do well in those classes then maybe I would. If not, I would take the classes where it is more convenient for me trying to avoid CC’s. Because you have to do well in these classes you want to go somewhere were you feel comfortable and it is not a hassle.

    7, Finally, it seems I can only get Bio 2 this session (I took Gen Bio 2 at community college in 1992.) What are your thoughts of me taking Bio 2 this Spring 2003 and either Bio 1 or some other Bio Fall 2004? Just to get my Bio out of the way.

    That seems fine, the bios can actually be taken out of sync.

    Again, make sure that you also call a couple of medical schools and talk to someone there. Schools that you will be applying to in the future see what they have to say. Do not rush, you are already non-trad so one more year will not hurt you. You must do well in these classes so focus most of your energy on that. Keep your eyes on the ball and do not lose sight of your goal. It will be hard, and seem long, but before you know it you will be applying. Take a look at a practice MCAT (free online now at wwww.aamc.org under MCAT) and see how the exam is structured. No calculators, four sections, the exam lasts altogether with breaks about 9 hours.

    #51214
    lorilori
    Participant

    I completely agree with efex101’s opinion on this matter. The only thing I would add is that is the pre-med curriculum is very rigorous and time consuming. I think that by trying to finish a year earlier might actually be counter-productive. You might end up with “burn-out factor” before you even get to MS1 especially with the MCATs and applications. I would definately advise you to take the extra year to finish up. You might then enjoy your post-bacc experiences and be ready for the rigors of med school. Good luck with whatever you decide. One extra year is not going to make much of a difference except piece of mind and sanity 😉 ! Just my :twocents:

    #51216
    spacecadetspacecadet
    Participant

    Jeanine,

    I can relate to how you are feeling right now. When I decided to become a doctor, I was in a huge rush to get everything done ASAP. During the process, I have found that slowing things down is not necessarily bad. I will be starting med school two years later than I had originally planned due to my having two kids during the process. 🙂 Now that I’m almost ready to start school (I’ll start in August) I realize that it doesn’t matter that it is a little later than I originally intended.

    Efex did an awesome job answering your questions, but I have to put in my :twocents: as always. My opinion is that you CAN do it, but it will make for a busy time for you.

    1. what are your thoughts on the possibility to take all classes by April 2004 (2 Spring 2003 if I can still get them) (2 Summer 2003) (2 Fall 2003, includes Organic 1) (2 Spring 2004, includes Org 2) and get stellar grades?

    Only you can assess what kind of schedule you can handle. You always have the option to drop a class if you get overwhelmed. Two classes at a time doesn’t seem that bad to me. Also remember that you don’t have to have all of your prereqs completed when you apply. You can finish up in the “lag year”, although you’ll need to talk to the schools to see how they feel about that.

    2. what are thoughts on then taking MCATS April 2004 (same year) and kicking ass?

    Again, it depends on you. I studied very hard for the MCAT. I took Kaplan and spent about 30 hours a week in class or studying on my own. It paid off. I was working full-time, so I didn’t take any classes that semester. You need to decide how much time you can devote to studying while also taking classes and such. You don’t necessarily need to have Org II before you take the MCAT (in my opinion).

    3. what are thoughts on possiblity of getting out applications by June 2004?

    I think you could do it if you start working on your personal statement REALLY early. Get your transcripts gathered up and ready to go as soon as you finish the MCAT. Even if you get your apps submitted in July, you’re ahead of the curve.

    4. what are thoughts about ability to skip that lag year and get into school Fall 2004 (there are only 2 school linkages)?

    I don’t know anything about the premed program you mentioned so I won’t comment.

    5. will it be such a miserable experience as my advisors tell me? am I better off just taking my time and focusing on grades, trying to get full time work to pay bills (try to get a 9 to 5 job just to put together money), and going the 3 year route?

    I didn’t find the experience miserable.

    6. what are thoughts on taking post-bac classes at more one school which is part of CUNY?

    I took post-bacc classes at three schools, and nobody said a word about it at my interviews. Still, it’s hard to know what they look at in the screening process.

    7, Finally, it seems I can only get Bio 2 this session (I took Gen Bio 2 at community college in 1992.) What are your thoughts of me taking Bio 2 this Spring 2003 and either Bio 1 or some other Bio Fall 2004? Just to get my Bio out of the way.

    I don’t see any harm in doing them out of order, especially since you’ve had Bio before.

    Hope this helps! Feel free to post again if I wasn’t clear about stuff or you want opinions on anything else!

    Pam

    #51218
    katierosekatierose
    Participant

    Hi Jeanine,
    I agree with spacecadet – you shouldn’t have trouble finishing your prereqs on that timeframe. I did a postbacc program myself, but I let it drag on for 3 years. I wish I had opted for the linkage. I have a few friends at my medical school who did the one year post-bacc at bryn mawr with a linkage, and it worked out fine. A few things about the linkage, though. You will need to be accepted into the linkage program very soon. Most of the linkages only require MCATs of 9/9/9 and post-bacc GPA of 3.3-3.4, so you don’t have to worry about “stellar” numbers. I do think, however, that the linkage schools would like your undergrad and MBA grades to be very good. Have you looked into the Hunter and Columbia programs? I know both of those are very good.

    If you don’t do a linkage, you can still be in medical school in 2 1/2 years:

    Spring 2003 – bio 2
    Summer 2003 – gen chem. 1 and 2
    Fall 2003 – physics 1, orgo 1, bio 1
    Spring 2004 – physics 2, orgo 2, study for MCAT, start writing essays
    June 2004 – finish application and essays

    Fall 2004 interview for Fall 2005 seat

    OR – take the August MCAT. the disadvantage to that, of course is that they won’t look at you until October. If everything else looks good, that won’t be a huge problem

    If you find you have a knack for orgo and physics, you should be able to work part-time. I worked full time taking orgo and physics, and it wasn’t too bad. I ended up with a C+ in orgo 2, however. (But I am a second year medical student, and it didn’t seem to hurt me!)

    Good luck, and feel free to email me directly if you have any other questions about post-bacc programs.

    Katie

    #51220
    jeanine2003jeanine2003
    Participant

    Effex, KatieRose, Lori and SpaceCadet,

    Thank you all for your insightful responses, which are truly helpul. Your feedback on the amount of work that I can feasibly take on helped out. I will see what my abilities are this semester and then decide how much I can take on subsequently. Thanks for you thoughts on timing for coursework, MCATS, and applications. And thanks for input on going to more than one school for pre-reqs.

    I have started BIO 2 at Queens College, which is part of CUNY system in NY. While I sat in the first week of CHEM 1, unfortunately the class was filled and I couldn’t register. Queens turned out to be the best local because of its proximity between my apt and NYC. I realized that Hunter was too difficult of a commute, and I don’t want to put unnecessary stress on myself.

    Just a few more thoughts:

    SpaceCadet had said, “Also remember that you don’t have to have all of your prereqs completed when you apply. You can finish up in the “lag year”, although you’ll need to talk to the schools to see how they feel about that.”

    I am going to look further into this, and if this is true for the schools i’m interested in, then this is great info!

    Until now I’ve had a difficult time think clearly on Pre-Med/Med School b/c of so much negative feedback that I’ve been getting. With a few positive friends and support from MomMD network I’m back on track.

    Warmest Regards, Jeanine

    #51222
    OldLadyOldLady
    Participant

    I think Columbia has a similar program for Post-Bacc’s and it is tied to Dartmouth Medical School, one of my friends is doing it now. I am also a Post-Bacc, and the only thing I can say is- advisors are just that, advisors. They don’t know what you are or are not capable of. Why not try it and see what you think after you take a few classes?

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