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medical | opinions & advice | positioning yourself for admission to medical school
Post–Bacc Programs: Meeting Science Requirements After College
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Don't abandon your dream of medical school just because your undergraduate transcript was light on science classes.
Whether you're fresh out of college or returning to school after years in the workforce, a post–bacc program will allow you to fulfill those pre–med requirements.
While some post–bacc programs offer only the required pre–med courses (typically biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry and physics), others allow participants to take additional classes in science or other disciplines. This is advantageous for applicants who might not have fared well academically during their undergrad years and need an opportunity to demonstrate improved study habits.
Most post–bacc programs are run by colleges and universities. They vary widely in terms of cost, rigor, grading system, percentage of graduates admitted to medical school, structure and flexibility of the curriculum, duration, size and class composition.
Selective post–bacc programs often have their own application process, requiring personal statements, prior standardized test scores, several recommendations and interviews. They seek to admit students who will not only complete the coursework, but who are likely to be accepted to medical school.
Many med schools offer their own post–bacc programs. If you are accepted to one of these programs, you will likely gain admission to the affiliated med school if you meet a minimum GPA and MCAT score. However, these arrangements are typically binding–even if you earn a perfect score on the MCAT, you cannot withdraw and apply to your dream school the following academic year. This route does not afford you the opportunity to compare financial aid packages.
Post–bacc programs provide a support system of sorts, allowing you to meet and interact with people facing similar challenges. And the wide variety of options means that you can carve your own path towards med school, arriving at a pace comfortable and most appropriate for you.