Wow, it has been such a long time since I’ve updated my blog. I’ve been insanely busy with work, studying for the MCAT, applications, research, volunteering, and trying my hardest to keep a social life.
I’m in a situation that I feel a lot of pre-meds encounter and I wanted to share my experience to show that number one, you’re not alone, and number two, there is no shame in being a “non-traditional pre-medical student”.
For those of you who are new to my page, I graduated in 2018 from the College of Charleston with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. My aspirations changed midway through college, and I am now pursuing a career in medicine. I soon realized that this field is much more competitive than I anticipated. Having anything on my application that’s mediocre just wasn’t going to cut it.
SO, I’m currently in my gap year and so far, I’ve been accepted to two (very different) post-baccalaureate master’s programs.
The sole mission of these programs is to better prepare its students for what to expect in medical school. The programs are designed to integrate advising, research and volunteer opportunities, and make you a more competitive applicant to schools of your choice.
Each student applying for these programs has a different reason. My reason being that my science GPA isn’t as competitive as I’d like and haven taken the MCAT and making an OK score..I felt uneasy and this has set limitations of where I could apply.
Now that I’m in the process of choosing which of the programs I should attend, I wanted to share some of the commonalities and differences between programs and how focusing on these when deciding is insanely important because it will have an impact on your success after the program.
There are two “types” of post-bacc programs:
The first is for Career Changers
So for instance, if you have a finance degree and 10 years later want to go back to school to pursue medicine, you can get your masters degree with one of these programs. The curriculum consists of all the prerequisite courses that you will need for medical school and integrates advising to help you complete a competitive application.
The second (the program I’ll be attending) is for Academic Enhancers.
In my situation specifically, I took 2 years of accounting course work and quickly changed to taking hard-science classes. Unfortunately, the transition wasn’t as smooth as expected and some of my early science grades suffered. Although I was able to turn it around my last few semesters of college, I still need a boost in my science GPA to be competitive in the applicant pool.
Programs at different universities vary in what they offer to their incoming students. Certain programs offer MCAT prep courses while others do not. Other programs offer a mixture of undergraduate and graduate course work to both boost your undergrad science GPA and your graduate GPA while others only offer graduate level courses. Some programs are one year, while others are two.
The takeaway here is to internalize what you really need to be successful. Yes, one program may be from a prestigious school, but do they offer the tools and resources you need that will grant you success?
This is the hardest part for me when deciding where to attend. I want to attend a great school, but I don’t want to be blinded by a ranking when preparing for my future. So be sure to take everything that’s given to you into account!
Post-baccalaureate programs are becoming more and more common as the average age for medical school matriculants is rising. It’s hard to know at the age of 18 what you want to do with you life and for some, finding where you belong is a struggle, but once you do, don’t ever think it’s too late!
With hard work and persistence, you can find a way to reach your goals. And just because you didn’t achieve it at the same rate as someone else, doesn’t mean you’re subpar, it means you’ve overcome obstacles and are now thriving (well this is how I feel at least)!!
I hope for anyone struggling with their medical path, you find what works for you and you run with it because medicine is too special to give up based on a lack of knowledge of what’s available!!
Thank so much for reading. Happy Friday!!