After graduating from UC Davis with my bachelors in Psychology I was unsure if I still wanted to become a medical doctor. At this time, I decided to spend my time working in the field to ensure I was making the right decision. After a year of working at Lodi Memorial Hospital as a scribe I knew I wanted to continue my education and become a physician. When I started researching many of the different medical school requirements, I panicked (like most people applying to medical school)... My GPA was not high enough and I had not taken the MCAT. BUT I did have one thing on my side... EXPERIENCE.
I had volunteered in Guatemala, worked in an emergency room, and worked in a clinic. This gave me more than 5,000 hours of clinical experience. After talking with several physicians in the emergency room about their experience going into medical school it seemed I had 3 options...
1. Take additional classes at UC Davis to boost my GPA
2. Apply for a masters program
3. Apply for a post baccalaureate program
There were many pro's and con's to this list... If I went back to UC Davis it would be an unstructured program and would NOT increase my letters of recommendation and I could potentially end up hurting my GPA. A masters program was appealing, but most programs are two years long. So this meant I would have an additional 2 years before applying to medical school. Most post baccalaureate programs were only one year, and some were certificate based programs. I decided to start applying to post baccalaureate programs. Most of these programs were appealing to me because they were cheaper than the masters programs, only one year in length, and targeted towards those students looking to enhance their GPA to go into the medical field.
When I started searching the programs, I used the AAMC website to search for accredited programs. I then looked through each university offering a post baccalaureate program before deciding which university I believed would suit me the best. The site will show you which post baccalaureate program is better as a "career changer", "academic record enhancers", and "economically disadvantaged students" and more. On the AAMC website, you can look up each program by state, important program requirements, and details on each program. I ended up applying to 5 different programs. I was accepted in every program but decided to go to Dominican University in River Forest, IL. After one month of being accepted I moved to Chicago, IL.
After doing a post baccalaureate program I HIGHLY recommend it. Most programs are targeted to boost your GPA and help you understand the rigors of courses you will take in medical school. These programs also help you gain knowledge about the application process into medical school in general. The classes in the program are designed to help you understand the future courses you will take in medical school including - pathophysiology, molecular biology, anatomy, histology, and clinical behavior. Most of the councilors and advisers are there to assist you through your application process and many of your classmates are going through the exact same process you are. This makes the process seem much less overwhelming. You also have advisers who are there to assist you daily in any questions you may have about the medical schools you are applying to. I don't know about all post baccalaureate programs but Dominican University was INCREDIBLE. More on Dominican University on my next blog post...