Perhaps Bio 1A didn’t quite turn out the way you expected…or maybe you didn’t even take Bio 1A because you had no idea you wanted to be pre-med! Maybe Chem 3A, Chem 3B and your lower division courses in general didn’t go the way you planned, but you still want to be a doctor? Post-bacculaureate programs (colloquially referred to as “post-baccs”) offer you the opportunity to take or retake the prerequisite courses you need for medical school after you graduate.
There are two types of post-baccs: formal and informal.
Formal programs are typically a year to two years for either academic enhancement or career changers. Academic enhancement programs provide the opportunity to improve your GPA by retaking science courses. Career changers programs are for those who have yet to begin taking the pre-med prereqs. These types of programs would benefit someone who took all the pre-reqs and did not do well, or someone who has not taken any of the prereqs at all.
“Kanye” is a third year Anthropology major that took a biology class to satisfy a breath requirement and it changed his life! He started volunteering at a hospital and realized that he wanted to be a doctor. Since Kanye is a junior, has only taken one of the prereq courses for med school and can’t complete the others before graduation, he would benefit from a career changer post-bacc
“Britney” is a fourth year Integrative Biology major. She did okay in her upper division courses, but not so well in the lower divs (most of the prereqs for med school). Britney feels that her low GPA may not be competitive enough to get into med school. Since Britney needs to boost her GPA in science courses, she would benefit from an academic enhancement post-bacc.
Informal programs are more independent and for those that are “almost there.” This type of program is useful for those who only need to take a few more prereqs or even retake a few courses. They can serve to boost a grade in a course, rather than improving overall GPA like a formal program would.
“Rihanna” is a fourth year pre-med English major. She has satisfied most of the prereqs but will still need a year of physics after she graduates. Rihanna can finish up her physics requirement through an informal post-bacc program.
“Justin” has finished all his premed prereqs and graduated. He struggled through organic chemistry and wants to show he can do well in a challenging chemistry course to become a more competitive applicant. Justin can take one or two organic chemistry courses through an informal post-bacc.
Your dreams of going to med school and being a doctor are not over if you failed to set the curve in physics, or even if you failed physics. Post-bacc programs are a way to complete or retake the necessary prereqs for med school.
Post by Pre-Health Advisor Lemicher Mack, 3rd Year English Major, Pre-Med.