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Choosing the Right Postbacc Premed Program

For career changers or those needing to boost their GPA, postbaccalaureate premedical (postbacc premed) programs are essential for nontraditional premed students to work toward getting into medical school. Postbacc premed programs generally provide the basic required classes you would need to apply to medical school and are best for those who have never taken those classes before or those who need to retake them. Located at various colleges and universities throughout the country, there are many options to choose from. When selecting a program, it is important to consider if it is intended for career changers or GPA boosters, the cost, and whether the program is designed for full-time students or those with a full- or part-time job.

The first thing to consider when looking into postbacc programs is what you need from the program. What are your exact goals for pursuing a postbacc? Do you need to take your science prerequisites for the first time? Did you take Biology in undergrad but still need to take Chemistry? Did you take all of your prerequisites in undergrad but are not satisfied with your GPA and want to retake them? Various postbacc premed programs are geared toward students with different goals. Some programs are specifically geared toward GPA boosters. Depending on how many prerequisites you’ve taken before, some programs allow you to take classes only as needed, while others require students to take all prehealth courses to finish the program. It is crucial to find a program that fits you and your situation, although many programs may be willing to work with you to tailor your experience accordingly. Once you are interested in a particular program, scheduling a meeting with the program’s advisor can be very helpful to introduce yourself, express interest, and see if the program is right for you.

Funding your postbacc premed journey can be more difficult than normal undergraduate or postgraduate degrees. Since a postbacc is a more nontraditional way to pursue education, federal loans are more complex. Suppose your program is defined as a graduate certificate program. In that case, applying for federal loans will be more like applying for a loan for a master’s degree, so you should be able to borrow a greater amount of money. If the program is classified as an undergraduate program, qualifying students should be eligible to borrow up to $12,500 for one year in federal student loans. It is unlikely that you will be able to qualify for a Pell Grant or Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FESOG) because postbaccs are not an undergraduate degree program. Unfortunately, many postbaccs can only qualify you for federal loans for one calendar year, so any successive years in the program would not be eligible for federal loans.

Since financial support is less readily available for postbacc premed programs, many programs are designed for students who need to work a full-time job to support their education. Programs will usually be very clear whether they are intended to be for full-time students or those with a job at the same time, and you carefully consider which type of program better suits your financial situation. If you need to take or retake every prerequisite class for medical school, it will take more time to only have one or two classes a semester. Still, it can be the safer option versus trying to take on the financial burden of all of the courses in only a few semesters. Medical schools do not judge the number of semesters it takes you to complete your prerequisites; they judge only the quality of your work.

These few tips should be a good jumping off point for anyone curious about pursuing a postbacc to prepare to apply for medical school. I am currently in the postbacc premed program at Fordham School of Professional and Continuing Studies at Fordham University and used much of my personal experience to write this article. I refreshed my understanding of the federal loan process with the article below from, but I highly recommend further research if you are considering a post-bacc. I’ve also added another helpful document from Princeton Health Professions Advising that details a lot of good info for career changers looking into a post-bacc, as well as the AAMC’s main page on postbacc programs, where you can find more information and an index of most of the postbacc premed programs in the country. Good luck on your postbacc journey!

"Affording Your Post Bacc –How to find funds for your education."

"Postbac Career Changers: How to be Premed after Princeton."

AAMC. "Postbaccalaureate Programs."


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