Apparently I am not a very good secret keeper, and you guys are good investigators, so most of you know by now that the program I will be starting this summer is a Post baccalaureate Premedical Program.
(If you have no clue what I’m talking about, I left my job in advertising in December 2012 and moved home as I prepare to go back to school. I’m making a total career change from business to medicine and could not be more excited.)
This was a huge decision that I spent lots of time considering. I talked to my parents, my friends, doctors, PhDs, therapists, current medical students, college advisors, and more. I was told I was both making the best decision and the worst decision. When it came down to it, I had to do what was best for me and what I knew would make me happy.
Now that I’m telling people, most friends are saying, “It’s about time! We knew you would eventually.”
I was terrified, but once I made the decision there was a huge weight off of my shoulders. Since moving home, I’ve been immersing myself in the medical field as much as possible. I’m a research assistant to a physician, shadow my dad, and am taking Anatomy and Physiology. My parents (both doctors) have started including me in their discussions of work, so I’m hearing all the good, bad, and frustrating. I’m incredibly intimidated, but SO EXCITED! I truly feel this is right.
What is Postbac Pre-Med?
When I started to think about med school, I didn’t even know if it was possible. I haven’t taken science since high school, and I watched so many friends in college take years of difficult classes that I knew the road wouldn’t be easy or quick. I thought I’d have to go back to undergrad and try to take all of the pre-reqs on my own, until my mom told me about Post-Baccalaureate PreMedical programs. Her roommate from college has as daughter that went to Bryn Mawr’s program.
Postbac Pre-Med programs are not for people that need a refresher in science or that didn’t get into medical school the first time they applied. Those exist, but these are specifically for career changers – people that already have a college degree but with little to no science background.
The programs differ in size, length, and structure, but most that I’m looking at last around 12 months. All the science pre-requisites are included, as well as personal advising, medical volunteer work and internships, and MCAT preparation. Many boast a 90 – 100% acceptance rate into medical school. There is much more to say, but I’ll save that for the more detailed post if you’re interested in learning.
Where I Applied:
I applied to six schools last Fall. This is not an exhaustive list of programs and doesn’t include some of the biggest and best ones, it’s just a personal list that made sense to me:
- University of Virginia
- Johns Hopkins
- Washington University in St. Louis
- Bryn Mawr
Where I Got In:
I just heard back from my last school on Monday and so am finally ready to share with you where I currently stand. I have been admitted to all the schools except for Bryn Mawr (bummer).
Considering I had no idea what the applicant pool would be like, and whether or not my application was good or terrible, I am thrilled! I was so nervous that I had no chance of getting in and my plans would be ruined that I didn’t want to talk about it on the blog. I was worried I’d be super embarrassed and/or jinx myself, so thanks for baring with me.
Here are my current thoughts on the schools. These are totally personal and based on my experience there and conversations I’ve had with current students, admissions directors, etc:
- University of Virginia: I loved Charlottesville and UVA when I visited. It was gorgeous, a great school, and somewhere I’ve always thought would be great to go to be. The advising and teachers were spoken of very highly. However, the program is a little newer and doesn’t have quite as strong of a reputation as some others.
- Johns Hopkins: I didn’t expect to like JHU, but it was fantastic. It helps that my visit was on the most beautiful 60-degree sunny day ever. The campus was gorgeous, the student I toured with was so nice, the facilities were fantastic, and I got along wonderfully with the program director. The Johns Hopkins name obviously can’t be beat, they have an 100% acceptance rate into medical school, and Baltimore was a pleasant surprise. My worry is that it may be too competitive and not as strong of a community feel.
- Georgetown: I wanted to love Georgetown, especially since it’s a Catholic school in Washington D.C., but the program isn’t quite a structured as the others. It’s designed to take 18-24 months and doesn’t have the same close advising and support. I think I could do really well, it’d just be much more on my own.
- Washington University: This is a great school right in my home town! The perks to that are many, however the program is actually designed for people that are still working full time. That means lots of classes are scheduled at night and it can take 2-3 years. I think I might be able to make some exceptions, but I wouldn’t have the same community or support. Unfortunately I don’t think that’s right for me.
- Scripps: Scripps has a great reputation in California, but it’s a school I’m not as familiar with. A personal source told me they weren’t thrilled with the advising there, which wasn’t a positive thing to hear. I think if I had grown up visiting California more often I may be more comfortable going out there.
So that’s where I am! Still talking to tons of people, doing research, and trying to make my decision. I’m going to Washington D.C. with my family this weekend, which was a completely separate trip, but will have some school-related visits involved now.
I’d appreciate not having any mean-spirited comments about my decision or the programs, but if you’d like to share some helpful perspectives or love for certains schools or cities I’d love to hear it!
Also, feel free to leave any questions about the process so I can be sure to include answers in my more detailed post.
**Update: I ended up going to the University of Virginia, which I loved! After a year off, I started medical school at St. Louis University in Fall 2015**