Post Baccalaureate Premed Student
Many students do not decide until later on in their education that they want to pursue a career in medicine. In order to apply to medical school, students will need to complete premed prerequisite classes after the completion of their undergraduate degree. In other cases students may need to strengthen their academic credentials before applying to medical school. There are different reasons for students to pursue post baccalaureate course work and there are different types of programs they can take advantage of.
The programs are:
- A formal post bachelors program (see the list below).
- Taking classes on an informal non matriculated basis.
- Special minority programs.
- Programs that offer graduate courses linked to a medical school.
Not only do these programs differ in the types of students they target but they also differ in their admissions requirements. There are some post bachelors programs that require you to have specific GPA, MCAT scores or have completed a certain amount of volunteer work. Generally, there is some specific structure to the program as far as how the sequence of classes should be taken, the number of credits that need to be enrolled in per semester and whether or not concurrent volunteer work is necessary. There are advantages to this type of program in that the student knows what is expected of him or her and generally has a clear picture of how long the entire process will take. For some students this type of a program has its disadvantages in that it is rigid in its time constraints and does not take into account differences in student's lifestyles.
Enrolling at a school on a non matriculated basis, allows the student the flexibility of planning their own curriculum and adhering to their own time schedule. For some, the lack of structure is disconcerting as well as the possibility of necessary classes not being given during any given semester.
Another option is to take a special graduate program that is affiliated with a medical school. Some medical schools offer programs that enable participants in the graduate program to take classes with medical students. If the student's performance meets their admission requirements, they can be given preferential treatment in the admissions process.
Another option is to pursue a graduate degree in a science field. This gives the student another avenue to enhance their credentials and prove they are capable of graduate work.
Keep in mind that all of these programs vary in length based on the student's prior academic history. Also, be aware of your own goals and limitations in deciding which option is for you. If you wish to attend a particular school, contact the Premedical Advisor or Career Counseling Center at the school to determine what options the school might offer you. You also need to determine how much assistance and support you will be given in the application process. These support services as well as the overall reputation of the school needs to also be considered.
Though the process may seem overwhelming at first, you can achieve your goals whether you are 22 or 72!
If you have no previous course work in sciences, you can take your basic natural science courses at Hofstra, take the appropriate admissions test and then apply to the Health Professions school of your choice. In scheduling your classes each semester you should consider: (1) your work schedule (2) family situation (3) time required in the laboratory (4) time to gain relevant volunteer experience if necessary.