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Does it matter where you do a Pre-Med Post Bacc?

maramamarama Registered User Posts: 327 Member
edited May 2013 in Pre-Med Topics
My question is regarding a student who is enrolled at one of the top private colleges in the country. If the student needs to do a post-bacc after graduation to finish up all of his/her pre-med prerequisites, does it matter if it's at a middle-of-the-road state university rather than at an equally prestigious and elite institution? (It's so much cheaper at a state university.)

Thank you for any insights or experience you may have with this. BTW, the state university post-bacc program boasts an 80% success rate for med school admissions.
Post edited by marama on
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Replies to: Does it matter where you do a Pre-Med Post Bacc?

  • bluebayoubluebayou Registered User Posts: 25,018 Senior Member
    If you are asking about Cal State post-bacs, then yes, it does matter, at least to UC med schools. (They accept very few Cal State applicants, many/most of which are hooked, and/or non-traditional with great life experiences.)
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid Posts: 83,486 Forum Champion
    ^^^

    Do you have any stats to back that up? Over on the "other" premed forum, I've seen CSU grads get accepted to UCSF, without significant hooks.

    And would those stats really apply to a student who was doing a post bac?

    I find it hard to believe that the UC med schools will accept the quality of CC premed prereqs from their UC transfers, but they won't accept premed prereqs from a CSU.
  • bluebayoubluebayou Registered User Posts: 25,018 Senior Member
    Over on the "other" premed forum, I've seen CSU grads get accepted to UCSF, without significant hooks.

    A couple of years ago, CSUF posted a list of where its premeds ended up; it was a three-year running total, if I recall. And of those few accepted to UC, only one appeared to be unhooked. (CSUF no longer posts such info, or if they do, I could not find it.)

    Statistically, that is extremely rare that a CSU'er is accepted into UCSF, since the class is so small, but more importantly, it is the rare CSU grad that has the aptitude to score high enough on the MCAT to even qualify for a top 5 med school. Indeed, there was a thread on that other blog a couple of years ago, from a CSUSF student who did pull off that feat, and he was the first in several years. But he also readily acknowledged that there was only one other Cal Stater in his class -- a URM, with a life story.

    Approx, one-third of UCSF's class hail from Stanford and Cal. Add in ~10% OOS. ~10% non-trads. 27% URMs. But then factor in applicants from the other top IS students from Pomona, USC, UCLA, UCSD, Caltech, etc., not to mention the California residents who go east to college (Ivies, Northwestern, Duke, Emory, etc.). Yes, there is some overlap in those categories, but soon UCSF runs out of spots, real quickly.

    The fact is that prestigious research Unis are prestige hounds in admissions. (It is illogical to think otherwise; academia is the ultimate prestige-whore.) A top CSU student had better plan on bringing something else to be competitive. The odds are just against them.

    A 3.7 from USC's post bac is just better than a 3.7 from Cal State, for the unhooked.
  • maramamarama Registered User Posts: 327 Member
    A couple of years ago, CSUF posted a list of where its premeds ended up; it was a three-year running total, if I recall. And of those few accepted to UC, only one appeared to be unhooked. (CSUF no longer posts such info, or if they do, I could not find it.)

    IN THIS CASE, IT WOULD BE A WELLESLEY GRADUATE ENROLLING IN A CSU POST-BACC WITH HALF OF HER PRE-MED PRE-REQS ALREADY COMPLETED AT WELLESLEY AS PART OF HER UNDERGRADUATE SCIENCE MAJOR.

    Statistically, that is extremely rare that a CSU'er is accepted into UCSF, since the class is so small, but more importantly, it is the rare CSU grad that has the aptitude to score high enough on the MCAT to even qualify for a top 5 med school.

    HISTORICALLY, THIS STUDENT HAS SHOWN HERSELF TO BE A VERY HIGH SCORER ON STANDARDIZED TESTS, AND THERE IS NO REASON FOR US TO THINK SHE WOULDN'T DO EQUALLY WELL ON THE 2015 MCAT.

    Indeed, there was a thread on that other blog a couple of years ago, from a CSUSF student who did pull off that feat, and he was the first in several years. But he also readily acknowledged that there was only one other Cal Stater in his class -- a URM, with a life story.

    AS I MENTIONED, THE STUDENT WOULDN'T BE A CAL STATE GRADUATE.

    Approx, one-third of UCSF's class hail from Stanford and Cal. Add in ~10% OOS. ~10% non-trads. 27% URMs. But then factor in applicants from the other top IS students from Pomona, USC, UCLA, UCSD, Caltech, etc., not to mention the California residents who go east to college (Ivies, Northwestern, Duke, Emory, etc.). Yes, there is some overlap in those categories, but soon UCSF runs out of spots, real quickly.

    WHAT ABOUT OTHER UC MED SCHOOLS?

    ALSO, COULD CALIFORNIA STATE RESIDENCY INFLUENCE HER CHANCE OF ADMISSION TO A UC MED SCHOOL?

    The fact is that prestigious research Unis are prestige hounds in admissions. (It is illogical to think otherwise; academia is the ultimate prestige-whore.) A top CSU student had better plan on bringing something else to be competitive. The odds are just against them.

    AGAIN, NOT A CSU STUDENT, ONLY A POTENTIAL CSU POST-BACC STUDENT.

    WOULD AN UNDERGRADUATE SCIENCE DEGREE FROM WELLESLEY WITH A VERY GOOD GPA AND VERY GOOD MCAT SCORE NOT MEET THE REQUIREMENTS FOR "PRESTIGE WHOREDOM"? WOULD DOING THREE OR FOUR PRE-MED PRE-REQS IN THE CSU POST-BACC PROGRAM CANCEL OUT EVERYTHING ELSE?

    A 3.7 from USC's post bac is just better than a 3.7 from Cal State, for the unhooked.

    SO BACK TO MY ORIGINAL QUESTION: IS THERE ANY WAY TO DO IT MORE CHEAPLY WITHOUT SERIOUSLY COMPROMISING HER CHANCE OF ACCEPTANCE TO A UC MED SCHOOL? OR IS SHE ALREADY OUT OF THE RUNNING FOR HAVING CHOSEN TO GO TO WELLESLEY RATHER THAN TO SOME OTHER ELITE SCHOOL?
  • bluebayoubluebayou Registered User Posts: 25,018 Senior Member
    ^^Using Caps is bad form.

    Yes, any and all courses taken a W are under the high rigor category. But, any science grades from the CSU will tend to be discounted by UC adcoms. So the question becomes which courses did you complete at W? If you received mostly A's from W in your science work, including Organic Chem, you are probably good-to-go. OTOH, if you have not yet taken Organic, anything less than an A at a CSU will be suspect.

    Another option is Mills College, which has an excellent post-bac program. Even if you don't qualify for Mills' postbac, you might be able to just register as a special student there and complete the few courses remaining.

    Also consider the time factor. A CSU may take longer since course availability is not always guaranteed. Advising stinks at the California publics. Medicine is a long, financial drain. Don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish now.
    SO BACK TO MY ORIGINAL QUESTION: IS THERE ANY WAY TO DO IT MORE CHEAPLY...

    P.S. While that may have been your intent, no where in your original post do you actually raise that question. :)
  • entomomentomom Registered User Posts: 23,662 Senior Member
    marama,

    To quote a passage do this at the beginning and end (taking out the spaces):
    what you want to cite

    Using the same brackets and replacing 'quote' with 'i' or 'b' will give you italics and bold, respectively.
  • maramamarama Registered User Posts: 327 Member
    Thanks, entomom. I guess I'm a bit tech-challenged in the area of Internet forums : )
  • maramamarama Registered User Posts: 327 Member
    ^^Using Caps is bad form.

    Sorry! I didn't know how to do it any other way.

    Yes, any and all courses taken a W are under the high rigor category. But, any science grades from the CSU will tend to be discounted by UC adcoms.

    Is it really that extreme? Even for someone from a school as rigorous as Wellesley?

    So the question becomes which courses did you complete at W?

    AP Calc in high school, one semester of Calculus and one semester of Statistics at Wellesley, and a lot of science courses with labs.

    If you received mostly A's from W in your science work, including Organic Chem, you are probably good-to-go.

    She'll be doing O-Chem this year. Don't forget Wellesley's institutionalized grade deflation policy, which, just like that at Princeton, tends to make students' GPAs lower than at other schools. The pre-med advisor at Wellesley expects pre-meds to have a minimum 3.5 overall and a 3.5 science GPA in order to be good candidates for med school acceptance.

    OTOH, if you have not yet taken Organic, anything less than an A at a CSU will be suspect.

    But having taken Organic at Wellesley, will As at CSUs then have more credibility?

    Another option is Mills College, which has an excellent post-bac program.

    Expensive.

    Even if you don't qualify for Mills' postbac, you might be able to just register as a special student there and complete the few courses remaining.

    Expensive.

    Also consider the time factor. A CSU may take longer since course availability is not always guaranteed. Advising stinks at the California publics. Medicine is a long, financial drain. Don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish now.

    Good caveat. I'm always careful to allot whatever resources are necessary to guarantee my daughter's success. However, the operative term here is "necessary".

    We'll be meeting with the director of the SFSU post-bacc program next week, but over the phone a staff member told us that post-bacc students are guaranteed the classes they need when they need them thanks to early registration. Same thing goes for the UC Berkeley post-bacc program.

    Quote:
    SO BACK TO MY ORIGINAL QUESTION: IS THERE ANY WAY TO DO IT MORE CHEAPLY...
    P.S. While that may have been your intent, no where in your original post do you actually raise that question.


    Quote: ...does it matter if it's at a middle-of-the-road state university rather than at an equally prestigious and elite institution? (It's so much cheaper at a state university.)

    Ummm, actually, I did say that in my original posting! : )

    Once again, I'm grateful for your feedback!
  • maramamarama Registered User Posts: 327 Member
    P.S. I'm still wondering what influence a good MCAT score has on the mix. After all, when applicants from schools with grade inflation all graduate with straight As, adcoms have to look more at their MCAT scores anyway. So what about in a situation like this? Whether a student did her pre-reqs one place or the other, isn't the proof in the "MCAT pudding"?
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 69,112 Senior Member
    marama wrote:
    AP Calc in high school, one semester of Calculus and one semester of Statistics at Wellesley, and a lot of science courses with labs.

    What pre-med courses would she not have completed at her main undergraduate school by the time she graduates from there?

    If just one or a few, would she need to do a whole post-bac program, versus just a course or two taken at any school that has space available in the needed course(s)?
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid Posts: 83,486 Forum Champion
    Does the student even want to go to UCSF? or will any US MD school do?

    If the student emerges from W with a high cum and BCMP GPA, and finishes prereqs at a respected CSU (which one???) with a high GPA, and gets a high well-balanced MCAT, and has all the usual "extras" (shadowing, ECs, good LORs), is the student really shooting herself in the foot by doing her post-bac at a CSU?
  • cadriethielcadriethiel Registered User Posts: 127 Junior Member
    So I have bad news for you. Medcoms do not take grade deflation at particular schools into account (some exceptions for Ivys/Stanford/etc). Do not buy this from your pre-med counselor (my liberal arts school told me this too). Your daughter should work hard and achieve top grades. There are many qualified applicants with stellar GPAs from top schools, and having a sub-par GPA will hurt you. The MCAT is the great equalizer, and your daughter should make every attempt to ace that.

    I don't know much about post-baccs, so I can't comment too much. If your daughter has a high MCAT and high Wellesley GPA + volunteering/research, she should be good to go. What is her current GPA? Does she need to boost it?
  • maramamarama Registered User Posts: 327 Member
    So I have bad news for you. Medcoms do not take grade deflation at particular schools into account (some exceptions for Ivys/Stanford/etc). Do not buy this from your pre-med counselor (my liberal arts school told me this too).

    I don't think you know Wellesley...
  • maramamarama Registered User Posts: 327 Member
    Does the student even want to go to UCSF? or will any US MD school do?

    We would never be so presumptuous as to think she was a shoo-in for any one school in particular, especially not one as selective and sought-after as UCSF. We would just prefer she get into some school somewhere UC system because of the cost differential.

    I'm not quite sure how UCSF was introduced into the conversation, but maybe it was because of the location I've provided with my sign-in name.
  • maramamarama Registered User Posts: 327 Member
    What pre-med courses would she not have completed at her main undergraduate school by the time she graduates from there?

    If just one or a few, would she need to do a whole post-bac program, versus just a course or two taken at any school that has space available in the needed course(s)?

    You're right, she wouldn't necessarily have to do a whole post-bacc.
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