Some postbac programs have their own websites and application systems. Other programs may be harder to find since they are small programs connected to a medical school, or they may be conditional acceptance programs that operate by invitation only.
If you are preparing to apply to postbac programs, there are several resources that can help you with the task of finding the best one for you:
Start with the published literature on the topic! For this book, I researched all of the premedical programs available in the U.S. The index of the book includes a comprehensive list of all of the programs that exist. Inside the book, there are interviews with programs directors and students who have successfully matriculated into medical school after completing a postbac program. The book is now available on Accepted and Amazon.
2. AAMC Postbac Database
On the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) website, you’ll find a search database dedicated solely to listing the website and contact information for the postbac programs that register with them. The benefit of this database is that it has the contact information for program directors and coordinators. The only problem with using this site is that sometimes the information is no longer current or active.
3. AACOM Information Book
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) Information Book includes information each year on the postbac programs available to pursue this field. Most of the programs listed are SMPs (special master degree programs). If you know that you want to become a DO, I recommend focusing on applying to these programs to become a more competitive applicant. *Note: If you need to improve your undergraduate GPA, a SMP will not improve your undergraduate GPA since it calculates into your graduate GPA.
4. Student Doctor Network Forums
Since Student Doctor Network forum users create anonymous screen names, the comments on this site can get out of hand since there is no accountability. However, at times, you can glean useful information about postbac programs and the application process here. If you have specific questions, you can create a conversation and hope that you receive some serious and useful responses.
5. Contact nearby schools
The easiest way to find a postbac program in your area may be to contact the local med schools in your area and ask their pre-health advisors about the postbac options nearby. Or if you’d like to take informal postbac coursework, you can enroll as a second bacc student on their campus and take classes on your own. If possible, work with an advisor to make sure that you’re taking the right classes and course combinations!
6. Connect with premed clubs and conferences
Get connected to the premed club in your area, even if you have already graduated. Attend all conferences at the local medical schools. Networking with faculty, medical students, and other premed students will help you locate more resources and programs. Many students matriculating into medical school have completed some form of postbaccalaureate coursework these days. Talking to them about their academic backgrounds can guide you in the right direction.
Hopefully, these strategies will help you find the program you are looking for. Often, it’s a matter of leaving no stone unturned and considering every possible resource. It’s difficult to ask for help, but finding a mentor or counselor to help guide you through the process may lead you directly to what you are seeking – and save you tons of time.
Alicia McNease Nimonkar is an Accepted advisor and editor specializing in healthcare admissions. Prior to joining Accepted, Alicia worked for five years as Student Advisor at UC Davis’ postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and related programs. Want Alicia to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!
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