This is part of our Postbac Admissions Series where we explore the ins and outs of applying to postbaccalaureate programs, including tips for finding the best programs, writing the best essays, finding the best recommenders, and more. Click here to get the complete guide.
Any student who would like to become a more competitive applicant to medical school can benefit from completing a postbac program or postbaccalaureate coursework. Postbac programs or coursework can help you with completing and/or improving your:
1. Premed Prerequisite Requirements
Some students take additional coursework to complete the required prerequisite courses to apply to medical school.
2. GPA, Cumulative and Science
Other students take additional science courses to improve their academic record.
3. MCAT Scores, if assistance is provided
If you have a low MCAT score, simply retaking the MCAT—with a course—may be the best approach for you—unless you need assistance in other areas as well.
4. Activities, if opportunities are included
If you need to participate in more activities to strengthen your application, you may consider pursuing clinical experience, expanding your volunteer work interests, or applying to a research program. Most formal postbac programs offer these activities and more.
5. Application Essays
Often, programs provide support in outlining, drafting and finalizing your application materials. Sharing your personal statement draft with the writing center on your college campus can also be helpful, if you do not have the support of a formal program.
6. Letters of Recommendation
The additional coursework that you complete—with stellar grades—will provide opportunities for you to request current letters of recommendation from your science instructors. Formal programs also provide these letters.
7. Team Building Skills
It is attractive to be able to include your postbac program or coursework on your application because it indicates that you thrive on teams in the classroom. Taking lab classes or completing research will show teamwork is a strength of yours, if you achieve positive results with high grades or publications.
Taking additional classes will boost your confidence, as long as you excel academically. If you are struggling, ask for help. Don’t give up on yourself!
By taking additional time to prepare for medical school, you will be gaining more life experience and therefore approaching your professional education with more maturity and more clearly defined goals.
By evaluating the strength of your AMCAS application, realistically and kindly, you can identify the areas you would like to strengthen. Hopefully this list will provide you with the evaluation criteria to locate areas you can change and improve. By using your energy to become a stronger applicant, you can avoid the self-doubt and uncertainty that often accompanies the decision to apply to medical school. Focus on those areas of the application that you have control over and do your best!
Alicia McNease Nimonkar worked for 5 years as the Student Advisor & Director at the UC Davis School of Medicine's postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and other health professional programs. She has served Accepted's clients since 2012 with roughly a 90% success rate. She has a Master of Arts in Composition and Rhetoric as well as Literature. Want Alicia to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!