How to go from BA to medschool?
July 21, 2011 4:06 PM   Subscribe

With a BA and basically no science courses, what would be the best way to start completing requirements to go to med school?

I did well in college and graduated with a BA in a completely unrelated subject. I enjoyed science in high school and took AP bio and physics. Not very happy with my current work and thinking about options.

I have no clue where to start? Would I start with the basics (bio/physics/calc) at a community college and then try and transfer to another school for the upper level classes? I'm in San Diego.
posted by notnathan to Education (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
With a good undergraduate GPA, you do not necessarily need upper level classes for med school. You need basic science courses, and a sponsoring program; you should be looking for post-bacc pre-med programs.

Here is an example from Harvard Extension School, which would be perfect except for being in Massachusetts.
posted by endless_forms at 4:25 PM on July 21, 2011

Community college is definitely a good place to start (for price if nothing else). There are also post-baccalaureate pre-medical programs like the one at Georgetown.
posted by Jahaza at 4:26 PM on July 21, 2011

Not that it's directly relevant, but Harvard Extension classes are about $1000/course. They're heavily subsidized by the University.
posted by endless_forms at 4:29 PM on July 21, 2011

Best answer: Since med school is so competitive, I suggest a post-bac program that has a good reputation where upon completing almost all graduates are accepted into med school. Some post-bac programs even partner with med schools so that upon successful completion you are essentially granted admission. Make sure your study skills are top notch!

Check out:
posted by Mr. Papagiorgio at 4:34 PM on July 21, 2011

Best answer: What's your undergrad GPA? that makes a big difference. If it's good (3.6-3.7+) you could probably get by with the bare minimum 8 prerequisite classes (2 each of bio, chem, physics and organic.) that's if you do well on the MCAT, too (30+) which is not easy but I think can be done by most people if they really buckle down and commit to it.

If your GPA is lower than that (like mine was) then you may need to do additional classes beyond the 8 prerequisites in order to prove your academic abilities. I got a masters degree. You don't necessarily have to do that, but I didn't want to waste money on more undergrad credits in case i didn't get into med school- i wanted my degree to be useful whether I got in or not. i think roughly 10% of med students have a graduate degree of some sort. anyway, you could always just take upper level bio classes too. this would hopefully improve your transcript and also prepare you better for the MCAT. and if you really want to get in, you'd need to start doing stuff like volunteering and shadowing now in order to be competitive. if your GPA is below about 3.0-3.2 you might have a pretty hard time getting in anywhere.

you'll get a lot more useful information at sdn than you probably will here. the postbac forums there were an invaluable source of information to me while i was going through it (which was recently- i just finished M1 year.) your question has been asked there many times, so just go search and you'll find tons of stuff.

if you want more details about my experience, you're welcome to memail me. i didn't want to make this eighty paragraphs long, but i probably could have.
posted by GastrocNemesis at 4:37 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

i also meant to mention- the thing about post-bac programs with good reputations and linkages to schools: they can be pretty hard to get into/ do well in. i got rejected from the ones i applied to. but it was okay, there are other ways to get in besides that if you are really determined.
posted by GastrocNemesis at 4:40 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Before you even start thinking about medical school pre-requisites, you should take some time to really explore health care careers. This is especially true if you have limited exposure to the field. Call around to some doctors' offices and ask if they will let you shadow them for a few afternoons. Volunteer in a local emergency room doing the kind of work they need doing. In addition to giving you a somewhat better taste of what being a doctor is like, you will need this kind of thing for your applications, should you choose to apply. I don't say this to discourage you from your goals - rather, it's important to have an idea of what you're getting yourself into.

Post-bacc programs can be helpful for some people, but I also know plenty of people who did their pre-requisite coursework exclusively at community college.

One other thing: use SDN for what it is. Don't hang out on the forums for much other than information - too much time might be discouraging or lend towards freaking out. Definitely not something you need or want during a pretty stressful time in your life.
posted by honeybee413 at 8:57 PM on July 21, 2011

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