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Top 5 Myths About Post-Bacc Programs

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While gaining admission to medical school through post-baccalaureate pre-medical programs (post-baccs) is more common than it was 20 years ago, these programs can hardly be called mainstream. In fact, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges, about 16 percent of students who entered medical school in 2017 did so via one of these programs.i

As post-baccs grow in popularity, many myths have sprung up around them. In this article, we break down the truth behind the five we hear most often.

Myth #1 – Only Health or Science Majors Should Apply

Not true. Students who majored in other fields before deciding they wanted to become physicians have plenty of options when it comes to finding a post-bacc program. Some will accept students fresh from their bachelor’s programs who have excellent GPAs. Others will cater specifically to older people who want to change career paths.

If you want to be a doctor and you have what it takes to make it in medical school, apply to a post-bacc—no matter what you majored in.

Myth #2 – Post-Baccs Are Easy; Anyone Can Get In

We say it often on this site: post-baccs aren’t remedial programs. They are an alternative path to medical school, not an easier path. You will work hard in your program and be expected to excel if you want to successfully apply to medical schools after completion.

In addition, these programs are not for just anyone. You will need to be able to compete with very driven, academically talented students when you apply. At top programs, the average GPAs of accepted applicants can be as high as 3.7 out of 4.0—more competitive than many graduate programs!

Myth #3 – Admission to Medical School is Guaranteed

Again, not true. Many post-bacc programs offer linkages to medical schools. This means that students who successfully complete the post-bacc (and achieve MCAT scores) to a required standard will receive prioritized consideration when they apply to linked medical schools.

That doesn’t mean they’ll automatically get in. It just means they have a somewhat better chance of getting in.

Myth #4 – There’s No Financial Aid for Post-Bacc Programs

Not quite true. The types of financial aid available will depend on whether you choose a degree-granting program or certificate. If you are looking at a degree-granting post-bacc program (e.g. MSMS), then most schools will offer financial aid. If you are looking at certificate post-bacc programs that are not degree granting (e.g. Certificate in Neuroscience), financial aid is usually not available.

However, the majority of post-bacc certificates are eligible for federal and state loans, as well as private loans. There are ways to finance your program.

Myth #5 – Medical Schools Will Look Down on Your Application

Not at all true. Post-bacc students are not considered “less than” students who follow the traditional route to medical school. The country needs physicians, and medical schools will be looking for students who show the academic talent and dedication necessary to provide excellent patient care.

So don’t fear when you apply: as long as you complete your program—and complete it to a high standard—you’ll be just as legitimate an applicant as anybody else.

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