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Should I Do a Post-Bacc Before Med School?

An increasing number of applicants are doing a post-bacc before medical school. For students in college, there might be a concern about whether or not doing a post-bacc would be beneficial. This post will hopefully help answer some questions about post-baccs, especially if you are asking yourself, “Should I do a post-bacc before med school?”
Should I Do a Post-Bacc Before Med School?

What is a Post-Bacc?

A post-bacc is a “post-baccalaureate,” which is essentially taking undergraduate level courses after already having obtained a bachelor’s (baccalaureate) degree. This can consist of taking the basic science courses for admission to medical school, or taking some higher level courses to boost your learning, GPA, and medical school application.

Should I Do a Post-Bacc Before Med School?

There are generally two main reasons why someone would do a post-bacc before medical school:

  1. Have not taken or completed basic science course requirement for application to medical school.
  2. Have taken the basic science courses and wish to enhance and improve their application and GPA.

If you wish to apply to medical school and have not taken the basic science courses required to apply to medical school, then I would highly recommend doing a post-bacc. It is the rare exception where a medical school will accept someone without having taken the basic requirements of chemistry, physics, organic chemistry, biology, and writing.

If you have already taken the required courses, but perhaps have struggled in terms of learning the material or your GPA, then taking a post-bacc might help in a few ways. First, it would help boost your overall science GPA if you do well in your post-bacc. Second, you will presumably learn the material better and be better prepared for the medical school science curriculum. Third, some post-bacc programs are actually master’s programs that award you a degree, which looks pretty spiffy on your application.

Some advice about doing a post-bacc if you are a science major or have already taken your required courses: try to challenge yourself and take more upper-level courses or try for one of the master’s level programs. It doesn’t really impress anyone if you got a C in introductory chemistry and then got an A the second time around. You need to prove that you not only mastered and improved from when you did poorly, but can expand your abilities.

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About Burton

Burton is an MCAT blogger. He was an undergraduate at Harvard, where he majored in History before switching gears to pursue a career in medicine. He did a post-baccalaureate and is currently a fourth-year medical student at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He is applying for a combined residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. Outside of things medical, he's a huge sports fan and loves football, basketball, and baseball.

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