Find a Post Baccalaureate Pre-med Program That Fits You

The New York Times reported in 2012 that 15% of students going to medical school had completed a post bacc program, and from 2009 to 2012, the number of postbac premed programs had grown 45%. Post Bacc programs have continued to expand ever since, which allows for many people who might have been excluded to become excellent doctors (or dentists, vets or other medical professionals).


Post Bacc programs are as varied as the people who benefit from them. There are 1-3 year programs, and in Europe, there are programs to help undergrads go directly through to medical school. There are flexible schedule programs that offer on-line or night courses. Some programs offer a link directly into a specific medical program. The type of program right for you depends upon your needs. Typically there are five reasons pre-med students pursue a post bacc:

[ Also Read: Best Post-Bacc Programs for Medical School. ]

  • Pre academic record enhancement- This type of program fills in the gaps for a student who wants top-notch grades in the science and math courses needed to stand out in the competitive medical field. One of the advantages of completing a postbac is having an academic advisor who can help you assess your needs and challenges. You could take the science and math courses on your own, but you’ll miss out on the advice and connections that an advisor offers, including writing med school recommendations and helping your assess which programs best fit your needs.
  • Career change- The most successful students in post bacc programs tend to be those coming from one a non-medical field. If your life experience has ignited a passion to go into medicine, then, chances are, previous training and work has helped to prepare you as well. If you are looking to change careers, you may have none of the prerequisite courses for medical school. You will benefit from the advising, the volunteer opportunities that will help test your passion and will give you the confidence that you can succeed in medical school.
  • MCAT® exam prep- Top programs look at your transcripts, your recommendations, and your test scores. Post Baccs are not glorified MCAT study programs, but many do wrap in exam prep with courses, volunteering, and mentoring to help you present yourself as a well-rounded candidate. Top medical programs accept students who can handle multiple rigorous courses at once, have the necessary human qualities to heal, but also can retain knowledge in order to fulfill the complex demands of being a medical professional.
  • Linkages- One other type of post bacc program helps qualified candidates go directly into a linked medical school. These programs, like all post bacc programs are competitive, but they offer an advantage because the advisers, mentors, instructors have intimate knowledge of the candidate’s proficiency, strengths, skills and passions.
  • Programs for underrepresented students, such as those with economic or educational disadvantages, offer a chance for greater diversity in the medical field. Two of the oldest programs for underrepresented groups are at Southern Illinois University and Wayne State University in the Midwest, but, in 2019, the AAMA (Association of American Medical Colleges) listed 97 programs for minority students, economically or educationally disadvantaged students.

[ Also Read: 3 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Pre-Med Program. ]

As you research post bacc programs, you will inevitably read the phrase, “Keep in mind.”

It’s wise to note that Postbacc pre-med programs are competitive and rigorous, which you want. Some are designed to help you put your best foot forward when applying to medical school. Their rigor is the best form of preparation and discipline for the stressors of medical school. Not all post bacc programs offer a degree; some are certificate programs. Because they are post-undergraduate programs or transition programs, they can be expensive and the financial aid varies.

Consider the advantages of competitive, rigorous programs abroad, which tend to be more affordable. Some of these are 6 year medical programs out of high school, which helps leverage costs. A six-year med program in Europe builds broad life experience, uses time well and helps contain the overall costs of a med program.