The UCLA Career Center offers personal assistance and programs on the graduate and professional school application process, including program selection, the personal statement, faculty recommendations, admissions tests, and financial assistance. Please review this section of our web site for important information you should consider and think about as you plan your coursework.
to Ask About Postbac Programs
*Adapted from the article by Gale Lang, MSS, in the The Advisor,
Dec. 2001, Vol. 22, No. 1
exactly are post-bac programs?
“post-bac programs” refers to programs geared for the college graduate who wants
to apply to medical/dental/vet schools. They are offered by undergraduate institutions,
graduate schools, and medical schools.
No, and you should explore them carefully to ensure they meet your needs.
they serve the same kinds of students?
No, some are designed for “career changers”, or those that have not yet completed
the science prerequisites. Others are for science students that would like
to enhance their current records. And still others are particularly geared
for underrepresented minorities in the health professions with or without science
can I distinguish between programs?
Most program literature or web sites will clearly state their target student
populations. Read carefully!
do I know which program will best suit my needs?
First, develop your profile by honestly answering these questions:
- Have I taken the required
courses for admission to health professions?
- Can I develop into a
strong science student?
- Am I making an informed
decision about choosing a career in health care
- Have I “tested out”
my interest by volunteering or otherwise learning more about medicine and
- Do I have a commitment
to service to others?
- Do I have the stamina
and commitment, the personal, inner resources as well as the financial
resources, to develop a year or two in premedical preparation after I graduate?
you answered “YES” to most of the above questions then read on.
you have NOT taken the premed courses, read this section:
- Do I want a formal or
- Where is the program
located? Is this a public or private institution? Small college or big
- What is the tuition?
Is financial aid available? How much and for how long?
- Are there linkages to
medical schools or other health professional schools?
- Can I study full-time,
part-time or either, depending on my needs? Are the classes held in the
evening or during the day? Can I keep my job if I want/need to?
- Do I take courses with
undergraduates, or are there special sections for the post-bac students?
- Who will teach my courses?
- Will I be guaranteed
a space in the classes and labs I will need to take?
- Will I have access to
advising from the pre-health advisor? How accessible is that person? Will
I receive an evaluation letter from this program?
- Is there assistance
in finding a health related internship or job?
- Is there help planning
the “glide year” (the year of application process while still in the program)?
Are there lectures, workshops on applying, and so on?
- Is there academic assistance,
such as tutoring? It is free?
- Is there a community
of students of which I will be a part?
- Will there be help with
you HAVE taken the requisite science courses, read this section:
- Why do I believe I can
improve my record? Is that a realistic goal for me?
you answered “YES”, then ask yourself all of the questions in the
section above, plus the following:
- If I need to improve
on the MCAT, how will I do that?
- Should I take further
undergraduate courses or move on to graduate courses?
- Have I exhausted the
range of undergraduate courses available to me? Do I have room to take
more at UCLA under my maximum unit total?
- If I want a graduate
program, how do I decide between the “Special Master’s” programs and the
more traditional Master of Science? Special Master’s programs are usually
affiliated with medical schools. They tend to offer a more accelerated,
intense pace that is most like medical school curricula.
- If I do not ultimately
gain admission to medical/dental/vet school, what are my alternative career
- Do I want to gain research
experience? Do I want an academic career in science?
for thought for ALL prospective post-bac students
options carefully and as early as possible. Speak directly with the admissions
counselors, alumni, and other program representatives to get a full picture of
life in the programs and the options after completing them. You can find more
information about these programs at:
- Association of American Medical Colleges website
Syracuse University has a great web site that they have adapted from the AAMC