Deciding Where to Apply to Medical School

We’re at the beginning of another medical school application cycle so today’s post is all about deciding where to apply! It’s a personal, stressful, and expensive process but I hope my thoughts can help guide you if you’re struggling to start or just don’t know how to narrow down your list! And a quick caveat to start — everyone has their own priorities when deciding where to apply to school. These were mine and it’s ok if yours are different.

The moment I submitted my AMCAS!
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Post Bacc FAQ: Glide Year & Linkage

Before you reach the end of your post-bacc, there is one big decision you will have to make: pursue a linkage that takes you right into medical school or choose a “glide year” while you complete the full medical school application process. (There was a lot of ice cream and traveling during my glide year!)

Previous posts you may have missed:

Post Bacc Basics & How it Prepared Me for Medical School
Post Bacc FAQ: How To Pay For It & Why Program Advising is Invaluable

Linkage Agreements

Some medical schools have an arrangement with post-bacc programs to conditionally accept some students to medical school for the fall that follows the completion of a post-bacc. Students apply though AMCAS (the medical school application system) in the fall (one year before they intend to matriculate in medical school through the linkage), interview with the medical school if the schools determines they meet specific criteria set forth by the school, and may be conditionally accepted. This conditional acceptance hinges on completion of the post-bacc (and there might be some grade requirements) and achieving a certain MCAT score. Continue reading “Post Bacc FAQ: Glide Year & Linkage”

Post Bacc FAQ: How To Pay For It & Why Program Advising is Invaluable

I posted a while ago about some post-bacc basics and how it prepared me for medical school, but I’ve gotten more questions since then and thought I’d address them here!

Visiting my post-bacc program this fall as a medical student!

Real quick reminder: a post-bacc program allows students that have already attended college to complete all the prerequisites for admission to medical school, physical therapy school, veterinary school, and other health professions schools. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has an extensive list of post-bacc programs. Programs have some variation in extra courses and program length, but they all get you the core basic science classes required for medical school and to prep you for the MCAT.

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A Glimpse Into My Career Change + Exercising Out of a Funk

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor (yet!) or physical trainer. Please always consult your doctor before trying anything you may read on my blog.

The other day, I did a quick workout to try and rid myself of the post-conference and end of Daylight Savings funk that I’ve been in all week. It worked well enough — I got some good studying in before bed and woke up feeling rested for the first time in over a week. It actually made me start reminiscing about my own journey from not caring for daily physical exercise to using exercise to alter my mood and make me more productive. I tried out plenty of sports as a kid, but spent most of the time picking weeds during rec soccer games or hating that I had to be outside. I just wanted to sit inside and read. Yeah, I’ve been interested in learning forever. I’m still bitter over a summer reading contest I lost…the winner was the librarian’s daughter, which I thought should be disqualifying…

During my senior year of college, I took a class called Man’s Food, which was a basic nutrition course and it made me question everything I knew about healthy eating. I became a bit too regimented in what I ate for a few months — oatmeal or eggs for breakfast; a sandwich, carrots, and an apple for lunch; and then it was up in the air for dinner– but I lost a good, and needed, 10 pounds. Then I started walking on the treadmill every other day and eventually, ran my first half marathon. It was an incredible accomplishment and also some of the worst physical pain and exhaustion I have ever felt.

My mom and I after my first half marathon at Disney. She kicked butt and I dragged myself across the finish line.

Running 13.1 miles in Orlando in October can be brutal — it was still so hot and humid and my longest training runs had been during D.C.’s lovely crisp fall. But I did it, recovered, and then wanted more. I even convinced a group of colleagues to run a half marathon with me! [Yes, we’re still friends!] I eventually reached a point where I started running less and joined a the gym so I could try out Bodypump class, which I learned about years ago from Julie of Peanut Butter Fingers. I went to that class twice a week until I moved to Philadelphia — the first time I took it, I was so sore I couldn’t walk without pain for nearly a week!

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Post Bacc Basics + How it Prepared Me for Medical School

I need to thank the Clare at Fitting It All In for blogging about her experiences in a post bacc premed program. When I learned that this type of program existed for people like me — career-changers who wanted to go to medical school (or other biomedical or health sciences careers) with no science background — I got onto Google and typed in “post bacc premed blog.” Her site was one of the first to come up! Now I’m in medical school after five years in the professional and graduate school worlds, a year in a post bacc, and a glorious year spent as a nanny for the cutest two year old. So, I think it’s time to pay it forward.

Every post bacc is structured a bit differently, but they’re all geared towards to same outcome: complete the basic prerequisites for medical school admission, immerse yourself in medicine (to varying extent at different programs), prepare for the MCAT, and have an advisor to guide you through the application process. This last point is why I decided to pursue my coursework in a post bacc program as opposed to a DIY situation at a community college — with the added bonus that I could do it all in one year. (Some post bacc programs are two years; mine had the option of a one or two year track.)

I also got to do some awesome things outside of class — like learn to suture!
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