Getting into medical school is not easy: the competition is fierce, and sometimes
events do not work out as planned. Your GPA may be a bit soft, or your MCAT scores
weak, or you haven t been able to hook up with a research or medical service opportunity.
Or perhaps you are considering a change in career: you already have a baccalaureate
degree, but need the prereqs for medical school.
If you find yourself in one of these situations, you might consider applying to a
post-baccalaureate program. Some of these programs are oriented towards academic record-enhancement,
some towards career changing, some toward underrepresented groups, some towards economically
or educationally disadvantaged groups.
The AAMC (American Association of Medical Colleges) has a search pagedevoted to post
baccalaureate programs. From this search page I have listed the California postbac
programs oriented towards career changing, but several of these bill themselves as
record enhancement programs as well.
California State University Fullerton: Certificate in Pre-Health Professions Studies
California State University, East Bay: Pre-Health Sciences Professional Certificate
Charles Drew University: Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Pre Medicine
Mills College: Postbaccalaureate Program
U. C. San Diego: Post Baccalaureate Premedical Program
San Francisco State University: Pre-Health Professions Certificate Program
Scripps College: Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program
UC Berkeley Extension: Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions Certificate Program
University of Southern California: USC Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program
Another California post-bac program oriented towards the economically or educationally
disadvantaged is the California Postbaccalaurate Consortium. This program mostly caters
to UC graduates, but does admit a small number of CSU students each year.
Caribbean Medical Schools
There are two medical schools in the Caribbean that might be considered Plan B options:
St. George s University in Grenada, West Indies, and Ross University in the Commonwealth of Dominica. Students admitted to St. George s have an average
GPA of 3.34, and an average MCAT of 28. At Ross, the average GPA is 3.4, with a range
of 2.7 - 4, but for early admission they require at least an overall GPA of 3.0 and
a science GPA (BCPM) of 3.25, with an MCAT score of at least 24.
A recent CSUF graduate has written me a not too flattering account of his experiences
at Ross, and implies it should be a last-place choice of those who simply have no
other options. He writes "The highest success rates [of graduates of off-shore schools]
are for those desiring to go into specialities like internal medicine, family medicine,
psychiatry, pediatrics, and perhaps OB/GYN. For people who want to go into popular
and competitive fields, like surgery, emergency medicine, plastic surgery, orthopedics,
or ophthalmology, the best bet is to not go offshore." He also said that the school
administration was poorly run and not very helpful, a sentiment shared by others on
Web reviews ( here and here). You should do your homework to get other points of view; others have written more
favorable reviews of these off-shore schools.
Other Health Careers
After you have explored the cost and time of becoming a practicing MD (or DO), and
have assessed your chances for success in a very competitive and very rigorous field,
you may want to investigate these health related careers:podiatrist, pharmacist, veterinarian,
optometrist, physician assistant, Nurse or clinical Lab Technician, Ph.D.