Monday, November 22, 2010

MiM Mailbag: Post-bac pre-med programs for mom of 3


  My name is Crystal and I am currently an undergraduate student at UCLA. I have 3 daughters, 6, 4 and 8 months. I also have a husband. I will be graduating in June 2011 with a double major in Anthropology and African American Studies.

  As a "career changer," I am currently looking for the best pre-medicine post-bac program that will lead me to pursue medical school. I have a deep passion for medicine and currently I cannot find ANYONE who could help me (even here at UCLA). I feel very lost going through this process right now, because to most people that I have talked to (especially counselors), my situation is very unique.

    We currently reside in the family housing at UCLA and my children attend the day care/school here as well. I guess my problem is that I am trying to find a program that offers acommodations to families (housing, preschool, scholarships/financial aid etc...)

  I came across a few post-bac programs (Drew, USC, Temple, Harvard) that I think would be a good fit for me, but I am trying to make sure I can find one that will ultimately be good for my family as well. I don't mind relocating. I just need some direction, especially because I have a family, I will be making this choice for them as well.

Do you know of any resources that could help me with finding the right program?

Thank you very much. Your website inspires me a lot. I had no idea that there were so many women going through the same exact thing that I am facing right now.



  1. How exciting!

    I was a post-bac student myself though at the tender age of 21 and without kids.

    Columbia, Penn, Bryn Mawr, Hunter college are other east coast programs.

    Have you tried this web site:

    All the best.

  2. I'm not sure if this is true, but it may be difficult to find programs that accommodate families like that because they aren't really 'degree' programs. I'm not sure if this is possible, but when I decided to go pre-med, I just ended up extending my graduation date at my undergrad institution. At my school, even if you have the correct amount of credits, you determine when you graduate. I wonder if it's possible for you take some extra time at UCLA and use their pre-med office and such. It may be something to consider since you're so well settled there.

  3. Good luck. I did post bacc with one, then two kids. I found myself on my own for the most part, and had to design a non-degree seeking schedule.

    You can try to find a program designed for people in your situation. Not as a mother, but as an unconventional student with a bachelor's degree. I know several universities in my area that have masters programs that are specifically for medically school headed grad students. They have names like "masters of biological sciences" or something along those lines.

    Check out schools that have medical schools and extensive undergraduate and graduate programs. They should have something along the lines of what you are looking for.

    Don't worry about being a mother. I wouldn't expect the administration or counselors anywhere to be too supportive of it, but you will have other parents in your classes, no matter what. Everyone has other priorities in their life, and you will do well if you have a good work ethic.

  4. Wow Crystal, your life sounds much like mine! I took my MCAT when my 3 kids were the exact same ages are yours. I am now a second year medical student. I had many of the same experiences where potential mentors at my undergrad institution really weren't sure what to do with me. I didn't do post-bacc work, but I know that FSU (where I attend med school) offers post-bacc courses, has family housing and also discounted daycare for children of students. It is a great school and if you get into medical school here, the administration is very supportive of students with children. Best of luck on your journey, you can do it!!


  5. It might also help if you're able to find a job at an institution that has a post-bacc program. Penn, for instance, offers 100% tuition remission if you work full time for them, and their post-bacc courses are held in the evenings. At the University of Chicago, I got 50% off my tuition, and my job was flexible enough to take the undergrad courses during the day.

    Echoing the sentiments expressed above, don't expect any of the pre-med advisors to get you. They won't. For what it's worth, they don't get most students. It's their job to tell you you can't get in, so that you work hard to improve your cv and "surprise" them.

  6. The University of Utah has an excellent post-bac program, as do several other local universities. Having children and doing post-bac work is pretty normal here, so you might find more support than other places-- worth a look anyway. Good luck.

  7. Can you just stay at UCLA and take the pre reqs you need?

  8. TCOM in Fort Worth, TX has a great master's program that is known for getting their students into med school. I know nothing about their family-friendliness, but it's worth looking up. Here's a good forum post on it:

  9. Hi, I am in a very similar situation to you, and I also found the Southern California post-bacc options to be a little dismal for older students. I just accepted an offer I got from the post-bacc program at UVM, and I'm very excited to get started in the Spring. I checked out a ton of programs and UVM always had the best feel for what I was looking for. I'd love to chat about it if you're interested, my email is terribleshy (at) gmail (dot) com
    Good luck!!!

  10. Hi, Crystal,
    I know it's been a while since your post, but I just found this blog. I'm 35, 2 kids (8 and 10), and I'm starting the Post-Bacc program at the University of Virginia in a few months. The program is nice in that it is not for students who need to improve their GPAs, and it takes one year (June-May). There is a year in between completion of the program in which you apply to med school and get experience (the school has contacts). You can also pick up "extras" like Biochem during the "glide year" fall semester. The program offers the benefit of MCAT prep, special sections of some classes such as O-Chem, and a class in American Healthcare--I sat in on it, and it was excellent. The program Director seemed to really value my mothering experience and my experience as a board-certified lactation consultant and other volunteer work I've done.
    The program doesn't offer housing, but there is plenty of student housing in the area. You'll almost certainly find it much more affordable than LA! :)



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