Postbac Programs Are Your Friend When You Have a Low Undergrad GPA

For whatever reason you didn't do well in undergrad and your GPA is shot. Here's the kicker, you're premed and need to get into medical school. Postbac programs will be your secret gateway to becoming a doctor.

I don't have to remind you that getting into medical school is already competitive. 

Did you know?

60% of applicants to medical school are REJECTED! Yes, you saw that correctly you have a better chance of tossing a coin in the air and calling heads or tails than on becoming a doctor.

What do you do when you know your numbers are low or perhaps you've already been told, "With numbers like these you're not getting into medical school?"

My TA at Harvard Summer School said that to me while I was a premed student. Luckily, I didn't listen to him. I corrected what was wrong with my academics and went to graduate school.

I completed my Master of Arts in Medical Sciences at Boston University School of Medicine and now I'm a medical student in New York City. 

This goes to show postbac programs definitely work and can help you realize your goals of getting into medica school.

What a Postbac Can Do For You

Let's face it.

You didn't wakeup and say, "I want to take the roundabout way of getting to medical school."

Life happened and you didn't get the grades you needed to be competitive for medical school. Oftentimes I hear students say they started college and didn't have direction or they were just immature.

Additionally, some students have had personal setbacks with the death of loved ones or simply had to work fulltime to support themselves in undergrad.

At the end of the day this has all led to you having poor undergrad grades and looking to postbac programs as your 2nd chance to show AdComs your capabilities for medical school. 

Post baccalaureate programs serve three main purposes:

  1. improve your academic credentials
  2. take required premed courses
  3. determine if medical school is for you.

I'm sure that last one doesn't apply to you though.

Are you one the fence about what a postbac can do for you? Or maybe you have a very low GPA and aren't sure if you will even qualify for a postbac program.

Stick with me and I will get your postbac questions answered.

4 Types of Postbac Programs To Consider

Post baccalaureate programs typically fall into four broad categories:

  • Academic Record-Enhancers
  • Career-Changers
  • Underrepresented Minorities (URM)
  • Master/Special Master Programs (SMP)

There are key factors which make each type of program unique. I won't get into all the details now, but if you want to explore more about post baccalaureate programs then you will definitely want to checkout my Free Postbac email course. Get it here.

In the course I inform you about Formal vs Informal Programs; Linkage agreements, Glide years, etc. If any of this is foreign to you then yes get this course and become aware of your post baccalaureate options.

I don't deal with too many career-changers which are individuals who have decided after college that now they want to go to med school and need to fulfil their prerequisites for medical school.

You Got a Major Problem!

More and more individuals are applying to medical school each year. It's not getting easier to become a doctor, matter of fact much harder.

Have you put yourself in the shoes of the admissions committee?

They have to fill an incoming medical school class of 130 students and are sifting through 1,000s of applications. What do you think is going to happen when they come across your application and see your undergrad science GPA of 2.6?

You and I both know what will happen, they are going to pass on your application. 

But in today's day and age, no human will even touch your application. Computers screen applications and there's a set value for minimal GPA and if you fall short you can kiss goodbye to any chances of becoming a doctor.

But Jason, what about all my research, 400 hours of volunteering and Dept. Chair who wrote me a glowing letter of recommendation. Sorry it just doesn't matter if you don't have the numbers. 

Honestly, with a low GPA you may have trouble getting into the correct type of postbac program that will get you into medical school. A lot of the post baccalaureate programs you need to be targeting typically want you to apply having a minimum GPA of 3.0 or better. 

If your undergrad GPA is very low, all is not lost. I have the strategy you need to get on the radar of postbac programs. 

Academic Record Enhancers

You've completed all or most of your premed requirements but need a second chance to prove yourself to medical schools. 

These are the post baccalaureate programs you want to consider if you've earned a C- or worse in your required premed coursework.

Want to know what you absolutely must do while enrolled in an Academic Record-Enhancer program to be competitive for medical school? Then you'll need a copy of the Post Bac Guidebook for Getting Into Medical School

Not only will you get the tips to excel but also give you a complete overview of each progam falling into this category. It's a guidebook you must have.

I will leave you with this thought: "Protect the GPA at all costs." A physician told me this advice when finding out I was heading to a postbac program, he said "when your numbers are not the highest the worst thing you can do is have them slip so make sure nothing happens with your GPA".


This post-baccalaureate program is for people who have decided to enter medicine after working in another career or who have already graduated from college

Career-changer post-baccalaureate programs are usually very formal because you have not completed the four courses needed for medical school:

  • General Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physics

Since everyone will be taking the same courses at the same time you will find a genuine post baccalaureate community among the students.

The program directors are aware of your needs and will set aside time in the curriculum to prepare for the MCAT, supply letters of recommendation and advise you on the application process to medical school.

Groups Underrepresented in Medicine

These post bac programs are for underrepresented minorities (URM) and have twofold purpose:

  • increase the diversity in medicine
  • improve academic readiness for medicine

But these URM post bacs can vary widely depending on which program you pursue. Some are only available to students who are currently applying to medical school while others will help you to become a stronger candidate for medical school.

Overall, you'll find the program focus will include:

  • improving study skills
  • MCAT preparation
  • mentoring
  • advising on the application process

If you are a racial/ethnic minority, educationally disadvantaged and/or economically disadvantaged then this may be the best way for you to go. These programs are very supportive to your needs by having a lot of counselors on hand, all types of academic resources, and health care volunteering opportunities.

Unfortunately, it is hard to get accepted into these types of programs because more students are applying and the screening process is very thorough. But once you're accepted and if you follow the advice of your mentors while also working hard you may end up in a very prestigious medical school.

I have friends who completed a URM post-baccalaureate and then were faced with the problem of choosing which Ivy League medical school to attend because of receiving multiple acceptances.

You can get the specifics on choosing and getting into the best post bac program for you in my ebook.

Master Programs

This is where I encourage most premeds to go if they want to get into medical school.

Let me be clear there are two types of master programs:

  • master programs
  • Special Master Programs (SMPs)

It's really an issue of semantics when it comes to these programs. A general master program is where you are taking graduate level courses to earn your degree.

Whereas, with a SMP you are taking many of the first year medical school courses and graded on a curve against the med students. My program at Boston University was a SMP and I think it is an excellent way to go if you want to prove yourself to AdComs.

Nonetheless, going the master route will also allow you to practically erase your undergrad GPA and really make a huge difference when you go on to apply to medical school. 

I talk about how you can do this and other advantages of going the Master route in the Post Bac Guidebook for Getting Into Medical School. You already are facing an uphill battle for getting admitted so you need to put every advantage possible to use.

If you like what you've seen so far, then it makes sense to get hooked into the FREE Post Bac email course

› PostBac

Leave a Reply

Comment in the box below.