3 Questions to Consider Before Committing to a Postbac Medical Program

Whether you have already completed your premedical courses and are looking to boost your resume, or you have decided to become a physician but have yet to complete the premedical track, postbaccalaureate premedical programs may be a viable way to get you ready for medical school.

Unlike simply enrolling in additional science courses, postbaccalaureate programs provide structured coursework and academic advising that may streamline your medical school application process. Some postbaccalaureate programs are affiliated with medical schools, and postbaccalaureate students may be given preference in the admissions cycle.

[Read: 3 Myths About Postbaccalaureate Medical Programs]

However, though there are many perks, these programs are often expensive and time-consuming, and the decision to attend should not be made lightly. If you have been accepted to a postbaccalaureate program, ask yourself these three questions to determine if now is the right time for you to enroll.

Are you prepared to commit to the full length of the program? Postbac programs take 8 to 24 months on average, and they are often very demanding. Employment, familial obligations, and other such commitments may interfere with your ability to fully commit to a postbaccalaureate program. Before you enroll, consider how your obligations will affect your availability. Are you able to minimize your outside workload for the year or two you will be in your postbaccalaureate program? Do you anticipate any major life changes, like the birth of a child, for example, that will draw your attention away from your studies? Are there any projects, such as ongoing research that you are participating in, that you would need to balance while you are in school?

Your time will be limited both by attending classes and studying, and it is important to note that academic success is crucial for medical school admission. To the extent outside factors that will demand your attetion can be minimized, you should work to give your full attention to the program for the entire duration.

[Read: 6 Types of Applicants Who Would Benefit From a Postbaccalaureate Program.]

Does the program offer the supports you may need? Particularly for students who are returning to school after being away from an academic environment for several years, the rigor of postbaccalaureate programs and the pressure associated with applying to medical school may be difficult to navigate. Before committing to a program, consider your academic, social, and emotional needs.

Are tutors available if you are struggling in courses? What degree of involvement will your advisor have in helping you apply to medical school? Do you prefer a small program in which students spend a lot of time together, or does a larger program suit you better? Make sure your postbaccalaureate program will be able to support you in ways that will best set you up for academic success.

Can you afford the financial costs associated with the program? Formal postbaccalaureate programs can be very expensive and may cause you to accrue debt on top of any outstanding student debt you have. Be mindful of your financial constraints prior to enrolling in a postbaccalaureate program. What kind of financial assistance might you require to attend this program? How much debt do you currently have, and is it reasonable to add postbaccalaureate tuition on top of it? Also pay attention to other financial responsibilities you have, including car payments, rent, and familial costs, and determine whether you will be able to balance outside financial obligations with your tuition costs.

[Read: Is a Postbaccalaureate Medical Program Right for You?]

A postbaccalaureate program is a great option for boosting your med school application, but it isn’t right for everyone. You should do a thorough assessment of your individual situation to best determine whether such a program would be a good fit for you.

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3 Questions to Consider Before Committing to a Postbac Medical Program originally appeared on usnews.com

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