- Who is the postbac program intended for?
- When do students start and end the program?
- What types of advising and support does the Bryn Mawr postbac program provide?
- Are postbac classes independent of, or integrated with, undergraduate science classes?
- Can the postbac program prepare me for admission to health professional schools other than medical schools?
- What are the minimum admissions requirements?
- Who is eligible to apply?
- Can I apply to the postbac program if I have already taken the science courses required for medical school?
- How competitive is admission to the program?
- Can I be accepted directly from my undergraduate college?
- What types of volunteer experience should I have before applying to the postbac program?
- Do I need to submit any essays?
- What are the requirements for recommendation letters and official transcripts?
- If I received my undergraduate degree from an institution outside of the United States, does the course work need to be evaluated for U. S. equivalence by a credentialing service? If so, which credentialing services are accepted by the postbac program?
- How long does the admissions process take?
- What kind of MCAT preparation does the Bryn Mawr postbac program provide?
- Why were changes made to the MCAT in 2015?
- What content changes were made to the MCAT? Have these changes led to changes in premedical course requirements?
- How did the Bryn Mawr postbac program respond to these changes?
- Did the changes to the MCAT impact the postbac program's medical school consortial/linkage process?
Postbacs start our program during summer school with General Chemistry (unless they have already taken one year of chemistry as an undergraduate). During the following fall and spring semesters, postbacs will take Biology, Physics, and Organic Chemistry (with labs). Students can take an optional Biochemistry course the following May. Students will take the MCAT in the spring or early summer.
Our staff will guide you every step of the way, from enrollment to the postbac program through your application to medical school. This includes: personal advising; step-by-step workshops on the medical school admissions process; help with the process of self-assessment that will lead to selecting schools to which you will apply; preparation for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT); and a comprehensive, personal premedical committee letter written for each student.
Although the vast majority of the postbac premedical science lecture classes are geared specifically for postbac students, some laboratory sections may include postbacs and undergraduate students.
Can the postbac program prepare me for admission to health professional schools other than medical schools?
Although most postbac students pursue medical school, the core science courses in our postbac curriculum also prepare students for dental school, and cover a majority of the admissions requirements for veterinary school and other health professional schools.
We require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year institution, an excellent undergraduate academic record, and SAT/ACT scores if you have taken one of these standardized tests. If you have taken the GRE or another graduate-level standardized test, you are welcome to send us those scores in addition to but not as a substitution for your SAT/ACT scores.
The program is designed primarily for those who are changing careers, many of whom are new to science. You can be considered for the program if you have or will have completed a bachelor’s degree by the time you start the postbac program and you have had a strong academic record in college.
Can I apply to the postbac program if I have already taken the science courses required for medical school?
The postbac program is designed for individuals who have not taken the prerequisite science courses for admission to medical school. The core science requirements for medical school are one year of General Chemistry, one year of Biology, one year of Physics, and one year of Organic Chemistry (all with labs). Although Bryn Mawr may consider a student who has completed up to half of these requirements, you are not eligible for the program if you have completed all or a majority of these courses. Applicants seeking to enhance their academic record are similarly not eligible for our program.
Admission to the Bryn Mawr postbac program is very competitive. Your application must demonstrate your ability to handle an academically rigorous course load in the sciences as well as a strong commitment to, and understanding of, medicine.
We strongly recommend that college seniors wait until they have received their fall semester grades to apply to the program. The majority of our applicants have already earned their bachelor's degree, and thus have eight semesters of undergraduate courses with grades for the admissions committee to review. In the fall semester, college seniors only have six semesters of graded courses. It is generally more advantageous to an applicant to show a more comprehensive academic picture. If you are concerned that having your registrar's office send an official transcript once fall grades are posted would further delay your application, you are welcome to apply with an official transcript for your freshman through junior years, and a screen shot of your unofficial first semester grades, with an official transcript to follow. If you decide to apply before you complete the fall semester, there is a possibility that your application may be placed on hold pending fall grades.
Although there is no single "right" answer to this question, you should demonstrate that you have carefully thought about your motivation for a career change as well as your commitment to a medical career through your experiences in health-care or social services settings.
Our application requires two personal statements comprising your responses to specific questions—one about your reasons for wishing to become a physician and another about yourself—each approximately one page in length.
You must arrange to have two letters of recommendation completed on your behalf, one of which must be written by a former professor/instructor/advisor who is familiar with your academic abilities. We understand that it may be challenging to obtain an academic recommendation if you have been out of school for a few years. However, your medical school applications will also require academic letters of recommendation.
Our program participates in the Post Baccalaureate Centralized Application Service (PostBacCAS). Please refer to the PostBacCAS Applicant Help Center for instructions regarding your transcripts.
If I did study abroad or received my undergraduate degree from an institution outside of the United States, does the course work need to be evaluated for U. S. equivalence by a credentialing service?
Please refer to the PostBacCAS Study Abroad or Overseas Transcripts help page for information regarding transcripts issued for study abroad coursework.
For applicants who have extensive coursework and/or a degree issued by a non-U.S. institution, please see the PostBacCAS Foreign and French-Canadian Transcripts help page. In these cases, you will be required to have your transcript(s) processed by World Evaluations Services (WES).
It can take up to three weeks from the time we receive and process your completed application materials until the time we contact you to inform you if you will be invited for an interview. Following an interview, it can take four to six weeks before we notify you of the decision by the admissions committee.
Starting in the second half of the fall term, we offer our In-House MCAT Study Option to all postbacs. This program is a series of study sessions organized and led by an experienced former postbac. In the fall, we begin with sessions on the Critical Analysis & Reasoning Skills and Psychological, Social, & Biological Foundations of Behavior sections of the test, covering both basic content and strategy. In the spring semester, as postbacs are completing their science courses, we move toward reviewing the sciences and continuing to discuss test-taking strategy. A significant component of the In-House Study Option is practice, practice, practice--postbacs are urged to make time for practicing problems and full-length tests outside of the classroom instruction. There are typically ten 2-hour MCAT sessions spread out over the months from November to April.
A report was published from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) that recommended the development of innovative approaches to premedical education. The report, “Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians,” outlined a set of scientific competencies and quantitative skills that should be mastered by premedical students. This report was followed by another AAMC report, "Behavioral and Social Science Foundations for Future Physicians," which advocates that it is essential for physicians to have a conceptual framework in these disciplines to understand socioeconomic and cultural determinants of health and to address health care disparities.
The MCAT section of the AAMC web site addresses the new skills and competencies addressed in both AAMC reports.
What content changes were made to the MCAT? Have these changes led to changes in premedical course requirements?
The MCAT includes topics covered in general chemistry, organic chemistry, introductory biology, and introductory physics courses, and also incorporates topics in biochemistry. In addition there is an interdisciplinary section, entitled Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior, that covers topics from behavioral science. Statistical reasoning has been incorporated into all sections of the MCAT. For complete information, please visit https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/ .
Some medical schools have shifted from formal course requirements to "demonstrated competencies." With the changes to the MCAT there has been an increase in the number of medical schools that require statistics and biochemistry.
We modified our Introductory Biology and our General and Organic Chemistry courses to include biochemistry, with the second semester of the postbac Organic Chemistry course focused on biological organic chemistry. We also modified our Physics course to include information about the life sciences. In addition we continue to offer elective courses in statistics and the behavioral sciences.
Both the medical schools and the postbac program are strongly committed to the consortial/linkage programs. We revisit the topic of the MCAT on an annual basis. Many of our consort schools continue to require the test for admission through linkage.