Who is the postbac program intended for?
The Bryn Mawr Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program is designed for women and men who have completed a bachelor’s degree with an excellent academic record, yet lack the prerequisite science courses needed for admission to medical school.
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 the Bryn Mawr postbac curriculum also prepares students for veterinary school, dental school, and other health professional schools.
What are the requirements for admission?
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.
When do students start and end the program?
All postbac students will start our program during summer school with the general chemistry laboratory course unless you have already taken one year of general chemistry as an undergraduate. During the following fall and spring semesters, postbacs will take biology, physics and organic chemistry laboratory courses, and an optional course during the fall semester on The Practice of Medicine. Students can take an optional biochemistry course the following May. Students will take the MCAT in the spring or early summer.
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. Although Bryn Mawr may consider a student who has completed one or two of the required science courses, you are not eligible for the program if you have completed all or a majority of these courses or if you have taken the MCAT.
How competitive is admission to the program?
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 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.
What types of advising and support does the Bryn Mawr postbac program provide?
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.
What types of volunteer experience should I have before applying to the postbac program?
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.
What are the minimum admissions requirements?
We require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year institution, an excellent undergraduate academic record, 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 your SAT/ACT scores.
How do I arrange to have standardized test scores sent to Bryn Mawr?
If your SAT/ACT scores are listed on your high school transcript, you do not need to send us a separate score report. If not, you can request your SAT scores from the Educational and Testing Service by calling (609) 771-7600 and giving them our school code, which is 2477.
If you choose to submit your ACT scores, Bryn Mawr’s ACT code is 3526. If you have taken any other standardized tests for graduate or professional schools, such as the GRE or LSAT, you are welcome to send us a copy of your scores in addition to the SAT/ACT scores. Bryn Mawr’s GRE code is 2049.
Do I need to submit any essays?
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.
Do you require that academic recommendation letters and official transcripts be submitted with the application?
Yes. In addition to one required academic recommendation letter, we require a recommendation letter from someone who has supervised you or served as your advisor. Please collect your official transcripts and recommendation letters and send them in an envelope with your application. 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 also will require academic letters of recommendation from your undergraduate institution.
Are postbac classes independent of, or integrated with, undergraduate science classes?
Although the majority of the postbac premedical science lecture classes are geared specifically for postbac students, some laboratory sections may include postbacs and undergraduate students.
How long does the admissions process take?
It can take up to three weeks from the time we receive 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 of the admissions committee.
Why are changes being made to the MCAT in 2015?
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.
MCAT 2015 addresses the new skills and competencies addressed in both AAMC reports.
What content changes are going to be made to the 2015 MCAT? Will these changes be reflected by changes to medical school premedical course requirements?
MCAT 2015 will include topics covered in general chemistry, organic chemistry, introductory biology, and introductory physics courses, and will also incorporate topics from biochemistry. In addition there will be a new interdisciplinary section entitled Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior, that will cover topics from the behavioral science. Statistical reasoning will be incorporated into all sections of the new MCAT. For complete information, please visit www.aamc.org/mcat2015.
How has the Bryn Mawr postbac program responded to these changes?
We have modified our introductory biology course and our general and organic chemistry courses to include biochemistry; in fact, the second semester of the postbac organic chemistry sequence is focused on biological organic chemistry. We have also modified our physics course to include information about the life sciences. In addition we have offered and will continue to offer elective courses in statistics and the behavioral sciences.
What impact will these changes have on the medical school consortial/linkage process?
Both the medical schools and the postbac program are strongly committed to the consortial/linkage programs; we are in the process of discussing what impact, if any, the 2015 MCAT/medical school premedical requirements changes will have on the linkage process.
What preparation materials will be provided by the AAMC?
The Preview Guide for the MCAT2015 Exam, 2nd Edition gives prospective examinees a chance to become familiar with the content of the new exam and practice with over 100 sample questions. The Preview Guide is free and available at www.aamc.org/mcat2015. The first edition of The Official Guide to the MCAT will be released in 2014, and prior to the first exam, two full-length practice exams will become available. The AAMC recently announced a new collaboration with Khan Academy to provide free, online resources to help students prepare for MCAT 2015.