Earlier this month, in our Plan B – Part One post, we presented information on the options that exist for premedical/predental students who will not be entering professional school in the fall. There you will find over 30 post bacclaureate and Master’s Programs ( and links to various others) that you may apply to as you work on putting together a more competitive application. Remember, less than 50% of applicants to medical and dental school are accepted every year, so don’t be discouraged! To date, countless Oakwood alumni have participated in postbacclaureate programs and are achieving their goals.
Today we present Oakwood alumna, Raquel McNeil who was recently accepted to medical school after completing a post bacclaureate program at Lincoln Memorial University. She will offer some insight on how to go about choosing a program and what to expect.
HealthOU: How did you decide to do a postbacc program?
During the fall semester of my senior year at Oakwood, I took the MCAT and I did not have a competitive score. After much prayer, I decided not to apply to medical school; instead I began to look into postbacc programs to attend.
HealthOU: How did you handle the initial disappointment of not entering medical school at the same time as your peers?
Although, I was so proud of my friends getting into medical school, I felt confused as to what I was going to do with my life. While all of my friends were receiving their acceptances, I had no guarantee if I was even going to get into a postbacc program. A part of me regretted not applying to medical school, but deep down I knew I was not ready for such a serious challenge. The uncertainty of my future plans made me humbled and made me rely upon God. I realized that I had to stop comparing myself to my friends, and to trust that God was going to lead my medical journey.
HealthOU: What were some of the programs you were looking at when you were choosing a postbacc program?
I was looking into UConn Post-baccalaureate Program, Pre-Health Post-baccalaureate Program at Stonybrook, and Post-baccalaureate Medical Science Program at Lincoln Memorial University.
HealthOU; How did you narrow it down to your specific program?
To be honest, time was not on my side and I had missed a few deadlines, therefore my choices were limited. Since I was interested in osteopathic medicine, I narrowed my options to osteopathic postbacc programs. I eventually chose, Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) because it was closely associated with Debusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (DCOM). The MCAT Prep course was another determining factor towards making my decision.
HealthOU: What were some of the benefits of the program?
I was guaranteed an interview to Debusk College of Osteopathic Medicine contingent upon my fall semester GPA. I was able to take Medical Gross Anatomy (MGA) alongside first year medical students and I will not have to take this course again as a first year medical student at DCOM.
HealthOU: Did doing a postbacc program make your interview process easier?
Yes, I received a guaranteed interview since my grades were competitive.
HealthOU: Would you recommend your program to other premed students?
I would recommend it for those who want to strengthen their science background.
HealthOU: Describe your program in a bit more detail, what was the curriculum like, learning style, learning environment, etc
The Post-Baccalaureate Medical Science Program (PMSP) at Lincoln Memorial University is located in Harrogate, TN. This postbacc program helps to strengthen academic science background for college graduates that have completed the prerequisites for med school. The PMSP is a full-time program which composes of two semesters. At the end of the program, a certificate of completion is given. The PMSP is a fairly new program, and I was a part of the inaugural postbacc program which began in July 2010. The PMSP is directed by Lincoln Memorial University and is closely affiliated with LMU’s medical school, Debusk College of Osteopathic Medicine.
The curriculum included lecture based courses with the exception of the prosection course. During the first semester I had the opportunity to take Medical Gross Anatomy which included a lab. This was by far the most challenging course and made me improve my studying habits. I had the opportunity to join study groups with medical students as well as my fellow postbacc colleagues. My undergrad courses included Microbial Physiology and Molecular Genetics, which were a refreshing review as well as helping me study for the MCAT.
The second semester I only had undergraduate courses, with an option to take a Prosection course (prosecting cadavers). We were required to take Biochemistry, Medical Ethics, Immunology, and other science courses with the requirement of having a full-time status. During this semester, we had the chance to individually study for the MCAT and to prepare for our interview. Unfortunately, the MCAT Prep was not given until the summer after the program was completed. However, the PMSP now provides a Kaplan MCAT Prep course during the summer before classes begin.
For more information for the program you can go to http://www.lmunet.edu/academics/pmsp/
HealthOU: What were some of the key things you looked for when you were choosing between programs?
First, I wanted to get into a program that would help me improve my MCAT score as well as strengthen my science background. I mainly wanted to get into a postbacc program that was directly affiliated with a medical school (preferably osteopathic med school) to gain a better understanding of what medical school would be like. Also, I wanted more doctor shadowing experiences.
HealthOU: What advice or information would you share with a student who is looking atdifferent postbacc programs as they choose the program?
First and foremost, I would suggest to pray and ask God for guidance. Then, I would recommend looking into a master’s degree granting postbacc program to ensure being competitive for medical school applications. Once the programs have been narrowed down, make sure to research how many postbacc students from the particular program have matriculated into medical school. Another important factor is to find a program that will give you the opportunity to take medical school courses to get a feel of the rigorous schedule of med school. For instance, I know a few people that dropped out of my postbacc program because they were not able to handle the intensity of the course load and changed their mind.
HealthOU: What advice or information would you share with a student as they go through the program about study habits and how to make the best out of the program?
I would advise them to be patient and allow your study habits to be refined. From my experience, the major difference between transitioning from undergrad to the postbacc program was that I was taking all science classes that were challenging. Every class required my full attention and there were no “easy” classes like Oakwood. I think the best way to succeed in a program is to get along with your fellow classmates and form study groups. Most likely your postbacc program will be small, so the best way to get through the program is to have good communication with your colleagues.
HealthOU: How rigorous was the program? How many classes did you take? How were you evaluated / tested?
The program was very intense, especially during the first semester with MGA. Additionally, I took about four classes (including MGA lab) which was about 14.50 credit hours. The second semester, I took four undergrad classes that were 13 credit hours. For MGA we were given four lab praticals and four computer based exams. For the undergrad courses, we had in- class exams and quizzes.
HealthOU: Did you have automatic entry into that medical school as a result of doing the program?
No, I actually did not. Although I received an interview, my MCAT still needed to improve. This was quite discouraging at the time. But I worked very hard and I took the MCAT again with the Kaplan MCAT Prep course provided by LMU. With my exceptional improvement (only by God’s grace), I sent my score to DCOM and they accepted me without another interview! God really worked it out! From this journey, I have learned that God works things out by His time. It is only by persistence, motivation, and God’s strength that has allowed me to matriculate into medical school this fall! Nothing can beat God’s timing!!!
Raquel McNeil hails from Clearwater, Fl. She is a 2010 graduate of Oakwood University, where she majored in Biochemistry. She hopes to pursue a career in Obstetrics and Gynecology. In her spare time, she likes to read, shop and spend quality time with her friends and family.