Ginger Pressey, student services coordinator for University of Vermont Continuing and Distance Education, explains what you need to know about post-baccalaureate premedical programs, including UVM’s.
What factors should I consider when choosing a post-baccalaureate premedical program?
First, think about the type of program you need. Do you need a “career-change program” to gain the necessary core science requirements for application to medical school? Or an “enhancement program” to strengthen your academic record?
Whichever program you choose, it’s important to look at the quality and reputation of the university and the post-bac premed program. At UVM, we offer a career-change program.
How many students in UVM’s Post-Bac Premed Program gain acceptance to medical school?
We have an approximately 85 to 90 percent acceptance rate, and this has been solid for the last 13 years. That’s a really good rate.
What medical schools do students get admitted to?
They are accepted to medical schools all over the country. Since our program began in 1995, we have seen students matriculate at UVM, Dartmouth, Columbia, Harvard, Tufts, Northeastern, Johns-Hopkins, Cornell and many more colleges and universities. And then we have students who go on to physician assistant, osteopathic, chiropractic, nurse practitioner, dental, veterinary, public health, physical therapy, naturopathic and other health-care programs.
Do you offer linkage agreements?
Yes. If you maintain a certain grade-point average throughout our program, and you are able to meet all the requirements for a particular linkage program, then you are guaranteed an interview with the institution. We have linkage agreements with the UVM College of Medicine, University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, University of New England Physician Assistant Program, Franklin Pierce Physician Assistant Program, and Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
What is the admissions process?
We have a guideline of a 3.2 GPA in undergraduate work, but it comes down to more than just the numbers. Students submit a resume and a personal statement on why they want to pursue medical school or another health care program. The committee looks for a student’s commitment to the field.
We request two letters of recommendation, and the admissions committee likes to see evidence of any volunteer work, whether in health sciences or not, and evidence of a strong work ethic.
How many students are in the program?
There are approximately 130 students in the program at any given time. Most students start in the summer and fall terms. Around 10 to 12 students join in the spring term.
What makes UVM’s program unique?
We are fortunate to have close connections to the UVM College of Medicine, which is right on campus and offers a linkage agreement. We also are close to the University of Vermont Medical Center, located next door to the College of Medicine. That offers students a lot of opportunities to connect with doctors, nurses and other health care practitioners, to volunteer at the medical center, to attend lectures and to obtain research opportunities.
Can you describe a typical post-bac premed student?
It’s pretty broad. Some students come straight out of undergraduate school and then we have other students who have completed an undergraduate program or even a master’s program, then have gone on to work in a career for a decade or so, and then return to pursue our program. In terms of age, many are in their mid- to late 20s. Some of our students have children, some don’t. And students come from all over the country; we generally have more students from out of state than from Vermont.
Overall, the students in the post-bac premed program tend to be a tight-knit community. A lot of them get together regularly and have potlucks and study groups for specific classes.
Is there housing available?
We don’t offer any on-campus housing for post-bac premed students, but a lot of students end up becoming roommates.
Do you offer scholarships and other financial aid?
Students are eligible for federal financial aid under the category of “working toward a graduate degree.” We also offer scholarships to cover the cost of one course. The scholarship goes to the first 25 students who are admitted and who enroll in at least two courses. In addition, summer courses are offered with a 30 percent savings in tuition, making it a great time to get started.