At some point in your life, you may have heard the term postbac. You might have even been asked if you plan complete one. Postbacs can be somewhat confusing so we have created the GlamScience Guide to Postbac Programs!
Before we get into the wonderful and somewhat confusing world of postbacs, let's start by understanding what the term ‘postbac’ actually is.
Postbac is a term that is short for post-baccalaureate. A post-baccalaureate program or simply postbac program, is a program that is completed after obtaining a bachelor's degree. You usually don’t earn a degree from a postbac program, however some programs do offer a certificate or a masters degree.
Completing an undergraduate degree can be extremely stressful and the truth is, some people graduate without accomplishing everything they would have liked to accomplish. Whether your GPA isn’t as good as you would like it to be, or you did not do as much research as you would have liked, or maybe you didn’t complete the academic requirements for a graduate program, or maybe you want to switch career paths, whatever the case may be, there is probably a postbac program out there for you!
Now that you have a general understanding of what a postbac program is, here are 5 different types of postbac programs out there:
Programs that help you complete academic requirements for a graduate program
This type of postbac program is for people who may need to complete some classes in order to be eligible for a graduate program. These programs usually include advising, and help with graduate and professional program applications. One thing to keep in mind is that many of these types of programs can get expensive as they do charge tuition and fees.
Note: these programs are usually for people who haven’t taken the classes previously.
Programs that raise your GPA
This type of postbac program is perfect for people who feel that their GPA is not competitive enough to apply to the graduate program or professional school of their choice. These types of programs are academically intensive and usually involves taking difficult science classes which will help bring up your GPA and show that you can handle difficult coursework. Cost is something to keep in mind with this type of program as well.
Programs that help you gain research experience either at a university, company, organization or federal agency
This type of program is for people who may not have been able to get research experience during their time in undergrad, or for people who feel like they need more research experience. These postbac programs are typically paid programs and the costs associated are usually housing and personal needs. However, there are some programs that cover housing as well. You typically work on a research project with a mentor and these programs usually provide advising, application help, seminars, and other activities to help you prepare for grad school or professional school.
Programs that help you gain research experience, improve your GPA AND you will obtain a masters degree
This type of program can be thought of as a modified masters program. The difference between this type of program and a traditional masters program is that this program is specifically tailored towards helping you get into graduate or professional school. In this type of program you are taking rigorous, graduate level coursework and in many programs you conduct research as well. Some programs may offer a masters degree, while some may offer a certificate. Keep in mind that these programs usually have tuition costs associated with them, however there are some programs that may waive tuition because you will be conducting research.
Linkage programs that provide you with guaranteed admission into a professional school affiliated with the program, as long as you fulfill all of the requirements
This type of program is a program that allows you to take classes and participate in other activities outlined by the program. Activities may include but not limited to: taking classes, standardized exam prep, advising, personal statement help etc. Linkage postbac programs have partnerships with various professional schools and as long as you complete the requirements of the program, you will gain admission into the professional school. Requirements may include: maintaining a specific GPA, scoring in a particular percentile on standardized exams etc. Note: linkage programs are competitive and some might require you to have taken the standardized exam before applying. Linkage programs may have tuition costs.
I know you might be a bit overwhelmed with all of this information. It’s totally fine, just take a deep breath, woo-sah a bit and I’ll guide you through some questions to ask yourself to help guide you towards which type of program might be right for you.
What do you want to do after you obtain your bachelor's degree? Do you want to go to medical school, veterinary school, dental school, a PhD program, specialized career path…. etc
Did you complete all the requirements needed for your next step? Eg if you want to go to graduate or professional school, did you take all of the required classes?
Do you feel confident that your GPA is high enough to get you into your desired program?
Do you feel confident that you have enough experience to get into your desired program? Eg do you have research experience if you are interested in graduate school or clinical experience if you are interested in medical school
Do you want to take classes but also want a masters degree?
Are you able to take on the financial burden of paying tuition?
Hopefully this helped you understand what postbac programs are. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions. The deadlines for postbac programs usually range from August - January, but the earlier the better!
Check back next week for a list of postbac programs all over the United States. By subscribing to our monthly newsletter, you will get an excel spreadsheet of postbac programs with information such as benefits, cost, focus of the program etc emailed to you. You will also receive a link to an editable spreadsheet in case you would like to add more postbac programs to the list.
*professional school - medical school, pharmacy school, dental school, veterinarian school etc