FAQ from the SDSU Postbacc Club:
We hope this letter finds you well, and may we first and foremost congratulate you on your pursuit of continuing education after already receiving your Bachelor’s degree. Let’s get you started with some quick FAQ:
1) Does SDSU offer a “Post-Baccalaureate” specific program or official certificate?
Short answer, not really. We regrettably do not have the infrastructure to offer a “degree” per say for your work done here at state. However, if you are not an undergraduate or graduate degree seeking student, you still have options! The most popular one is to enroll and take courses through "Open University" at the College of Extended Studies (http://www.ces.sdsu.edu/open_info.html). They have their own set of independent classes, but you are also able to take any course through the main campus at SDSU (granted there is room within the class). Please visit both the Open U website and SDSU’s primary page (http://www.sdsu.edu/) to search for upcoming class schedules.
Having said that, let’s clarify that we can provide documentation that you are taking courses here at SDSU if you are able to actually successfully enroll in them. This “Postbaccalaureate Certificate In Preprofessional Health Preparation” program permits you to have documentation that shows that you are enrolled in educational courses. Please visit the link for the Certificate Program Overview on our PPHA website and follow the instructions. The requirements are listed in the program overview.
****Please be aware that we cannot guarantee entrance into ANY class, and this certificate program (or becoming an Open University student through the College of Extended Studies) cannot secure enrollment in any course.
2) Can I complete all of my pre-requisites for medical school through SDSU?
Good news: YES…side note, again, granted there is room within the courses you need. Essentially, Open University is a way to choose your courses a la carte; for example, you can enroll in organic chemistry, physics, biology, or chemistry (the primary courses needed for most medical schools and the MCAT). You are not obtaining a degree, but you are able to receive credit and a transcript for the work you do. It is currently $240 per undergraduate credit ($260 for each graduate course credit), but this is subject to change and you can always check current prices through Open University. SDSU tends to split most labs/lectures so it is 1 credit per lab and 3 per lecture on average, but you still typically have to crash them independently.
Unfortunately, as an Open U student you cannot register for classes early and you are lowest on the totem poll for adding. Degree seeking students come first, and there is unfortunately no way around that. Professors typically try to accommodate, but they are inundated with many students and budget limitations are in effect. Sometimes you can get in touch with professors early or at least let them know that you are planning on crashing their course, but you are not guaranteed a seat.
3) How do I officially add a class that I am trying to crash?
Classes may be full; you may not be able to add everything you would like. You cannot officially add any course without physically attending the course to obtain a signature from your professor saying you are permitted to register. This happens typically the first day of class, but there is a last day to add/drop a class for the university that you should be aware of for the semester you seek to join. Show up on the first day to whatever class/lab you are trying to crash, have a blank add form that you print out or obtain at Open U, and have the professor sign the form. Then you go back to Open U's office and pay to register. Once added, you'll have access to Blackboard or any other of state's web based communication (like WebPortal where you can print your transcript, etc.).
A word of advice: be patient and persistent. It can be up to 3 weeks until the last day to add/drop a course. You may even attend several labs/lectures for days/weeks without ever being able to add. Worst case, if you can’t enroll, you'll get a few weeks of free knowledge and the professor may remember you for next time or there may be space during the next semester or summer. Many of us have all made it happen and so can you, best of luck!
4) Can I go through SDSU Committee when applying for medical school?
Yes, if you fulfill all of the requirements for the “Certificate Program in Preprofessional Health Preparation” as well as any additional requirements for any typical SDSU student going through committee. Please see the Certificate Program Overview for additional guidelines. You may start by contacting the Preprofessional Health Advising Office (http://www.sci.sdsu.edu/preprof/) to go sign up your initial orientation meeting (REQUIRED FOR FUTURE APPOINTMENTS with the advisor). After the orientation, you will be able to set up an appointment with an advisor to develop a strategic approach for your eventual application. It takes over a year to actually apply (for example, if you are looking to matriculate Fall 2015 into medical school you will apply Spring 2014). We suggest you visit the Preprofessional office as soon as possible (GMCS 323) to sign up for orientation and open a file. They will help you figure out what classes you need, and guide into the various ways to become involved with all the wonderful extracurricular programs SDSU has to offer.
If eligible, you will undergo Committee review your application year (the year before you seek to matriculate). This is a comprehensive process that provides a letter of recommendation/evaluation from the pre-health office, as well as basic services that aid you in your application submission (such as collecting your letters of recommendation to send in as one packet for you). Many professional schools could inquire why you did not go through Committee if your institution has one, so we highly recommend you undergo the process if it is possible for you.
5) So what is this I hear about the really cool Post-Bacc Club?
SDSU post-baccs are a pretty nifty group of dedicated, experienced, and unique folks. There is no particular age, creed, undergraduate institution, or favorite ice cream that unites us: rather, we have all learned from each other’s experiences and seek to aid other post-bacc students in navigating back to school. We are not an official SDSU “club” per say, because none of us are technically “students.” However, we host various events, get-togethers, and philanthropic outreaches and would love to have you participate. More importantly, we let you know about other seminars, opportunities, conferences, or updates as they arise in our academic community. To “join” our club, it is a pretty extensive process…and by extensive, we mean ridiculously simple. Send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know that you would like to be included in the emails and invitations we send out. Done.
We hope that this has been an enlightening FAQ, and we invite you to join our cool club, crash some classes, and please let us know if you have any additional questions. May you have a very bright future here at SDSU and good luck on your future pursuits and careers!